“There’s one thing strikes me at once,” he said. “I dare say you gentlemen notice it. All these things are new! This suit-case hasn’t been in use very long—see, the leather’s almost unworn—and those things on the dressing-table are new. And what there is here looks new, too. There’s not much, you see—he evidently had no intention of a long stop. An extra pair of trousers—some shirts—socks—collars—neckties —slippers—handkerchiefs—that’s about all. And the first thing to do is to see if the linen’s marked with name or initials.”
He deftly examined the various articles as he took them out, and in the end shook his head.
“No name—no initials,” he said. “But look here—do you see, gentlemen, where these collars were bought? Half a dozen of them, in a box. Paris! There you are—the seller’s name, inside the collar, just as in England. Aristide Pujol, 82, Rue des Capucines. And—judging by the look of ’em—I should say these shirts were bought there, too—and the handkerchiefs —and the neckwear—they all have a foreign look. There may be a clue in that—we might trace him in France if we can’t in England. Perhaps he is a Frenchman.”
“I’ll take my oath he isn’t!” exclaimed Mr. Dellingham. “However long he’d been out of England he hadn’t lost a North-Country accent! He was some sort of a North-Countryman —Yorkshire or Lancashire, I’ll go bail. No Frenchman, officer—not he!”
“Well, there’s no papers here, anyway,” said Mitchington, who had now emptied the suit-case. “Nothing to show who he was. Nothing here, you see, in the way of paper but this old book—what is it—History of Barthorpe.”
“He showed me that in the train,” remarked Mr. Dellingham. “I’m interested in antiquities and archaeology, and anybody who’s long in my society finds it out. We got talking of such things, and he pulled out that book, and told me with great pride, that he’d picked it up from a book-barrow in the street, somewhere in London, for one-and-six. I think,” he added musingly, “that what attracted him in it was the old calf binding and the steel frontispiece—I’m sure he’d no great knowledge of antiquities.”
Mitchington laid the book down, and Bryce picked it up, examined the title-page, and made a mental note of the fact that Barthorpe was a market-town in the Midlands. And it was on the tip of his tongue to say that if the dead man had no particular interest in antiquities and archaeology, it was somewhat strange that he should have bought a book which was mainly antiquarian, and that it might be that he had so bought it because of a connection between Barthorpe and himself. But he remembered that it was his own policy to keep pertinent facts for his own private consideration, so he said nothing. And Mitchington presently remarking that there was no more to be done there, and ascertaining from Mr. Dellingham that it was his intention to remain in Wrychester for at any rate a few days, they went downstairs again, and Bryce and the inspector crossed over to the police-station.