Walter. What are you going to do?
James. Have him in. Give me the cheque and the counterfoil.
Cokeson. I don’t understand. I thought young Davis——
James. We shall see.
Walter. One moment, father: have you thought it out?
James. Call him in!
Cokeson. [Rising with difficulty and opening Falder’s door; hoarsely] Step in here a minute.
Falder. [Impassively] Yes, sir?
James. [Turning to him suddenly with the cheque held out] You know this cheque, Falder?
Falder. No, sir.
Jades. Look at it. You cashed it last Friday week.
Falder. Oh! yes, sir; that one—Davis gave it me.
James. I know. And you gave Davis the cash?
Falder. Yes, sir.
James. When Davis gave you the cheque was it exactly like this?
Falder. Yes, I think so, sir.
James. You know that Mr. Walter drew that cheque for nine pounds?
Falder. No, sir—ninety.
James. Nine, Falder.
Falder. [Faintly] I don’t understand, sir.
James. The suggestion, of course, is that the cheque was altered; whether by you or Davis is the question.
Cokeson. Take your time, take your time.
Falder. [Regaining his impassivity] Not by me, sir.
James. The cheque was handed to—Cokeson by Mr. Walter at one o’clock; we know that because Mr. Cokeson’s lunch had just arrived.
Cokeson. I couldn’t leave it.
James. Exactly; he therefore gave the cheque to Davis. It was cashed by you at 1.15. We know that because the cashier recollects it for the last cheque he handled before his lunch.
Falder. Yes, sir, Davis gave it to me because some friends were giving him a farewell luncheon.
James. [Puzzled] You accuse Davis, then?
Falder. I don’t know, sir—it’s very funny.
Walter, who has
come close to his father, says something to him
in a low voice.
James. Davis was not here again after that Saturday, was he?
Cokeson. [Anxious to be of assistance to the young man, and seeing faint signs of their all being jolly once more] No, he sailed on the Monday.
James. Was he, Falder?
Falder. [Very faintly] No, sir.
James. Very well, then, how do you account for the fact that this nought was added to the nine in the counterfoil on or after Tuesday?
Cokeson. [Surprised] How’s that?
Falder gives a
sort of lurch; he tries to pull himself together,
but he has gone all to pieces.