“It mayn’t be right,” said Jettison. “But it’s one. And there’s another—supposing he paid Collishaw that money on behalf of somebody else? I’ve thought this business out right and left, top-side and bottom-side, and hang me if I don’t feel certain there is somebody else! What did Ransford tell us about Bryce and this old Harker—think of that! And yet, according to Bryce, Harker is one of our old Yard men!—and therefore ought to be above suspicion.”
Mitchington suddenly started as if an idea had occurred to him.
“I say, you know!” he exclaimed. “We’ve only Bryce’s word for it that Harker is an ex-detective. I never heard that he was —if he is, he’s kept it strangely quiet. You’d have thought that he’d have let us know, here, of his previous calling—I never heard of a policeman of any rank who didn’t like to have a bit of talk with his own sort about professional matters.”
“Nor me,” assented Jettison. “And as you say, we’ve only Bryce’s word. And, the more I think of it, the more I’m convinced there’s somebody—some man of whom you don’t seem to have the least idea—who’s in this. And it may be that Bryce is in with him. However—here’s one thing I’m going to do at once. Bryce gave us that information about the fifty pounds. Now I’m going to tell Bryce straight out that I’ve gone into that matter in my own fashion—a fashion he evidently never thought of—and ask him to explain why he drew a similar amount in gold. Come on round to his rooms.”
But Bryce was not to be found at his rooms—had not been back to his rooms, said his landlady, since he had ridden away early in the morning: all she knew was that he had ordered his dinner to be ready at his usual time that evening. With that the two men had to be content, and they went back to the police-station still discussing the situation. And they were still discussing it an hour later when a telegram was handed to Mitchington, who tore it open, glanced over its contents and passed it to his companion who read it aloud.
“Meet me with Jettison Wrychester Station on arrival of five-twenty express from London mystery cleared up guilty men known—Ransford.”
Jettison handed the telegram back.
“A man of his word!” he said. “He mentioned two days—he’s done it in one! And now, my lad—do you notice?—he says men, not man! It’s as I said—there’s been more than one of ’em in this affair. Now then—who are they?”
THE SAXONSTEADE ARMS