They considered it. They announced that the deceased had died as the result of a bullet-wound, and that the bullet had been fired by his brother Mark Ablett.
Bill turned round to Antony at his side. But Antony was gone. Across the room he saw Andrew Amos and Parsons going out of the door together, and Antony was between them.
Mr. Beverley is Tactful
The inquest had been held at the “Lamb” at Stanton; at Stanton Robert Ablett was to be buried next day. Bill waited about outside for his friend, wondering where he had gone. Then, realizing that Cayley would be coming out to his car directly, and that a farewell talk with Cayley would be a little embarrassing, he wandered round to the yard at the back of the inn, lit a cigarette, and stood surveying a torn and weather-beaten poster on the stable wall. “Grand theatrical enter” it announced, to take place on “Wednesday, Decem.” Bill smiled to himself as he looked at it, for the part of Joe, a loquacious postman, had been played by “William B. Beverl,” as the remnants of the poster still maintained, and he had been much less loquacious than the author had intended, having forgotten his words completely, but it had all been great fun. And then he stopped smiling, for there would be no more fun now at the Red House.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” said the voice of Antony behind him. “My old friends Amos and Parsons insisted on giving me a drink.”
He slipped his hand into the crook of Bill’s arm, and smiled happily at him.
“Why were you so keen about them?” asked Bill a little resentfully. “I couldn’t think where on earth you had got to.”
Antony didn’t say anything. He was staring at the poster.
“When did this happen?” he asked.
Antony waved to the poster.
“Oh, that? Last Christmas. It was rather fun.”
Antony began to laugh to himself.
“Were you good?”
“Rotten. I don’t profess to be an actor.”
“Oh, rather. He loves it.”
“Rev. Henry Stutters—Mr. Matthew Cay,” read Antony.
“Was that our friend Cayley?”
“Well, much better than I expected. He wasn’t keen, but Mark made him.”
“Miss Norris wasn’t playing, I see.”
“My dear Tony, she’s a professional. Of course she wasn’t.”
Antony laughed again.
“A great success, was it?”
“I’m a fool, and a damned fool,” Antony announced solemnly. “And a damned fool,” he said again under his breath, as he led Bill away from the poster, and out of the yard into the road. “And a damned fool. Even now—” He broke off and then asked suddenly, “Did Mark ever have much trouble with his teeth?”