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The Red House Mystery

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The Red House Mystery 

The Red House Mystery


by A.A. Milne 

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The Red House Mystery 

TO JOHN VINE MILNE MY DEAR FATHER, 

Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective stories, 
and feel that there are not enough of them. So, after all that you have 
done for me, the least that I can do for you is to write you one. Here it 
is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here. 

A.A.M. 
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The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER I 

Mrs. Stevens is Frightened 

In the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon the Red House was 
taking its siesta. There was a lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, 
a gentle cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From distant lawns 
came the whir of a mowing-machine, that most restful of all country 
sounds; making ease the sweeter in that it is taken while others are 
working. 

It was the hour when even those whose business it is to attend to the 
wants of others have a moment or two for themselves. In the 
housekeeper's room Audrey Stevens, the pretty parlourmaid, re-trimmed 
her best hat, and talked idly to her aunt, the cook-housekeeper of Mr. Mark 
Ablett's bachelor home. 

"For Joe?" said Mrs. Stevens placidly, her eye on the hat. Audrey 
nodded. She took a pin from her mouth, found a place in the hat for it, 
and said, "He likes a bit of pink." 

"I don't say I mind a bit of pink myself," said her aunt. "Joe Turner 
isn't the only one." 

"It isn't everybody's colour," said Audrey, holding the hat out at arm's 
length, and regarding it thoughtfully. "Stylish, isn't it?" 

"Oh, it'll suit you all right, and it would have suited me at your age. 
A bit too dressy for me now, though wearing better than some other people, 
I daresay. I was never the one to pretend to be what I wasn't. If I'm 
fifty-five, I'm fifty-five - that's what I say." 

"Fifty-eight, isn't it, auntie?" 

"I was just giving that as an example," said Mrs. Stevens with great 
dignity. 

Audrey threaded a needle, held her hand out and looked at her nails 
critically for a moment, and then began to sew. 

"Funny thing that about Mr. Mark's brother. Fancy not seeing your 
brother for fifteen years." She gave a self-conscious laugh and went on, 
"Wonder what I should do if I didn't see Joe for fifteen years." 

"As I told you all this morning," said her aunt, "I've been here five 

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The Red House Mystery 

years, and never heard of a brother. I could say that before everybody if I 
was going to die to-morrow. There's been no brother here while I've been 
here." 

"You could have knocked me down with a feather when he spoke 
about him at breakfast this morning. I didn't hear what went before, 
naturally, but they was all talking about the brother when I went in - now 
what was it I went in for - hot milk, was it, or toast? - well, they was all 
talking, and Mr. Mark turns to me, and says - you know his way 
'Stevens,' he says, 'my brother is coming to see me this afternoon; I'm 
expecting him about three,' he says. 'Show him into the office,' he says, 
just like that. 'Yes, sir,' I says quite quietly, but I was never so surprised 
in my life, not knowing he had a brother. 'My brother from Australia,' he 
says - there, I'd forgotten that. From Australia." 

"Well, he may have been in Australia," said Mrs. Stevens, judicially; "I 
can't say for that, not knowing the country; but what I do say is he's never 
been here. Not while I've been here, and that's five years." 

"Well, but, auntie, he hasn't been here for fifteen years. I heard Mr. 
Mark telling Mr. Cayley. 'Fifteen years,' he says. Mr. Cayley having 
arst him when his brother was last in England. Mr. Cayley knew of him, 
I heard him telling Mr. Beverley, but didn't know when he was last in 
England - see? So that's why he arst Mr. Mark." 

"I'm not saying anything about fifteen years, Audrey. I can only 
speak for what I know, and that's five years Whitsuntide. I can take my 
oath he's not set foot in the house since five years Whitsuntide. And if 
he's been in Australia, as you say, well, I daresay he's had his reasons." 

"What reasons?" said Audrey lightly. 

"Never mind what reasons. Being in the place of a mother to you, 
since your poor mother died, I say this, Audrey - when a gentleman goes 
to Australia, he has his reasons. And when he stays in Australia fifteen 
years, as Mr. Mark says, and as I know for myself for five years, he has his 
reasons. And a respectably brought-up girl doesn't ask what reasons." 

"Got into trouble, I suppose," said Audrey carelessly. "They were 
saying at breakfast he'd been a wild one. Debts. I'm glad Joe isn't like 
that. He's got fifteen pounds in the post-office savings' bank. Did I tell 

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The Red House Mystery 

you?" 

But there was not to be any more talk of Joe Turner that afternoon. The 
ringing of a bell brought Audrey to her feet - no longer Audrey, but now 
Stevens. She arranged her cap in front of the glass. 

"There, that's the front door," she said. "That's him. 'Show him into 
the office,' said Mr. Mark. I suppose he doesn't want the other ladies and 
gentlemen to see him. Well, they're all out at their golf, anyhow 
Wonder if he's going to stay - P'raps he's brought back a lot of gold from 
Australia - I might hear something about Australia, because if anybody can 
get gold there, then I don't say but what Joe and I -" 

"Now, now, get on, Audrey." 

"Just going, darling." She went out. 

To anyone who had just walked down the drive in the August sun, the 
open door of the Red House revealed a delightfully inviting hall, of which 
even the mere sight was cooling. lt was a big low-roofed, oak-beamed 
place, with cream-washed walls and diamond-paned windows, blue-
curtained. On the right and left were doors leading into other living-
rooms, but on the side which faced you as you came in were windows 
again, looking on to a small grass court, and from open windows to open 
windows such air as there was played gently. The staircase went up in 
broad, low steps along the right-hand wall, and, turning to the left, led you 
along a gallery, which ran across the width of the hail, to your bedroom. 
That is, if you were going to stay the night. Mr. Robert Ablett's 
intentions in this matter were as yet unknown. 

As Audrey came across the hall she gave a little start as she saw Mr. 
Cayley suddenly, sitting unobtrusively in a seat beneath one of the front 
windows, reading. No reason why he shouldn't be there; certainly a 
much cooler place than the golf-links on such a day; but somehow there 
was a deserted air about the house that afternoon, as if all the guests were 
outside, or - perhaps the wisest place of all - up in their bedrooms, 
sleeping. Mr. Cayley, the master's cousin, was a surprise; and, having 
given a little exclamation as she came suddenly upon him, she blushed, 
and said, "Oh, I beg your pardon, sir, I didn't see you at first," and he 
looked up from his book and smiled at her. An attractive smile it was on 

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The Red House Mystery 

that big ugly face. "Such a gentleman, Mr. Cayley," she thought to 
herself as she went on, and wondered what the master would do without 
him. If this brother, for instance, had to be bundled back to Australia, it 
was Mr. Cayley who would do most of the bundling. 

"So this is Mr. Robert," said Audrey to herself, as she came in sight of 
the visitor. 

She told her aunt afterwards that she would have known him anywhere 
for Mr. Mark's brother, but she would have said that in any event. Actually 
she was surprised. Dapper little Mark, with his neat pointed beard and 
his carefully curled moustache; with his quick-darting eyes, always 
moving from one to the other of any company he was in, to register one 
more smile to his credit when he had said a good thing, one more 
expectant look when he was only waiting his turn to say it; he was a very 
different man from this rough-looking, ill-dressed colonial, staring at her 
so loweringly. 

"I want to see Mr. Mark Ablett," he growled. It sounded almost like a 
threat. 

Audrey recovered herself and smiled reassuringly at him. She had a 
smile for everybody. 

"Yes, sir. He is expecting you, if you will come this way." 

"Oh! So you know who I am, eh?" 

"Mr. Robert Ablett?" 

"Ay, that's right. So he's expecting me, eh? He'll be glad to see me, 
eh?" 

"If you will come this way, sir," said Audrey primly. 

She went to the second door on the left, and opened it. 

"Mr. Robert Ab-" she began, and then broke off. The room was 
empty. She turned to the man behind her. "If you will sit down, sir, I will 
find the master. I know he's in, because he told me that you were coming 
this afternoon." 

"Oh!" He looked round the room. "What d'you call this place, eh?" 

"The office, sir." 

"The office?" 

"The room where the master works, sir." 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Works, eh? That's new. Didn't know he'd ever done a stroke of 
work in his life." 

"Where he writes, sir," said Audrey, with dignity. The fact that Mr. 
Mark "wrote," though nobody knew what, was a matter of pride in the 
housekeeper's room. 

"Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room, eh?" 

"I will tell the master you are here, sir," said Audrey decisively. 

She closed the door and left him there. 

Well! Here was something to tell auntie! Her mind was busy at 
once, going over all the things which he had said to her and she had said to 
him - quiet-like. "Directly I saw him I said to myself -" Why, you 
could have knocked her over with a feather. Feathers, indeed, were a 
perpetual menace to Audrey. 

However, the immediate business was to find the master. She walked 
across the hall to the library, glanced in, came back a little uncertainly, and 
stood in front of Cayley. 

"If you please, sir," she said in a low, respectful voice, "can you tell me 
where the master is? It's Mr. Robert called." 

"What?" said Cayley, looking up from his book. "Who?" 

Audrey repeated her question. 

"I don't know. Isn't he in the office? He went up to the Temple after 
lunch. I don't think I've seen him since." 

"Thank you, sir. I will go up to the Temple." 

Cayley returned to his book. 

The "Temple" was a brick summer-house, in the gardens at the back of 
the house, about three hundred yards away. Here Mark meditated 
sometimes before retiring to the "office" to put his thoughts upon paper. 
The thoughts were not of any great value; moreover, they were given off at 
the dinner-table more often than they got on to paper, and got on to paper 
more often than they got into print. But that did not prevent the master of 
The Red House from being a little pained when a visitor treated the 
Temple carelessly, as if it had been erected for the ordinary purposes of 
flirtation and cigarette-smoking. There had been an occasion when two 
of his guests had been found playing fives in it. Mark had said nothing at 

7



The Red House Mystery 

the time, save to ask with a little less than his usual point - whether they 
couldn't find anywhere else for their game, but the offenders were never 
asked to The Red House again. 

Audrey walked slowly up to the Temple, looked in and walked slowly 
back. All that walk for nothing. Perhaps the master was upstairs in his 
room. "Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room." Well, now, 
Auntie, would you like anyone in your drawing-room with a red 
handkerchief round his neck and great big dusty boots, and - listen! One of 
the men shooting rabbits. Auntie was partial to a nice rabbit, and onion 
sauce. How hot it was; she wouldn't say no to a cup of tea. Well, one 
thing, Mr. Robert wasn't staying the night; he hadn't any luggage. Of 
course Mr. Mark could lend him things; he had clothes enough for six. 
She would have known him anywhere for Mr. Mark's brother. 

She came into the house. As she passed the housekeeper's room on 
her way to the hall, the door opened suddenly, and a rather frightened face 
looked out. 

"Hallo, Aud," said Elsie. "It's Audrey," she said, turning into the 
room. 

"Come in, Audrey," called Mrs. Stevens. 

"What's up?" said Audrey, looking in at the door. 

"Oh, my dear, you gave me such a turn. Where have you been?" 

"Up to the Temple." 

"Did you hear anything?" 

"Hear what?" 

"Bangs and explosions and terrible things." 

"Oh!" said Audrey, rather relieved. "One of the men shooting rabbits. 
Why, I said to myself as I came along, 'Auntie's partial to a nice rabbit,' I 
said, and I shouldn't be surprised if -" 

"Rabbits!" said her aunt scornfully. "It was inside the house, my 
girl." 

"Straight it was," said Elsie. She was one of the housemaids. "I 
said to Mrs. Stevens - didn't I, Mrs. Stevens? - 'That was in the house,' I 
said." 

Audrey looked at her aunt and then at Elsie. 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Do you think he had a revolver with him?" she said in a hushed voice. 

"Who?" said Elsie excitedly. 

"That brother of his. From Australia. I said as soon as I set eyes on 
him, 'You're a bad lot, my man!' That's what I said, Elsie. Even before he 
spoke to me. Rude!" She turned to her aunt. "Well, I give you my 
word." 

"If you remember, Audrey, I always said there was no saying with 
anyone from Australia." Mrs. Stevens lay back in her chair, breathing 
rather rapidly. "I wouldn't go out of this room now, not if you paid me a 
hundred thousand pounds.". 

"Oh, Mrs. Stevens!" said Elsie, who badly wanted five shillings for a 
new pair of shoes, "I wouldn't go as far as that, not myself, but -" 

"There!" cried Mrs. Stevens, sitting up with a start. They listened 
anxiously, the two girls instinctively coming closer to the older woman's 
chair. 

A door was being shaken, kicked, rattled. 

"Listen!" 

Audrey and Elsie looked at each other with frightened eyes. 

They heard a man's voice, loud, angry. 

"Open the door!" it was shouting. "Open the door! I say, open the 
door!" 

"Don't open the door!" cried Mrs. Stevens in a panic, as if it was her 
door which was threatened. "Audrey! Elsie! Don't let him in!" 

"Damn it, open the door!" came the voice again. 

"We're all going to be murdered in our beds," she quavered. Terrified, 
the two girls huddled closer, and with an arm round each, Mrs. Stevens sat 
there, waiting. 

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The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER II 

Mr. Gillingham Gets Out at the Wrong Station 

Whether Mark Ablett was a bore or not depended on the point of 
view, but it may be said at once that he never bored his company on the 
subject of his early life. However, stories get about. There is always 
somebody who knows. It was understood - and this, anyhow, on Mark's 
own authority - that his father had been a country clergyman. It was said 
that, as a boy, Mark had attracted the notice, and patronage, of some rich 
old spinster of the neighbourhood, who had paid for his education, both at 
school and university. At about the time when he was coming down from 
Cambridge, his father had died; leaving behind him a few debts, as a 
warning to his family, and a reputation for short sermons, as an example to 
his successor. Neither warning nor example seems to have been effective. 
Mark went to London, with an allowance from his patron, and (it is 
generally agreed) made acquaintance with the money-lenders. He was 
supposed, by his patron and any others who inquired, to be "writing"; but 
what he wrote, other than letters asking for more time to pay, has never 
been discovered. However, he attended the theatres and music halls very 
regularly - no doubt with a view to some serious articles in the "Spectator" 
on the decadence of the English stage. 

Fortunately (from Mark's point of view) his patron died during his 
third year in London, and left him all the money he wanted. From that 
moment his life loses its legendary character, and becomes more a matter 
of history. He settled accounts with the money-lenders, abandoned his 
crop of wild oats to the harvesting of others, and became in his turn a 
patron. He patronized the Arts. It was not only usurers who discovered 
that Mark Ablett no longer wrote for money; editors were now offered free 
contributions as well as free lunches; publishers were given agreements 
for an occasional slender volume, in which the author paid all expenses 
and waived all royalties; promising young painters and poets dined with 
him; and he even took a theatrical company on tour, playing host and 
"lead" with equal lavishness. 

He was not what most people call a snob. A snob has been defined 

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The Red House Mystery 

carelessly as a man who loves a lord; and, more carefully, as a mean lover 
of mean things - which would be a little unkind to the peerage if the first 
definition were true. Mark had his vanities undoubtedly, but he would 
sooner have met an actor-manager than an earl; he would have spoken of 
his friendship with Dante - had that been possible - more glibly than of his 
friendship with the Duke. Call him a snob if you like, but not the worst 
kind of snob; a hanger-on, but to the skirts of Art, not Society; a climber, 
but in the neighbourhood of Parnassus, not Hay Hill. 

His patronage did not stop at the Arts. It also included Matthew 
Cayley, a small cousin of thirteen, whose circumstances were as limited as 
had been Mark's own before his patron had rescued him. He sent the 
Cayley cousin to school and Cambridge. His motives, no doubt, were 
unworldly enough at first; a mere repaying to his account in the Recording 
Angel's book of the generosity which had been lavished on himself; a 
laying-up of treasure in heaven. But it is probable that, as the boy grew 
up, Mark's designs for his future were based on his own interests as much 
as those of his cousin, and that a suitably educated Matthew Cayley of 
twenty-three was felt by him to be a useful property for a man in his 
position; a man, that is to say, whose vanities left him so little time for his 
affairs. 

Cayley, then, at twenty-three, looked after his cousin's affairs. By this 
time Mark had bought The Red House and the considerable amount of 
land which went with it. Cayley superintended the necessary staff. His 
duties, indeed, were many. He was not quite secretary, not quite land-
agent, not quite business-adviser, not quite companion, but something of 
all four. Mark leant upon him and called him "Cay," objecting quite 
rightly in the circumstances to the name of Matthew. Cay, he felt was, 
above all, dependable; a big, heavy-jawed, solid fellow, who didn't bother 
you with unnecessary talk - a boon to a man who liked to do most of the 
talking himself. 

Cayley was now twenty-eight, but had all the appearance of forty, 
which was his patron's age. Spasmodically they entertained a good deal 
at The Red House, and Mark's preference - call it kindliness or vanity, as 
you please - was for guests who were not in a position to repay his 

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The Red House Mystery 

hospitality. Let us have a look at them as they came down to that 
breakfast, of which Stevens, the parlourmaid, has already given us a 
glimpse. 

The first to appear was Major Rumbold, a tall, grey-haired, grey-
moustached, silent man, wearing a Norfolk coat and grey flannel trousers, 
who lived on his retired pay and wrote natural history articles for the 
papers. He inspected the dishes on the side-table, decided carefully on 
kedgeree, and got to work on it. He had passed on to a sausage by the 
time of the next arrival. This was Bill Beverly, a cheerful young man in 
white flannel trousers and a blazer. 

"Hallo, Major," he said as he came in, "how's the gout?" 

"It isn't gout," said the Major gruffly. 

"Well, whatever it is." 

The Major grunted. 

"I make a point of being polite at breakfast," said Bill, helping himself 
largely to porridge. "Most people are so rude. That's why I asked you. 
But don't tell me if it's a secret. Coffee?" he added, as he poured himself 
out a cup. 

"No, thanks. I never drink till I've finished eating." 

"Quite right, Major; it's only manners." He sat down opposite to the 
other. "Well, we've got a good day for our game. It's going to be 
dashed hot, but that's where Betty and I score. On the fifth green, your 
old wound, the one you got in that frontier skirmish in '43, will begin to 
trouble you; on the eighth, your liver, undermined by years of curry, will 
drop to pieces; on the twelfth-" 

"Oh, shut up, you ass!" 

"Well, I'm only warning you. Hallo; good morning, Miss Norris. I 
was just telling the Major what was going to happen to you and him this 
morning. Do you want any assistance, or do you prefer choosing your 
own breakfast?" 

"Please don't get up," said Miss Norris. "I'll help myself. Good 
morning, Major." She smiled pleasantly at him. The Major nodded. 

"Good morning. Going to be hot." 

"As I was telling him," began Bill, "that's where- Hallo, here's Betty. 

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The Red House Mystery 

Morning, Cayley." 

Betty Calladine and Cayley had come in together. Betty was the 
eighteen-year-old daughter of Mrs. John Calladine, widow of the painter, 
who was acting hostess on this occasion for Mark. Ruth Norris took 
herself seriously as an actress and, on her holidays, seriously as a golfer. 
She was quite competent as either. Neither the Stage Society nor 
Sandwich had any terrors for her. 

"By the way, the car will be round at 10.30," said Cayley, looking up 
from his letters. "You're lunching there, and driving back directly 
afterwards. Isn't that right?" 

"I don't see why we shouldn't have - two rounds," said Bill hopefully. 

"Much too hot in the afternoon," said the Major. "Get back 
comfortably for tea." 

Mark came in. He was generally the last. He greeted them and sat 
down to toast and tea. Breakfast was not his meal. The others chattered 
gently while he read his letters. 

"Good God!" said Mark suddenly. 

There was an instinctive turning of heads towards him. "I beg your 
pardon, Miss Norris. Sorry, Betty." 

Miss Norris smiled her forgiveness. She often wanted to say it 
herself, particularly at rehearsals. 

"I say, Cay!" He was frowning to himself - annoyed, puzzled. He 
held up a letter and shook it. "Who do you think this is from?" 

Cayley, at the other end of the table, shrugged his shoulders. How 
could he possibly guess? 

"Robert," said Mark. 

"Robert?" It was difficult to surprise Cayley. "Well?" 

"It's all very well to say 'we1l?' like that," said Mark peevishly. "He's 
coming here this afternoon." 

"I thought he was in Australia, or somewhere." 

"Of course. So did I." He looked across at Rumbold. "Got any 
brothers, Major?" 

"No." 

"Well, take my advice, and don't have any." 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Not likely to now," said the Major. 

Bill laughed. Miss Norris said politely: "But you haven't any 
brothers, Mr. Ablett?" 

"One," said Mark grimly. "If you're back in time you'll see him this 
afternoon. He'll probably ask you to lend him five pounds. Don't." 

Everybody felt a little uncomfortable. 

"I've got a brother," said Bill helpfully, "but I always borrow from 
him." 

"Like Robert," said Mark. 

"When was he in England last?" asked Cayley. 

"About fifteen years ago, wasn't it? You'd have been a boy, of 
course." 

"Yes, I remember seeing him once about then, but I didn't know if he 
had been back since." 

"No. Not to my knowledge." Mark, still obviously upset, returned 
to his letter. 

"Personally," said Bill, "I think relations are a great mistake." 

"All the same," said Betty a little daringly, "it must be rather fun 
having a skeleton in the cupboard." 

Mark looked up, frowning. 

"If you think it's fun, I'll hand him over to you, Betty. If he's 
anything like he used to be, and like his few letters have been - well, Cay 
knows." 

Cayley grunted. 

"All I knew was that one didn't ask questions about him." 

It may have been meant as a hint to any too curious guest not to ask 
more questions, or a reminder to his host not to talk too freely in front of 
strangers, although he gave it the sound of a mere statement of fact. But 
the subject dropped, to be succeeded by the more fascinating one of the 
coming foursome. Mrs. Calladine was driving over with the players in 
order to lunch with an old friend who lived near the links, and Mark and 
Cayley were remaining at home - on affairs. Apparently "affairs" were 
now to include a prodigal brother. But that need not make the foursome 
less enjoyable. 

14



The Red House Mystery 

At about the time when the Major (for whatever reasons) was fluffing 
his tee-shot at the sixteenth, and Mark and his cousin were at their 
business at The Red House, an attractive gentleman of the name of Antony 
Gillingham was handing up his ticket at Woodham station and asking the 
way to the village. Having received directions, he left his bag with the 
station-master and walked off leisurely. He is an important person to this 
story, so that it is as well we should know something about him before 
letting him loose in it. Let us stop him at the top of the hill on some 
excuse, and have a good look at him. 

The first thing we realize is that he is doing more of the looking than 
we are. Above a clean-cut, clean-shaven face, of the type usually 
associated with the Navy, he carries a pair of grey eyes which seem to be 
absorbing every detail of our person. To strangers this look is almost 
alarming at first, until they discover that his mind is very often elsewhere; 
that he has, so to speak, left his eyes on guard, while he himself follows a 
train of thought in another direction. Many people do this, of course; 
when, for instance, they are talking to one person and trying to listen to 
another; but their eyes betray them. Antony's never did. 

He had seen a good deal of the world with those eyes, though never as 
a sailor. When at the age of twenty-one he came into his mother's money, 
400 pounds a year, old Gillingham looked up from the "Stockbreeders' 
Gazette" to ask what he was going to do. 

"See the world," said Antony. 

"Well, send me a line from America, or wherever you get to." 

"Right," said Antony. 

Old Gillingham returned to his paper. Antony was a younger son, 
and, on the whole, not so interesting to his father as the cadets of certain 
other families; Champion Birket's, for instance. But, then, Champion 
Birket was the best Hereford bull he had ever bred. 

Antony, however, had no intention of going further away than London. 
His idea of seeing the world was to see, not countries, but people; and to 
see them from as many angles as possible. There are all sorts in London 
if you know how to look at them. So Antony looked at them - from 
various strange corners; from the view-point of the valet, the newspaper

15



The Red House Mystery 

reporter, the waiter, the shop-assistant. With the independence of 400 
pounds a year behind him, he enjoyed it immensely. He never stayed 
long in one job, and generally closed his connexion with it by telling his 
employer (contrary to all etiquette as understood between master and 
servant) exactly what he thought of him. He had no difficulty in finding 
a new profession. Instead of experience and testimonials he offered his 
personality and a sporting bet. He would take no wages 'the first month, 
and - if he satisfied his employer - double wages the second. He always 
got his double wages. 

He was now thirty. He had come to Waldheim for a holiday, because 
he liked the look of the station. His ticket entitled him to travel further, 
but he had always intended to please himself in the matter. Waldheim 
attracted him, and he had a suit-case in the carriage with him and money 
in his pocket. Why not get out? 

The landlady of "The George" was only too glad to put him up, and 
promised that her husband would drive over that afternoon for his luggage. 

"And you would like some lunch, I expect, sir." 

"Yes, but don't give yourself any trouble about it. Cold anything-
you've-got." 

"What about beef, sir?" she asked, as if she had a hundred varieties of 
meat to select from, and was offering him her best. 

"That will do splendidly. And a pint of beer." 

While he was finishing his lunch, the landlord came in to ask about the 
luggage. Antony ordered another pint, and soon had him talking. 

"It must be rather fun to keep a country inn," he said, thinking that it 
was about time he started another profession. 

"I don't know about fun, sir. It gives us a living, and a bit over." 

"You ought to take a holiday," said Antony, looking at him 
thoughtfully. 

"Funny thing your saying that," said the landlord, with a smile. 
"Another gentleman, over from The Red House, was saying that only 
yesterday. Offered to take my place 'n all." He laughed rumblingly. 

"The Red House? Not the Red House, Stanton?" 

"That's right, sir. Stanton's the next station to Waldheim. The Red 

16



The Red House Mystery 

House is about a mile from here - Mr. Ablett's." 

Antony took a letter from his pocket. It was addressed from "The 
Red House, Stanton," and signed "Bill." 

"Good old Bill," he murmured to himself. "He's getting on." 

Antony had met Bill Beverley two years before in a tobacconist's shop. 
Gillingham was on one side of the counter and Mr. Beverley on the other. 
Something about Bill, his youth and freshness, perhaps, attracted Antony; 
and when cigarettes had been ordered, and an address given to which they 
were to be sent, he remembered that he had come across an aunt of 
Beverley's once at a country-house. Beverley and he met again a little 
later at a restaurant. Both of them were in evening-dress, but they did 
different things with their napkins, and Antony was the more polite of the 
two. However, he still liked Bill. So on one of his holidays, when he 
was unemployed, he arranged an introduction through a mutual friend. 
Beverley was a little inclined to be shocked when he was reminded of 
their previous meetings, but his uncomfortable feeling soon wore off, and 
he and Antony quickly became intimate. But Bill generally addressed 
him as "Dear Madman" when he happened to write. 

Antony decided to stroll over to The Red House after lunch and call 
upon his friend. Having inspected his bedroom which was not quite the 
lavender-smelling country-inn bedroom of fiction, but sufficiently clean 
and comfortable, he set out over the fields. 

As he came down the drive and approached the old red-brick front of 
the house, there was a lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle 
cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms, and from distant lawns the whir 
of a mowing-machine, that most restful of all country sounds.... 

And in the hall a man was banging at a locked door, and shouting, 
"Open the door, I say; open the door!" 

"Hallo!" said Antony in amazement. 

17



The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER III 

Two Men and a Body 

Cayley looked round suddenly at the voice. 

"Can I help?" said Antony politely. 

"Something's happened," said Cayley. He was breathing quickly. "I 
heard a shot-it sounded like a shot - I was in the library. A loud bang - I 
didn't know what it was. And the door's locked." He rattled the handle 
again, and shook it. "Open the door!" he cried. "I say, Mark, what is it? 
Open the door!" 

"But he must have locked the door on purpose," said Antony. "So 
why should he open it just because you ask him to?" 

Cayley looked at him in a bewildered way. Then he turned to the 
door again. "We must break it in," he said, putting his shoulder to it. 
"Help me." 

"Isn't there a window?" 

Cayley turned to him stupidly. 

"Window? Window?" 

"So much easier to break in a window," said Antony with a smile. He 
looked very cool and collected, as he stood just inside the hall, leaning on 
his stick, and thinking, no doubt, that a great deal of fuss was being made 
about nothing. But then, he had not heard the shot. 

"Window - of course! What an idiot I am." 

He pushed past Antony, and began running out into the drive. 
Antony followed him. They ran along the front of the house, down a 
path to the left, and then to the left again over the grass, Cayley in front, 
the other close behind him. Suddenly Cayley looked over his shoulder 
and pulled up short. 

"Here," he said. 

They had come to the windows of the locked room, French windows 
which opened on to the lawns at the back of the house. But now they 
were closed. Antony couldn't help feeling a thrill of excitement as he 
followed Cayley's example, and put his face close up to the glass. For the 
first time he wondered if there really had been a revolver shot in this 

18



The Red House Mystery 

mysterious room. It had all seemed so absurd and melodramatic from the 
other side of the door. But if there had been one shot, why should there 
not be two more? - at the careless fools who were pressing their noses 
against the panes, and asking for it. 

"My God, can you see it?" said Cayley in a shaking voice. "Down 
there. Look!" 

The next moment Antony saw it. A man was lying on the floor at the 
far end of the room, his back towards them. A man? Or the body of a 
man? 

"Who is it?" said Antony. 

"I don't know," the other whispered. 

"Well, we'd better go and see." He considered the windows for a 
moment. "I should think, if you put your weight into it, just where they 
join, they'll give all right. Otherwise, we can kick the glass in." 

Without saying anything, Cayley put his weight into it. The window 
gave, and they went into the room. Cayley walked quickly to the body, 
and dropped on his knees by it. For the moment he seemed to hesitate; 
then with an effort he put a hand on to its shoulder and pulled it over. 

"Thank God!" he murmured, and let the body go again. 

"Who is it?" said Antony. 

"Robert Ablett." 

"Oh!" said Antony. "I thought his name was Mark," he added, more 
to himself than to the other. 

"Yes, Mark Ablett lives here. Robert is his brother." He shuddered, 
and said, "I was afraid it was Mark." 

"Was Mark in the room too?" 

"Yes," said Cayley absently. Then, as if resenting suddenly these 
questions from a stranger, "Who are you?" 

But Antony had gone to the locked door, and was turning the handle. 
"I suppose he put the key in his pocket," he said, as he came back to the 
body again. 

"Who?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders. 

"Whoever did this," he said, pointing to the man on the floor. "Is he 

19



The Red House Mystery 

dead?" 

"Help me," said Cayley simply. 

They turned the body on to its back, nerving themselves to look at it. 
Robert Ablett had been shot between the eyes. It was not a pleasant sight, 
and with his horror Antony felt a sudden pity for the man beside him, and 
a sudden remorse for the careless, easy way in which he had treated the 
affair. But then one always went about imagining that these things didn't 
happen - except to other people. It was difficult to believe in them just at 
first, when they happened to yourself. 

"Did you know him well?" said Antony quietly. He meant, "Were 
you fond of him?" 

"Hardly at all. Mark is my cousin. I mean, Mark is the brother I 
know best." 

"Your cousin?" 

"Yes." He hesitated, and then said, "Is he dead? I suppose he is. 
Will you - do you know anything about - about that sort of thing? Perhaps 
I'd better get some water." 

There was another door opposite to the locked one, which led, as 
Antony was to discover for himself directly, into a passage from which 
opened two more rooms. Cayley stepped into the passage, and opened 
the door on the right. The door from the office, through which he had 
gone, remained open. The door, at the end of the short passage was shut. 
Antony, kneeling by the body, followed Cayley with his eyes, and, after he 
had disappeared, kept his eyes on the blank wall of the passage, but he was 
not conscious of that at which he was looking, for his mind was with the 
other man, sympathizing with him. 

"Not that water is any use to a dead body," he said to himself, "but the 
feeling that you're doing something, when there's obviously nothing to be 
done, is a great comfort." 

Cayley came into the room again. He had a sponge in one hand, a 
handkerchief in the other. He looked at Antony. Antony nodded. 
Cayley murmured something, and knelt down to bathe the dead man's face. 
Then he placed the handkerchief over it. A little sigh escaped Antony, a 
sigh of relief. 

20



The Red House Mystery 

They stood up and looked at each other.
"If I can be of any help to you," said Antony, "please let me."
"That's very kind of you. There will be things to do. Police, doctors


-I don't know. But you mustn't let me trespass on your kindness. 
Indeed, I should apologise for having trespassed so much already." 

"I came to see Beverley. He is an old friend of mine." 

"He's out playing golf. He will be back directly." Then, as if he had 
only just realized it, "They will all be back directly." 

"I will stay if I can be of any help." 

"Please do. You see, there are women. It will be rather painful. If 
you would -" He hesitated, and gave Antony a timid little smile, pathetic 
in so big and self-reliant a man. "Just your moral support, you know. It 
would be something." 

"Of course." Antony smiled back at him, and said cheerfully, "Well, 
then, I'll begin by suggesting that you should ring up the police." 

"The police? Y-yes." He looked doubtfully at the other. "I suppose 
-" 

Antony spoke frankly. 

"Now, look here, Mr-er -" 

"Cayley. I'm Mark Ablett's cousin. I live with him." 

"My name's Gillingham. I'm sorry, I ought to have told you before. 
Well now, Mr. Cayley, we shan't do any good by pretending. Here's a 
man been shot - well, somebody shot him." 

"He might have shot himself," mumbled Cayley. 

"Yes, he might have, but he didn't. Or if he did, somebody was in the 
room at the time, and that somebody isn't here now. And that somebody 
took a revolver away with him. Well, the police will want to say a word 
about that, won't they?" 

Cayley was silent, looking on the ground. 

"Oh, I know what you're thinking, and believe me I do sympathize 
with you, but we can't be children about it. If your cousin Mark Ablett 
was in the room with this" - he indicated the body - "this man, then -" 

"Who said he was?" said Cayley, jerking his head up suddenly at 
Antony. 

21



The Red House Mystery 

"You did." 

"I was in the library. Mark went in - he may have come out again - I 
know nothing. Somebody else may have gone in -" 

"Yes, yes," said Antony patiently, as if to a little child. You know 
your cousin; I don't. Let's agree that he had nothing to do with it. But 
somebody was in the room when this man was shot, and - well, the police 
will have to know. Don't you think -" He looked at the telephone. 
"Or would you rather I did it?" 

Cayley shrugged his shoulders and went to the telephone. 

"May I - er - look round a bit?" Antony nodded towards the open 
door. 

"Oh, do. Yes." He sat down and drew the telephone towards him. 
"You must make allowances for me, Mr. Gillingham. You see, I've 
known Mark for a very long time. But, of course, you're quite right, and 
I'm merely being stupid." He took off the receiver. 

Let us suppose that, for the purpose of making a first acquaintance 
with this "office," we are coming into it from the hall, through the door 
which is now locked, but which, for our special convenience, has been 
magically unlocked for us. As we stand just inside the door, the length of 
the room runs right and left; or, more accurately, to the right only, for the 
left-hand wall is almost within our reach. Immediately opposite to us, 
across the breadth of the room (some fifteen feet), is that other door, by 
which Cayley went out and returned a few minutes ago. In the right-
hand wall, thirty feet away from us, are the French windows. Crossing 
the room and going out by the opposite door, we come into a passage, 
from which two rooms lead. The one on the right, into which Cayley 
went, is less than half the length of the office, a small, square room, which 
has evidently been used some time or other as a bedroom. The bed is no 
longer there, but there is a basin, with hot and cold taps, in a corner; chairs; 
a cupboard or two, and a chest of drawers. The window faces the same 
way as the French windows in the next room; but anybody looking out of 
the bedroom window has his view on the immediate right shut off by the 
outer wall of the office, which projects, by reason of its greater length, 
fifteen feet further into the lawn. 

22



The Red House Mystery 

The room on the other side of the bedroom is a bathroom. The three 
rooms together, in fact, form a sort of private suite; used, perhaps, during 
the occupation of the previous owner, by some invalid, who could not 
manage the stairs, but allowed by Mark to fall into disuse, save for the 
living-room. At any rate, he never slept downstairs. 

Antony glanced at the bathroom, and then wandered into the bedroom, 
the room into which Cayley had been. The window was open, and he 
looked out at the well-kept grass beneath him, and the peaceful stretch of 
park beyond; and he felt very sorry for the owner of it all, who was now 
mixed up in so grim a business. 

"Cayley thinks he did it," said Antony to himself. "That's obvious. It 
explains why he wasted so much time banging on the door. Why should 
he try to break a lock when it's so much easier to break a window? Of 
course he might just have lost his head; on the other hand, he might - well, 
he might have wanted to give his cousin a chance of getting away. The 
same about the police, and - oh, lots of things. Why, for instance, did we 
run all the way round the house in order to get to the windows? Surely 
there's a back way out through the hall. I must have a look later on." 

Antony, it will be observed, had by no means lost his head. 

There was a step in the passage outside, and he turned round, to see 
Cayley in the doorway. He remained looking at him for a moment, 
asking himself a question. It was rather a curious question. He was 
asking himself why the door was open. 

Well, not exactly why the door was open; that could be explained 
easily enough. But why had he expected the door to be shut? He did 
not remember shutting it, but somehow he was surprised to see it open 
now, to see Cayley through the doorway, just coming into the room. 
Something working sub-consciously in his brain had told him that it was 
surprising. Why? 

He tucked the matter away in a corner of his mind for the moment; the 
answer would come to him later on. He had a wonderfully retentive 
mind. Everything which he saw or heard seemed to make its 
corresponding impression somewhere in his brain; often without his being 
conscious of it; and these photographic impressions were always there 

23



The Red House Mystery 

ready for him when he wished to develop them. 

Cayley joined him at the window. 

"I've telephoned," he said. "They're sending an inspector or some 
one from Middleston, and the local police and doctor from Stanton." He 
shrugged his shoulders. "We're in for it now." 

"How far away is Middleston?" It was the town for which Antony 
had taken a ticket that morning - only six hours ago. How absurd it 
seemed. 

"About twenty miles. These people will be coming back soon. 

"Beverley, and the others?" 

"Yes. I expect they'll want to go away at once." 

"Much better that they should." 

"Yes." Cayley was silent for a little. Then he said, "You're staying 
near here?" 

"I'm at 'The George,' at Waldheim." 

"If you're by yourself, I wish you'd put up here. You see," he went on 
awkwardly, "you'll have to be here - for the - the inquest and - and so on. 
If I may offer you my cousin's hospitality in his - I mean if he doesn't - if 
he really has -" 

Antony broke in hastily with his thanks and acceptance. 

"That's good. Perhaps Beverley will stay on, if he's a friend of yours. 
He's a good fellow." 

Antony felt quite sure, from what Cayley had said and had hesitated to 
say, that Mark had been the last to see his brother alive. It didn't follow 
that Mark Ablett was a murderer. Revolvers go off accidentally; and 
when they have gone off, people lose their heads and run away, fearing 
that their story will not be believed. Nevertheless, when people run away, 
whether innocently or guiltily, one can't help wondering which way they 
went. 

"I suppose this way," said Antony aloud, looking out of the window. 

"Who?" said Cayley stubbornly. 

"Well, whoever it was," said Antony, smiling to himself. "The 
murderer. Or, let us say, the man who locked the door after Robert Ablett 
was killed." 

24



The Red House Mystery 

"I wonder." 

"Well, how else could he have got away? He didn't go by the 
windows in the next room, because they were shut." 

"Isn't that rather odd?" 

"Well, I thought so at first, but -" He pointed to the wall jutting out 
on the right. "You see, you're protected from the rest of the house if you 
get out here, and you're quite close to the shrubbery. If you go out at the 
French windows, I imagine you're much more visible. All that part of the 
house -" he waved his right hand - "the west, well, north-west almost, 
where the kitchen parts are - you see, you're hidden from them here. 
Oh, yes! he knew the house, whoever it was, and he was quite right to 
come out of this window. He'd be into the shrubbery at once." 

Cayley looked at him thoughtfully. 

"It seems to me, Mr. Gillingham, that you know the house pretty well, 
considering that this is the first time you've been to it." 

Antony laughed. 

"Oh, well, I notice things, you know. I was born noticing. But I'm 
right, aren't I, about why he went out this way?" 

"Yes, I think you are." Cayley looked away -towards the shrubbery. 
"Do you want to go noticing in there now?" He nodded at it. 

"I think we might leave that to the police," said Antony gently. "It's 
well, there's no hurry." 

Cayley gave a little sigh, as if he had been holding his breath for the 
answer, and could now breathe again. 

"Thank you, Mr. Gillingham," he said. 

25



The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER IV 

The Brother from Australia 

Guests at the Red House were allowed to do what they liked within 
reason - the reasonableness or otherwise of it being decided by Mark. But 
when once they (or Mark) had made up their minds as to what they wanted 
to do, the plan had to be kept. Mrs. Calladine, who knew this little 
weakness of their host's, resisted, therefore, the suggestion of Bill that they 
should have a second round in the afternoon, and drive home comfortably 
after tea. The other golfers were willing enough, but Mrs. Calladine, 
without actually saying that Mr. Ablett wouldn't like it, was firm on the 
point that, having arranged to be back by four, they should be back by 
four. 

"I really don't think Mark wants us, you know," said the Major. Having 
played badly in the morning, he wanted to prove to himself in the 
afternoon that he was really better than that. "With this brother of his 
coming, he'll be only too glad to have us out of the way." 

"Of course he will, Major." This from Bill. "You'd like to play, 
wouldn't you, Miss Norris?" 

Miss Norris looked doubtfully at the hostess. 

"Of course, if you want to get back, dear, we mustn't keep you here. 
Besides, it's so dull for you, not playing." 

"Just nine holes, mother," pleaded Betty. 

"The car could take you back, and you could tell them that we were 
having another round, and then it could come back for us," said Bill 
brilliantly. 

"It's certainly much cooler here than I expected," put in the Major. 

Mrs. Calladine fell. It was very pleasantly cool outside the golf-
house, and of course Mark would be rather glad to have them out of the 
way. So she consented to nine holes; and the match having ended all-
square, and everybody having played much better than in the morning, 
they drove back to The Red House, very well pleased with themselves. 

"Halo," said Bill to himself, as they approached the house, "isn't that 
old Tony?" 

26



The Red House Mystery 

Antony was standing in front of the house, waiting for them. Bill 
waved, and he waved back. Then as the car drew up, Bill, who was in 
front with the chauffeur, jumped down and greeted him eagerly. 

"Hallo, you madman, have you come to stay, or what?" He had a 
sudden idea. "Don't say you're Mark Ablett's long-lost brother from 
Australia, though I could quite believe it of you." He laughed boyishly. 

"Hallo, Bill," said Antony quietly. "Will you introduce me? I'm 
afraid I've got some bad news." 

Bill, rather sobered by this, introduced him. The Major and Mrs. 
Calladine were on the near side of the car, and Antony spoke to them in a 
low voice. 

"I'm afraid I'm going to give you rather a shock," he said. "Robert 
Ablett, Mr. Mark Ablett's brother, has been killed." He jerked a thumb 
over his shoulder, "In the house." 

"Good God!" said the Major. 

"Do you mean that he has killed himself?" asked Mrs. Calladine. 
"Just now?" 

"It was about two hours ago. I happened to come here," - he half-
turned to Beverley and explained - "I was coming to see you, Bill, and I 
arrived just after the - the death. Mr. Cayley and I found the body. Mr. 
Cayley being busy just now - there are police and doctors and so on in the 
house - he asked me to tell you. He says that no doubt you would prefer, 
the house-party having been broken up in this tragic way, to leave as soon 
as possible." He gave a pleasant apologetic little smile and went on, "I 
am putting it badly, but what he means, of course, is that you must consult 
your own feelings in the matter entirely, and please make your own 
arrangements about ordering the car for whatever train you wish to catch. 
There is one this evening, I understand, which you could go by if you 
wished it." 

Bill gazed with open mouth at Antony. He had no words in his 
vocabulary to express what he wanted to say, other than those the Major 
had already used. Betty was leaning across to Miss Norris and saying, 
"Who's killed?" in an awe-struck voice, and Miss Norris, who was 
instinctively looking as tragic as she looked on the stage when a 

27



The Red House Mystery 

messenger announced the death of one of the cast, stopped for a moment 
in order to explain. Mrs. Calladine was quietly mistress of herself. 

"We shall be in the way, yes, I quite understand," she said; "but we 
can't just shake the dust of the place off our shoes because something 
terrible has happened there. I must see Mark, and we can arrange later 
what to do. He must know how very deeply we feel for him. Perhaps 
we -" she hesitated. 

"The Major and I might be useful anyway," said Bill. "Isn't that what 
you mean, Mrs. Calladine?" 

"Where is Mark?" said the Major suddenly, looking hard at Antony. 

Antony looked back unwaveringly - and said nothing. 

"I think," said the Major gently, leaning over to Mrs. Calladine, "that it 
would be better if you took Betty back to London to-night." 

"Very well," she agreed quietly. "You will come with us, Ruth?" 

"I'll see you safely there," said Bill in a meek voice. He didn't quite 
know what was happening, and, having expected to stay at the Red House 
for another week, he had nowhere to go to in London, but London seemed 
to be the place that everyone was going to, and when he could get Tony 
alone for a moment, Tony no doubt would explain. 

"Cayley wants you to stay, Bill. You have to go anyhow, to-morrow, 
Major Rumbold?" 

"Yes. I'll come with you, Mrs. Calladine." 

"Mr. Cayley would wish me to say again that you will please not 
hesitate to give your own orders, both as regard the car and as regard any 
telephoning or telegraphing that you want done." He smiled again and 
added, "Please forgive me if I seem to have taken a good deal upon myself, 
but I just happened to be handy as a mouthpiece for Cayley." He bowed 
to them and went into the house. 

"Well!" said Miss Norris dramatically. 

As Antony re-entered the hall, the Inspector from Middleston was just 
crossing into the library with Cayley. The latter stopped and nodded to 
Antony. 

"Wait a moment, Inspector. Here's Mr. Gillingham. He'd better 
come with us." And then to Antony, "This is Inspector Birch." 

28



The Red House Mystery 

Birch looked inquiringly from one to the other. 

"Mr. Gillingham and I found the body together," explained Cayley. 

"Oh! Well, come along, and let's get the facts sorted out a bit. I like 
to know where I am, Mr. Gillingham." 

"We all do." 

"Oh!" He looked at Antony with interest. "D'you know where you 
are in this case?" 

"I know where I'm going to be." 

"Where's that?" 

"Put through it by Inspector Birch," said Antony with a smile. 

The inspector laughed genially. 

"Well, I'll spare you as much as I can. Come along." 

They went into the library. The inspector seated himself at a writing-
table, and Cayley sat in a chair by the side of it. Antony made himself 
comfortable in an armchair and prepared to be interested. 

"We'll start with the dead man," said the inspector. "Robert Ablett, 
didn't you say?" He took out his notebook. 

"Yes. Brother of Mark Ablett, who lives here." 

"Ah!" He began to sharpen a pencil. "Staying in the house?" 

"Oh, no!" 

Antony listened attentively while Cayley explained all that he knew 
about Robert. This was news to him. "I see. Sent out of the country 
in disgrace. What had he done?" 

"I hardly know. I was only about twelve at the time. The sort of 
age when you're told not to ask questions." 

"Inconvenient questions?" 

"Exactly." 

"So you don't really know whether he had been merely wild or - or 
wicked?" 

"No. Old Mr. Ablett was a clergyman," added Cayley. "Perhaps 
what might seem wicked to a clergyman might seem only wild to a man of 
the world." 

"I daresay, Mr. Cayley," smiled the inspector. "Anyhow, it was more 
convenient to have him in Australia?" 

29



The Red House Mystery 

"Yes." 

"Mark Ablett never talked about him?" 

"Hardly ever. He was very much ashamed of him, and - well, very 
glad he was in Australia." 

"Did he write Mark sometimes?" 

"Occasionally. Perhaps three or four times in the last five years." 

"Asking for money?" 

"Something of the sort. I don't think Mark always answered them. As 
far as I know, he never sent any money." 

"Now your own private opinion, Mr. Cayley. Do you think that Mark 
was unfair to his brother? Unduly hard on him?" 

"They'd never liked each other as boys. There was never any 
affection between them. I don't know whose fault it was in the first place 

- if anybody's." 
"Still, Mark might have given him a hand?" 
"I understand," said Cayley, "that Robert spent his whole life asking 
for hands." 

The inspector nodded. 

"I know that sort. Well, now, we'll go on to this morning. This 
letter that Mark got - did you see it?" 

"Not at the time. He showed it to me afterwards." 

"Any address?" 

"No. A half-sheet of rather dirty paper." 

"Where is it now?" 

"I don't know. In Mark's pocket, I expect." 

"Ah!" He pulled at his beard. "Well, we'll come to that. Can you 
remember what it said?" 

"As far as I remember, something like this: 'Mark, your loving brother 
is coming to see you to-morrow, all the way from Australia. I give you 
warning so that you will be able to conceal your surprise, but not I hope, 
your pleasure. Expect him at three, or thereabouts.'" 

"Ah!" The inspector copied it down carefully. "Did you notice the 
postmark?" 
"London." 

30



The Red House Mystery 

"And what was Mark's attitude?" 

"Annoyance, disgust -" Cayley hesitated. 

"Apprehension?" 

"N-no, not exactly. Or, rather, apprehension of an unpleasant 
interview, not of any unpleasant outcome for himself." 

"You mean that he wasn't afraid of violence, or blackmail, or anything 
of that sort?" 

"He didn't appear to be." 

"Right.... Now then, he arrived, you say, about three o'clock?" 

"Yes, about that." 

"Who was in the house then?" 

"Mark and myself, and some of the servants. I don't know which. Of 
course, you will ask them directly, no doubt." 

"With your permission. No guests?" 

"They were out all day playing golf," explained Cayley. "Oh, by the 
way," he put in, "if I may interrupt a moment, will you want to see them at 
all? It isn't very pleasant for them now, naturally, and I suggested -" he 
turned to Antony, who nodded back to him. "I understand that they want 
to go back to London this evening. There's no objection to that, I 
suppose?" 

"You will let me have their names and addresses in case I want to 
communicate with them?" 

"Of course. One of them is staying on, if you would like to see him 
later, but they only came back from their golf as we crossed the hall." 

"That's all right, Mr. Cayley. Well, now then, let's go back to three 
o'clock. Where were you when Robert arrived?" 

Cayley explained how he had been sitting in the hall, how Audrey had 
asked him where the master was, and how he had said that he had last seen 
him going up to the Temple. 

"She went away, and I went on with my book. There was a step on 
the stairs, and I looked up to see Mark coming down. He went into the 
office, and I went on with my book again. I went into the library for a 
moment, to refer to another book, and when I was in there I heard a shot. 
At least, it was a loud bang, I wasn't sure if it was a shot. I stood and 

31



The Red House Mystery 

listened. Then I came slowly to the door and looked out. Then I went 
back again, hesitated a bit, you know, and finally decided to go across to 
the office, and make sure that it was all right. I turned the handle of the 
door and found it was locked. Then I got frightened, and I banged at the 
door, and shouted, and - well, that was when Mr. Gillingham arrived." 
He went on to explain how they had found the body. 

The inspector looked at him with a smile. 

"Yes, well, we shall have to go over some of that again, Mr. Cayley. 
Mr. Mark, now. You thought he was in the Temple. Could he have 
come in, and gone up to his room, without your seeing him?" "There are 
back stairs. He wouldn't have used them in the ordinary way, of course. 
But I wasn't in the hall all the afternoon. He might easily have gone 
upstairs without my knowing anything about it." 

"So that you weren't surprised when you saw him coming down?" 

"Oh, not a bit." 

"Well, did he say anything?" 

"He said, 'Robert's here?' or something of the sort. I suppose he'd 
heard the bell, or the voices in the hall." 

"Which way does his bedroom face? Could he have seen him 
coming down the drive?" 

"He might have, yes." 

"We11?" 

"Well, then, I said 'Yes,' and he gave a sort of shrug, and said, 'Don't go 
too far away, I might want you'; and then went in." 

"What did you think he meant by that?" 

"Well, he consults me a good deal, you know. I'm his sort of 
unofficial solicitor in a kind of way." 

"This was a business meeting rather than a brotherly one?" 

"Oh, yes. That's how he regarded it, I'm sure." 

"Yes. How long was it before you heard the shot?" 

"Very soon. Two minutes, perhaps." 

The inspector finished his writing, and then regarded Cayley 
thoughtfully. Suddenly he said: 

"What is your theory of Robert's death?" 

32



The Red House Mystery 

Cayley shrugged his shoulders. 

"You've probably seen more than I've seen," he answered. "It's your 
job. I can only speak as a layman - and Mark's friend." 

"Well?" 

"Then I should say that Robert came here meaning trouble, and 
bringing a revolver with him. He produced it almost at once, Mark tried 
to get it from him, there was a little struggle perhaps, and it went off. 
Mark lost his head, finding himself there with a revolver in his hand and a 
dead man at his feet. His one idea was to escape. He locked the door 
almost instinctively, and then, when he heard me hammering at it, went 
out of the window." 

"Y-yes. Well, that sounds reasonable enough. What do you say, Mr. 
Gillingham?" 

"I should hardly call it 'reasonable' to lose your head," said Antony, 
getting up from his chair and coming towards them. 

"Well, you know what I mean. It explains things." 

"Oh, yes. Any other explanation would make them much more 
complicated." 

"Have you any other explanation?" 

"Not I." 

"Are there any points on which you would like to correct Mr. Cayley? 

- anything that he left out after you arrived here?" 
"No, thanks. He described it all very accurately." 
"Ab! Well now, about yourself. You're not staying in the house, I 
gather?" 

Antony explained his previous movements. 

"Yes. Did you hear the shot?" 

Antony put his head on one side, as if listening. "Yes. Just as I 
came in sight of the house. It didn't make any impression at the time, but 

I remember it now. 
"Where were you then?" 
"Coming up the drive. I was just in sight of the house." 
"Nobody left the house by the front door after the shot?" 
Antony closed his eyes and considered. 

33



The Red House Mystery 

"Nobody," he said. "No."
"You're certain of that?"
"Absolutely," said Antony, as though rather surprised that he could be


suspected of a mistake. 
"Thank you. You're at 'The George,' if I want you?" 
"Mr. Gillingham is staying here until after the inquest," explained 

Cayley. 
"Good. Well now, about these servants?" 

34



The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER V 

Mr. Gillingham Chooses a New Profession 

As Cayley went over to the bell, Antony got up and moved to the 

door. 

"Well, you won't want me, I suppose, inspector," he said. 

"No, thank you, Mr. Gillingham. You'll be about, of course?" 

"Oh, yes." 

The inspector hesitated. 

"I think, Mr. Cayley, it would be better if I saw the servants alone. You 

know what they are; the more people about, the more they get alarmed. I 
expect I can get at the truth better by myself." 

"Oh, quite so. In fact, I was going to ask you to excuse me. I feel 
rather responsible towards these guests of ours. Although Mr. 
Gillingham very kindly -" He smiled at Antony, who was waiting at the 
door, and left his sentence unfinished. 

"Ah, that reminds me," said the inspector. "Didn't you say that one of 
your guests - Mr. Beverley was it? - a friend of Mr. Gillingham's, was 
staying on?" 

"Yes; would you like to see him?" 

"Afterwards, if I may." 

"I'll warn him. I shall be up in my room, if you want me. I have a 
room upstairs where I work - any of the servants will show you. Ah, 
Stevens, Inspector Birch would like to ask you a few questions." 

"Yes, sir," said Audrey primly, but inwardly fluttering. The 
housekeeper's room had heard something of the news by this time, and 
Audrey had had a busy time explaining to other members of the staff 
exactly what he had said, and what she had said. The details were not 
quite established yet, but this much at least was certain: that Mr. Mark's 
brother had shot himself and spirited Mr. Mark away, and that Audrey had 
seen at once that he was that sort of man when she opened the door to him. 
She had passed the remark to Mrs. Stevens. And Mrs. Stevens - if you 
remember, Audrey - had always said that people didn't go away to 
Australia except for very good reasons. Elsie agreed with both of them, 

35



The Red House Mystery 

but she had a contribution of her own to make. She had actually heard 
Mr. Mark in the office, threatening his brother. 

"You mean Mr. Robert," said the second parlourmaid. She had been 
having a little nap in her room, but she had heard the bang. In fact, it had 
woken her up - just like something going off, it was. 

"It was Mr. Mark's voice," said Elsie firmly. 

"Pleading for mercy," said an eager-eyed kitchenmaid hopefully from 
the door, and was hurried out again by the others, wishing that she had not 
given her presence away. But it was hard to listen in silence when she 
knew so well from her novelettes just what happened on these occasions. 

"I shall have to give that girl a piece of my mind," said Mrs. Stevens. 
"Well, Elsie?" 

"He said, I heard him say it with my own ears, 'It's my turn now,' he 
said, triumphant-like." 

"Well, if you think that's a threat, dear, you're very particular, I must 
say." 

But Audrey remembered Elsie's words when she was in front of 
Inspector Birch. She gave her own evidence with the readiness of one 
who had already repeated it several times, and was examined and cross-
examined by the inspector with considerable skill. The temptation to say, 
"Never mind about what you said to him," was strong, but he resisted it, 
knowing that in this way he would discover best what he said to her. By 
this time both his words and the looks he gave her were getting their full 
value from Audrey, but the general meaning of them seemed to be well-
established. 

"Then you didn't see Mr. Mark at all" 

"No, sir; he must have come in before and gone up to his room. Or 
come in by the front door, likely enough, while I was going out by the 
back." 

"Yes. Well, I think that's all that I want to know, thank you very 
much. Now what about the other servants?" 

"Elsie heard the master and Mr. Robert talking together," said Audrey 
eagerly. "He was saying - Mr. Mark, I mean -" 

"Ah! Well, I think Elsie had better tell me that herself. Who is 

36



The Red House Mystery 

Elsie, by the way?" 

"One of the housemaids. Shall I send her to you, sir?" 

"Please." 

Elsie was not sorry to get the message. It interrupted a few remarks 
from Mrs. Stevens about Elsie's conduct that afternoon which were (Elsie 
thought) much better interrupted. In Mrs. Stevens' opinion any crime 
committed that afternoon in the office was as nothing to the double crime 
committed by the unhappy Elsie. 

For Elsie realized too late that she would have done better to have said 
nothing about her presence in the hall that afternoon. She was bad at 
concealing the truth and Mrs. Stevens was good at discovering it. Elsie 
knew perfectly well that she had no business to come down the front stairs, 
and it was no excuse to say that she happened to come out of Miss Norris' 
room just at the head of the stairs, and didn't think it would matter, as there 
was nobody in the hall, and what was she doing anyhow in Miss Norris' 
room at that time? Returning a magazine? Lent by Miss Norris, might 
she ask? Well, not exactly lent. Really, Elsie! - and this in a respectable 
house! In vain for poor Elsie to plead that a story by her favourite author 
was advertised on the cover, with a picture of the villain falling over the 
cliff. "That's where you'll go to, my girl, if you aren't careful," said Mrs. 
Stevens firmly. 

But, of course, there was no need to confess all these crimes to 
Inspector Birch. All that interested him was that she was passing through 
the hall, and heard voices in the office. 

"And stopped to listen?" 

"Certainly not," said Elsie with dignity, feeling that nobody really 
understood her. "I was just passing through the hall, just as you might 
have been yourself, and not supposing they was talking secrets, didn't 
think to stop my ears, as no doubt I ought to have done." And she sniffed 
slightly. 

"Come, come," said the inspector soothingly, "I didn't mean to suggest 
-" 

"Everyone is very unkind to me," said Elsie between sniffs, "and 
there's that poor man lying dead there, and sorry they'd have been, if it had 

37



The Red House Mystery 

been me, to have spoken to me as they have done this day." 

"Nonsense, we're going to be very proud of you. I shouldn't be 
surprised if your evidence were of very great importance. Now then, 
what was it you heard? Try to remember the exact words." 

Something about working in a passage, thought Elsie. 

"Yes, but who said it?" 

"Mr. Robert." 

"How do you know it was Mr. Robert? Had you heard his voice 
before?" 

"I don't take it upon myself to say that I had had any acquaintance with 
Mr. Robert, but seeing that it wasn't Mr. Mark, nor yet Mr. Cayley, nor any 
other of the gentlemen, and Miss Stevens had shown Mr. Robert into the 
office not five minutes before -" 

"Quite so," said the inspector hurriedly. "Mr. Robert, undoubtedly. 
Working in a passage?" 

"That was what it sounded like, sir." 

"H'm. Working a passage over - could that have been it?" 

"That's right, sir," said Elsie eagerly. "He'd worked his passage over." 

"Well?" 

"And then Mr. Mark said loudly - sort of triumphant-like - 'It's my turn 
now. You wait.'" 

"Triumphantly?" 

"As much as to say his chance had come." 

"And that's all you heard?" 

"That's all, sir - not standing there listening, but just passing through 
the hall, as it might be any time." 

"Yes. Well, that's really very important, Elsie. Thank you." 

Elsie gave him a smile, and returned eagerly to the kitchen. She was 
ready for Mrs. Stevens or anybody now. 

Meanwhile Antony had been exploring a little on his own. There was 
a point which was puzzling him. He went through the hall to the front of 
the house and stood at the open door, looking out on to the drive. He and 
Cayley had run round the house to the left. Surely it would have been 
quicker to have run round to the right? The front door was not in the 

38



The Red House Mystery 

middle of the house, it was to the end. Undoubtedly they went the 
longest way round. But perhaps there was something in the way, if one 
went to the right - a wall, say. He strolled off in that direction, followed a 
path round the house and came in sight of the office windows. Quite 
simple, and about half the distance of the other way. He went on a little 
farther, and came to a door, just beyond the broken-in windows. It opened 
easily, and he found himself in a passage. At the end of the passage was 
another door. He opened it and found himself in the hall again. 

"And, of course, that's the quickest way of the three," he said to 
himself. "Through the hall, and out at the back; turn to the left and there 
you are. Instead of which, we ran the longest way round the house. 
Why? Was it to give Mark more time in which to escape? Only, in that 
case - why run? Also, how did. Cayley know then that it was Mark 
who was trying to escape? If he had guessed - well, not guessed, but 
been afraid -that one had shot the other, it was much more likely that 
Robert had shot Mark. Indeed, he had admitted that this was what he 
thought. The first thing he had said when he turned the body over was, 
'Thank God! I was afraid it was Mark.' But why should he want to give 
Robert time in which to get away? And again - why run, if he did want 
to give him time?" 

Antony went out of the house again to the lawns at the back, and sat 
down on a bench in view of the office windows. 

"Now then," he said, "let's go through Cayley's mind carefully, and see 
what we get." 

Cayley had been in the hall when Robert was shown into the office. 
The servant goes off to look for Mark, and Cayley goes on with his book. 
Mark comes down the stairs, warns Cayley to stand by in case he is 
wanted, and goes to meet his brother. What does Cayley expect? 
Possibly that he won't be wanted at all; possibly that his advice may be 
wanted in the matter, say, of paying Robert's debts, or getting him a 
passage back to Australia; possibly that his physical assistance may be 
wanted to get an obstreperous Robert out of the house. Well, he sits there 
for a moment, and then goes into the library. Why not? He is still 
within reach, if wanted. Suddenly he hears a pistol-shot. A pistol-shot is 

39



The Red House Mystery 

the last noise you expect to hear in a country-house; very natural, then, 
that for the moment he would hardly realize what it was. He listens - and 
hears nothing more. Perhaps it wasn't a pistol-shot after all. After a 
moment or two he goes to the library door again. The profound silence 
makes him uneasy now. Was it a pistol-shot? Absurd! Still - no harm in 
going into the office on some excuse, just to reassure himself. So he tries 
the door - and finds it locked! 

What are his emotions now? Alarm, uncertainty. Something is 
happening. Incredible though it seems, it must have been a pistol-shot. 
He is banging at the door and calling out to Mark, and there is no answer. 
Alarm - yes. But alarm for whose safety? Mark's, obviously. Robert is 
a stranger; Mark is an intimate friend. Robert has written a letter that 
morning, the letter of a man in a dangerous temper. Robert is the tough 
customer; Mark the highly civilized gentleman. If there has been a 
quarrel, it is Robert who has shot Mark. He bangs at the door again. 

Of course, to Antony, coming suddenly upon this scene, Cayley's 
conduct had seemed rather absurd, but then, just for the moment, Cayley 
had lost his head. Anybody else might have done the same. But, as soon 
as Antony suggested trying the windows, Cayley saw that that was the 
obvious thing to do. So he leads the way to the windows - the longest 
way. 

Why? To give the murderer time to escape? If he had thought then 
that Mark was the murderer, perhaps, yes. But he thinks that Robert is 
the murderer. If he is not hiding anything, he must think so. Indeed he 
says so, when he sees the body; "I was afraid it was Mark," he says, when 
he finds that it is Robert who is killed. No reason, then, for wishing to 
gain time. On the contrary, every instinct would urge him to get into the 
room as quickly as possible, and seize the wicked Robert. Yet he goes 
the longest way round. Why? And then, why run? 

"That's the question," said Antony to himself, as he filled his pipe, 
"and bless me if I know the answer. It may be, of course, that Cayley is 
just a coward. He was in no hurry to get close to Robert's revolver, and 
yet wanted me to think that he was bursting with eagerness. That would 
explain it, but then that makes Cayley out a coward. Is he? At any rate 

40



The Red House Mystery 

he pushed his face up against the window bravely enough. No, I want a 
better answer than that." 

He sat there with his unlit pipe in his hand, thinking. There were one 
or two other things in the back of his brain, waiting to be taken out and 
looked at. For the moment he left them undisturbed. They would come 
back to him later when he wanted them. 

He laughed suddenly, and lit his pipe. 

"I was wanting a new profession," he thought, "and now I've found it. 
Antony Gillingham, our own private sleuthhound. I shall begin to-day." 

Whatever Antony Gillingham's other qualifications for his new 
profession, he had at any rate a brain which worked clearly and quickly. 
And this clear brain of his had already told him that he was the only 
person in the house at that moment who was unhandicapped in the search 
for truth. The inspector had arrived in it to find a man dead and a man 
missing. It was extremely probable, no doubt, that the missing man had 
shot the dead man. But it was more than extremely probable, it was 
almost certain that the inspector would start with the idea that this 
extremely probable solution was the one true solution, and that, in 
consequence, he would be less disposed to consider without prejudice any 
other solution. As regards all the rest of them - Cayley, the guests, the 
servants - they also were prejudiced; in favour of Mark (or possibly, for all 
he knew, against Mark); in favour of, or against, each other; they had 
formed some previous opinion, from what had been said that morning, of 
the sort of man Robert was. No one of them could consider the matter 
with an unbiased mind. 

But Antony could. He knew nothing about Mark; he knew nothing 
about Robert. He had seen the dead man before he was told who the 
dead man was. He knew that a tragedy had happened before he knew 
that anybody was missing. Those first impressions, which are so vitally 
important, had been received solely on the merits of the case; they were 
founded on the evidence of his senses, not on the evidence of his emotions 
or of other people's senses. He was in a much better position for getting 
at the truth than was the inspector. 

It is possible that, in thinking this, Antony was doing Inspector Birch a 

41



The Red House Mystery 

slight injustice. Birch was certainly prepared to believe that Mark had 
shot his brother. Robert had been shown into the office (witness Audrey); 
Mark had gone in to Robert (witness Cayley); Mark and Robert had been 
heard talking (witness Elsie); there was a shot (witness everybody); the 
room had been entered and Robert's body had been found (witness Cayley 
and Gillingham). And Mark was missing. Obviously, then, Mark had 
killed his brother: accidentally, as Cayley believed, or deliberately, as 
Elsie's evidence seemed to suggest. There was no point in looking for a 
difficult solution to a problem, when the easy solution had no flaw in it. 
But at the same time Birch would have preferred the difficult solution, 
simply because there was more credit attached to it. A "sensational" 
arrest of somebody in the house would have given him more pleasure than 
a commonplace pursuit of Mark Ablett across country. Mark must be 
found, guilty or not guilty. But there were other possibilities. It would 
have interested Antony to know that, just at the time when he was feeling 
rather superior to the prejudiced inspector, the inspector himself was 
letting his mind dwell lovingly upon the possibilities in connexion with 
Mr. Gillingham. Was it only a coincidence that Mr. Gillingham had 
turned up just when he did? And Mr. Beverley's curious answers when 
asked for some account of his friend. An assistant in a tobacconist's, a 
waiter! An odd man, Mr. Gillingham, evidently. It might be as well to 
keep an eye on him. 

42



The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER VI

 Outside Or Inside? 

The guests had said good-bye to Cayley, according to their different 
manner. The Major, gruff and simple: "If you want me, command me. 
Anything I can do - Good-bye"; Betty, silently sympathetic, with 
everything in her large eyes which she was too much overawed to tell; 
Mrs. Calladine, protesting that she did not know what to say, but 
apparently finding plenty; and Miss Norris, crowding so much into one 
despairing gesture that Cayley's unvarying "Thank you very much" might 
have been taken this time as gratitude for an artistic entertainment. 

Bill had seen them into the car, had taken his own farewells (with a 
special squeeze of the hand for Betty), and had wandered out to join 
Antony on his garden seat. 

"Well, this is a rum show," said Bill as he sat down. 

"Very rum, William." 

"And you actually walked right into it?" 

"Right into it," said Antony. 

"Then you're the man I want. There are all sorts of rumours and 
mysteries about, and that inspector fellow simply wouldn't keep to the 
point when I wanted to ask him about the murder, or whatever it is, but 
kept asking me questions about where I'd met you first, and all sorts of 
dull things like that. Now, what really happened?" 

Antony told him as concisely as he could all that he had already told 
the inspector, Bill interrupting him here and there with appropriate "Good 
Lords" and whistles. 

"I say, it's a bit of a business, isn't it? Where do I come in, exactly?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"Well, everybody else is bundled off except me, and I get put through 
it by that inspector as if I knew all about it - what's the idea?" 

Antony smiled at him. 

"Well, there's nothing to worry about, you know. Naturally Birch 
wanted to see one of you so as to know what you'd all been doing all day. 
And Cayley was nice enough to think that you'd be company for me, as I 

43



The Red House Mystery 

knew you already. And well, that's all." 

"You're staying here, in the house?" said Bill eagerly. "Good man. 
That's splendid." 

"It reconciles you to the departure of some of the others?" 

Bill blushed. 

"Oh, well, I shall see her again next week, anyway," he murmured. 

"I congratulate you. I liked her looks. And that grey dress. A nice 
comfortable sort of woman." 

"You fool, that's her mother." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. But anyhow, Bill, I want you more than she 
does just now. So try and put up with me." 

"I say, do you really?" said Bill, rather flattered. He had a great 
admiration for Antony, and was very proud to be liked by him. 

"Yes. You see, things are going to happen here soon." 

"Inquests and that sort of thing?" 

"Well, perhaps something before that. Hallo, here comes Cayley." 

Cayley was walking across the lawn towards them, a big, heavy-
shouldered man, with one of those strong, clean-shaven, ugly faces which 
can never quite be called plain. "Bad luck on 'Cayley," said Bill. "I say, 
ought I to tell him how sorry I am and all that sort of thing? It seems so 
dashed inadequate." 

"I shouldn't bother," said Antony. 

Cayley nodded as he came to them, and stood there for a moment. 

"We can make room for you," said Bill, getting up. 

"Oh, don't bother, thanks. I just came to say," he went on to Antony, 
"that naturally they've rather lost their heads in the kitchen, and dinner 
won't be till half-past eight. Do just as you like about dressing, of course. 
And what about your luggage?" 

"I thought Bill and I would walk over to the inn directly, and see about 
it." 

"The car can go and fetch it as soon as it comes back from the station." 

"It's very good of you, but I shall have to go over myself, anyhow, to 
pack up and pay my bill. Besides, it's a good evening for a walk. If you 
wouldn't mind it, Bill?" 

44



The Red House Mystery 

"I should love it." 

"Well, then, if you leave the bag there, I'll send the car round for it 
later." 

"Thanks very much." 

Having said what he wanted to say, Cayley remained there a little 
awkwardly, as if not sure whether to go or to stay. Antony wondered 
whether he wanted to talk about the afternoon's happenings, or whether it 
was the one subject he wished to avoid. To break the silence he asked 
carelessly if the inspector had gone. 

Cayley nodded. Then he said abruptly, "He's getting a warrant for 
Mark's arrest." 

Bill made a suitably sympathetic noise, and Antony said with a shrug 
of the shoulders, "Well, he was bound to do that, wasn't he? It doesn't 
follow that well, it doesn't mean anything. They naturally want to get 
hold of your cousin, innocent or guilty." 

"Which do you think he is, Mr. Gillingham?" said Cayley, looking at 
him steadily. 

"Mark? It's absurd," said Bill impetuously. 

"Bill's loyal, you see, Mr. Cayley." 

"And you owe no loyalty to anyone concerned?" 

"Exactly. So perhaps I might be too frank." 

Bill had dropped down on the grass, and Cayley took his place on the 
seat, and sat there heavily, his elbows on his knees, his chin on his hands, 
gazing at the ground. 

"I want you to be quite frank," he said at last. "Naturally I am 
prejudiced where Mark is concerned. So I want to know how my 
suggestion strikes you who have no prejudices either way. 

"Your suggestion?" 

"My theory that, if Mark killed his brother, it was purely accidental as 
I told the inspector." 

Bill looked up with interest. 

"You mean that. Robert did the hold-up business," he said, "and there 
was a bit of a struggle, and the revolver went off, and then Mark lost his 
head and bolted? That sort of idea?" 

45



The Red House Mystery 

"Exactly." 

"Well, that seems all right." He turned to Antony. "There's nothing 
wrong with that, is there? It's the most natural explanation to anyone 
who knows Mark." 

Antony pulled at his pipe. 

"I suppose it is," he said slowly. "But there's one thing that worries 
me rather." 

"What's that?" Bill and Cayley asked the question simultaneously. 

"The key." 

"The key?" said Bill. 

Cayley lifted his head and looked at Antony. "What about the key?" 
he asked. 

"Well, there may be nothing in it; I just wondered. Suppose Robert 
was killed as you say, and suppose Mark lost his head and thought of 
nothing but getting away before anyone could see him. Well, very likely 
he'd lock the door and put the key in his pocket. He'd do it without 
thinking, just to gain a moment's time. 

"Yes, that's what I suggest. 

"It seems sound enough," said Bill. "Sort of thing you'd do without 
thinking. Besides, if you are going to run away, it gives you more of a 
chance." 

"Yes, that's all right if the key is there. But suppose it isn't there?" 

The suggestion, made as if it were already an established fact, startled 
them both. They looked at him wonderingly. 

"What do you mean?" said Cayley. 

"Well, it's just a question of where people happen to keep their keys. 
You go up to your bedroom, and perhaps you like to lock your door in 
case anybody comes wandering in when you've only got one sock and a 
pair of braces on. Well, that's natural enough. And if you look round 
the bedrooms of almost any house, you'll find the keys all ready, so that 
you can lock yourself in at a moment's notice. But downstairs people 
don't lock themselves in. It's really never done at all. Bill, for instance, 
has never locked himself into the dining-room in order to be alone with 
the sherry. On the other hand, all women, and particularly servants, have a 

46



The Red House Mystery 

horror of burglars. And if a burglar gets in by the window, they like to 
limit his activities to that particular room. So they keep the, keys on the 
outside of the doors, and lock the doors when they go to bed." He 
knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and added, "At least, my mother always 
used to." 

"You mean," said Bill excitedly, "that the key was on the outside of the 
door when Mark went into the room?" 

"Well, I was just wondering." 

"Have you noticed the other rooms the billiard-room, and library, and 
so on?" said Cayley. 

"I've only just thought about it while I've been sitting out here. You 
live here haven't you ever noticed them?" 

Cayley sat considering, with his head on one side. 

"It seems rather absurd, you know, but I can't say that I have." He 
turned to Bill. "Have you?" 

"Good Lord, no. I should never worry about a thing like that." 

"I'm sure you wouldn't," laughed Antony. "Well, we can have a look 
when we go in. If the other keys are outside, then this one was probably 
outside too, and in that case well, it makes it more interesting." 

Cayley said nothing. Bill chewed a piece of grass, and then said, 
"Does it make much difference?" 

"It makes it more hard to understand what happened in there. Take 
your accidental theory and see where you get to. No instinctive turning 
of the key now, is there? He's got to open the door to get it, and opening 
the door means showing his head to anybody in the hall - his cousin, for 
instance, whom he left there two minutes ago. Is a man in Mark's state of 
mind, frightened to death lest he should be found with the body, going to 
do anything so foolhardy as that?" 

"He needn't have been afraid of me," said Cayley. 

"Then why didn't he call for you? He knew you were about. You 
could have advised him; Heaven knows he wanted advice. But the whole 
theory of Mark's escape is that he was afraid of you and of everybody else, 
and that he had no other idea but to get out of the room himself, and 
prevent you or the servants from coming into it. If the key had been on 

47



The Red House Mystery 

the inside, he would probably have locked the door. If it were on the 
outside, he almost certainly wouldn't." 

"Yes, I expect you're right," said Bill thoughtfully. "Unless he took 
the key in with him, and locked the door at once. 

"Exactly. But in that case you have to build up a new theory 
entirely." 

"You mean that it makes it seem more deliberate?" 

"Yes; that, certainly. But it also seems to make Mark out an absolute 
idiot. Just suppose for a moment that, for urgent reasons which neither 
of you know anything about, he had wished to get rid of his brother. 
Would he have done it like that? Just killed him and then run away? 
Why, that's practically suicide - suicide whilst of unsound mind. No. If 
you really wanted to remove an undesirable brother, you would do it a 
little bit more cleverly than that. You'd begin by treating him as a friend, 
so as to avoid suspicion, and when you did kill him at last, you would try 
to make it look like an accident, or suicide, or the work of some other man. 
Wouldn't you?" 

"You mean you'd give yourself a bit of a run for your money?" 

"Yes, that's what I mean. if you were going to do it deliberately, that 
is to say and lock yourself in before you began." Cayley had been silent, 
apparently thinking over this new idea. With his eyes still on the ground, 
he said now: "I hold to my opinion that it was purely accidental, and that 
Mark lost his head and ran away. 

"But what about the key?" asked Bill. 

"We don't know yet that the keys were outside. I don't at all agree 
with Mr. Gillingham that the keys of the down-stairs rooms are always 
outside the doors. Sometimes they are, no doubt; but I think we shall 
probably find that these are inside." 

"Oh, well, of course, if they are inside, then your original theory is 
probably the correct one. Having often seen them outside, I just 
wondered that's all. You asked me to be quite frank, you know, and tell 
you what I thought. But no doubt you're right, and we shall find them 
inside, as you say. 

"Even if the key was outside," went on Cayley stubbornly, "I still think 

48



The Red House Mystery 

it might have been accidental. He might have taken it in with him, 
knowing that the interview would be an unpleasant one, and not wishing 
to be interrupted." 

"But he had just told you to stand by in case he wanted you; so why 
should he lock you out? Besides, I should think that if a man were going 
to have an unpleasant interview with a threatening relation, the last thing 
he would do would be to barricade himself in with him. He would want to 
open all the doors and say, 'Get out of it'" 

Cayley was silent, but his mouth looked obstinate. Antony gave a 
little apologetic laugh and stood up. 

"Well, come on, Bill," he said; "we ought to be stepping." He held 
out a hand and pulled his friend up. Then, turning to Cayley, he went on, 
"You must forgive me if I have let my thoughts run on rather. Of course, 
I was considering the matter purely as an outsider; just as a problem, I 
mean, which didn't concern the happiness of any of my friends." 

"That's all right, Mr. Gillingham," said Cayley, standing up too. "It is 
for you to make allowances for me. I'm sure you will. You say that 
you're going up to the inn now about your bag?" 

"Yes." He looked up at the sun and then round the parkland 
stretching about the house. "Let me see; it's over in that direction, isn't 
it?" He pointed southwards. "Can we get to the village that way, or 
must we go by the road?" 

"I'll show you, my boy," said Bill. 

"Bill will show you. The park reaches almost as far as the village. 
Then I'll send the car round in about half an hour." 

"Thanks very much." 

Cayley nodded and turned to go into the house. Antony took hold of 
Bill's arm and walked off with him in the opposite direction. 

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The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER VII 

Portrait of a Gentleman 

They walked in silence for a little, until they had left the house and 
gardens well behind them. In front of them and to the right the park 
dipped and then rose slowly, shutting out the rest of the world. A thick 
belt of trees on the left divided them from the main road. 

"Ever been here before?" said Antony suddenly. 

"Oh, rather. Dozens of times." 

"I meant just here where we are now. Or do you stay indoors and 
play billiards all the time?" 

"Oh lord, no!" 

"Well, tennis and things. So many people with beautiful parks never 
by any chance use them, and all the poor devils passing by on the dusty 
road think how lucky the owners are to have them, and imagine them 
doing all sorts of jolly things inside." He pointed to the right. "Ever 
been over there?" 

Bill laughed, as if a little ashamed. 

"Well, not very much. I've often been along here, of course, because 
it's the short way to the village." 

"Yes.... All right; now tell me something about Mark." 

"What sort of things?" 

"Well, never mind about his being your host, or about your being a 
perfect gentleman, or anything like that. Cut out the Manners for Men, 
and tell me what you think of Mark, and how you like staying with him, 
and how many rows your little house-party has had this week, and how 
you get on with Cayley, and all the rest of it." 

Bill looked at him eagerly. 

"I say, are you being the complete detective?" 

"Well, I wanted a new profession," smiled the other. 

"What fun! I mean," he corrected himself apologetically, "one 
oughtn't to say that, when there's a man dead in the house, and one's host " 
He broke off a little uncertainly, and then rounded off his period by saying 
again, "By Jove, what a rum show it is. Good Lord!" 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Well?" said Antony. "Carry on, Mark" 

"What do I think of him?" 

"Yes." 

Bill was silent, wondering how to put into words thoughts which had 
never formed themselves very definitely in his own mind. What did he 
think of Mark? Seeing his hesitation, Antony said: 

"I ought to have warned you that nothing that you say will be taken 
down by the reporters, so you needn't bother about a split infinitive or two. 
Talk about anything you like, how you like. Well, I'll give you a start. 
Which do you enjoy more a week-end here or at the Barrington's, say?" 

"Well; of course, that would depend -" 

"Take it that she was there in both cases." 

"Ass," said Bill, putting an elbow into Antony's ribs. "It's a little 
difficult to say," he went on. "Of course they do you awfully well here." 

"Yes. I don't think I know any house where things are so comfortable. 
One's room -the food - drinks - cigars -the way everything's arranged: 
All that sort of thing. They look after you awfully well." 

"Yes?" 

"Yes." He repeated it slowly to himself, as if it had given him a new 
idea: "They look after you awfully well. Well, that's just what it is about 
Mark. That's one of his little ways. Weaknesses. Looking after you." 

"Arranging things for you?" 

"Yes. Of course, it's a delightful house, and there's plenty to do, and 
opportunities for every game or sport that's ever been invented, and, as I 
say, one gets awfully well done; but with it all, Tony, there's a faint sort of 
feeling that well, that one is on parade, as it were. You've got to do as 
you're told." 

"How do you mean?" 

"Well, Mark fancies himself rather at arranging things. He arranges 
things, and it's understood that the guests fall in with the arrangement. 
For instance, Betty - Miss Calladine - and I were going to play a single 
just before tea, the other day. Tennis. She's frightfully hot stuff at tennis, 
and backed herself to take me on level. I'm rather erratic, you know. 
Mark saw us going out with our rackets and asked us what we were going 

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The Red House Mystery 

to do. Well, he'd got up a little tournament for us after tea - handicaps all 
arranged by him, and everything ruled out neatly in red and black ink 
prizes and all - quite decent ones, you know. He'd had the lawn specially 
cut and marked for it. Well, of course Betty and I wouldn't have spoilt 
the court, and we'd have been quite ready to play again after tea - I had to 
give her half-fifteen according to his handicap -but somehow" Bill 
stopped and shrugged his shoulders. 

"It didn't quite fit in?" 

"No. It spoilt the effect of his tournament. Took the edge off it just 
a little, I suppose he felt. So we didn't play." He laughed, and added, 
"It would have been as much as our place was worth to have played." 

"Do you mean you wouldn't have been asked here again?" 

"Probably. Well, I don't know. Not for some time, anyway." 

"Really, Bill?" 

"Oh, rather! He's a devil for taking offence. That Miss Norris did 
you see her? she's done for herself. I don't mind betting what you like 
that she never comes here again." 

"Why?" 

Bill laughed to himself. 

"We were all in it, really - at least, Betty and I were. There's 
supposed to be a ghost attached to the house. Lady Anne Patten. Ever 
heard of her?" 

"Never." 

"Mark told us about her at dinner one night. He rather liked the idea 
of there being a ghost in his house, you know; except that he doesn't 
believe in ghosts. I think he wanted all of us to believe in her, and yet he 
was annoyed with Betty and Mrs. Calladine for believing in ghosts at all. 
Rum chap. Well, anyhow, Miss Norris - she's an actress, some actress 
too - dressed up as the ghost and played the fool a bit. And poor Mark 
was frightened out of his life. Just for a moment, you know." 

"What about the others?" 

"Well, Betty and I knew; in fact, I'd told her - Miss Norris I mean - not 
to be a silly ass. Knowing Mark. Mrs. Calladine wasn't there - Betty 
wouldn't let her be. As for the Major, I don't believe anything would 

52



The Red House Mystery 

frighten him." 

"Where did the ghost appear?" 

"Down by the bowling-green. That's supposed to be its haunt, you 
know. We were all down there in the moonlight, pretending to wait for it. 
Do you know the bowling-green?" 

"No." 

"I'll show it to you after dinner." 

"I wish you would.... Was Mark very angry afterwards?" 

"Oh, Lord, yes. Sulked for a whole day. Well, he's just like that." 

"Was he angry with all of you?" 

"Oh, yes sulky, you know." 

"This morning.?" 

"Oh, no. He got over it he generally does. He's just like a child. 
That's really it, Tony; he's like a child in some ways. As a matter of fact, 
he was unusually bucked with himself this morning. And yesterday." 

"Yesterday?" 

"Rather. We all said we'd never seen him in such form." 

"Is he generally in form?" 

"He's quite good company, you know, if you take him the right way. 
He's rather vain and childish well, like I've been telling you and self-
important; but quite amusing in his way, and -" Bill broke off suddenly. 
"I say, you know, it really is the limit, talking about your host like this." 

"Don't think of him as your host. Think of him as a suspected 
murderer with a warrant out against him." 

"Oh! but that's all rot, you know." 

"It's the fact, Bill." 

"Yes, but I mean, he didn't do it. He wouldn't murder anybody. It's a 
funny thing to say, but well, he's not big enough for it. He's got his faults, 
like all of us, but they aren't on that scale." 

"One can kill anybody in a childish fit of temper." 

Bill grunted assent, but without prejudice to Mark. "All the same," 
he said, "I can't believe it. That he would do it deliberately, I mean." 

"Suppose it was an accident, as Cayley says, would he lose his head 
and run away?" 

53



The Red House Mystery 

Bill considered for a moment. 

"Yes, I really think he might, you know. He nearly ran away when he 
saw the ghost. Of course, that's different, rather." 

"Oh, I don't know. In each case it's a question of obeying your 
instinct instead of your reason." 

They had left the open land and were following a path through the 
bordering trees: Two abreast was uncomfortable, so Antony dropped 
behind, and further conversation was postponed until they were outside 
the boundary fence and in the high road. The road sloped gently down to 
the village of Waldheim a few red-roofed cottages, and the grey tower of a 
church showing above the green. 

"Well, now," said Antony, as they stepped out more quickly, "what 
about Cayley?" 

"How do you mean, what about him?" 

"I want to see him. I can see Mark perfectly, thanks to you, Bill. You 
were wonderful. Now let's have Cayley's character. Cayley from 
within." 

Bill laughed in pleased embarrassment, and protested that he was not a 
blooming novelist. 

"Besides," he added, "Mark's easy. Cayley's one of these heavy, quiet 
people, who might be thinking about anything. Mark gives himself 
away.... Ugly, black-jawed devil, isn't he?" 

"Some women like that type of ugliness." 

"Yes, that's true. Between ourselves, I think there's one here who 
does. Rather a pretty girl at Jallands" he waved his left hand "down that 
way." 

"What's Jallands?" 

"Well, I suppose it used to be a farm, belonging to a bloke called 
Jalland, but now it's a country cottage belonging to a widow called 
Norbury. Mark and Cayley used to go there a good deal together. Miss 
Norbury - the girl - has been here once or twice for tennis; seemed to 
prefer Cayley to the rest of us. But of course he hadn't much time for 
that sort of thing." 

"What sort of thing?" 

54



The Red House Mystery 

"Walking about with a pretty girl and asking her if she's been to any 
theatres lately. He nearly always had something to do." 

"Mark kept him busy?" 

"Yes. Mark never seemed quite happy unless he had Cayley doing 
something for him. He was quite lost and helpless without him. And, 
funnily enough, Cayley seemed lost without Mark." 

"He was fond of him?" 

"Yes, I should say so. In a protective kind of way. He'd sized Mark 
up, of course his vanity, his self-importance, his amateurishness and all the 
rest of it but he liked looking after him. And he knew how to manage 
him." 

"Yes.... What sort of terms was he on with the guests - you and Miss 
Norris and all of them?" 

"Just polite and rather silent, you know. Keeping himself to himself. 
We didn't see so very much of him, except at meals. We were here to 
enjoy ourselves, and well, he wasn't." 

"He wasn't there when the ghost walked?" 

"No. I heard Mark calling for him when he went back to the house. I 
expect Cayley stroked down his feathers a bit, and told him that girls will 
be girls.... - Hallo, here we are. 

They went into the inn, and while Bill made himself pleasant to the 
landlady, Antony went upstairs to his room. It appeared that he had not 
very much packing to do, after all. He returned his brushes to his bag, 
glanced sound to see that nothing else had been taken out, and went down 
again to settle his bill. He had decided to keep on his room for a few 
days; partly to save the landlord and his wife the disappointment of losing 
a guest so suddenly, partly in case he found it undesirable later on to 
remain at The Red House. For he was taking himself seriously as a 
detective; indeed, he took himself seriously (while getting all the fun out 
of it which was possible) at every new profession he adopted; and he felt 
that there might come a time after the inquest, say when he could not 
decently remain at The Red House as a guest, a friend of Bill's, enjoying 
the hospitality of Mark or Cayley, whichever was to be regarded as his 
host, without forfeiting his independent attitude towards the events of that 

55



The Red House Mystery 

afternoon. At present he was staying in the house merely as a necessary 
witness, and, since he was there, Cayley could not object to him using his 
eyes; but if, after the inquest, it appeared that there was still work for a 
pair of independent and very keen eyes to do, then he must investigate, 
either with his host's approval or from beneath the roof of some other host; 
the landlord of "The George," for instance, who had no feelings in the 
matter. 

For of one thing Antony was certain. Cayley knew more than he 
professed to know. That is to say, he knew more than he wanted other 
people to know he knew. Antony was one of the "other people"; if, 
therefore, he was for trying to find out what it was that Cayley knew, he 
could hardly expect Cayley's approval of his labours. It would be "The 
George," then, for Antony after the inquest. 

What was the truth? Not necessarily discreditable to Cayley, even 
though he were hiding something. All that could be said against him at 
the moment was that he had gone the longest way round to get into the 
locked office and that this did not fit in with what he had told the 
inspector. But it did fit in with the theory that he had been an accessory 
after the event, and that he wanted (while appearing to be in a hurry) to 
give his cousin as much time as possible in which to escape. That might 
not be the true solution, but it was at least a workable one. The theory 
which he had suggested to the inspector was not. 

However, there would be a day or two before the inquest, in which 
Antony could consider all these matters from within The Red House. The 
car was at the door. He got in with Bill, the landlord put his bag on the 
front seat next to the chauffeur, and they drove back. 

56



The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER VIII 

"Do You Follow Me, Watson?" 

Anthony's bedroom looked over the park at the back of the house. 
The blinds were not yet drawn while he was changing his clothes for 
dinner, and at various stages of undress he would pause and gaze out of 
the window, sometimes smiling to himself, sometimes frowning, as he 
tamed over in his mind all the strange things that he had seen that day. 
He was sitting on his bed, in shirt and trousers, absently smoothing down 
his thick black hair with his brushes, when Bill shouted an "Hallo!" 
through the door, and came in. 

"I say, buck up, old boy, I'm hungry," he said. 

Antony stopped smoothing himself and looked up at him thoughtfully. 

"Where's Mark?" he said. 

"Mark? You mean Cayley." 

Antony corrected himself with a little laugh. "Yes, I mean Cayley. Is 
he down? I say, I shan't be a moment, Bill." He got up from the bed 
and went on briskly with his dressing. "Oh, by the way," said Bill, taking 
his place on the bed, "your idea about the keys is a wash-out." 

"Why, how do you mean?" 

"I went down just now and had a look at them. We were asses not to 
have thought of it when we came in. The library key is outside, but all 
the others are inside." 

"Yes, I know." 

"You devil, I suppose you did think of it, then?" 

"I did, Bill," said Antony apologetically. 

"Bother! I hoped you'd forgotten. Well, that knocks your theory on 
the head, doesn't it?" 

"I never had a theory. I only said that if they were outside, it would 
probably mean that the office key was outside, and that in that case 
Cayley's theory was knocked on the head." 

"Well, now, it isn't, and we don't know anything. Some were outside 
and some inside, and there you are. It makes it much less exciting. When 
you were talking about it on the lawn, I really got quite keen on the idea of 

57



The Red House Mystery 

the key being outside and Mark taking it in with him." 

"It's going to be exciting enough," said Antony mildly, as he 
transferred his pipe and tobacco into the pocket of his black coat. "Well, 
let's come down; I'm ready now." 

Cayley was waiting for them in the hall. He made some polite 
inquiry as to the guest's comfort, and the three of them fell into a casual 
conversation about houses in general and The Red House in particular. 

"You were quite right about the keys," said Bill, during a pause. He 
was less able than the other two, perhaps because he was younger than 
they, to keep away from the subject which was uppermost in the minds of 
them all. 

"Keys?" said Cayley blankly. 

"We were wondering whether they were outside or inside." 

"Oh! oh, yes!" He looked slowly round the hall, at the different 
doors, and then smiled in a friendly way at Antony. "We both seem to 
have been right, Mr. Gillingham. So we don't get much farther." 

"No." He gave a shrug. "I just wondered, you know. I thought it 
was worth mentioning." 

"Oh, quite. Not that you would have convinced me, you know. Just 
as Elsie's evidence doesn't convince me." 

"Elsie?" said Bill excitedly. Antony looked inquiringly at him, 
wondering who Elsie was. 

"One of the housemaids," explained Cayley. "You didn't hear what 
she told the inspector? Of course, as I told Birch, girls of that class make 
things up, but he seemed to think she was genuine." 

"What was it?" said Bill. 

Cayley told them of what Elsie had heard through the office door that 
afternoon. 

"You were in the library then, of course," said Antony, rather to 
himself than to the other. "She might have gone through the hall without 
your hearing." 

"Oh, I've no doubt she was there, and heard voices. Perhaps heard 
those very words. But -" He broke off, and then added impatiently, "It 
was accidental. I know it was accidental. What's the good of talking as 

58



The Red House Mystery 

if Mark was a murderer?" Dinner was announced at that moment, and as 
they went in, he added, "What's the good of talking about it at all, if it 
comes to that?" 

"What, indeed?" said Antony, and to Bill's great disappointment they 
talked of books and politics during the meal. 

Cayley made an excuse for leaving them as soon as their cigars were 
alight. He had business to attend to, as was natural. Bill would look 
after his friend. Bill was only too willing. He offered to beat Antony at 
billiards, to play him at piquet, to show him the garden by moonlight, or 
indeed to do anything else with him that he required. 

"Thank the Lord you're here," he said piously. "I couldn't have stood 
it alone." 

"Let's go outside," suggested Antony. "It's quite warm. Somewhere 
where we can sit down, right away from the house. I want to talk to 
you." 

"Good man. What about the bowling-green?" 

"Oh, you were going to show me that, anyhow, weren't you? Is it 
somewhere where we can talk without being overheard?" 

"Rather. The ideal place. You'll see." 

They came out of the front door and followed the drive to the left. 
Coming from Waldheim, Antony had approached the house that afternoon 
from the other side. The way they were going now would take them out 
at the opposite end of the park, on the high road to Stanton, a country town 
some three miles away. They passed by a gate and a gardener's lodge, 
which marked the limit of what auctioneers like to call "the ornamental 
grounds of the estate," and then the open park was before them. 

"Sure we haven't missed it?" said Antony. The park lay quietly in the 
moonlight on either side of the drive, wearing a little way ahead of them a 
deceptive air of smoothness which retreated always as they advanced. 

"Rum, isn't it?" said Bill. "An absurd place for a bowling green, bu 
I suppose it was always here." 

"Yes, but always where? It's short enough for golf, perhaps, but -
Hallo!" 

They had come to the place. The road bent round to the right, but 

59



The Red House Mystery 

they kept straight on over a broad grass path for twenty yards, and there in 
front of them was the green. A dry ditch, ten feet wide and six feet deep, 
surrounded it, except in the one place where the path went forward. Two 
or three grass steps led down to the green, on which there was a long 
wooden beach for the benefit of spectators. 

"Yes, it hides itself very nicely," said Antony. "Where do you keep 
the bowls?" 

"In a sort of summer house place. Round here." 

They walked along the edge of the green until they came to it a low 
wooden bunk which had been built into one wall of the ditch. 

"H'm. Jolly view." 

Bill laughed. 

"Nobody sits there. It's just for keeping things out of the rain." 

They finished their circuit of the green "Just in case anybody's in the 
ditch," said Antony and then sat down on the bench. 

"Now then," said Bill, "We are alone. Fire ahead." 

Antony smoked thoughtfully for a little. Then he took his pipe out of 
his mouth and turned to his friend. 

"Are you prepared to be the complete Watson?" he asked. 

"Watson?" 

"Do-you-follow-me-Watson; that one. Are you prepared to have 
quite obvious things explained to you, to ask futile questions, to give me 
chances of scoring off you, to make brilliant discoveries of your own two 
or three days after I have made them myself all that kind of thing? 
Because it all helps." 

"My dear Tony," said Bill delightedly, "need you ask?" Antony said 
nothing, and Bill went on happily to himself, "I perceive from the 
strawberry-mark on your shirt-front that you had strawberries for dessert. 
Holmes, you astonish me. Tut, tut, you know my methods. Where is the 
tobacco? The tobacco is in the Persian slipper. Can I leave my practice 
for a week? I can." 

Antony smiled and went on smoking. After waiting hopefully for a 
minute or two, Bill said in a firm voice: 

"Well then, Holmes, I feel bound to ask you if you have deduced 

60



The Red House Mystery 

anything. Also whom do you suspect?" 

Antony began to talk. 

"Do you remember," he said, "one of Holmes's little scores over 
Watson about the number of steps up to the Baker Street lodging? Poor old 
Watson had been up and down them a thousand times, but he had never 
thought of counting them, whereas Holmes had counted them as a matter 
of course, and knew that there were seventeen. And that was supposed to 
be the difference between observation and non-observation. Watson was 
crushed again, and Holmes appeared to him more amazing than ever. 
Now, it always seemed to me that in that matter Holmes was the ass, and 
Watson the sensible person. What on earth is the point of keeping in your 
head an unnecessary fact like that? If you really want to know at any 
time the number of steps to your lodging, you can ring up your landlady 
and ask her. I've been up and down the steps of the club a thousand times, 
but if you asked me to tell you at this moment how many steps there are I 
couldn't do it. Could you?" 

"I certainly couldn't," said Bill. 

"But if you really wanted to know," said Antony casually, with a 
sudden change of voice, "I could find out for you without even bothering 
to ring up the hall-porter." 

Bill was puzzled as to why they were talking about the club steps, but 
he felt it his duty to say that he did want to know how many they were. 

"Right," said Antony. "I'll find out." 

He closed his eyes. 

"I'm walking up St James' Street," he said slowly. "Now I've come to 
the club and I'm going past the smoking-room windows-one-two three 
four. Now I'm at the steps. I turn in and begin going up them. One 
two three-four-five six, then a broad step; six seven eight nine, another 
broad step; nine ten eleven. Eleven I'm inside. Good morning, Rogers. 
Fine day again." With a little start he opened his eyes and came back 
again to his present surroundings. He turned to Bill with a smile. 
"Eleven," he said. Count them the next time you're there. Eleven and 
now I hope I shall forget it again." 

Bill was distinctly interested. 

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The Red House Mystery 

"That's rather hot," he said. "Expound." 

"Well, I can't explain it, whether it's something in the actual eye, or 
something in the brain, or what, but I have got rather an uncanny habit of 
recording things unconsciously. You know that game where you look at 
a tray full of small objects for three minutes, and then turn away and try to 
make a list of them. It means a devil of a lot of concentration for the 
ordinary person, if he wants to get his list complete, but in some odd way I 
manage to do it without concentration at all. I mean that my eyes seem 
to do it without the brain consciously taking any part. I could look at the 
tray, for instance, and talk to you about golf at the same time, and still get 
my list right." 

"I should think that's rather a useful gift for an amateur detective. You 
ought to have gone into the profession before." 

"Well, it is rather useful. It's rather surprising, you know, to a 
stranger. Let's surprise Cayley with it, shall we?" 

"How?" 

"Well, let's ask him -" Antony stopped and looked at Bill comically 
"let's ask him what he's going to do with the key of the office." 

For a moment Bill did not understand. 

"Key of the office?" he said vaguely. "You don't mean - Tony! 
What do you mean? Good God! do you mean that Cayley - But what 
about Mark?" 

"I don't know where Mark is - that's another thing I want to know 
but I'm quite certain that he hasn't got the key of the office with him. 
Because Cayley's got it." 

"Are you sure?" 

"Quite." 

Bill looked at him wonderingly. 

"I say," he said, almost pleadingly, "don't tell me that you can see into 
people's pockets and all that sort of thing as well." 

Antony laughed and denied it cheerfully. 

"Then how do you know?" 

"You're the perfect Watson, Bill. You take to it quite naturally. 
Properly speaking, I oughtn't to explain till the last chapter, but I always 

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The Red House Mystery 

think that that's so unfair. So here goes. Of course, I don't really know 
that he's got it, but I do know that he had it. I know that when I came on 
him this afternoon, he had just locked the door and put the key in his 
pocket." 

"You mean you saw him at the time, but that you've only just 
remembered it - reconstructed it in the way you were explaining just 
now?" 

"No. I didn't see him. But I did see something. I saw the key of 
the billiard-room." 

"Where? 

"Outside the billiard-room door." 

"Outside? But it was inside when we looked just now." 

"Exactly." 

"Who put it there?" 

"Obviously Cayley." 

"But -" 

"Let's go back to this afternoon. I don't remember noticing the 
billiard-room key at the time; I must have done so without knowing. 
Probably when I saw Cayley banging at the door I may have wondered 
subconsciously whether the key of the room next to it would fit. 
Something like that, I daresay. Well, when I was sitting out by myself on 
that seat just before you came along, I went over the whole scene in my 
mind, and I suddenly saw the billiard-room key there outside. And I 
began to wonder if the office-key had been outside too. When Cayley 
came up, I told you my idea and you were both interested. But Cayley 
was just a shade too interested. I daresay you didn't notice it, but he was. 

"By Jove!" 

"Well, of course that proved nothing; and the key business didn't really 
prove anything, because whatever side of the door the other keys were, 
Mark might have locked his own private room from the inside sometimes. 
But I piled it on, and pretended that it was enormously important, and 
quite altered the case altogether, and having got Cayley thoroughly 
anxious about it, I told him that we should be well out of the way for the 
next hour or so, and that he would be alone in the house to do what he 

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The Red House Mystery 

liked about it. And, as I expected, he couldn't resist it. He altered the 

keys and gave himself away entirely." 

"But the library key was still outside. Why didn't he alter that?" 

"Because he's a clever devil. For one thing, the inspector had been in 
the library, and might possibly have noticed it already. And for another -" 
Antony hesitated. 

"What?" said Bill, after waiting for him to go on. 

"It's only guesswork. But I fancy that Cayley was thoroughly upset 
about the key business. He suddenly realized that he had been careless, 
and he hadn't got time to think it all over. So he didn't want to commit 
himself definitely to the statement that the key was either outside or inside. 
He wanted to leave it vague. It was safest that way." 

"I see," said Bill slowly. 

But his mind was elsewhere. He was wondering suddenly about 
Cayley. Cayley was just an ordinary man - like himself. Bill had had 
little jokes with him sometimes; not that Cayley was much of a hand at 
joking. Bill had helped him to sausages, played tennis with him, 
borrowed his tobacco, lent him a putter.... and here was Antony saying that 
he was what? Well, not an ordinary man, anyway. A man with a secret. 
Perhaps a murderer. No, not a murderer; not Cayley. That was rot, 
anyway. Why, they had played tennis together. 

"Now then, Watson," said Antony suddenly. "It's time you said 
something." 

"I say, Tony, do you really mean it?" 

"Mean what?" 

"About Cayley." 

"I mean what I said, Bill. No more. 

"Well, what does it amount to?" 

"Simply that Robert Ablett died in the office this afternoon, and that 
Cayley knows exactly how he died. That's all. It doesn't follow that 
Cayley killed him." 

"No. No, of course it doesn't." Bill gave a sigh of relief. "He's just 
shielding Mark, what?" 

"I wonder." 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Well, isn't that the simplest explanation?" 

"It's the simplest if you're a friend of Cayley and want to let him down 
lightly. But then I'm not, you see. 

"Why isn't it simple, anyhow?" 

"Well, let's have the explanation then, and I'll undertake to give you a 
simpler one afterwards. Go on. Only remember the key is on the 
outside of the door to start with." 

"Yes; well, I don't mind that. Mark goes in to see his brother, and 
they quarrel and all the rest of it, just as Cayley was saying. Cayley hears 
the shot, and in order to give Mark time to get away, locks the door, puts 
the key in his pocket and pretends that Mark has locked the door, and that 
he can't get in. How's that?" 

"Hopeless, Watson, hopeless." 

"Why?" 

"How does Cayley know that it is Mark who has shot Robert, and not 
the other way round?" 

"Oh!" said Bill, rather upset. "Yes." He thought for a moment, "All 
right. Say that Cayley has gone into the room first, and seen Robert on 
the ground." 

"Well?" 

"Well, there you are." 

"And what does he say to Mark? That it's a fine afternoon; and could 
he lend him a pocket-handkerchief? Or does he ask him what's 
happened?" 

"Well, of course, I suppose he asks what happened," said Bill 
reluctantly. 

"And what does Mark say?" 

"Explains that the revolver went off accidentally during a struggle." 

"Whereupon Cayley shields him by doing what, Bill? Encouraging 
him to do the damn silliest thing that any man could possibly do confess 
his guilt by running away!" 

"No, that's rather hopeless, isn't it?" Bill thought again. "Well," he 
said reluctantly, "suppose Mark confessed that he'd murdered his brother?" 

"That's better, Bill. Don't be afraid of getting away from the accident 

65



The Red House Mystery 

idea. Well then, your new theory is this. Mark confesses to Cayley that 
he shot Robert on purpose, and Cayley decides, even at the risk of 
committing perjury, and getting into trouble himself, to help Mark to 
escape. Is that right?" 

Bill nodded. 

"Well then, I want to ask you two questions. First, is it possible, as I 
said before dinner, that any man would commit such an idiotic murder a 
murder that puts the rope so very tightly round his neck? Secondly, if 
Cayley is prepared to perjure himself for Mark (as he has to, anyway, 
now), wouldn't it be simpler for him to say that he was in the office all the 
time, and that Robert's death was accidental?" 

Bill considered this carefully, and then nodded slowly again. 

"Yes, my simple explanation is a wash-out," he said. "Now let's have 
yours." 

Antony did not answer him. He had begun to think about something 
quite different. 

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The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER IX 

Possibilities of a Croquet Set 

"What's the matter?" said Bill sharply.' 

Antony looked round at him with raised eyebrows. 

"You've thought of something suddenly," said Bill. "What is it?" 

Antony laughed. 

"My dear Watson," he said, "you aren't supposed to be as clever as 
this." 

"Oh, you can't take me in!" 

"No.... Well, I was wondering about this ghost of yours, Bill. It 
seems to me -" 

"Oh, that!" Bill was profoundly disappointed. "What on earth has the 
ghost got to do with it?" 

"I don't know," said Antony apologetically. "I don't know what 
anything has got to do with it. I was just wondering. You shouldn't 
have brought me here if you hadn't wanted me to think about the ghost. 
This is where she appeared, isn't it?" 

"Yes." Bill was distinctly short about it. 

"How?" 

"What?" 

"I said, 'How?'" 

"How? How do ghosts appear? I don't know. They just appear." 

"Over four or five hundred yards of open park?" 

"Well, but she had to appear here, because this is where the original 
one - Lady Anne, you know - was supposed to walk." 

"Oh, never mind Lady Anne! A real ghost can do anything. But 
how did Miss Norris appear suddenly over five hundred yards of bare 
park?" 

Bill looked at Antony with open mouth. 

"I - I don't know," he stammered. "We never thought of that." 

"You would have seen her long before, wouldn't you, if she had come 
the way we came?" 

"Of course we should." 

67



The Red House Mystery 

"And that would have spoilt it rather. You would have had time to 
recognize her walk." 

Bill was interested now. 

"That's rather funny, you know, Tony. We none of us thought of 
that." 

"You're sure she didn't come across the park when none of you were 
looking?" 

"Quite. Because, you see, Betty and I were expecting her, and we 
kept looking round in case we saw her, so that we should all be playing 
with our backs to her." 

"You and Miss Calladine were playing together?" 

"I say, however do you know that?" 

"Brilliant deductive reasoning. Well, then you suddenly saw her?" 

"Yes, she walked across that side of the lawn." He indicated the 
opposite side, nearer to the house. 

"She couldn't have been hiding in the ditch? Do you call it the moat, 
by the way?" 

"Mark does. We don't among ourselves. No, she couldn't. Betty 
and I were here before the others, and walked round a bit. We should 
have seen her." 

"Then she must have been hiding in the shed. Or do you call it the 
summer-house?" 

"We had to go there for the bowls, of course. She couldn't have been 
there." 

"Oh!" 

"It's dashed funny," said Bill, after an interval for thought. "But it 
doesn't matter, does it? It has nothing to do with Robert." 

"Hasn't it?" 

"I say, has it?" said Bill, getting excited again. 

"I don't know. We don't know what has, or what hasn't. But it has 
got something to do with Miss Norris. And Miss Norris -" He broke off 
suddenly. 

"What about her?" 

"Well, you're all in it in a kind of way. And if something 

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The Red House Mystery 

unaccountable happens to one of you a day or two before something 
unaccountable happens to the whole house, one is well, interested." It was 
a good enough reason, but it wasn't the reason he had been on the point of 
giving. 

"I see. Well?" 

Antony knocked out his pipe and got up slowly. 

"Well then, let's find the way from the house by which Miss Norris 
came. 

Bill jumped up eagerly. 

"By Jove! Do you mean there's a secret passage?" 

"A secluded passage, anyway. There must be." 

"I say, what fun! I love secret passages. Good Lord, and this 
afternoon I was playing golf just like an ordinary merchant! What a life! 
Secret passages!" 

They made their way down into the ditch. If an opening was to be 
found which led to the house, it would probably be on the house side of 
the green, and on the outside of the ditch. The most obvious place at 
which to begin the search was the shed where the bowls were kept. It 
was a tidy place as anything in Mark's establishment would be. There 
were two boxes of croquet things, one of them with the lid open, as if the 
balls and mallets and, hoops (neatly enough put away, though) had been 
recently used; a box of bowls, a small lawn-mower, a roller and so forth. 
A seat ran along the back of it, whereon the bowls-players could sit when 
it rained. 

Antony tapped the wall at the back. 

"This is where the passage ought to begin. It doesn't sound very 
hollow, does it?" 

"It needn't begin here at all, need it?" said Bill, walking round with 
bent head, and tapping the other walls. He was just too tall to stand 
upright in the shed. 

"There's only one reason why it should, and that is that it would save 
us the trouble of looking anywhere else for it. Surely Mark didn't let you 
play croquet on his bowling-green?" He pointed to the croquet things. 

"He didn't encourage it at one time, but this year he got rather keen 

69



The Red House Mystery 

about it. There's really nowhere else to play. Personally I hate the game. 
He wasn't very keen on bowls, you know, but he liked calling it the 
bowling-green, and surprising his visitors with it." 

Antony laughed. 

"I love you on Mark," he said. "You're priceless." 

He began to feel in his pockets for his pipe and tobacco, and then 
suddenly stopped and stiffened to attention. For a moment he stood 
listening, with his head on one side, holding up a finger to bid Bill listen 
too. 

"What is it?" whispered Bill. 

Antony waved him to silence, and remained listening. Very quietly 
he went down on his knees, and listened again. Then he put his ear to the 
floor. He got up and dusted himself quickly, walked across to Bill and 
whispered in his ear: 

"Footsteps. Somebody coming. When I begin to talk, back me up." 

Bill nodded. Antony gave him an encouraging pat on the back, and 
stepped firmly across to the box of bowls, whistling loudly to himself. 
He took the bowls out, dropped one with a loud bang on the floor, said, 
"Oh, Lord!" and went on: 

"I say, Bill, I don't think I want to play bowls, after all." 

"Well, why did you say you did?" grumbled Bill. 

Antony flashed a smile of appreciation at him. 

"Well, I wanted to when I said I did, and now I don't want to." 

"Then what do you want to do?" 

"Talk." 

"Oh, right-o!" said Bill eagerly. 

"There's a seat on the lawn I saw it. Let's bring these things along in 
case we want to play, after all." 

"Right-o!" said Bill again. He felt safe with that, not wishing to 
commit himself until he knew what he was wanted to say. 

As they went across the lawn, Antony dropped the bowls and took out 
his pipe. 

"Got a match?" he said loudly. 

As he bent his head over the match, he whispered, "There'll be 

70



The Red House Mystery 

somebody listening to us. You take the Cayley view," and then went on 
in his ordinary voice, "I don't think much of your matches, Bill," and 
struck another. They walked over to the seat and sat down. 

"What a heavenly night!" said Antony. 

"Ripping." 

"I wonder where that poor devil Mark is now." 

"It's a rum business." 

"You agree with Cayley that it was an accident?" 

"Yes. You see, I know Mark." 

"H'm." Antony produced a pencil and a piece of paper and began to 
write on his knee, but while he wrote, he talked. He said that he thought 
Mark had shot his brother in a fit of anger, and that Cayley knew, or 
anyhow guessed, this and had tried to give his cousin a chance of getting 
away. 

"Mind you, I think he's right. I think it's what any of us would do. I 
shan't give it away, of course, but somehow there are one or two little 
things which make me think that Mark really did shoot his brother I mean 
other than accidentally." 

"Murdered him?" 

"Well, manslaughtered him, anyway. I may be wrong. Anyway, it's 
not my business." 

"But why do you think so? Because of the keys?" 

"Oh, the keys are a wash-out. Still, it was a brilliant idea of mine, 
Wasn't it? And it would have been rather a score for me if they had all 
been outside." 

He had finished his writing, and now passed the paper over to Bill. In 
the clear moonlight the carefully printed letters could easily be read: 

"GO ON TALKING AS IF I WERE HERE. AFTER A MINUTE OR 
TWO, TURN ROUND AS IF I WERE SITTING ON THE GRASS 
BEHIND YOU, BUT GO ON TALKING." 

"I know you don't agree with me," Antony went on as Bill read, "but 
you'll see that I'm right." 

Bill looked up and nodded eagerly. He had forgotten golf and Betty 
and all the other things which had made up his world lately. This was the 

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The Red House Mystery 

real thing. This was life. "Well," he began deliberately, "the whole 
point is that I know Mark. Now, Mark -" 

But Antony was off the seat and letting himself gently down into the 
ditch. His intention was to crawl round it until the shed came in sight. 
The footsteps which he had heard seemed to be underneath the shed; 
probably there was a trap-door of some kind in the floor. Whoever it was 
would have heard their voices, and would probably think it worth while to 
listen to what they were saying. He might do this merely by opening the 
door a little without showing himself, in which case Antony would have 
found the entrance to the passage without any trouble to himself. But 
when Bill turned his head and talked over the back of the seat, it was 
probable that the listener would find it necessary to put his head outside in 
order to hear, and then Antony would be able to discover who it was. 
Moreover, if he should venture out of his hiding-place altogether and peep 
at them over the top of the bank, the fact that Bill was talking over the 
back of the seat would mislead the watcher into thinking that Antony was 
still there, sitting on the grass, no doubt, behind the seat, swinging his legs 
over the side of the ditch. 

He walked quickly but very silently along the half-length of the 
bowling-green to the first corner, passed cautiously round, and then went 
even more carefully along the width of it to the second corner. He could 
hear Bill hard at it, arguing from his knowledge of Mark's character that 
this, that and the other must have happened, and he smiled appreciatively 
to himself. Bill was a great conspirator worth a hundred Watsons. As 
he approached the second corner he slowed down, and did the last few 
yards on hands and knees. Then, lying at full length, inch by inch his head 
went round the corner. 

The shed was two or three yards to his left, on the opposite side of the 
ditch. From where he lay he could see almost entirely inside it. 
Everything seemed to be as they left it. The bowls-box, the lawn-mower, 
the roller, the open croquet-box, the 

"By Jove!" said Antony to himself, "that's neat." 

The lid of the other croquet-box was open, too. Bill was turning 
round now; his voice became more difficult to hear. "You see what I 

72



The Red House Mystery 

mean," he was saying. "If Cayley -" 

And out of the second croquet-box came Cayley's black head. 

Antony wanted to shout his applause. It was neat, devilish neat. For 
a moment he gazed, fascinated, at that wonderful new kind of croquet-ball 
which had appeared so dramatically out of the box, and then reluctantly 
wriggled himself back. There was nothing to be gained by staying there, 
and a good deal to be lost, for Bill showed signs of running down. As 
quickly as he could Antony hurried round the ditch and took up his place 
at the back of the seat. Then he stood up with a yawn, stretched himself 
and said carelessly, "Well, don't worry yourself about it, Bill, old man. I 
daresay you're right. You know Mark, and I don't; and that's the 
difference. Shall we have a game or shall we go to bed?" 

Bill looked at him for inspiration, and, receiving it, said, "Oh, just let's 
have one game, shall we?" 

"Right you are," said Antony. 

But Bill was much too excited to take the game which followed very 
seriously. Antony, on the other hand, seemed to be thinking of nothing 
but bowls. He played with great deliberation for ten minutes, and then 
announced that he was going to bed. Bill looked at him anxiously. 

"It's all right," laughed Antony. "You can talk if you want to. Just 
let's put 'em away first, though." 

They made their way down to the shed, and while Bill was putting the 
bowls away, Antony tried the lid of the closed croquet-box. As he 
expected, it was locked. 

"Now then," said Bill, as they were walking back to the house again, 
"I'm simply bursting to know. Who was it?" 

"Cayley." 

"Good Lord! Where?" 

"Inside one of the croquet-boxes." 

"Don't be an ass." 

"It's quite true, Bill." He told the other what he had seen. 

"But aren't we going to have a look at it?" asked Bill, in great 
disappointment. "I'm longing to explore. Aren't you?" 

"To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow. We shall see Cayley 

73



The Red House Mystery 

coming along this way directly. Besides, I want to get in from the other 
end, if I can. I doubt very much if we can do it this end without giving 
ourselves away. Look, there's Cayley." 

They could see him coming along the drive towards them. When 
they were a little closer, they waved to him and he waved back. 

"I wondered where you were, he said, as he got up to them. "I rather 
thought you might be along this way. What about bed?" 

"Bed it is," said Antony. 

"We've been playing bowls," added Bill, "and talking, and - and 
playing bowls. Ripping night, isn't it?" 

But he left the rest of the conversation, as they wandered back to the 
house, to Antony. He wanted to think. There seemed to be no doubt 
now that Cayley was a villain. Bill had never been familiar with a villain 
before. It didn't seem quite fair of Cayley, somehow; he was taking 
rather a mean advantage of his friends. Lot of funny people there were in 
the world funny people with secrets. Look at Tony, that first time he had 
met him in a tobacconist's shop. Anybody would have thought he was a 
tobacconist's assistant. And Cayley. Anybody would have thought that 
Cayley was an ordinary decent sort of person. And Mark. Dash it! 
one could never be sure of anybody. Now, Robert was different. 
Everybody had always said that Robert was a shady fellow. 

But what on earth had Miss Norris got to do with it? What had Miss 
Norris got to do with it? This was a question which Antony had already 
asked himself that afternoon, and it seemed to him now that he had found 
the answer. As he lay in bed that night he reassembled his ideas, and 
looked at them in the new light which the events of the evening threw 
upon the dark corners in his brain. 

Of course it was natural that Cayley should want to get rid of his 
guests as soon as the tragedy was discovered. He would want this for 
their own sake as well as for his. But he had been a little too quick about 
suggesting it, and about seeing the suggestion carried out. They had been 
bustled off as soon as they could be packed. The suggestion that they were 
in his hands, to go or stay as he wished, could have been left safely to 
them. As it was, they had been given no alternative, and Miss Norris, 

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The Red House Mystery 

who had proposed to catch an after-dinner train at the junction, in the 
obvious hope that she might have in this way a dramatic cross-
examination at the hands of some keen-eyed detective, was encouraged 
tactfully, but quite firmly, to travel by the earlier train with the others. 
Antony had felt that Cayley, in the tragedy which had suddenly befallen 
the house, ought to have been equally indifferent to her presence or 
absence. But he was not; and Antony assumed from this that Cayley was 
very much alive to the necessity for her absence. 

Why? 

Well, that question was not to be answered off-hand. But the fact that 
it was so had made Antony interested in her; and it was for this reason that 
he had followed up so alertly Bill's casual mention of her in connexion 
with the dressing-up business. He felt that he wanted to know a little 
more about Miss Norris and the part she had played in The Red House 
circle. By sheer luck, as it seemed to him, he had stumbled on the 
answer to his question. 

Miss Norris was hurried away because she knew about the secret 
passage. 

The passage, then, had something to do with the mystery of Robert's 
death. Miss Norris had used it in order to bring off her dramatic 
appearance as the ghost. Possibly she had discovered it for herself; 
possibly Mark had revealed it to her secretly one day, never guessing that 
she would make so unkind a use of it later on; possibly Cayley, having 
been let into the joke of the dressing-up, had shown her how she could 
make her appearance on the bowling-green even more mysterious and 
supernatural. One way or another, she knew about the secret passage. 
So she must be hurried away. 

Why? Because if she stayed and talked, she might make some 
innocent mention of it. And Cayley did not want any mention of it. 

Why, again? Obviously because the passage, or even the mere 
knowledge of its existence, might provide a clue. 

"I wonder if Mark's hiding there," thought Antony; and he went to 
sleep. 

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The Red House Mystery 

CHAPTER X 

Mr. Gillingham. Talks Nonsense 

Antony came down in a very good humour to breakfast next morning, 
and found that his host was before him. Cayley looked up from his 
letters and nodded. 

"Any word of Mr. Ablett - of Mark?" said Antony, as he poured out his 
coffee. 

"No. The inspector wants to drag the lake this afternoon. 

"Oh! Is there a lake?" 

There was just the flicker of a smile on Cayley's face, but it 
disappeared as quickly as it came. 

"Well, it's really a pond," he said, "but it was called 'the lake.'" 

"By Mark," thought Antony. Aloud he said, "What do they expect to 
find?" 

"They think that Mark -" He broke off and shrugged his shoulders. 

"May have drowned himself, knowing that he couldn't get away? 
And knowing that he had compromised himself by trying to get away at 
all?" "Yes; I suppose so," said Cayley slowly. 

"I should have thought he would have given himself more of a run for 
his money. After all, he had a revolver. If he was determined not to be 
taken alive, he could always have prevented that. Couldn't he have 
caught a train to London before the police knew anything about it?" 

"He might just have managed it. There was a train. They would 
have noticed him at Waldheim, of course, but he might have managed it at 
Stanton. He's not so well-known there, naturally. The inspector has 
been inquiring. Nobody seems to have seen him." 

"There are sure to be people who will say they did, later on. There 
was never a missing man yet but a dozen people come forward who swear 
to have seen him at a dozen different places at the same time." 

Cayley smiled. 

"Yes. That's true. Anyhow, he wants to drag the pond first." He 
added dryly, "From what I've read of detective stories, inspectors always 
do want to drag the pond first." 

76



The Red House Mystery 

"Is it deep?" 

"Quite deep enough," said Cayley as he got up. On his way to the 
door he stopped, and looked at Antony. "I'm so sorry that we're keeping 
you here like this, but it will only be until to-morrow. The inquest is tomorrow afternoon. Do amuse yourself how you like till then. Beverley 
will look after you." 

"Thanks very much. I shall really be quite all right." 

Antony went on with his breakfast. Perhaps it was true that 
inspectors liked dragging ponds, but the question was, Did Cayleys like 
having them dragged? Was Cayley anxious about it, or quite indifferent? 
He certainly did not seem to be anxious, but he could hide his feelings 
very easily beneath that heavy, solid face, and it was not often that the real 
Cayley peeped out. Just a little too eager once or twice, perhaps, but 
there was nothing to be learnt from it this morning. Perhaps he knew that 
the pond had no secrets to give up. After all, inspectors were always 
dragging ponds. 

Bill came in noisily. 

Bill's face was an open book. Excitement was written all over it. 

"Well," he said eagerly, as he sat down to the business of the meal, 
"what are we going to do this morning?" 

"Not talk so loudly, for one thing," said Antony. Bill looked about 
him apprehensively. Was Cayley under the table, for example? After 
last night one never knew. 

"Is er -" He raised his eyebrows. 

"No. But one doesn't want to shout. One should modulate the voice, 
my dear William, while breathing gently from the hips. Thus one avoids 
those chest-notes which have betrayed many a secret. In other words, 
pass the toast." 

"You seem bright this morning." 

"I am. Very bright. Cayley noticed it. Cayley said, 'Were it not 
that I have other business, I would come gathering nuts and may with thee. 
Fain would I gyrate round the mulberry-bush and hop upon the little hills. 
But the waters of Jordan encompass me and Inspector Birch tarries outside 
with his shrimping-net. My friend William Beverley will attend thee 

77



The Red House Mystery 

anon. Farewell, a long farewell to all -thy grape-nuts.' He then left 

up-centre. Enter W. Beverley, R." 

"Are you often like this at breakfast?" 

"Almost invariably. Said he with his mouth full. 'Exit W. Beverley, 
L." 

"It's a touch of the sun, I suppose," said Bill, shaking his head sadly. 

"It's the sun and the moon and the stars, all acting together on an 
empty stomach. Do you know anything about the stars, Mr. Beverley? 
Do you know anything about Orion's Belt, for instance? And why isn't 
there a star called Beverley's Belt? Or a novel? Said he masticating. 
Re-enter W. Beverley through trap-door." 

"Talking about trap-doors -" 

"Don't," said Antony, getting up. "Some talk of Alexander and some 
of Hercules, but nobody talks about -what's the Latin for trap-door? 
Mensa a table; you might get it from that. Well, Mr. Beverley," -and 
he slapped him heartily on the back as he went past him - "I shall see you 
later. Cayley says that you will amuse me, but so far you have not made 
me laugh once. You must try and be more amusing when you have 
finished your breakfast. But don't hurry. Let the upper mandibles have 
time to do the work." With those words Mr. Gillingham then left the 
spacious apartment. 

Bill continued his breakfast with a slightly bewildered air. He did not 
know that Cayley was smoking a cigarette outside the windows behind 
him; not listening, perhaps; possibly not even overhearing; but within 
sight of Antony, who was not going to take any risks. So he went on with 
his breakfast, reflecting that Antony was a rum fellow, and wondering if he 
had dreamed only of the amazing things which had happened the day 
before. 

Antony went up to his bedroom to fetch his pipe. It was occupied by 
a housemaid, and he made a polite apology for disturbing her. Then be 
remembered. 

"Is it Elsie?" he asked, giving her a friendly smile. 

"Yes, sir," she said, shy but proud. She had no doubts as to why it 
was that she had achieved such notoriety. 

78



The Red House Mystery 

"It was you who heard Mr. Mark yesterday, wasn't it? I hope the 
inspector was nice to you?" 

"Yes, thank you, sir." 

"'It's my turn now. You wait,'" murmured Antony to himself. 

"Yes, sir. Nasty-like. Meaning to say his chance had come." 

"I wonder." 

"Well, that's what I heard, sir. Truly." 

Antony looked at her thoughtfully and nodded. 

"Yes. I wonder. I wonder why." 

"Why what, sir?" 

"Oh, lots of things, Elsie.... It was quite an accident your being outside 
just then?" 

Elsie blushed. She had not forgotten what Mrs. Stevens had said 
about it. 

"Quite, sir, In the general way I use the other stairs." 

"Of course." 

He had found his pipe and was about to go downstairs again when she 
stopped him. 

"I beg your pardon, sir, but will there be an inquest?" 

"Oh, yes. To-morrow, I think." 

"Shall I have to give my evidence, sir?" 

"Of course. There's nothing to be frightened of." 

"I did hear it, sir. Truly." 

"Why, of course you did. Who says you didn't?" 

"Some of the others sir Mrs. Stevens and all." 

"Oh, that's just because they're jealous," said Antony with a smile. 

He was glad to have spoken to her, because he had recognized at once 
the immense importance of her evidence. To the inspector no doubt it 
had seemed only of importance in that it had shown Mark to have adopted 
something of a threatening attitude towards his brother. To Antony it had 
much more significance. It was the only trustworthy evidence that Mark 
had been in the office at all that afternoon. 

For who saw Mark go into the office? Only Cayley. And if Cayley 
had been hiding the truth about the keys, why should he not be hiding the 

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truth about Mark's entry into the office? Obviously all Cayley's evidence 
went for nothing. Some of it no doubt was true; but he was giving it, 
both truth and falsehood, with a purpose. What the purpose was Antony 
did not know as yet; to shield Mark, to shield himself, even to betray Mark 
it might be any of these. But since his evidence was given for his own 
ends, it was impossible that it could be treated as the evidence of an 
impartial and trustworthy onlooker. Such, for instance, as Elsie appeared 
to be. 

Elsie's evidence, however, seemed to settle the point. Mark had gone 
into the office to see his brother; Elsie had heard them both talking; and 
then Antony and Cayley had found the body of Robert.... and the inspector 
was going to drag the pond. 

But certainly Elsie's evidence did not prove anything more than the 
mere presence of Mark in the room. "It's my turn now; you wait." That 
was not an immediate threat; - it was a threat for the future. If Mark had 
shot his brother immediately afterwards it must have been an accident, the 
result of a struggle, say, provoked by that "nasty-like" tone of voice. 
Nobody would say "You wait" to a man who was just going to be shot. 
"You wait" meant "You wait, and see what's going to happen to you later 
on." The owner of The Red House had had enough of his brother's 
sponging, his brother's blackmail; now it was Mark's turn to get a bit of his 
own back. Let Robert just wait a bit, and he would see. The 
conversation which Elsie had overheard might have meant something like 
this. It couldn't have meant murder. Anyway not murder of Robert by 
Mark. 

"It's a funny business," thought Antony. "The one obvious solution is 
so easy and yet so wrong. And I've got a hundred things in my head, and 
I can't fit them together. And this afternoon will make a hundred and one. 
I mustn't forget this afternoon." 

He found Bill in the hall and proposed a stroll. Bill was only too 
ready. "Where do you want to go?" he asked. 

"I don't mind much. Show me the park." 

"Righto." 

They walked out together. 

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"Watson, old man," said Antony, as soon as they were away from the 
house, "you really mustn't talk so loudly indoors. There was a gentleman 
outside, just behind you, all the time." 

"Oh, I say," said Bill, going pink. "I'm awfully sorry. So that's why 
you were talking such rot." 

"Partly, yes. And partly because I do feel rather bright this morning. 
We're going to have a busy day." 

"Are we really? What are we going to do?" 

"They're going to drag the pond - beg its pardon, the lake. Where is 
the lake?" 

"We're on the way to it now, if you'd like to see it." 

"We may as well look at it. Do you haunt the lake much in the 
ordinary way?" 

"Oh, no, rather not. There's nothing to do there." 

"You can't bathe?" 

"Well, I shouldn't care to. Too dirty." 

"I see.... This is the way we came yesterday, isn't it? The way to the 
village?" 

"Yes. We go off a bit to the right directly. What are they dragging it 
for?" 

"Mark." 

"Oh, rot," said Bill uneasily. He was silent for a little, and then, 
forgetting his uncomfortable thoughts in his sudden remembrance of the 
exciting times they were having, said eagerly, "I say, when are we going to 
look for that passage?" 

"We can't do very much while Cayley's in the house." 

"What about this afternoon when they're dragging the pond? He's 
sure to be there." 

Antony shook his head. 

"There's something I must do this afternoon," he said. "Of course we 
might have time for both." 

"Has Cayley got to be out of the house for the other thing too?" 

"Well, I think he ought to be." 

"I say, is it anything rather exciting?" 

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"I don't know. It might be rather interesting. I daresay I could do it 
at some other time, but I rather fancy it at three o'clock, somehow. I've 
been specially keeping it back for then." 

"I say, what fun! You do want me, don't you?" 

"Of course I do. Only, Bill don't talk about things inside the house, 
unless I begin. There's a good Watson." 

"I won't. I swear I won't." 

They had come to the pond - Mark's lake - and they walked silently 
round it. When they had made the circle, Antony sat down on the grass, 
and relit his pipe. Bill followed his example. 

"Well, Mark isn't there," said Antony. 

"No," said Bill. "At least, I don't quite see why you know he isn't." 

"It isn't 'knowing,' it's 'guessing,'" said Antony rapidly. "It's much 
easier to shoot yourself than to drown yourself, and if Mark had wanted to 
shoot himself in the water, with some idea of not letting the body be found, 
he'd have put big stones in his pockets, and the only big stones are near the 
water's edge, and they would have left marks, and they haven't, and 
therefore he didn't, and oh, bother the pond; that can wait till this 
afternoon. Bill, where does the secret passage begin?" 

"Well, that's what we've got to find out, isn't it?" 

"Yes. You see, my idea is this." 

He explained his reasons for thinking that the secret of the passage 
was concerned in some way with the secret of Robert's death, and went 
on: 

"My theory is that Mark discovered the passage about a year ago the 
time when he began to get keen on croquet. The passage came out into 
the floor of the shed, and probably it was Cayley's idea to put a croquet-
box over the trap-door, so as to hide it more completely. You know, when 
once you've discovered a secret yourself, it always seems as if it must be 
so obvious to everybody else. I can imagine that Mark loved having this 
little secret all to himself and to Cayley, of course, but Cayley wouldn't 
count and they must have had great fun fixing it up, and making it more 
difficult for other people to find out. Well then, when Miss Norris was 
going to dress-up, Cayley gave it away. Probably he told her that she 

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could never get down to the bowling-green without being discovered, and 
then perhaps showed that he knew there was one way in which she could 
do it, and she wormed the secret out of him somehow." 

"But this was two or three days before Robert turned up. 

"Exactly. I am not suggesting that there was anything sinister about 
the passage in the first place. It was just a little private bit of romance 
and adventure for Mark, three days ago. He didn't even know that Robert 
was coming. But somehow the passage has been used since, in 
connexion with Robert. Perhaps Mark escaped that way; perhaps he's 
hiding there now. And if so, then the only person who could give him 
away was Miss Norris. And she of course would only do it innocently 
not knowing that the passage had anything to do with it." 

"So it was safer to have her out of the way?" 

"Yes." 

"But, look here, Tony, why do you want to bother about this end of it? 
We can always get in at the bowling-green end." 

"I know, but if we do that we shall have to do it openly. It will mean 
breaking open the box, and letting Cayley know that we've done it. You 
see, Bill, if we don't find anything out for ourselves in the next day or two, 
we've got to tell the police what we have found out, and then they can 
explore the passage for themselves. But I don't want to do that yet." 

"Rather not. 

"So we've got to carry on secretly for a bit. It's the only way." He 
smiled and added, "And it's much more fun." 

"Rather!" Bill chuckled to himself. 

"Very well. Where does the secret passage begin?" 

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CHAPTER XI 

The Reverend Theodore Ussher 

"There's one thing, which we have got to realize at once," said 

Antony, "and that is that if we don't find it easily, we shan't find it at all." 

"You mean that we shan't have time?" 

"Neither time nor opportunity. Which is rather a consoling thought to 

a lazy person like me." 

"But it makes it much harder, if we can't really look properly." 

"Harder to find, yes, but so much easier to look. For instance, the 

passage might begin in Cayley's bedroom. Well, now we know that it 

doesn't." 

"We don't know anything of the sort," protested Bill. 

"We - know for the purposes of. our search. Obviously we can't go 

tailing into Cayley's bedroom and tapping his wardrobes; and obviously, 
therefore, if we are going to look for it at all, we must assume that it 
doesn't begin there." 

"Oh, I see." Bill chewed a piece of grass thoughtfully. "Anyhow, it 

wouldn't begin on an upstairs floor, would it?" 

"Probably not. Well, we're getting on." 

"You can wash out the kitchen and all that part of the house," said Bill, 

after more thought. "We can't go there." 

"Right. And the cellars, if there are any." 

"Well, that doesn't leave us much." 

"No. Of course it's only a hundred-to-one chance that we find it, but 

what we want to consider is which is the most likely place of the few 
places in which we can look safely." 

"All it amounts to," said Bill, "is the living-rooms downstairs dining-

room, library, hail, billiard-room and the office rooms." 

"Yes, that's all." 

"Well, the office is the most likely, isn't it?" 

"Yes. Except for one thing." 

"What's that?" 

"Well, it's on the wrong side of the house. One would expect the 

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passage to start from the nearest place to which it is going. Why make it 
longer by going under the house first?" 

"Yes, that's true. Well, then, you think the dining-room or the 
library?" 

"Yes. And the library for choice. I mean for our choice. There are 
always servants going into dining-rooms. We shouldn't have much of a 
chance of exploring properly in there. Besides, there's another thing to 
remember. Mark has kept this a secret for a year. Could he have kept it 
a secret in the dining-room? Could Miss Norris have got into the dining-
room and used the secret door just after dinner without being seen? It 
would have been much too risky." 

Bill got up eagerly. 

"Come along," he said, "let's try the library. If Cayley comes in, we 
can always pretend we're choosing a book." 

Antony got up slowly, took his arm and walked back to the house with 
him. 

The library was worth going into, passages or no passages. Antony 
could never resist another person's bookshelves. As soon as he went into 
the room, he found himself wandering round it to see what books the 
owner read, or (more likely) did not read, but kept for the air which they 
lent to the house. Mark had prided himself on his library. It was a 
mixed collection of books. Books which he had inherited both from his 
father and from his patron; books which he had bought because he was 
interested in them or, if not in them, in the authors to whom he wished to 
lend his patronage; books which he had ordered in beautifully bound 
editions, partly because they looked well on his shelves, lending a noble 
colour to his rooms, partly because no man of culture should ever be 
without them; old editions, new editions, expensive books, cheap books a 
library in which everybody, whatever his taste, could be sure of finding 
something to suit him. 

"And which is your particular fancy, Bill?" said Antony, looking from 
one shelf to another. "Or are you always playing billiards?" 

"I have a look at 'Badminton' sometimes," said Bill. 

"It's over in that corner there." He waved a hand. 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Over here?" said Antony, going to it. 

"Yes." He corrected himself suddenly. - "Oh, no, it's not. It's over 
there on the right now. Mark had a grand re-arrangement of his library 
about a year ago. It took him more than a week, he told us. He's got such 
a frightful lot, hasn't he?" 

"Now that's very interesting," said Antony, and he sat down and filled 
his pipe again. 

There was indeed a "frightful lot" of books. The four walls of the 
library were plastered with them from floor to ceiling, save only where the 
door and the two windows insisted on living their own life, even though an 
illiterate one. To Bill it seemed the most hopeless room of any in which 
to look for a secret opening. 

"We shall have to take every blessed book down," he said, "before we 
can be certain that we haven't missed it." 

"Anyway," said Antony, "if we take them down one at a time, nobody 
can suspect us of sinister designs. After all, what does one go into a 
library for, except to take books down?" 

"But there's such a frightful lot." 

Antony's pipe was now going satisfactorily, and he got up and walked 
leisurely to the end of the wall opposite the door. 

"Well, let's have a look," he said, "and see if they are so very frightful. 
Hallo, here's your 'Badminton.' You often read that, you say?" 

"If I read anything." 

"Yes." He looked down and up the shelf. "Sport and Travel chiefly. I 
like books of travel, don't you?" 

"They're pretty dull as a rule." 

"Well, anyhow, some people like them very much," said Antony, 
reproachfully. He moved on to the next row of shelves. "The Drama. 
The Restoration dramatists. You can have most of them. Still, as you 
well remark, many people seem to love them. Shaw, Wilde, Robertson 
I like reading plays, Bill. There are not many people who do, but those 
who do are usually very keen. Let us pass on." 

"I say, we haven't too much time," said Bill restlessly. 

"We haven't. That's why we aren't wasting any. Poetry. Who 

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reads poetry nowadays? Bill, when did you last read 'Paradise Lost'?" 

"Never." 

"I thought not. And when did Miss Calladine last read 'The 
Excursion' aloud to you?" 

"As a matter of fact, Betty Miss Calladine happens to be jolly keen on 
what's the beggar's name?" 

"Never mind his name. You have said quite enough. We pass on." 

He moved on to the next shelf. 

"Biography. Oh, lots of it. I love biographies. Are you a member 
of the Johnson Club? I bet Mark is. 'Memories of Many Courts' I'm 
sure Mrs. Calladine reads that. Anyway, biographies are just as 
interesting as most novels, so why linger? We pass on." He went to the 
next shelf, and then gave a sudden whistle. "Hallo, hallo!" 

"What's the matter?" said Bill rather peevishly. 

"Stand back there. Keep the crowd back, Bill. We are getting 
amongst it. Sermons, as I live. Sermons. Was Mark's father a 
clergyman, or does Mark take to them naturally?" 

"His father was a parson, I believe. Oh, yes, I know he was." 

"Ah, then these are Father's books. 'Half-Hours with the Infinite' I 
must order that from the library when I get back. 'The Lost Sheep,' 
'Jones on the Trinity,' 'The Epistles of St. Paul Explained' Oh, Bill, we're 
amongst it. 'The Narrow Way, being Sermons by the Rev. Theodore 
Ussher' hal-LO!" 

"What is the matter?" 

"William, I am inspired. Stand by." He took down the Reverend 
Theodore Ussher's classic work, looked at it with a happy smile for a 
moment, and then gave it to Bill. 

"Here, hold Ussher for a bit." 

Bill took the book obediently. 

"No, give it me back. Just go out into the hall, and see if you can 
hear Cayley anywhere. Say 'Hallo' loudly, if you do." 

Bill went out quickly, listened, and came back. 

"It's all right." 

"Good." He took the book out of its shelf again. "Now then, you can 

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hold Ussher. Hold him in the left hand so. With the right or dexter 
hand, grasp this shelf firmly so. Now, when I say 'Pull,' pull gradually. 
Got that?" 

Bill nodded, his face alight with excitement. 

"Good." Antony put his hand into the space left by the stout Ussher, 
and fingered the hack of the shelf. "Pull," he said. 

Bill pulled. 

"Now just go on pulling like that. I shall get it directly. Not hard, 
you know, but just keeping up the strain." 

His fingers went at it again busily. 

And then suddenly the whole row of shelves, from top to bottom, 
swung gently open towards them. 

"Good Lord!" said Bill, letting go of the shelf in his amazement. 

Antony pushed the shelves back, extracted Ussher from Bill's fingers, 
replaced him, and then, taking Bill by the arm, led him to the sofa and 
deposited him in it. Standing in front of him, he bowed gravely. 

"Child's play, Watson," he said; "child's play." 

"How on earth " 

Antony laughed happily and sat down on the sofa beside him. 

"You don't really want it explained," he said, smacking him on the 
knee; "you're just being Watsonish. It's very nice of you, of course, and I 
appreciate it." 

"No, but really, Tony." 

"Oh, my dear Bill!" He smoked silently for a little, and then went on, 
"It's what I was saying just now a secret is a secret until you have 
discovered it, and as soon as you have discovered it, you wonder why 
everybody else isn't discovering it, and how it could ever have been a 
secret at all. This passage has been here for years, with an opening at 
one end into the library, and at the other end into the shed. Then Mark 
discovered it, and immediately he felt that everybody else must discover it. 
So he made the shed end more difficult by putting the croquet-box there, 
and this end more difficult by " he stopped and looked at the other "by 
what, Bill?" 

But Bill was being Watsonish. 

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"What?" 

"Obviously by re-arranging his books. He happened to take out 'The 
Life of Nelson' or 'Three Men in a Boat,' or whatever it was, and by the 
merest chance discovered the secret. Naturally he felt that everybody 
else would be taking down 'The Life of Nelson' or 'Three Men in a Boat.' 
Naturally he felt that the secret would be safer if nobody ever interfered 
with that shelf at all. When you said that the books had been re-arranged 
a year ago just about the time the croquet-box came into existence of 
course I guessed why. So I looked about for the dullest books I could find, 
the books nobody ever read. Obviously the collection of sermon-books 
of a mid-Victorian clergyman was the shelf we wanted." 

"Yes, I see. But why were you so certain of the particular place?" 

"Well, he had to mark the particular place by some book. I thought 
that the joke of putting 'The Narrow Way' just over the entrance to the 
passage might appeal to him. Apparently it did." 

Bill nodded to himself thoughtfully several times. "Yes, that's very 
neat," he said. "You're a clever devil, Tony." 

Tony laughed. 

"You encourage me to think so, which is bad for me, but very 
delightful." 

"Well, come on, then," said Bill, and he got up, and held out a hand. 

"Come on where?" 

"To explore the passage, of course." 

Antony shook his head. 

"Why ever not?" 

"Well, what do you expect to find there?" 

"I don't know. But you seemed to think that we might find something 
that would help." 

"Suppose we find Mark?" said Antony quietly. 

."I say, do you really think he's there?" 

"Suppose he is?" 

"Well, then, there we are." 

Antony walked over to the fireplace, knocked out the ashes of his pipe, 
and turned back to Bill. He looked at him gravely without speaking. 

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The Red House Mystery 

"What are you going to say to him?" he said at last. 

"How do you mean?" 

"Are you going to arrest him, or help him to escape?" 

"I - I - well, of course, I -" began Bill, stammering, and then ended 
lamely, "Well, I don't know." 

"Exactly. We've got to make up our minds, haven't we?" 

Bill didn't answer. Very much disturbed in his mind, he walked 
restlessly about the room, frowning to himself, stopping now and then at 
the newly discovered door and looking at it as if he were trying to learn 
what lay behind it. Which side was he on, if it came to choosing sides 
Mark's or the Law's? 

"You know, you can't just say, 'Oh er hallo!' to him," said Antony, 
breaking rather appropriately into his thoughts. 

Bill looked up at him with a start. 

"Nor," went on Antony, "can you say, 'This is my friend Mr. 
Gillingham, who is staying with you. We were just going to have a game 
of bowls.'" 

"Yes, it's dashed difficult. I don't know what to say. I've been rather 
forgetting about Mark." He wandered over to the window and looked out 
on to the lawns. There was a gardener clipping the grass edges. No 
reason why the lawn should be untidy just because the master of the house 
had disappeared. It was going to be a hot day again. Dash it, of course 
he had forgotten Mark. How could he think of him as an escaped 
murderer, a fugitive from justice, when everything was going on just as it 
did yesterday, and the sun was shining just as it did when they all drove 
off to their golf, only twenty-four hours ago? How could he help feeling 
that this was not real tragedy, but merely a jolly kind of detective game 
that he and Antony were playing? 

He turned back to his friend. 

"All the same," he said, "you wanted to find the passage, and now 
you've found it. Aren't you going into it at all?" 

Antony took his arm. 

"Let's go outside again," he said. "We can't go into it now, anyhow. 
It's too risky, with Cayley about. Bill, I feel like you - just a little bit 

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frightened. But what I'm frightened of I don't quite know. Anyway, you 

want to go on with it, don't you?" 

"Yes," said Bill firmly. "We must." 

"Then we'll explore the passage this afternoon, if we get the chance. 
And if we don't get the chance, then we'll try it to-night." 

They walked across the hall and out into the sunlight again. 

"Do you really think we might find Mark hiding there?" asked Bill. 

"It's possible," said Antony. "Either Mark or -" He pulled himself 
up quickly. "No," he murmured to himself, "I won't let myself think that 
not yet, anyway. It's too horrible." 

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CHAPTER XII 

A Shadow on the Wall 

In the twenty hours or so at his disposal Inspector Birch had been 
busy. He had telegraphed to London a complete description of Mark in 
the brown flannel suit which he had last been seen wearing; he had made 
inquiries at Stanton as to whether anybody answering to this description 
had been seen leaving by the 4.20; and though the evidence which had 
been volunteered to him had been inconclusive, it made it possible that 
Mark had indeed caught that train, and had arrived in London before the 
police at the other end had been ready to receive him. But the fact that it 
was market-day at Stanton, and that the little town would be more full than 
usual of visitors, made it less likely that either the departure of Mark by 
the 4.20, or the arrival of Robert by the 2.10 earlier in the afternoon, 
would have been particularly noticed. As Antony had said to Cayley, 
there would always be somebody ready to hand the police a circumstantial 
story of the movements of any man in whom the police were interested. 

That Robert had come by the 2.10 seemed fairly certain. To find out 
more about him in time for the inquest would be difficult. All that was 
known about him in the village where he and Mark had lived as boys bore 
out the evidence of Cayley. He was an unsatisfactory son, and he had 
been hurried off to Australia; nor had he been seen since in the village. 
Whether there were any more substantial grounds of quarrel between the 
two brothers than that the younger one was at home and well-to-do, while 
the elder was poor and an exile, was not known, nor, as far as the inspector 
could see, was it likely to be known until Mark was captured. 

The discovery of Mark was all that mattered immediately. Dragging 
the pond might not help towards this, but it would certainly give the 
impression in court to-morrow that Inspector Birch was handling the case 
with zeal. And if only the revolver with which the deed was done was 
brought to the surface, his trouble would be well repaid. "Inspector 
Birch produces the weapon" would make an excellent headline in the local 
paper. 

He was feeling well-satisfied with himself, therefore, as he walked to 

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the pond, where his men were waiting for him, and quite in the mood for a 
little pleasant talk with Mr. Gillingham and his friend, Mr. Beverley. He 
gave them a cheerful "Good afternoon," and added with a smile, "Coming 
to help us?" 

"You don't really want us," said Antony, smiling back at him. 

"You can come if you like." 

Antony gave a little shudder. 

"You can tell me afterwards what you find," he said. "By the way," 
he added, "I hope the landlord at the 'George' gave me a good character?" 

The Inspector looked at him quickly. 

"Now how on earth do you know anything about that?" 

Antony bowed to him gravely. 

"Because I guessed that you were a very efficient member of the 
Force." 

The inspector laughed. 

"Well, you came out all right, Mr. Gillingham. You got a clean bill. 
But I had to make certain about you. 

"Of course you did. Well, I wish you luck. But I don't think you'll 
find much at the pond. It's rather out of the way, isn't it, for anybody 
running away?" 

"That's just what I told Mr. Cayley, when he called my attention to the 
pond. However, we shan't do any harm by looking. It's the unexpected 
that's the most likely in this sort of case." 

"You're quite right, Inspector. Well, we mustn't keep you. Good 
afternoon," and Antony smiled pleasantly at him. 

"Good afternoon, sir." 

"Good afternoon," said Bill. 

Antony stood looking after the Inspector as he strode off, silent for so 
long that Bill shook him by the arm at last, and asked him rather crossly 
what was the matter. 

Antony shook his head slowly from side to side. 

"I don't know; really I don't know. It's too devilish what I keep 
thinking. He can't be as cold-blooded as that." 

"Who?" 

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Without answering, Antony led the way back to the garden-seat on 
which they had been sitting. He sat there with his head in his hands. 

"Oh, I hope they find something," he murmured. "Oh, I hope they 
do." 

"In the pond?" 

"Yes." 

"But what?" 

"Anything, Bill; anything." 

Bill was annoyed. "I say, Tony, this won't do. You really mustn't 
be so damn mysterious. What's happened to you suddenly?" 

Antony looked up at him in surprise. 

"Didn't you hear what he said?" 

"What, particularly?" 

"That it was Cayley's idea to drag the pond." 

"Oh! Oh, 'I say!" Bill was rather excited again. "You mean that 
he's hidden something there? Some false clue which he wants the police 
to find?" 

"I hope so," said Antony earnestly, "but I'm afraid -" He stopped 
short. 

"Afraid of what?" 

"Afraid that he hasn't hidden anything there. Afraid that -" 

"Well?" 

"What's the safest place in which to hide anything very important?" 

"Somewhere where nobody will look." 

"There's a better place than that." 

"What?" 

"Somewhere where everybody has already looked." 

"By Jove! You mean that as soon as the pond has been dragged, 
Cayley will hide something there?" 

"Yes, I'm afraid so." 

"But why afraid?" 

"Because I think that it must be something very important, something 
which couldn't easily be hidden anywhere else." 

"What?" asked Bill eagerly. 

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The Red House Mystery 

Antony shook his head. 

"No, I'm not going to talk about it yet. We can wait and see what the 
inspector finds. He may find something - I don't know what 
something that Cayley has put there for him to find. But if he doesn't, 
then it will be because Cayley is going to hide something there to-night." 

"What?" asked Bill again. 

"You will see what, Bill," said Antony; "because we shall be there." 

"Are we going to watch, him?" 

"Yes, if the inspector finds nothing." "That's good," said Bill. 

If it were a question of Cayley or the Law, he was quite decided as to 
which side he was taking. Previous to the tragedy of yesterday he had 
got on well enough with both of the cousins, without being in the least 
intimate with either. Indeed, of the two he preferred, perhaps, the silent, 
solid Cayley to the more volatile Mark. Cayley's qualities, as they 
appeared to Bill, may have been chiefly negative; but even if this merit lay 
in the fact that he never exposed whatever weaknesses he may have had, 
this is an excellent quality in a fellow-guest (or, if you like, fellow-host) in 
a house where one is continually visiting. Mark's weaknesses, on the 
other hand, were very plain to the eye, and Bill had seen a good deal of 
them. 

Yet, though he had hesitated to define his position that morning in 
regard to Mark, he did not hesitate to place himself on the side of the Law 
against Cayley. Mark, after all, had done him no harm, but Cayley had 
committed an unforgivable offence. Cayley had listened secretly to a 
private conversation between himself and Tony. Let Cayley hang, if the 
Law demanded it. 

Antony looked at his watch and stood up. 

"Come along," he said. "It's time for that job I spoke about." 

"The passage?" said Bill eagerly. 

"No; the thing which I said that I had to do this afternoon." 

"Oh, of course. What is it?" 

Without saying anything, Antony led the way indoors to the office. 

It was three o'clock, and at three o'clock yesterday Antony and Cayley 
had found the body. At a few minutes after three, he had been looking 

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out of the window of the adjoining room, and had been surprised suddenly 
to find the door open and Cayley behind him. He had vaguely wondered at 
the time why he had expected the door to be shut, but he had had no time 
then to worry the thing out, and he had promised himself to look into it at 
his leisure afterwards. Possibly it meant nothing; possibly, if it meant 
anything, he could have found out its meaning by a visit to the office that 
morning. But he had felt that he would be more likely to recapture the 
impressions of yesterday if he chose as far as possible the same conditions 
for his experiment. So he had decided that three o'clock that afternoon 
should find him once more in the office, 

As he went into the room, followed by Bill, he felt it almost as a shock 
that there was now no body of Robert lying there between the two doors. 
But there was a dark stain which showed where the dead man's head had 
been, and Antony knelt down over it, as he had knelt twenty-four hours 
before. 

"I want to go through it again," he said. "You must be Cayley. 
Cayley said he would get some water. I remember thinking that water 
wasn't much good to a dead man, and that probably he was only too glad 
to do anything rather than nothing. He came back with a wet sponge and 
a handkerchief. I suppose he got the handkerchief from the chest of 
drawers. Wait a bit." 

He got up and went into the adjoining room; looked round it, pulled 
open a drawer or two, and, after shutting all the doors, came back to the 
office. 

"The sponge is there, and there are handkerchiefs in the top right-hand 
drawer. Now then, Bill, just pretend you're Cayley. You've just said 
something about water, and you get up. 

Feeling that it was all a little uncanny, Bill, who had been kneeling 
beside his friend, got up and walked out. Antony, as he had done on the 
previous day, looked up after him as he went. Bill turned into the room 
on the right, opened the drawer and got the handkerchief, damped the 
sponge and came back. 

"Well?" he said wonderingly. 

Antony shook his head. 

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"It's all different," he said. "For one thing, you made a devil of a 
noise and Cayley didn't." 

"Perhaps you weren't listening when Cayley went in?" 

"I wasn't. But I should have heard him if I could have heard him, and 
I should have remembered afterwards." 

"Perhaps Cayley shut the door after him." 

"Wait!" 

He pressed his hand over his eyes and thought. It wasn't anything 
which he had heard, but something which he had seen. He tried 
desperately hard to see it again.... He saw Cayley getting up, opening the 
door from the office, leaving it open and walking into the passage, turning 
to the door on the right, opening it, going in, and then -What did his 
eyes see after that? If they would only tell him again! 

Suddenly he jumped up, his face alight. "Bill, I've got it!" he cried. 

"What?" 

"The shadow on the wall! I was looking at the shadow on the wall. 
Oh, ass, and ten times ass!" 

Bill looked uncomprehendingly at him. Antony took his arm and 
pointed to the wall of the passage. 

"Look at the sunlight on it," he said. "That's because you've left the 
door of that room open. The sun comes straight in through the windows. 
Now, I'm going to shut the door. Look! D'you see how the shadow 
moves across? That's what I saw the shadow moving across as the door 
shut behind him. Bill, go in and shut the door behind you quite naturally. 
Quick!" 

Bill went out and Antony knelt, watching eagerly. 

"I thought so!" he cried. "I knew it couldn't have been that." 

"What happened?" said Bill, coming back. 

"Just what you would expect. The sunlight came, and the shadow 
moved back again all in one movement." 

"And what happened yesterday?" 

"The sunlight stayed there; and then the shadow came very slowly 
back, and there was no noise of the door being shut." 

Bill looked at him with startled eyes. 

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"By Jove! You mean that Cayley closed the door afterwards as an 
afterthought and very quietly, so that you couldn't hear?" 

Antony nodded. 

"Yes. That explains why I was surprised afterwards when I went into 
the room to find the door open behind me. You know how those doors 
with springs on them close?" 

"The sort which old gentlemen have to keep out draughts?" 

"Yes. Just at first they hardly move at all, and then very, very slowly 
they swing to well, that was the way the shadow moved, and 
subconsciously I must have associated it with the movement of that sort of 
door. By Jove!" He got up, and dusted his knees. "Now, Bill, just to 
make sure, go in and close the door like that. As an afterthought, you 
know; and very quietly, so that I don't hear the click of it." 

Bill did as he was told, and then put his head out eagerly to hear what 
had happened. 

"That was it," said Antony, with absolute conviction. "That was just 
what I saw yesterday." He came out of the office, and joined Bill in the 
little room. 

"And now," he said, "let's try and find out what it was that Mr. Cayley 
was doing in here, and why he had to be so very careful that his friend Mr. 
Gillingham didn't overhear him." 

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CHAPTER XIII


The Open Window 

Anthony's first thought was that Cayley had hidden something; 
something, perhaps, which he had found by the body, and but that was 
absurd. In the time at his disposal, he could have done no more than put 
it away in a drawer, where it would be much more open to discovery by 
Antony than if he had kept it in his pocket. In any case he would have 
removed it by this time, and hidden it in some more secret place. Besides, 
why in this case bother about shutting the door? 

Bill pulled open a drawer in the chest, and looked inside. 

"Is it any good going through these, do you think?" he asked. 

Antony looked over his shoulder. 

"Why did he keep clothes here at all?" he asked. "Did he ever change 
down here?" 

"My dear Tony, he had more clothes than anybody in the world. He 
just kept them here in case they might be useful, I expect. When you and 
I go from London to the country we carry our clothes about with us. 
Mark never did. In his flat in London he had everything all over again 
which he has here. It was a hobby with him, collecting clothes. If he'd 
had half a dozen houses, they would all have been full of a complete 
gentleman's town and country outfit." 

"I see." 

"Of course, it might be useful sometimes, when he was busy in the 
next room, not to have to go upstairs for a handkerchief or a more 
comfortable coat." 

"I see. Yes." He was walking round the room as he answered, and 
he lifted the top of the linen basket which stood near the wash basin and 
glanced in. "He seems to have come in here for a collar lately." 

Bill peered in. There was one collar at the bottom of the basket. 

"Yes. I daresay he would," he agreed. "If he suddenly found that 
the one he was wearing was uncomfortable or a little bit dirty, or 
something. He was very finicking." 

Antony leant over and picked it out. 

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"It must have been uncomfortable this time," he said, after examining 
it carefully. "It couldn't very well be cleaner." He dropped it back again. 
"Anyway, he did come in here sometimes?" 

"Oh, yes, rather." 

"Yes, but what did Cayley come in for so secretly?" 

"What did he want to shut the door for?" said Bill. "That's what I 
don't understand. You couldn't have seen him, anyhow." 

"No. So it follows that I might have heard him. He was going to do 
something which he didn't want me to hear." 

"By Jove, that's it!" said Bill eagerly. 

"Yes; but what?" 

Bill frowned hopefully to himself, but no inspiration came. 

"Well, let's have some air, anyway," he said at last, exhausted by the 
effort, and he went to the window, opened it, and looked out. Then, struck 
by an idea, he turned back to Antony and said, "Do you think I had better 
go up to the pond to make sure that they're still at it? Because " 

He broke off suddenly at the sight of Antony's face. 

"Oh, idiot, idiot!" Antony cried. "Oh, most super-excellent of 
Watsons! Oh, you lamb, you blessing! Oh, Gillingham, you 
incomparable ass!" 

"What on earth -" 

"The window, the window!" cried Antony, pointing to it. 

Bill turned back to the window, expecting it to say something. As it 
said nothing, he looked at Antony again. 

"He was opening the window! " cried Antony. 

"Who?" 

"Cayley, of course." Very gravely and slowly he expounded. "He 
came in here in order to open the window. He shut the door so that I 
shouldn't hear him open the window. He opened the window. I came in 
here and found the window open. I said, 'This window is open. My 
amazing powers of analysis tell me that the murderer must have escaped 
by this window.' 'Oh,' said Cayley, raising his eyebrows. 'Well,' said he, 'I 
suppose you must be right.' Said I proudly, 'I am. For the window is 
open,' I said. Oh, you incomparable ass!" 

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He understood now. It explained so much that had been puzzling 
him. 

He tried to put himself in Cayley's place - Cayley, when Antony had 
first discovered him, hammering at the door and crying, "Let me in!" 
Whatever had happened inside the office, whoever had killed Robert, 
Cayley knew all about it, and knew that Mark was not inside, and had not 
escaped by the window. But it was necessary to Cayley's plans - to 
Mark's plans if they were acting in concert - that he should be thought so 
to have escaped. At some time, then, while he was hammering (the key 
in his pocket) at the locked door, he must suddenly have remembered with 
what a shock! that a mistake had been made. A window had not been left 
open! 

Probably it would just have been a horrible doubt at first. Was the 
office window open? Surely it was open! Was it?.... Would he have 
time now to unlock the door, slip in, open the French windows and slip out 
again? No. At any moment the servants might come. It was too risky. 
Fatal, if he were discovered. But servants were stupid. He could get 
the windows safely open while they were crowding round the body. 
They wouldn't notice. He could do it somehow. 

And then Antony's sudden appearance! Here was a complication. 
And Antony suggesting that they should try the window! Why, the 
window was just what he wanted to avoid. No wonder he had seemed 
dazed at first. 

Ah, and here at last was the explanation why they had gone the longest 
way round and yet run. It was Cayley's only chance of getting a start on 
Antony, of getting to the windows first, of working them open somehow 
before Antony caught him up. Even if that were impossible, he must get 
there first, just to make sure. Perhaps they were open. He must get 
away from Antony and see. And if they were shut, hopelessly shut, then 
he must have a moment to himself, a moment in which to think of some 
other plan, and avoid the ruin which seemed so suddenly to be threatening. 

So he had run. But Antony had kept up with him. They had broken 
in the window together, and gone into the office. But Cayley was not 
done yet. There was the dressing-room window! But quietly, quietly. 

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Antony mustn't hear. 

And Antony didn't hear. Indeed, he had played up to Cayley 
splendidly. Not only had he called attention to the open window, but he 
had carefully explained to Cayley why Mark had chosen this particular 
window in preference to the office window. And Cayley had agreed that 
probably that was the reason. How he must have chuckled to himself! 
But he was still a little afraid. Afraid that Antony would examine the 
shrubbery. Why? Obviously because there was no trace of anyone 
having broken through the shrubbery. No doubt Cayley had provided the 
necessary traces since, and had helped the inspector to find them. Had he 
even gone as far as footmarks in Mark's shoes? But the ground was very 
hard. Perhaps footmarks were not necessary. Antony smiled as he 
thought of the big Cayley trying to squeeze into the dapper little Mark's 
shoes. Cayley must have been glad that footmarks were not necessary. 

No, the open window was enough; the open window and a broken twig 
or two. But quietly, quietly. Antony mustn't hear. And Antony had 
not heard.... But he had seen a shadow on the wall. 

They were outside on the lawn again now, Bill and Antony, and Bill 
was listening open-mouthed to his friend's theory of yesterday's 
happenings. It fitted in, it explained things, but it did not get them any 
further. It only gave them another mystery to solve. 

"What's that?" said Antony. 

"Mark. Where's Mark? If he never went into the office at all, then 
where is he now?" 

"I don't say that he never went into the office. In fact, he must have 
gone. Elsie heard him." He stopped and repeated slowly, "She heard 
him at least she says she did. But if he was there, he came out again by 
the door." 

"Well, but where does that lead you?" 

"Where it led Mark. The passage." 

"Do you mean that he's been hiding there all the time?" Antony was 
silent until Bill had repeated his question, and then with an effort he came 
out of his thoughts and answered him. 

"I don't know. But look here. Here is a possible explanation. I 

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don't know if it is the right one I don't know, Bill; I'm rather frightened. 
Frightened of what may have happened, of what may be going to happen. 
However, here is an explanation. See if you can find any fault with it." 

With his legs stretched out and his hands deep in his pockets, he lay 
back on the garden-seat, looking up to the blue summer sky above him, 
and just as if he saw up there the events of yesterday being enacted over 
again, he described them slowly to Bill as they happened. 

"We'll begin at the moment when Mark shoots Robert. Call it an 
accident; probably it was. Mark would say it was, anyhow. He is in a 
panic, naturally. But he doesn't lock the door and run away. For one 
thing, the key is on the outside of the door; for another, he is not, quite 
such a fool as that. But he is in a horrible position. He is known to be 
on bad terms with his brother; he has just uttered some foolish threat to 
him, which may possibly have been overheard. What is he to do? He 
does the natural thing, the thing which Mark would always do in such 
circumstances. He consults Cayley, the invaluable, inevitable Cayley. 

"Cayley is just outside, Cayley must have heard the shot, Cayley will 
tell him what to do. He opens the door just as Cayley is coming to see 
what is the matter. He explains rapidly. 'What's to be done, Cay? 
what's to be done?. It was an accident. I swear it was an accident. He 
threatened me. He would have shot me if I hadn't. Think of something, 
quick!' 

"Cayley has thought of something. 'Leave it to me,' he says. 'You 
clear out altogether. I shot him, if you like. I'll do all the explaining. 
Get away. Hide. Nobody saw you go in. Into the passage, quick. I'll 
come to you there as soon as I can.' 

"Good Cayley. Faithful Cayley! Mark's courage comes back. 
Cayley will explain all right. Cayley will tell the servants that it was an 
accident. He will ring up the police. Nobody will suspect Cayley -
Cayley has no quarrel with Robert. And then Cayley will come into the 
passage and tell him that it is all right, and Mark will go out by the other 
end, and saunter slowly back to the house. He will be told the news by 
one of the servants. Robert accidentally shot? Good Heavens! 

"So, greatly reassured, Mark goes into the library. And Cayley goes 

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to the door of the office.... and locks it. And then he bangs on the door 

and shouts, 'Let me in!' 

Antony was silent. Bill looked at him and shook his head. 

"Yes, Tony, but that doesn't make sense. What's the point of Cayley 
behaving like that?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders without answering. 

"And what has happened to Mark since?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders again. 

"Well, the sooner we go into that passage, the better," said Bill. 

"You're ready to go?" 

"Quite," said Bill, surprised. 

"You're quite ready for what we may find?" 

"You're being dashed mysterious, old boy." 

"I know I am." He gave a little laugh, and went on, "Perhaps I'm 
being an ass, just a melodramatic ass. Well, I hope I am." He looked at 
his watch. 

"It's safe, is it? They're still busy at the pond?" 

"We'd better make certain. Could you be a sleuthhound, Bill - one of 
those that travel on their stomachs very noiselessly? I mean, could you 
get near enough to the pond to make sure that Cayley is still there, without 
letting him see you?" 

"Rather!" He got up eagerly. "You wait." 

Antony's head shot up suddenly. "Why, that was what Mark said," he 
cried. 

"Mark?" 

"Yes. What Elsie heard him say." 

"Oh, that." 

"Yes I suppose she couldn't have made a mistake, Bill? She did hear 
him?" 

"She couldn't have mistaken his voice, if that's what you mean. 

"Oh?" 

"Mark had an extraordinary characteristic voice." 

"Oh!" 

"Rather high-pitched, you know, and well, one can't explain, but -" 

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"Yes?" 

"Well, rather like this, you know, or even more so if anything." He 
rattled these words off in Mark's rather monotonous, high-pitched voice, 
and then laughed, and added in his natural voice, "I say, that was really 
rather good." 

Antony nodded quickly. "That was like it?" he said. 

"Exactly." 

"Yes." He got up and squeezed Bill's arm. "Well just go and see 
about Cayley, and then we'll get moving. I shall be in the library." 

"Right." 

Bill nodded and walked off in the direction of the pond. This was 
glorious fun; this was life. The immediate programme could hardly be 
bettered. First of all he was going to stalk Cayley. There was a little 
copse above the level of the pond, and about a hundred yards away from it. 
He would come into this from the back, creep cautiously through it, taking 
care that no twigs cracked, and then, drawing himself on his stomach to 
the edge, peer down upon the scene below him. People were always 
doing that sort of thing in books, and he had been filled with a hopeless 
envy of them; well, now he was actually going to do it himself. What 
fun! 

And then, when he had got back unobserved to the house and reported 
to Antony, they were going to explore the secret passage! Again, what 
fun! Unfortunately there seemed to be no chance of buried treasure, but 
there might be buried clues. Even if you found nothing, you couldn't get 
away from the fact that a secret passage was a secret passage, and 
anything might happen in it. But even that wasn't the end of this exciting 
day. They were going to watch the pond that night; they were going to 
watch Cayley under the moonlight, watch him as he threw into the silence 
of the pond what? The revolver? Well, anyhow, they were going to 
watch him. What fun! 

To Antony, who was older and who realized into what deep waters 
they were getting, it did not seem fun. But it was amazingly interesting. 
He saw so much, and yet somehow it was all out of focus. It was like 
looking at an opal, and discovering with every movement of it some new 

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colour, some new gleam of light reflected, and yet never really seeing the 
opal as a whole. He was too near it, or too far away; he strained his eyes 
and he relaxed his eyes; it was no good. His brain could not get hold of it. 

But there were moments when he almost had it.... and then turned 
away from it. He had seen more of life than Bill, but he had never seen 
murder before, and this which was in his mind now, and to which he was 
afraid to listen, was not just the hot-blooded killing which any man may 
come to if he lose control. It was something much more horrible. Too 
horrible to be true. Then let him look again for the truth. He looked 
again but it was all out of focus. 

"I will not look again," he said aloud, as he began to walk towards the 
house. "Not yet, anyway." He would go on collecting facts and 
impressions. Perhaps the one fact would come along, by itself which 
would make everything clear. 

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CHAPTER XIV 

Mr. Beverley Qualifies for the Stage 

Bill had come back, and had reported, rather breathless, that Cayley 
was still at the pond. 
"But I don't think they're getting up much except mud," he said. "I 

ran most of the way back so as to give us as much time as possible." 

Antony nodded. 

"Well, come along, then," he said. "The sooner, the quicker." 

They stood in front of the row of sermons. Antony took down the 

Reverend Theodore Ussher's famous volume, and felt for the spring. Bill 

pulled. The shelves swung open towards them. 

"By Jove!" said Bill, "it is a narrow way. 

There was an opening about a yard square in front of them, which had 

something the look of a brick fireplace, a fireplace raised about two feet 
from the ground. But, save for one row of bricks in front, the floor of it 
was emptiness. Antony took a torch from his pocket and flashed it down 
into the blackness. 

"Look," he whispered to the eager Bill. "The steps begin down there. 
Six feet down." 

He flashed his torch up again. There was a handhold of iron, a sort of 
large iron staple, in the bricks in front of them. 

"You swing off from there," said Bill. "At least, I suppose you do. I 

wonder how Ruth Norris liked doing it." 

"Cayley helped her, I should think.... It's funny." 

"Shall I go first?" asked Bill, obviously longing to do so. Antony 

shook his head with a smile. 

"I think I will, if you don't mind very much, Bill. Just in case. 

"In case of what?" 

"Well in case." 

Bill, had to be content with that, but he was too much excited to 

wonder what Antony meant. 

"Righto," he said. "Go on." 

"Well, we'll just make sure we can get back again, first. It really 

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wouldn't be fair on the Inspector if we got stuck down here for the rest of 
our lives. He's got enough to do trying to find Mark, but if he has to find 
you and me as well -" 

"We can always get out at the other end." 

"Well, we're not certain yet. I think I'd better just go down and back. 
I promise faithfully not to explore." 

"Right you are." 

Antony sat down on the ledge of bricks, swung his feet over, and sat 
there for a moment, his legs dangling. He flashed his torch into the 
darkness again, so as to make sure where the steps began; then returned it 
to his pocket, seized the staple in front of him and swung himself down. 
His feet touched the steps beneath him, and he let go. 

"Is it all right?" said Bill anxiously. 

"All right. I'll just go down to the bottom of the steps and back. Stay 
there." 

The light shone down by his feet. His head began to disappear. For 
a little while Bill, craning down the opening, could still see faint splashes 
of light, and could hear slow uncertain footsteps; for a little longer he 
could fancy that he saw and heard them; then he was alone.... 

Well, not quite alone. There was a sudden voice in the hall outside. 

"Good Lord!" said Bill, turning round with a start, "Cayley!" 

If he was not so quick in thought as Antony, he was quick enough in 
action. Thought was not demanded now. To close the secret door 
safely but noiselessly, to make sure that the books were in the right places, 
to move away to another row of shelves so as to be discovered deep in 
"Badminton" or "Baedeker" or whomever the kind gods should send to his 
aid the difficulty was not to decide what to do, but to do all this in five 
seconds rather than in six. 

"Ah, there you are," said Cayley from the doorway. 

"Hallo!" said Bill, in surprise, looking up from the fourth volume of 
"The Life and Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. "Have they finished?" 

"Finished what?" 

"The pond," said Bill, wondering why he was reading Coleridge on 
such a fine afternoon. Desperately he tried to think of a good reason.... 

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verifying a quotation - an argument with Antony - that would do. But 
what quotation? 
"Oh, no. They're still at it. Where's Gillingham?" 
"The Ancient Mariner" - water, water, everywhere - or was that 

something else? And where was Gillingham? Water, water everywhere 
-
"Tony? Oh, he's about somewhere. We're just going down to the 
village. They aren't finding anything at the pond, are they?" 
"No. But they like doing it. Something off their minds when they 
can say they've done it." 
Bill, deep in his 'book, looked up and said "Yes," and went back to it 
again. He was just getting to the place. 

"What's the book?" said Cayley, coming up to him. Out of the corner 
of his eye he glanced at the shelf of sermons as he came. Bill saw that 
glance and wondered. Was there anything there to give away the secret? 

"I was just looking up a quotation," he drawled. "Tony and I had a 
bet about it. You know that thing about - er water, water everywhere, and 

-er - not a drop to drink." (But what on earth, he wondered to himself, 
were they betting about?) 

"'Nor any drop to drink,' to be accurate." 

Bill looked at him in surprise. Then a happy smile came on his face. 

"Quite sure?" he said. 

"Of course." 

"Then you've saved me a lot of trouble. That's, what the bet was 
about." He closed the book with a slam, put it back in its shelf, and 
began to feel for his pipe and tobacco. "I was a fool to bet with Tony," he 
added. "He always knows that sort of thing." 

So far, so good. But here was Cayley still in the library, and there 
was Antony, all unsuspecting, in the passage. When Antony came back 
he would not be surprised to find the door closed, because the whole 
object of his going had been to see if he could open it easily from the 
inside. At any moment, then, the bookshelf might swing back and show 
Antony's head in the gap. A nice surprise for Cayley! 

"Come with us?" he said casually, as he struck a match. He pulled 

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vigorously at the flame as he waited for the answer, hoping to hide his 

anxiety, for if Cayley assented, he was done. 

"I've got to go into Stanton." 

Bill blew out a great cloud of smoke with an expiration which covered 
also a heartfelt sigh of relief. 

"Oh, a pity. You're driving, I suppose?" 

"Yes. The car will be here directly. There's a letter I must write 
first." He sat down at a writing table, and took out a sheet of notepaper. 

He was facing the secret door; if it opened he would see it. At any 
moment now it might open. 

Bill dropped into a chair and thought. Antony must be warned. 
Obviously. But how? How did one signal to anybody? By code. 
Morse code. Did Antony know it? Did Bill know it himself, if it came 
to that? He had picked up a bit in the Army not enough to send a 
message, of course. But a message was impossible, anyhow; Cayley 
would hear him tapping it out. It wouldn't do to send more than a single 
letter. What letters did he know? And what letter would convey 
anything to Antony?.... He pulled at his pipe, his eyes wandering from 
Cayley at his desk to the Reverend Theodore Ussher in his shelf. What 
letter? 

C for Cayley. Would Antony understand? Probably not, but it was 
just worth trying. What was C? Long, short, long, short. Umpty-iddyumpty-iddy. Was that right? C yes, that was C. He was sure of that. 

C. Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy. 
Hands in pockets, he got up and wandered across the room, humming 
vaguely to himself, the picture of a man waiting for another man (as it 
might be his friend Gillingham) to come in and take him away for a walk 
or something. He wandered across to the books at the back of Cayley, 
and began to tap absent-mindedly on the shelves, as he looked at the titles. 
Umpty-iddy-umpty-iddy. Not that it was much like that at first; he 
couldn't get the rhythm of it.... Umpt-y-iddy-umpt-y-iddy. That was 
better. He was back at Samuel Taylor Coleridge now. Antony would 
begin to hear him soon. Umpt-y-iddy-umpt-y-iddy; just the aimless 
tapping of a man who is wondering what book he will take out with him to 

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read on the lawn. Would Antony hear? One always heard the man in 
the next flat knocking out his pipe. Would Antony understand? Umpty-iddy-umpt-y-iddy. C. for Cayley, Antony. Cayley's here. For God's 
sake, wait. 

"Good Lord! Sermons!" said Bill, with a loud laugh. (Umpt-y-iddyumpt-y-iddy) "Ever read 'em, Cayley?" 

"What?" Cayley looked up suddenly. Bill's back moved slowly along, 
his fingers beating a tattoo on the shelves as he walked. 

"Er no," said Cayley, with a little laugh. An awkward, uncomfortable 
little laugh, it seemed to Bill. 

"Nor do I." He was past the sermons now past the secret door but 
still tapping in the same aimless way. 

"Oh, for God's sake sit down," burst out Cayley. "Or go outside if 
you want to walk about." 

Bill turned round in astonishment. 

"Hallo, what's the matter?" 

Cayley was slightly ashamed of his outburst. 

"Sorry, Bill," he apologized. "My nerves are on edge. Your 
constant tapping and fidgeting about -" 

"Tapping?" said Bill with an air of complete surprise. 

"Tapping on the shelves, and humming. Sorry. It got on my 
nerves." 

"My dear old chap, I'm awfully sorry. I'll go out in the hall." 

"It's all right," said Cayley, and went on with his letter. Bill sat down 
in his chair again. Had Antony understood? Well, anyhow, there was 
nothing to do now but wait for Cayley to go. "And if you ask me," said 
Bill to himself, much pleased, "I ought to be on the stage. That's where I 
ought to be. The complete actor." 

A minute, two minutes, three minutes.... five minutes. It was safe now. 
Antony had guessed. 

"Is the car there?" asked Cayley, as he sealed up his letter. 

Bill strolled into the hall, called back "Yes," and went out to talk to the 
chauffeur. Cayley joined him, and they stood there for a moment. 

"Hallo," said a pleasant voice behind them. They turned round and 

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saw Antony. 

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Bill." 

With a tremendous effort Bill restrained his feelings, and said casually 
enough that it was all right. 

"Well, I must be off," said Cayley. "You're going down to the 
village?" 

"That's the idea." 

"I wonder if you'd take this letter to Jallands for me?" 

"Of course." 

"Thanks very much. Well, I shall see you later." 

He nodded and got into the car. 

As soon as they were alone Bill turned eagerly to his friend. 

"Well?" he said excitedly. 

"Come into the library." 

They went in, and Tony sank down into a chair. 

"You must give me a moment," he panted. "I've been running." 

"Running?" 

"Well, of course. How do you think I got back here?" 

"You don't mean you went out at the other end?" 

Antony nodded. 

"I say, did you hear me tapping?" 

"I did, indeed. Bill, you're a genius." 

Bill blushed. 

I knew you'd understand," he said. "You guessed that I meant 
Cayley?" 

"I did. It was the least I could do after you had been so brilliant. You 
must have had rather an exciting time." 

"Exciting? Good lord, I should think it was." 

"Tell me about it." 

As modestly as possible, Mr. Beverley explained his qualifications for 
a life on the stage. 

"Good man," said Antony at the end of it. "You are the most perfect 
Watson that ever lived. Bill, my lad," he went on dramatically, rising and 
taking Bill's hand in both of his, "There is nothing that you and I could not 

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accomplish together, if we gave our minds to it." 

"Silly old ass." 

"That's what you always say when I'm being serious. Well, anyway, 
thanks awfully. You really saved us this time." 

"Were you coming back?" 

"Yes. At least I think I was. I was just wondering when I heard you 
tapping. The fact of the door being shut was rather surprising. Of course 
the whole idea was to see if it could be opened easily from the other side, 
but I felt somehow that you wouldn't shut it until the last possible moment 

- until you saw me coming back. Well, hen I heard the taps, and I knew 
it must mean something, so I sat tight. Then when C began to come 
along I said, 'Cayley, b'Jove' - bright, aren't I? - and I simply hared to 
the other end of the passage for all I was worth. And hared back again. 
Because I thought you might be getting rather involved in explanations 
about where I was, and so on." 
"You didn't see Mark, then?" 

"No. Nor his No, I didn't see anything." 

"Nor what?" 

Antony was silent for a moment. 

"I didn't see anything, Bill. Or rather, I did see something; I saw a 
door in the wall, a cupboard. And it's locked. So if there's anything we 
want to find, that's where it is." 

"Could Mark be hiding there?" 

"I called through the keyhole in a whisper 'Mark, are you there?' he 
would have thought it was Cayley. There was no answer. 

"Well, let's go down and try again. We might be able to get the door 
open." 

Antony shook his head. 

"Aren't I going at all?" said Bill in great disappointment. 

When Antony spoke, it was to ask another question: 

"Can Cayley drive a car?" 

"Yes, of course. Why?" 

"Then he might easily drop the chauffeur at his lodge and go off to 

Stanton, or wherever he wanted to, on his own?" 

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"I suppose so if he wanted to." 

"Yes." Antony got up. "Well, look here, as we said we were going 
into the village, and as we promised to leave that letter, I almost think we'd 
better do it." 

"Oh!.... Oh, very well." 

"Jallands. What were you telling me about that? Oh, yes; the 
Widow Norbury." 

"That's right. Cayley used to be rather keen on the daughter. The 
letter's for her." 

"Yes; well, let's take it. Just to be on the safe side." "Am I going to 
be done out of that secret passage altogether?" asked Bill fretfully. 

"There's nothing to see, really, I promise you." 

"You're very mysterious. What's upset you? You did see something 
down there, I'm certain of it." 

"I did and I've told you about it." 

"No, you haven't. You only told me about the door in the wall." 

"That's it, Bill. And it's locked. And I'm frightened of what's behind 
it." 

"But then we shall never know what's there if we aren't going to look." 

"We shall know to-night," said Antony, taking Bill's arm and leading 
him to the hall, "when we watch our dear friend Cayley dropping it into 
the pond." 

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CHAPTER XV 

Mrs. Norbury Confides in Dear Mr. Gillingham 

They left the road, and took the path across the fields which sloped 
gently downwards towards Jallands. Antony was silent, and since it is 
difficult to keep up a conversation with a silent man for any length of time, 
Bill had dropped into silence too. Or rather, he hummed to himself, hit at 
thistles in the grass with his stick and made uncomfortable noises with his 
pipe. But he noticed that his companion kept looking back over his 
shoulder, almost as if he wanted to remember for a future occasion the 
way by which they were coming. Yet there was no difficulty about it, for 
they remained all the time in view of the road, and the belt of trees above 
the long park wall which bordered its further side stood out clearly against 
the sky. 

Antony, who had just looked round again, turned back with a smile. 

"What's the joke?" said Bill, glad of the more social atmosphere. 

"Cayley. Didn't you see?" 

"See what?" 

"The car. Going past on the road there:" 

"So that's what you were looking for. You've got jolly good eyes, my 
boy, if you recognize the car at this distance after only seeing it twice. 

"Well, I have got jolly good eyes. 

"I thought he was going to Stanton." 

"He hoped you'd think so obviously." 

"Then where is he going?" 

"The library, probably. To consult our friend Ussher. After making 
quite sure that his friends Beverley and Gillingham really were going to 
Jallands, as they said." 

Bill stopped suddenly in the middle of the path. 

"I say, do you think so?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders. 

"I shouldn't be surprised. We must be devilishly inconvenient for 
him, hanging about the house. Any moment he can get, when we're 
definitely somewhere else, must be very useful to him." 

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"Useful for what?" 

"Well, useful for his nerves, if for nothing else. We know he's mixed 
up in this business; we know he's hiding a secret or two. Even if he doesn't 
suspect that we're on his tracks, he must feel that at any moment we might 
stumble on something." 

Bill gave a grunt of assent, and they went slowly on again. 

"What about to-night?" he said, after a lengthy blow at his pipe. 

"Try a piece of grass," said Antony, offering it to him. Bill pushed it 
through the mouthpiece, blew again, said, "That's better," and returned the 
pipe to his pocket. 

"How are we going to get out without Cayley knowing?" 

"Well, that wants thinking over. It's going to be difficult. I wish we 
were sleeping at the inn.... Is this Miss Norbury, by any chance?" 

Bill looked up quickly. They were close to Jallands now, an old 
thatched farmhouse which, after centuries of sleep, had woken up to a new 
world, and had forthwith sprouted wings; wings, however, of so discreet a 
growth that they had not brought with them any obvious change of 
character, and Jallands even with a bathroom was still Jallands. To the 
outward view, at any rate. Inside, it was more clearly Mrs. Norbury's. 

"Yes Angela Norbury," murmured Bill. "Not bad-looking, is she?" 

The girl who stood by the little white gate of Jallands was something 
more than "not bad-looking," but in this matter Bill was keeping his 
superlatives for another. In Bill's eyes she must be judged, and 
condemned, by all that distinguished her from Betty Calladine. To 
Antony, unhampered by these standards of comparison, she seemed, quite 
simply, beautiful. 

"Cayley asked us to bring a letter along," explained Bill, when the 
necessary handshakings and introductions were over. "Here you are." 

"You will tell him, won't you, how dreadfully sorry I am about what 
has happened? It seems so hopeless to say anything; so hopeless even to 
believe it. If it is true what we've heard." 

Bill repeated the outline of events of yesterday. 

"Yes.... And Mr. Ablett hasn't been found yet?" 

She shook her head in distress. "It still seems to have happened to 

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somebody else; somebody we didn't know at all." Then, with a sudden 
grave smile which included both of them, "But you must come and have 
some tea." 

"It's awfully decent of you," said Bill awkwardly, "but we - er -" 

"You will, won't you?" she said to Antony. 

"Thank you very much." 

Mrs. Norbury was delighted to see them, as she always was to see any 
man in her house who came up to the necessary standard of eligibility. 
When her life-work was completed, and summed up in those beautiful 
words: "A marriage has been arranged, and will shortly take place, 
between Angela, daughter of the late John Norbury.... then she would utter 
a grateful Nunc dimittis and depart in peace to a better world, if Heaven 
insisted, but preferably to her new son-in-law's more dignified 
establishment. For there was no doubt that eligibility meant not only 
eligibility as a husband. 

But it was not as "eligibles" that the visitors from the Red House were 
received with such eagerness to-day, and even if her special smile for 
"possibles" was there, it was instinctive rather than reasoned. All that she 
wanted at this moment was news - news of Mark. For she was bringing 
it off at last; and, if the engagement columns of the "Morning Post" were 
preceded, as in the case of its obituary columns, by a premonitory bulletin, 
the announcement of yesterday would have cried triumphantly to the 
world, or to such part of the world as mattered: "A marriage has very 
nearly been arranged (by Mrs. Norbury), and will certainly take place, 
between Angela, only daughter of the late John Norbury, and - Mark 
Ablett of the Red House." And, coming across it on his way to the 
sporting page, Bill would have been surprised. For he had thought that, 
if anybody, it was Cayley. 

To the girl it was neither. She was often amused by her mother's 
ways; sometimes ashamed of them; sometimes distressed by them. The 
Mark Ablett affair had seemed to her particularly distressing, for Mark 
was so obviously in league with her mother against her. Other suitors, 
upon whom her mother had smiled, had been embarrassed by that 
championship; Mark appeared to depend on it as much as on his own 

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attractions; great though he thought these to be. They went a-wooing 
together. It was a pleasure to turn to Cayley, that hopeless ineligible. 

But alas! Cayley had misunderstood her. She could not imagine 
Cayley in love until she saw it, and tried, too late, to stop it. That was four 
days ago. She had not seen him since, and now here was this letter. 
She dreaded opening it. It was a relief to feel that at least she had an 
excuse for not doing so while her guests were in the house. 

Mrs. Norbury recognized at once that Antony was likely to be the 
more sympathetic listener; and when tea was over, and Bill and Angela 
had been dispatched to the garden with the promptness and efficiency of 
the expert, dear Mr. Gillingham found himself on the sofa beside her, 
listening to many things which were of even greater interest to him than 
she could possibly have hoped. 

"It is terrible, terrible," she said. "And to suggest that dear Mr. Ablett 
-" 

Antony made suitable noises. 

"You've seen Mr. Ablett for yourself. A kinder, more warmhearted 
man -" 

Antony explained that he had not seen Mr. Ablett. 

"Of course, yes, I was forgetting. But, believe me, Mr. Gillingham, 
you can trust a woman's intuition in these matters." 

Antony said that he was sure of this. 

"Think of my feelings as a mother." 

Antony was thinking of Miss Norbury's feelings as a daughter, and 
wondering if she guessed that her affairs were now being discussed with a 
stranger. Yet what could he do? What, indeed, did he want to do except 
listen, in the hope of learning? Mark engaged, or about to be engaged! 
Had that any bearing on the events of yesterday? What, for instance, 
would Mrs. Norbury have thought of brother Robert, that family skeleton? 
Was this another reason for wanting brother Robert out of the way? 

"I never liked him, never!" 

"Never liked?" said Antony, bewildered. 

"That cousin of his Mr. Cayley." 

"Oh!" 

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"I ask you, Mr. Gillingham, am I the sort of woman to trust my little 
girl to a man who would go about shooting his only brother?" 

"I'm sure you wouldn't, Mrs. Norbury." 

"If there has been any shooting done, it has been done by somebody 
else." 

Antony looked at her inquiringly. 

"I never liked him," said Mrs. Norbury firmly. "Never." However, 
thought Antony to himself, that didn't quite prove that Cayley was a 
murderer. 

"How did Miss Norbury get on with him?" he asked cautiously. 

"There was nothing in that at all," said Miss Norbury's mother 
emphatically. "Nothing. I would say so to anybody." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. I never meant -" 

"Nothing. I can say that for dear Angela with perfect confidence. 
Whether he made advances -" She broke off with a shrug of her plump 
shoulders. 

Antony waited eagerly. 

"Naturally they met. Possibly he might have - I don't know. But my 
duty as a mother was clear, Mr. Gillingham." 

Mr. Gillingham made an encouraging noise. 

"I told him quite frankly that - how shall I put it? - that he was 
trespassing. Tactfully, of course. But frankly." 

"You mean," said Antony, trying to speak calmly, "that you told him 
that - er - Mr. Ablett and your daughter -?" 

Mrs. Norbury nodded several times. 

"Exactly, Mr. Gillingham. I had my duty as a mother." 

"I am sure, Mrs. Norbury, that nothing would keep you from doing 
your duty. But it must have been disagreeable. Particularly if you 
weren't quite sure " 

"He was attracted, Mr. Gillingham. Obviously attracted." 

"Who would not be?" said Antony, with a charming smile. "It must 
have been something of a shock to him to -" 

"It was just that which made me so glad that I had spoken. I saw at 
once that I had not spoken a moment too soon." 

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"There must have been a certain awkwardness about the next 
meeting," suggested Antony. 

"Naturally, he has not been here since. No doubt they would have 
been bound to meet up at the Red House sooner or later." 

"Oh, - this was only quite lately?" 

"Last week, Mr. Gillingham. I spoke just in time. 

"Ab!" said Antony, under his breath. He had been waiting for it. 

He would have liked now to have gone away, so that he might have 
thought over the new situation by himself; or, perhaps preferably, to have 
changed partners for a little while with Bill. Miss Norbury would hardly 
be ready to confide in a stranger with the readiness of a mother, but he 
might have learnt something by listening to her. For which of them had 
she the greater feeling Cayley or Mark? Was she really prepared to 
marry Mark? Did she love him or the other - or neither? Mrs. Norbury 
was only a trustworthy witness in regard to her own actions and thoughts; 
he had learnt all that was necessary of those, and only the daughter now 
had anything left to tell him. But Mrs. Norbury was still talking. 

"Girls are so foolish, Mr. Gillingham," she was saying. "It is 
fortunate that they have mothers to guide them. It was so obvious to me 
from the beginning that dear Mr. Ablett was just the husband for my little 
girl. You never knew him?" 

Antony said again that he had not seen Mr. Ablett. 

"Such a gentleman. So nice-looking, in his artistic way. A regular 
Velasquez - I should say Van Dyck. Angela would have it that she could 
never marry a man with a beard. As if that mattered, when -" She broke 
off, and Antony finished her sentence for her. 

"The Red House is certainly charming," he said. 

"Charming. Quite charming. And it is not as if Mr. Ablett's 
appearance were in any way undistinguished. Quite the contrary. I'm 
sure you agree with me?" 

Antony said that he had never had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Ablett. 

"Yes. And quite the centre of the literary and artistic world. So 
desirable in every way." 

She gave a deep sigh, and communed with herself for a little. Antony 

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was, about to snatch the opportunity of leaving, when Mrs. Norbury began 
again. 

"And then there's this scapegrace brother of his. He was perfectly 
frank with me, Mr. Gillingham. He would be. He told me of this 
brother, and I told him that I was quite certain it would make no difference 
to my daughter's feelings for him.... After all, the brother was in 
Australia." 

"When was this? Yesterday?" Antony felt that, if Mark had only 
mentioned it after his brother's announcement of a personal call at the Red 
House, this perfect frankness had a good deal of wisdom behind it. 

"It couldn't have been yesterday, Mr. Gillingham. Yesterday -" she 
shuddered, and shook her head. 

"I thought perhaps he had been down here in the morning." 

"Oh, no! There is such a thing, Mr. Gillingham, as being too devoted 
a lover. Not in the morning, no. We both agreed that dear Angela 
Oh, no. No; the day before yesterday, when he happened to drop in 
about tea-time." 

It occurred to Antony that Mrs. Norbury had come a long way from 
her opening statement that Mark and Miss Norbury were practically 
engaged. She was now admitting that dear Angela was not to be rushed, 
that dear Angela had, indeed, no heart for the match at all. 

"The day before yesterday. As it happened, dear Angela was out. Not 
that it mattered. He was driving to Middleston. He hardly had time for 
a cup of tea, so that even if she had been in -" 

Antony nodded absently. This was something new. Why did Mark 
go to Middleston the day before yesterday? But, after all, why shouldn't 
he? A hundred reasons unconnected with the death of Robert might have 
taken him there. 

He got up to go. He wanted to be alone - alone, at least, with Bill. 
Mrs. Norbury had given him many things to think over, but the great 
outstanding fact which had emerged was this: that Cayley had reason to 
hate Mark, - Mrs. Norbury had given him that reason. To hate? Well, to 
be jealous, anyhow. But that was enough. 

"You see," he said to Bill, as they walked back, "we know that Cayley 

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is perjuring himself and risking himself over this business, and that must 
be for one of two reasons. Either to save Mark or to endanger him. 
That is to say, he is either whole-heartedly for him or whole-heartedly 
against him. Well, now we know that he is against him, definitely 
against him." 

"But, I say, you know," protested Bill, "one doesn't necessarily try to 
ruin one's rival in love." 

"Doesn't one?" said Antony, turning to him with a smile. 

Bill blushed. 

"Well, of course, one never knows, but I mean -" 

"You mightn't try to ruin him, Bill, but you wouldn't perjure yourself 
in order to get him out of a trouble of his own making." 

"Lord! no." 

"So that of the two alternatives the other is the more likely." 

They had come to the gate into the last field which divided them from 
the road, and having gone through it, they turned round and leant against it, 
resting for a moment, and looking down at the house which they had left. 

"Jolly little place, isn't it?" said Bill. 

"Very. But rather mysterious." 

"In what way?" 

"Well, where's the front door?" 

"The front door? Why, you've just come out of it." 

"But isn't there a drive, or a road or anything?" 

Bill laughed. 

"No; that's the beauty of it to some people. And that's why it's so 
cheap, and why the Norburys can afford it, I expect. They're not too well 
off." 

"But what about luggage and tradesmen and that kind of thing?" 

"Oh, there's a cart-track, but motor-cars can't come any nearer than the 
road" he turned round and pointed "up there. So the week-end 
millionaire people don't take it. At least, they'd have to build a road and a 
garage and all the rest of it, if they did." 

"I see," said Antony carelessly, and they turned round and continued 
their walk up to the road. But later on he remembered this casual 

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conversation at the gate, and saw the importance of it.


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CHAPTER XVI 

Getting Ready for the Night 

What was it which Cayley was going to hide in that pond that night? 
Antony thought that he knew now. It was Mark's body. 

>From the beginning he had seen this answer coming and had drawn 
back from it. For, if Mark had been killed, it seemed such a cold-blooded 
killing. Was Cayley equal to it? Bill would have said "No," but that 
was because he had had breakfast with Cayley, and lunch with him, and 
dinner with him; had ragged him and played games with him. Bill would 
have said "No," because Bill wouldn't have killed anybody in cold blood 
himself, and because he took it for granted that other people behaved 
pretty much as he did. But Antony had no such illusions. Murders were 
done; murder had actually been done here, for there was Robert's dead 
body. Why not another murder? 

Had Mark been in the office at all that afternoon? The only evidence 
(other than Cayley's, which obviously did not count) was Elsie's. Elsie 
was quite certain that she had heard his voice. But then Bill had said that 
it was a very characteristic voice - an easy voice, therefore, to imitate. If 
Bill could imitate it so successfully, why not Cayley? 

But perhaps it had not been such a cold-blooded killing, after all. 
Suppose Cayley had had a quarrel with his cousin that afternoon over the 
girl whom they were both wooing. Suppose Cayley had killed Mark, 
either purposely, in sudden passion, or accidentally, meaning only to 
knock him down. Suppose that this had happened in the passage, say 
about two o'clock, either because Cayley had deliberately led him there, or 
because Mark had casually suggested a visit to it. (One could imagine 
Mark continually gloating over that secret passage.) Suppose Cayley there, 
with the body at his feet, feeling already the rope round his neck; his mind 
darting this way and that in frantic search for a way of escape; and 
suppose that suddenly and irrelevantly he remembers that Robert is 
coming to the house at three o'clock that afternoon - automatically he 
looks at his watch -in half an hour's time.... In half an hour's time. He 
must think of something quickly, quickly. Shall he bury the body in the 

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passage and let it be thought that Mark ran away, frightened at the mere 
thought of his brother's arrival? But there was the evidence of the 
breakfast table. Mark had seemed annoyed at this resurrection of the 
black sheep, but certainly not frightened. No; that was much too thin a 
story. But suppose Mark had actually seen his brother and had a quarrel 
with him; suppose it could be made to look as if Robert had killed Mark -

Antony pictured to himself Cayley in the passage, standing over the 
dead body of his cousin, and working it out. How could Robert be made 
to seem the murderer, if Robert were alive to deny it? But suppose 
Robert were dead, too? 

He looks at his watch again. (Only twenty-five minutes now.) 
Suppose Robert were dead, too? Robert dead in the office, and Mark 
dead in the passage how does that help? Madness! But if the bodies 
were brought together somehow and Robert's death looked like suicide?.... 
Was it possible? 

Madness again. Too difficult. (Only twenty minutes now.) Too 
difficult to arrange in twenty minutes. Can't arrange a suicide. Too 
difficult.... Only nineteen minutes.... 

And then the sudden inspiration! Robert dead in the office, Mark's 
body hidden in the passage - impossible to make Robert seem the 
murderer, but how easy to make Mark! Robert dead and Mark missing; 
why, it jumped to the eye at once. Mark had killed Robert - accidentally; 
yes, that would be more likely - and then had run away. Sudden panic.... 
(He looks at his watch again. Fifteen minutes, but plenty of time now. 
The thing arranges itself.) 

Was that the solution, Antony wondered. It seemed to fit in with the 
facts as they knew them; but then, so did that other theory which he had 
suggested to Bill in the morning. 

"Which one?" said Bill. 

They had come back from Jallands through the park and were sitting 
in the copse above the pond, from which the Inspector and his fishermen 
had now withdrawn. Bill had listened with open mouth to Antony's 
theory, and save for an occasional "By Jove!" had listened in silence. 
"Smart man, Cayley," had been his only comment at the end. 

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"Which other theory?" 

"That Mark had killed Robert accidentally and had gone to Cayley for 
help, and that Cayley, having hidden him in the passage, locked the office 
door from the outside and hammered on it." 

"Yes, but you were so dashed mysterious about that. I asked you 
what the point of it was, and you wouldn't say anything." He thought for 
a little, and then went on, "I suppose you meant that Cayley deliberately 
betrayed Mark, and tried to make him look like a murderer?" 

"I wanted to warn you that we should probably find Mark in the 
passage, alive or dead." 

"And now you don't think so?" 

"Now I think that his dead body is there." 

"Meaning that Cayley went down and killed him afterwards after you 
had come, after the police had come?" 

"Well, that's what I shrink from, Bill. It's so horribly cold-blooded. 
Cayley may be capable of it, but I hate to think of it." 

"But, dash it all, your other way is cold-blooded enough. According 
to you, he goes up to the office and deliberately shoots a man with whom 
he has no quarrel, whom he hasn't seen for fifteen years!" "Yes, but to 
save his own neck. That makes a difference. My theory is that he 
quarrelled violently with Mark over the girl, and killed him in sudden 
passion. Anything that happened after that would be self-defense. I 
don't mean that I excuse it, but that I understand it. And I think that 
Mark's dead body is in the passage now, and has been there since, say, 
half-past two yesterday afternoon. And to-night Cayley is going to hide 
it in the pond." 

Bill pulled at the moss on the ground beside him, threw away a 
handful or two, and said slowly, "You may be right, but it's all guess-work, 
you know." 

Antony laughed. 

"Good Lord, of course it is," he said. "And to-night we shall know if 
it's a good guess or a bad one." 

Bill brightened up suddenly. 

"To-night," he said. "I say, to-night's going to be rather fun. How do 

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we work it?" 

Antony was silent for a little. 

"Of course," he said at last, "we ought to inform the police, so that 
they can come here and watch the pond to-night." 

"Of course," grinned Bill. 

"But I think that perhaps it is a little early to put our theories before 
them." 

"I think perhaps it is," said Bill solemnly. 

Antony looked up at him with a sudden smile. 

"Bill, you old bounder." 

"Well, dash it, it's our show. I don't see why we shouldn't get our 
little bit of fun out of it." 

"Neither do I. All right, then, we'll do without the police to-night." 

"We shall miss them," said Bill sadly, "but 'tis better so." 

There were two problems in front of them: first, the problem of getting 
out of the house without being discovered by Cayley, and secondly, the 
problem of recovering whatever it was which Cayley dropped into the 
pond that night. 

"Let's look at it from Cayley's point of view," said Antony. "He may 
not know that we're on his track, but he can't help being suspicious of us. 
He's bound to be suspicious of everybody in the house, and more 
particularly of us, because we're presumably more intelligent than the 
others." 

He stopped for a moment to light his pipe, and Bill took the 
opportunity of looking more intelligent than Mrs. Stevens. 

"Now, he has got something to hide to-night, and he's going to take 
good care that we aren't watching him. Well, what will he do?" 

"See that we are asleep first, before he starts out." 

"Yes. Come and tuck us up, and see that we're nice and 
comfortable." 

"Yes, that's awkward," said Bill. "But we could lock our doors, and 
then he wouldn't know that we weren't there." 

"Have you ever locked your door?" 

"Never." 

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"No And you can bet that Cayley knows that. Anyway, he'd bang on 
it, and you wouldn't answer, and then what would he think?" 

Bill was silent; crushed. 

"Then I don't see how we're going to do it," he said, after deep thought. 
"He'll obviously come to us just before he starts out, and that doesn't give 
us time to get to the pond in front of him." 

"Let's put ourselves in his place," said Antony, puffing slowly at his 
pipe. "He's got the body, or whatever it is, in the passage. He won't come 
up the stairs, carrying it in his arms, and look in at our doors to see if we're 
awake. He'll have to make sure about us first, and then go down for the 
body afterwards. So that gives us a little time." 

"Y yes," said Bill doubtfully. "We might just do it, but it'll be a bit of 
a rush." 

"But wait. When he's gone down to the passage and got the body, 
what will he do next?" 

"Come out again," said Bill helpfully. 

"Yes; but which end?" 

Bill sat up with a start. 

"By Jove, you mean that he will go out at the far end by the bowling-
green?" 

"Don't you think so? Just imagine him walking across the lawn in 
full view of the house, at midnight, with a body in his arms. Think of the 
awful feeling he would have in the back of the neck, wondering if 
anybody, any restless sleeper, had chosen just that moment to wander to 
the window and look out into the night. There's still plenty of moonlight, 
Bill. Is he going to walk across the park in the moonlight, with all those 
windows staring at him? Not if he can help it. But he can get out by 
the bowling green, and then come to the pond without ever being in sight 
of the house, at all." 

"You're right. And that will just about give us time. Good. Now, 
what's the next thing?" 

"The next thing is to mark the exact place in the pond where he drops 
whatever he drops." 

"So that we can fish it out again." 

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"If we can see what it is, we shan't want to. The police can have a go 
at it to-morrow. But if it's something we can't identify from a distance, 
then we must try and get it out. To see whether it's worth telling the 
police about." 

"Y - yes," said Bill, wrinkling his forehead. "Of course, the trouble 
with water is that one bit of it looks pretty much like the next bit. I don't 
know if that had occurred to you. 

"It had," smiled Antony. "Let's come and have a look at it." 

They walked to the edge of the copse, and lay down there in silence, 
looking at the pond beneath them. 

"See anything?" said Antony at last. 

"What?" 

"The fence on the other side." 

"What about it?" 

"Well, it's rather useful, that's all." 

"Said Sherlock Holmes enigmatically," added Bill. "A moment later, 
his friend Watson had hurled him into the pond." 

Antony laughed. 

"I love being Sherlocky," he said. "It's very unfair of you not to play 
up to me. 

"Why is that fence useful, my dear Holmes?" said Bill obediently. 

"Because you can take a bearing on it. You see " 

"Yes, you needn't stop to explain to me what a bearing is." 

"I wasn't going to. But you're lying here" he looked up "underneath 
this pine-tree. Cayley comes out in the old boat and drops his parcel in. 
You take a line from here on to the boat, and mark it off on the fence there. 
Say it's the fifth post from the end. Well, then I take a line from my tree 
we'll find one for me directly and it comes on to the twentieth post, say. 
And where the two lines meet, there shall the eagles be gathered together. 

Q.E.D. And there, I almost forgot to remark, will the taller eagle, 
Beverley by name, do his famous diving act. As performed nightly at the 
Hippodrome." 
Bill looked at him uneasily.
"I say, really? It's beastly dirty water, you know."


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"I'm afraid so, Bill. So it is written in the book of Jasher." 

"Of course I knew that one of us would have to, but I hoped, well, it's 
a warm night." 

"Just the night for a bathe," agreed Antony, getting up. "Well now, 
let's have a look for my tree." 

They walked down to the margin of the pond and then looked back. 
Bill's tree stood up and took the evening, tall and unmistakable, fifty feet 
nearer to heaven than its neighbours. But it had its fellow at the other 
end of the copse, not quite so tall, perhaps, but equally conspicuous. 

"That's where I shall be," said Antony, pointing to it. "Now, for the 
Lord's sake, count your posts accurately." 

"Thanks very much, but I shall do it for my own sake," said Bill with 
feeling. "I don't want to spend the whole night diving." 

"Fix on the post in a straight line with you and the splash, and then 
count backwards to the beginning of the fence." 

"Right, old boy. Leave it to me. I can do this on my head." 

"Well, that's how you will have to do the last part of it," said Antony 
with a smile. 

He looked at his watch. It was nearly time to change for dinner. They 
started to walk back to the house together. 

"There's one thing which worries me rather," said Antony. "Where 
does Cayley sleep?" 

"Next door to me. Why?" 

"Well, it's just possible that he might have another look at you after 
he's come back from the pond. I don't think he'd bother about it in the 
ordinary way, but if he is actually passing your door, I think he might 
glance in." 

"I shan't be there. I shall be at the bottom of the pond, sucking up 
mud." 

"Yes.... Do you think you could leave something in your bed that 
looked vaguely like you in the dark? A bolster with a pyjama-coat round 
it, and one arm outside the blanket, and a pair of socks or something for 
the head. You know the kind of thing. I think it would please him to 
feel that you were still sleeping peacefully." 

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Bill chuckled to himself. 

"Rather. I'm awfully good at that. I'll make him up something 
really good. But what about you?" 

"I'm at the other end of the house; he's hardly likely to bother about me 
a second time. And I shall be so very fast asleep at his first visit. Still, I 
may as well to be on the safe side." 

They went into the house. Cayley was in the hall as they came in. He 
nodded, and took out his watch. 

"Time to change?" he said. 

"Just about," said Bill. 

"You didn't forget my letter?" 

"I did not. In fact, we had tea there." 

"Ah!" He looked away and said carelessly, "How were they all?" 

"They sent all sorts of sympathetic messages to you, and and all that 
sort of thing." 

"Oh, yes." 

Bill waited for him to say something more, and then, as nothing was 
coming, he turned round, said, "Come on, Tony," and led the way upstairs. 

"Got all you want?" he said at the top of the stairs. 

"I think so. Come and see me before you go down." 

"Righto." 

Antony shut his bedroom door behind him and walked over to the 
window. He pushed open a casement and looked out. His bedroom was 
just over the door at the back of the house. The side wall of the office, 
which projected out into the lawn beyond the rest of the house, was on his 
left. He could step out on to the top of the door, and from there drop 
easily to the ground. Getting back would be little more difficult. There 
was a convenient water-pipe which would help. 

He had just finished his dressing when Bill came in. "Final 
instructions?" he asked, sitting down on the bed. "By the way, how are 
we amusing ourselves after dinner? I mean immediately after dinner." 

"Billiards?" 

"Righto. Anything you like." 

"Don't talk too loud," said Antony in a lower voice. "We're more or 

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less over the hall, and Cayley may be there." He led the way to the 
window. "We'll go out this way to-night. Going downstairs is too risky. 
It's easy enough; better put on tennis-shoes." 

"Right. I say, in case I don't get another chance alone with you what 
do I do when Cayley comes to tuck me up?" "It's difficult to say. Be as 
natural as you can. I mean, if he just knocks lightly and looks in, be 
asleep. Don't overdo the snoring. But if he makes a hell of a noise, 
you'll have to wake up and rub your eyes, and wonder what on earth he's 
doing in your room at all. You know the sort of thing." 

"Right. And about the dummy figure. I'll make it up directly we 
come upstairs, and hide it under the bed." 

"Yes.... I think we'd better go completely to bed ourselves. We shan't 
take a moment dressing again, and it will give him time to get safely into 
the passage. Then come into my room." 

"Right.... Are you ready?" 

"Yes." 

They went downstairs together. 

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CHAPTER XVII 

Mr. Beverley Takes the Water 

Cayley seemed very fond of them that night. After dinner was over, 
he suggested a stroll outside. They walked up and down the gravel in 
front of the house, saying very little to each other, until Bill could stand it 
no longer. For the last twenty turns he had been slowing down hopefully 
each time they came to the door, but the hint had always been lost on his 
companions, and each time another turn had been taken. But in the end 
he had been firm. 

"What about a little billiards?" he said, shaking himself free from the 
others. 

"Will you play?" said Antony to Cayley. 

"I'll watch you," he said, and he had watched them resolutely until the 
game, and then another game after that; had been played. 

They went into the hall and attacked the drinks. 

"Well, thank heaven for bed," said Bill; putting down his glass. "Are 
you coming?" 

"Yes," said Antony, and finished his drink. He looked at Cayley. 

"I've just got one or two little things to do," said Cayley. "I shan't be 
long following you." 

"Well, good night, then." 

"Good night." 

"Good night," called Bill from half-way up the stairs. "Good night, 
Tony." 

"Good night." 

Bill looked at his watch. Half-past eleven. Not much chance of 
anything happening for another hour. He pulled open a drawer and 
wondered what to wear on their expedition. Grey flannel trousers, 
flannel shirt, and a dark coat; perhaps a sweater, as they might be lying out 
in the copse for some time. And good idea a towel. He would want it 
later on, and meanwhile he could wear it round his waist. 

Tennis-shoes.... There Everything was ready. Now then for the 
dummy figure. 

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He looked at his watch again before getting into bed. Twelve-fifteen. 
How long to wait before Cayley came up? He turned out the light, and 
then, standing by the door in his pyjamas, waited for his eyes to become 
accustomed to the new darkness.... He could only just make out the bed in 
the corner of the room. Cayley would want more light than that if he 
were to satisfy himself from the door that the bed was occupied. He 
pulled the curtains a little way back. That was about right. He could 
have another look later on, when he had the dummy figure in the bed. 

How long would it be before Cayley came up? It wasn't that he 
wanted his friends, Beverley and Gillingham, to be asleep before he 
started on his business at the pond; all that he wanted was to be sure that 
they were safely in their bedrooms. Cayley's business would make no 
noise, give no sign, to attract the most wakeful member of the household, 
so long as the household was really inside the house. But if he wished to 
reassure himself about his guests, he would have to wait until they were 
far enough on their way to sleep not to be disturbed by him as he came up 
to reassure himself. So it amounted to the same thing, really. He would 
wait until they were asleep.... until they were asleep .... asleep.... 

With a great effort Bill regained the mastery over his wandering 
thoughts and came awake again. This would never do. It would be 
fatal if he went to sleep.... if he went to sleep.... to sleep.... And then, in an 
instant, he was intensely awake. Suppose Cayley never came at all! 

Suppose Cayley was so unsuspicious that, as soon as they had gone 
upstairs, he had dived down into the passage and set about his business. 
Suppose, even now, he was at the pond, dropping into it that secret of his. 
Good heavens, what fools they had been! How could Antony have taken 
such a risk? Put yourself in Cayley's place, he had said. But how was it 
possible? They weren't Cayley. Cayley was at the pond now. They 
would never know what he had dropped into it. 

Listen!.... Somebody at the door. He was asleep. Quite naturally 
now. Breathe a little more loudly, perhaps. He was asleep.... The door 
was opening. He could feel it opening behind him.... Good Lord, 
suppose Cayley really was a murderer! Why, even now he might be - no, 
he mustn't think of that. If he thought of that, he would have to turn 

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round. He mustn't turn round. He was asleep; just peacefully asleep. 
But why didn't the door shut? Where was Cayley now? Just behind 
him? And in his hand no, he mustn't think of that. He was asleep. But 
why didn't the door shut? 

The door was shutting. There was a sigh from the sleeper in the bed, 
a sigh of relief which escaped him involuntarily. But it had a very 
natural sound a deep breath from a heavy sleeper. He added another one 
to it to make it seem more natural. The door was shut. 

Bill counted a hundred slowly and then got up. As quickly and as 
noiselessly as possible he dressed himself in the dark. He put the dummy 
figure in the bed, arranged the clothes so that just enough but not too much 
of it was showing, and stood by the door looking at it. For a casual 
glance the room was just about light enough. Then very quietly, very 
slowly he opened the door. All was still. There was no light from 
beneath the door of Cayley's room. Very quietly, very carefully he crept 
along the passage to Antony's room. He opened the door and went in. 

Antony was still in bed. Bill walked across to wake him up, and then 
stopped rigid, and his heart thumped against his ribs. There was 
somebody else in the room. 

"All right, Bill," said a whispering voice, and Antony stepped out from 
the curtains. 

Bill gazed at him without saying anything. 

"Rather good, isn't it?" said Antony, coming closer and pointing to the 
bed. "Come on; the sooner we get out now, the better." 

He led the way out of the window, the silent Bill following him. They 
reached the ground safely and noiselessly, went quickly across the lawn 
and so, over the fence, into the park. It was not until they were out of 
sight of the house that Bill felt it safe to speak. 

"I quite thought it was you in bed," he said. 

"I hoped you would. I shall be rather disappointed now if Cayley 
doesn't call again. It's a pity to waste it." 

"He came all right just now?" 

"Oh, rather. What about you?" 

Bill explained his feelings picturesquely. 

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"There wouldn't have been much point in his killing you," said Antony 
prosaically. "Besides being too risky." 

"Oh!" said Bill. And then, "I had rather hoped that it was his love for 
me which restrained him." 

Antony laughed. 

"I doubt it.... You didn't turn up your light when you dressed?" 

"Good Lord, no. Did you want me to?" 

Antony laughed again and took him by the arm. 

"You're a splendid conspirator, Bill. You and I could take on 
anything together." 

The pond was waiting for them, more solemn in the moonlight. The 
trees which crowned the sloping bank on the far side of it were 
mysteriously silent. It seemed that they had the world very much to 
themselves. 

Almost unconsciously Antony spoke in a whisper. 

"There's your tree, there's mine. As long as you don't move, there's 
no chance of his seeing you. After he's gone, don't come out till I do. 
He won't be here for a quarter of an hour or so, so don't be impatient." 

"Righto," whispered Bill. 

Antony gave him a nod and a smile, and they walked off to their posts. 

The minutes went by slowly. To Antony, lying hidden in the 
undergrowth at the foot of his tree, a new problem was presenting itself. 
Suppose Cayley had to make more than one journey that night? He might 
come back to find them in the boat; one of them, indeed, in the water. 
And if they decided to wait in hiding, on the chance of Cayley coming 
back again, what was the least time they could safely allow? Perhaps it 
would be better to go round to the front of the house and watch for his 
return there, the light in his bedroom, before conducting their experiments 
at the pond. But then they might miss his second visit in this way, if he 
made a second visit. It was difficult. 

His eyes were fixed on the boat as he considered these things, and 
suddenly, as if materialized from nowhere, Cayley was standing by the 
boat. In his hand was a small brown bag. 

Cayley put the bag in the bottom of the boat, stepped in, and using an 

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oar as a punt-pole, pushed slowly off. Then, very silently, he rowed 
towards the middle of the pond. 

He had stopped. The oars rested on the water. He picked up the bag 
from between his feet, leant over the nose of the boat, and rested it lightly 
on the water for a moment. Then he let go. It sank slowly. He waited 
there, watching; afraid, perhaps, that it might rise again. Antony began to 
count.... 

And now Cayley was back at his starting-place. He tied up the boat, 
looked carefully round to see that he had left no traces behind him, and 
then turned to the water again. For a long time, as it seemed to the 
watchers, he stood there, very big, very silent, in the moonlight. At last 
he seemed satisfied. Whatever his secret was, he had hidden it; and so 
with a gentle sigh, as unmistakable to Antony as if he had heard it, Cayley 
turned away and vanished again as quietly as he had come. 

Antony gave him three minutes, and stepped out from the trees. He 
waited there for Bill to join him. 

"Six," whispered Bill. 

Antony nodded. 

"I'm going round to the front of the house. You get back to your tree 
and watch, in case Cayley comes again. Your bedroom is the left-hand 
end one, and Cayley's the end but one? Is that right?" 

Bill nodded. 

"Right. Wait in hiding till I come back. I don't know how long I 
shall be, but don't be impatient. It will seem longer than it is." He 
patted Bill on the shoulder, and with a smile and a nod of the head he left 
him there. 

What was in the bag? What could Cayley want to hide other than a 
key or a revolver? Keys and revolvers sink of themselves; no need to put 
them in a bag first. What was in the bag? Something which wouldn't 
sink of itself; something which needed to be helped with stones before it 
would hide itself safely in the mud. 

Well, they would find that out. There was no object in worrying 
about it now. Bill had a dirty night's work in front of him. But where 
was the body which Antony had expected so confidently or, if there were 

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no body, where was Mark? 

More immediately, however, where was Cayley? As quickly as he 
could Antony had got to the front of the house and was now lying in the 
shrubbery which bordered the lawn, waiting for the light to go up in 
Cayley's window. If it went up in Bill's window, then they were 
discovered. It would mean that Cayley had glanced into Bill's room, had 
been suspicious of the dummy figure in the bed, and had turned up the 
light to make sure. After that, it was war between them. But if it went 
up in Cayley's room-

There was a light. Antony felt a sudden thrill of excitement. It was 
in Bill's room. War! 

The light stayed there, shining vividly, for a wind had come up, 
blowing the moon behind a cloud, and casting a shadow over the rest of 
the house. Bill had left his curtains undrawn. It was careless of him; 
the first stupid thing he had done, but 

The moon slipped out again.... and Antony laughed to himself in the 
bushes. There was another window beyond Cayley's, and there was no 
light in it. The declaration of war was postponed. 

Antony lay there, watching Cayley into bed. After all it was only 
polite to return Cayley's own solicitude earlier in the night. Politeness 
demanded that one should not disport oneself on the pond until one's 
friends were comfortably tucked up. 

Meanwhile Bill was getting tired of waiting. His chief fear was that 
he might spoil everything by forgetting the number "six." It was the 
sixth post. Six. He broke off a twig and divided it into six pieces. 
These he arranged on the ground in front of him. Six. He looked at the 
pond, counted up to the sixth post, and murmured "six" to himself again. 
Then he looked down at his twigs. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven. 
Seven! Was it seven? Or was that seventh bit of a twig an accidental 
bit which had been on the ground anyhow? Surely it was six! Had he 
said "six" to Antony? If so, Antony would remember, and it was all right. 
Six. He threw away the seventh twig and collected the other six together. 
Perhaps they would be safer in his pocket. Six. The height of a tall 
man - well, his own height. Six feet. Yes, that was the way to 

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The Red House Mystery 

remember it. Feeling a little safer on the point, he began to wonder about 
the bag, and what Antony would say to it, and the possible depth of the 
water and of the mud at the bottom; and was still so wondering, and 
saying, "Good Lord, what a life!" to himself, when Antony reappeared. 

Bill got up and came down the slope to meet him. 

"Six," he said firmly. "Sixth post from the end." 

"Good," smiled Antony. "Mine was the eighteenth - a little way past 
it." 

"What did you go off for?" 

"To see Cayley into bed." 

"Is it all right?" 

"Yes. Better hang your coat over the sixth post, and then we shall see 
it more easily. I'll put mine on the eighteenth. Are you going to undress 
here or in the boat?" 

"Some here, and some in the boat. You're quite sure that you 
wouldn't like to do the diving yourself?" 

"Quite, thanks." 

They had walked round to the other side of the pond. Coming to the 
sixth post of the fence, Bill took off his coat and put it in position, and 
then finished his undressing, while Antony went off to mark the eighteenth 
post. When they were ready, they got into the boat, Antony taking the 
oars. 

"Now, Bill, tell me as soon as I'm in a line with your two marks." 

He rowed slowly towards the middle of the pond. 

"You're about there now," said Bill at last. 

Antony stopped rowing and looked about him. 

"Yes, that's pretty well right." He turned the boat's nose round until it 
was pointing to the pine-tree under which Bill had lain. "You see my tree 
and the other coat?" 

"Yes," said Bill. 

"Right. Now then, I'm going to row gently along this line until we're 
dead in between the two. Get it as exact as you can - for your own sake." 

"Steady!" said Bill warningly. "Back a little.... a little more.... a little 
more forward again.... Right." Antony left the oars on the water and 

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The Red House Mystery 

looked around. As far as he could tell, they were in an exact line with 

each pair of landmarks. 

"Now then, Bill, in you go." 

Bill pulled off his shirt and trousers, and stood up. 

"You mustn't dive from the boat, old boy," said Antony hastily. "You'll 
shift its position. Slide in gently." 

Bill slid in from the stern and swam slowly round to Antony. 

"What's it like?" said Antony. 

"Cold. Well, here's luck to it." 

He gave a sudden kick, flashed for a moment in the water, and was 
gone. Antony steadied the boat, and took another look at his landmarks. 

Bill came up behind him with a loud explosion. "It's pretty muddy," 
he protested. 

"Weeds?" 

"No, thank the Lord." 

"Well, try again. 

Bill gave another kick and disappeared. Again Antony coaxed the 
boat back into position, and again Bill popped up, this time in front of 
him. 

"I feel that if I threw you a sardine," said Antony, with a smile, "you'd 
catch it in your mouth quite prettily." 

"It's awfully easy to be funny from where you are. How much longer 
have I got to go on doing this?" 

Antony looked at his watch. 

"About three hours. We must get back before daylight. But be 
quicker if you can, because it's rather cold for me sitting here." 

Bill flicked a handful of water at him and disappeared again. He was 
under for almost a minute this time, and there was a grin on his face when 
it was visible again. 

"I've got it, but it's devilish hard to get up. I'm not sure that it isn't 
too heavy for me. "That's all right," said Antony. He brought out a ball 
of thick string from his pocket. "Get this through the handle if you can, 
and then we can both pull." 

"Good man." He paddled to the side, took one end of the string and 

140



The Red House Mystery 

paddled back again. "Now then." 

Two minutes later the bag was safely in the boat. Bill clambered in 
after it, and Antony rowed back. "Well done, Watson," he said quietly, as 
they landed. He fetched their two coats, and then waited, the bag in his 
hand, while Bill dried and dressed himself. As soon as the latter was ready, 
he took his arm and led him into the copse. He put the bag down and felt 
in his pockets. 

"I shall light a pipe before I open it," he said. "What about you?" 

"Yes." 

With great care they filled and lit their pipes. Bill's hand was a little 
unsteady. Antony noticed it and gave him a reassuring smile. 

"Ready?" 

"Yes." 

They sat down, and taking the bag between his knees, Antony pressed 
the catch and opened it. 

"Clothes!" said Bill. 

Antony pulled out the top garment and shook it out. It was a wet 
brown flannel coat. 

"Do you recognize it?" he asked. 

"Mark's brown flannel suit." 

"The one he is advertised as having run away in?" 

"Yes. It looks like it. Of course he had a dashed lot of clothes." 

Antony put his hand in the breast-pocket and took out some letters. He 
considered them doubtfully for a moment. 

"I suppose I'd better read them," he said. "I mean, just to see -" He 
looked inquiringly at Bill, who nodded. Antony turned on his torch and 
glanced at them. Bill waited anxiously. 

"Yes. Mark.... Hallo!" 

"What is it?" 

"The letter that Cayley was telling the Inspector about. From Robert. 
'Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you - ' Yes, I suppose I had 
better keep this. Well, that's his coat. Let's have out the rest of it." He 
took the remaining clothes from the bag and spread them out. 

"They're all here," said Bill. "Shirt, tie, socks, underclothes, shoes 

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The Red House Mystery 

yes, all of them." 

"All that he was wearing yesterday?" 

"Yes." 

"What do you make of it?" 

Bill shook his head, and asked another question. 

"Is it what you expected?" 

Antony laughed suddenly. 

"It's too absurd," he said. "I expected - well, you know what I 
expected. A body. A body in a suit of clothes. Well, perhaps it would 
be safer to hide them separately. The body here, and the clothes in the 
passage, where they would never betray themselves. And now he takes a 
great deal of trouble to hide the clothes here, and doesn't bother about the 
body at all." He shook his head. "I'm a bit lost for the moment, Bill, and 
that's the fact." 

"Anything else there?" 

Antony felt in the bag. 

"Stones and - yes, there's something else." He took it out and held it 
up. "There we are, Bill." 

It was the office key. 

"By Jove, you were right." 

Antony felt in the bag again, and then turned it gently upside down on 
the grass. A dozen large stones fell out - and something else. He flashed 
down his torch. 

"Another key," he said. 

He put the two keys in his pocket, and sat there for a long time in 
silence, thinking. Bill was silent, too, not liking to interrupt his thoughts, 
but at last he said: 

"Shall I put these things back?" 

Antony looked up with a start. 

What? Oh, yes. No, I'll put them back. You give me a light, will 
you?" 

Very slowly and carefully he put the clothes back in the bag, pausing 
as he took up each garment, in the certainty, as it seemed to Bill, that it 
had something to tell him if only he could read it. When the last of them 

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was inside, he still waited there on his knees, thinking. 

"That's the lot," said Bill. 

Antony nodded at him. 

"Yes, that's the lot," he said; "and that's the funny thing about it. 
You're sure it is the lot?" 

"What do you mean?" 

"Give me the torch a moment." He took it and flashed it over the 
ground between them. "Yes, that's the lot. It's funny." He stood up, 
the bag in his hands. "Now let's find a hiding-place for these, and then -" 
He said no more, but stepped off through the trees, Bill following him 
meekly. 

As soon as they had got the bag off their hands and were clear of the 
copse, Antony became more communicative. He took the two keys out 
of his pocket. 

"One of them is the office key, I suppose, and the other is the key of 
the passage cupboard. So I thought that perhaps we might have a look at 
the cupboard." 

"I say, do you really think it is?" 

"Well, I don't see what else it can be." 

"But why should he want to throw it away?" 

"Because it has now done its work, whatever it was, and he wants to 
wash his hands of the passage. He'd throw the passage away if he could. 
I don't think it matters much one way or another, and I don't suppose 
there's anything to find in the cupboard, but I feel that we must look." 

"Do you still think Mark's body might be there?" 

"No. And yet where else can it be? Unless I'm hopelessly wrong, 
and Cayley never killed him at all." 

Bill hesitated, wondering if he dare advance his theory. 

"I know you'll think me an ass -" 

"My dear Bill, I'm such an obvious ass myself that I should be 
delighted to think you are too." 

"Well, then, suppose Mark did kill Robert, and Cayley helped him to 
escape, just as we thought at first. I know you proved afterwards that it 
was impossible, but suppose it happened in a way we don't know about 

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and for reasons we don't know about. I mean, there are such a lot of 
funny things about the whole show that - well, almost anything might 
have happened." 

"You're quite right. Well?" 

"Well, then, this clothes business. Doesn't that seem rather to bear 
out the escaping theory? Mark's brown suit was known to the police. 
Couldn't Cayley have brought him another one in the passage, to escape in, 
and then have had the brown one on his hands? And thought it safest to 
hide it in the pond?" 

"Yes," said Anthony thoughtfully. Then: "Go on." 

Bill went on eagerly: 

"It all seems to fit in, you know. I mean even with your first theory 
that Mark killed him accidentally and then came to Cayley for help. Of 
course, if Cayley had played fair, he'd have told Mark that he had nothing 
to be afraid of. But he isn't playing fair; he wants to get Mark out of the 
way because of the girl. Well, this is his chance. He makes Mark as 
frightened as possible, and tells him that his only hope is to run away. 
Well, naturally, he does all he can to get him well away, because if Mark is 
caught, the whole story of Cayley's treachery comes out." 

"Yes. But isn't it overdoing it rather to make him change his 
underclothes and everything? It wastes a good deal of time, you know." 

Bill was pulled up short, and said, "Oh!" in great disappointment. 

"No, it's not as bad as that, Bill," said Antony with a smile. "I 
daresay the underclothes could be explained. But here's the difficulty. 
Why did Mark need to change from brown to blue, or whatever it was, 
when Cayley was the only person who saw him in brown?" 

"The police description of him says that he is in a brown suit." 

"Yes, because Cayley told the police. You see, even if Mark had had 
lunch in his brown suit, and the servants had noticed it, Cayley could 
always have pretended that he had changed into blue after lunch, because 
only Cayley saw him afterwards. So if Cayley had told the Inspector that 
he was wearing blue, Mark could have escaped quite comfortably in his 
brown, without needing to change at all." 

"But that's just what he did do," cried Bill triumphantly. "What fools 

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we are!" 

Antony looked at him in surprise, and then shook his head. 

"Yes, yes!" insisted Bill. "Of course! Don't you see? Mark did 
change after lunch, and, to give him more of a chance of getting away, 
Cayley lied and said that he was wearing the brown suit in which the 
servants had seen him. Well, then he was afraid that the police might 
examine Mark's clothes and find the brown suit still there, so he hid it, and 
then dropped it in the pond afterwards." 

He turned eagerly to his friend, but Antony said nothing. Bill began 
to speak again, and was promptly waved into silence. 

"Don't say anything more, old boy; you've given me quite enough to 
think about. Don't let's bother about it to-night. We'll just have a look 
at this cupboard and then get to bed." 

But the cupboard had not much to tell them that night. It was empty 
save for a few old bottles. 

"Well, that's that," said Bill. 

But Antony, on his knees with the torch in his hand, continued to 
search for something. 

"What are you looking for?" asked Bill at last. 

"Something that isn't there," said Antony, getting up and dusting his 
trousers. And he locked the door again. 

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CHAPTER XVIII 

Guess-work 

The inquest was at three o'clock; thereafter Antony could have no 
claim on the hospitality of the Red House. By ten o'clock his bag was 
packed, and waiting to be taken to the "George." To Bill, coming 
upstairs after a more prolonged breakfast, this early morning bustle was a 
little surprising. 

"What's the hurry?" he asked. 

"None. But we don't want to come back here after the inquest. Get 
your packing over now and then we can have the morning to ourselves." 

"Righto." He turned to go to his room, and then came back again. "I 
say, are we going to tell Cayley that we're staying at the 'George'?" 

"You're not staying at the 'George,' Bill. Not officially. You're 

going back to London." 

"Oh!" 

"Yes. Ask Cayley to have your luggage sent in to Stanton, ready for 

you when you catch a train there after the inquest. You can tell him that 
you've got to see the Bishop of London at once. The fact that you are 
hurrying back to London to be confirmed will make it seem more natural 
that I should resume my interrupted solitude at the 'George' as soon as you 
have gone." 

"Then where do I sleep to-night?" 

Officially, I suppose, in Fulham Place; unofficially, I suspect, in my 
bed, unless they've got another spare room at the 'George.' I've put your 
confirmation robe - I mean your pyjamas and brushes and things - in my 
bag, ready for, you. Is there anything else you want to know? No? 
Then go and pack. And meet me at ten-thirty beneath the blasted oak or 
in the hall or somewhere. I want to talk and talk and talk, and I must have 
my Watson." 

"Good," said Bill, and went oil to his room. 

An hour later, having communicated their official plans to Cayley, 
they wandered out together into the park. 

"Well?" said Bill, as they sat down underneath a convenient tree. "Talk 

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away." 

"I had many bright thoughts in my bath this morning," began Antony. 
"The brightest one of all was that we were being damn fools, and working 
at this thing from the wrong end altogether." 

"Well, that's helpful." 

"Of course it's very hampering being a detective, when you don't know 
anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you're doing 
detection, and you can't have people up to cross-examine them, and you 
have neither the energy nor the means to make proper inquiries; and, in 
short, when you're doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, 
haphazard way. 

"For amateurs I don't think we're doing at all badly," protested Bill. 

"No; not for amateurs. But if we had been professionals, I believe we 
should have gone at it from the other end. The Robert end. We've been 
wondering about Mark and Cayley all the time. Now let's wonder about 
Robert for a bit." 

"We know so little about him." 

"Well, let's see what we do know. First of all, then, we know vaguely 
that he was a bad lot - the sort of brother who is hushed up in front of 
other people." 

"Yes." 

"We know that he announced his approaching arrival to Mark in a 
rather unpleasant letter, which I have in my pocket." 

"Yes." 

"And then we know rather a curious thing. We know that Mark told 
you all that this black sheep was coming. Now, why did he tell you?" 

Bill was thoughtful for a moment. 

"I suppose," he said slowly, "that he knew we were bound to see him, 
and thought that the best way was to be quite frank about him." 

"But were you bound to see him? You were all away playing golf." 

"We were bound to see him if he stayed in the house that night." 

"Very well, then. That's one thing we've discovered. Mark knew 
that Robert was staying in the house that night. Or shall we put it this 
way - he knew that there was no chance of getting Robert out of the house 

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at once." 

Bill looked at his friend eagerly. 

"Go on," he said. "This is getting interesting." 

"He also knew something else," went on Antony. "He knew that 
Robert was bound to betray his real character to you as soon as you met 
him. He couldn't pass him off on you as just a travelled brother from the 
Dominions, with perhaps a bit of an accent; he had to tell you at once, 
because you were bound to find out, that Robert was a wastrel." 

"Yes. That's sound enough." 

"Well, now, doesn't it strike you that Mark made up his mind about all 
that rather quickly?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"He got this letter at breakfast. He read it; and directly he had read it 
he began to confide in you all. That is to say, in about one second he 
thought out the whole business and came to a decision - to two decisions. 
He considered the possibility of getting Robert out of the way before you 
came back, and decided that it was impossible. He considered the 
possibility of Robert's behaving like an ordinary decent person in public, 
and decided that it was very unlikely. He came to those two decisions 
instantaneously, as he was reading the letter. Isn't that rather quick 
work?" 

"Well, what's the explanation?" 

Antony waited until he had refilled and lighted his pipe before 
answering. 

"What's the explanation? Well, let's leave it for a moment and take 
another look at the two brothers. In conjunction, this time, with Mrs. 
Norbury." 

"Mrs. Norbury?" said Bill, surprised. 

"Yes. Mark hoped to marry Miss Norbury. Now, if Robert really 
was a blot upon the family honour, Mark would want to do one of two 
things. Either keep it from the Norburys altogether, or else, if it had to 
come out, tell them himself before the news came to them indirectly. 
Well, he told them. But the funny thing is that he told them the day 
before Robert's letter came. Robert came, and was killed, the day before 

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yesterday -Tuesday. Mark told Mrs. Norbury about him on Monday. 
What do you make of that?" 

"Coincidence," said Bill, after careful thought. "He'd always meant 
to tell her; his suit was prospering, and just before it was finally settled, he 
told her. That happened to be Monday. On Tuesday he got Robert's 
letter, and felt jolly glad that he'd told her in time." 

"Well, it might be that, but it's rather a curious coincidence. And here 
is something which makes it very curious indeed. It only occurred to me 
in the bath this morning. Inspiring place, a bathroom. Well, it's this - he 
told her on Monday morning, on his way to Middleston in the car." 

"Well?" 

"Well." 

"Sorry, Tony; I'm dense this morning." 

"In the car, Bill. And how near can the car get to Jallands?" 

"About six hundred yards." 

"Yes. And on his way to Middleston, on some business or other, 
Mark stops the car, walks six hundred yards down the hill to Jallands, says, 
'Oh, by the way, Mrs. Norbury, I don't think I ever told you that I have a 
shady brother called Robert,' walks six hundred yards up the hill again, 
gets into the car, and goes off to Middleston. Is that likely?" 

Bill frowned heavily. 

"Yes, but I don't see what you're getting at. Likely or not likely, we 
know he did do it." 

"Of course he did. All I mean is that he must have had some strong 
reason for telling Mrs. Norbury at once. And the reason I suggest is that 
he knew on that morning - Monday morning, not Tuesday - that Robert 
was coming to see him, and had to be in first with the news. 

"But - but -" 

"And that would explain the other point - his instantaneous decision at 
breakfast to tell you all about his brother. It wasn't instantaneous. He 
knew on Monday that Robert was coming, and decided then that you 
would all have to know." 

"Then how do you explain the letter?" 

"Well, let's have a look at it." 

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Antony took the letter from his pocket and spread it out on the grass 
between them. 

"Mark, your loving brother is coming to see you to-morrow, all the 
way from Australia. 1 give you warning, so that you will be able to 
conceal your surprise but not I hope your pleasure. Expect him at three 
or thereabouts." 

"No date mentioned, you see," said Antony. "Just to-morrow. 

"But he got this on Tuesday." 

"Did he?" 

"Well, he read it out to us on Tuesday." 

"Oh, yes! he read it out to you. 

Bill read the letter again, and then turned it over and looked at the back 
of it. The back of it had nothing to say to him. 

"What about the postmark?" he asked. 

"We haven't got the envelope, unfortunately." 

"And you think that he got this letter on Monday." 

"I'm inclined to think so, Bill. Anyhow, I think - I feel almost certain 

- that he knew on Monday that his brother was coming." 
"Is that going to help us much?" 
"No. It makes it more difficult. There's something rather uncanny 
about it all. I don't understand it." He was silent for a little, and then 
added, "I wonder if the inquest is going to help us. 

"What about last night? I'm longing to hear what you make of that. 
Have you been thinking it out at all?" 

"Last night," said Antony thoughtfully to himself. "Yes, last night 
wants some explaining." 

Bill waited hopefully for him to explain. What, for instance, had 
Antony been looking for in the cupboard? 

"I think," began Antony slowly, "that after last night we must give up 
the idea that Mark has been killed; killed, I mean, by Cayley. I don't 
believe anybody would go to so much trouble to hide a suit of clothes 
when he had a body on his hands. The body would seem so much more 
important. I think we may take it now that the clothes are all that Cayley 
had to hide." 

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"But why not have kept them in the passage?" 

"He was frightened of the passage. Miss Norris knew about it." 

"Well, then, in his own bedroom, or even, in Mark's. For all you or I 
or anybody knew, Mark might have had two brown suits. He probably 
had, I should think." 

"Probably. But I doubt if that would reassure Cayley. The brown 
suit hid a secret, and therefore the brown suit had to be hidden. We all 
know that in theory the safest hiding-place is the most obvious, but in 
practice very few people have the nerve to risk it." 

Bill looked rather disappointed. 

"Then we just come back to where we were," he complained. "Mark 
killed his brother, and Cayley helped him to escape through the passage; 
either in order to compromise him, or because there was no other way out 
of it. And he helped him by telling a lie about his brown suit." 

Antony smiled at him in genuine amusement. 

"Bad luck, Bill," he said sympathetically. "There's only one murder, 
after all. I'm awfully sorry about it. It was my fault for -" 

"Shut up, you ass. You know I didn't mean that." 

"Well, you seemed awfully disappointed." 

Bill said nothing for a little, and then with a sudden laugh confessed. 

"It was so exciting yesterday," he said apologetically, "and we seemed 
to be just getting there, and discovering the most wonderful things, and 
now -" 

"And now?" 

"Well, it's so much more ordinary." 

Antony gave a shout of laughter. 

"Ordinary!" he cried. "Ordinary! Well, I'm dashed! Ordinary! If 
only one thing would happen in an ordinary way, we might do something, 
but everything is ridiculous." Bill brightened up again. 

"Ridiculous? How?" 

"Every way. Take those ridiculous clothes we found last night. You 
can explain the brown suit, but why the under clothes. You can explain 
the underclothes in some absurd way, if you like - you can say that Mark 
always changed his underclothes whenever he interviewed anybody from 

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Australia - but why, in that case, my dear Watson, why didn't he change 

his collar?" 

"His collar?" said Bill in amazement. 

"His collar, Watson." 

"I don't understand." 

"And it's all so ordinary," scoffed Antony. 

"Sorry, Tony, I didn't mean that. Tell me about the collar." 

"Well, that's all. There was no collar in the bag last night. Shirt, 
socks, tie - everything except a collar. Why?" 

"Was that what you were looking for in the cupboard?" said Bill 
eagerly. 

"Of course. 'Why no collar?' I, said. For some reason Cayley 
considered it necessary to hide all Mark's clothes; not just the suit, but 
everything which he was wearing, or supposed to be wearing, at the time 
of the murder. But he hadn't hidden the collar. Why? Had he left it out 
by mistake? So I looked in the cupboard. It wasn't there. Had he left 
it out on purpose? If so, why? - and where was it? Naturally I began to 
say to myself, 'Where have I seen a collar lately? A collar all by itself?' 
And I remembered - what, Bill?" 

Bill frowned heavily to himself, and shook his head. 

Don't ask me, Tony. I can't - By Jove!" He threw up his head, "In 
the basket in the office bedroom!" 

"Exactly." 

"But is that the one?" 

"The one that goes with the rest of the clothes? I don't know. Where 
else can it be? But if so, why send the collar quite casually to the wash in 
the ordinary way, and take immense trouble to hide everything else? 
Why, why, why?" 

Bill bit hard at his pipe, but could think of nothing to say. 

"Anyhow," said Antony, getting up restlessly, "I'm certain of one thing. 
Mark knew on the Monday that Robert was coming here." 

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CHAPTER XIX 

The Inquest 

The Coroner, having made a few commonplace remarks as to the 
terrible nature of the tragedy which they had come to investigate that 
afternoon, proceeded to outline the case to the jury. Witnesses would be 
called to identify the deceased as Robert Ablett, the brother of the owner 
of the Red House, Mark Ablett. It would be shown that he was something 
of a ne'er-do-well, who had spent most of his life in Australia, and that he 
had announced, in what might almost be called a threatening letter, his 
intention of visiting his brother that afternoon. There would be evidence 
of his arrival, of his being shown into the scene of the tragedy - a room 
in the Red House, commonly called "the office" - and of his brother's 
entrance into that room. The jury would have to form their own opinion 
as to what happened there. But whatever happened, happened almost 
instantaneously. Within two minutes of Mark Abletts entrance, as would 
be shown in the evidence, a shot was heard, and when - perhaps five 
minutes later - the room was forced open, the dead body of Robert Ablett 
was found stretched upon the floor. As regards Mark Ablett, nobody had 
seen him from the moment of his going into the room, but evidence would 
be called to show that he had enough money on him at the time to take 
him to any other part of the country, and that a man answering to his 
description had been observed on the platform of Stanton station, 
apparently waiting to catch the 3.55 up train to London. As the jury 
would realize, such evidence of identity was not always reliable. 
Missing men had a way of being seen in a dozen different places at once. 
In any case, there was no doubt that for the moment Mark Ablett had 
disappeared. 

"Seems a sound man," whispered Antony to Bill. "Doesn't talk too 
much." 

Antony did not expect to learn much from the evidence - he knew the 
facts of the case so well by now - but he wondered if Inspector Birch had 
developed any new theories. If so, they would appear in he Coroner's 
examination, for the Coroner would certainly have been coached by the 

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police as to the important facts to be extracted from each witness. Bill 
was the first to be put through it. 

"Now, about this letter, Mr. Beverley?" he was asked when his chief 
evidence was over. "Did you see it at all?" 

"I didn't see the actual writing. I saw the back of it. Mark was 
holding it up when he told us about his brother." 

"You don't know what was in it, then?" 

Bill had a sudden shock. He had read the letter only that morning. 
He knew quite well what was in it. But it wouldn't do to admit this. And 
then, just as he was about to perjure himself, he remembered: Antony had 
heard Cayley telling the Inspector. 

"I knew afterwards. I was told. But Mark didn't read it out at 
breakfast." 

"You gathered, however, that it was an unwelcome letter?" 

"Oh, yes!" 

"Would you say that Mark was frightened by it?" 

"Not frightened. Sort of bitter - and resigned. Sort of 'Oh, Lord, 
here we are again!'" 

There was a titter here and there. The Coroner smiled, and tried to 
pretend that he hadn't. 

"Thank you, Mr. Beverley." 

The next witness was summoned by the name of Andrew Amos, and 
Antony looked up with interest, wondering who he was. 

"He lives at the inner lodge," whispered Bill to him. 

All that Amos had to say was that a stranger had passed by his lodge at 
a little before three that afternoon, and had spoken to him. He had seen 
the body and recognized it as the man. 

"What did he say?" 

"'Is this right for the Red House?' or something like that, sir. 

"What did you say?" 

"I said, 'This is the Red House. Who do you want to see?' He was a 
bit rough-looking, you know, sir, and I didn't know what he was doing 
there." 

"Well?" 

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The Red House Mystery 

"Well, sir, he said, 'Is Mister Mark Ablett at home?' It doesn't sound 
much put like that, sir, but I didn't care about the way he said it. So I got 
in front of him like, and said, 'What do you want, eh?' and he gave a sort 
of chuckle and said, 'I want to see my dear brother Mark.' Well, then I 
took a closer look at him, and I see that p'raps he might be his brother, so I. 
said, 'If you'll follow the drive, sir, you'll come to the house. Of course I 
can't say if Mr. Ablett's at home.' And he gave a sort of nasty laugh again, 
and said, 'Fine place Mister Mark Ablett's got here. Plenty of money to 
spend, eh?' Well, then I had another look at him, sir, because gentlemen 
don't talk like that, and if he was Mr. Ablett's brother - but before I could 
make up my mind, he laughed and went on. That's all I can tell you, sir." 

Andrew Amos stepped down and moved away to the back of the room, 
nor did Antony take his eyes off him until he was assured that Amos 
intended to remain there until the inquest was over. 

"Who's Amos talking to now?" he whispered to Bill. 

"Parsons. One of the gardeners. He's at the outside lodge on the 
Stanton road. They're all here to-day. Sort of holiday for em. 

"I wonder if he's giving evidence too," thought Antony. He was. He 
followed Amos. He had been at work on the lawn in front of the house, 
and had seen Robert Ablett arrive. He didn't hear the shot -not to 
notice. He was a little hard of hearing. He had seen a gentleman arrive 
about five minutes after Mr. Robert. 

"Can you see him in court now?" asked the Coroner. Parsons looked 
round slowly. Antony caught his eye and smiled. 

"That's him," said Parsons, pointing. 

Everybody looked at Antony. 

"That was about five minutes afterwards?" 

"About that, sir." 

"Did anybody come out of the house before this gentleman's arrival?" 

"No, sir. That is to say I didn't see 'em." 

Stevens followed. She gave her evidence much as she had given it to 
the Inspector. Nothing new was brought out by her examination. Then 
came Elsie. As the reporters scribbled down what she had overheard, 
they added in brackets "Sensation" for the first time that afternoon. 

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"How soon after you had heard this did the shot come?" asked the 
Coroner. 

"Almost at once, sir." 

"A minute?" 

"I couldn't really say, sir. It was so quick." 

"Were you still in the hall?" 

"Oh, no, sir. I was just outside Mrs. Stevens' room. The 
housekeeper, sir." 

"You didn't think of going back to the hall to see what had happened?" 

"Oh, no, sir. I just went in to Mrs. Stevens, and she said, 'Oh, what 
was that?' frightened-like. And I said, 'That was in the house, Mrs. 
Stevens, that was.' Just like something going off, it was." 

"Thank you," said the Coroner. 

There was another emotional disturbance in the room as Cayley went 
into the witness-box; not "Sensation" this time, but an eager and, as it 
seemed to Antony, sympathetic interest. Now they were getting to grips 
with the drama. 

He gave his evidence carefully, unemotionally - the lies with the same 
slow deliberation as the truth. Antony watched him intently, wondering 
what it was about him which had this odd sort of attractiveness. For 
Antony, who knew that he was lying, and lying (as he believed) not for 
Mark's sake but his own, yet could not help sharing some of that general 
sympathy with him. 

"Was Mark ever in possession of a revolver?" asked the Coroner. 

"Not to my knowledge. I think I should have known if he had been." 

"You were alone with him all that morning. Did he talk about this 
visit of Robert's at all?" 

"I didn't see very much of him in the morning. I was at work in my 
room, and outside, and so on. We lunched together and he talked of it 
then a little." 

"In what terms?" 

"Well-" he hesitated, and then went on. "I can't think of a better word 
than 'peevishly.' Occasionally he said, 'What do you think he wants?' or 
'Why couldn't he have stayed where he was?' or 'I don't like the tone of his 

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letter. Do you think he means trouble?' He talked rather in that kind of 

way. 

"Did he express his surprise that his brother should be in England?" 

"I think he was always afraid that he would turn up one day." 

"Yes.... You didn't hear any conversation between the brothers when 
they were in the office together?" 

"No. I happened to go into the library just after Mark had gone in, 
and I was there all the time." 

"Was the library door open?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"Did you see or hear the last witness at all?" 

"No." 

"If anybody had come out of the office while you were in the library, 
would you have heard it?" 

"I think so. Unless they had come out very quietly on purpose." 

"Would you call Mark a hasty-tempered man?" 

Cayley considered this carefully before answering. 

"Hasty-tempered, yes," he said. "But not violent-tempered." 

"Was he fairly athletic? Active and quick?" 

"Active and quick, yes. Not particularly strong." 

"Yes.... One question more. Was Mark in the habit of carrying any 
considerable sum of money about with him?" 

"Yes. He always had one 100 pound note on him, and perhaps ten or 
twenty pounds as well." 

"Thank you, Mr. Cayley." 

Cayley went back heavily to his seat. "Damn it," said Antony to 
himself, "why do I like the fellow?" 

"Antony Gillingham!" 

Again the eager interest of the room could be felt. Who was this 
stranger who had got mixed up in the business so mysteriously? 

Antony smiled at Bill and stepped up to give his evidence. 

He explained how he came to be staying at the "George" at Waldheim, 
how he had heard that the Red House was in the neighbourhood, how he 
had walked over to see his friend Beverley, and had arrived just after the 

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The Red House Mystery 

tragedy. Thinking it over afterwards be was fairly certain that he had 
heard the shot, but it had not made any impression on him at the time. 
He had come to the house from the Waldheim end and consequently had 
seen nothing of Robert Ablett, who had been a few minutes in front of him. 
From this point his evidence coincided with Cayley's. 

"You and the last witness reached the French windows together and 
found them shut?" 

"Yes." 

"You pushed them in and came to the body. Of course you had no 
idea whose body it was?" 

"No." 

"Did Mr. Cayley say anything?" 

"He turned the body over, just so as to see the face, and when he saw it, 
he said, 'Thank God.' 

Again the reporters wrote "Sensation." "Did you understand what he 
meant by that?" 

"I asked him who it was, and he said that it was Robert Ablett. Then he 
explained that he was afraid at first it was the cousin with whom he lived 
Mark." 

"Yes. Did he seem upset?" 

"Very much so at first. Less when he found that it wasn't Mark." 

There was a sudden snigger from a nervous gentleman in the crowd at 
the back of the room, and the Coroner put on his glasses and stared sternly 
in the direction from which it came. The nervous gentleman hastily 
decided that the time had come to do up his bootlace. The Coroner put 
down his glasses and continued. 

"Did anybody come out of the house while you were coming up the 
drive?" 

"No." 

"Thank you, Mr. Gillingham." 

He was followed by Inspector Birch. The Inspector, realizing that 
this was his afternoon, and that the eyes of the world were upon him, 
produced a plan of the house and explained the situation of the different 
rooms. The plan was then handed to the jury. 

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The Red House Mystery 

Inspector Birch, so he told the world, had arrived at the Red House at 

4.42 p.m. on the afternoon in question. He had been received by Mr. 
Matthew Cayley, who had made a short statement to him, and he had then 
proceeded to examine the scene of the crime. The French windows had 
been forced from outside. The door leading into the hall was locked; he 
had searched the room thoroughly and had found no trace of a key. In 
the bedroom leading out of the office he had found an open window. 
There were no marks on the window, but it was a low one, and, as he 
found from experiment, quite easy to step out of without touching it with 
the boots. A few yards outside the window a shrubbery began. There 
were no recent footmarks outside the window, but the ground was in a 
very hard condition owing to the absence of rain. In the shrubbery, 
however, he found several twigs on the ground, recently broken off, 
together with other evidence that some body had been forcing its way 
through. He had questioned everybody connected with the estate, and 
none of them had been into the shrubbery recently. By forcing a way 
through the shrubbery it was possible for a person to make a detour of the 
house and get to the Stanton end of the park without ever being in sight of 
the house itself. 
He had made inquiries about the deceased. Deceased had left for 
Australia some fifteen years ago, owing to some financial trouble at home. 
Deceased was not well spoken of in the village from which he and his 
brother had come. Deceased and his brother had never been on good 
terms, and the fact that Mark Ablett had come into money had been a 
cause of great bitterness between them. It was shortly after this that 
Robert had left for Australia. 

He had made inquiries at Stanton station. It had been market-day at 
Stanton and the station had been more full of arrivals than usual. 
Nobody had particularly noticed the arrival of Robert Ablett; there had 
been a good many passengers by the 2.10 train that afternoon, the train by 
which Robert had undoubtedly come from London. A witness, however, 
would state that he noticed a man resembling Mark Ablett at the station at 

3.53 p.m. that afternoon, and this man caught the 3.55 up train to town. 
There was a pond in the grounds of the Red House. He had dragged 
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this, but without result.... 

Antony listened to him carelessly, thinking his own thoughts all the 
time. Medical evidence followed, but there was nothing to be got from 
that. He felt so close to the truth; at any moment something might give 
his brain the one little hint which it wanted. Inspector Birch was just 
pursuing the ordinary. Whatever else this case was, it was not ordinary. 
There was something uncanny about it. 

John Borden was giving evidence. He was on the up platform seeing 
a friend off by the 3.55 on Tuesday afternoon. He had noticed a man on 
the platform with coat collar turned up and a scarf round his chin. He 
had wondered why the man should do this on such a hot day. The man 
seemed to be trying to escape observation. Directly the train came in, he 
hurried into a carriage. And so on. 

"There's always a John Borden at every murder case, said Antony to 
himself. 

"Have you ever seen Mark Ablett?" 

"Once or twice, sir." 

"Was it he?" 

"I never really got a good look at him, sir, what with his collar turned 
up and the scarf and all. But directly I heard of the sad affair, and that 
Mr. Ablett was missing, I said to Mrs. Borden, 'Now I wonder if that was 
Mr. Ablett I saw at the station?' So then we talked it over and decided 
that I ought to come and tell Inspector Birch. It was just Mr. Ablett's 
height, sir." 

Antony went on with his thoughts.... 

The Coroner was summing up. The jury, he said, had now heard all 
the evidence and would have to decide what had happened in that room 
between the two brothers. How had the deceased met his death? The 
medical evidence would probably satisfy them that Robert Ablett had died 
from the effects of a bullet-wound in the head. Who had fired that bullet? 
If Robert Ablett had fired it himself, no doubt they would bring in a 
verdict of suicide, but if this had been so, where was the revolver which 
had fired it, and what had become of Mark Ablett? If they disbelieved in 
this possibility of suicide, what remained? Accidental death, justifiable. 

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homicide, and murder. Could the deceased have been killed accidentally? 
It was possible, but then would Mark Ablett have run away? The 
evidence that he had run away from the scene of the crime was strong. 
His cousin had seen him go into the room, the servant Elsie Wood had 
heard him quarrelling with his brother in the room, the door had been 
locked from the inside, and there were signs that outside the open window 
some one had pushed his way very recently through the shrubbery. Who, if 
not Mark? They would have then to consider whether he would have run 
away if he had been guiltless of his brother's death. No doubt innocent 
people lost their heads sometimes. It was possible that if it were proved 
afterwards that Mark Ablett had shot his brother, it might also be proved 
that he was justified in so doing, and that when he ran away from his 
brother's corpse he had really nothing to fear at the hands of the Law. In 
this connexion he need hardly remind the jury that they were not the final 
tribunal, and that if they found Mark Ablett guilty of murder it would not 
prejudice his trial in any way if and when he was apprehended.... The 
jury could consider their verdict. 

They considered it. They announced that the deceased had died as 
the result of a bullet-wound, and that the bullet had been fired by his 
brother Mark Ablett. 

Bill turned round to Antony at his side. But Antony was gone. Across 
the room he saw Andrew Amos and Parsons going out of the door together, 
and Antony was between them. 

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CHAPTER XX 

Mr. Beverley is Tactful 

The inquest had been held at the "Lamb" at Stanton; at Stanton 
Robert Ablett was to be buried next day. Bill waited about outside for his 
friend, wondering where he had gone. Then, realizing that Cayley would 
be coming out to his car directly, and that a farewell talk with Cayley 
would be a little embarrassing, he wandered round to the yard at the back 
of the inn, lit a cigarette, and stood surveying a torn and weather-beaten 
poster on the stable wall. "GRAND THEATRICAL ENTER" it announced, 
to take place on "Wednesday, Decem." Bill smiled to himself as he 
looked at it, for the part of Joe, a loquacious postman, had been played by 
"William B. Beverl," as the remnants of the poster still maintained, and he 
had been much less loquacious than the author had intended, having 
forgotten his words completely, but it had all been great fun. And then he 
stopped smiling, for there would be no more fun now at the Red House. 

"Sorry to keep you waiting," said the voice of Antony behind him. 
"My old friends Amos and Parsons insisted on giving me a drink." 

He slipped his hand into the crook of Bill's arm, and smiled happily at 
him. 

"Why were you so keen about them?" asked Bill a little resentfully. "I 
couldn't think where on earth you had got to." 

Antony didn't say anything. He was staring at the poster. 

"When did this happen?" he asked. 

"What?" 

Antony waved to the poster. 

"Oh, that? Last Christmas. It was rather fun." 

Antony began to laugh to himself. 

"Were you good?" 

"Rotten. I don't profess to be an actor." 

"Mark good?" 

"Oh, rather. He loves it." 

"Rev. Henry Stutters - Mr. Matthew Cay," read Antony. 

"Was that our friend Cayley?" 

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"Yes." 

"Any good?" 

"Well, much better than I expected. He wasn't keen, but Mark made 
him." 

"Miss Norris wasn't playing, I see." 

"My dear Tony, she's a professional. Of course she wasn't." 

Antony laughed again. 

"A great success, was it?" 

"Oh. rather!" 

"I'm a fool, and a damned fool," Antony announced solemnly. "And 
a damned fool," he said again under his breath, as he led Bill away from 
the poster, and out of the yard into the road. "And a damned fool. Even 
now -" He broke off and then asked suddenly, "Did Mark ever have 
much trouble with his teeth?" 

"He went to his dentist a good deal. But what on earth -" 

Antony laughed a third time. 

"What luck!" he chuckled. "But how do you know?" 

"We go to the same man; Mark recommended him to me. Cartwright, 
in Wimpole Street." 

"Cartwright in Wimpole Street," repeated Antony thoughtfully. "Yes, 
I can remember that. Cartwright in Wimpole Street. Did Cayley go to 
him too, by any chance?" 

"I expect so. Oh, yes, I know he did. But what on earth -" 

"What was Mark's general health like? Did he see a doctor much?" 

"Hardly at all, I should think. He did a lot of early morning exercises 
which were supposed to make him bright and cheerful at breakfast. They 
didn't do that, but they seemed to keep him pretty fit. Tony, I wish you'd 
-" 

Antony held up a hand and hushed him into silence. 

"One last question," he said. "Was Mark fond of swimming?" 

"No, he hated it. I don't believe he could swim. Tony, are you mad, 
or am I? Or is this a new game?" 

Antony squeezed his arm. 

"Dear old Bill," he said. "It's a game. What a game! And the 

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answer is Cartwright in Wimpole Street." 

They walked in silence for half a mile or so along the road to 
Waldheim. Bill tried two or three times to get his friend to talk, but 
Antony had only grunted in reply. He was just going to make another 
attempt, when Antony came to a sudden stop and turned to him anxiously. 
"I wonder if you'd do something for me," he said, looking at him with 
some doubt. 

"What sort of thing?" 

"Well, it's really dashed important. It's just the one thing I want now. 

Bill was suddenly enthusiastic again. 

"I say, have you really found it all out?" 

Antony nodded. 

"At least, I'm very nearly there, Bill. There's just this one thing I 
want now. It means your going back to Stanton. Well, we haven't come 
far; it won't take you long. Do you mind?" 

"My dear Holmes, I am at your service." 

Antony gave him a smile and was silent for a little, thinking. 

"Is there another inn at Stanton-fairly close to the station?" 

"The 'Plough and Horses' - just at the corner where the road goes up to 
the station - is that the one you mean?" 

"That would be the one. I suppose you could do with a drink, 
couldn't you?" 

"Rather!" said Bill, with a grin. 

"Good. Then have one at the 'Plough and Horses.' Have two, if you 
like, and talk to the landlord, or landlady, or whoever serves you. I want 
you to find out if anybody stayed there on Monday night." 

"Robert?" said Bill eagerly. 

"I didn't say Robert," said Antony, smiling. "I just want you to find 
out if they had a visitor who slept there on Monday night. A stranger. If 
so, then any particulars you can get of him, without letting the landlord 
know that you are interested -" 

"Leave it to me," broke in Bill. "I know just what you want." 

"Don't assume that it was Robert - or anybody else. Let them 
describe the man to you. Don't influence them unconsciously by 

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suggesting that he was short or tall, or anything of that sort. Just get them 

talking. If it's the landlord, you'd better stand him a drink or two." 

"Right you are," said Bill confidently. "Where do I meet you again?" 

"Probably at the 'George.' If you get there before me, you can order 
dinner for eight o'clock. Anyhow we'll meet at eight, if not before." 

"Good." He nodded to Antony and strode off back to Stanton again. 

Antony stood watching him with a little smile at his enthusiasm. Then 
he looked round slowly, as if in search of something. Suddenly he saw 
what he wanted. Twenty yards farther on a lane wandered off to the left, 
and there was a gate a little way up on the right-hand side of it. Antony 
walked to the gate, filling his pipe as he went. Then he lit his pipe, sat on 
the gate, and took his head in his hands. 

"Now then," he said to himself, "let's begin at the beginning." 

It was nearly eight o'clock when William Beverley, the famous sleuthhound, arrived, tired and dusty, at the "George," to find Antony, cool and 
clean, standing bare-headed at the door, waiting for him. 

"Is dinner ready?" were Bill's first words. 

"Yes." 

"Then I'll just have a wash. Lord, I'm tired." 

"I never ought to have asked you," said Antony penitently. 

"That's all right. I shan't be a moment." Half-way up the stairs he 
turned round and asked, "Am I in your room?" 

"Yes. Do you know the way?" 

"Yes. Start carving, will you? And order lots of beer." He 
disappeared round the top of the staircase. Antony went slowly in. 

When the first edge of his appetite had worn off, and he was able to 
spare a little time between the mouthfuls, Bill gave an account of his 
adventures. The landlord of the "Plough and Horses" had been sticky, 
decidedly sticky - Bill had been unable at first to get anything out of him. 
But Bill had been tactful; lorblessyou, how tactful he had been. 

"He kept on about the inquest, and what a queer affair it had been, and 
so on, and how there'd been an inquest in his wife's family once, which he 
seemed rather proud about, and I kept saying, 'Pretty busy, I suppose, just 
now, what?' and then he'd say, 'Middlin',' and go on again about Susan 

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that was the one that had the inquest - he talked about it as if it were a 
disease - and then I'd try again, and say, 'Slack times, I expect, just now, 
eh?' and he'd say 'Middlin' again, and then it was time to offer him another 
drink, and I didn't seem to be getting much nearer. But I got him at last. 
I asked him if he knew John Borden - he was the man who said he'd seen 
Mark at the station. Well, he knew all about Borden, and after he'd told 
me all about Borden's wife's family, and how one of them had been burnt 
to death - after you with the beer; thanks - well, then I said carelessly that 
it must be very hard to remember anybody whom you had just seen once, 
so as to identify him afterwards, and he agreed that it would be 'middlin' 
hard,' and then -" 

"Give me three guesses," interrupted Antony. "You asked him if he 
remembered everybody who came to his inn?" 

"That's it. Bright, wasn't it?" 

"Brilliant. And what was the result?" 

"The result was a woman." 

"A woman?" said Antony eagerly. 

"A woman," said Bill impressively. "Of course I thought it was going 
to be Robert - so did you, didn't you? - but it wasn't. It was a woman. 
Came quite late on Monday night in a car - driving herself - went off early 
next morning." 

"Did he describe her?" 

"Yes. She was middlin'. Middlin' tall, middlin' age, middlin' colour, 
and so on. Doesn't help much, does it? But still - a woman. Does that 
upset your theory?" 

Antony shook his head. 

"No, Bill, not at all," he said. 

"You knew all the time? At least, you guessed?" 

"Wait till to-morrow. I'll tell you everything to-morrow." 

"To-morrow!" said Bill in great disappointment. 

"Well, I'll tell you one thing to-night, if you'll promise not to ask any 
more questions. But you probably know it already." 

"What is it?" 

"Only that Mark Albett did not kill his brother." 

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"And Cayley did?" 

"That's another question, Bill. However, the answer is that Cayley 
didn't, either." 

"Then who on earth -" 

"Have some more beer," said Antony with a smile. And Bill had to 
be content with that. 

They were early to bed that evening, for both of them were tired. Bill 
slept loudly and defiantly, but Antony lay awake, wondering. What was 
happening at the Red House now? Perhaps he would hear in the morning; 
perhaps he would get a letter. He went over the whole story again from 
the beginning - was there any possibility of a mistake? What would the 
police do? Would they ever find out? Ought he to have told them? Well, 
let them find out; it was their job. Surely he couldn't have made a 
mistake this time. No good wondering now; he would know definitely in 
the morning. 

In the morning there was a letter for him. 

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CHAPTER XXI 

Cayley's Apology 

"My Dear Mr. Gillingham, 

"I gather from your letter that you have made certain discoveries 
which you may feel it your duty to communicate to the police, and that in 
this case my arrest on a charge of murder would inevitably follow. Why, 
in these circumstances, you should give me such ample warning of your 
intentions I do not understand, unless it is that you are not wholly out of 
sympathy with me. But whether or not you sympathize, at any rate you 
will want to know - and I want you to know - the exact manner in which 
Ablett met his death and the reasons which made that death necessary. If 
the police have to be told anything, I would rather that they too knew the 
whole story. They, and even you, may call it murder, but by that time I 
shall be out of the way. Let them call it what they like. 

"I must begin by taking you back to a summer day fifteen years ago, 
when I was a boy of thirteen and Mark a young man of twenty-five. His 
whole life was make-believe, and just now he was pretending to be a 
philanthropist. He sat in our little drawing-room, flicking his gloves 
against the back of his left hand, and my mother, good soul, thought what 
a noble young gentleman he was, and Philip and I, hastily washed and 
crammed into collars, stood in front of him, nudging each other and 
kicking the backs of our heels and cursing him in our hearts for having 
interrupted our game. He had decided to adopt one of us, kind Cousin 
Mark. Heaven knows why he chose me. Philip was eleven; two years 
longer to wait. Perhaps that was why. 

"Well, Mark educated me. I went to a public school and to 
Cambridge, and I became his secretary. Well, much more than his 
secretary as your friend Beverley perhaps has told you: his land agent, his 
financial adviser, his courier, his -but this most of all - his audience. 
Mark could never live alone. There must always be somebody to listen 
to him. I think in his heart he hoped I should be his Boswell. He told 
me one day that he had made me his literary executor - poor devil. And 
he used to write me the absurdest long letters when I was away from him, 

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letters which I read once and then tore up. The futility of the man! 

"It was three years ago that Philip got into trouble. He had been 
hurried through a cheap grammar school and into a London office, and 
discovered there that there was not much fun to be got in this world on 
two pounds a week. I had a frantic letter from him one day, saying that 
he must have a hundred at once, or he would be ruined, and I went to 
Mark for the money. Only to borrow it, you understand; he gave me a 
good salary and I could have paid it back in three months. But no. He 
saw nothing for himself in it, I suppose; no applause, no admiration. 
Philip's gratitude would be to me, not to him. I begged, I threatened, we 
argued; and while we were arguing, Philip was arrested. It killed my 
mother - he was always her favourite - but Mark, as usual, got his 
satisfaction out of it. He preened himself on his judgment of character in 
having chosen me and not Philip twelve years before! 

"Later on I apologized to Mark for the reckless things I had said to him, 
and he played the part of a magnanimous gentleman with his accustomed 
skill, but, though outwardly we were as before to each other, from that day 
forward, though his vanity would never let him see it, I was his bitterest 
enemy. If that had been all, I wonder if I should have killed him? To 
live on terms of intimate friendship with a man whom you hate is 
dangerous work for your friend. Because of his belief in me as his 
admiring and grateful protege and his belief in himself as my benefactor, 
he was now utterly in my power. I could take my time and choose my 
opportunity. Perhaps I should not have killed him, but I had sworn to 
have my revenge - and there he was, poor vain fool, at my mercy. I was 
in no hurry. 

"Two years later I had to reconsider my position, for my revenge was 
being taken out of my hands. Mark began to drink. Could I have 
stopped him? I don't think so, but to my immense surprise I found 
myself trying to. Instinct, perhaps, getting the better of reason; or did I 
reason it out and tell myself that, if he drank himself to death, I should 
lose my revenge? Upon my word, I cannot tell you; but, for whatever 
motive, I did genuinely want to stop it. Drinking is such a beastly thing, 
anyhow. 

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"I could not stop him, but I kept him within certain bounds, so that 
nobody but myself knew his secret. Yes, I kept him outwardly decent; 
and perhaps now I was becoming like the cannibal who keeps his victim in 
good condition for his own ends. I used to gloat over Mark, thinking 
how utterly he was mine to ruin as I pleased, financially, morally, 
whatever way would give me most satisfaction. I had but to take my 
hand away from him and he sank. But again I was in no hurry. 

"Then he killed himself. That futile little drunkard, eaten up with his 
own selfishness and vanity, offered his beastliness to the truest and purest 
woman on this earth. You have seen her, Mr. Gillingham, but you never 
knew Mark Ablett. Even if he had not been a drunkard, there was no 
chance for her of happiness with him. I had known him for many years, 
but never once had I seen him moved by any generous emotion. To have 
lived with that shrivelled little soul would have been hell for her; and a 
thousand times worse hell when he began to drink. 

"So he had to be killed. I was the only one left to protect her, for her 
mother was in league with Mark to bring about her ruin. I would have 
shot him openly for her sake, and with what gladness, but I had no mind to 
sacrifice myself needlessly. He was in my power; I could persuade him 
to almost anything by flattery; surely it would not be difficult to give his 
death the appearance of an accident. 

"I need not take up your time by telling you of the many plans I made 
and rejected. For some days I inclined towards an unfortunate boating 
accident in the pond - Mark, a very indifferent swimmer, myself almost 
exhausted in a gallant attempt to hold him up. And then he himself gave 
me the idea, he and Miss Norris between them, and so put himself in my 
hands; without risk of discovery, I should have said, had you not 
discovered me. 

"We were talking about ghosts. Mark had been even more vain, 
pompous and absurd than usual, and I could see that Miss Norris was 
irritated by it. After dinner she suggested dressing up as a ghost and 
frightening him. I thought it my duty to warn her that Mark took any 
joke against himself badly, but she was determined to do it. I gave way 
reluctantly. Reluctantly, also, I told her the secret of the passage. 

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(There is an underground passage from the library to the bowling-green. 
You should exercise your ingenuity, Mr. Gillingham, in trying to discover 
it. Mark came upon it by accident a year ago. It was a godsend to him; 
he could drink there in greater secrecy. But he had to tell me about it. 
He wanted an audience, even for his vices.) 

"I told Miss Norris, then, because it was necessary for my plan that 
Mark should be thoroughly frightened. Without the passage she could 
never have got close enough to the bowling-green to alarm him properly, 
but as I arranged it with her she made the most effective appearance, and 
Mark was in just the state of rage and vindictiveness which I required. 
Miss Norris, you understand, is a professional actress. I need not say that 
to her I appeared to be animated by no other feeling than a boyish desire to 
bring off a good joke - a joke directed as much against the others as 
against Mark. 

"He came to me that night, as I expected, still quivering with 
indignation. Miss Norris must never be asked to the house again; I was 
to make a special note of it; never again. It was outrageous. Had he not a 
reputation as a host to keep up, he would pack her off next morning. As 
it was, she could stay; hospitality demanded it; but never again would she 
come to the Red House - he was absolutely determined about that. I was 
to make a special note of it. 

"I comforted him, I smoothed down his ruffled feathers. She had 
behaved very badly, but he was quite right; he must try not to show how 
much he disapproved of her. And of course she would never come again 

-that was obvious. And then suddenly I began to laugh. He looked up 
at me indignantly. 

"'Is there a joke?" he said coldly. 

"I laughed gently again. 

"'I was just thinking,' I said, 'that it would be rather amusing if you 

well, had your revenge. 
"'My revenge? How do you mean?' 
"'Well, paid her back in her own coin.' 
"'Do you mean try and frighten her?' 
"'No, no; but dressed up and pulled her leg a bit. Made her look a 

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fool in front of the others.' I laughed to myself again. 'Serve her jolly 

well right.' 

"He jumped up excitedly. 

"'By Jove, Cay!' he cried. 'If I could! How? You must think of a 
way. 

"I don't know if Beverley has told you about Mark's acting. He was 
an amateur of all the arts, and vain of his little talents, but as an actor he 
seemed to himself most wonderful. Certainly he had some ability for the 
stage, so long as he had the stage to himself and was playing to an 
admiring audience. As a professional actor in a small part he would have 
been hopeless; as an amateur playing the leading part, he deserved all that 
the local papers had ever said about him. And so the idea of giving us a 
private performance, directed against a professional actress who had made 
fun of him, appealed equally to his vanity and his desire for retaliation. 
If he, Mark Albett, by his wonderful acting could make Ruth Norris look a 
fool in front of the others, could take her in, and then join in the laugh at 
her afterwards, he would indeed have had a worthy revenge! 

"It strikes you as childish, Mr. Gillingham? Ah, you never knew 
Mark Ablett. 

"'How, Cay, how?' he said eagerly. 

"'Well, I haven't really thought it out,' I protested. 'It was just an 
idea.' 

"He began to think it out for himself. 

"'I might pretend to be a manager, come down to see her - but I 
suppose she knows them all. What about an interviewer?' 

"'It's going to be difficult,' I said thoughtfully. 'You've got rather a 
characteristic face, you know. And your beard -' 

"'I'd shave it off,' he snapped. 

"'My dear Mark!' 

"He looked away, and mumbled, 'I've been thinking of taking it off, 

anyhow. And besides, if I'm going to do the thing, I'm going to do it 
properly.' 
"'Yes, you always were an artist,' I said, looking at him admiringly. 
"He purred. To be called an artist was what he longed for most. Now 

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I knew that I had him. 

"'All the same,' I went on, 'even without your beard and moustache 
you might be recognizable. Unless, of course -' I broke off. 

"'Unless what?' 

"'You pretend to be Robert.' I began to laugh to myself again. 'By 
Jove!' I said, 'that's not a bad idea. Pretend to be Robert, the wastrel 
brother, and make yourself objectionable to Miss Norris. Borrow money 
from her, and that sort of thing.' 

"He looked at me, with his bright little eyes, nodding eagerly. 

"'Robert,' he said. 'Yes. How shall we work it?' 

"There was really a Robert, Mr. Gillingham, as I have no doubt you 
and the Inspector both discovered. And he was a wastrel and he went to 
Australia. But he never came to the Red House on Tuesday afternoon. 
He couldn't have, because he died (unlamented) three years ago. But 
there was nobody who knew this, save Mark and myself, for Mark was the 
only one of the family left, his sister having died last year. Though I 
doubt, anyhow, if she knew whether Robert was alive or dead. He was 
not talked about. 

"For the next two days Mark and I worked out our plans. You 
understand by now that our aims were not identical. Mark's endeavour 
was that his deception should last for, say, a couple of hours; mine that it 
should go to the grave with him. He had only to deceive Miss Norris and 
the other guests; I had to deceive the world. When he was dressed up as 
Robert, I was going to kill him. Robert would then be dead, Mark (of 
course) missing. What could anybody think but that Mark had killed 
Robert? But you see how important it was for Mark to enter fully into 
his latest (and last) impersonation. Half-measures would be fatal. 

"You will say that it was impossible so do the thing thoroughly enough. 
I answer again that you never knew Mark. He was being what he wished 
most to be - an artist. No Othello ever blacked himself all over with such 
enthusiasm as did Mark. His beard was going anyhow - possible a 
chance remark of Miss Norbury's helped here. She did not like beards. 
But it was important for me that the dead man's hands should not be the 
hands of a manicured gentleman. Five minutes playing upon the vanity 

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of the artist settled his hands. He let the nails grow and then cut them 
raggedly. 'Miss Norris would notice your hands at once,' I had said. 
'Besides, as an artist -' 

"So with his underclothes. It was hardly necessary to warn him that 
his pants might show above the edge of his socks; as an artist he had 
already decided upon Robertian pants. I bought them, and other things, 
in London for him. Even if I had not cut out all trace of the maker's 
name, he would instinctively have done it. As an Australian and an artist, 
he could not have an East London address on his underclothes. Yes, we 
were doing the thing thoroughly, both of us; he as an artist, I as a - well, 
you may say murderer, if you like. I shall not mind now. 

"Our plans were settled. I went to London on the Monday and wrote 
him a letter from Robert. (The artistic touch again.) I also bought a 
revolver. On the Tuesday morning he announced the arrival of Robert at 
the breakfast-table. Robert was now alive - we had six witnesses to 
prove it; six witnesses who knew that he was coming that afternoon. Our 
private plan was that Robert should present himself at three o'clock, in 
readiness for the return of the golfing-party shortly afterwards. The maid 
would go to look for Mark, and having failed to find him, come back to 
the office to find me entertaining Robert in Mark's absence. I would 
explain that Mark must have gone out somewhere, and would myself 
introduce the wastrel brother to the tea-table. Mark's absence would not 
excite any comment, for it would be generally felt - indeed Robert would 
suggest it - that he had been afraid of meeting his brother. Then Robert 
would make himself amusingly offensive to the guests, particularly, of 
course, Miss Norris, until he thought that the joke had gone far enough. 

"That was our private plan. Perhaps I should say that it was Mark's 
private plan. My own was different. 

"The announcement at breakfast went well. After the golfing-party 
had gone off, we had the morning in which to complete our arrangements. 
What I was chiefly concerned about was to establish as completely as 
possible the identity of Robert. For this reason I suggested to Mark that, 
when dressed, he should go out by the secret passage to the bowling-green, 
and come back by the drive, taking care to enter into conversation with the 

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lodge-keeper. In this way I would have two more witnesses of Robert's 
arrival - first the lodge-keeper, and secondly one of the gardeners whom I 
would have working on the front lawn. Mark, of course, was willing 
enough. He could practise his Australian accent on the lodge-keeper. It 
was really amusing to see how readily he fell into every suggestion which 
I made. Never was a killing more carefully planned by its victim. 

"He changed into Robert's clothes in the office bedroom. This was 
the safest way - for both of us. When he was ready, he called me in, and 
I inspected him. It was extraordinary how well he looked the part. I 
suppose that the signs of his dissipation had already marked themselves on, 
his face, but had been concealed hitherto by his moustache and beard; for 
now that he was clean-shaven they lay open to the world from which we 
had so carefully hidden them, and he was indeed the wastrel which he was 
pretending to be. 

"'By Jove, you're wonderful,' I said. 

"He smirked, and called my attention to the various artistic touches 
which I might have missed. 

"'Wonderful,' I said to myself again. 'Nobody could possibly guess.' 

"I peered into the hall. It was empty. We hurried across to the 
library; he got into the passage and made off. I went back to the 
bedroom, collected all his discarded clothes, did them up in a bundle and 
returned with them to the passage. Then I sat down in the hall and 
waited. 

"You heard the evidence of Stevens, the maid. As soon as she was on 
her way to the Temple in search of Mark, I stepped into the office. My 
hand was in my side-pocket, and in my hand was the revolver. 

"He began at once in his character of Robert - some rigmarole about 
working his passage over from Australia; a little private performance for 
my edification. Then in his natural voice, gloating over his well-planned 
retaliation on Miss Norris, he burst out, 'It's my turn now. You wait.' It 
was this which Elsie heard. She had no business to be there and she 
might have ruined everything, but as it turned out it was the luckiest thing 
which could have happened. For it was the one piece of evidence which I 
wanted; evidence, other than my own, that Mark and Robert were in the 

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room together. 

"I said nothing. I was not going to take the risk of being heard to 
speak in that room. I just smiled at the poor little fool, and took out my 
revolver, and shot him. Then I went back into the library and waited 
just as I said in my evidence. 

"Can you imagine, Mr. Gillingham, the shock which your sudden 
appearance gave me? Can you imagine the feelings of a 'murderer' who 
has (as he thinks) planned for every possibility, and is then confronted 
suddenly with an utterly new problem? What difference would your 
coming make? I didn't know. Perhaps none; perhaps all. And I had 
forgotten to open the window! 

"I don't know whether you will think my plan for killing Mark a clever 
one. Perhaps not. But if I do deserve any praise in the matter, I think I 
deserve it for the way I pulled myself together in the face of the 
unexpected catastrophe of your arrival. Yes, I got a window open, Mr. 
Gillingham, under your very nose; the right window too, you were kind 
enough to say. And the keys - yes, that was clever of you, but I think I 
was cleverer. I deceived you over the keys, Mr. Gillingham, as I learnt 
when I took the liberty of listening to a conversation on the bowling-green 
between you and your friend Beverley. Where was I? Ah, you must 
have a look for that secret passage, Mr. Gillingham. 

"But what am I saying? Did I deceive you at all? You have found 
out the secret - that Robert was Mark - and that is all that matters. How 
have you found out? I shall never know now. Where did I go wrong? 
Perhaps you have been deceiving me all the time. Perhaps you knew 
about the keys, about the window, even about the secret passage. You are 
a clever man, Mr. Gillingham. 

"I had Mark's clothes on my hands. I might have left them in the 
passage, but the secret of the passage was now out. Miss Norris knew it. 
That was the weak point of my plan, perhaps, that Miss Norris had to 
know it. So I hid them in the pond, the inspector having obligingly 
dragged it for me first. A couple of keys joined them, but I kept the 
revolver. Fortunate, wasn't it, Mr. Gillingham? 

"I don't think that there is any more to tell you. This is a long letter, 

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but then it is the last which I shall write. There was a time when I hoped 
that there might be a happy future for me, not at the Red House, not alone. 
Perhaps it was never more than an idle day-dream, for I am no more 
worthy of her than Mark was. But I could have made her happy, Mr. 
Gillingham. God, how I would have worked to make her happy! But 
now that is impossible. To offer her the hand of a murderer would be as 
bad as to offer her the hand of a drunkard. And Mark died for that. I 
saw her this morning. She was very sweet. It is a difficult world to 
understand. 

"Well, well, we are all gone now - the Abletts and the Cayleys. I 
wonder what old Grandfather Cayley thinks of it all. Perhaps it is as well 
that we have died out. Not that there was anything wrong with Sarah 
except her temper. And she had the Ablett nose - you can't do much with 
that. I'm glad she left no children. 

"Good-bye, Mr. Gillingham. I'm sorry that your stay with us was not 
of a pleasanter nature, but you understand the difficulties in which I was 
placed. Don't let Bill think too badly of me. He is a good fellow; look 
after him. He will he surprised. The young are always surprised. And 
thank you for letting me end my own way. I expect you did sympathize a 
little, you know. We might have been friends in another world - you and 
I, and I and she. Tell her what you like. Everything or nothing. You 
will know what is best. Good-bye, Mr. Gillingham.

 "MATTH 
EW CAYLEY. 
"I am lonely to-night without Mark. That's funny, isn't it?" 

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CHAPTER XXII


Mr. Beverley Moves On 

"Good Lord!" said Bill, as he put down the letter. 

"I thought you'd say that," murmured Antony. 

"Tony, do you mean to say that you knew all this?" 

"I guessed some of it. I didn't quite know all of it, of course. 

"Good Lord!" said Bill again, and returned to the letter. In a moment 
he was looking up again. "What did you write to him? Was that last 
night? After I'd gone into Stanton?" 
"Yes." 

"What did you say? That you'd discovered that Mark was Robert?" 

"Yes. At least I said that this morning I should probably telegraph to 
Mr. Cartwright of Wimpole Street, and ask him to -" 

Bill burst in eagerly on the top of the sentence. "Yes, now what was 
all that about? You were so damn Sherlocky yesterday all of a sudden. 
We'd been doing the thing together all the time, and you'd been telling me 
everything, and then suddenly you become very mysterious and private 
and talk enigmatically - is that the word? - about dentists and swimming 
and the 'Plough and Horses,' and - well, what was it all about? You 
simply vanished out of sight; I didn't know what on earth we were talking 
about." 

Antony laughed and apologized. 

"Sorry, Bill. I felt like that suddenly. Just for the last half-hour; just 
to end up with. I'll tell you everything now. Not that there's anything to 
tell, really. It seems so easy when you know it - so obvious. About Mr. 
Cartwright of Wimpole Street. Of course he was just to identify the 
body." 

"But whatever made you think of a dentist for that?" 

"Who could do it better? Could you have done it? How could you? 
You'd never gone bathing with Mark; you'd never seen him stripped. He 
didn't swim. Could his doctor do it? Not unless he'd had some 
particular operation, and perhaps not then. But his dentists could -at 
any time, always - if he had been to his dentist fairly often. Hence Mr. 

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Cartwright of Wimpole Street." 

Bill nodded thoughtfully and went back again to the letter. 

"I see. And you told Cayley that you were telegraphing to Cartwright 
to identify the body?" 

"Yes. And then of course it was all up for him. Once we knew that 
Robert was Mark we knew everything." 

"How did you know?" 

Antony got up from the breakfast table and began to fill his pipe. 

"I'm not sure that I can say, Bill. You know those problems in 
Algebra where you say, 'Let x be the answer,' and then you work it out and 
find what x is. Well, that's one way; and another way, which they never 
give you any marks for at school, is to guess the answer. Pretend the 
answer is 4 - well, will that satisfy the conditions of the problem? No. 
Then try 6; and if 6 doesn't either, then what about 5? - and so on. Well, 
the Inspector and the Coroner and all that lot had guessed their answer, 
and it seemed to fit, but you and I knew it didn't really fit; there were 
several conditions in the problem which it didn't fit at all. So we knew 
that their answer was wrong, and we had to think of another - an answer 
which explained all the things which were puzzling us. Well, I happened 
to guess the right one. Got a match?" 

Bill handed him a box, and he lit his pipe. 

"Yes, but that doesn't quite do, old boy. Something must have put 
you on to it suddenly. By the way, I'll have my matches back, if you 
don't mind." 

Antony laughed and took them out of his pocket. 

"Sorry.... Well then, let's see if I can go through my own mind again, 
and tell you how I guessed it. First of all, the clothes." 

"Yes?" 

"To Cayley the clothes seemed an enormously important clue. 
didn't quite see why, but I did realize that to a man in Cayley's position the 
smallest clue would have an entirely disproportionate value. For some 
reason, then, Cayley attached this exaggerated importance to the clothes 
which Mark was wearing on that Tuesday morning; all the clothes, the 
inside ones as well as the outside ones. I didn't know why, but I did feel 

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The Red House Mystery 

certain that, in that case, the absence of the collar was unintentional. In 

collecting the clothes he had overlooked the collar. Why?" 

"It was the one in the linen-basket?" 

"Yes. It seemed probable. Why had Cayley put it there? The 
obvious answer was that he hadn't. Mark had put it there. 
remembered what you told me about Mark being finicky, and having lots 
of clothes and so on, and I felt that he was just the sort of man who would 
never wear the same collar twice." He paused, and then asked, "Is that 
right, do you think?" 

"Absolutely," said Bill with conviction. 

"Well, I guessed it was. So then I began to see an x which would fit 
just this part of the problem - the clothes part. I saw Mark changing his 
clothes; I saw him instinctively dropping the collar in the linen-basket, just 
as he had always dropped every collar he had ever taken off, but leaving 
the rest of the clothes on a chair in the ordinary way; and I saw Cayley 
collecting all the clothes afterwards - all the visible clothes - and not 
realizing that the collar wasn't there." 

"Go on," said Bill eagerly. 

"Well, I felt pretty sure about that, and I wanted an explanation of it. 
Why had Mark changed down there instead of in his bedroom? The only 
answer was that the fact of his changing had to be kept secret. When did 
he change? The only possible time was between lunch (when he would 
be seen by the servants) and the moment of Robert's arrival. And when 
did Cayley collect the clothes in a bundle? Again, the only answer was 
'Before Robert's arrival.' So another x was wanted -to fit those three 
conditions." 

"And the answer was that a murder was intended, even before Robert 
arrived?" 

"Yes. Well now, it couldn't be intended on the strength of that letter, 
unless there was very much more behind the letter than we knew. Nor 
was it possible a murder could be intended without any more preparation 
than the changing into a different suit in which to escape. The thing was 
too childish. Also, if Robert was to be murdered, why go out of the way 
to announce his existence to you all - even, at the cost of some trouble, to 

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The Red House Mystery 

Mrs. Norbury? What did it all mean? I didn't know. But I began to 
feel now that Robert was an incident only; that the plot was a plot of 
Cayley's against Mark - either to get him to kill his brother, or to get his 
brother to kill him - and that for some inexplicable reason Mark seemed to 
be lending himself to the plot." He was silent for a little, and then said, 
almost to himself, "I had seen the empty brandy bottles in that cupboard." 

"You never said anything about them" complained Bill. 

"I only saw them afterwards. I was looking for the collar, you 
remember. They came back to me afterwards; I knew how Cayley would 
feel about it.... Poor devil!" 

"Go on," said Bill. 

"Well, then, we had the inquest, and of course I noticed, and I suppose 
you did too, the curious fact that Robert had asked his way at the second 
lodge and not at the first. So I talked to Amos and Parsons. That made 
it more curious. Amos told me that Robert had gone out of his way to 
speak to him; had called to him, in fact. Parsons told me that his wife was 
out in their little garden at the first lodge all the afternoon, and was certain 
that Robert had never come past it. He also told me that Cayley had put 
him on to a job on the front lawn that afternoon. So I had another guess. 
Robert had used the secret passage - the passage which comes out into the 
park between the first and second lodges. Robert, then, had been in the 
house; it was a put-up job between Robert and Cayley. But how could 
Robert be there without Mark knowing? Obviously, Mark knew too. 
What did it all mean?" 

"When was this?" interrupted Bill. "Just after the inquest -after 
you'd seen Amos and Parsons, of course?" 

"Yes. I got up and left them, and came to look for you. I'd got back 
to the clothes then. Why did Mark change his clothes so secretly? 
Disguise? But then what about his face? That was much more 
important than clothes. His face, his beard - he'd have to shave off his 
beard - and then -oh, idiot! I saw you looking at that poster. Mark 
acting, Mark made-up, Mark disguised. Oh, priceless idiot! Mark was 
Robert.... Matches, please." 

Bill passed over the matches again, waited till Antony had relit his 

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The Red House Mystery 

pipe, and then held out his hand for them, just as they were going into the 
other's pocket. 

"Yes," said Bill thoughtfully. "Yes.... But wait a moment. What 
about the 'Plough and Horses'?" Antony looked comically at him. 

"You'll never forgive me, Bill," he said. "You'll never come clue-
hunting with me again." 

"What do you mean?" 

Antony sighed. 

"It was a fake, Watson. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted to be 
alone. I'd guessed at my x, and I wanted to test it - to test it every way, 
by everything we'd discovered. I simply had to be alone just then, So -" 
he smiled and added, "Well, I knew you wanted a drink." 

"You are a devil," said Bill, staring at him. "And your interest when I 
told you that a woman had been staying there -" 

"Well, it was only polite to be interested when you'd taken so much 
trouble." 

"You brute! You - you Sherlock! And then you keep trying to steal 
my matches. Well, go on." 

"That's all. My x fitted." 

"Did you guess Miss Norris and all that?" 

"Well, not quite. I didn't realize that Cayley had worked for it from 
the beginning - had put Miss Norris up to frightening Mark. I thought 
he'd just seized the opportunity." 

Bill was silent for a long time. Then, puffing at his pipe, he said 
slowly, "Has Cayley shot himself?" 

Antony shrugged his shoulders. 

"Poor devil," said Bill. "It was decent of you to give him a chance. 
I'm glad you did." 

"I couldn't help liking Cayley in a kind of way, you know." 

"He's a clever devil. If you hadn't turned up just when you did, he 
would never have been found out." 

"I wonder. It was ingenious, but it's often the ingenious thing which 
gets found out. The awkward thing from Cayley's point of view was that, 
though Mark was missing, neither he nor his body could ever be found. 

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Well, that doesn't often happen with a missing man. He generally gets 
discovered in the end; a professional criminal; perhaps not - but an 
amateur like Mark! He might have kept the secret of how he killed Mark, 
but I think it would have become obvious sooner or later that he had killed 
him." 

"Yes, there's something in that.... Oh, just tell me one thing. Why 
did Mark tell Miss Norbury about his imaginary brother?" 

"That's puzzled me rather, too, Bill. It may be that he was just doing 
the Othello business - painting himself black all over. I mean he may 
have been so full of his appearance as Robert that he had almost got to 
believe in Robert, and had to tell everybody. More likely, though, he felt 
that, having told all of you at the house, he had better tell Miss Norbury, in 
case she met one of you; in which case, if you mentioned the approaching 
arrival of Robert, she might say, 'Oh, I'm certain he has no brother; he 
would have told me if he had,' and so spoil his joke. Possibly, too, 
Cayley put him on to it; Cayley obviously wanted as many people as 
possible to know about Robert." 

"Are you going to tell the police?" 

"Yes, I suppose they'll have to know. Cayley may have left another 
confession. I hope he won't give me away; you see, I've been a sort of 
accessory since yesterday evening. And I must go and see Miss 
Norbury." 

"I asked," explained Bill, "because I was wondering what I should say 
to - to Betty. Miss Calladine. You see, she's bound to ask." 

"Perhaps you won't see her again for a long, long time," said Antony 
sadly. 

"As a matter of fact, I happen to know that she will be at the 
Barringtons. And I go up there to-morrow." 

"Well, you had better tell her. You're obviously longing to. Only 
don't let her say anything for a day or two. Ill write to you." 

"Righto!" 

Antony knocked the ashes out of his pipe and got up. 

"The Barringtons," he said. "Large party?" 

"Fairly, I think." 

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Antony smiled at his friend. 

"Yes. Well, if any of 'em should happen to be murdered, you might 
send for me. I'm just getting into the swing of it." 

End of Project Gutenberg Etext of The Red House Mystery, by A. A. 
Milne 

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