Nothing indicated that they were followed on their way to the Central Station, where Foster left Pete outside and ascertained that a train would shortly start for Carlisle. He would have liked to travel by it, since he expected to find Daly near the western Border. Besides, it was prudent to leave Newcastle as soon as he could, since his injured hand made him easily distinguishable and Graham had run to the telephone. The latter would not have let him take the papers without a struggle had he not some plan of getting them back. Foster did not know how many accomplices Graham had, but imagined he had to deal with a well-organized gang, who would find it much easier to watch the railway than the lonely moors between it and the Cheviots. Making his way through a crowd on a busy platform, he left the station by another door, where he met Pete, whom he had sent round. It was possible that these precautions were needless, but he did not mean to take any risk he could avoid.
“Where will ye be for the noo?” Pete asked.
“The head of Liddesdale, to begin with. But I don’t know yet if we’ll go west by the old military road, or across the moors. It will depend upon whether the fellow I went to see gets upon my track.”
Pete’s eyes twinkled. “It will be a clever man who tracks us when we tak’ the heather. But have ye the papers ye went tae steal?”
“I have. If they’re what I think and I can keep them safe until I use them, they’re worth twenty pounds to you.”
“Aweel,” said Pete, “I’ll feel mair sure o’ the money when we win oot o’ the toon. It’s ower full o’ polls, and my talents are no’ o’ much use here.”
They had left the station and reaching a street where Foster made some inquiries, waited in the door of an office building until a tram-car came up. Getting in, they were carried through the wet and smoky streets towards the city’s western outskirts.
The sky had cleared when Foster left the car at the end of the line and headed towards open country. On the whole, he thought he was fortunate to get out of Newcastle safe, because there were grounds for believing that Graham had found out the trick. If this were so, he would certainly try to recover the documents. On the surface, it seemed strange that the fellow had let him take them away; but, when one came to think of it, as soon as he had written and sealed the letters he was helpless.
In order to keep them, he would have had to overpower Foster, for which he had not the physical strength, while any noise they made in the struggle might have brought in help. Then supposing that Graham had by some chance mastered him, he would not have gained much, because Foster would have gone to the police when he got away. It was, of course, absurd to think that Graham might have killed him, since this would have led to his arrest. He had accordingly given up the letters, but Foster felt he was not safe yet. He might be attacked in some cunning way that would prevent his assailants being traced. It depended upon whether the documents were worth the risk, and he would know this soon.