“Before God, gentlemen!” he answered. “I know no more—at least, little more—about that than you do! I’ll tell you all I do know. Wraye and I, of course, met now and then and talked about this. It got to our ears at last that Collishaw knew something. My own impression is that he saw what occurred between me and Mr. Brake—he was working somewhere up there. I wanted to speak to Collishaw. Wraye wouldn’t let me, he bade me leave it to him. A bit later, he told me he’d squared Collishaw with fifty pounds—”
Mitchington and the detective exchanged looks.
“Wraye—that’s Folliot—paid Collishaw fifty pounds, did he?” asked the detective.
“He told me so,” replied Flood. “To hold his tongue. But I’d scarcely heard that when I heard of Collishaw’s sudden death. And as to how that happened, or who—who brought it about —upon my soul, gentlemen, I know nothing! Whatever I may have thought, I never mentioned it to Wraye—never! I—I daren’t! You don’t know what a man Wraye is! I’ve been under his thumb most of my life and—and what are you going to do with me, gentlemen?”
Mitchington exchanged a word or two with the detective, and then, putting his head out of the door beckoned to the policeman to whom he had spoken at the end of the lane and who now appeared in company with a fellow-constable. He brought both into the cottage.
“Get your tea,” he said sharply to the verger. “These men will stop with you—you’re not to leave this room.” He gave some instructions to the two policemen in an undertone and motioned Ransford and the others to follow him. “It strikes me,” he said, when they were outside in the narrow lane, “that what we’ve just heard is somewhere about the truth. And now we’ll go on to Folliot’s—there’s a way to his house round here.”
Mrs. Folliot was out, Sackville Bonham was still where Bryce had left him, at the golf-links, when the pursuers reached Folliot’s. A parlourmaid directed them to the garden; a gardener volunteered the suggestion that his master might be in the old well-house and showed the way. And Folliot and Bryce saw them coming and looked at each other.
“Glassdale!” exclaimed Bryce. “By heaven, man!—he’s told on you!”
Folliot was still staring through the window. He saw Ransford and Harker following the leading figures. And suddenly he turned to Bryce.
“You’ve no hand in this?” he demanded.
“I?” exclaimed Bryce. “I never knew till just now!”
Folliot pointed to the door.
“Go down!” he said. “Let ’em in, bid ’em come up! I’ll—I’ll settle with ’em. Go!”
Bryce hurried down to the lower apartment. He was filled with excitement—an unusual thing for him—but in the midst of it, as he made for the outer door, it suddenly struck him that all his schemings and plottings were going for nothing. The truth was at hand, and it was not going to benefit him in the slightest degree. He was beaten.