“Well, as a matter of fact, there were two,” admitted Glassdale, “but there was one in particular. The other—the second—so Braden said, didn’t matter; he was or had been, only a sort of cat’s-paw of the man he especially wanted.”
“I see,” said Folliot. He pulled out a cigar case and offered a cigar to his visitor, afterwards lighting one himself. “And what did Braden want that man for?” he asked.
Glassdale waited until his cigar was in full going order before he answered this question. Then he replied in one word.
Folliot put his thumbs in the armholes of his buff waistcoat and leaning back, seemed to be admiring his roses.
“Ah!” he said at last. “Revenge, now? A sort of vindictive man, was he? Wanted to get his knife into somebody, eh?”
“He wanted to get something of his own back from a man who’d done him,” answered Glassdale, with a short laugh. “That’s about it!”
For a minute or two both men smoked in silence. Then Folliot —still regarding his roses—put a leading question.
“Give you any details?” he asked.
“Enough,” said Glassdale. “Braden had been done—over a money transaction—by these men—one especially, as head and front of the affair—and it had cost him—more than anybody would think! Naturally, he wanted—if he ever got the chance—his revenge. Who wouldn’t?”
“And he’d tracked ’em down, eh?” asked Folliot.
“There are questions I can answer, and there are questions I can’t answer,” responded Glassdale. “That’s one of the questions I’ve no reply to. For—I don’t know! But—I can say this. He hadn’t tracked ’em down the day before he came to Wrychester!”
“You’re sure of that?” asked Folliot. “He—didn’t come here on that account?”
“No, I’m sure he didn’t!” answered Glassdale, readily. “If he had, I should have known. I was with him till noon the day he came here—in London—and when he took his ticket at Victoria for Wrychester, he’d no more idea than the man in the moon as to where those men had got to. He mentioned it as we were having a bit of lunch together before he got into the train. No—he didn’t come to Wrychester for any such purpose as that! But—”
He paused and gave Folliot a meaning glance out of the corner of his eyes.
“Aye—what?” asked Folliot.
“I think he met at least one of ’em here,” said Glassdale, quietly. “And—perhaps both.”
“Leading to—misfortune for him?” suggested Folliot.
“If you like to put it that way—yes,” assented Glassdale.
Folliot smoked a while in more reflective silence.
“Aye, well!” he said at last. “I suppose you haven’t put these ideas of yours before anybody, now?”
“Present ideas?” asked Glassdale, sharply. “Not to a soul! I’ve not had ’em—very long.”
“You’re the sort of man that another man can do a deal with, I suppose?” suggested Folliot. “That is, if it’s made worth your while, of course?”