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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

IV Explanations

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The inspector thought a moment, and then said:

"You mention your dread of some one entering by the one door before you could escape by the other. Do you refer to the friend you left sitting on the divan opposite?"

"No, my friend had left that seat. The portiere was sufficiently drawn for me to detect that. If I had waited a minute longer," he bitterly added, "I should have found my way open to the regular entrance, and so escaped all this."

"Mr. Durand, you are not obliged to answer any of my questions; but, if you wish, you may tell me whether, at this moment of apprehension, you thought of the danger you ran of being seen from outside by some one of the many coachmen passing by on the driveway?"

"No,--I did not even think of the window,--I don't know why; but, if any one passing by did see me, I hope they saw enough to substantiate my story."

The inspector made no reply. He seemed to be thinking. I heard afterward that the curtains, looped back in the early evening, had been found hanging at full length over this window by those who first rushed in upon the scene of death. Had he hoped to entrap Mr. Durand into some damaging admission? Or was he merely testing his truth? His expression afforded no clue to his thoughts, and Mr. Durand, noting this, remarked with some dignity:

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"I do not expect strangers to accept these explanations, which must sound strange and inadequate in face of the proof I carry of having been with that woman after the fatal weapon struck her heart. But, to one who knows me, and knows me well, I can surely appeal for credence to a tale which I here declare to be as true as if I had sworn to it in a court of justice."

"Anson!:" I passionately cried out, loosening my clutch upon my uncle's arm. My confidence in him had returned.

And then, as I noted the inspector's businesslike air, and my uncle's wavering look and unconvinced manner, I felt my heart swell, and, flinging all discretion to the wind, I bounded eagerly forward. Laying my hands in those of Mr. Durand, I cried fervently:

"I believe in you. Nothing but your own words shall ever shake my confidence in your innocence."

The sweet, glad look I received was my best reply. I could leave the room, after that.

But not the house. Another experience awaited me, awaited us all, before this full, eventful evening came to a close.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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