Monday, April 13, 2009

Next I would like to go to the McKenna ranch. It was noon when they arrived. Jack knocked at the door, when the maid answered. Falcon asked if she would showed us the boots which James wore at the time of his death, and also a pair of his brothers, though not the pair which he had worn that day, but the same kind. Having measured these very carefully from seven or eight different points. Falcon then lead us to the yard from which we followed the winding track which led to Logan Pool.
You could see he had the scent. His head was bent down close to the ground. His nostrils seemed to dilate with purely animal lust for the chase. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the meadows and on to Logan Pool . Once at the pool, the ground was damp and marshy. There were foot prints every where. Some times he would stop dead, and quite detour into the meadow.
Logan Pool which is a little sheet of water some fifty yards across, is situated at the boundary between McKenna ranch and the private park of the wealthy Mr. Tallyman.
On Tallyman side of the pool, the woods grew very thick. Jack showed us the exact spot at which the body was found. So moist was the ground that you could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the man.
But you could see Falcon peering eyes, many other things were to be read from the trampled grass. He ran around again like he picked up a scent and then turned to Jack and asked him. "What did you go into the pool for? " Fished about with a rake. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. But how on earth?
That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place. A mole could trace it, and there it vanishes among the reeds.
Falcon shook his head and said: "Oh how simple it would all have been had I been before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed all over it.
Here is where the party with the ranch hands came, and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet.” “These are young McKenna feet. Twice he was walking, and once he ran swiftly, so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visible. That bears out his story. He ran when he saw his brother on the ground. Then here are the James tracks as he paced up and down. What is this?
Another set of tracks. They come and go. Now where did they come from?" Falcon ran up and down , sometimes losing , sometimes finding the track until we where well within the edge of the wood and under the shadow of a great beech, the larges tree around.
He had stood behind, that tree during the interview between the brothers. He had even smoked there. I found the ash of a cigar, which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. Having found the ash, I then looked round and discovered the stump among the moss where he had tossed. Then he looked just ahead of him, and laid down . With his feet straight up in the air laughing. There it is. It was a jagged stone lying among the moss, and this also he carefully examined and retained. . Then he followed a pathway through the woods until he came to road, where all traces were lost.
He turned to Jack and said this may interest you?, Holding out the stone. “The murder was done with it.”
“I see no marks.”
“There are none.”
“How do you know, then?”
“The grass was growing under it. It had only lain there a few days.. It corresponds with the injuries. There is no sign of any other weapon.”
“And the murderer?”
“Is a tall man, left-handed, limps with the right leg, wears thick-soled shooting-boots. There are several other indications, but these are enough.
Jack laughed. “I am afraid that I am still a sceptic,” Falcon then said: I will be leaving for home tomorrow."
Jack said:

“And leave your case unfinished?”
“No, finished.”
“But the mystery?”
“It is solved.”
“Who was the criminal, then?”
“The gentleman I describe.”
“But who is he?”
Falcon left Jack standing with his mouth wide open. And went back to his hotel room.
Falcon had just sat down when there was a knock on the door. When he opened it there was Mr. John Tallyman.
The man that entered was a strange and impressive figure. His slow limping step and bowed shoulders gave the appearance of a deadly and chronic disease. Yet his body showed that he possessed unusual strength of body and of character.
First of all Falcon said: "I know all about McKenna"
I am glad to hear you say so. I would not have let the young man come to harm. I give you my word that I would have spoken before that could happen.
Falcon said: "I am no official agent. It was your daughter who asked me to look into the case. I am acting in her interests. Young McKenna must go free.'

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