Another matter demanded consideration. News of what he had done in Newcastle had probably reached the gang, and he had a check belonging to a member of it in his wallet. If they knew this, which was possible, he might be in some danger, and taking it for granted that the watcher was a detective or acting for Hulton, it would simplify things and free him from a grave responsibility if he told what he knew. For all that, he did not mean to do so. His object was to save his comrade’s name.
In the afternoon he played pool with Telford, who carelessly asked him a few clever questions, which Foster answered with a misleading frankness that he hoped would put the other off the track. In the evening he read the newspapers and tried to overcome a growing anxiety about Lawrence. He ought to follow Daly, but did not know where he had gone, and thought that if he waited Telford might give him a clew.
There were no letters for him next morning, but soon after breakfast the bell-boy brought him a telegram and he tore open the envelope. The message was from Lucy Stephen and read:
“Mountaineering friend just arrived. Snow dangerous now. Would feel safer if you could join us. Come if possible.”
For a moment or two Foster sat still, with his face set. Lucy was guarded, but the mountaineering friend was Walters and she had given him an urgent hint that he was needed. Then he picked up a railroad folder that lay near and noting the time of Walters’ arrival, saw that the telegram had been delayed. After this he glanced at his watch and ran out into the street.
A trail of black smoke moved across the roofs and he heard the roll of wheels as the heavy train climbed the incline. He had got Lucy’s warning ten minutes too late, and could not leave until next day.
THE LOG BRIDGE
Lawrence had gone to his room to rest and Lucy Stephen was sitting alone in the veranda when she heard the roar of an east-bound train coming up the valley. It stopped, which did not often happen, and she put down her book and looked out at the opening in the pines that led to the track. The smoke that rose into the clear, cold air began to move, and Lucy frowned, because the train had just stopped long enough for passengers to alight. Although the hotel was generally full in summer, there were then only a few other guests, quiet people whose acquaintance she had made, and she did not wish Lawrence to be disturbed by new arrivals. He was getting better, but not so quickly as she wished. Besides, she had another ground for anxiety.
A man came up the road between the pines. It was a relief to see one man instead of a party, but she went to the glass front and watched him with keen curiosity. He vanished among the trees where the road curved and when he came out not far off she set her lips. It was Walters and her vague fears were realized, but he would not reach the hotel for a few minutes and this gave her time to brace herself.