“Who, then?” demanded Mitchington.
Glassdale went a step nearer to the two officials and lowered his voice.
“The man who’s known here as Stephen Folliot,” he answered. “That’s a fact!”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Mitchington. Then he laughed incredulously. “Can’t believe it!” he continued. “Mr. Folliot! Must be some mistake!”
“No mistake,” replied Glassdale. “Besides, Folliot’s only an assumed name. That man is really one Falkiner Wraye, the man Braden, or Brake, was seeking for many a year, the man who cheated Brake and got him into trouble. I tell you it’s a fact! He’s admitted it, or as good as done so, to me just now.”
“To you? And—let you come away and spread it?” exclaimed Mitchington. “That’s incredible! more astonishing than the other!”
“Ah, but I let him think I could be squared, do you see?” he said. “Hush-money, you know. He’s under the impression that I’m to go back to him this evening to settle matters. I knew so much—identified him, as a matter of fact—that he’d no option. I tell you he’s been in at both these affairs —certain! But—there’s another man.”
“Who’s he?” demanded Mitchington.
“Can’t say, for I don’t know, though I’ve an idea he’ll be a fellow that Brake was also wanting to find,” replied Glassdale. “But anyhow, I know what I’m talking about when I tell you of Folliot. You’d better do something before he suspects me.”
Mitchington glanced at the clock.
“Come with us down to the station,” he said. “Dr. Ransford’s coming in on this express from town; he’s got news for us. We’d better hear that first. Folliot!—good Lord!—who’d have believed or even dreamed it!”
“You’ll see,” said Glassdale as they went out.
“Maybe Dr. Ransford’s got the same information.” Ransford was out of the train as soon as it ran in, and hurried to where Mitchington and his companions were standing. And behind him, to Mitchington’s surprise, came old Simpson Harker, who had evidently travelled with him. With a silent gesture Mitchington beckoned the whole party into an empty waiting-room and closed its door on them.
“Now then, inspector,” said Ransford without preface or ceremony, “you’ve got to act quickly! You got my wire—a few words will explain it. I went up to town this morning in answer to a message from the bank where Braden lodged his money when he returned to England. To tell you the truth, the managers there and myself have, since Braden’s death, been carrying to a conclusion an investigation which I began on Braden’s behalf—though he never knew of it—years ago. At the bank I met Mr. Harker here, who had called to find something out for himself. Now I’ll sum things up in a nutshell: for years Braden, or Brake, had been wanting to find two men who cheated him. The name of one is Wraye, of the other, Flood. I’ve been trying to trace them, too. At last we’ve got them. They’re in this town, and without doubt the deaths of both Braden and Collishaw are at their door! You know both well enough. Wraye is-”