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0105_001E I As Seen By Two Strangers Anna Katharine Green

IV Sweet Little Miss Clarke

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"What kind of a looking person was the man who took you outside last night?" I inquired of George, with my eyes still on this furtive watcher.

"A fellow to make you laugh. A perfect character, Laura; hideously homely but agreeable enough. I took quite a fancy to him. Why?"

"I am looking at him now."

"Very likely. He's deep in this affair. Just an everyday detective, but ambitious, I suppose, and quite alive to the importance of being thorough."

"He is watching those people. No, he isn't. How quickly he disappeared!"

"Yes, he's mercurial in all his movements. Laura, we must get out of this. There happens to be something else in the world for me to do than to sit around and follow up murder clews."

But we began to doubt if others agreed with him, when on passing out we were stopped in the lobby by this same detective, who had something to say to George, and drew him quickly aside.

"What does he want?" I asked, as soon as George had returned to my side.

"He wants me to stand ready to obey any summons the police may send me."

"Then they still suspect Brotherson?"

They must."

My head rose a trifle as I glanced up at George.

"Then we are not altogether out of it?" I emphasised, complacently.

He smiled which hardly seemed a propos. Why does George sometimes smile when I am in my most serious moods.

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As we stepped out of the hotel, George gave my arm a quiet pinch which served to direct my attention to an elderly gentleman who, was just alighting from a taxicab at the kerb. He moved heavily and with some appearance of pain, but from the crowd collected on the sidewalk many of whom nudged each other as he passed, he was evidently a person of some importance, and as he disappeared within the hotel entrance, I asked George who this kind-faced, bright-eyed old gentleman could be.

He appeared to know, for he told me at once that he was Detective Gryce; a man who had grown old in solving just such baffling problems as these.

"He gave up work some time ago, I have been told," my husband went on; "but evidently a great case still has its allurement for him. The trail here must be a very blind one for them to call him in. I wish we had not left so soon. It would have been quite an experience to see him at work."

"I doubt if you would have been given the opportunity. I noticed that we were slightly de trop towards the last."

"I wouldn't have minded that; not on my own account, that is. It might not have been pleasant for you. However, the office is waiting. Come, let me put you on the car."

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