Garrison shook his head wearily. “I can’t follow you, Jimmie. You like to argue for the sake of arguing. I don’t understand. They did believe me. Isn’t that enough? Why—why——” His face blanched at the thought. “You don’t mean to say that they knew I was an imposter? Knew all along? You—can’t mean that, Jimmie?”
“I may,” said Drake shortly. “But, see here, kid, you’ll admit it would be impossible for two people to have that birthmark on them; the identical mark in the identical spot. You’ll admit that. Now, wouldn’t it be impossible?”
“Improbable, but not impossible.” Suddenly Garrison had commenced to breathe heavily, his hands clenching.
Drake cocked his head on one side and closed an eye. He eyed Garrison steadily. “Kid, it seems to me that you’ve only been fooling yourself. I believe you’re Major Calvert’s nephew. That’s straight.”
For a long time Garrison stared at him unwinkingly. Then he laughed wildly.
“Oh, you’re good, Jimmie. No, no. Don’t tempt me. You forget; forget two great things. I know my mother’s name was Loring, not Calvert. And my father’s name was Garrison, not Dagget.”
“Um-m-m,” mused Drake, knitting brows. “You don’t say? But, see here, kid, didn’t you say that this Dagget’s mother was only Major Calvert’s half-sister? How about that, eh? Then her name would be different from his. How about that? How do you know Loring mightn’t fit it? Answer me that.”
“I never thought of that,” whispered Garrison. “If you only are right, Jimmie! If you only are, what it would mean? But my father, my father,” he cried weakly. “My father. There’s no getting around that, Jimmie. His name was Garrison. My name is Garrison. There’s no dodging that. You can’t change that into Dagget.”
“How do you know?” argued Drake, slowly, pertinaciously. “This here is my idea, and I ain’t willing to give it up without a fight. How do you know but your father might have changed his name? I’ve known less likelier things to happen. You know he was good blood gone wrong. How do you know he mightn’t have changed it so as not disgrace his family, eh? Changed it after he married your mother, and she stood for it so as not to disgrace her family. You were a kid when she died, and you weren’t present, you say. How do you know but she mightn’t have wanted to tell you a whole lot, eh? A whole lot your father wouldn’t tell you because he never cared for you. No, the more I think of it the more I’m certain that you’re Major Calvert’s nephew. You’re the only logical answer. That mark of the spur and the other incidents is good enough for me.”
“Don’t tempt me, Jimmie, don’t tempt me,” pleaded Garrison again. “You don’t know what it all means. I may be his nephew. I may be—God grant I am! But I must be honest. I must be honest.”
“Well, I’m going to hunt up that lawyer, Snark,” affirmed Drake finally. “I won’t rest until I see this thing through. Snark may have known all along you were the rightful heir, and merely put up a job to get a pile out of you when you came into the estate. Or he may have been honest in his dishonesty; may not have known. But I’m going to rustle round after him. Maybe there’s proofs he holds. What about Major Calvert? Are you going to write him?”