At any rate, she must act. If it turned out to be a hoax she could apologise afterwards. But, on the other hand, it might be a matter of life and death; it might affect her lover's honour. It was a good thing that Hetty had been fortunate to handle the telegram where she could be secluded from the sharp eyes of her employer. Otherwise she would assuredly have betrayed herself. She tore the telegram into tiny fragments and pushed them under the edge of one of the mats. It was far better to be cautious.
Maitrank nodded breathlessly. He did not lack pluck, but he was an old man and the rapidity of events dazed him. All the glittering electrics in the room were whirling like a wheel.
From a little way off came the sound of rapid footsteps. The step grew swifter, and there was the sound of another behind. As if by magic a half score of people seemed to spring from under the trees against the square yonder.
Quickly he lowered the rope till the bulge of it showed that the bottom was reached. He wound up the rope again, and as he did so a grunt of satisfaction escaped him. It was far better than he had expected."Gordon is very sensitive," said Hetty. "That's the kind of thing that hurts."
"Vine Street," came the staccato reply. "Number 107--there you are. You are wanted Vine Street. . . . There you are--speak up."
The cool morning air was grateful after the stuffy atmosphere of the corner house. Here was an adventure to think about and ponder over. Strange coincidence that he of all men should have been called there! It never occurred to Bruce that the thing could be anything but coincidence."What, the Corner House victim? Is that really a fact?"Maitrank chuckled. He admired a fighter, and here was one to his hand. It was pretty audacious in a woman who had swindled him out of a fortune.
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Wolffman wriggled uneasily. He wanted to lie badly, but with those eyes upon him he could not do so."I have been in every room," she said. "There is positively nobody there. I shall have to send you away for a change of air. If you have no further dreams to tell me we had better go to bed."
"As it happens, I know the gentleman," she said. "When I was governess to the Countess Lalage's little girl he frequently came to the house. I am a niece of Mr. Gilbert Lawrence, the novelist, who lives close by. There is a room to spare in his house, and this looks like a bad case. If you will follow me----"Black, dark, deserted, grimy shuttered windows--a suggestion of creeping mystery about it. Time ago the Corner House was the centre of what might have been a thrilling tragedy. Some of the older neighbours could tell of a cry in the night, of the tramping of feet, of a beautiful woman with the poison still in her hand, of the stern, dark husband who said never a word, though the shadow of the scaffold lay heavily upon him.详情
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