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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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"It was late for the visit I proposed, but not too late, if Dunn was also the orator who, surprised by a raid I had not been let into, would be making for his home, if only to establish an alibi. The subway was near, and I calculated on his using it, but we took a taxicab and so arrived in Hicks Street some few minutes before him. The result you know. Anderson recognised the man as the one whom he saw washing his hands in the snow outside of the Clermont, and the man, seeing himself discovered, owned himself to be Brotherson and made no difficulty about accompanying us the next day to the coroner's office.

"You have heard how he bore himself; what his explanations were and how completely they fitted in with the preconceived notions of the Inspector and the District Attorney. In consequence, Miss Challoner's death is looked upon as a suicide - the impulsive act of a woman who sees the man she may have scouted but whom she secretly loves, turn away from her in all probability forever. A weapon was in her hand - she impulsively used it, and another deplorable suicide was added to the melancholy list. Had I put in my oar at the conference held in the coroner's office; had I recalled to Dr. Heath the curious case of Mrs. Spotts, and then identified Brotherson as the man whose window fronted hers from the opposite tenement, a diversion might have been created and the outcome been different. But I feared the experiment. I'm not sufficiently in with the Chief as yet, nor yet with the Inspector. They might not have called me a fool - you may; but that's different - and they might have listened, but it would doubtless have been with an air I could not have held up against, with that fellow's eyes fixed mockingly on mine. For he and I are pitted for a struggle, and I do not want to give him the advantage of even a momentary triumph. He's the most complete master of himself of any man I ever met, and it will take the united brain and resolution of the whole force to bring him to book - if he ever is brought to book, which I doubt. What do you think about it?"

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"That you have given me an antidote against old age," was the ringing and unexpected reply, as the thoughtful, half-puzzled aspect of the old man yielded impulsively to a burst of his early enthusiasm. "If we can get a good grip on the thread you speak of, and can work ourselves along by it, though it be by no more than an inch at a time, we shall yet make our way through this labyrinth of undoubted crime and earn for ourselves a triumph which will make some of these raw and inexperienced young fellows about us stare. Sweetwater, coincidences are possible. We run upon them every day. But coincidence in crime! that should make work for a detective, and we are not afraid of work. There's my hand for my end of the business."

"And here's mine."

Next minute the two heads were closer than ever together, and the business had begun.

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