Why? Because if she stayed and talked, she might make some innocent mention of it. And Cayley did not want any mention of it.
Why, again? Obviously because the passage, or even the mere knowledge of its existence, might provide a clue.
“I wonder if Mark’s hiding there,” thought Antony; and he went to sleep.
Mr. Gillingham Talks Nonsense
Antony came down in a very good humour to breakfast next morning, and found that his host was before him. Cayley looked up from his letters and nodded.
“Any word of Mr. Ablett—of Mark?” said Antony, as he poured out his coffee.
“No. The inspector wants to drag the lake this afternoon.”
“Oh! Is there a lake?”
There was just the flicker of a smile on Cayley’s face, but it disappeared as quickly as it came.
“Well, it’s really a pond,” he said, “but it was called ’the lake.’”
“By Mark,” thought Antony. Aloud he said, “What do they expect to find?”
“They think that Mark—” He broke off and shrugged his shoulders.
“May have drowned himself, knowing that he couldn’t get away? And knowing that he had compromised himself by trying to get away at all?”
“Yes; I suppose so,” said Cayley slowly.
“I should have thought he would have given himself more of a run for his money. After all, he had a revolver. If he was determined not to be taken alive, he could always have prevented that. Couldn’t he have caught a train to London before the police knew anything about it?”
“He might just have managed it. There was a train. They would have noticed him at Waldheim, of course, but he might have managed it at Stanton. He’s not so well-known there, naturally. The inspector has been inquiring. Nobody seems to have seen him.”
“There are sure to be people who will say they did, later on. There was never a missing man yet but a dozen people come forward who swear to have seen him at a dozen different places at the same time.”
“Yes. That’s true. Anyhow, he wants to drag the pond first.” He added dryly, “From what I’ve read of detective stories, inspectors always do want to drag the pond first.”
“Is it deep?”
“Quite deep enough,” said Cayley as he got up. On his way to the door he stopped, and looked at Antony. “I’m so sorry that we’re keeping you here like this, but it will only be until to-morrow. The inquest is to-morrow afternoon. Do amuse yourself how you like till then. Beverley will look after you.”
“Thanks very much. I shall really be quite all right.”
Antony went on with his breakfast. Perhaps it was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but the question was, Did Cayleys like having them dragged? Was Cayley anxious about it, or quite indifferent? He certainly did not seem to be anxious, but he could hide his feelings very easily beneath that heavy, solid face, and it was not often that the real Cayley peeped out. Just a little too eager once or twice, perhaps, but there was nothing to be learnt from it this morning. Perhaps he knew that the pond had no secrets to give up. After all, inspectors were always dragging ponds.