As he realized this a little frown of thoughtfulness puckered the corporal’s forehead. Why had they been out at this early hour, and whilst it was still dark? Rayner noticed his pre-occupation, and guessing the cause of it Cruises from Hong Kong
, suavely offered an explanation.
Apparently I was mistaken about my cousin and Miss La Farge. They are not the sluggards I thought they were. They have been outside whilst I thought they were still a-bed.”
They are very early,” was the reply.
Yes! There is a silver fox about, and Joy has a line of traps. She hopes to get it. I understand that its pelt is rare.”
Much rarer than it used to be,” agreed the policeman absently travel newsletter
The explanation was a plausible one, but he did not find it satisfactory. He suspected that something other than a silver fox had taken Joy Gargrave and her foster-sister into the woods in the darkness of the morning. He wondered what it was. Had his hostess missed the note which he had picked up the night before, and had she been out to look for it? He did not know, he could only guess, and wait impatiently for the coming of dawn.
As soon as the first leaden light showed through the trees outside he left the house. Rayner offered to accompany him; but the corporal declined the offer.
Thank you, there is no need, Mr. Rayner. I shall be able to manage what I have to do alone.”
You think I shall be in the way, Corporal?” laughed the other hong kong day tour
I did not say so,” answered Bracknell, though of course it is the simple truth that when one has a knotty thing to solve, solitude and quiet are sometimes helpful.”
He went out and walked quickly from the house until he reached the by-path where he had made his startling discovery of the night before. As soon as he turned into it, his pace slowed, and he walked with his eyes fixed upon the ground. There were many footmarks in the snow, the most of them stale, as was shown by the powdery snow which had drifted into them. He recognized his own tracks of the night before, going and coming from the point at which he had found Koona Dick, and there were others apparently made about the same time, but those which arrested his eyes as he turned from the main road were a pair of freshly-made well-marked tracks, too small to have been made by the feet of men. He nodded to himself as he saw them, and began to follow them eagerly.
After a couple of minutes walking, he was a little surprised to find that the double trail that he was following, turned from the path into the shadow of the trees. It was still almost dark here, but as he stooped over the tracks, he became aware of the fact which seemed to him to be full of significance. There was a third pair of footprints, not so recently made as the others, as the powdering of snow in them showed, and the tracks that he was trailing apparently followed them. He stooped and with his hand made a rough measure of the stale tracks, and of one set of the fresh ones, with which they seemed almost identical. They were the same size, and about the two sets of impressions were little individual characteristics which were immediately discernible to the trained eyes.
Following her own tracks,” he muttered softly to himself. Now, I wonder why?”
He could do no more than guess, and as that was not a very profitable occupation he continued his search. The trail that he was following went but a little way into the forest, and then turned outward towards the path again, and presently reached a point at which he came abruptly to a standstill.