申し訳ありません

私は誇りに感じるだろうたびに家の外に。

she had very little recollection of that mad

2017-10-25 11:01:28 | 日記


The note from her stepfather was produced, and confiscated by the sergeant; the details of Mrs. Snow's curiosity leading to a discovery of a crime, were given; and then Beatrice professed that she could tell no more. The bucolic constable believed her readily enough, and informed his Inspector who came that Miss Hedge had told the truth and nothing but the truth. This might have been so, but she certainly had not told the whole truth, else might the sergeant have added to the note left by the dead man, a certain gentleman's handkerchief, marked with three initials--"V.R.P."

This piece of evidence Beatrice had picked up so near the body, that a corner of the handkerchief was soaked in the life-blood of the miser. Her quick eye had seen it almost the moment she had entered the dungeon at Durban's heels, and when falling on her knees by the dead she had mechanically picked it up, without lynx-eyed Mrs. Snow seeing the action. Durban would only allow the women to remain for two minutes in that place of death. Then he drove them out, and insisted that Beatrice should retire to her parlour. She did so while he reclosed the door of the counting-house, and while Mrs. Snow, almost too excited to speak, ran for the nearest constable, who in his turn summoned his sergeant.

Alone in the parlour, Beatrice, still mechanically grasping the handkerchief, suddenly remembered how she had found it, and at once examined the corners. It was with a gasp of terror that she realised to whom it belonged. "V.R.P." could only stand for Vivian Robert Paslow, and he--as she knew only too well--was the enemy of the deceased. Could it be that Vivian had killed the miser to settle the question of marriage, and secure his threatened property from getting into the cruel clutches of his victim? In that first moment of horror Beatrice was inclined to think so. Then, with a revulsion of feeling, she recoiled with horror from so base an idea. The man she loved was not a midnight assassin: however much he may have hated Alpenny, he certainly would not have put the old man to death in so barbarous a fashion. Finally, he had been with her under the Witches' Oak last night, and could not possibly be guilty.

Then, again, on further thought it occurred to her that such an alibi could scarcely serve in this case. The meeting at the haunted tree had taken place about seven o'clock, and had lasted, so far as she could reckon from confused recollection, for a quarter of an hour. Then had come the episode of the pursuit of the watcher by Paslow, her own flight through the woods, the breaking of the storm, and her fainting-fit. She might have been hours unconscious; she might have been hours getting home, for  passage through the furious wind and rain. Only she remembered reaching The Camp between the gates, and blindly falling into the arms of a lean, tall man with a black patch over his left eye.

Had that man been Vivian? Was it truly her lover who, in the intervening time, had stolen to the deserted Camp, and using the key of the small gate (which she knew he possessed) had gained access to the dungeon, there to commit his crime? No! It was impossible. If she could only remember the time when she came back! This was hard to do, and yet it was done, for chance came to her aid.

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