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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

XVII Sweetwater In A New Role

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"And where is his manufactory? Might be worth visiting, perhaps."

The other made a gesture, said something about northwest and rushed to help a customer. Sweetwater took the opportunity to slide away. More explicit directions could easily be got elsewhere, and he felt anxious to return to Mr. Grey and discover, if possible, whether it would prove as much a matter of surprise to him as to Sweetwater himself that the man who answered to the name of Wellgood was the owner of a manufactory and a barrel or two of drugs, out of which he proposed to make a compound that would rob the doctors of their business and make himself and this little village rich.

Sweetwater made only one stop on his way to Mr. Grey's hotel rooms, and that was at the stables. Here he learned whatever else there was to know, and, armed with definite information, he appeared before Mr. Grey, who, to his astonishment, was dining in his own room.

He had dismissed the waiter and was rather brooding than eating. He looked up eagerly, however, when Sweetwater entered, and asked what news.

The detective, with some semblance of respect, answered that he had seen Wellgood, but that he had been unable to detain him or bring him within his employer's observation.

"He is a patent-medicine man," he then explained, "and manufactures his own concoctions in a house he has rented here on a lonely road some half-mile out of town."

"Wellgood does? the man named Wellgood?" Mr. Grey exclaimed with all the astonishment the other secretly expected.

"Yes; Wellgood, James Wellgood. There is no other in town."

"How long has this man been here?" the statesman inquired, after a moment of apparently great discomfiture.

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"Just twenty-four hours, this time. He was here once before, when he rented the house and made all his plans."


Mr. Grey rose precipitately. His manner had changed.

"I must see him. What you tell me makes it all the more necessary for me to see him. How can you bring it about?"

"Without his seeing you?" Sweetwater asked.

"Yes, yes; certainly without his seeing me. Couldn't you rap him up at his own door, and hold him in talk a minute, while I looked on from the carriage or whatever vehicle we can get to carry us there? The least glimpse of his face would satisfy me. That is, to-night."

"I'll try," said Sweetwater, not very sanguine as to the probable result of this effort.

Returning to the stables, he ordered the team. With the last ray of the sun they set out, the reins in Sweetwater's hands.

They headed for the coast-road.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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