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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

V Superstition

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After this, what could be said? Though no one who had heard him, not even my own romantic self, showed any belief in this interpretation of the remarkable sound that had just gone thrilling through the house, yet, in face of his declared acceptance of it as a warning, and the fact that all efforts had failed to locate the sound, or even to determine its source, no other course seemed open but to let this distinguished man depart with the suddenness his superstitious fears demanded.

That this was in opposition to the inspector's wishes was evident enough. Naturally, he would have preferred Mr. Grey to remain, if only to make clear his surprising conclusions in regard to a diamond which had passed through the hands of some of the best judges in the country, without a doubt having been raised as to its genuineness.

With his departure the inspector's manner changed. He glanced at the stone in his hand, and slowly shook his head.

"I doubt if Mr. Grey's judgment can be depended on, to-night," said he, and pocketed the gem as carefully as if his belief in its real value had been but little disturbed by the assertions of this renowned foreigner.

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I have no distinct remembrance of how I finally left the house, or of what passed between my uncle and myself on our way home. I was numb with the shock, and neither my intelligence nor my feelings were any longer active. I recall but one impression, and that was the effect made on me by my old home on our arrival there, as of something new and strange; so much had happened, and such changes had taken place in myself since leaving it five hours before. But nothing else is vivid in my remembrance till that early hour of the dreary morning, when, on waking to the world with a cry, I beheld my uncle's anxious figure, bending over me from the foot-board.

Instantly I found tongue, and question after question leaped from my lips. He did not answer them; he could not; but when I grew feverish and insistent, he drew the morning paper from behind his back, and laid it quietly down within my reach. I felt calmed in an instant, and when, after a few affectionate words, he left me to myself, I seized on the sheet and read what so many others were reading at that moment throughout the city.

I spare you the account so far as it coincides with what I had myself seen and heard the night before. A few particulars which had not reached my ears will interest you. The instrument of death found in the place designated by Mr. Durand was one of note to such as had any taste or knowledge of curios. It was a stiletto of the most delicate type, long, keen and slender. Not an American product, not even of this century's manufacture, but a relic of the days when deadly thrusts were given in the corners and by-ways of medieval streets.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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