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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

II Anson Durand

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"Turned partly away. He was going from me."

"And you sat--where?"

"Shall I show you?"

The inspector bowed, then with a low word of caution turned to my uncle.

"I am going to take this young lady into the hall for a moment, at her own request. May I ask you and Mr. Durand to await me here?"

Without pausing for reply, he threw open the door and presently we were pacing the deserted supper-room, seeking the place where I had sat. I found it almost by a miracle,--everything being in great disorder. Guided by my bouquet, which I had left behind me in my escape from the table, I laid hold of the chair before which it lay, and declared quite confidently to the inspector:

"This is where I sat."

Naturally his glance and mine both flew to the opposite wall. A window was before us of an unusual size and make. Unlike any which had ever before come under my observation, it swung on a pivot, and, though shut at the present moment, might very easily, when opened, present its huge pane at an angle capable of catching reflections from some of the many mirrors decorating the reception-room situated diagonally across the hall. As all the doorways on this lower floor were of unusual width, an open path was offered, as it were, for these reflections to pass, making it possible for scenes to be imaged here which, to the persons involved, would seem as safe from any one's scrutiny as if they were taking place in the adjoining house.

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As we realized this, a look passed between us of more than ordinary significance. Pointing to the window, the inspector turned to a group of waiters watching us from the other side of the room and asked if it had been opened that evening.

The answer came quickly.

"Yes, sir,--just before the--the--"

"I understand," broke in the inspector; and, leaning over me, he whispered: "Tell me again exactly what you thought you saw."

But I could add little to my former description. "Perhaps you can tell me this," he kindly persisted. "Was the picture, when you saw it, on a level with your eye, or did you have to lift your head in order to see it?"

"It was high up,--in the air, as it were. That seemed its oddest feature."

The inspector's mouth took a satisfied curve. "Possibly I might identify the door and passage, if I saw them," I suggested.

"Certainly, certainly," was his cheerful rejoinder; and, summoning one of his men, he was about to give some order, when his impulse changed, and he asked if I could draw.

I assured him, in some surprise, that I was far from being an adept in that direction, but that possibly I might manage a rough sketch; whereupon he pulled a pad and pencil from his pocket and requested me to make some sort of attempt to reproduce, on paper, my memory of this passage and the door.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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