When he got out of the elevator, he saw the other going along a passage in front, which he thought curious, because he could not have stayed more than a few moments in the bar. Moreover his limp was not noticeable now he imagined himself alone. Foster went on quietly, keeping his distance, and knitted his brows in thoughtful surprise when the other opened a door. The man, who did not seem to know Telford, had gone into his room.
When the door shut he heard another step and saw, as he had half-expected, the man who had watched Telford entering the passage, Foster immediately turned his head and went on to his room, where he sat down in the nearest chair. He had got something of a shock, since he now knew why he had studied the fellow with the limp. His brain had been unconsciously occupied with a description Lucy Stephen had given him. The man who had gone into Telford’s room was Walters.
When Foster was thinking of going to bed Pete, whom he had not seen all day, came into the rotunda, and Foster remarked that his boots were very wet.
“It’s saft ootside an’ I’ve been paidlin’ in the snow,” he said and, with the poacher’s instinctive caution, put his feet out of sight beneath a table.
“Where have you been in the dark?” Foster asked.
“I thought I’d maybe better watch the bridge over yon bit creek.”
Foster frowned. It looked as if he had not much talent for detective work and could only concentrate upon one point at a time. While he had been content to watch what was going on at the hotel, Pete had watched the bridge, and had found out something. Foster admitted that such success as he had had was rather due to luck than ability.
“Well,” he said, “what did you see there?”
“To begin with, the man we followed cam’ doon the street and went into a shop; and I allooed they might keep something I wanted. He bought a basket.”
“Just that,” said Pete. “One o’ they cheap baskets ye put grosseries in when ye gang by train.”
Foster nodded. On Canadian railways, economical second-class passengers often carry provisions instead of using the meal stations.
“He bought some tinned meat and biscuits,” Pete resumed. “Then some tea and a wee spirit-stove.”
“There’s no train until to-morrow and I imagine the fellow wouldn’t be satisfied with canned meat, so long as he could get something better when the cars stopped.”
Pete grinned. “I’m no’ saying he meant to tak’ the train. It looked mair like he was going to picnic in the woods.”
“Ah!” said Foster abruptly. “I suppose you followed the man?”
“Far enough to see him tak’ the road we went. Then I cam’ back. Ye see, I kent where he was going.”
Foster made a sign of agreement, because it was obvious that Telford was going to the shack at the mine. He understood how the fellow had got out without his seeing him, since it is usual in Canada to have a separate entrance to a hotel bar and he had stupidly been satisfied with watching the hall.