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The Filigree Ball

20. The Colonel's Own
Words can not express the tediousness of that return journey. The affair which occupied
all my thoughts was as yet too much enveloped in mystery for me to contemplate it with
anything but an anxious and inquiring mind. While I clung with new and persistent hope
to the thread which had been put in my hand, I was too conscious of the maze through
which we must yet pass, before the light could be reached, to feel that lightness of spirit
which in itself might have lessened the hours, and made bearable those days of forced
inaction. To beguile the way a little, I made a complete analysis of the facts as they
appeared to me in the light of this latest bit of evidence. The result was not strikingly
encouraging, yet I will insert it, if only in proof of my diligence and the extreme interest I
experienced in each and every stage of this perplexing affair. It again took the form of a
summary and read as follows:
Facts as they now appear:
1. The peremptory demand for an interview which had been delivered to Miss Moore
during the half-hour preceding her marriage had come, not from the bridegroom as I had
supposed, but from the so-called stranger, Mr. Pfeiffer.
2. Her reply to this demand had been an order for that gentleman to be seated in the
library.
3. The messenger carrying this order had been met and earnestly talked with by Mr.
Jeffrey either immediately before or immediately after the aforementioned gentleman had
been so seated.
4. Death reached Mr. Pfeiffer before the bride did.
5. Miss Moore remained in ignorance of this catastrophe till after her marriage, no
intimation of the same having been given her by the few persons allowed to approach her
before she descended to her nuptials; yet she was seen to shrink unaccountably when her
husband's lips touched hers, and when informed of the dreadful event before which she
beheld all her guests fleeing, went from the house a changed woman.
6. For all this proof that Mr. Pfeiffer was well known to her, if not to the rest of the bridal
party, no acknowledgment of this was made by any of them then or afterward, nor any
contradiction given either by husband or wife to the accepted theory that this seeming
stranger from the West had gone into this fatal room of the Moores' to gratify his own
morbid curiosity.
7. On the contrary, an extraordinary effort was immediately made by Mr. Jeffrey to rid
himself of the only witnesses who could tell the truth concerning those fatal ten minutes;
but this brought no peace to the miserable wife, who never again saw a really happy
moment.
 
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