He sat motionlessly on the edge of his bed for a few minutes, his eyes closed, reviewing the victorious theory one last time, making certain that it aligned with all of the details of the case. Then he dressed and left.
He did not start immediately for the Caligard house. His appointment was still standing six hours in the future, and he had several important matters to attend to beforehand. Primary among them was food, so he made his way several city blocks south along, coincidentally, Caligard Street (which was named for a prominent admiral who happened to be the great-grandfather of the current head of the Caligard household) and to the morning market located in Fountain Square. There he purchased a fruit-filled pastry, two small apples, and a half-pound of smoked salmon. He was hungry enough to eat more, but his appetite was bigger than his wallet, so he had to be content with the breakfast he had already bought. He took it back north and sat to consume it in the sunlight on a low wall overlooking the Murkintir River, the boundary which divided his city, Brysail, into two portions: the wealthy, affluent North, where Mr. Caligard lived, and the cheaper, lower-class South, where Seymour dwelled.
When he had finished his breakfast, which had left him far from contented, he hopped down from the wall and walked along the waterfront, making for the bridge. It was a pleasant day. The morning sun warm upon his face, he smiled as he watched a group of small children chase a flapping flock of pigeons. It would not do to think of what might someday become of them, nor of what they might someday become.
It was a three-mile walk from the south bank of the Murkintir to the offices of Mr. Clyde Brighton, Caligard’s lawyer. Seymour did not hurry, so it took him just under an hour to reach his destination. He had not bothered to notify Mr. Brighton that he would be dropping by, but if his hypothesis was correct, his lack of courtesy would make little difference to the lawyer.
A bell chimed over the door as he entered.
There was a small, white-haired, bespectacled old man seated behind a weathered desk in the unadorned room. The gentleman, who could only be Mr. Brighton, squinted up at the unexpected visitor through his glasses. “Good morning?”
“Good morning, Mr. Brighton,” Seymour bid him. “My name is Seymour de Winter, and I am a private detective investigating a burglary in the home of one of your clients, one Mr. Able Caligard.”
“Yes, of course. Terrible business, is it not?”
Seymour nodded. “I was wondering if I could trouble you with a few questions.”
“Anything to help a dear old friend and loyal client. Have a seat.”
The Aechyed sat down in a chair opposite Brighton’s desk. “Thank you. How long have you been acquainted with Mr. Caligard?”
The lawyer creased his lined face in concentration. “Some fifty years now, it must be. We attended university together, you know.”
“Indeed. Has he recently discussed with you the matter of changing his will?”
“Oh, yes, upon several occasions.”
“And what were those changes?”
Brighton frowned. “Let’s see. Well, since he has lost so much money, most of which was the sum set aside for his younger son, William, he wished to deduct some of that which was set aside for Frederick to keep the proportions exact.”
“Is that so? Interesting. Has he spoken to you recently about either the vault or any of the keys required to access it?”
“Let’s see,” he repeated. “I do believe it was mentioned several mornings ago. Yes, it was Wednesday. I remember because I had misplaced my distance spectacles that day and had to bring the parchment quite close to my face in order to write the date on my notes. Mr. Caligard asked me if I thought the key to the oaken door was still safe in the place he had been storing it. I replied that indeed, it was best he continue to hide it beneath the floorboard.”
“Ah. And no one else was present?”
“He wouldn’t have asked me such a question if anyone else had been there.”