The Filigree Ball
4. Signed, Veronica
I am in some ways hypersensitive. Among my other weaknesses I have a wholesome
dread of ridicule, and this is probably why I failed to press my theory on the captain when
he appeared, and even forbore to mention the various small matters which had so
attracted my attention. If he and the experienced men who came with him saw suicide
and nothing but suicide in this lamentable shooting of a bride of two weeks, then it was
not for me to suggest a deeper crime, especially as one of the latter eyed me with open
scorn when I proposed to accompany them upstairs into the room where the light had
been seen burning. No, I would keep my discoveries to myself or, at least, forbear to
mention them till I found the captain alone, asking nothing at this juncture but permission
to remain in the house till Mr. Jeffrey arrived.
I had been told that an officer had gone for this gentleman, and when I heard the sound of
wheels in front I made a rush for the door, in my anxiety to catch a glimpse of him. But it
was a woman who alighted.
As this woman was in a state of great agitation, one of the men hastened down to offer
his arm. As she took it, I asked Hibbard, who had suddenly reappeared upon the scene,
who she was.
He said that she was probably the sister of the woman who lay inside. Upon which I
remembered that this lady, under the name of Miss Tuttle - she was but half-sister to Miss
Moore - had been repeatedly mentioned by the reporters, in the accounts of the wedding
before mentioned, as a person of superior attainments and magnificent beauty.
This did not take from my interest, and flinging decorum to the winds, I approached as
near as possible to the threshold which she must soon cross. As I did so I was astonished
to hear the strains of Uncle David's organ still pealing from the opposite side of the way.
This at a moment so serious and while matters of apparent consequence were taking place
in the house to which he had himself directed the attention of the police, struck me as
carrying stoicism to the extreme. Not very favorably impressed by this display of open if
not insulting indifference on the part of the sole remaining Moore, - an indifference
which did not appear quite natural even in a man of his morbid eccentricity, - I resolved
to know more of this old man and, above all, to make myself fully acquainted with the
exact relations which had existed between him and his unhappy niece.
Meanwhile Miss Tuttle had stepped within the circle of light cast by our lanterns.
I have never seen a finer woman, nor one whose features displayed a more heart-rending
emotion. This called for respect, and I, for one, endeavored to show it by withdrawing
into the background. But I soon stepped forward again. My desire to understand her was
too great, the impression made by her bearing too complex, to be passed over lightly by
one on the lookout for a key to the remarkable tragedy before us.