“Yes. But isn’t it overdoing it rather to make him change his underclothes and everything? It wastes a good deal of time, you know.”
Bill was pulled up short, and said, “Oh!” in great disappointment.
“No, it’s not as bad as that, Bill,” said Antony with a smile. “I daresay the underclothes could be explained. But here’s the difficulty. Why did Mark need to change from brown to blue, or whatever it was, when Cayley was the only person who saw him in brown?”
“The police description of him says that he is in a brown suit.”
“Yes, because Cayley told the police. You see, even if Mark had had lunch in his brown suit, and the servants had noticed it, Cayley could always have pretended that he had changed into blue after lunch, because only Cayley saw him afterwards. So if Cayley had told the Inspector that he was wearing blue, Mark could have escaped quite comfortably in his brown, without needing to change at all.”
“But that’s just what he did do,” cried Bill triumphantly. “What fools we are!”
Antony looked at him in surprise, and then shook his head.
“Yes, yes!” insisted Bill. “Of course! Don’t you see? Mark did change after lunch, and, to give him more of a chance of getting away, Cayley lied and said that he was wearing the brown suit in which the servants had seen him. Well, then he was afraid that the police might examine Mark’s clothes and find the brown suit still there, so he hid it, and then dropped it in the pond afterwards.”
He turned eagerly to his friend, but Antony said nothing. Bill began to speak again, and was promptly waved into silence.
“Don’t say anything more, old boy; you’ve given me quite enough to think about. Don’t let’s bother about it to-night. We’ll just have a look at this cupboard and then get to bed.”
But the cupboard had not much to tell them that night. It was empty save for a few old bottles.
“Well, that’s that,” said Bill.
But Antony, on his knees with the torch in his hand, continued to search for something.
“What are you looking for?” asked Bill at last.
“Something that isn’t there,” said Antony, getting up and dusting his trousers. And he locked the door again.
The inquest was at three o’clock; thereafter Antony could have no claim on the hospitality of the Red House. By ten o’clock his bag was packed, and waiting to be taken to ‘the George.’ To Bill, coming upstairs after a more prolonged breakfast, this early morning bustle was a little surprising.
“What’s the hurry?” he asked.
“None. But we don’t want to come back here after the inquest. Get your packing over now and then we can have the morning to ourselves.”
“Righto.” He turned to go to his room, and then came back again. “I say, are we going to tell Cayley that we’re staying at ’the George’?”