“Yes, you’re a poor liar, Clay,” she agreed. “You stayed to keep back Collins so as to give Clarendon a chance to escape.”
“Can you deny it? Clarendon heard the shots as he was running downstairs.”
“He told you that, did he?”
“That ought to help a lot. If I can prove Collins was shootin’ at me I can plead self-defense.”
“That’s what it was, of course.”
“Yes. But Durand doesn’t mean to let it go at that. He was here to see me this mo’nin’.” Clay turned to the mining man, his voice low but incisive. His brain was working clear and fast. “Mr. Whitford, I have a hunch he’s going to destroy the evidence that’s in my favor. There must be two bullet holes in the partition of the rear room where Collins was killed. See if you can’t find those bullet holes and the bullets in the wall behind.”
“I’ll do that, Lindsay.”
“And hire me a good lawyer. Send him to me. I won’t use a smart one whose business is to help crooks escape. If he doesn’t believe in me, I don’t want him. I’ll have him get the names of all those pulled in the raid and visit them to see if he can’t find some one who heard the shots or saw shooting. Then there’s the gun. Some one’s got that gun. It’s up to us to learn who.”
“Tim Muldoon will do anything he can for me. There’s a girl lives with his mother. Her name’s Annie Millikan. She has ways of finding out things. Better talk it over with her too. We’ve got to get busy in a hurry.”
“Yes,” agreed Whitford. “We’ll do that, boy.”
“Oh, Clay, I’m sure it’s going to be all right!” cried Beatrice, in a glow of enthusiasm. “We’ll give all our time. We’ll get evidence to show the truth. And we’ll let you know every day what we are doing.”
“How about my going bail for you?” asked her father.
Clay shook his head. “No chance, just yet. Let’s make our showing at the coroner’s inquest. I’ll do fine and dandy here till then.”
He shook hands with them both and was taken back to his cell. But hope was in his heart now. He knew his friends would do their best to get the evidence to free him. It would be a battle royal between the truth and a lie.
BROMFIELD MAKES AN OFFER
A youth with a face like a fox sidled up to Durand in the hotel lobby and whispered in his ear. Jerry nodded curtly, and the man slipped away as furtively as he had come.
Presently the ex-prize-fighter got up, sauntered to the street, and hailed a taxi. Twenty minutes later he paid the driver, turned a corner, and passed into an apartment house for bachelors. He took the elevator to the third floor and rang an electric bell at a door which carried the name “Mr. Clarendon Bromfield.”