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The Mayor's Wife

20. Explanation
Determined to know the cause of Mrs. Packard's anguish, if not of Nixon's
unprovoked anger against myself, I caught him back as he was passing me and
peremptorily demanded:
"What message did you carry to Mrs. Packard to throw her into such a state as
this? Answer! I am in this house to protect her against all such disturbances.
What did you tell her?"
"Nothing."
Sullenness itself in the tone.
"Nothing? and you were sent on an errand? Didn't you fulfil it?"
"Yes."
"And didn't tell her what you learned?"
"No."
"Why?"
"She didn't give me the chance."
"Oh!"
"I know it sounds queer, Miss, but it's true. She didn't give me a chance to talk."
He muttered the final sentence. Indeed, all that we had said until now had been
in a subdued tone, but now my voice unconsciously rose.
"You found Mr. Steele?"
"No, Miss, he was not at home."
"But they told you where to look for him?"
"No. His landlady thinks he is dead. He has queer spells, and some one had sent
her word about a man, handsome like him, who was found dead at Hudson
Three Corners last night. Mr. Steele told her he was going over to Hudson Three
Corners. She has sent to see if the dead man is he."
"The dead man!"
 
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