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|II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater||Anna Katharine Green|
XI Alike In Essentials
|Page 1 of 5||
"Mr. Gryce, I am either a fool or the luckiest fellow going. You must decide which."
The aged detective, thus addressed, laid down his evening paper and endeavoured to make out the dim form he could just faintly discern standing between him and the library door.
"Sweetwater, is that you?"
"No one else. Sweetwater, the fool, or Sweetwater, much too wise for his own good. I don't know which. Perhaps you can find out and tell me."
A grunt from the region of the library table, then the sarcastic remark:
"I'm just in the mood to settle that question. This last failure to my account ought to make me an excellent judge of another's folly. I've meddled with the old business for the last time, Sweetwater. You'll have to go it lone from now on. The Department has no more work for Ebenezar Gryce, or rather Ebenezar Gryce will make no more fool attempts to please them. Strange that a man don't know when his time has come to quit. I remember low I once scored Yeardsley for hanging on after he had lost his grip; and here am I doing the same thing. But what's the matter with you? Speak out, my boy. Something new in the wind?"
"No, Mr. Gryce; nothing new. It's the same old business. But, if what I suspect is true, this same old business offers opportunities for some very interesting and unusual effort. You're not satisfied with the coroner's verdict in the Challoner case?
"No. I'm satisfied with nothing that leaves all ends dangling. Suicide was not proved. It seemed the only presumption possible, but it was not proved. There was no blood-stain on that cutter-point."
"Nor any evidence that it had ever been there."
"No. I'm not proud of the chain which lacks a link where it should be strongest."
"We shall never supply that link."
"I quite agree with you."
"That chain we must throw away."
"And forge another?"
Sweetwater approached and sat down.
"Yes; I believe we can do it; yet I have only one indisputable fact for a starter. That is why I want you to tell me whether I'm growing daft or simply adventurous. Mr. Gryce, I don't trust Brotherson. He has pulled the wool over Dr. Heath's eyes and almost over those of Mr. Challoner. But he can't pull it over mine. Though he should tell a story ten times more plausible than the one with which he has satisfied the coroner's jury, I would still listen to him with more misgiving than confidence. Yet I have caught him in no misstatement, and his eye is steadier than my own. Perhaps it is simply a deeply rooted antipathy on my part, or the rage one feels at finding he has placed his finger on the wrong man. Again it may be - "
"A well-founded distrust. Mr. Gryce, I'm going to ask you a question."
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