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II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

XII Mr. Gryce Finds An Antidote For Old Age

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"I Thought I should make you sit up. I really calculated upon doing so, sir. Yes, I have established the plain fact that this Brotherson was near to, if not in the exact line of the scene of crime in each of these extraordinary and baffling cases. A very odd coincidence, is it not?" was the dry conclusion of our eager young detective.

"Odd enough if you are correct in your statement. But I thought it was conceded that the man Brotherson was not personally near, - was not even in the building at the time of the woman's death in Hicks Street; that he was out and had been out for hours, according to the janitor."

"And so the janitor thought, but he didn't quite know his man. I'm not sure that I do. But I mean to make his acquaintance and make it thoroughly before I let him go. The hero - well, I will say the possible hero of two such adventures - deserves some attention from one so interested in the abnormal as myself."

"Sweetwater, how came you to discover that Mr. Dunn of this ramshackle tenement in Hicks Street was identical with the elegantly equipped admirer of Miss Challoner?"

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"Just this way. The night before Miss Challoner's death I was brooding very deeply over the Hicks Street case. It had so possessed me that I had taken this street in on my way from Flatbush; as if staring at the house and its swarming courtyard was going to settle any such question as that! I walked by the place and I looked up at the windows. No inspiration. Then I sauntered back and entered the house with the fool intention of crossing the courtyard and wandering into the rear building where the crime had occurred. But my attention was diverted and my mind changed by seeing a man coming down the stairs before me, of so fine a figure that I involuntarily stopped to look at him. Had he moved a little less carelessly, had he worn his workman's clothes a little less naturally, I should have thought him some college bred man out on a slumming expedition. But he was entirely too much at home where he was, and too unconscious of his jeans for any such conclusion on my part, and when he had passed out I had enough curiosity to ask who he was.

"My interest, you may believe, was in no wise abated when I learned that he was that highly respectable tenant whose window had been open at the time when half the inmates of the two buildings had rushed up to his door, only to find a paper on it displaying these words: Gone to New York; will be back at 6:30. Had he returned at that hour? I don't think anybody had ever asked; and what reason had I for such interference now? But an idea once planted in my brain sticks tight, and I kept thinking of this man all the way to the Bridge. Instinctively and quite against my will, I found myself connecting him with some previous remembrance in which I seemed to see his tall form and strong features under the stress of some great excitement. But there my memory stopped, till suddenly as I was entering the subway, it all came back to me. I had met him the day I went with the boys to investigate the case in Hicks Street. He was coming down the staircase of the rear tenement then, very much as I had just seen him coming down the one in front. Only the Dunn of to-day seemed to have all his wits about him, while the huge fellow who brushed so rudely by me on that occasion had the peculiar look of a man struggling with horror or some other grave agitation. This was not surprising, of course, under the circumstances. I had met more than one man and woman in those halls who had worn the same look; but none of them had put up a sign on his door that he had left for New York and would not be back till 6 :30, and then changed his mind so suddenly that he was back in the tenement at three, sharing the curiosity and the terrors of its horrified inmates.

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