“Under the same conditions—yes,” answered Ransford, taking his seat again. “The fact is, affairs have got to a stage where I consider it my duty to tell you more. Some of what I shall tell you is hearsay—but it’s hearsay that you can easily verify for yourselves when the right moment comes. Mr. Campany, the librarian, lately remarked to me that my old assistant, Mr. Bryce, seemed to be taking an extraordinary interest in archaeological matters since he left me—he was now, said Campany, always examining documents about the old tombs and monuments of the Cathedral and its precincts.”
“Ah—just so!” exclaimed Mitchington. “To be sure!—I’m beginning to see!”
“And,” continued Ransford, “Campany further remarked, as a matter for humorous comment, that Bryce was also spending much time looking round our old tombs. Now you made this discovery near an old tomb, I understand?”
“Close by one—yes,” assented the inspector.
“Then let me draw your attention to one or two strange facts —which are undoubted facts,” continued Ransford. “Bryce was left alone with the dead body of Braden for some minutes, while Varner went to fetch the police. That’s one.”
“That’s true,” muttered Mitchington. “He was—several minutes!”
“Bryce it was who discovered Collishaw—in Paradise,” said Ransford. “That’s fact two. And fact three—Bryce evidently had a motive in fetching Harker tonight—to overlook your operations. What was his motive? And taking things altogether; what are, or have been, these secret affairs which Bryce and Harker have evidently been engaged in?”
Jettison suddenly rose, buttoning his light overcoat. The action seemed to indicate a newly-formed idea, a definite conclusion. He turned sharply to Mitchington.
“There’s one thing certain, inspector,” he said. “You’ll keep an eye on those two from this out! From—just now!”
“I shall!” assented Mitchington. “I’ll have both of ’em shadowed wherever they go or are, day or night. Harker, now, has always been a bit of a mystery, but Bryce—hang me if I don’t believe he’s been having me! Double game!—but, never mind. There’s no more, doctor?”
“Not yet,” replied Ransford. “And I don’t know the real meaning or value of what I have told you. But—in two days from now, I can tell you more. In the meantime—remember your promise!”
He let his visitors out then, and went back to Mary.
“You’ll not have to wait long for things to clear,” he said. “The mystery’s nearly over!”
Mitchington and the man from New Scotland Yard walked away in silence from Ransford’s house and kept the silence up until they were in the middle of the Close and accordingly in solitude. Then Mitchington turned to his companion.
“What d’ye think of that?” he asked, with a half laugh. “Different complexion it puts on things, eh?”