“What did she do that for?” Ned questioned.
“Because Jim showed her the envelope and hinted that Randall was the guilty one.”
“Did she say anything?”
“Never a word. But her eyes said enough, and I saw Jim flinch as if he had been struck in the face.”
“The women folks say that her and him are pretty thick,” Steve Clemwell drawled. “Maybe that’s the reason why she’s goin’ to stick up fer him. They’ve been seen drivin’ together, and he’s been often at her house.”
“But what reason would Randall have for murdering Crazy David?” Andy asked. “They’ve always been the best of friends, and they’ve never had a quarrel as far as I know.”
“But the old man had money, so it was reported,” Ned replied. “Andy here knows something about that.”
The storekeeper, however, shook his head. He was not anxious now to appear to know more than he really did. He alone of all the men was feeling keenly for Jasper.
“Mark my word, men,” and he looked around solemnly upon those before him, “there’s a deep mystery connected with this affair. You have taken for granted that Randall is guilty because that envelope was found near the body. But I think we had better keep our mouths shut, for if we don’t some of us may get into trouble. There’s going to be a big time over this, and it’s best for us to wait and see what will be the outcome. When the detectives get to work they won’t leave a stone unturned, and the smallest detail which bears upon the matter will be put into evidence.
“When will the detectives begin work?” Ned asked.
“I don’t know, and I don’t suppose any of us will, for that matter. They’re not going to inform the public of their movements, and maybe we’ll never know they’ve been here. But they’ll find out all there is to know, or I’m much mistaken.”
“D’ye s’pose they’ll arrest that chap on suspicion?” Steve enquired, as he cut a slice from a plug of tobacco he was holding in his hand. “I’ve heered they ginerally do that furst of all so as to make no mistake.”
“Most likely they will,” Andy replied. “I wonder where he is, anyway. I haven’t seen him since he left us in the woods.”
“Maybe he’s cleared out,” Ned suggested.
Scarcely had he finished speaking ere Jasper entered the store. His face was very pale, and he walked at once toward Andy.
“I want to use the phone,” he told him.
“All right, go ahead,” and the storekeeper motioned to a small closet-like compartment in one corner of the room. Andy prided himself upon this place which he had built with his own hands. As there were generally people in the store he found it important that the ones using the telephone should be as private as possible. It was for his own protection as well as for others that he had built it.
Jasper at once crossed the room, entered the place and closed the door tightly after him. He well knew that the ears of all would be strained to the utmost to hear what he was saying. It took him only a short time to call up Central in the city and to get into communication with Mr. Westcote. His message was very brief.