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|I As Seen By Two Strangers||Anna Katharine Green|
IV Sweet Little Miss Clarke
|Page 5 of 8||
"Yes, sir; they were good enough to allow it."
"Very well, then, you're in a position to pioneer me. You've seen it all and won't be in a hurry."
"No; I'm at the end of my rope. I haven't an idea, sir."
"Well, well, that's honest at all events." Then, as he slowly rose with the other's careful assistance, "There's no crime without its clew. The thing is to recognise that clew when seen. But I'm in no position, to make promises. Old days don't return for the asking."
Nevertheless, he looked ten years younger than when he came in, or so thought those who knew him.
The mezzanine was guarded from all visitors save such as had official sanction. Consequently, the two remained quite uninterrupted while they moved about the place in quiet consultation. Others had preceded them; had examined the plain little desk and found nothing; had paced off the distances; had looked with longing and inquiring eyes at the elevator cage and the open archway leading to the little staircase and the musicians' gallery. But this was nothing to the old detective. The locale was what he wanted, and he got it. Whether he got anything else it would be impossible to say from his manner as he finally sank into a chair by one of the openings, and looked down on the lobby below. It was full of people coming and going on all sorts of business, and presently he drew back, and, leaning on Sweetwater's arm, asked him a few questions.
"Who were the first to rush in here after the Parrishes gave the alarm?"
"One or two of the musicians from the end of the hall. They had just finished their programme and were preparing to leave the gallery. Naturally they reached her first."
Good! their names?"
"Mark Sowerby and Claus Hennerberg. Honest Germans - men who have played here for years."
"And who followed them? Who came next on the scene?
"Some people from the lobby. They heard the disturbance and rushed up pell-mell. But not one of these touched her. Later her father came."
"Who did touch her? Anybody, before the father came in?"
"Yes; Miss Clarke, the middle-aged lady with the Parrishes. She had run towards Miss Challoner as soon as she heard her fall, and was sitting there with the dead girl's head in her lap when the musicians showed themselves."
"I suppose she has been carefully questioned?"
"Very, I should say."
"And she speaks of no weapon?"
"No. Neither she nor any one else at that moment suspected murder or even a violent death. All thought it a natural one - sudden, but the result of some secret disease."
"Father and all?"
"But the blood? Surely there must have been some show of blood?"
"They say not. No one noticed any. Not till the doctor came - her doctor who was happily in his office in this very building. He saw the drops, and uttered the first suggestion of murder."
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