“Traced—yes,” replied Harker. “So long as he’s in England.”
“Why not set about it?” suggested Bryce.
“Not yet,” said Harker. “There’s things to do before that. And the first thing is—let’s get to know what the mystery of that scrap of paper is. You say you’ve found Richard Jenkins’s tomb? Very well—then the thing to do is to find out if anything is hidden there. Try it tomorrow night. Better go by yourself—after dark. If you find anything, let me know. And then—then we can decide on a next step. But between now and then, there’ll be the inquest on this man Collishaw. And, about that—a word in your ear! Say as little as ever you can!—after all, you know nothing beyond what you saw. And—we mustn’t meet and talk in public—after you’ve done that bit of exploring in Paradise tomorrow night, come round here and we’ll consider matters.”
There was little that Bryce could say or could be asked to say at the inquest on the mason’s labourer next morning. Public interest and excitement was as keen about Collishaw’s mysterious death as about Braden’s, for it was already rumoured through the town that if Braden had not met with his death when he came to Wrychester, Collishaw would still be alive. The Coroner’s court was once more packed; once more there was the same atmosphere of mystery. But the proceedings were of a very different nature to those which had attended the inquest on Braden. The foreman under whose orders Collishaw had been working gave particulars of the dead man’s work on the morning of his death. He had been instructed to clear away an accumulation of rubbish which had gathered at the foot of the south wall of the nave in consequence of some recent repairs to the masonry—there was a full day’s work before him. All day he would be in and out of Paradise with his barrow, wheeling away the rubbish he gathered up. The foreman had looked in on him once or twice; he had seen him just before noon, when he appeared to be in his usual health —he had made no complaint, at any rate. Asked if he had happened to notice where Collishaw had set down his dinner basket and his tin bottle while he worked, he replied that it so happened that he had—he remembered seeing both bottle and basket and the man’s jacket deposited on one of the box-tombs under a certain yew-tree—which he could point out, if necessary.
Bryce’s account of his finding of Collishaw amounted to no more than a bare recital of facts. Nor was much time spent in questioning the two doctors who had conducted the post-mortem examination. Their evidence, terse and particular, referred solely to the cause of death. The man had been poisoned by a dose of hydrocyanic acid, which, in their opinion, had been taken only a few minutes before his body was discovered by Dr. Bryce. It had probably been a dose which would cause instantaneous death. There were no traces of the poison in the remains