“Give me three guesses,” interrupted Antony. “You asked him if he remembered everybody who came to his inn?”
“That’s it. Bright, wasn’t it?”
“Brilliant. And what was the result?”
“The result was a woman.”
“A woman?” said Antony eagerly.
“A woman,” said Bill impressively. “Of course I thought it was going to be Robert—so did you, didn’t you?—but it wasn’t. It was a woman. Came quite late on Monday night in a car—driving herself—went off early next morning.”
“Did he describe her?”
“Yes. She was middlin’. Middlin’ tall, middlin’ age, middlin’ colour, and so on. Doesn’t help much, does it? But still—a woman. Does that upset your theory?”
Antony shook his head.
“No, Bill, not at all,” he said.
“You knew all the time? At least, you guessed?”
“Wait till to-morrow. I’ll tell you everything to-morrow.”
“To-morrow!” said Bill in great disappointment.
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing to-night, if you’ll promise not to ask any more questions. But you probably know it already.”
“What is it?”
“Only that Mark Ablett did not kill his brother.”
“And Cayley did?”
“That’s another question, Bill. However, the answer is that Cayley didn’t, either.”
“Then who on earth—”
“Have some more beer,” said Antony with a smile. And Bill had to be content with that.
They were early to bed that evening, for both of them were tired. Bill slept loudly and defiantly, but Antony lay awake, wondering. What was happening at the Red House now? Perhaps he would hear in the morning; perhaps he would get a letter. He went over the whole story again from the beginning—was there any possibility of a mistake? What would the police do? Would they ever find out? Ought he to have told them? Well, let them find out; it was their job. Surely he couldn’t have made a mistake this time. No good wondering now; he would know definitely in the morning.
In the morning there was a letter for him.
“My Dear Mr. Gillingham,
“I gather from your letter that you have made certain discoveries which you may feel it your duty to communicate to the police, and that in this case my arrest on a charge of murder would inevitably follow. Why, in these circumstances, you should give me such ample warning of your intentions I do not understand, unless it is that you are not wholly out of sympathy with me. But whether or not you sympathize, at any rate you will want to know—and I want you to know—the exact manner in which Ablett met his death and the reasons which made that death necessary. If the police have to be told anything, I would rather that they too knew the whole story. They, and even you, may call it murder, but by that time I shall be out of the way. Let them call it what they like.