Then Foster came up the stairs, very hot and breathless, with his jacket torn, and stopping beside Lawrence, forced a smile.
“It’s lucky I got here when I did,” he said. “The brute yonder stopped me coming yesterday.”
Foster did not remember his reply, but he got up and went down to where Walters lay unconscious. As he reached the spot the hotel manager and a waiter arrived.
“What’s the matter? Is he dead?” the manager asked.
“I don’t know,” said Foster coolly. “It will save the police some trouble if he is.”
“But I want to know what’s happened,”
Foster indicated a pistol lying on the steps. “That’s his; he tried to use it. I’ll tell you about the thing later. In the meantime, you can take him to his room and telegraph for the police.” He paused and beckoned Pete. “Go with them and don’t lose sight of him until I come. He’ll probably come round soon.”
“Weel,” said Pete dryly, “I’m thinking he’ll no’ be verra sensible for a while yet, but I’ll see he doesna’ get away.”
He and the waiter picked up Walters, and Foster turned to Lawrence.
“Now I’d better wash and straighten myself up. Perhaps you can lend me a jacket.”
Lawrence laughed, a rather strained laugh. “Certainly; come along. You’re a curious combination, partner. I’ve called you romantic, but you’re not a sentimentalist when you get into action.”
Foster did not know what Lawrence told Lucy, because he was occupied for some time in his room. His lip was cut, his face was bruised, and there was a lump on his head where he had struck the steps. After he had attended to the injuries and frowned at his reflection in the glass, he rang the bell, and asking for some paper took out his fountain pen. It was not easy to write, but there was something to be done that had better not be put off. He knew now what the gang was capable of, and meant to leave a record, in case an accident of the kind to which his comrade had nearly fallen a victim happened to him. Moreover, it might be a safeguard to let his antagonists know that they could not destroy his evidence if they took his life.
He related his adventures in Scotland, his pursuit of Daly, and his surmises about the gang, and then going down, asked the hotel clerk to witness his signature and put the document in the safe. After this, he went to the veranda, where Lucy came to meet him with shining eyes.
“Jake,” she said with emotion, “I felt we would be safe as soon as you arrived. If you knew how I listened for the train and longed for your step! But the wretch has hurt you; your face is bruised and cut.” Foster felt embarrassed, but laughed. “My face will soon recover its usual charm, and if it’s any comfort, the other fellow looks, and no doubt feels, much worse.” Then he turned to Lawrence, who sat near. “You have evidently been telling Miss Stephen a highly-colored tale.”