Antony took his arm.
“Let’s go outside again,” he said. “We can’t go into it now, anyhow. It’s too risky, with Cayley about. Bill, I feel like you—just a little bit frightened. But what I’m frightened of I don’t quite know. Anyway, you want to go on with it, don’t you?”
“Yes,” said Bill firmly. “We must.”
“Then we’ll explore the passage this afternoon, if we get the chance. And if we don’t get the chance, then we’ll try it to-night.”
They walked across the hall and out into the sunlight again.
“Do you really think we might find Mark hiding there?” asked Bill.
“It’s possible,” said Antony. “Either Mark or—” He pulled himself up quickly. “No,” he murmured to himself, “I won’t let myself think that not yet, anyway. It’s too horrible.”
A Shadow on the Wall
In the twenty hours or so at his disposal Inspector Birch had been busy. He had telegraphed to London a complete description of Mark in the brown flannel suit which he had last been seen wearing; he had made inquiries at Stanton as to whether anybody answering to this description had been seen leaving by the 4.20; and though the evidence which had been volunteered to him had been inconclusive, it made it possible that Mark had indeed caught that train, and had arrived in London before the police at the other end had been ready to receive him. But the fact that it was market-day at Stanton, and that the little town would be more full than usual of visitors, made it less likely that either the departure of Mark by the 4.20, or the arrival of Robert by the 2.10 earlier in the afternoon, would have been particularly noticed. As Antony had said to Cayley, there would always be somebody ready to hand the police a circumstantial story of the movements of any man in whom the police were interested.
That Robert had come by the 2.10 seemed fairly certain. To find out more about him in time for the inquest would be difficult. All that was known about him in the village where he and Mark had lived as boys bore out the evidence of Cayley. He was an unsatisfactory son, and he had been hurried off to Australia; nor had he been seen since in the village. Whether there were any more substantial grounds of quarrel between the two brothers than that the younger one was at home and well-to-do, while the elder was poor and an exile, was not known, nor, as far as the inspector could see, was it likely to be known until Mark was captured.
The discovery of Mark was all that mattered immediately. Dragging the pond might not help towards this, but it would certainly give the impression in court to-morrow that Inspector Birch was handling the case with zeal. And if only the revolver with which the deed was done was brought to the surface, his trouble would be well repaid. “Inspector Birch produces the weapon” would make an excellent headline in the local paper.