“No, I guess I better keep it,” he replied. “It might come in handy later on. We found it right there,” and he pointed to a spot near where the dead man was lying. “Guess we all saw it at once.”
A sickening feeling suddenly overwhelmed Jasper, and he felt faint. He looked keenly into the faces of the men standing near, but their eyes were averted. Did they believe him to be guilty of such a foul deed? he asked himself. Something told him that they did, and the less he now said the better it would be. He wanted to get away from their presence to think it all over.
“You better carry the body to the Haven,” he at length suggested in a voice as calm as possible. “I’m afraid I can’t be of any more service.”
With that, he turned and walked rapidly away, leaving the men staring after him with suspicious, wondering eyes.
Never in the entire history of Creekdale had there been such intense excitement as when word was received of the murder of old David. At first people could not believe it was true, and thought there had been some mistake. But when the men who had found David related the story then all doubt was set aside. The store was crowded that afternoon with excited men who had gathered to hear the smallest detail, and to discuss with one another the whole affair. It was Sandy Miller who described how he had made the discovery, and then shouted for his companions.
“Was the letter lying near?” Andy Forbes asked.
“I didn’t notice it at first,” was the reply, “as I was so overcome by the sight before me. It must have been lying there all the time, for Jim Goban saw it at once.”
“Where is that letter now?”
“Jim has it, I guess. It wasn’t a letter, but merely an envelope with ‘Jasper Randall’ written plain on the outside. You should have seen that fellow’s face when Jim showed it to him.”
“But do you think that proves anything?” Andy enquired.
“Wouldn’t like to say. But you know as well as I do how suspicious the thing looks, and how much the lawyers will make out of it.”
“Is the body at the Haven now?” one of the men asked.
“We took it there,” Andy replied. Then he paused and looked around upon his audience. “I hope I shall never have to take part in such a business again,” he continued. “I can’t get the face of that girl Betty out of my mind, and her wild cry is still ringing in my ears. I thought she would go crazy for sure when she heard what had happened.”
“She was very fond of the old man, so I understand,” Ned Purvis remarked.
“She certainly was. They were just like father and daughter. But I must say that Miss Sinclair was a regular brick. She took charge of everything at once and seemed to know the right thing to do. But, my, her face was pale, and you should have seen her eyes—when she turned them upon Jim Goban.”