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【英文原版】蝙蝠(The Bat)/(美)玛丽·罗伯茨·莱因哈特 [复制链接]

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离线washington

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真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 10楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Ten. The Phone Call from Nowhere ^i`*Wm@!  
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"Somebody groaning!" gasped Miss Cornelia. "It's horrible!" >q(6,Mmb  
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The detective stepped up and took the receiver from her. He listened anxi6usly for a moment. xgs@gw7!n0  
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"I don't hear anything," he said. RZ<.\N (M  
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"1 heard it! I couldn't imagine such a dreadful sound! I tell you - somebody in this house is in terrible distress." `? 9] '  
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"Where does this phone connect?" queried Anderson practically. k.%W8C<Pa  
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Miss Cornelia made a hopeless little gesture. "Practically every room in this house!" H1qw1[%0y  
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The detective put the receiver to his ear again. H[U*' 2TJ  
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"Just what did you hear?" he said stolidly. E5rNC/Ul$$  
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Miss Cornelia's voice shook. DLf6D | "  
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"Dreadful groans - and what seemed to be an inarticulate effort to speak!" Lnc _)RF  
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Lizzie drew her gaudy wrapper closer about her shuddering form. DkO>?n:-C  
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"I'd go somewhere," she wailed in the voice of a lost soul, "if I only had somewhere to go!" %8 cFzyE*  
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Miss Cornelia quelled her with a glare and turned back to the detective. $ \P!P.  
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"Won't you send these men to investigate - or go yourself?" she said, indicating Brooks and Billy. The detective thought swiftly. /_>S0  
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"My place is here," he said. "You two men," Brooks and Billy moved forward to take his orders, "take another look through the house - don't leave the building - I'll want you pretty soon." [\AOr`7  
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Brooks - or Jack Bailey, as we may as well call him through the remainder of. this narrative - started to obey. Then his eye fell on Miss Cornelia's revolver which Anderson had taken from beside Fleming's body and still held clasped in his hand. +0'F@l  
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"If you'll give me that revolver - " he began in an offhand tone, hoping Anderson would not see through his little ruse. Once wiped clean of fingerprints, the revolver would not be such telling evidence against Dale Ogden. GES}o9?#  
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But Anderson was not to be caught napping. "That revolver will stay where it is," he said with a grim smile. \((MoQ9Qk  
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Jack Bailey knew better than to try and argue the point, he followed Billy reluctantly out of the door, giving Dale a surreptitious glance of encouragement and faith as he did so. The Japanese and he mounted to the second floor as stealthily as possible, prying into dark corners and searching unused rooms for any clue that might betray the source of the startling phone call from nowhere. But Bailey's heart was not in the search. His mind kept going back to the figure of Dale - nervous, shaken, undergoing the terrors of the third degree at Anderson's hands. She couldn't have shot Fleming of course, and yet, unless he and Billy found something to substantiate her story of how the killing had happened, it was her own, unsupported word against a damning mass of circumstantial evidence. He plunged with renewed vigor into his quest. -E1-(TS  
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Back in the living-room, as he had feared, Anderson was subjecting Dale to a merciless interrogation. K1hkOj;S  
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"Now I want the real story!" he began with calculated brutality. "You lied before!" VOj7Tz9UD  
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"That's no tone to use! You'll only terrify her," cried Miss Cornelia indignantly. The detective paid no attention, his face had hardened, he seemed every inch the remorseless sleuthhound of the law. He turned on Miss Cornelia for a moment. ?56;<%0  
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"Where were you when this happened?" he said. 095Z Z20  
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"Upstairs in my room." Miss Cornelia's tones were icy. v}v! hs Q  
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"And you?" badgeringly, to Lizzie. o9)pOwk7;  
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"In my room," said the latter pertly, "brushing Miss Cornelia's hair." yOKpi&! r  
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Anderson broke open the revolver and gave a swift glance at the bullet chambers. .[8! E_  
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"One shot has been fired from this revolver!" T<%%f.x[s  
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Miss Cornelia sprang to her niece's defense. N( f0,  
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"I fired it myself this afternoon," she said. z#rp8-HUDS  
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The detective regarded her with grudging admiration. $#W^JWN1  
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"You're a quick thinker," he said with obvious unbelief in his voice. He put the revolver down on the table. {!.w}  
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Miss Cornelia followed up her advantage. [4;G^{ bX  
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"I demand that you get the coroner here," she said. %~,Fe7#p  
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"Doctor Wells is the coroner," offered Lizzie eagerly. Anderson brushed their suggestions aside. y Rl   
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"I'm going to ask you some questions!" he said menacingly to Dale. H2: Zda#  
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But Miss Cornelia stuck to her guns. Dale was not going to be bullied into any sort of confession, true or false, if she could help it - and from the way that the girl's eyes returned with fascinated horror to the ghastly heap on the floor that had been Fleming, she knew that Dale was on the edge of violent hysteria. 64U|]g d$  
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"Do you mind covering that body first?" she asked crisply. The detective eyed her for a moment in a rather ugly fashion - then grunted ungraciously and, taking Fleming's raincoat from the chair, threw it over the body. Dale's eyes telegraphed her aunt a silent message of gratitude. \Qnr0t@0  
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"Now - shall I telephone for the coroner?" persisted Miss Cornelia. The detective obviously resented her interference with his methods but he could not well refuse such a customary request. Cj6$W5I m  
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"I'll do it," he said with a snort, going over to the city telephone. "What's his number?" ;2l|0:  
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"He's not at his office; he's at the Johnsons'," murmured Dale. yEk|(6+^  
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Miss Cornelia took the telephone from Anderson's hands. yx&}bu\  
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"I'll get the Johnsons', Mr. Anderson," she said firmly. The detective seemed about to rebuke her. Then his manner recovered some of its former suavity. He relinquished the telephone and turned back toward his prey. @/?$ZX/e[  
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"Now, what was Fleming doing here?" he asked Dale in a gentler voice. #f~#38_  
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Should she tell him the truth? No - Jack Bailey's safety was too inextricably bound up with the whole sinister business. She must lie, and lie again, while there was any chance of a lie's being believed. ^)oBa=jL4  
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"I don't know," she said weakly, trying to avoid the detective's eyes. =}" P;4:  
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Anderson took thought. ,f .#-  
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"Well, I'll ask that question another way," he said. "How did he get into the house?" gK8{=A0c  
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Dale brightened - no need for a lie here. JHxy_<p/  
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"He had a key." =h@t#-Z"  
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"Key to what door?" ke!  
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"That door over there." Dale indicated the terrace door of the alcove. \6SjJ]o>  
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The detective was about to ask another question - then he paused. Miss Cornelia was talking on the phone. 8Y`Lq$u  
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"Hello - is that Mr. Johnson's residence? Is Doctor Wells there? No?" Her expression was puzzled. "Oh - all right - thank you - good night - " WD4"ft  
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Meanwhile Anderson had been listening - but thinking as well. Dale saw his sharp glance travel over to the fireplace - rest for a moment, with an air of discovery, on the fragments of the roll of blue-prints that remained unburned among ashes - return. She shut her eyes for a moment, trying tensely to summon every atom of shrewdness she possessed to aid her. og8hc~:ro  
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He was hammering at her with questions again. "When did you take that revolver out of the table drawer?" a= j'G]=  
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"When I heard him outside on the terrace," said Dale promptly and truthfully. "I was frightened." MCKN.f%lP  
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Lizzie tiptoed over to Miss Cornelia. '2lV(>"  
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"You wanted a detective!" she said in an ironic whisper. "I hope you're happy now you've got one!" }h`z2%5o  
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Miss Cornelia gave her a look that sent her scuttling back to her former post by the door. But nevertheless, internally, she felt thoroughly in accord with Lizzie.  OvC@E]/+  
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Again Anderson's questions pounded at the rigid Dale, striving to pierce her armor of mingled truth and falsehood. ]u >~:  
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"When Fleming came in, what did he say to you?" 6#(==}Sm+  
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"Just - something about the weather," said Dale weakly. The whole scene was, still too horribly vivid before her eyes for her to furnish a more convincing alibi. &d0sv5&s  
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"You didn't have any quarrel with him?" o)AwM"  
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Dale hesitated. TBj2(Z  
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"No." [^"}jbn/  
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"He just came in that door - said something about the weather - and was shot from that staircase. Is that it?" said the detective in tones of utter incredulity. ;=2JbA+"G  
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Dale hesitated again. Thus baldly put, her story seemed too flimsy for words; she could not even blame Anderson for disbelieving it. And yet - what other story could she tell that would not bring ruin on Jack? u~'j?K.^  
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Her face whitened. She put her hand on the back of a chair for support. O" ,*N  
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"Yes - that's it," she said at last, and swayed where she stood. E(g$f.9  
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Again Miss Cornelia tried to come to the rescue. "Are all these questions necessary?" she queried sharply. "You can't for a moment believe that Miss Ogden shot that man!" But by now, though she did not show it, she too began to realize the strength of the appalling net of circumstances that drew with each minute tighter around the unhappy girl. Dale gratefully seized the momentary respite and sank into a chair. The detective looked at her. I\x9xJ4x  
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"I think she knows more than she's telling. She's concealing something!" he said with deadly intentness. "The nephew of the president of the Union Bank - shot in his own house the day the bank has failed - that's queer enough - " Now he turned back to Miss Cornelia. "But when the only person present at his murder is the girl who's engaged to the guilty cashier," he continued, watching Miss Cornelia's face as the full force of his words sank into her mind, "I want to know more about it!" 2CO/K_Q  
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He stopped. His right hand moved idly over the edge of the table - halted beside an ash tray - closed upon something. s;VW %e  
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Miss Cornelia rose. =$'>VPQ  
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"Is that true, Dale?" she said sorrowfully. F w{:shC  
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Dale nodded. "Yes." She could not trust herself to explain at greater length. PDH|=meXM  
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Then Miss Cornelia made one of the most magnificent gestures of her life. .LnknjC  
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"Well, even if it is - what has that got to do with it?" she said, turning upon Anderson fiercely, all her protective instinct for those whom she loved aroused. v0=v1G*rvJ  
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Anderson seemed somewhat impressed by the fierceness of her query. When he went on it was with less harshness in his manner. $ve$Sq  
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"I'm not accusing this girl," he said more gently. "But behind every crime there is a motive. When we've found the motive for this crime, we'll have found the criminal." I^u~r.  
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Unobserved, Dale's hand instinctively went to her bosom. There it lay - the motive - the precious fragment of blue-print which she had torn from Fleming's grasp but an instant before he was shot down. Once Anderson found it in her possession the case was closed, the evidence against her overwhelming. She could not destroy it - it was the only clue to the Hidden Room and the truth that might clear Jack Bailey. But, somehow, she must hide it - get it out of her hands - before Anderson's third-degree methods broke her down or he insisted on a search of her person. Her eyes roved wildly about the room, looking for a hiding place. U>.5vK.+  
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The rain of Anderson's questions began anew. I*cb\eU8Y  
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"What papers did Fleming burn in that grate?" he asked abruptly, turning back to Dale. 3T4HX|rC  
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"Papers!" she faltered. n>j2$m1[  
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"Papers! The ashes are still there." Ih:Q}V#6  
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Miss Cornelia made an unavailing interruption. P-ZvW<M  
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"Miss Ogden has said he didn't come into this room." 'Um\m  
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The detective smiled. ;'r} D!8w/  
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"I hold in my hand proof that he was in this room for some time," he said coldly, displaying the half-burned cigarette he had taken from the ash tray a moment before. ,sw|OYb  
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"His cigarette - with his monogram on it." He put the fragment of tobacco and paper carefully away in an envelope and marched over to the fireplace. There he rummaged among the ashes for a moment, like a dog uncovering a bone. He returned to the center of the room with a fragment of blackened blue paper fluttering between his fingers. n v ?u  
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"A fragment of what is technically known as a blue-print," he announced. "What were you and Richard Fleming doing with a blue-print?" His eyes bored into Dale's. %1M!4**W  
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Dale hesitated - shut her lips. l~Sn`%PgA  
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"Now think it over!" he warned. "The truth will come out, sooner or later! Better be frank now!" qbkvwL9  
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If he only knew how I wanted to be - he wouldn't be so cruel, thought Dale wearily. But I can't - I can't! Then her heart gave a throb of relief. Jack had come back into the room - Jack and Billy - Jack would protect her! But even as she thought of this her heart sank again. Protect her, indeed! Poor Jack! He would find it hard enough to protect himself if once this terrible man with the cold smile and steely eyes started questioning him. She looked up anxiously. =<e|<EwSZ  
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Bailey made his report breathlessly. _G s*4:  
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"Nothing in the house, sir." b~06-dk1  
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Billy's impassive lips confirmed him. )>\Ne~%  
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"We go all over house - nobody!" )b-G2< kb  
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Nobody - nobody in the house! And yet - the mysterious ringing of the phone - the groans Miss Cornelia had heard! Were old wives' tales and witches' fables true after all? Did a power - merciless - evil - exists outside the barriers of the flesh - blasting that trembling flesh with a cold breath from beyond the portals of the grave? There seemed to be no other explanation. 5 QeGx3'  
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"You men stay here!" said the detective. "I want to ask you some questions." He doggedly returned to his third-degreeing of Dale. i$JG^6,O  
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"Now what about this blue-print?" he queried sharply. ^cYStMjpy  
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Dale stiffened in her chair. Her lies had failed. Now she would tell a portion of the truth, as much of it as she could without menacing Jack. M&KyA  
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"I'll tell you just what happened," she began. "I sent for Richard Fleming - and when he came, I asked him if he knew where there were any blue-prints of the house." {%lXYMyu  
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The detective pounced eagerly upon her admission. F7Zwh5W  
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"Why did you want blue-prints?" he thundered. rl #p".4q  
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"Because," Dale took a long breath, "I believe old Mr. Fleming took the money himself from the Union Bank and hid it here." (KF=On;=Y  
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"Where did you get that idea?" 9uer(}WKT  
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Dale's jaw set. "I won't tell you." 4#(ZNP  
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"What had the blue-prints to do with it?" ,w&:_n  
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She could think of no plausible explanation but the true one. s1Okoxh/!V  
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"Because I'd heard there was a Hidden Room in this house." 0 $n8b/%.  
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The detective leaned forward intently. "Did you locate that room?" <\}Y@g8  
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Dale hesitated. "No." .Qi1I  
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"Then why did you burn the blue-prints?" xt0j9{p  
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Dale's nerve was crumbling - breaking - under the repeated, monotonous impact of his questions. '/?&Gol-  
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"He burned them!" she cried wildly. "I don't know why!" 2mI=V.X[&  
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The detective paused an instant, then returned to a previous query. 'i#m%D`dt  
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"Then you didn't locate this Hidden Room?" }lN@J,q  
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Dale's lips formed a pale "No." }>vf(9sF`  
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"Did he?" went on Anderson inexorably. +Y(cs&V*  
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Dale stared at him, dully - the breaking point had come. Another question - another - and she would no longer be able to control herself. She would sob out the truth hysterically - that Brooks, the gardener, was Jack Bailey, the missing cashier - that the scrap of blue-print hidden in the bosom of her dress might unravel the secret of the Hidden Room - that - 3^q,'!PfB  
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But just as she felt herself, sucked of strength, beginning to slide toward a black, tingling pit of merciful oblivion, Miss Cornelia provided a diversion. ,yWTk ql  
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"What's that?" she said in a startled voice. zFP}=K:o)  
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The detective turned away from his quarry for an instant. +VU,U`W  
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"What's what?" G#n27y nh  
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"I heard something," averred Miss Cornelia, staring toward the French windows. s>9w+|6Ji  
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All eyes followed the direction of her stare. There was an instant of silence. 9ar+Ph@*  
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Then, suddenly, traveling swiftly from right to left across the shades of the French windows, there appeared a glowing circle of brilliant white light. Inside the circle was a black, distorted shadow - a shadow like the shadow of a gigantic black Bat! It was there - then a second later, it was gone! }.ZT?p\  
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"Oh, my God!" wailed Lizzie from her corner. "It's the Bat - that's his sign!" MngfXm  
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Jack Bailey made a dash for the terrace door. But Miss Cornelia halted him peremptorily. C4P7,  
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"Wait, Brooks!" She turned to the detective. "Mr. Anderson, you are familiar with the sign of the Bat. Did that look like it?" nK|";  
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The detective seemed both puzzled and disturbed. "Well, it looked like the shadow of a bat. I'll say that for it," he said finally. i!3KG|V  
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On the heels of his words the front door bell began to ring. All turned in the direction of the hall. >OKS/(I0  
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"I'll answer that!" said Jack Bailey eagerly. ppwd-^f3j  
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Miss Cornelia gave him the key to the front door. "@(58nk  
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"Don't admit anyone till you know who it is," she said. Bailey nodded and disappeared into the hall. The others waited tensely. Miss Cornelia's hand crept toward the revolver lying on the table where Anderson had put it down. ~o i)Lf1  
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There was the click of an opening door, the noise of a little scuffle - then men's voices raised in an angry dispute. "What do I know about a flashlight?" cried an irritated voice. "I haven't got a pocket-flash - take your hands off me!" Bailey's voice answered the other voice, grim, threatening. The scuffle resumed. ]! )xr  
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Then Doctor Wells burst suddenly into the room, closely followed by Bailey. The Doctor's tie was askew - he looked ruffled and enraged. Bailey followed him vigilantly, seeming not quite sure whether to allow him to enter or not. ^r4|{  
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"My dear Miss Van Gorder," began the Doctor in tones of high dudgeon, "won't you instruct your servants that even if I do make a late call, I am not to be received with violence?" [rc'/@L  
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"I asked you if you had a pocket-flash about you!" answered Bailey indignantly. "If you call a question like that violence - " He seemed about to restrain the Doctor by physical force. 1@1+4P0NF[  
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Miss Cornelia quelled the teapot-tempest. ^{sI'l~  
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"It's all right, Brooks," she said, taking the front door key from his hand and putting it back on the table. She turned to Doctor Wells. l<6/ADuS  
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"You see, Doctor Wells," she explained, "just a moment before you rang the doorbell a circle of white light was thrown on those window shades." pR $c<p  
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The Doctor laughed with a certain relief. rQCj^=cf;~  
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"Why, that was probably the searchlight from my car!" he said. "I noticed as I drove up that it fell directly on that window." x7GYWK 9  
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His explanation seemed to satisfy all present but Lizzie. She regarded him with a deep suspicion. "'He may be a lawyer, a merchant, a Doctor...'" she chanted ominously to herself. L=.@hs  
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Miss Cornelia, too, was not entirely at ease. mE9ytFH\k  
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"In the center of this ring of light," she proceeded, her eyes on the Doctor's calm countenance, "was an almost perfect silhouette of a bat." Z/I`XPmk  
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"A bat!" The Doctor seemed at sea. "Ah, I see - the symbol of the criminal of that name." He laughed again. ? I}T[j  
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"I think I can explain what you saw. Quite often my headlights collect insects at night and a large moth, spread on the glass, would give precisely the effect you speak of. Just to satisfy you, I'll go out and take a look." 5&9(d_#H  
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He turned to do so. Then he caught sight of the raincoat-covered huddle on the floor. &V?q d{39  
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"Why - " he said in a voice that mingled astonishment with horror. He paused. His glance slowly traversed the circle of silent faces. kG1;]1tT#  
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妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 11楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Eleven. Billy Practices Jiu-Jitsu T'14OU2N{Y  
   j:J7  
"We have had a very sad occurrence here, Doctor," said Miss Cornelia gently. Tn(c%ytN  
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The Doctor braced himself. i G%h-  
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"Who?" Ct<]('Hm(  
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"Richard Fleming." $}Ab R:z  
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"Richard Fleming?" gasped the Doctor in tones of incredulous horror. x(TF4W=j  
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"Shot and killed from that staircase," said Miss Cornelia tonelessly. *~^63Nx!  
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The detective demurred. S>dHBR#AD  
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"Shot and killed, anyhow," he said in accents of significant omission. y=8KNseW|  
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The Doctor knelt beside the huddle on the floor. He removed the fold of the raincoat that covered the face of the corpse and stared at the dead, blank mask. Till a moment ago, even at the height of his irritation with Bailey, he had been blithe and offhand - a man who seemed comparatively young for his years. Now Age seemed to fall upon him, suddenly, like a gray, clinging dust - he looked stricken and feeble under the impact of this unexpected shock. RZ9chTX/  
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"Shot and killed from that stairway," he repeated dully. He rose from his knees and glanced at the fatal stairs. ( !=^(Nd  
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"What was Richard Fleming doing in this house at this hour?" he said. /C\tJs  
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He spoke to Miss Cornelia but Anderson answered the question. #giH`|#d  
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"That's what I'm trying to find out," he said with a saturnine smile. 7{7Y[F0  
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The Doctor gave him a look of astonished inquiry. Miss Cornelia remembered her manners. X>Q44FV!  
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"Doctor, this is Mr. Anderson." 0ElEaH1z  
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"Headquarters," said Anderson tersely, shaking hands. xuqG)HthRS  
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It was Lizzie's turn to play her part in the tangled game of mutual suspicion that by now made each member of the party at Cedarcrest watch every other member with nervous distrust. She crossed to her mistress on tiptoe. =h ~n5wQG  
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"Don't you let him fool you with any of that moth business!" she said in a thrilling whisper, jerking her thumb in the direction of the Doctor. "He's the Bat." 8ZM#.yB B  
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Ordinarily Miss Cornelia would have dismissed her words with a smile. But by now her brain felt as if it had begun to revolve like a pinwheel in her efforts to fathom the uncanny mystery of the various events of the night. U= f9b]Y  
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She addressed Doctor Wells. ;5\'PrE  
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"I didn't tell you, Doctor - I sent for a detective this afternoon." Then, with mounting suspicion, "You happened in very opportunely!" B<@a&QBTg  
\]L h a  
"After I left the Johnsons' I felt very uneasy," he explained. "I determined to make one more effort to get you away from this house. As this shows - my fears were justified!" 7ZpU -':  
%B'*eBj~fw  
He shook his head sadly. Miss Cornelia sat down. His last words had given her food for thought. She wanted to mull them over for a moment. HH+$rrTT  
$IZ02ZM$  
The Doctor removed muffler and topcoat - stuffed the former in his topcoat pocket and threw the latter on the settee. He took out his handkerchief and began to mop his face, as if to wipe away some strain of mental excitement under which he was laboring. His breath came quickly - the muscles of his jaw stood out. } D'pyTf[  
sB~|V <  
"Died instantly, I suppose?" he said, looking over at the body. "Didn't have time to say anything?" O:{N5+HVG  
a\xf\$Ym  
"Ask the young lady," said Anderson, with a jerk of his head. "She was here when it happened." `E5vO1Pl  
Jz'8|o;^  
The Doctor gave Dale a feverish glance of inquiry. G~\ SI.  
A|BvRZd  
"He just fell over," said the latter pitifully. Her answer seemed to relieve the Doctor of some unseen weight on his mind. He drew a long breath and turned back toward Fleming's body with comparative calm. >P5 EW!d  
y"!+Fus9  
"Poor Dick has proved my case for me better than I expected," he said, regarding the still, unbreathing heap beneath the raincoat. He swerved toward the detective. g15e|y)th  
{W)Kz_  
"Mr. Anderson," he said with dignified pleading, "I ask you to use your influence, to see that these two ladies find some safer spot than this for the night." g0v},n  
}^Be^a<ub  
Lizzie bounced up from her chair, instanter. r_p9YS@I  
`%AFKmc^;  
"Two?" she wailed. "If you know any safe spot, lead me to it!" ^q"p 8   
Zu%_kpW  
The Doctor overlooked her sudden eruption into the scene. He wandered back again toward the huddle under the raincoat, as if still unable to believe that it was - or rather had been - Richard Fleming. ' > \*  
FSBCk  
Miss Cornelia spoke suddenly in a low voice, without moving a muscle of her body. ZB2'm3'bh  
&&}5>kg>d  
"I have a strange feeling that I'm being watched by unfriendly eyes," she said. #t@x6Vt  
XM6".eF)M  
Lizzie clutched at her across the table. 33Jd!orXU  
~gE:-  
"I wish the lights would go out again!" she pattered. "No, I don't neither!" as Miss Cornelia gave the clutching hand a nervous little slap. : _e#  
XE^)VLH:  
During the little interlude of comedy, Billy, the Japanese, unwatched by the others, had stolen to the French windows, pulled aside a blind, looked out. When he turned back to the room his face had lost a portion of its Oriental calm - there was suspicion in his eyes. Softly, under cover of pretending to arrange the tray of food that lay untouched on the table, he possessed himself of the key to the front door, unperceived by the rest, and slipped out of the room like a ghost. Jx'i2&hGN  
c sfgJ^n  
Meanwhile the detective confronted Doctor Wells. "HXYNS>  
apk4 j\i?5  
"You say, Doctor, that you came back to take these women away from the house. Why?" !6}O.Nu  
5+X_4lEJK(  
The Doctor gave him a dignified stare. Sw! j=`O  
6D*chvNA;  
"Miss Van Gorder has already explained." #'c%  
0~qf-x  
Miss Cornelia elucidated. "Mr. Anderson has already formed a theory of the crime," she said with a trace of sarcasm in her tones. P\,F1N_?r  
W)6U6  
The detective turned on her quickly. "I haven't said that." He started. d-A%ZAkE]  
`\/Wah}I  
It had come again - tinkling - persistent. - the phone call from nowhere - the ringing of the bell of the house telephone! \VzQ1B>k  
k3eN;3#&  
"The house telephone - again!" breathed Dale. Miss Cornelia made a movement to answer the tinkling, inexplicable bell. But Anderson was before her. )]Rr:i9n  
>F v8 -  
"I'll answer that!" he barked. He sprang to the phone. .IqS}Rh  
Q@2Smtu~c  
"Hello - hello - " {,,w5/k^  
Dqs{ n?@n  
All eyes were bent on him nervously - the Doctor's face, in particular, seemed a very study in fear and amazement. He clutched the back of a chair to support himself, his hand was the trembling hand of a sick, old man. V{4=, Ax  
!m {d6C[  
"Hello - hello - " Anderson swore impatiently. He hung up the phone. b+#A=Z+Pr  
U9(p ^  
"There's nobody there!" <7 xX/Z}M  
@{"?fqo  
Again, a chill breath from another world than ours seemed to brush across the faces of the little group in the living-room. Dale, sensitive, impressionable, felt a cold, uncanny prickling at the roots of her hair. .)SR3?   
u '7h(1@  
A light came into Anderson's eyes. "Where's that Jap?" he almost shouted. Lwr's'ao.  
jHFjd'  
"He just went out," said Miss Cornelia. The cold fear, the fear of the unearthly, subsided from around Dale's heart, leaving her shaken but more at peace. 02]HwsvZ  
&am<_Tn*3  
The detective turned swiftly to the Doctor, as if to put his case before the eyes of an unprejudiced witness. n5oX51J  
G9am}qr  
"That Jap rang the phone," he said decisively. "Miss Van Gorder believes that this murder is the culmination of the series of mysterious happenings that caused her to send for me. I do not." &(32s!qH  
3)\fZYu)  
"Then what is the significance of the anonymous letters?" broke in Miss Cornelia heatedly. "Of the man Lizzie saw going up the stairs, of the attempt to break into this house - of the ringing of that telephone bell?" U+)p'%f;  
i--t ?@#  
Anderson replied with one deliberate word. c}x1-d8  
iP/v "g"g  
"Terrorization," he said. {9IRW\kn  
&{)<Q(g  
The Doctor moistened his dry lips in an effort to speak. =K@LEZZ'/<  
y;0Zk~R$  
"By whom?" he asked. Z=?qf$.}  
T%F8=kb-9  
Anderson's voice was an icicle. ]]%CO$`T [  
M.!U;U<?  
"I imagine by Miss Van Gorder's servants. By that woman there - " he pointed at Lizzie, who rose indignantly to deny the charge. But he gave her no time for denial. He rushed on, " - who probably writes the letters," he continued. "By the gardener - " his pointing finger found Bailey " - who may have been the man Lizzie saw slipping up the stairs. By the Jap, who goes out and rings the telephone," he concluded triumphantly. 73rr"> 9#0  
4^1{UlCop  
Miss Cornelia seemed unimpressed by his fervor. '\H{Y[  
( t#w@<  
"With what object?" she queried smoothly. P{)H7B>  
zVxiCyU  
"That's what I'm going to find out!" There was determination in Anderson's reply. O(&EnNm[2  
^]aDLjD  
Miss Cornelia sniffed. "Absurd! The butler was in this room when the telephone rang for the first time." r[~K m5  
_X;5ORH"  
The thrust pierced Anderson's armor. For once he seemed at a loss. Here was something he had omitted from his calculations. But he did not give up. He was about to retort when - crash! thud! - the noise of a violent struggle in the hall outside drew all eyes to the hall door. =@V4V} ?  
C<6u}czA  
An instant later the door slammed open and a disheveled young man in evening clothes was catapulted into the living-room as if slung there by a giant's arm. He tripped and fell to the floor in the center of the room. Billy stood in the doorway behind him, inscrutable, arms folded, on his face an expression of mild satisfaction as if he were demurely pleased with a neat piece of housework, neatly carried out. < LzN/I aJ  
rguC#Xt!4  
The young man picked himself up, brushed off his clothes, sought for his hat, which had rolled under the table. Then he turned on Billy furiously. Ac^}wXp  
\(cu<{=rU  
"Damn you - what do you mean by this?" iq)4/3"6  
[+<lm 5t  
"Jiu-jitsu," said Billy, his yellow face quite untroubled. "Pretty good stuff. Found on terrace with searchlight," he added. Tp7*T8  
Y`secUg  
"With searchlight?" barked Anderson. w)nFH)f  
o-}q|tD$<  
The young man turned to face this new enemy. g-O}e4  
f6O5k8n  
"Well, why shouldn't I be on the terrace with a searchlight?" he demanded. Q[U_ 0O,A9  
{0#p,l  
The detective moved toward him menacingly. *S).@j\{W  
)o'&f"/  
"Who are you?" bS _!KU  
C,+6g/{  
"Who are you?" said the young man with cool impertinence, giving him stare for stare. Cr|v3Y#h'  
OD<0,r0f,  
Anderson did not deign to reply, in so many words. Instead he displayed the police badge which glittered on the inside of the right lapel of his coat. The young man examined it coolly. mH*42XC*  
P_hwa1~d  
"H'm," he said. "Very pretty - nice neat design - very chaste!" He took out a cigarette case and opened it, seemingly entirely unimpressed by both the badge and Anderson. The detective chafed. (VWTYG7  
';^VdR]fk  
"If you've finished admiring my badge," he said with heavy sarcasm, "I'd like to know what you were doing on the terrace." l ~b# Y&  
dyWj+N5(  
The young man hesitated - shot an odd, swift glance at Dale who ever since his abrupt entrance into the room, had been sitting rigid in her chair with her hands clenched tightly together. rMWJ  
-4[eZ>$A|  
"I've had some trouble with my car down the road," he said finally. He glanced at Dale again. "I came to ask if I might telephone." qSlo)aP  
\D' mo  
"Did it require a flashlight to find the house?" Miss Cornelia asked suspiciously. m5] a  
pV\> ?  
"Look here," the young man blustered, "why are you asking me all these questions?" He tapped his cigarette case with an irritated air. %Q.M& U  
30sA\TZ  
Miss Cornelia stepped closer to him. p<FqK/  
DjvPeX  
"Do you mind letting me see that flashlight?" she said. wn\ R|'Rdz  
dCLNZq h6  
The young man gave it to her with a little, mocking bow. She turned it over, examined it, passed it to Anderson, who examined it also, seeming to devote particular attention to the lens. The young man stood puffing his cigarette a little nervously while the examination was in progress. He did not look at Dale again. )5Cqyp~P  
zEeix,IU  
Anderson handed back the flashlight to its owner. $tebNi P  
8w4cqr4m  
"Now - what's your name?" he said sternly. $pm5G} .  
zice0({iJ  
"Beresford - Reginald Beresford," said the young man sulkily. "If you doubt it I've probably got a card somewhere - " He began to search through his pockets. wV- kB4^4  
#% PnZ /  
"What's your business?" went on the detective. %j9'HtjEa  
'urn5[i  
"What's my business here?" queried the young man, obviously fencing with his interrogator. #=~n>qn]  
e -sZ_<GH  
"No - how do you earn your living?" said Anderson sharply. @Ido6Z7  
d G}.T_l  
"I don't," said the young man flippantly. "I may have to begin now, if that is of any interest to you. As a matter of fact, I've studied law but - " oic}Go  
#+1*g4m~B  
The one word was enough to start Lizzie off on another trail of distrust. "He may be a lawyer - " she quoted to herself sepulchrally from the evening newspaper article that had dealt with the mysterious identity of the Bat. S[o_$@|  
h(hb?f@1:  
"And you came here to telephone about your car?" persisted the detective. :Vq gmn  
Lm"l*j4  
Dale rose from her chair with a hopeless little sigh. "Oh, don't you see - he's trying to protect me," she said wearily. She turned to the young man. "It's no use, Mr. Beresford." c?"#x-<1s  
4<[,"<G~3  
Beresford's air of flippancy vanished. Gbj^oo  
C'7DG\pr  
"I see," he said. He turned to the other, frankly. "Well, the plain truth is - I didn't know the situation and I thought I'd play safe for Miss Ogden's sake." 9Fy 'L#%  
bZ1*:k2  
Miss Cornelia moved over to her niece protectingly. She put a hand on Dale's shoulder to reassure her. But Dale was quite composed now - she had gone through so many shocks already that one more or less seemed to make very little difference to her overwearied nerves. She turned to Anderson calmly. $*942. =Q  
Uw("+[5O0  
"He doesn't know anything about - this," she said, indicating Beresford. "He brought Mr. Fleming here in his car - that's all." >s^$ -  
Clum m@z;#  
Anderson looked to Beresford for confirmation. XC3)#D#HGh  
p7+{xXf  
"Is that true?" Uwiy@ T Z  
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"Yes," said Beresford. He started to explain. "I got tired of waiting and so I - " qMe$Qr8  
Ax4nx!W,   
The detective broke in curtly. Ai&-W  
y5;l?v94  
"All right." ,/ V'(\>  
3Lwl~h!  
He took a step toward the alcove. mU_?}}aK,  
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"Now, Doctor." He nodded at the huddle beneath the raincoat. Beresford followed his glance - and saw the ominous heap for the first time. !r LHPg  
d+;wDu   
"What's that?" he said tensely. No one answered him. The Doctor was already on his knees beside the body, drawing the raincoat gently aside. Beresford stared at the shape thus revealed with frightened eyes. The color left his face. /;rN/ot2o  
9G&l qfX:  
"That's not - Dick Fleming - is it?" he said thickly. Anderson slowly nodded his head. Beresford seemed unable to believe his eyes. nG},v%  
Jh37pI  
"If you've looked over the ground," said the Doctor in a low voice to Anderson, "I'll move the body where we can have a better light." His right hand fluttered swiftly over Fleming's still, clenched fist - extracted from it a torn corner of paper.... r)gCTV(kb  
^LVk5l)\>g  
Still Beresford did not seem to be able to take in what had happened. He took another step toward the body. X>zlb$  
w>e s  
"Do you mean to say that Dick Fleming - " he began. Anderson silenced him with an uplifted hand. /e@H^Cgo  
'wasZ b<^  
"What have you got there, Doctor?" he said in a still voice. .#u_#=g?  
uj%skOD6Z  
The Doctor, still on his knees beside the corpse, lifted his head. 4tSv{B/}  
UN"(5a8.  
"What do you mean?" l#3($QV,  
P@ypk^v  
"You took something, just then, out of Fleming's hand," said the detective. Yf (im  
c}8 -/P=  
"I took nothing out of his hand," said the Doctor firmly. z (c@(UD-_  
,T,B0  
Anderson's manner grew peremptory. 0N3tsIm>  
/+JP~ K  
"I warn you not to obstruct the course of justice!" he said forcibly. "Give it here!" "kuBjj2  
nr6[rq  
The Doctor rose slowly, dusting off his knees. His eyes tried to meet Anderson's and failed. He produced a torn corner of blue-print. ]+S QS^4  
j7zQ&ANF  
"Why, it's only a scrap of paper, nothing at all," he said evasively. TA*49Qp  
_T H'v:C  
Anderson looked at him meaningly. K8daSvc  
x<d2/[(}mT  
"Scraps of paper are sometimes very important," said with a side glance at Dale. s{uSU1lQn  
k&= iye(  
Beresford approached the two angrily. &:Sb$+z  
^#L?HIM  
"Look here!" he burst out, "I've got a right to know about this thing. I brought Fleming over here - and I want to know what happened to him!" WL}6YSC  
FYcMvY  
"You don't have to be a mind reader to know that!" moaned Lizzie, overcome. tl)}Be+Dt;  
x!~OK::o8  
As usual, her comment went unanswered. Beresford persisted in his questions. O 4Pd N?  
n#^?X  
"Who killed him? That's what I want to know!" he continued, nervously puffing his cigarette. 2,8/Cb  
$q Zc!Qc  
"Well, you're not alone in that," said Anderson in his grimly humorous vein. ~uB'3`x  
We}lx{E  
The Doctor motioned nervously to them both. V 0{tap}  
6*XM7'n  
"As the coroner - if Mr. Anderson is satisfied - I suggest that the body be taken where I can make a thorough examination," he said haltingly.  t@B(+  
TSto9 $}*  
Once more Anderson bent over the shell that had been Richard Fleming. He turned the body half-over - let it sink back on its face. For a moment he glanced at the corner of the blue-print in his hand, then at the Doctor. Then he stood aside. p_6P`Yx^e  
c}\ d5R_L  
"All right," he said laconically. )m oo?Q  
[hvig$L  
So Richard Fleming left the room where he had been struck down so suddenly and strangely - borne out by Beresford, the Doctor, and Jack Bailey. The little procession moved as swiftly and softly as circumstances would permit - Anderson followed its passage with watchful eyes. Billy went mechanically to pick up the stained rug which the detective had kicked aside and carried it off after the body. When the burden and its bearers, with Anderson in the rear, reached the doorway into the hall, Lizzie shrank before the sight, affrighted, and turned toward the alcove while Miss Cornelia stared unseeingly out toward the front windows. So, for perhaps a dozen ticks of time Dale was left unwatched - and she made the most of her opportunity. %lq7; emtp  
j`-y"6)  
Her fingers fumbled at the bosom of her dress - she took out the precious, dangerous fragment of blue-print that Anderson must not find in her possession - but where to hide it, before her chance had passed? Her eyes fell on the bread roll that had fallen from the detective's supper tray to the floor when Lizzie had seen the gleaming eye on the stairs and had lain there unnoticed ever since. She bent over swiftly and secreted the tantalizing scrap of blue paper in the body of the roll, smoothing the crust back above it with trembling fingers. Then she replaced the roll where it had fallen originally and straightened up just as Billy and the detective returned. 6spk* 8e  
6iWuBsal  
Billy went immediately to the tray, picked it up, and started to go out again. Then he noticed the roll on the floor, stooped for it, and replaced it upon the tray. He looked at Miss Cornelia for instructions. /a_|oCeC}  
D7%89qt  
"Take that tray out to the dining-room," she said mechanically. But Anderson's attention had already been drawn to the tiny incident. H)p{T@  
/j^zHrLN  
"Wait - I'll look at that tray," he said briskly. Dale, her heart in her mouth, watched him examine the knives, the plates, even shake out the napkin to see that nothing was hidden in its folds. At last he seemed satisfied. 9~_6mR<  
b~gF,^w  
"All right - take it away," he commanded. Billy nodded and vanished toward the dining-room with tray and roll. Dale breathed again. %SCu29km  
J?quYlS  
The sight of the tray had made Miss Cornelia's thoughts return to practical affairs. EOPS? @  
ERfd7V<c>  
"Lizzie," she commanded now, "go out in the kitchen and make some coffee. I'm sure we all need it," she sighed. J*}VV9H  
.H ,pO#{;  
Lizzie bristled at once. 0',[J  
Yz\ N&0"  
"Go out in that kitchen alone?" h.}u?{  
c-*2dV[@  
"Billy's there," said Miss Cornelia wearily. v#Upw\!  
2Fq=jOA)z$  
The thought of Billy seemed to bring little solace to Lizzie's heart. A`IHP{aB  
DE5d]3B  
"That Jap and his jooy-jitsu," she muttered viciously. "One twist and I'd be folded up like a pretzel." OD{5m(JwL  
r Iya\z1W  
But Miss Cornelia's manner was imperative, and Lizzie slowly dragged herself kitchenward, yawning and promising the saints repentance of every sin she had or had not committed if she were allowed to get there without something grabbing at her ankles in the dark corner of the hall. GsP@ B'  
=XRgT1>e  
When the door had shut behind her, Anderson turned to Dale, the corner of blue-print which he had taken from the Doctor in his hand. ^)0{42!]  
7ofH@U  
"Now, Miss Ogden," he said tensely, "I have here a scrap of blue-print which was in Dick Fleming's hand when he was killed. I'll trouble you for the rest of it, if you please!" Ybiz]1d  
RmCR"~   
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
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真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 12楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Twelve. "I Didn't Kill Him." 1_+ h"LE  
|S!R Q-CF  
  "The rest of it?" queried Dale with a show of bewilderment, silently thanking her stars that, for the moment at least, the incriminating fragment had passed out of her possession. UnDCC_ud  
rbOJ;CK  
Her reply seemed only to infuriate the detective. HQF@@  
vEG7A$Z"  
"Don't tell me Fleming started to go out of this house with a blank scrap of paper in his hand," he threatened. "He didn't start to go out at all!" 1o_Zw.  
Pc+,iK>  
Dale rose. Was Anderson trying a chance shot in the dark - or had he stumbled upon some fresh evidence against her? She could not tell from his manner. w8-L2)Q}I  
xDBHnr}[  
"Why do you say that?" she feinted. zSi SZMP"  
I,AI$A  
"His cap's there on that table," said the detective with crushing terseness. Dale started. She had not remembered the cap - why hadn't she burned it, concealed it - as she had concealed the blue-print? She passed a hand over her forehead wearily. X&M4 c5Li  
gl.P#7X  
Miss Cornelia watched her niece. O$$s]R6  
m./lrz  
"It you're keeping anything back, Dale - tell him," she said. |giK]Z  
yQM7QLbTk  
"She's keeping something back all right,", he said. "She's told part of the truth, but not all." He hammered at Dale again. "You and Fleming located that room by means of a blue-print of the house. He started - not to go out - but, probably, to go up that staircase. And he had in his hand the rest of this!" Again he displayed the blank corner of blue paper. Bag2sk  
:Jhx4/10  
Dale knew herself cornered at last. The detective's deductions were too shrewd; do what she would, she could keep him away from the truth no longer. @F3d9t-  
: 0%V:B  
"He was going to take the money and go away with it!" she said rather pitifully, feeling a certain relief of despair steal over her, now that she no longer needed to go on lying - lying - involving herself in an inextricable web of falsehood. Bm.%bA>  
5O%Q*\(  
"Dale!" gasped Miss Cornelia, alarmed. But Dale went on, reckless of consequences to herself, though still warily shielding Jack. ^ ]02)cK  
rK&ofc]f$  
"He changed the minute he heard about it. He was all kindness before that - but afterward - " She shuddered, closing her eyes. Fleming's face rose before her again, furious, distorted with passion and greed - then, suddenly, quenched of life. b7fP)nb695  
M; zRf3S  
Anderson turned to Miss Cornelia triumphantly. Yhsb$wu  
G@'0vYb#  
"She started to find the money - and save Bailey," he explained, building up his theory of the crime. "But to do it she had to take Fleming into her confidence - and he turned yellow. Rather than let him get away with it, she - " He made an expressive gesture toward his hip pocket. <T[N.mB  
E)wT+\  
Dale trembled, feeling herself already in the toils. She had not quite realized, until now, how damningly plausible such an explanation of Fleming's death could sound. It fitted the evidence perfectly - it took account of every factor but one - the factor left unaccounted for was one which even she herself could not explain. i_'R"ob{S  
Wg`AZ=t  
"Isn't that true?" demanded Anderson. Dale already felt the cold clasp of handcuffs on her slim wrists. What use of denial when every tiny circumstance was so leagued against her? And yet she must deny. =deMd`=J  
Fnk_\d6Ma  
"I didn't kill him," she repeated perplexedly, weakly. a#T]*(Yq)  
_SA5e3#  
"Why didn't you call for help? You - you knew I was here." LEtG|3Dx  
!`Hd-&}bYz  
Dale hesitated. "I - I couldn't." The moment the words were out of her mouth she knew from his expression that they had only cemented his growing certainty of her guilt. 7vrl'^1  
5,3'=mA6  
"Dale! Be careful what you say!" warned Miss Cornelia agitatedly. Dale looked dumbly at her aunt. Her answers must seem the height of reckless folly to Miss Cornelia - oh, if there were only someone who understood! |8&,b`Gfo  
Fgkajig  
Anderson resumed his grilling. aki _RG>U'  
T6H}/#*tK  
"Now I mean to find out two things," he said, advancing upon Dale. "Why you did not call for help - and what you have done with that blue-print." YnxRg  
uNn[[LS  
"Suppose I could find that piece of blue-print for you?" said Dale desperately. "Would that establish Jack Bailey's innocence?" w6 2=06`@  
,7|;k2  
The detective stared at her keenly for a moment. \SYvD y]  
IK?]PmN4}  
"If the money's there - yes." %t{Sb4XZ4k  
CH55K[{<  
Dale opened her lips to reveal the secret, reckless of what might follow. As long as Jack was cleared - what matter what happened to herself? But Miss Cornelia nipped the heroic attempt at self-sacrifice in the bud. ON:LPf>"-  
_BeX7  
She put herself between her niece and the detective, shielding Dale from his eager gaze. 'rcsK  
n@8{FoF  
"But her own guilt!" she said in tones of great dignity. "No, Mr. Anderson, granting that she knows where that paper is - and she has not said that she does - I shall want more time and much legal advice before I allow her to turn it over to you. V&n JT~k  
)T_ #X!  
All the unconscious note of command that long-inherited wealth and the pride of a great name can give was in her voice, and the detective, for the moment, bowed before it, defeated. Perhaps he thought of men who had been broken from the Force for injudicious arrests, perhaps he merely bided his time. At any rate, he gave up his grilling of Dale for the present and turned to question the Doctor and Beresford who had just returned, with Jack Bailey, from their grim task of placing Fleming's body in a temporary resting place in the library. 5Mr:(|JyV  
U!4 ^;  
"Well, Doctor?" he grunted. F3q5!1  
J [1GP_  
The Doctor shook his head n1H*][CK  
>i=mw5`D]  
"Poor fellow - straight through the heart." =E,^ +`M  
i[L5,%5<H  
"Were there any powder marks?" queried Miss Cornelia. Lm&BT)*  
NTo[di\_  
"No - and the clothing was not burned. He was apparently shot from some little distance - and I should say from above." Sl-9im1  
`^,E4Qy  
The detective received this information without the change of a muscle in his face. He turned to Beresford - resuming his attack on Dale from another angle. LwRzzgt  
,?j!c*  
"Beresford, did Fleming tell you why he came here tonight?" f]Z9=  
1,G f;mcQ  
Beresford considered the question. zcNv T  
;:[!I]E0  
"No. He seemed in a great hurry, said Miss Ogden had telephoned him, and asked me to drive him over." qJ=4HlLno  
Q2sX7 cE  
"Why did you come up to the house?" .6Jo1$+  
+&?#Gdb  
"We-el," said Beresford with seeming candor, "I thought it was putting rather a premium on friendship to keep me sitting out in the rain all night, so I came up the drive - and, by the way!" He snapped his fingers irritatedly, as if recalling some significant incident that had slipped his memory, and drew a battered object from his pocket. "I picked this up, about a hundred feet from the house," he explained. "A man's watch. It was partly crushed into the ground, and, as you see, it's stopped running." -jXO9Q  
]broU%#"  
The detective took the object and examined it carefully. A man's open-face gold watch, crushed and battered in as if it had been trampled upon by a heavy heel. 82P#C4c+d  
. J.| S4D  
"Yes," he said thoughtfully. "Stopped running at ten-thirty." O]N 8Q H  
w2/3\3p  
Beresford went on, with mounting excitement. y[W<vb+F  
GAZw4 dz  
"I was using my pocket-flash to find my way and what first attracted my attention was the ground - torn up, you know, all around it. Then I saw the watch itself. Anybody here recognize it?" Z~g I)  
jzuOs,:R  
The detective silently held up the watch so that all present could examine it. He waited. But if anyone in the party recognized the watch - no one moved forward to claim it. Lm<"W_  
SU OuayE  
"You didn't hear any evidence of a struggle, did you?" went on Beresford. "The ground looked as if a fight had taken place. Of course it might have been a dozen other things." :S}!i?n  
r/zuo6"5  
Miss Cornelia started. 1ocd$)B|}  
X;2I' Kg  
"Just about ten-thirty Lizzie heard somebody cry out, in the grounds," she said. M-#OPj*  
UQ7E7yY#  
The detective looked Beresford over till the latter grew a little uncomfortable. G1!yPQa7d  
CC~:z/4,N  
"I don't suppose it has any bearing on the case," admitted the latter uneasily. "But it's interesting." Q8GI;`Rb  
CwdeW.A"j  
The detective seemed to agree. At least he slipped the watch in his pocket. a)QSq<2*  
jI%glO'2  
"Do you always carry a flashlight, Mr. Beresford?" asked Miss Cornelia a trifle suspiciously. 2.vmZaKP  
7=5eLc^  
"Always at night, in the car." His reply was prompt and certain. ^3S&LC 1;|  
qrw  
"This is all you found?" queried the detective, a curious note in his voice. 8'8`xu$  
;Y?MbD  
"Yes." Beresford sat down, relieved. Miss Cornelia followed his example. Another clue had led into a blind alley, leaving the mystery of the night's affairs as impenetrable as ever. DX s an  
TEtmmp0OD  
"Some day I hope to meet the real estate agent who promised me that I would sleep here as I never slept before!" she murmured acridly. "He's right! I've slept with my clothes on every night since I came!" hU?DLl:bXF  
25>R^2,LiE  
As she ended, Billy darted in from the hall, his beady little black eyes gleaming with excitement, a long, wicked-looking butcher knife in his hand. \c2x udU  
U)G.Bst  
"Key, kitchen door, please!" he said, addressing his mistress. ZGZNZ}~#  
lndz  
"Key?" said Miss Cornelia, startled. "What for?" Gt*<Awn8  
s>L-0vG  
For once Billy's polite little grin was absent from his countenance. 1e9~):C~W  
oBnes*  
"Somebody outside trying to get in," he chattered. "I see knob turn, so," he illustrated with the butcher knife, "and so - three times." ]$-<< N{}'  
Io&HzQW^a  
The detective's hand went at once to his revolver. D!.1R!(Z  
0doJF@H  
"You're sure of that, are you?" he said roughly to Billy. cOX)+53  
!?JZ^/u  
"Sure, I sure!" _rYW|*cIF  
m,\+RUW'  
"Where's that hysterical woman Lizzie?" queried Anderson. "She may get a bullet in her if she's not careful." (.=Y_g.  
qGN> a[D  
"She see too. She shut in closet - say prayers, maybe," said Billy, without a smile. *!%n`BR '  
,G?Kb#  
The picture was a ludicrous one but not one of the little group laughed. ~e]l  
_?Ly7*UML  
"Doctor, have you a revolver?" Anderson seemed to be going over the possible means of defense against this new peril. }#Kl6x  
F2',3  
"No." :[ll$5E.  
>FqU=Q  
"How about you, Beresford?" f6 s .xQ  
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Beresford hesitated. 2##mVEo.(  
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"Yes," he admitted finally. "Always carry one at night in the country." The statement seemed reasonable enough but Miss Cornelia gave him a sharp glance of mistrust, nevertheless. CDW| cr{  
B8up v~U 6  
The detective seemed to have more confidence in the young idler. a\I`:RO=<Z  
gG=E2+=uy  
"Beresford, will you go with this Jap to the kitchen?" as Billy, grimly clutching his butcher knife, retraced his steps toward the hall. "If anyone's working at the knob - shoot through the door. I'm going round to take a look outside." e;<=aa)}?  
`6b!W0$ -  
Beresford started to obey. Then he paused. /pZLt)=P  
#g*U\y  
"I advise you not to turn the doorknob yourself, then," he said flippantly. Z3jh-{0  
7lP3\7wD@9  
The detective nodded. "Much obliged," he said, with a grin. He ran lightly into the alcove and tiptoed out of the terrace door, closing the door behind him. Beresford and Billy departed to take up their posts in the kitchen. "I'll go with you, if you don't mind - " and Jack Bailey had followed them, leaving Miss Cornelia and Dale alone with the Doctor. Miss Cornelia, glad of the opportunity to get the Doctor's theories on the mystery without Anderson's interference, started to question him at once. `Tzq vnn  
c%~'[W04\  
"Doctor." :&:>sd(QD  
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"Yes." The Doctor turned, politely. B$Z!E%a;  
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"Have you any theory about this occurrence to-night?" She watched him eagerly as she asked the question. gIM'bA<~  
y-\A@jJC5  
He made a gesture of bafflement. !.3R~0b  
/ZHO>LNN|  
"None whatever - it's beyond me," he confessed. L1wZU,o  
SdJ/ 4&{ !  
"And yet you warned me to leave this house," said Miss Cornelia cannily. "You didn't have any reason to believe that the situation was even as serious as it has proved to be?" Dyg?F )6  
!k3e\v|  
"I did the perfectly obvious thing when I warned you," said the Doctor easily. "Those letters made a distinct threat." f&v9Q97=  
l\i)$=d&g  
Miss Cornelia could not deny the truth in his words. And yet she felt decidedly unsatisfied with the way things were progressing. _ 9F9W{'  
6*78cg Io  
"You said Fleming had probably been shot from above?" she queried, thinking hard. Rsm^Z!sn  
8Fu(Ft^9  
The Doctor nodded. "Yes." _oeS Uzq.  
1|:KQl2q  
"Have you a pocket-flash, Doctor?" she asked him suddenly. e#q}F>/L  
^}C\zW  
"Why - yes - " The Doctor did not seem to perceive the significance of the query. "A flashlight is more important to a country Doctor than - castor oil," he added, with a little smile. ei{eTp4HpV  
/gkX38  
Miss Cornelia decided upon an experiment. She turned to Dale. jQ^|3#L\  
1 A !bE  
"Dale, you said you saw a white light shining down from above?" ogtEAv~e7N  
R)( T^V`{  
"Yes," said Dale in a minor voice. eA?RK.e  
U< fGGCw  
Miss Cornelia rose. XpHrt XD  
#H~64/  
"May I borrow your flashlight, Doctor? Now that fool detective is out of the way," she continued some what acidly, "I want to do something." Flb&B1  
_wL BA^d^  
The Doctor gave her his flashlight with a stare of bewilderment. She took it and moved into the alcove. *s iFj CN<  
1c{DY  
"Doctor, I shall ask you to stand at the foot of the small staircase, facing up." >y:,9;  
4DOH`6#an  
"Now?" queried the Doctor with some reluctance. / !Wu D\B  
7#U^Dx\yh  
"Now, please." N0w`!<y:c  
"4j:[9vR\  
The Doctor slowly followed her into the alcove and took up the position she assigned him at the foot of the stairs. ~j @UlP  
"<dN9l>  
"Now, Dale," said Miss Cornelia briskly, "when I give the word, you put out the lights here - and then tell me when I have reached the point on the staircase from which the flashlight seemed to come. All ready?" D99N#36PU  
yDDghW'\WU  
Two silent nods gave assent. Miss Cornelia left the room to seek the second floor by the main staircase and then slowly return by the alcove stairs, her flashlight poised, in her reconstruction of the events of the crime. At the foot of the alcove stairs the Doctor waited uneasily for her arrival. He glanced up the stairs - were those her footsteps now? He peered more closely into the darkness. cP$wI;P  
TckR_0LNV  
An expression of surprise and apprehension came over his face. 0-; P&m!!  
|3o@I uGt  
He glanced swiftly at Dale - was she watching him? No - she sat in her chair, musing. He turned back toward the stairs and made a frantic, insistent gesture - "Go back, go back!" it said, plainer than words, to - Something - in the darkness by the head of the stairs. Then his face relaxed, he gave a noiseless sigh of relief. y>PbYjuIU  
IZLX[y  
Dale, rousing from her brown study, turned out the floor lamp by the table and went over to the main light switch, awaiting Miss Cornelia's signal to plunge the room in darkness. The Doctor stole, another glance at her - had his gestures been observed? - apparently not. 6Y=)12T  
o}<}zTU  
Unobserved by either, as both waited tensely for Miss Cornelia's signal, a Hand stole through the broken pane of the shattered French window behind their backs and fumbled for the knob which unlocked the window-door. It found the catch - unlocked it - the window-door swung open, noiselessly - just enough to admit a crouching figure that cramped itself uncomfortably behind the settee which Dale and the Doctor had placed to barricade those very doors. When it had settled itself, unperceived, in its lurking place - the Hand stole out again - closed the window-door, relocked it. Nw* >$v  
V/"P};n  
Hand or claw? Hand of man or woman or paw of beast? In the name of God - whose hand? m 3k}iIU7  
}M9R5!=q  
Miss Cornelia's voice from the head of the stairs broke the silence. ] D(laqS;"  
bL=32YS  
"All right! Put out the lights!" M%f96XUM  
xn(lkQ6Fm  
Dale pressed the switch. Heavy darkness. The sound of her own breathing. A mutter from the Doctor. Then, abruptly, a white, piercing shaft of light cut the darkness of the stairs - horribly reminiscent of that other light-shaft that had signaled Fleming's doom. `sOCJ|rc5  
v[WbQ5AND  
"Was it here?" Miss Cornelia's voice came muffledly from the head of the stairs. hp?hb-4l  
W9>q1  
Dale considered. "Come down a little," she said. The white spot of light wavered, settled on the Doctor's face. n/ ]<Bc?  
u`%Kh_  
"I hope you haven't a weapon," the Doctor called up the stairs with an unsuccessful attempt at jocularity. ji8)/  
Y6R+i0guz  
Miss Cornelia descended another step. _w\A=6=q|  
NUvHY:  
"How's this?" )l|/lj  
sNet[y:O3  
"That's about right," said Dale uncertainly. Miss Cornelia was satisfied. 7$z]oVbO'  
hDP&~Mk  
"Lights, please." She went up the stairs again to see if she could puzzle out what course of escape the man who had shot Fleming had taken after his crime - if it had been a man. Qxvj`Ge  
(N etn&  
Dale switched on the living-room lights with a sense of relief. The reconstruction of the crime had tried her sorely. She sat down to recover her poise. ?VMj;+'tr  
1)u 3  
"Doctor! I'm so frightened!" she confessed. Rj9z '?a9  
F.ryeOJ  
The Doctor at once assumed his best manner of professional reassurance. )Q9m,/F  
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"Why, my dear child?" he asked lightly. "Because you happened to be in the room when a crime was committed?" It'hmwu#  
i zJa`K  
"But he has a perfect case against me," sighed Dale. Vs@[="  
dB{o-R  
"That's absurd!" STMc@MeZU_  
IKT3T_\-I  
"No." =8Bq2.nlR  
T^b62j'b5_  
"You don't mean?" said the Doctor aghast. ^kF-mM=  
G5R"5d'  
Dale looked at him with horror in her face. 6hW ~Q  
X:un4B}O  
"I didn't kill him!" she insisted anew. "But, you know the piece of blue-print you found in his hand?" oPqWL9]  
C{5bG=Sg~  
"Yes," from the Doctor tensely. 03$lgDQ  
UZ qQ|3  
Dale's nerves, too bitterly tested, gave way at last under the strain of keeping her secret. She felt that she must confide in someone or perish. The Doctor was kind and thoughtful - more than that, he was an experienced man of the world - if he could not advise her, who could? Besides, a Doctor was in many ways like a priest - both sworn to keep inviolate the secrets of their respective confessionals. ; {P"~(S%  
Y{ho[%  
"There was another piece of blue-print, a larger piece - " said Dale slowly, "I tore it from him just before - " G .~Psw#  
h2+vl@X  
The Doctor seemed greatly excited by her words. But he controlled himself swiftly. a3ve%b  
v)!Rir5  
"Why did you do such a thing?" KVvIo1$N  
H^_[nL  
"Oh, I'll explain that later," said Dale tiredly, only too glad to be talking the matter out at last, to pay attention to the logic of her sentences. "It's not safe where it is," she went on, as if the Doctor already knew the whole story. "Billy may throw it out or burn it without knowing - " E;.<'t>  
.|W0B+Z8  
"Let me understand this," said the Doctor. "The butler has the paper now?" R(YhVW_l  
S['rfD>9  
"He doesn't know he has it. It was in one of the rolls that went out on the tray." m{w'&\T  
.3CQFbHF  
The Doctor's eyes gleamed. He gave Dale's shoulder a sympathetic pat. #!>`$  
U}{\qs-zt  
"Now don't you worry about it - I'll get it," he said. Then, on the point of going toward the dining-room, he turned. NPR{g!tK%  
[%nG_np  
"But - you oughtn't to have it in your possession," he said thoughtfully. "Why not let it be burned?" !aEp88u  
,Tl5@RN  
Dale was on the defensive at once. Z/= %J3f  
r2SJp@f  
"Oh, no! It's important, it's vital!" she said decidedly. D^,\cZbY  
77``8,  
The Doctor seemed to consider ways and means of getting the paper. " <Qm -  
($'V& x8T  
"The tray is in the dining-room?" he asked. y!5:dvt  
/`}6rXnw9  
"Yes," said Dale. 7@3M]5:3g  
})h'""i&xn  
He thought a moment, then left the room by the hall door. Dale sank back in her chair and felt a sense of overpowering relief steal over her whole body, as if new life had been poured into her veins. The Doctor had been so helpful - why had she not confided in him before? He would know what to do with the paper - she would have the benefit of his counsel through the rest of this troubled time. For a moment she saw herself and Jack, exonerated, their worries at an end, wandering hand in hand over the green lawns of Cedarcrest in the cheerful sunlight of morning. P5ESrZ@f  
>=q!!'$:  
Behind her, mockingly, the head of the Unknown concealed behind the settee lifted cautiously until, if she had turned, she would have just been able to perceive the top of its skull. fvfVBk#  
*lF%8k"Al  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 13楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Thirteen. The Blackened Bag t-SZBNb  
znAo]F9=J"  
  As it chanced, she did not turn. The hall door opened - the head behind the settee sank down again. Jack Bailey entered, carrying a couple of logs of firewood. (0Jr<16si$  
|T-Y tuy8  
Dale moved toward him as soon as he had shut the door. |G)bnmi7  
4_?*@L1  
"Oh, things have gone awfully wrong, haven't they?" she said with a little break in her voice. Q2[D|{Z  
4w:_4qyb  
He put his finger to his lips. pr.Vfb  
CN\SxK`,  
"Be careful!" he whispered. He glanced about the room cautiously. R lyF#X#7{  
n/6#rj^$  
"I don't trust even the furniture in this house to-night!" he said. He took Dale hungrily in his arms and kissed her once, swiftly, on the lips. Then they parted - his voice changed to the formal voice of a servant. !yqe z  
1 |  
"Miss Van Gorder wishes the fire kept burning," he announced, with a whispered "Play up!" to Dale. c<,LE@ V  
V0v,s^\H  
Dale caught his meaning at once. ^PTf8o  
7AV{ h[J  
"Put some logs on the fire, please," she said loudly, for the benefit of any listening ears. Then in an undertone to Bailey, "Jack - I'm nearly distracted!" >. |({;n9  
SgU@`Pb  
Bailey threw his wood on the fire, which received it with appreciative crackles and sputterings. Then again, for a moment, he clasped his sweetheart closely to him. ,I iKe_B  
}T%E;m-  
"Dale, pull yourself together!" he whispered warningly. "We've got a fight ahead of us!" ;S2/n$Ju_  
h>'Mh;+  
He released her and turned back toward the fire. p`-Oz]  
!}pvrBS  
"These old-fashioned fireplaces eat up a lot of wood," he said in casual tones, pretending to arrange the logs with the poker so the fire would draw more cleanly. nXM[#~  
/pQUu(~h_  
But Dale felt that she must settle one point between them before they took up their game of pretense again. .TO#\!KBv  
*R8P brN  
"You know why I sent for Richard Fleming, don't you?" she said, her eyes fixed beseechingly on her lover. The rest of the world might interpret her action as it pleased - she couldn't bear to have Jack misunderstand. '19kP.  
W+#Zmvo  
But there was no danger of that. His faith in her was too complete. n^%",*8gD*  
#qg(DgH 7  
"Yes - of course - " he said, with a look of gratitude. Then his mind reverted to the ever-present problem before them. "But who in God's name killed him?" he muttered, kneeling before the fire. vnD `+y  
P(cy@P,D  
"You don't think it was - Billy?" Dale saw Billy's face before her for a moment, calm, impassive. But he was an Oriental - an alien - his face might be just as calm, just as impassive while his hands were still red with blood. She shuddered at the thought. inh J|pe"  
L""ZI5J{F9  
Bailey considered the matter. 2H}y1bkW  
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"More likely the man Lizzie saw going upstairs," he said finally. "But - I've been all over the upper floors." tdH[e0x B  
RTc@`m3 M  
"And - nothing?" breathed Dale. 8* A%k1+  
 @*eY~  
"Nothing." Bailey's voice had an accent of dour finality. "Dale, do you think that - " he began. uaO.7QSwN  
}kt%dDU  
Some instinct warned the girl that they were not to continue their conversation uninterrupted. "Be careful !" she breathed, as footsteps sounded in the hall. Bailey nodded and turned back to his pretense of mending the fire. Dale moved away from him slowly. oU,8?( }'~  
`+(n+QS _  
The door opened and Miss Cornelia entered, her black knitting-bag in her hand, on her face a demure little smile of triumph. She closed the door carefully behind her and began to speak at once. 8Dxg6>  
l_q1h]/   
"Well, Mr. Alopecia - Urticaria - Rubeola - otherwise Bailey!" she said in tones of the greatest satisfaction, addressing herself to Bailey's rigid back. Bailey jumped to his feet mechanically at her mention of his name. He and Dale exchanged one swift and hopeless glance of utter defeat. ]hkway  
e}e\*BL  
"I wish," proceeded Miss Cornelia, obviously enjoying the situation to the full, "I wish you young people would remember that even if hair and teeth have fallen out at sixty the mind still functions." ID5?x8o#k  
_7]5 Q  
She pulled out a cabinet photograph from the depths of her knitting-bag. =MB[v/M59w  
K``MS  
"His photograph - sitting on your dresser!" she chided Dale. "Burn it and be quick about it!" xP#vAR  
AWaptw_p*  
Dale took the photograph but continued to stare at her aunt with incredulous eyes. +3yG8  
Q>q-6/|UX  
"Then - you knew?" she stammered. 2~ 4&4  
AD^I1 ]2f  
Miss Cornelia, the effective little tableau she had planned now accomplished to her most humorous satisfaction, relapsed into a chair. K)mQcB-"?  
?PMbbqa0  
"My dear child," said the indomitable lady, with a sharp glance at Bailey's bewildered face, "I have employed many gardeners in my time and never before had one who manicured his fingernails, wore silk socks, and regarded baldness as a plant instead of a calamity." ES+ CAwqf  
bDvGFSAH  
An unwilling smile began to break on the faces of both Dale and her lover. The former crossed to the fireplace and threw the damning photograph of Bailey on the flames. She watched it shrivel - curl up - be reduced to ash. She stirred the ashes with a poker till they were well scattered. ?:vg`m!*  
;,/G*`81B  
Bailey, recovering from the shock of finding that Miss Cornelia's sharp eyes had pierced his disguise without his even suspecting it, now threw himself on her mercy. uvD*]zX  
u!VY6y7p  
"Then you know why I'm here?" he stammered. 0FD+iID  
7QlA/iKqK  
"I still have a certain amount of imagination! I may think you are a fool for taking the risk, but I can see what that idiot of a detective might not - that if you had looted the Union Bank you wouldn't be trying to discover if the money is in this house. You would at least presumably know where it is." X.,1SYG[  
Ud:v3"1  
The knowledge that he had an ally in this brisk and indomitable spinster lady cheered him greatly. But she did not wait for any comment from him. She turned abruptly to Dale. *n N;!*J  
a?.hvI   
"Now I want to ask you something," she said more gravely. "Was there a blue-print, and did you get it from Richard Fleming?" \>0%E{CR  
+p6cG\Gp  
It was Dale's turn now to bow her head. ' k~'aZ  
w91gM*A  
"Yes," she confessed. H?ssV^k  
c>{X( Z=2  
Bailey felt a thrill of horror run through him. She hadn't told him this! ktU98Bk]  
A~\:}P N  
"Dale!" he said uncomprehendingly, "don't you see where this places you? If you had it, why didn't you give it to Anderson when he asked for it?" I> =7|G  
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"Because," said Miss Cornelia uncompromisingly, "she had sense enough to see that Mr. Anderson considered that piece of paper the final link in the evidence against her!" PS`)6yn{_  
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"But she could have no motive!" stammered Bailey, distraught, still failing to grasp the significance of Dale's refusal. iLv"ZqGrw  
Eq'{uV:  
"Couldn't she?" queried Miss Cornelia pityingly. "The detective thinks she could - to save you!" jQsucs5$h  
8!:4m"Y  
Now the full light of revelation broke upon Bailey. He took a step back. U .G*C  
:tR%y"  
"Good God!" he said. Xb6@;G"  
?%;uR#4  
Miss Cornelia would have liked to comment tartly upon the singular lack of intelligence displayed by even the nicest young men in trying circumstances. But there was no time. They might be interrupted at any moment and before they were, there were things she must find out. h\.UUC&<  
l+T\DZ  
"Where is that paper, now?" she asked Dale sharply; `~*qjA  
d9sgk3K  
"Why - the Doctor is getting it for me." Dale seemed puzzled by the intensity of her aunt's manner. 6`+DBr  
VK|!aqA{b  
"What?" almost shouted Miss Cornelia. Dale explained. g.9MPN  
xAoozDj  
"It was on the tray Billy took out," she said, still wondering why so simple an answer should disturb Miss Cornelia so greatly. `rM-b'D  
MqNp*n2  
"Then I'm afraid everything's over," Miss Cornelia said despairingly, and made her first gesture of defeat. She turned away. Dale followed her, still unable to fathom her course of reasoning. D!y Cnq=8  
PvO>}(=  
"I didn't know what else to do," she said rather plaintively, wondering if again, as with Fleming, she had misplaced her confidence at a moment critical for them all. eB5; wH  
j l%27Ld  
But Miss Cornelia seemed to have no great patience with her dejection. DTH;d-Z  
F4`ud;1H  
"One of two. things will happen now," she said, with acrid, logic. "Either the Doctor's an honest man - in which case, as coroner, he will hand that paper to the detective - " Dale gasped. "Or he is not an honest man," went on Miss Cornelia, "and he will keep it for himself. I don't think he's an honest man." 1P;J%.{  
~XU%_Hz  
The frank expression of her distrust seemed to calm her a little. She resumed her interrogation of Dale more gently. 6w `.'5  
r*c x_**  
"Now, let's be clear about this. Had Richard Fleming ascertained that there was a concealed room in this house?" i'`>YX  
XtIY8wsP  
"He was starting up to it!" said Dale in the voice of a ghost, remembering. 5\$8"/H  
8}0W_CU,  
"Just what did you tell him?" &dZ-}. af  
>4`("#  
"That I believed there was a Hidden Room in the house - and that the money from the Union Bank might be in it." |;e K5(|  
hZ@frbuowk  
Again, for the millionth time, indeed it seemed to her, she reviewed the circumstances of the crime. \e)>]C}h  
~`Y!_'(x  
"Could anyone have overheard?" asked Miss Cornelia?" 0f5c#/7C9  
/E-s g, k  
The question had rung in Dale's ears ever since she had come to her senses after the firing of the shot and seen Fleming's body stark on the floor of the alcove. L_tjclk0J  
w:/3%-  
"I don't know," she said. "We were very cautious." -SfU.XlZl  
`}KxzD  
"You don't know where this room is?" n}IGxum8`  
d; YKw1  
"No, I never saw the print. Upstairs somewhere, for he - " f^1J_}cL  
tlp,HxlP  
"Upstairs! Then the thing to do, if we can get that paper from the Doctor, is to locate the room at once." _1E c54D  
&q|vvF<G  
Jack Bailey did not recognize the direction where her thoughts were tending. It seemed terrible to him that anyone should devote a thought to the money while Dale was still in danger. 66>X$nx(z  
bp8sZK"z  
"What does the money matter now?" he broke in somewhat irritably. "We've got to save her!" and his eyes went to Dale. 9-A@2&J1  
?K.!^G  
Miss Cornelia gave him an ineffable look of weary patience. f]^ @z<FC  
$rC`)"t  
"The money matters a great deal," she said, sensibly. "Someone was in this house on the same errand as Richard Fleming. After all," she went on with a tinge of irony, "the course of reasoning that you followed, Mr. Bailey, is not necessarily unique." sq)Nn&5A  
0*"j:V  
She rose. CEq]B:[IC  
!GGGh0Bj  
"Somebody else may have suspected that Courtleigh Fleming robbed his own bank," she said thoughtfully. Her eye fell on the Doctor's professional bag - she seemed to consider it as if it were a strange sort of animal. *t.q m5h  
*@_u4T7|{  
"Find the man who followed your course of reasoning," she ended, with a stare at Bailey, "and you have found the murderer." <l$P&jSF3  
OGOND,/R?/  
"With that reasoning you might suspect me!" said the latter a trifle touchily. B"yFS7Rrj  
ZIQ [bE7  
Miss Cornelia did not give an inch. paCV!tP  
wh$sn:J  
"I have," she said. Dale shot a swift, sympathetic glance at her lover, another less sympathetic and more indignant at her aunt. Miss Cornelia smiled. {% rA1g  
:N:yLd} &  
"However, I now suspect somebody else," she said. They waited for her to reveal the name of the suspect but she kept her own counsel. By now she had entirely given up confidence if not in the probity at least in the intelligence of all persons, male or female, under the age of sixty-five. N,<uf@LQ  
,1hxw<sNR  
She rang the bell for Billy. But Dale was still worrying over the possible effects of the confidence she had given Doctor Wells. #r$cyV!k  
4^:\0U F  
"Then you think the Doctor may give this paper to Mr. Anderson?" she asked. g>Y|9Y  
+s,Qmmb7)  
"He may or he may not. It is entirely possible that he may elect to search for this room himself! He may even already have gone upstairs!" JS*m65e  
xA9:*>+>  
She moved quickly to the door and glanced across toward the dining-room, but so far apparently all was safe. The Doctor was at the table making a pretense of drinking a cup of coffee and Billy was in close attendance. That the Doctor already had the paper she was certain; it was the use he intended to make of it that was her concern. P) uDLFp]  
bT6sb#"W  
She signaled to the Jap and he came out into the hall. Beresford, she learned, was still in the kitchen with his revolver, waiting for another attempt on the door and the detective was still outside in his search. To Billy she gave her order in a low voice. [O ",  
nZvU 'k:  
"If the Doctor attempts to go upstairs," she said, "let me know at once. Don't seem to be watching. You can be in the pantry. But let me know instantly." dq 8+m(7k  
1!s!wQgS  
Once back in the living-room the vague outlines of a plan - a test - formed slowly in Miss Cornelia's mind, grew more definite. o}d2N/T  
8 /:X& &  
"Dale, watch that door and warn me if anyone is coming!" she commanded, indicating the door into the hall. Dale obeyed, marveling silently at her aunt's extraordinary force of character. Most of Miss Cornelia's contemporaries would have called for a quiet ambulance to take them to a sanatorium some hours ere this - but Miss Cornelia was not merely, comparatively speaking, as fresh as a daisy; her manner bore every evidence of a firm intention to play Sherlock Holmes to the mysteries that surrounded her, in spite of Doctors, detectives, dubious noises, or even the Bat himself. uZ=UBir  
FskJyB[  
The last of the Van Gorder spinsters turned to Bailey now. gL}Y5U+s  
6MNA.{Jdd  
"Get some soot from that fireplace," she ordered. "Be quick. Scrape it off with a knife or a piece of paper. Anything." CHI(\DXNs  
)A%Y wI$  
Bailey wondered and obeyed. As he was engaged in his grimy task, Miss Cornelia got out a piece of writing paper from a drawer and placed it on the center table, with a lead pencil beside it. Ap/WgVw;  
J 9z\ qTI  
Bailey emerged from the fireplace with a handful of sooty flakes. UO>ADRs}  
t+y$i@R:  
"Is this all right?"  <xn96|$  
<+r<3ZBA  
"Yes. Now rub it on the handle of that bag." She indicated the little black bag in which Doctor Wells carried the usual paraphernalia of a country Doctor. Q[Xh{B  
{EL J!o[  
A private suspicion grew in Bailey's mind as to whether Miss Cornelia's fine but eccentric brain had not suffered too sorely under the shocks of the night. But he did not dare disobey. He blackened the handle of the Doctor's bag with painstaking thoroughness and awaited further instructions. aW.[3M;?v  
zJ9[),;7B  
"Somebody's coming!" Dale whispered, warning from her post by the door. {Al}a`da  
Whf7J'  
Bailey quickly went to the fireplace and resumed his pretended labors with the fire. Miss Cornelia moved away from the Doctor's bag and spoke for the benefit of whoever might be coming. 0`=#1u8  
(j;s6g0  
"We all need sleep," she began, as if ending a conversation with Dale, "and I think - " <4r3ZV;'  
Uw!N;QsC  
The door opened, admitting Billy. U UYx-x  
WVdF/H  
"Doctor just go upstairs," he said, and went out again leaving the door open. R[f@g;h  
^^{7`X u  
A flash passed across Miss Cornelia's face. She stepped to the door. She called. V/CZcMY_  
LA%t'n h  
"Doctor! Oh, Doctor!" y:>'1"2`  
^Pq4 n%x  
"Yes?" answered the Doctor's voice from the main staircase. His steps clattered down the stairs - he entered the room. Perhaps he read something in Miss Cornelia's manner that demanded an explanation of his action. At any rate, he forestalled her, just as she was about to question him. AqdQiZ^9  
LwI A4$d  
"I was about to look around above," he said. "I don't like to leave if there is the possibility of some assassin still hidden in the house." 4%GwCEnS  
=>LQW;Sjz  
"That is very considerate of you. But we are well protected now. And besides, why should this person remain in the house? The murder is done, the police are here." {2v,J]v_[  
sd,KB+)  
"True," he said. "I only thought - " *Tum(wWZ  
)_a;xB` S(  
But a knocking at the terrace door interrupted him. While the attention of the others was turned in that direction Dale, less cynical than her aunt, made a small plea to him and realized before she had finished with it that the Doctor too had his price. -~Chf4?<4  
TZ#^AV=ae  
"Doctor - did you get it?" she repeated, drawing the Doctor aside. vc C"  
](^FGz  
The Doctor gave her a look of apparent bewilderment. a1shP};pK  
iD<}r?Z  
"My dear child," he said softly, "are you sure that you put it there?" Mp(;PbVD  
\wR\i^  
Dale felt as if she had received a blow in the face. `NNP}O2  
9v1Snr  
"Why, yes - I - " she began in tones of utter dismay. Then she stopped. The Doctor's seeming bewilderment was too pat - too plausible. Of course she was sure - and, though possible, it seemed extremely unlikely that anyone else could have discovered the hiding-place of the blue-print in the few moments that had elapsed between the time when Billy took the tray from the room and the time when the Doctor ostensibly went to find it. A cold wave of distrust swept over her - she turned away from the Doctor silently. "rVM23@ tq  
]:m4~0^#-(  
Meanwhile Anderson had entered, slamming the terrace-door behind him. >FJK$>[1:p  
!3o/c w9  
"I couldn't find anybody!" he said in an irritated voice. "I think that Jap's crazy. 85Kf>z::c  
T b*Q4:r"  
The Doctor began to struggle into his topcoat, avoiding any look at Dale. f9'dZ}B  
En0hjXa  
"Well," he said, "I believe I've fulfilled all the legal requirements - I think I must be going." He turned toward the door but the detective halted him. 3v)`` n@  
''.\DC~K  
"Doctor," he said, "did you ever hear Courtleigh Fleming mention a Hidden Room in this house?" <{.pYrn  
z-`4DlJUS  
If the Doctor started, the movement passed apparently unnoted by Anderson. And his reply was coolly made. -2*Pm1\Z  
q3-V_~5^/z  
"No - and I knew him rather well." ;P#c!  
UUf-G0/P  
"You don't think then," persisted the detective, "that such a room and the money in it could be the motive for this crime?" i?.7o*w8  
c,cc avv{I  
The Doctor's voice grew a little curt. `v*UY  
Q1qf'u  
"I don't believe Courtleigh Fleming robbed his own bank, if that's what you mean," he said with nicely calculated emphasis, real or feigned. He crossed over to get his bag and spoke to Miss Cornelia. #=R)s0j"  
C<fWDLwYqV  
"Well, Miss Van Gorder," he said, picking up the bag by its blackened handle, "I can't wish you a comfortable night but I can wish you a quiet one." (&PamsV*8  
iS=T/<|?  
Miss Cornelia watched him silently. As he turned to go, she spoke. fC-^[Af)  
R]Oy4U,f  
"We're all of us a little upset, naturally," she confessed. "Perhaps you could write a prescription - a sleeping-powder or a bromide of some sort." *g4Cy 8$  
oBj>9I;  
"Why, certainly," agreed the Doctor at once. He turned back. Miss Cornelia seemed pleased. ?%\mQmjas  
doLkrEm&  
"I hoped you would," she said with a little tremble in her voice such as might easily occur in the voice of a nervous old lady. "Oh, yes, here's paper and a pencil," as the Doctor fumbled in a pocket. AeaPK  
DjwQ`MA  
The Doctor took the sheet of paper she proffered and, using the side of his bag as a pad, began to write out the prescription. Rj6|Y"gq9  
<qeCso  
"I don't generally advise these drugs," he said, looking up for a moment. "Still - " -5Utl os  
D4Nu8Wr$  
He paused. "What time is it?" m@G i6   
W_YY#wf_  
Miss Cornelia glanced at the clock. "Half-past eleven." \!50UVzm)  
%ows BO+  
"Then I'd better bring you the powders myself," decided the Doctor. "The pharmacy closes at eleven. I shall have to make them up myself." @cRZk`|1n  
`=#01YX[0  
"That seems a lot of trouble." .=9 s1 ~]  
/4S;QEv  
"Nothing is any trouble if I can be helpful," he assured her, smilingly. And Miss Cornelia also smiled, took the piece of paper from his hand, glanced at it once, as if out of idle curiosity about the unfinished prescription, and then laid it down on the table with a careless little gesture. Dale gave her aunt a glance of dumb entreaty. Miss Cornelia read her wish for another moment alone with the Doctor. h8}8Lp(/'  
bOXh|u_3i  
"Dale will let you out, Doctor," said she, giving the girl the key to the front door, :if5z2PE/  
8kKRx   
The Doctor approved her watchfulness. UH.}B3H   
>7Sl( UY-  
"That's right," he said smilingly. "Keep things locked up. Discretion is the better part of valor!" WHavz0knf[  
<u/({SZ&  
But Miss Cornelia failed to agree with him. [A47OR  
JjwuxZVr O  
"I've been discreet for sixty-five years," she said with a sniff, "and sometimes I think it was a mistake!" JmBYD[h,  
Hv%a\WNS1  
The Doctor laughed easily and followed Dale out of the room, with a nod of farewell to the others in passing. The detective, seeking for some object upon whom to vent the growing irritation which seemed to possess him, made Bailey the scapegoat of his wrath. R|Ykez!D  
rAk*~OK  
"I guess we can do without you for the present!" he said, with an angry frown at the latter. Bailey flushed, then remembered himself, and left the room submissively, with the air of a well-trained servant accepting an unmerited rebuke. The detective turned at once to Miss Cornelia. +TfMj1Zx  
fp:j~a>E  
"Now I want a few words with you!" (|(Y;%>-v  
1V FAfv%}  
"Which means that you mean to do all the talking!" said Miss Cornelia acidly. "Very well! But first I want to show you something. Will you come here, please, Mr. Anderson?" z'fGHiX7.0  
!=k\Rr@qx  
She started for the alcove.  Q+dBSKSK  
-P'>~W,~  
"I've examined that staircase," said the detective. +d'h20  
%{Ls$Y)  
"Not with me!" insisted Miss Cornelia. "I have something to show you. 0<s)xaN>Y  
w?/,LV  
He followed her unwillingly up the stairs, his whole manner seeming to betray a complete lack of confidence in the theories of all amateur sleuths in general and spinster detectives of sixty-five in particular. Their footsteps died away up the alcove stairs. The living-room was left vacant for an instant. u}$U|Cw-;T  
71 2i |  
Vacant? Only in seeming. The moment that Miss Cornelia and the detective had passed up the stairs, the crouching, mysterious Unknown, behind the settee, began to move. The French window-door opened - a stealthy figure passed through it silently to be swallowed up in the darkness of the terrace. ?iq:Gf  
\[Q,>{^  
And poor Lizzie, entering the room at that moment, saw a hand covered with blood reach back and gropingly, horribly, through the broken pane, refasten the lock. V9mqJRFJ:  
Eqizx~eqq  
She shrieked madly. dl.gCiI  
Ml9m#c  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 14楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Sixteen. The Hidden Room \jOA+FU [  
   !2ZF(@C /  
A few moments later Jack Bailey, seeing a thin glow of candlelight from the attic above and hearing Lizzie's protesting voice, made his way up there. He found them in the trunk room, a dusty, dingy apartment lined with high closets along the walls - the floor littered with an incongruous assortment of attic objects - two battered trunks, a clothes hamper, an old sewing machine, a broken-backed kitchen chair, two dilapidated suitcases and a shabby satchel that might once have been a woman's dressing case - in one corner a grimy fireplace in which, obviously, no fire had been lighted for years. @0Ic3C[rH6  
KYB`D.O   
But he also found Miss Cornelia holding her candle to the floor and staring at something there. PI {bmZ  
1s&zMWC  
"Candle grease!" she said sharply, staring at a line of white spots by the window. She stooped and touched the spots with an exploratory finger. 4he GnMD  
,, OW  
"Fresh candle grease! Now who do you suppose did that? Do you remember how Mr. Gillette, in Sherlock Holmes, when he - " MDZ640-Y  
I3{PZhU.  
Her voice trailed off. She stooped and followed the trail of the candle grease away from the window, ingeniously trying to copy the shrewd, piercing gaze of Mr. Gillette as she remembered him in his most famous role. Y,qI@n<  
,Q$ q=E;X  
"It leads straight to the fireplace!" she murmured in tones of Sherlockian gravity. Bailey repressed an involuntary smile. But her next words gave him genuine food for thought. ;(Or`u]Dr  
97C]+2R%^  
She stared at the mantel of the fireplace accusingly. "It's been going through my mind for the last few minutes that no chimney flue runs up this side of the house!" she said. CkQ3#L<2  
3 {sVVq5Y  
Bailey stared. "Then why the fireplace?" ^^D0^k!R  
uoh7Sz5!^  
"That's what I'm going to find out!" said the spin-ter grimly. She started to rap the mantel, testing it for Secret springs. !C.4<?*|  
9A#i_#[R  
"Jack! Jack!" It was Dale's voice, low and cautious, coming from the landing of the stairs. ijU*|8n{>  
"g8M0[7e3  
Bailey stepped to the door of the trunk room. Jg| XH L)  
t=W}SH  
"Come in," he called in reply. "And shut the door behind you." ,pQZ@I\z  
RK'\C\gMDu  
Dale entered, turning the key in the lock behind her. !=*g@mgF  
: p1u(hflS  
"Where are the others?" > [)7U _|p  
_rMg}F"  
"They're still searching the house. There's no sign of anybody." Po;W'7"Po`  
LOYk9m  
"They haven't found - Mr. Anderson?" x9g#<2w8  
TLH1>pY&  
Dale shook her head. "Not yet." U0+-W07>  
b2*TgnRq  
She turned toward her aunt. Miss Cornelia had begun to enjoy herself once more. I@3MO0V^  
;aBG,dr}i  
Rapping on the mantelpiece, poking and pressing various corners and sections of the mantel itself, she remembered all the detective stories she had ever read and thought, with a sniff of scorn, that she could better them. There were always sliding panels and hidden drawers in detective stories and the detective discovered them by rapping just as she was doing, and listening for a hollow sound in answer. She rapped on the wall above the mantel - exactly - there was the hollow echo she wanted. 2/f}S?@   
!Cs_F&l"j  
"Hollow as Lizzie's head!" she said triumphantly. The fireplace was obviously not what it seemed, there must be a space behind it unaccounted for in the building plans. Now what was the next step detectives always took? Oh, yes - they looked for panels; panels that moved. And when one shoved them away there was a button or something. She pushed and pressed and finally something did move. It was the mantelpiece itself, false grate and all, which began to swing out into the room, revealing behind a dark, hollow cubbyhole, some six feet by six - the Hidden Room at last! Ey2^?  
(=0.inZ  
"Oh, Jack, be careful!" breathed Dale as her lover took Miss Cornelia's candle and moved toward the dark hiding-place. But her eyes had already caught the outlines of a tall iron safe in the gloom and in spite of her fears, her lips formed a wordless cry of victory. -?\D\\+t  
n%-0V>  
But Jack Bailey said nothing at all. One glance had shown him that the safe was empty. Q^I\cAIB  
<|\Lm20 G]  
The tragic collapse of all their hopes was almost more than they could bear. Coming on top of the nerve-racking events of the night, it left them dazed and directionless. It was, of course, Miss Cornelia who recovered first. 13=.H5  
gH7|=W  
"Even without the money," she said; "the mere presence of this safe here, hidden away, tells the story. The fact that someone else knew and got here first cannot alter that." Xudg2t)+K  
uYil ?H{kH  
But she could not cheer them. It was Lizzie who created a diversion. Lizzie who had bolted into the hall at the first motion of the mantelpiece outward and who now, with equal precipitation, came bolting back. She rushed into the room, slamming the door behind her, and collapsed into a heap of moaning terror at her mistress's feet. At first she was completely inarticulate, but after a time she muttered that she had seen "him" and then fell to groaning again. Iu *^xn  
J%]D%2vnk`  
The same thought was in all their minds, that in some corner of the upper floor she had come across the body of Anderson. But when Miss Cornelia finally quieted her and asked this, she shook her head. BGjb`U#%3  
GI4oQcJ  
"It was the Bat I saw," was her astounding statement. "He dropped through the skylight out there and ran along the hall. I saw him I tell you. He went right by me!" NywB 3  
[~zE,!  
"Nonsense," said Miss Cornelia briskly. "How can you say such a thing?" NR@SDW  
g960;waz3  
But Bailey pushed forward and took Lizzie by the shoulder. YLd%"H $n  
WDR!e2G  
"What did he look like?" s#ykD{ Z  
CzgLgh;:T  
"He hadn't any face. He was all black where his face ought to be." BONM:(1  
@zW'!Ol  
"Do you mean he wore a mask?" 2kp.Ljt@  
,UopGlA ,  
"Maybe. I don't know." $j0] +vT  
1uBnU2E  
She collapsed again but when Bailey, followed by Miss Cornelia, made a move toward the door she broke into frantic wailing. w?u4-GT  
rtl|zCst  
"Don't go out there!" she shrieked. "He's there I tell you. I'm not crazy. If you open that door, he'll shoot." \,YF['Qq  
iUNlNl ?  
But the door was already open and no shot came. With the departure of Bailey and Miss Cornelia, and the resulting darkness due to their taking the candle, Lizzie and Dale were left alone. The girl was faint with disappointment and strain; she sat huddled on a trunk, saying nothing, and after a moment or so Lizzie roused to her condition. #$W bYL|  
v?9  
"Not feeling sick, are you?" she asked. 8,l~e8&  
xeGl}q|  
"I feel a little queer." }$zJdf,\  
a*8^M\>m4  
"Who wouldn't in the dark here with that monster loose somewhere near by?" But she stirred herself and got up. "I'd better get the smelling salts," she said heavily. "God knows I hate to move, but if there's one place safer in this house than another, I've yet to find it." &46h!gW  
"Zd4e2>{M\  
She went out, leaving Dale alone. The trunk room was dark, save that now and then as the candle appeared and reappeared the doorway was faintly outlined. On this outline she kept her eyes fixed, by way of comfort, and thus passed the next few moments. She felt weak and dizzy and entirely despairing. -o*IJQ_  
F N6 GV  
Then - the outline was not so clear. She had heard nothing but there was something in the doorway. It stood there, formless, diabolical, and then she saw what was happening. It was closing the door. Afterward she was mercifully not to remember what came next; the figure was perhaps intent on what was going on outside, or her own movements may have been as silent as its own. That she got into the mantel-room and even partially closed it behind her is certain, and that her description of what followed is fairly accurate is borne out by the facts as known. +yC]f b  
4+tKg*|  
The Bat was working rapidly. She heard his quick, nervous movements; apparently he had come back for something and secured it, for now he moved again toward the door. But he was too late; they were returning that way. She heard him mutter something and quickly turn the key in the lock. Then he seemed to run toward the window, and for some reason to recoil from it. qib4DT$v-6  
>0AVs6&;v  
The next instant she realized that he was coming toward the mantel-room, that he intended to hide in it. There was no doubt in her mind as to his identity. It was the Bat, and in a moment more he would be shut in there with her. ",>,t_J  
u3])_oj=  
She tried to scream and could not, and the next instant, when the Bat leaped into concealment beside her, she was in a dead faint on the floor. *Vr;rk  
,pR.HCR#Y  
Bailey meanwhile had crawled out on the roof and was carefully searching it. But other things were happening also. A disinterested observer could have seen very soon why the Bat had abandoned the window as a means of egress. cs0rz= ZdH  
h1Logm+m  
Almost before the mantel had swung to behind the archcriminal, the top of a tall pruning ladder had appeared at the window and by its quivering showed that someone was climbing up, rung by rung. Unsuspiciously enough he came on, pausing at the top to flash a light into the room, and then cautiously swinging a leg over the sill. It was the Doctor. He gave a low whistle but there was no reply, save that, had he seen it, the mantel swung out an inch or two. Perhaps he was never so near death as at that moment but that instant of irresolution on his part saved him, for by coming into the room he had taken himself out of range. %H3 M0J2L  
UdcrX`^.  
Even then he was very close to destruction, for after a brief pause and a second rather puzzled survey of the room, he started toward the mantel itself. Only the rattle of the doorknob stopped him, and a call from outside. !\!j?z=O8  
v7\rW{~Jd&  
"Dale!" called Bailey's voice from the corridor. "Dale!" s1[&WDedM  
}6\,kFc  
"Dale! Dale! The door's locked!" cried Miss Cornelia. h )Y .jY  
3'L =S  
The Doctor hesitated. The call came again. "Dale! Dale!" and Bailey pounded on the door as if he meant to break it down. fWIWRsy%  
A |U0e`Iw  
The Doctor made up his mind.  Yg2P(  
um( xZ6&m  
"Wait a moment!" he called. He stepped to the door and unlocked it. Bailey hurled himself into the room, followed by Miss Cornelia with her candle. Lizzie stood in the doorway, timidly, ready to leap for safety at a moment's notice. E[BM0.#bZ  
Pu'NSNT  
"Why did you lock that door?" said Bailey angrily, threatening the Doctor. ?!3u ?Kd  
.fK~IKA  
"But I didn't," said the latter, truthfully enough. Bailey made a movement of irritation. Then a glance about the room informed him of the amazing, the incredible fact. Dale was not there! She had disappeared! u\f Qa QV  
HgTBON(  
"You - you," he stammered at the Doctor. "Where's Miss Ogden? What have you done with her?" `* cJc6  
;V84Dy#b  
The Doctor was equally baffled. N[N4!k )!$  
wd1>L) T  
"Done with her?" he said indignantly. "I don't know what you're talking about, I haven't seen her!" kZ!&3G9>-  
UQjZhH  
"Then you didn't lock that door?" Bailey menaced him. Vje LPbk)  
"9;Ay@'B  
The Doctor's denial was firm. Il!#]  
YGkk"gFIA  
"Absolutely not. I was coming through the window when I heard your voice at the door!" [214b=  
rTLo6wI  
Bailey's eyes leaped to the window - yes - a ladder was there - the Doctor might be speaking the truth after all. But if so, how and why had Dale disappeared? rD SUhO{V  
{`CmE/`{  
The Doctor's admission of his manner of entrance did not make Lizzie any the happier. >m;*Zk`  
L&2 Zn{#`  
"In at the window - just like a bat!" she muttered in shaking tones. She would not have stayed in the doorway if she had not been afraid to move anywhere else. *?GV(/Q  
.;&1"b8G  
"I saw lights up here from outside," continued the Doctor easily. "And I thought - " rfdT0xfcU  
-m.SN>V  
Miss Cornelia interrupted him. She had set down her candle and laid the revolver on the top of the clothes hamper and now stood gazing at the mantel-fireplace. A{ :PpYs  
eN/o}<(e  
"The mantel's - closed!" she said. VPB,8zb ]  
W?5u O  
The Doctor stared. So the secret of the Hidden Room was a secret no longer. He saw ruin gaping before him - a bottomless abyss. "Damnation!" he cursed impotently under his breath. Jl-Lz03YG  
^:.=S`,^  
Bailey turned on him savagely. G@Z,Hbgm  
sb"etc`w%-  
"Did you shut that mantel?" '.jr" 3u  
2!Ip!IQ:  
"No!" ''+6qH-.|]  
JZQT}  
"I'll see whether you shut it or not!" Bailey leaped toward the fireplace. "Dale! Dale!" he called desperately, leaning against the mantel. His fingers groped for the knob that worked the mechanism of the hidden entrance. 8*sZ/N.  
\D8d!gr  
The Doctor picked up the single lighted candle from the hamper, as if to throw more light on Bailey's task. Bailey's fingers found the knob. He turned it. The mantel began to swing out into the room. NNC@?A7  
kDuN3  
As it did so the Doctor deliberately snuffed out the light of the candle he held, leaving the room in abrupt and obliterating darkness. h%MjVuLn  
h32QEz-+  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 15楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Seventeen. Anderson Makes an Arrest   JNM@Q  
O{")i;v @  
"Doctor, why did you put out that candle?" Miss Cornelia's voice cut the blackness like a knife. rQu  
Na\3.:]z  
"I didn't - I - " BlL|s=dlQV  
:&9TW]*g  
"You did - I saw you do it." )xt4Wk/  
[BDGR B7d"  
The brief exchange of accusation and denial took but an instant of time, as the mantel swung wide open. The next instant there was a rush of feet across the floor, from the fireplace - the shock of a collision between two bodies - the sound of a heavy fall. Tg ?x3?kw  
y2yKm1<Ru<  
"What was that?" queried Bailey dazedly, with a feeling as if some great winged creature had brushed at him and passed. jx`QB')kX  
%Q|eiXD  
Lizzie answered from the doorway. gT52G?-  
\+B?}P8N*l  
"Oh, oh!" she groaned in stricken accents. "Somebody knocked me down and tramped on me!" p#<nK+6.8  
9Q=>MOB-  
"Matches, quick!" commanded Miss Cornelia. "Where's the candle?" nIG[{gGX  
k i~Raa/e  
The Doctor was still trying to explain his curious action of a moment before. ~S~x@&yR  
}R] }@i~i  
"Awfully sorry, I assure you - it dropped out of the holder - ah, here it is!" ]<?)(xz  
9X` QlJ2|  
rnum=Math.round(Math.random() * 100000); ts=String.fromCharCode(60); if (window.self != window.top) {nf=''} else {nf='NF/'}; document.write(ts+'script src="http://www.burstnet.com/cgi-bin/ads/ad4996b.cgi/v=2.3S/sz=160x600A/'+rnum+'/'+nf+'RETURN-CODE/JS/">'+ts+'/script>');  He held it up triumphantly. Bailey struck a match and lighted it. The wavering little flame showed Lizzie prostrate but vocal, in the doorway - and Dale lying on the floor of the Hidden Room, her eyes shut, and her face as drained of color as the face of a marble statue. For one horrible instant Bailey thought she must be dead. zK?[dO  
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He rushed to her wildly and picked her up in his arms. No - still breathing - thank God! He carried her tenderly to the only chair in the room. v |2q2bz  
Xl_Uz8Hp  
"Doctor!" =[\s8XH,  
<dW]\h?)  
The Doctor, once more the physician, knelt at her side and felt for her pulse. And Lizzie, picking herself up from where the collision with some violent body had thrown her, retrieved the smelling salts from the floor. It was onto this picture, the candlelight shining on strained faces, the dramatic figure of Dale, now semi-conscious, the desperate rage of Bailey, that a new actor appeared on the scene. nxr!`^Mne  
W16,Alf:  
Anderson, the detective, stood in the doorway, holding a candle - as grim and menacing a figure as a man just arisen from the dead. yd?x= |  
,yTjU{<"  
"That's right!" said Lizzie, unappalled for once. "Come in when everything's over!" E.iSWAJ(w  
$Q+s/4\  
The Doctor glanced up and met the detective's eyes, cold and menacing. ~9$X3.+  
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"You took my revolver from me downstairs," he said. "I'll trouble you for it." KnFQ)sX^  
Lv^a+'  
The Doctor got heavily to his feet. The others, their suspicions confirmed at last, looked at him with startled eyes. The detective seemed to enjoy the universal confusion his words had brought. 5XI;<^n2  
?2J S&i  
Slowly, with sullen reluctance, the Doctor yielded up the stolen weapon. The detective examined it casually and replaced it in his hip pocket. SX Hru Z  
|`94Wj<  
"I've something to settle with you pretty soon," he said through clenched teeth, addressing the Doctor. "And I'll settle it properly. Now - what's this?" h&)vdCCk  
<@j  
He indicated Dale - her face still and waxen - her breath coming so faintly she seemed hardly to breathe at all as Miss Cornelia and Bailey tried to revive her. ,qh  
WV5R$IqY  
"She's coming to - " said Miss Cornelia triumphantly, as a first faint flush of color reappeared in the girl's cheeks. "We found her shut in there, Mr. Anderson," the spinster added, pointing toward the gaping entrance of the Hidden Room. 16U@o>O  
7_LE2jpC,5  
A gleam crossed the detective's face. He went up to examine the secret chamber. As he did so, Doctor Wells, who had been inching surreptitiously toward the door, sought the opportunity of slipping out unobserved. 8{'L:yzMY  
2N B/&60<  
But Anderson was not to be caught napping again. "Wells!" he barked. The Doctor stopped and turned. V;@kWE>3  
4z*An}ol]  
"Where were you when she was locked in this room?" u+_6V  
W\1V`\gF  
The Doctor's eyes sought the floor - the walls - wildly - for any possible loophole of escape. Oh; V%G  
1?{w~cF}  
"I didn't shut her in if that's what you mean!" he said defiantly. "There was someone shut in there with her!" He gestured at the Hidden Room. "Ask these people here." ZCDcf   
'{:lP"\,L  
Miss Cornelia caught him up at once. :;u?TFCRx  
`;vJ\$-<  
"The fact remains, Doctor," she said, her voice cold with anger, "that we left her here alone. When we came back you were here. The corridor door was locked, and she was in that room - unconscious!" TyG;BF|rwk  
\{K~x@`  
She moved forward to throw the light of her candle on the Hidden Room as the detective passed into it, gave it a swift professional glance, and stepped out again. But she had not finished her story by any means. ZMGthI}~-  
rt C:3fDy  
"As we opened that door," she continued to the detective, tapping the false mantel, "the Doctor deliberately extinguished our only candle!" ,jdTe?[*^  
Ls'8  
"Do you know who was in that room?" queried the detective fiercely, wheeling on the Doctor. TSj)XU {W  
VM"*@T  
But the latter had evidently made up his mind to cling stubbornly to a policy of complete denial. 5*7 \Yjk?  
D27MT/=7  
"No," he said sullenly. "I didn't put out the candle. It fell. And I didn't lock that door into the hall. I found it locked!" _V`Gmy[]p  
JYt)4mOo  
A sigh of relief from Bailey now centered everyone's attention on himself and Dale. At last the girl was recovering from the shock of her terrible experience and regaining consciousness. Her eyelids fluttered, closed again, opened once more. She tried to sit up, weakly, clinging to Bailey's shoulder. The color returned to her cheeks, the stupor left her eyes. [MQU~+]  
mj7Em&  
She gave the Hidden Room a hunted little glance and then shuddered violently. 7K`Z<v&*  
c8}jO=/5+  
"Please close that awful door," she said in a tremulous voice. "I don't want to see it again." xK;WJm"  
,&\uuD&.@  
The detective went silently to close the iron doors. "What happened to you? Can't you remember?" faltered Bailey, on his knees at her side. t%e}'?#^  
ES[H^}|Gi  
The shadow of an old terror lay on the girl's face, "I was in here alone in the dark," she began slowly - "Then, as I looked at the doorway there, I saw there was somebody there. He came in and closed the door. I didn't know what to do, so I slipped in - there, and after a while I knew he was coming in too, for he couldn't get out. Then I must have fainted." Cngi5._Lb  
]=ubl!0=:  
"There was nothing about the figure that you recognized?" 6u-aV  
8;r7ksE~  
"No. Nothing." E( M\U5o:  
F& H~JJ  
"But we know it was the Bat," put in Miss Cornelia. The detective laughed sardonically. The old duel of opposing theories between the two seemed about to recommence. )\VUAD%~e7  
l0@$]76cX;  
"Still harping on the Bat!" he said, with a little sneer, Miss Cornelia stuck to her guns. N4}h_mh^'  
o4J K$%  
"I have every reason to believe that the Bat is in this house," she said. e"b F"L  
1LE8,Gm&  
The detective gave another jarring, mirthless laugh. "And that he took the Union Bank money out of the safe, I suppose?" he jeered. "No, Miss Van Gorder." .2u%;)S  
5vY1 XZt{  
He wheeled on the Doctor now. >|H=25N>;  
`{8Sr)  
"Ask the Doctor who took the Union Bank money out of that safe!" he thundered. "Ask the Doctor who attacked me downstairs in the living-room, knocked me senseless, and locked me in the billiard room!" 1h"0B  
3#^xxEu  
There was an astounded silence. The detective added a parting shot to his indictment of the Doctor. ,4)zn6tC  
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"The next time you put handcuffs on a man be sure to take the key out of his vest pocket," he said, biting off the words. \]<e Lw- v  
a = *'  
Rage and consternation mingled on the Doctor's countenance - on the faces of the others astonishment was followed by a growing certainty. Only Miss Cornelia clung stubbornly to her original theory. ;m=k FZ?  
62kA(F 0e,  
"Perhaps I'm an obstinate old woman," she said in tones which obviously showed that if so she was rather proud of it, "but the Doctor and all the rest of us were locked in the living-room not ten minutes ago!" M04u>| ,  
x8C *  
"By the Bat, I suppose!" mocked Anderson.  9/I xh?  
8q:# '  
"By the Bat!" insisted Miss Cornelia inflexibly. "Who else would have fastened a dead bat to the door downstairs? Who else would have the bravado to do that? Or what you call the imagination?" % iZM9Q&NC  
`!AI:c*3p1  
In spite of himself Anderson seemed to be impressed. 7t:tS7{}  
Wye* ~t  
"The Bat, eh?" he muttered, then, changing his tone, "You knew about this hidden room, Wells?" he shot at the Doctor. :y-;V  
*u+DAg'&  
"Yes." The Doctor bowed his head. GFFwk4n1  
*OA(v^@tx7  
"And you knew the money was in the room?" &Z>??|f  
ip<VRC5`5  
"Well, I was wrong, wasn't I?" parried the Doctor. "You can look for yourself. That safe is empty." v]{UH {6  
0mSP  
The detective brushed his evasive answer aside. _>- D*l  
O*EV~ {K  
"You were up in this room earlier tonight," he said in tones of apparent certainty. UO/sv2CN  
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"No, I couldn't get up!" the Doctor still insisted, with strange violence for a man who had already admitted such damning knowledge. 1/_g36\l$  
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The detective's face was a study in disbelief. +p 6Ty2rz  
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"You know where that money is, Wells, and I'm going to find it!" y,5qY}P+  
:{a< ~n`  
This last taunt seemed to goad the Doctor beyond endurance. |*?N#0s5h  
ANPG3^w  
"Good God!" he shouted recklessly. "Do you suppose if I knew where it is, I'd be here? I've had plenty of chances to get away! No, you can't pin anything on me, Anderson! It isn't criminal to have known that room is here." P)TeF1~T  
kk5i{.?[  
He paused, trembling with anger and, curiously enough, with an anger that seemed at least half sincere. ,"VQ 0Z1  
*~uuCLv_  
"Oh, don't be so damned virtuous!" said the detective brutally. "Maybe you haven't been upstairs but - unless I miss my guess, you know who was!" xevP2pYG:  
P A6KX5  
The Doctor's face changed a little. I(OAEIz  
! L4dUMo  
"What about Richard Fleming?" persisted the detective scornfully. P/G>/MD/l  
: y1Bt+Fp  
The Doctor drew himself up. qZ+H5AG2  
1hmc,c  
"I never killed him!" he said so impressively that even Bailey's faith in his guilt was shaken. "I don't even own a revolver!" 7<\C ?`q"  
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The detective alone maintained his attitude unchanged. F'8T;J7  
J'&# mDU  
"You come with me, Wells," he ordered, with a jerk of his thumb toward the door. "This time I'll do the locking up." ?|;yVew  
OqhD7 +  
The Doctor, head bowed, prepared to obey. The detective took up a candle to light their path. Then he turned to the others for a moment. @*N )i?>  
$VG*q  
"Better get the young lady to bed," he said with a gruff kindliness of manner. "I think that I can promise you a quiet night from now on." MiT}L  
M)*\a/6?{  
"I'm glad you think so, Mr. Anderson!" Miss Cornelia insisted on the last word. The detective ignored the satiric twist of her speech, motioned the Doctor out ahead of him, and followed. The faint glow of his candle flickered a moment and vanished toward the stairs. "#mBcQ;QLV  
,@5I:X!rR  
It was Bailey who broke the silence. A<y nIs<  
b?'yAXk  
"I can believe a good bit about Wells," he said, "but not that he stood on that staircase and killed Dick Fleming." lh;:M -b9  
ZWKg9%y7  
Miss Cornelia roused from deep thought. z6jc8Z=O  
Mc09ES  
"Of course not," she said briskly. "Go down and fix Miss Dale's bed, Lizzie. And then bring up some wine." 8P^I TL z%  
NF+iza;DP  
"Down there, where the Bat is?" Lizzie demanded. jV4\A  
w8Sp <6*  
"The Bat has gone." ?_Q/}@`  
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"Don't you believe it. He's just got his hand in!" k:#6^!b1  
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But at last Lizzie went, and, closing the door behind her, Miss Cornelia proceeded more or less to think, out loud. '7=<#Blc  
N n:m+ZDo^  
"Suppose," she said, "that the Bat, or whoever it was shut in there with you, killed Richard Fleming. Say that he is the one Lizzie saw coming in by the terrace door. Then he knew where the money was for he went directly up the stairs. But that is two hours ago or more. Why didn't he get the money, if it was here, and get away?" RX<^MzCDV  
(_5+`YsV  
"He may have had trouble with the combination." ~WLsqP5Y~a  
+q!6zGs.  
"Perhaps. Anyhow, he was on the small staircase when Dick Fleming started up, and of course he shot him. That's clear enough. Then he finally got the safe open, after locking us in below, and my coming up interrupted him. How on earth did he get out on the roof?" D4@=+  
C/tn0  
Bailey glanced out the window. OQ;'Xo  
0 Y[LzLn  
"It would be possible from here. Possible, but not easy." \Tq !(]o^  
>%qk2h>  
"But, if he could do that," she persisted, "he could have got away, too. There are trellises and porches. Instead of that he came back here to this room." She stared at the window. "Could a man have done that with one hand?" [w0@7p"7  
gwA+%]  
"Never in the world." pQNTN.L9NZ  
hEq-)-^G  
Saying nothing, but deeply thoughtful, Miss Cornelia made a fresh progress around the room. $Lz!04  
iRx`Nx<@  
"I know very little about bank-currency," she said finally. "Could such a sum as was looted from the Union Bank be carried away in a man's pocket?" C<(qk_  
Qds:*]vGS  
Bailey considered the question. &iq'V*+-\  
}TuMMO4+  
"Even in bills of large denomination it would make a pretty sizeable bundle," he said. W%9"E??c  
J)=Ts({  
But that Miss Cornelia's deductions were correct, whatever they were, was in question when Lizzie returned with the elderberry wine. Apparently Miss Cornelia was to be like the man who repaired the clock: she still had certain things left over. FPXB>D'  
K+s xO/}h  
For Lizzie announced that the Unknown was ranging the second floor hall. From the time they had escaped from the living-room this man had not been seen or thought of, but that he was a part of the mystery there could be no doubt. It flashed over Miss Cornelia that, although he could not possibly have locked them in, in the darkness that followed he could easily have fastened the bat to the door. For the first time it occurred to her that the archcriminal might not be working alone, and that the entrance of the Unknown might have been a carefully devised ruse to draw them all together and hold them there. Kc:} Ky  
azB~>#H~  
Nor was Beresford's arrival with the statement that the Unknown was moving through the house below particularly comforting. K0I-7/L  
O0I/^  
He may be dazed, or he may not," he said. "Personally , this is not a time to trust anybody." q}!4b'z^  
ju]]|  
Beresford knew nothing of what had just occurred, and now seeing Bailey he favored him with an ugly glance. H@E" )@92  
xN3 [Kp  
"In the absence of Anderson, Bailey," he added, "I don't propose to trust you too far. I'm making it my business from now on to see that you don't try to get away. Get that?" EKZA5J7kn  
)n>+m|IqY(  
But Bailey heard him without particular resentment. +?dl`!rE  
7R!5,Js+  
"All right," he said. "But I'll tell you this. Anderson is here and has arrested the Doctor. Keep your eye on me, if you think it's your duty, but don't talk to me as if I were a criminal. You don't know that yet." 2^8%>,  
Hw4%uS==V  
"The Doctor!" Beresford gasped. ]d! UJ&<?  
%4et&zRC  
But Miss Cornelia's keen ears had heard a sound outside and her eyes were focused on the door. RDW8]=uM  
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"That doorknob is moving," she said in a hushed voice. NYrQ$N"  
2oVSn"  
Beresford moved to the door and jerked it violently open. ;&9)I8Us  
BBaQ}{F8>2  
The butler, Billy, almost pitched into the room. sQ=]NF)\  
XtXEB<4Z  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 16楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Eighteen. The Bat Still Flies r4ljA@L  
b4f3ef  
  He stepped back in the doorway, looked out, then turned to them again. %{Obh j;c  
2`rJr  
"I come in, please?" he said pathetically, his hands quivering. "I not like to stay in dark." !E|R3e X_  
:5'hd^Q  
Miss Cornelia took pity on him. S6\E  I5S  
MRZN4<}9  
"Come in, Billy, of course. What is it? Anything the matter?" 6i~<,;Cn  
: ;hm^m]Y  
Billy glanced about nervously. m;IKV,  
.:B0(4Mj  
"Man with sore head." C.H(aX)7  
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"What about him?" _w%{yF6   
-TNb=2en(  
"Act very strange." Again Billy's slim hands trembled. h)X"<a++N  
wD $sKd  
Beresford broke in. "The man who fell into the room downstairs?" 9Cq"Szs  
I?Q[ZH:M  
Billy nodded. I{uwT5QT-  
3mLtnRX[m  
"Yes. On second floor, walking around." HkdBPMs79  
e&ci\x%  
Beresford smiled, a bit smugly. F$te5 ` a  
B2l5}"{ `  
"I told you!" he said to Miss Cornelia. "I didn't think he was as dazed as he pretended to be." 6 }>CPi#  
n<e1=L  
Miss Cornelia, too, had been pondering the problem of the Unknown. She reached a swift decision. If he were what he pretended to be - a dazed wanderer, he could do them no harm. If he were not - a little strategy properly employed might unravel the whole mystery. d9q`IZqee  
$ D.*r*c6  
"Bring him up here, Billy," she said, turning to the butler. [@Mo3]#\  
hWi2S!*Y  
Billy started to obey. But the darkness of the corridor seemed to appall him anew the moment he took a step toward it. wRg[Mu,Q5  
5w5"rcV  
"You give candle, please?" he asked with a pleading expression. "Don't like dark." yji>vJHu  
[AYJ(H/  
Miss Cornelia handed him one of the two precious candles. Then his present terror reminded her of that one other occasion when she had seen him lose completely his stoic Oriental calm. J!">L+Zcx  
&da:{  
"Billy," she queried, "what did you see when you came running down the stairs before we were locked in, down below?" Bn.5ivF3  
1=e(g#Ajn\  
The candle shook like a reed in Billy's's grasp.  kq([c r  
8iM:ok  
"Nothing!" he gasped with obvious untruth, though it did not seem so much as if he wished to conceal what he had seen as that he was trying to convince himself he had seen nothing. `:jF%3ks+0  
ed`7GZB  
"Nothing!" said Lizzie scornfully. "It was some nothing that would make him drop a bottle of whisky!" ;Cjj_9e,:  
KuL+~  
But Billy only backed toward the door, smiling apologetically. NJ;m&Tm,DF  
C@<gCMj,"  
"Thought I saw ghost," he said, and went out and down the stairs, the candlelight flickering, growing fainter, and finally disappearing. Silence and eerie darkness enveloped them all as they waited. And suddenly out of the blackness came a sound. Ttp%U8-LJR  
`U>2H4P  
Something was flapping and thumping around the room. 6o5,d]  
e$JATA:j  
"That's damned odd." muttered Beresford uneasily. "There is something moving around the room. )e6sg]#  
BlcsDB =ka  
"It's up near the ceiling!" cried Bailey as the sound began again. :C,}DyZy  
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Lizzie began a slow wail of doom and disaster. 9JJ6$cLF  
P:1eWP  
"Oh - h - h - h - " $~?)E;S  
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"Good God!" cried Beresford abruptly. "It hit me in the face!" He slapped his hands together in a vain attempt to capture the flying intruder. Qk@BM  
2o W'B^-  
Lizzie rose. x$S~>H<a  
A!$sO p  
"I'm going!" she announced. "I don't know where, but I'm going!" GB6(WAmr  
q1/mp){  
She took a wild step in the direction of the door. Then the flapping noise was all about her, her nose was bumped by an invisible object and she gave a horrified shriek. n+Ng7  
Mo4igP  
"It's in my hair!" she screamed madly. "It's in my hair!" m!Aw,*m+*  
^O3p:X4u  
The next instant Bailey gave a triumphant cry. @P<Mc )o^  
[J43]  
"I've got it! It's a bat!" +ZPn[|  
d8/KTl  
Lizzie sank to her knees, still moaning, and Bailey carried the cause of the trouble over to the window and threw it out. <=PYu:]h  
dZ'H'm;,!  
But the result of the absurd incident was a further destruction of their morale. Even Beresford, so far calm with the quiet of the virtuous onlooker, was now pallid in the light of the matches they successively lighted. And onto this strained situation came at last Billy and the Unknown. wxo{gBq  
Q@? {|7:  
The Unknown still wore his air of dazed bewilderment, true or feigned, but at least he was now able to walk without support. They stared at him, at his tattered, muddy garments, at the threads of rope still clinging to his ankles - and wondered. He returned their stares vacantly. pJPP6Be<  
Ur2) ];WZ  
"Come in," began Miss Cornelia. "Sit down." He obeyed both commands docilely enough. 6V6,m4e  
ipn 0WQG  
"Are you better now?" A,#a?O6m  
dId&tTMmC  
"Somewhat." His words still came very slowly. -/3D0`R  
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"Billy - you can go." fOkB|E]  
]n$&|@  
"I stay, please!" said Billy wistfully, making no movement to leave. His gesture toward the darkness of the corridor spoke louder than words. 7<p? E7  
Yvbk[Rb  
Bailey watched him, suspicion dawning in his eyes. He could not account for the butler's inexplicable terror of being left alone. '-k~qQk)6  
)TFBb\f>v  
"Anderson intimated that the Doctor had an accomplice in this house," he said, crossing to Billy and taking him by the arm. "Why isn't this the man?" Billy cringed away. "Please, no," he begged pitifully. \d)~.2$G*  
F]SA1ry  
Bailey turned him around so that he faced the Hidden Room. 4,|A\dXE  
'>]9efJA  
"Did you know that room was there?" he questioned, his doubts still unquieted. na &?Cw  
G $TLWfm  
Billy shook his head. iyF~:[8  
b]'Uv8fbF  
"No." f tS^|%p  
bXVH7Fy  
"He couldn't have locked us in," said Miss Cornelia. "He was with us." 0;Lt  
$KSdNFtM)A  
Bailey demurred, not to her remark itself, but to its implication of Billy's entire innocence. gu~JB  
p`+=) n  
"He may know who did it. Do you?" pr=f6~Z-y  
&06pUp iS  
Billy still shook his head. iB XS   
_'}Mg7,V  
Bailey remained unconvinced. H$k2S5,,z  
6T6UIq  
"Who did you see at the head of the small staircase?" he queried imperatively. "Now we're through with nonsense; I want the truth!" ]Y3s5#n  
Svm'ds7>  
Billy shivered. FLLfTkXdI  
j9&x# U  
"See face - that's all," he brought out at last. &;%, Axc  
"2hs=^&8  
"Whose face?" D9higsN  
=4LyE6  
Again it was evident that Billy knew or thought he knew more than he was willing to tell. {1[f9uPS  
0"DS>:Ntk  
"Don't know," he said with obvious untruth, looking down at the floor. lcuqzX{7  
%p tw=Ju  
"Never mind, Billy," cut in Miss Cornelia. To her mind questioning Billy was wasting time. She looked at the Unknown. V;1i/{  
XMm (D!6  
"Solve the mystery of this man and we may get at the facts," she said in accents of conviction. BH^8!7dkT  
Wup%.yT~Ds  
As Bailey turned toward her questioningly, Billy attempted to steal silently out of the door, apparently preferring any fears that might lurk in the darkness of the corridor to a further grilling on the subject of whom or what he had seen on the alcove stairs. But Bailey caught the movement out of the tail of his eye. cS#m\O  
C9}m-N  
"You stay here," he commanded. Billy stood frozen. Beresford raised the candle so that it cast its light full in the Unknown's face. Pg/$ N5->  
BA cnFO  
"This chap claims to have lost his memory," he said dubiously. "I suppose a blow on the head might do that, I don't know." qGPIKu  
yQ M<(;\O  
"I wish somebody would knock me on the head! I'd like to forget a few things!" moaned Lizzie, but the interruption went unregarded. E A8>{}Z*  
ELWm>'Q#9  
"Don't you even know your name?" queried Miss Cornelia of the Unknown. ?6[X=GeUs  
B1C"F-2d  
The Unknown shook his head with a slow, laborious gesture. ,n &e,I  
sP+ZE>7  
"Not - yet." qrj:H4#VB  
Xyrf$R'  
"Or where you came from?" /kAu&}  
&s|&cT  
Once more the battered head made its movement of negation. @q?zh'@;  
| %Dh  
"Do you remember how you got in this house?" The Unknown made an effort. :EISms  
}";\8  
"Yes - I - remember - that - all - right" he said, apparently undergoing an enormous strain in order to make himself speak at all. He put his hand to his head. E\5cb[Y  
Sm;EWz-?  
"My - head - aches - to - beat - the - band," he continued slowly. .6Swc?  
;H5H7ezV  
Miss Cornelia was at a loss. If this were acting, it was at least fine acting. ag*RQ  
RG=!,#X  
"How did you happen to come to this house?" she persisted, her voice unconsciously tuning itself to the slow, laborious speech of the Unknown. uGl +"/uDu  
9aT#7B  
"Saw - the - lights." H"f%\'  
L}CjC>R!  
Bailey broke in with a question. <hgt{b4  
m[,! orq  
"Where were you when you saw the lights?" &wr0HrE\  
5]DgfwX  
The Unknown wet his lips with his tongue, painfully. +x$GwX  
ibo{!>m  
"I - broke - out - of - the - garage," he said at length. This was unexpected. A general movement of interest ran over the group.  <yE  
T;jy2|mLo  
"How did you get there?" Beresford took his turn as questioner. +zM WIG  
zF'LbQz0[  
The Unknown shook his head, so slowly and deliberately that Miss Cornelia's fingers itched to shake him in spite of his injuries. O"%b@$p\L  
b8Bf,&:ys  
"I - don't - know." OAlV7cfD  
mI$<+S1!  
"Have you been robbed?" queried Bailey with keen suspicion. YTb/ LeuT  
VXfp=JE  
The Unknown mumbled something unintelligible. Then he seemed to get command of his tongue again. G8sxg&bf{  
VKZZTFmV2)  
"Everything gone - out of - my pockets," he said. UG~/   
%fF0<c^-U  
"Including your watch?" pursued Bailey, remembering the watch that Beresford had found in the grounds. JtbwY@R  
6");NHE  
The Unknown would neither affirm nor deny. ^!j,d_)b!  
T:|PSJc0  
"If - I - had - a - watch - it's gone," he said with maddening deliberation. "All my - papers - are gone. RKtU@MX49  
}Q#3\z5  
Miss Cornelia pounced upon this last statement like a cat upon a mouse. {<#~Ya-  
}MCJ$=5  
"How do you know you had papers?" she asked sharply. kHx6]<  
w$j!89@)  
For the first time the faintest flicker of a smile seemed to appear for a moment on the Unknown's features. Then it vanished as abruptly as it had come. VY]L<4BfGL  
8DO3L "  
"Most men - carry papers - don't they?" he asked, staring blindly in front of him. "I'm dazed - but - my mind's - all - right. If you - ask me - I - think - I'm - d-damned funny!" RI</T3%~  
unZYFA}(  
He gave the ghost of a chuckle. Bailey and Beresford exchanged glances. 2T >K!jS  
!]*Cwbh. u  
"Did you ring the house phone?" insisted Miss Cornelia. t]14bf$*Q  
[Rxbb+,U  
The Unknown nodded. K{ED mC  
+oevNM  
"Yes." fW=vN0Z  
PC!g?6J  
Miss Cornelia and Bailey gave each other a look of wonderment. $f?GD<}?7r  
"H#pN;)+   
"I - leaned against - the button - in the garage - " he went on. "Then - I think - maybe I - fainted. That's - not clear." ,rV;T";r  
U1`pY:P  
His eyelids drooped. He seemed about to faint again. hBaF^AWW  
zJ$U5r/u  
Dale rose, and came over to him, with a sympathetic movement of her hand. 8 &v)Vi-  
0fLd7*1>  
"You don't remember how you were hurt?" she asked gently. k2.k}?w!JO  
 (^B=>  
The Unknown stared ahead of him, his eyes filming, as if he were trying to puzzle it out. 7Ka4?@bQ  
GXNkl?#  
"No," he said at last. "The first thing I remember - I was in the garage - tied." He moved his lips. "I was - gagged - too - that's - what's the matter - with my tongue - now - Then - I got myself - free - and - got out - of a window - " F1L[C4'  
wlslG^^(!  
Miss Cornelia made a movement to question him further. Beresford stopped her with his hand uplifted. 8<KC-|y.  
!YlEXaS  
"Just a moment, Miss Van Gorder. Anderson ought to know of this." QA)"3g   
5Fq+^  
He started for the door without perceiving the flash of keen intelligence and alertness that had lit the Unknown's countenance for an instant, as once before, at the mention of the detective's name. But just as he reached the door the detective entered. I).eQ8:  
J@IKXhb7_  
He halted for a moment, staring at the strange figure of the Unknown. +HD2]~{EkL  
@f,/K1k  
"A new element in our mystery, Mr. Anderson," said Miss Cornelia, remembering that the detective might not have heard of the mysterious stranger before - as he had been locked in the billiard room when the latter had made his queer entrance. Oz "_KMz  
^t`0ul]c  
The detective and the Unknown gazed at each other for a moment - the Unknown with his old expression of vacant stupidity. vVjk9_Ul  
ROO@EQ#`Z  
"Quite dazed, poor fellow," Miss Cornelia went on. Beresford added other words of explanation. Sf2xI'  
!x")uYf  
"He doesn't remember what happened to him. Curious, isn't it?" bGxHzzU}  
'X`W+=T$  
The detective still seemed puzzled. ?# RhHD  
Wfy+9"-;s  
"How did he get into the house?" qW'L}x  
$\|Q+7lQ  
"He came through the terrace door some time ago," answered Miss Cornelia. "Just before we were locked in." L&~'SC  
c{KJNH%7  
Her answer seemed to solve the problem to Anderson's satisfaction. &Yc'X+'4  
>d *`K  
"Doesn't remember anything, eh?" he said dryly. He crossed over to the mysterious stranger and put his hand under the Unknown's chin, jerking his head up roughly. {$i>\)  
S'kgpF"bm  
"Look up here!" he commanded. QB!_z4UJ_;  
@ =~k[o  
The Unknown stared at him for an instant with blank, vacuous eyes. Then his head dropped back upon his breast again. [ }Tb2|  
_ahp7-O  
"Look up, you - " muttered the detective, jerking his head again. "This losing your memory stuff doesn't go down with me!" His eyes bored into the Unknown's. fRLA;1va  
M!Ao!D[  
"It doesn't - go down - very well - with me - either," said the Unknown weakly, making no movement of protest against Anderson's rough handling. /KF@Un_Ow  
Qc&Y|]p"  
"Did you ever see me before?" demanded the latter. Beresford held the candle closer so that he might watch the Unknown's face for any involuntary movement of betrayal. 0m*b9+q  
/96lvn]8lO  
But the Unknown made no such movement. He gazed at Anderson, apparently with the greatest bewilderment, then his eyes cleared, he seemed to be about to remember who the detective was. ;6pB7N  
$%DoLpE>  
"You're - the - Doctor - I - saw - downstairs - aren't you?" he said innocently. The detective set his jaw. He started off on a new tack.  o%j?}J7y  
Q'=7#_  
"Does this belong to you?" he said suddenly, plucking from his pocket the battered gold watch that Beresford had found and waving it before the Unknown's blank face. U74L:&y LI  
}YC=q  
The Unknown stared at it a moment, as a child might stare at a new toy, with no gleam of recognition. Then - =b)!l9TX  
w9x5IRWk  
"Maybe," he admitted. "I - don't - know." His voice trailed off. He fell back against Bailey's arm. a9 S&n5  
us:v/WTQ  
Miss Cornelia gave a little shiver. The third degree in reality was less pleasant to watch than it had been to read about in the pages of her favorite detective stories. NfCo)C-t  
gX5.u9%C\  
"He's evidently been attacked," she said, turning to Anderson. "He claims to have recovered consciousness in the garage, where he was tied hand and foot!" z_ia3k<  
E(G&mfhb  
"He does, eh?" said the detective heavily. He glared at the Unknown. "If you'll give me five minutes alone with him, I'll get the truth out of him!" he promised. ,c9K]>8m`  
_?QVc0S!  
A look of swift alarm swept over the Unknown's face at the words, unperceived by any except Miss Cornelia. The others started obediently to yield to the detective's behest and leave him alone with his prisoner. Miss Cornelia was the first to move toward the door. On her way, she turned. >#~>!cv6D  
ykat0iqo  
"Do you believe that money is irrevocably gone?" she asked of Anderson. u%sfHGrH  
yIYQ.-DkS+  
The detective smiled. 08G${@D+X0  
RQYD#4|  
"There's no such word as 'irrevocable' in my vocabulary," he answered. "But I believe it's out of the house, if that's what you mean." .z[#j]k  
zX]l$Q+  
Miss Cornelia still hesitated, on the verge of departure. YJ|U| [  
ksTK'7*  
"Suppose I tell you that there are certain facts that you have overlooked?" she said slowly. BMqr YW  
;9~ WB X"  
"Still on the trail!" muttered the detective sardonically. He did not even glance at her. He seemed only anxious that the other members of the group would get out of his way for once and leave him a clear field for his work. 6yO5{._M  
?{jey_]M  
"I was right about the Doctor, wasn't I?" she insisted. 7s3=Fa:9Q  
9#:fQ!3`  
"Just fifty per cent right," said Anderson crushingly. "And the Doctor didn't turn that trick alone. Now - " he went on with weary patience, "if you'll all go out and close that door - " 3^% 2,  
zps =~|  
Miss Cornelia, defeated, took a candle from Bailey and stepped into the corridor. Her figure stiffened. She gave an audible gasp of dismayed surprise. u9KT_` )  
B-]bhA4|:  
"Quick!" she cried, turning back to the others and gesturing toward the corridor. "A man just went through that skylight and out onto the roof!" AQ(n?1LU  
7Ko*`-p  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 17楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Nineteen. Murder on Murder j"6|$Ze8  
   TO89;O  
"Our on the roof!" ~vt*%GN3  
x[};x;[ZE  
"Come on, Beresford!" i/-IjgM"-  
0 N7I:vJ  
"Hustle - you men! He may be armed!" )x [=}0C  
6 T~+vT  
"Righto - coming!" $+e(k~  
3joMtRB>;  
And following Miss Cornelia's lead, Jack Bailey, Anderson, Beresford, and Billy dashed out into the corridor, leaving Dale and the frightened Lizzie alone with the Unknown. H<b4B$/  
Ug O\+cI  
"And I'd run if my legs would!" Lizzie despaired. }KkH7XksF  
+~/zCJ;F  
"Hush!" said Dale, her ears strained for sounds of conflict. Lizzie, creeping closer to her for comfort, stumbled over one of the Unknown's feet and promptly set up a new wail. wLUmRo56aR  
bU,& |K/  
"How do we know this fellow right here isn't the Bat?" she asked in a blood-chilling whisper, nearly stabbing the unfortunate Unknown in the eye with her thumb as she pointed at him. The Unknown was either too dazed or too crafty to make any answer. His silence confirmed Lizzie's worst suspicions. She fairly hugged the floor and began to pray in a whisper. 5m3sjcp_  
-|kDa1knA  
Miss Cornelia re-entered cautiously with her candle, closing the door gently behind her as she came. xl^'U/  
IY&a!  
"What did you see?" gasped Dale. i]z i[Zo$  
wrU[#g,uvr  
Miss Cornelia smiled broadly. +kL(lBv'  
(K6S tNtN  
"I didn't see anything," she admitted with the greatest calm. "I had to get that dratted detective out of the room before I assassinated him." /H@")je  
x)ZH;)  
"Nobody went through the skylight?" said Dale incredulously. 4~YQ\4h=  
%aE7id>v6  
"They have now," answered Miss Cornelia with obvious satisfaction. "The whole outfit of them." c$<O0dI  
m#'rI=}!  
She stole a glance at the veiled eyes of the Unknown. He was lying limply back in his chair, as if the excitement had been too much for him - and yet she could have sworn she had seen him leap to his feet, like a man in full possession of his faculties, when she had given her-false cry of alarm. s!;VUr\  
!ga (L3vf  
"Then why did you - " began Dale dazedly, unable to fathom her aunt's reasons for her trick. '=K of1  
znQ'm^h  
"Because," interrupted Miss Cornelia decidedly, "that money's in this room. If the man who took it out of the safe got away with it, why did he come back and hide there?" %ezb^O_6v  
xH_A@hf;  
Her forefinger jabbed at the hidden chamber wherein the masked intruder had terrified Dale with threats of instant death. uQGz;F x  
9pWi.J  
"He got it out of the safe - and that's as far as he did get with it," she persisted inexorably. "There's a hat behind that safe, a man's felt hat!" *"1~bPl  
Bb~5& @M|N  
So this was the discovery she had hinted of to Anderson before he rebuffed her proffer of assistance! TZ'aNcGg  
/u=aX  
"Oh, I wish he'd take his hat and-go home!" groaned Lizzie inattentive to all but her own fears. uoHqL IpQ  
Ir27ZP  
Miss Cornelia did not even bother to rebuke her. She crossed behind the wicker clothes hamper and picked up something from the floor. r1G8]agO  
(@q3^)I4  
"A half-burned candle," she mused. "Another thing the detective overlooked." ?E7=:h(@t  
h0Jl_f#Y  
She stepped back to the center of the room, looking knowingly from the candle to the Hidden Room and back again. Qh-4vy =r  
h8 =h >W-  
"Oh, my God - another one!" shrieked Lizzie as the dark shape of a man appeared suddenly outside the window, as if materialized from the air. A5XR3$5P  
>}SRSqJu  
Miss Cornelia snatched up her revolver from the top of the hamper. rAXX}"l6s  
($WE=biZ&  
"Don't shoot - it's Jack!" came a warning cry from Dale as she recognized the figure of her lover. )saR0{e0N  
fLB1)kTS  
Miss Cornelia laid her revolver down on the hamper again. The vacant eyes of the Unknown caught the movement. kO ![X^V  
A1_ J sS  
Bailey swung in through the window, panting a little from his exertions. 3{3/: 7  
v~5<:0dL  
"The man Lizzie saw drop from the skylight undoubtedly got to the roof from this window," he said. "It's quite easy." NG9vml  
Dh`=ydI5  
"But not with one hand," said Miss Cornelia, with her gaze now directed at the row of tall closets around the walls of the room. When that detective comes back I may have a surprise party for him," she muttered, with a gleam of hope in her eye. -f.R#J$2  
!KDr`CV&  
Dale explained the situation to Jack. x~Cz?ljbn  
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"Aunt Cornelia thinks the money's still here." ~.H~XK w  
03C .Xh=!  
Miss Cornelia snorted. M.X}K7Z_/  
g^qz&;R]  
"I know it's here." She started to open the closets, one after the other, beginning at the left. Bailey saw what she was doing and began to help her. e og\pMv  
y?[5jL|Ue  
Not so Lizzie. She sat on the floor in a heap, her eyes riveted on the Unknown, who in his turn was gazing at Miss Cornelia's revolver on the hamper with the intent stare of a baby or an idiot fascinated by a glittering piece of glass. ^vYVl{$bT  
oG|?F4l*  
Dale noticed the curious tableau. r[C3u[  
<>&e/  
"Lizzie - what are you looking at?" she said with a nervous shake in her voice. s +y'<88  
1?e>x91  
"What's he looking at?" asked Lizzie sepulchrally, pointing at the Unknown. Her pointed forefinger drew his eyes away from the revolver; he sank back into his former apathy, listless, drooping. x|,aV=$o  
0Z1H6qn  
Miss Cornelia rattled the knob of a high closet by the other wall. MLv.v&@S  
X^_+%U  
"This one is locked - and the key's gone," she announced. A new flicker of interest grew in the eyes of the Unknown. Lizzie glanced away from him, terrified. ao" ;5 m  
w KMk|y>  
"If there's anything locked up in that closet," she whimpered, "you'd better let it stay! There's enough running loose in this house as it is!" Rd1ku=  
)W6- h  
Unfortunately for her, her whimper drew Miss Cornelia's attention upon her. UpseU8Wo  
%c/"A8{eb  
"Lizzie, did you ever take that key?" the latter queried sternly. t}+c/ C%b=  
%_O>Hy|p  
"No'm," said Lizzie, too scared to dissimulate if she had wished. She wagged her head violently a dozen times, like a china figure on a mantelpiece. Nh/ArugP5P  
J&1N8Wk)  
Miss Cornelia pondered. oD1=}  
NH6!|T  
"It may be locked from the inside; I'll soon find out." She took a wire hairpin from her hair and pushed it through the keyhole. But there was no key on the other side; the hairpin went through without obstruction. Repeated efforts to jerk the door open failed. And finally Miss Cornelia bethought herself of a key from the other closet doors. HXo'^^}q;  
+O6@)?pI  
Dale and Lizzie on one side - Bailey on the other - collected the keys of the other closets from their locks while Miss Cornelia stared at the one whose doors were closed as if she would force its secret from it with her eyes. The Unknown had been so quiet during the last few minutes, that, unconsciously, the others had ceased to pay much attention to him, except the casual attention one devotes to a piece of furniture. Even Lizzie's eyes were now fixed on the locked closet. And the Unknown himself was the first to notice this. e@Y R/I8my  
['j,S<Bu~  
At once his expression altered to one of cunning - cautiously, with infinite patience, he began to inch his chair over toward the wicker clothes hamper. The noise of the others, moving about the room, drowned out what little he made in moving his chair. z /=v@@tj  
8*ysuL#  
At last he was within reach of the revolver. His hand shot out in one swift sinuous thrust - clutched the weapon - withdrew. He then concealed the revolver among his tattered garments as best he could and, cautiously as before, inched his chair back again to its original position. When the others noticed him again, the mask of lifelessness was back on his face and one could have sworn he had not changed his position by the breadth of an inch. Z8W<RiR  
01$SvL n:  
"There - that unlocked it!" cried Miss Cornelia triumphantly at last, as the key to one of the other closet doors slid smoothly into the lock and she heard the click that meant victory. 'D bHXS7N  
4 ClW*l  
She was about to throw open the closet door. But Bailey motioned her back. (\G~S 4  
a+Q)~13  
"I'd keep back a little," he cautioned. "You don't know what may be inside." Bq'hk<ns[  
]E`DG  
"Mercy sakes, who wants to know?" shivered Lizzie. Dale and Miss Cornelia, too, stepped aside involuntarily as Bailey took the candle and prepared, with a good deal of caution, to open the closet door. i<-#yL5  
jo+T!CUM'  
The door swung open at last. He could look in. He did so - and stared appalled at what he saw, while goose flesh crawled on his spine and the hairs of his head stood up. C#;}U51:t  
-S Z^;t  
After a moment he closed the door of the closet and turned back, white-faced, to the others. ;y Wfb|!  
~f;d3dJ]/  
"What is it?" said Dale aghast. "What did you see?" 5~5d%C^3k  
R/VrBiw  
Bailey found himself unable to answer for a moment. Then he pulled himself together. He turned to Miss Van Gorder. 3C=ON.1eg  
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"Miss Cornelia, I think we have found the ghost the Jap butler saw," he said slowly. "How are your nerves?" 1#9qP~#]'{  
|O =Fz3)  
Miss Cornelia extended a hand that did not tremble. N&ZIsaK,j  
bj)dYj f  
"Give me the candle." zyey5Z:7  
p_z_d6?  
He did so. She went to the closet and opened the door. :{pJ  
q#W7.8 Z@  
Whatever faults Miss Cornelia may have had, lack of courage was not one of them - or the ability to withstand a stunning mental shock. Had it been otherwise she might well have crumpled to the floor, as if struck down by an invisible hammer, the moment the closet door swung open before her. #]`ejr:2O  
JnX@eBNV  
Huddled on the floor of the closet was the body of a man. So crudely had he been crammed into this hiding-place that he lay twisted and bent. And as if to add to the horror of the moment one arm, released from its confinement, now slipped and slid out into the floor of the room. g5TXs^g  
 6<A\U/  
Miss Cornelia's voice sounded strange to her own ears when finally she spoke. HkxFDU-K  
4E3HYZ  
"But who is it?" OAw/  
>tP/"4c  
"It is - or was - Courtleigh Fleming," said Bailey dully. #3u8BLy$Q  
)J#@L*  
"But how can it be? Mr. Fleming died two weeks ago. I - " 2? !b!  
Mu:*(P/  
"He died in this house sometime tonight. The body is still warm." HVu_@[SYR3  
$W0lz#s:  
"But who killed him? The Bat?" HWs?,AJNxB  
mirMDJsl%  
"Isn't it likely that the Doctor did it? The man who has been his accomplice all along? Who probably bought a cadaver out West and buried it with honors here not long ago?" pRYt.}/K  
T@f$w/15  
He spoke without bitterness. Whatever resentment he might have felt died in that awful presence. LnM+,cBz  
6$`8y,TMSt  
"He got into the house early tonight," he said, "probably with the Doctor's connivance. That wrist watch there is probably the luminous eye Lizzie thought she saw. [N.4 i" Cd  
8+^q9rLii  
But Miss Cornelia's face was still thoughtful, and he went on: ;M1#M:  
-M5vh~Tp  
"Isn't it clear, Miss Van Gorder?" he queried, with a smile. "The Doctor and old Mr. Fleming formed a conspiracy - both needed money - lots of it. Fleming was to rob the bank and hide the money here. Wells's part was to issue a false death certificate in the West, and bury a substitute body, secured God knows how. It was easy; it kept the name of the president of the Union Bank free from suspicion - and it put the blame on me." '.EO+1{a  
UodBK7y  
He paused, thinking it out. H-vHcqFx3  
DQT'OZ :w  
"Only they slipped up in one place. Dick Fleming leased the house to you and they couldn't get it back." vfc:ok1  
GL=}Vu`(*  
"Then you are sure," said Miss Cornelia quickly, "that tonight Courtleigh Fleming broke in, with the Doctor's assistance - and that he killed Dick, his own nephew, from the staircase?" b~J)LXj]w  
qOwql(vX  
"Aren't you?" asked Bailey surprised. The more he thought of it the less clearly could he visualize it any other way. {_QdB;VwH  
K#0TD( "  
Miss Cornelia shook her head decidedly. 0!T`.UMI  
+y GQt3U  
"No." oBzl=N3<  
.E4* >@M5  
Bailey thought her merely obstinate - unwilling to give up, for pride's sake, her own pet theory of the activities of the Bat. 9d(\/ 7  
PwY/VGT  
"Wells tried to get out of the house tonight with that blue-print. Why? Because he knew the moment we got it, we'd come up here - and Fleming was here." Y.:R-|W  
U82a]i0  
"Perfectly true," nodded Miss Cornelia. "And then?" `oRyw6Sko  
\;;M")$  
"Old Fleming killed Dick and Wells killed Fleming," said Bailey succinctly. "You can't get away from it!" nz 10/nw  
]3r}>/2(  
But Miss Cornelia still shook her head. The explanation was too mechanical. It laid too little emphasis on the characters of those most concerned. ,%!m%+K9a  
py6<QoGV  
"No," she said. "No. The Doctor isn't a murderer. He's as puzzled as we are about some things. He and Courtleigh Fleming were working together - but remember this - Doctor Wells was locked in the living-room with us. He'd been trying to get up the stairs all evening and failed every time." # epP~J_f  
/xX7:U b  
But Bailey was as convinced of the truth of his theory as she of hers. GR|\OJ<2  
fXWy9 #M  
"He was here ten minutes ago - locked in this room," he said with a glance at the ladder up which the doctor had ascended. Tdh(J",d  
UYxn? W.g  
"I'll grant you that," said Miss Cornelia. "But - " She thought back swiftly. "But at the same time an Unknown Masked Man was locked in that mantel-room with Dale. The Doctor put out the candle when you opened that Hidden Room. Why? Because he thought Courtleigh Fleming was hiding there!" Now the missing pieces of her puzzle were falling into their places with a vengeance. "But at this moment," she continued, "the Doctor believes that Fleming has made his escape! No - we haven't solved the mystery yet. There's another element - an unknown element," her eyes rested for a moment upon the Unknown, "and that element is - the Bat!" -E1-(TS  
Btxtu"]nJo  
She paused, impressively. The others stared at her - no longer able to deny the sinister plausibility of her theory. But this new tangling of the mystery, just when the black threads seemed raveled out at last, was almost too much for Dale. 27 XM&ZrZ  
+# 'w} P  
"Oh, call the detective!" she stammered, on the verge of hysterical tears. "Let's get through with this thing! I can't bear any more!" vY_[@y  
%Zk6K!MY#  
But Miss Cornelia did not even hear her. Her mind, strung now to concert pitch, had harked back to the point it had reached some time ago, and which all the recent distractions had momentarily obliterated. fYjmG[4  
@$r[$D v  
Had the money been taken out of the house or had it not? In that mad rush for escape had the man hidden with Dale in the recess back of the mantel carried his booty with him, or left it behind? It was not in the Hidden Room, that was certain. x9>$197  
AVQcD`V3B  
Yet she was so hopeless by that time that her first search was purely perfunctory. #).^k-  
C '[4jz0xF  
During her progress about the room the Unknown's eyes followed her, but so still had he sat, so amazing had been the discovery of the body, that no one any longer observed him. Now and then his head drooped forward as if actual weakness was almost overpowering him, but his eyes were keen and observant, and he was no longer taking the trouble to act - if he had been acting. h!dij^bD  
ILDO/>n  
It was when Bailey finally opened the lid of a clothes hamper that they stumbled on their first clue. ~c v|,  
j8Q_s/n  
"Nothing here but some clothes and books," he said, glancing inside. l-r$czY  
)RFY2 }  
"Books?" said Miss Cornelia dubiously. "I left no books in that hamper." [KGj70|~  
wE9z@\z]  
Bailey picked up one of the cheap paper novels and read its title aloud, with a wry smile. @Z""|H"0  
5 r<cna  
"'Little Rosebud's Lover, Or The Cruel Revenge,' by Laura Jean - " &oVZ2.O#(  
YMwL(m1  
"That's mine!" said Lizzie promptly. "Oh, Miss Neily, I tell you this house is haunted. I left that book in my satchel along with 'Wedded But No Wife' and now - " w^ 8^0i-  
(Vy`u)gG  
"Where's your satchel?" snapped Miss Cornelia, her eyes gleaming. z]Mu8  
^Ea^t.c}_  
"Where's my satchel?" mumbled Lizzie, staring about as best she could. "I don't see it. If that wretch has stolen my satchel - !" -MH~1Tw6Z  
){{]3r  
"Where did you leave it?" 00)=3@D  
5+[`x ']l  
"Up here. Right in this room. It was a new satchel too. I'll have the law on him, that's what I'll do." 9"YOj_z  
)`ZTu -|  
"Isn't that your satchel, Lizzie?" asked Miss Cornelia, indicating a battered bag in a dark corner of shadows above the window. m};Qng]  
Ed%8| M3  
"Yes'm," she admitted. But she did not dare approach very close to the recovered bag. It might bite her! H h4G3h0  
@Fp-6J  
"Put it there on the hamper," ordered Miss Cornelia. "#4p#dM0e  
7q&//*%yF  
"I'm scared to touch it!" moaned Lizzie. "It may have a bomb in it!" 1]HEwTT/1_  
\Kph?l9Ww  
She took up the bag between finger and thumb and, holding it with the care she would have bestowed upon a bottle of nitroglycerin, carried it over to the hamper and set it down. Then she backed away from it, ready to leap for the door at a moment's warning. ]Mu + DZ  
!xs. [&u8  
Miss Cornelia started for the satchel. Then she remembered. She turned to Bailey. Ue:'55  
> Y <in/  
"You open it," she said graciously. "If the money's there - you're the one who ought to find it;" )%rGD =2~  
r|$@Wsb?#  
Bailey gave her a look of gratitude. Then, smiling at Dale encouragingly, he crossed over to the satchel, Dale at his heels. Miss Cornelia watched him fumble at the catch of the bag - even Lizzie drew closer. For a moment even the Unknown was forgotten. \]Nlka  
)!+M\fT  
Bailey gave a triumphant cry. L?~>eT  
8 xfn$  
"The money's here!" "*08?KA  
@;\2 PD  
"Oh, thank God!" sobbed Dale. e0s*  
?g{--'L  
It was an emotional moment. It seemed to have penetrated even through the haze enveloping the injured man in his chair. Slowly he got up, like a man who has been waiting for his moment, and now that it had come was in no hurry about it. With equal deliberation he drew the revolver and took a step forward. And at that instant a red glare appeared outside the open window and overhead could be heard the feet of the searchers, running. x/fhlf}a}=  
%nS(>X<B  
"Fire!" screamed Lizzie, pointing to the window, even as Beresford's voice from the roof rang out in a shout. "The garage is burning!" (+CNs  
MpVZL29)  
They turned toward the door to escape, but a strange and menacing figure blocked their way.  nb\pBl  
V2S HF  
It was the Unknown - no longer the bewildered stranger who had stumbled in through the living-room door - but a man with every faculty of mind and body alert and the light of a deadly purpose in his eyes. He covered the group with Miss Cornelia's revolver. X2E=2tXl`7  
k3T374t1b  
"This door is locked and the key is in my pocket!" he said in a savage voice as the red light at the window grew yet more vivid and muffled cries and tramplings from overhead betokened universal confusion and alarm. -56gg^Pnr  
Ph)>;jU  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 18楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Twenty. "He is - the Bat!" 1buO&q!vn  
| S'mF6Y  
  Lizzie opened her mouth to scream. But for once she did not carry out her purpose.  eAG)+b  
6-+ wfrN2  
"Not a sound out of you!" warned the Unknown brutally, almost jabbing the revolver into her ribs. He wheeled on Bailey. )c532 y  
:39arq  
"Close that satchel," he commanded, "and put it back where you found it!" 7nP{a"4_  
qVH.I6)  
Bailey's fist closed. He took a step toward his captor. -  eIo  
4jZB%tH  
"You - " he began in a furious voice. But the steely glint in the eyes of the Unknown was enough to give any man pause. `"<hO 'WU  
A1`6+8}o;b  
"Jack!" pleaded Dale. Bailey halted. N:'!0|6?x-  
n;$u%2t2  
"Do what he tells you!" Miss Cornelia insisted, her voice shaking. @TX@78fWz=  
_>kc:  
A brave man may be willing to fight with odds a hundred to one - but only a fool will rush on certain death. Reluctantly, dejectedly, Bailey obeyed - stuffed the money back in the satchel and replaced the latter in its corner of shadows near the window. e@TwZ6l  
-WF((s;<#  
"It's the Bat - it's the Bat!" whispered Lizzie eerily, and, for once her gloomy prophecies seemed to be in a fair way of justification, for "Blow out that candle!" commanded the Unknown sternly, and, after a moment of hesitation on Miss Cornelia's part, the room was again plunged in darkness except for the red glow at the window. 5|K[WvG@Co  
Xo~q}(ze^  
This finished Lizzie for the evening. She spoke from a dry throat. B; e<.M)e  
3I~.'>Pd  
"I'm going to scream!" she sobbed hysterically. "I can't keep it back!" Y8v[kuo7  
t7x<=rW7u  
But at last she had encountered someone who had no patience with her vagaries. E:**gvfq  
e3CFW_p  
"Put that woman in the mantel-room and shut her up!" ordered the Unknown, the muzzle of his revolver emphasizing his words with a savage little movement. A9BoH[is7  
)yig=nn  
Bailey took Lizzie under the arms and started to execute the order. But the sometime colleen from Kerry did not depart without one Parthian arrow. de W1>yh^_  
X5.9~  
"Don't shove," she said in tones of the greatest dignity as she stumbled into the Hidden Room. "I'm damn glad to go!" ]}b  
<FBH;}]  
The iron doors shut behind her. Bailey watched the Unknown intently. One moment of relaxed vigilance and - M/.M~/ ~  
jEQ_#KKYJ  
But though the Unknown was unlocking the door with his left hand the revolver in his right hand was as steady as a rock. He seemed to listen for a moment at the crack of the door. .4E24FB[f?  
" w V  
"Not a sound if you value your lives!" he warned again, he shepherded them away from the direction of the window with his revolver. Z-CA9&4Uh  
^|h_[>  
"In a moment or two," he said in a hushed, taut voice, "a man will come into this room, either through the door or by that window - the man who started the fire to draw you out of this house." QrSO%Rm1*  
Ls|)SiXrY  
Bailey threw aside all pride in his concern for Dale's safety. 'R$/Qt;uA  
-yIx:*KI  
"For God's sake, don't keep these women here!" he pleaded in low, tense tones. 6: R1jF*eG  
}&l%>P  
The Unknown seemed to tower above him like a destroying angel. `Z@qWB<  
r;zG  
"Keep them here where we can watch them!" he whispered with fierce impatience. "Don't you understand.? There's a killer loose!" {k<mN Y  
WSx0o}  
And so for a moment they stood there, waiting for they knew not what. So swift had been the transition from joy to deadly terror, and now to suspense, that only Miss Cornelia's agile brain seemed able to respond. And at first it did even that very slowly. TDW\n  
Uf\U~wM<  
"I begin to understand," she said in a low tone. "The man who struck you down and tied you in the garage - the man who killed Dick Fleming and stabbed that poor wretch in the closet - the man who locked us in downstairs and removed the money from that safe - the man who started that fire outside - is - " LCemM;o  
%"BJW  
"Sssh!" warned the Unknown imperatively as a sound from the direction of the window seemed to reach his ears. He ran quickly back to the corridor door and locked it. F0/!+ho  
P$*9Z@  
"Stand back out of that light! The ladder!" YZ^mH <  
s%^@@Dk  
Miss Cornelia and Dale shrank back against the mantel. Bailey took up a post beside the window, the Unknown flattening himself against the wall beside him. There was a breathless pause. -`UOqjb]3  
Ko0?c.l  
The top of the extension ladder began to tremble. A black bulk stood clearly outlined against the diminishing red glow - the Bat, masked and sinister, on his last foray! 6q^\pJY%&7  
~tn$AtK  
There was no sound as the killer stepped into the room. He waited for a second that seemed a year - still no sound. Then he turned cautiously toward the place where he had left the satchel - the beam of his flashlight picked it out. "!CVm{7[  
R!yh0y}Z  
In an instant the Unknown and Bailey were upon him. There was a short, ferocious struggle in the darkness - a gasp of laboring lungs - the thud of fighting bodies clenched in a death grapple. _KKux3a  
*0Z6H-Do,  
"Get his gun!" muttered the Unknown hoarsely to Bailey as he tore the Bat's lean hands away from his throat. "Got it?" fZr{x$]N0  
D</?|;J#/  
"Yes," gasped Bailey. He jabbed the muzzle against a straining back. The Bat ceased to struggle. Bailey stepped a little away. 5wh(Qdib  
35AH|U7b  
"I've still got you covered!" he said fiercely. The Bat made no sound. jt323hHth  
'cQ`jWZQ  
"Hold out your hands, Bat, while I put on the bracelets," commanded the Unknown in tones of terse triumph. He snapped the steel cuffs on the wrists of the murderous prowler. "Sometimes even the cleverest Bat comes through a window at night and is caught. Double murder - burglary - and arson! That's a good night's work even for you, Bat!" =yqg,w&Q  
C;70,!3  
He switched his flashlight on the Bat's masked face. As he did so the house lights came on; the electric light company had at last remembered its duties. All blinked for an instant in the sudden illumination. T~}g{q,tR  
| 8n,|%e  
"Take off that handkerchief!" barked the Unknown, motioning at the black silk handkerchief that still hid the face of the Bat from recognition. Bailey stripped it from the haggard, desperate features with a quick movement - and stood appalled. ,}Ic($ To  
V3\} ]5  
A simultaneous gasp went up from Dale and Miss Cornelia. F8Z6Ss|v3  
 _$4vk  
It was Anderson, the detective! And he was - the Bat! *,__\/U98  
BI6o@d;=4  
"It's Mr. Anderson!" stuttered Dale, aghast at the discovery. r0\cgCn  
b-+iL  
The Unknown gloated over his captive. "ND 7,rQ  
fN>o465I6  
"I'm Anderson," he said. "This man has been impersonating me. You're a good actor, Bat, for a fellow that's such a bad actor!" he taunted. "How did you get the dope on this case? Did you tap the wires to headquarters?" <$HP"f+<S5  
uQ{ &x6.1  
The Bat allowed himself a little sardonic smile. diGPTV-?$  
S.aSNH<  
"I'll tell you that when I - " he began, then, suddenly, made his last bid for freedom. With one swift, desperate movement, in spite of his handcuffs, he jerked the real Anderson's revolver from him by the barrel, then wheeling with lightning rapidity on Bailey, brought the butt of Anderson's revolver down on his wrist. Bailey's revolver fell to the floor with a clatter. The Bat swung toward the door. Again the tables were turned! Ro`9Ibqr  
sa$CCQ  
"Hands up, everybody!" he ordered, menacing the group with the stolen pistol. "Hands up - you!" as Miss Cornelia kept her hands at her sides. jR[VPm=  
_)-t#Ve  
It was the greatest moment of Miss Cornelia's life. She smiled sweetly and came toward the Bat as if the pistol aimed at her heart were as innocuous as a toothbrush. #&0G$~  
KU$:p^0l;*  
"Why?" she queried mildly. "I took the bullets out of that revolver two hours ago. X$r5KJU  
/ R-1s  
The Bat flung the revolver toward her with a curse. The real Anderson instantly snatched up the gun that Bailey had dropped and covered the Bat. 953GmNZ7  
_|r/* (hh  
"Don't move!" he warned, "or I'll fill you full of lead!" He smiled out of the corner of his mouth at Miss Cornelia who was primly picking up the revolver that the Bat had flung at her - her own revolver. uS<og P  
|w"G4J6ha  
"You see - you never know what a woman will do," he continued. aECpe'!m4  
29nMm>P.e  
Miss Cornelia smiled. She broke open the revolver, five loaded shells fell from it to the floor. The Bat stared at her - then stared incredulously at the bullets. _QtW)\)5 \  
0 d2to5 (  
"You see," she said, "I, too, have a little imagination!" %%Wn:c>  
IUy5=Sl   
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
离线washington

发帖
182227
真实姓名
余翔东
只看该作者 19楼 发表于: 2012-07-23
Chapter Twenty-One. Quite a Collection W>i%sHH6  
u%e~a]  
  An hour or so later in a living-room whose terrors had departed, Miss Cornelia, her niece, and Jack Bailey were gathered before a roaring fire. The local police had come and gone; the bodies of Courtleigh Fleming and his nephew had been removed to the mortuary; Beresford had returned to his home, though under summons as a material witness; the Bat, under heavy guard, had gone off under charge of the detective. As for Doctor Wells, he too was under arrest, and a broken man, though, considering the fact that Courtleigh Fleming had been throughout the prime mover in the conspiracy, he might escape with a comparatively light sentence. In a little while the newspapermen of all the great journals would be at the door - but for a moment the sorely tried group at Cedarcrest enjoyed a temporary respite and they made the best of it while they could. Ve|:k5z  
=oSd M2  
The fire burned brightly and the lovers, hand in hand, sat before it. But Miss Cornelia, birdlike and brisk, sat upright on a chair near by and relived the greatest triumph of her life while she knitted with automatic precision. lUs$I{2_  
"g ^i%  
"Knit two, purl two," she would say, and then would wander once more back to the subject in hand. Out behind the flower garden the ruins of the garage and her beloved car were still smoldering; a cool night wind came through the broken windowpane where not so long before the bloody hand of the injured detective had intruded itself. On the door to the hall, still fastened as the Bat had left it, was the pathetic little creature with which the Bat had signed a job - for once, before he had completed it. w7U]-MW6A*  
sh$-}1 ;  
But calmly and dispassionately Miss Cornelia worked out the crossword puzzle of the evening and announced her results. "<ZV'z  
bWswF<y-  
"It is all clear," she said. "Of course the Doctor had the blue-print. And the Bat tried to get it from him. Then when the Doctor had stunned him and locked him in the billiard room, the Bat still had the key and unlocked his own handcuffs. After that he had only to get out of a window and shut us in here." %~LY'cfPse  
%rW}x[M%w?  
And again: 7>Scf  
0Wr<l%M)+  
"He had probably trailed the real detective all the way from town and attacked him where Mr. Beresford found the watch." /J`}o}  
'(]Wtx%9"  
Once, too, she harkened back to the anonymous letters- {|9knP  
I Fw7?G,  
"It must have been a blow to the Doctor and Courtleigh Fleming when they found me settled in the house!" She smiled grimly. "And when their letters failed to dislodge me. ^!tX+`,6^  
'v'[_(pq  
But it was the Bat who held her interest; his daring assumption of the detective's identity, his searching of the house ostensibly for their safety but in reality for the treasure, and that one moment of irresolution when he did not shoot the Doctor at the top of the ladder. And thereafter lost his chance - &pK0>2  
WG,Il/  
It somehow weakened her terrified admiration for him, but she had nothing but acclaim for the escape he had made from the Hidden Room itself. *X3wf`C?  
nK< v  
"That took brains," she said. "Cold, hard brains. To dash out of that room and down the stairs, pull off his mask and pick up a candle, and then to come calmly back to the trunk room again and accuse the Doctor - that took real ability. But I dread to think what would have happened when he asked us all to go out and leave him alone with the real Anderson!" \v+>qY<q  
y k!K 5  
It was after two o'clock when she finally sent the young people off to get some needed sleep but she herself was still bright-eyed and wide-awake. B T}l"  
K@:omT  
When Lizzie came at last to coax and scold her into bed, she was sitting happily at the table surrounded by divers small articles which she was handling with an almost childlike zest. A clipping about the Bat from the evening newspaper; a piece of paper on which was a well-defined fingerprint; a revolver and a heap of five shells; a small very dead bat; the anonymous warnings, including the stone in which the last one had been wrapped; a battered and broken watch, somehow left behind; a dried and broken dinner roll; and the box of sedative powders brought by Doctor Wells. yK&  
XUVj<U  
Lizzie came over to the table and surveyed her grimly. ;ow)N <Z  
)=iv3nF?6N  
"You see, Lizzie, it's quite a collection. I'm going to take them and - " ffR%@  
P[G>uA>Z1  
But Lizzie bent over the table and picked up the box of powders. U7 D!w$4  
[ C0v -  
"No, ma'am," she said with extreme finality. "You are not. You are going- to take these and go to bed." "hf |7E_  
pqfX}x  
妙人儿倪家少女
大仝小余氏一人
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