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I As Seen By Two Strangers Anna Katharine Green

IX The Incident Of The Partly Lifted Shade

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"Why Dunn if Brotherson is my name?"

"Because you spoke under the name of Dunn at the meeting to-night, and if I don't mistake, that is the name by which you are known here."

"And you? By what name are you known?"

"It is late to ask, isn't it? But I'm willing to speak it now, and I might not have been so a little earlier in our conversation. I am Detective Sweetwater of the New York Department of Police, and my errand here is a very simple one. Some letters signed by you have been found among the papers of the lady whose mysterious death at the hotel Clermont is just now occupying the attention of the New York authorities. If you have any information to give which will in any way explain that death, your presence will be welcome at Coroner Heath's office in New York. If you have not, your presence will still be welcome. At all events, I was told to bring you. You will be on hand to accompany me in the morning, I am quite sure, pardoning the unconventional means I have taken to make sure of my man?"

The humour with which this was said seemed to rob it of anything like attack, and Mr. Brotherson, as we shall hereafter call him, smiled with an odd acceptance of the same, as he responded:

"I will go before the police certainly. I haven't much to tell, but what I have is at their service. It will not help you, but I have no secrets. What are you doing?"

He bounded towards Sweetwater, who had simply stepped to the window, lifted the shade and looked across at the opposing tenement.

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"I wanted to see if it was still snowing," explained the detective, with a smile, which seemed to strike the other like a blow. "If it was a liberty, please pardon it."

Mr. Brotherson drew back. The cold air of self possession which he now assumed, presented such a contrast to the unwarranted heat of the moment before that George wondered greatly over it, and later, when he recapitulated to me the whole story of this night, it was this incident of the lifted shade, together with the emotion it had caused, which he acknowledged as being for him the most inexplicable event of the evening and the one he was most anxious to hear explained.

As this ends our connection with this affair, I will bid you my personal farewell. I have often wished that circumstances had made it possible for me to accompany you through the remaining intricacies of this remarkable case.

But you will not lack a suitable guide.

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