Dunstan was moving off, but Godfrey rushed after him and seized him by the arm, saying, with an oath--
"Hold your tongue about Miss Nancy, you fool," said Godfrey, turning red, "else I'll throttle you."
"I'll tell you what it is," said Godfrey, quivering, and pale again, "my patience is pretty near at an end.
Dunsey perceived that he had overshot his mark, and that there was a point at which even the hesitating Godfrey might be driven into decision.
Godfrey stood, still with his back to the fire, uneasily moving his fingers among the contents of his side-pockets, and looking at the floor.
"It's just like you," Godfrey burst out, in a bitter tone, "to talk about my selling Wildfire in that cool way--the last thing I've got to call my own, and the best bit of horse-flesh I ever had in my life.
"But it'll perhaps rain cats and dogs to-morrow, as it did yesterday, and then you can't go," said Godfrey, hardly knowing whether he wished for that obstacle or not.
Sherlock Holmes was a past-master in the art of putting a humble witness at his ease, and very soon, in the privacy of Godfrey Staunton's abandoned room, he had extracted all that the porter had to tell.
"So that is the tail end of the telegram which Godfrey Staunton dispatched within a few hours of his disappearance.
"I have no doubt, sir, that my friend Godfrey, when we find him, will be prepared to do that."
"A most urgent telegram was dispatched to you from London by Godfrey Staunton at six-fifteen yesterday evening--a telegram which is undoubtedly associated with his disappearance-- and yet you have not had it.
Of course, I had at the outset no particular reason to connect these journeys with the disappearance of Godfrey Staunton, and was only inclined to investigate them on the general grounds that everything which concerns Dr.
Godfrey Staunton, and I am convinced that the best service you can do to that gentleman is to return at once to London and to report to your employer that you are unable to trace him.
"The defeat of the Light Blues may be entirely attributed to the unfortunate absence of the crack International, Godfrey Staunton, whose want was felt at every instant of the game.