“All the same, sir,” said he, aiding me in my toilet, which he did with stiff military precision, “I don’t think the Major is as incognighto” (the spelling is phonetic) “as he would like. Prettilove was shaving me this morning and told me the Major was here. As I considered it my duty, I told him he was a liar, and he was so upset that he nicked my Adam’s apple and I was that covered with blood that I accused him of trying to cut my throat, and I went out and finished shaving myself at home, which is unsatisfactory when you only have a thumb on your right hand to work the razor.”
I laughed, picturing the scene. Prettilove is an inoffensive little rabbit of a man. Marigold might sit for the model of a war-scarred mercenary of the middle ages, and when he called a man a liar he did it with accentuaton and vehemence. No wonder Prettilove jumped.
“And then again this evening, sir,” continued Marigold, slipping me into my pyjama jacket, “as I was starting the Major’s car, who should be waiting there for him but Mr. Gedge.”
“Gedge?” I cried.
“Yes, sir. Waiting by the side of the car. ’Can I have a word with you, Major Boyce?’ says he. ‘No, you can’t,’ says the Major. ’I think it’s advisable,’ says he. ‘Those repairs are very pressing.’ ‘All right,’ says the Major, ‘jump in.’ Then he says: ’That’ll do, Marigold. Good-night.’ And he drives off with Mr. Gedge. Well, if Mr. Gedge and Prettilove know he’s here, then everyone knows it.”
“Was Gedge inside the drive?” I asked. The drive was a small semicircular sort of affair, between gate and gate.
“He was standing by the car waiting,” said Marigold. “Now, sir.” He lifted me with his usual cast-iron tenderness into bed and pulled the coverings over me. “It’s a funny time to talk about house repairs at eleven o’clock, at night,” he remarked.
“Nothing is funny in war-time,” said I.
“Either nothing or everything,” said Marigold. He fussed methodically about the room, picked up an armful of clothes, and paused by the door, his hand on the switch.
“Anything more, sir?”
“Nothing, thank you, Marigold.”
The room was in darkness. Marigold shut the door. I was alone.
What the deuce was the meaning of this waylaying of
Major Boyce has gone, sir,” said Marigold, the next morning, as I was tapping my breakfast egg.
“Gone?” I echoed. Boyce had made no reference the night before to so speedy a departure.
“By the 8.30 train, sir.”
Every train known by a scheduled time at Wellingsford goes to London. There may be other trains proceeding from the station in the opposite direction but nobody heeds them. Boyce had taken train to London. I asked my omniscient sergeant:
“How did you find that out?”