“I shouldn’t wonder,” replied Glassdale. “And—if it is made worth my while.”
Folliot mused a little. Then he tapped Glassdale’s elbow.
“You see,” he said, confidentially, “it might be, you know, that I had a little purpose of my own in offering that reward. It might be that it was a very particular friend of mine that had the misfortune to have incurred this man Braden’s hatred. And I might want to save him, d’ye see, from—well, from the consequence of what’s happened, and to hear about it first if anybody came forward, eh?”
“As I’ve done,” said Glassdale.
“As—you’ve done,” assented Folliot. “Now, perhaps it would be in the interest of this particular friend of mine if he made it worth your while to—say no more to anybody, eh?”
“Very much worth his while, Mr. Folliot,” declared Glassdale.
“Aye, well,” continued Folliot. “This very particular friend would just want to know, you know, how much you really, truly know! Now, for instance, about these two men—and one in particular—that Braden was after? Did—did he name ’em?”
Glassdale leaned a little nearer to his companion on the rose-screened bench.
“He named them—to me!” he said in a whisper. “One was a man called Falkiner Wraye, and the other man was a man named Flood. Is that enough?”
“I think you’d better come and see me this evening,” answered Folliot. “Come just about dusk to that door—I’ll meet you there. Fine roses these of mine, aren’t they?” he continued, as they rose. “I occupy myself entirely with ’em.”
He walked with Glassdale to the garden door, and stood there watching his visitor go away up the side of the high wall until he turned into the path across Paradise. And then, as Folliot was retreating to his roses, he saw Bryce coming over the Close—and Bryce beckoned to him.
THE OLD WELL HOUSE
When Bryce came hurrying up to him, Folliot was standing at his garden door with his hands thrust under his coat-tails —the very picture of a benevolent, leisured gentleman who has nothing to do and is disposed to give his time to anybody. He glanced at Bryce as he had glanced at Glassdale—over the tops of his spectacles, and the glance had no more than mild inquiry in it. But if Bryce had been less excited, he would have seen that Folliot, as he beckoned him inside the garden, swept a sharp look over the Close and ascertained that there was no one about, that Bryce’s entrance was unobserved. Save for a child or two, playing under the tall elms near one of the gates, and for a clerical figure that stalked a path in the far distance, the Close was empty of life. And there was no one about, either, in that part of Folliot’s big garden.
“I want a bit of talk with you,” said Bryce as Folliot closed the door and turned down a side-path to a still more retired region. “Private talk. Let’s go where it’s quiet.”