The Leavenworth Case
21. A Prejudice
"True, I talk of dreams,
'Which are the children of an idle brain
Begot of nothing but vain phantasy."
--Romeo and Juliet.
FOR one moment I sat a prey to superstitious horror; then, my natural incredulity
asserting itself, I looked up and remarked:
"You say that all this took place the night previous to the actual occurrence?"
He bowed his head. "For a warning," he declared.
"But you did not seem to take it as such?"
"No; I am subject to horrible dreams. I thought but little of it in a superstitious way till I
looked next day upon Mr. Leavenworth's dead body."
"I do not wonder you behaved strangely at the inquest."
"Ah, sir," he returned, with a slow, sad smile; "no one knows what I suffered in my
endeavors not to tell more than I actually knew, irrespective of my dream, of this murder
and the manner of its accomplishment."
"You believe, then, that your dream foreshadowed the manner of the murder as well as
"It is a pity it did not go a little further, then, and tell us how the assassin escaped from, if
not how he entered, a house so securely fastened."
His face flushed. "That would have been convenient," he repeated. "Also, if I had been
informed where Hannah was, and why a stranger and a gentleman should have stooped to
the committal of such a crime."
Seeing that he was nettled, I dropped my bantering vein. "Why do you say a stranger?" I
asked; "are you so well acquainted with all who visit that house as to be able to say who
are and who are not strangers to the family?
"I am well acquainted with the faces of their friends, and Henry Clavering is not amongst
the number; but----"