Ruth persuaded Sergeant Greene to have the note and map fetched from the store of evidence at the police station. She waited steadfastly at the counter, ignoring the looks of the desk sergeant, until it was brought.
She held the note to the light.
“What sort of a pen made this note?” she asked Terence.
He took it from her, then compared it with the map, tilting it.
“I would say a cheap one,” he decided. “I have a good pen, given to me for my twenty-first birthday by my godfather, and it never makes these scratches. But what of it?”
“Perhaps nothing,” Ruth said. “But let’s ask Lord Trescanton. It might tell us something about that day.”
“A note? A map? There was no note in the case of Philip Fulshaw.”
“Nevertheless.” She took his hand, and the desk sergeant’s glee was almost audible.
They found Lord Trescanton smoking in the college buttery.
“Quite right. It’s not made with my pen. I own a decent Mont Blanc. Can’t stand to use anything else. Fred owns a fearful scratchy thing. I might buy him a new one when his birthday comes round. I wrote that for Fred in his own room, with his pen. It was the fastest way, I recall, as Fred’s room is nearer the lodge, and I had to meet my father, as I said.”
“Thank you, sir,” Greene said.
“Is Mr Carter in college?” Ruth asked.
“No, though I expect to see him later.”
“Goodbye, then,” Sergeant Greene said.
“Goodbye,” Lord Trescanton said.
As they left, Ruth turned to see him sitting motionless in the corner of that basement room. Smoke curled around his head, like something, she thought, out of a portrait of hell.
“So, that’s all right,” Greene said as they retraced their steps.
“Oh, yes,” Ruth agreed. “I just wanted to have it all ship-shape in my mind.”
“Well, now you do,” he said.
“I will just ask if Fred Carter and Lord Trescanton will go through that day’s events again,” Ruth said thoughtfully. “There’s something ”
“They won’t want to, Ruth,” he interrupted. “They want to be left alone.”
“But they are both here this afternoon. I can cancel a tutorial with Miss Foster, if you can come.”
“Ruth,” he said, sighing, “I believe you will keep on with the case of Fred Carter and Philip Fulshaw until the end of time, whatever I say.”
“So, meet me outside Magdalen at half-past three,” she told him.
Eleanor Carrimore was standing at the porters’ desk when Ruth and Terence entered that afternoon.
“Miss Rutherford, good afternoon,” she said.
“You look anxious,” Ruth said.
“I was to take tea with Fred and George in George’s rooms, and they don’t answer. It’s most odd. The engagement was firm.”
The porter turned from where he was slotting letters into the pigeon-holes of the undergraduates.
“I believe,” he said, “that I noticed those two gentleman pass through the lodge less than ten minutes ago. They went in the direction of the river.”
“We must go now to the river. Immediately!” Ruth took Terence’s hand.
“Ruth?” He hesitated, staring at her, looking for help from the porter and then Eleanor.
Ruth pulled his arm. Her expression was pleading.
“Trust me,” she said.
Sergeant Greene followed. They ran to the bridge and down the steep path to the punt sheds. Ruth flashed a glance at the row of private punts.
“Yes, I knew it!” she breathed. “I should have acted sooner!”
“Ruth. Will you explain what ”
“Get that paddle!” Ruth gesticulated at an old punt paddle, discarded on the pontoon.
“For goodness’ sake, just do as I say!” Ruth yelled, and he took it up and followed.