Watcher in the Shadows
opponent’s point of view —who could not know that I had discovered the drugged dog nor that I suspected him. So the trap did not quite make sense as a trap.
    “Was it one at all?” I went on. “Well, I had a friend with me whom he never saw arrive. And he had some other strongish reason — I don’t know what — to smell a rat. So for his own safety he must assume I expected him. And therefore it is dead certain he has cleared right out of the district for the moment and covered his tracks.
    “But there are also some good arguments against its being a trap. The friend was with me because I don’t like being alone. The friend shouted and struggled to get out but said nothing which could definitely prove I was not quietly following my profession and watching badgers. All the time he has been here he has not seen a sign of police, in uniform or out of it. The car which passed him on the road meant no more than any other cruising police car.
    “So what is his next move in this game where he cannot see the other board, but the referee has said ‘check’? He must make up his mind by what I do. It is certain that I myself know that a murderous attack was made on me, whatever excuse I may have given to my unknown friend … Consequently I must show nervousness and run. That’s the surest way of getting him to follow.”

    Ian would not listen. He became more and more regimental. He insisted on telling the whole story to the police, and that I should stay with him while they made their investigations.
    “I’ve been thinking all day what would have happened if I had been forced to put a charge of shot into that fellow last night,” he said. “I know he deserves it. But the police should have known exactly what we were doing.”
    “And forbidden it or wrecked it.”
    “That’s their funeral.”
    “Mine, too, unfortunately.”
    “Very well. But it’s against common sense and it’s against my —my —”
    I was certain he was going to say “orders.”
    ” — against my principles. I cannot help you any more, Charles, unless you allow me to keep the police informed.”
    I said I had told him a dozen times why I wouldn’t. Because I would not be guarded. Because I did not want him questioned, frightened off and returning months later when I was not expecting him. Because this was a private matter between me and him.
    “For which you are quite likely to be publicly sentenced to death.”
    That was my own business, I replied. Would he promise to leave the police out of it if I never asked anything more from him?
    He agreed to that. He was very unhappy but obstinate. It was all my fault. I should have recognized that he was not the same man as in the war, and that it had become for him, as for the rest of us, a mere episode breaking the continuity of an orderly life. Both of us, as I have indicated, found the special beastliness of that episode still too much in the present. It is hard for a man of scrupulous mercy and humanity to be forced into the morals of a ruthless gangster. But he had the pattern to carry him along — a continuity of landed gentry into army and back to landed gentry. I had no pattern.
    So there was nothing for it but to go on alone. Against Ian I felt not the slightest resentment. I had most unfairly dragged him into my affairs by playing upon whatever trace of romanticism remained in him; the point at which my plan was bound to appear to him sheer irresponsibility was soon reached. But I could not help feeling rejected. What I wanted was impossible — to repeat war, to know, as it were, that at least in London I was honored and trusted. And London and Ian had been the same thing.
    I did not know what to do. To mark time and be careful was all I could do. I decided to return to my cottage for the night. My opponent, whatever his source of intelligence, could hardly spot the single night I had passed with Ian; but if I stayed longer he might get onto it. I did not want him to find out

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