His companion pointed to a shed beyond the station. They walked thither, the Superintendent describing in detail the attack on the train and the measures taken for the capture of the marauders, Anderson listening in silence. The affair had taken place early that morning, but the telegraph wires had been cut in several places on both sides of the damaged line, so that no precise news of what had happened had reached either Vancouver on the west, or Golden on the east, till the afternoon. The whole countryside was now in movement, and a vigorous man-hunt was proceeding on both sides of the line.
“There is no doubt the whole thing was planned by a couple of men from Montana, one of whom was certainly concerned in the hold-up there a few months ago and got clean away. But there were six or seven of them altogether and most of the rest—we suspect—from this side of the boundary. The old man who was killed”—Anderson raised his eyes abruptly to the speaker—“seems to have come from Nevada. There were some cuttings from a Nevada newspaper found upon him, besides the envelope addressed to you, of which I sent you word at Roger’s Pass. Could you recognise anything in my description of the man? There was one thing I forgot to say. He had evidently been in the doctor’s hands lately. There is a surgical bandage on the right ankle.”
“Was there nothing in the envelope?” asked Anderson, putting the question aside, in spite of the evident eagerness of the questioner.
“And where is it?”
“It was given to the Kamloops coroner, who has just arrived.” Anderson said nothing more. They had reached the shed, which his companion unlocked. Inside were two rough tables on trestles and lying on them two sheeted forms.
Dixon uncovered the first, and Anderson looked steadily down at the face underneath. Death had wrought its strange ironic miracle once more, and out of the face of an outcast had made the face of a sage. There was little disfigurement; the eyes were closed with dignity; the mouth seemed to have unlearnt its coarseness. Silently the tension of Anderson’s inner being gave way; he was conscious of a passionate acceptance of the mere stillness and dumbness of death.
“Where was the wound?” he asked, stooping over the body.
“Ah, that was the strange thing! He didn’t die of his wound at all! It was a mere graze on the arm.” The Superintendent pointed to a rent on the coat-sleeve. “He died of something quite different—perhaps excitement and a weak heart. There may have to be a post-mortem.”
“I doubt whether that will be necessary,” said Anderson.
The other looked at him with undisguised curiosity.
“Then you do recognise him?”
“I will tell the coroner what I know.”
Anderson drew back from his close examination of the dead face, and began in his turn to question the Superintendent. Was it certain that this man had been himself concerned in the hold-up and in the struggle with the police?