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The Woman in the Alcove

Guilt
Was he Wellgood? Sears? Who? A lover of the woman certainly; that was borne in on us
by the passion of his cry:
"Grizel! Grizel!"
But how here? and why such fury in Mr. Grey's face and such amazement in that of the
inspector?
This question was not to be answered offhand. Mr. Grey, advancing, laid a finger on the
man's shoulder. "Come," said he, "we will have our conversation in another room."
The man, who, in dress and appearance looked oddly out of place in those gorgeous
rooms, shook off the stupor into which he had fallen and started to follow the
Englishman. A waiter crossed their track with the soup for our table. Mr. Grey motioned
him aside.
"Take that back," said he. "I have some business to transact with this gentleman before I
eat. I'll ring when I want you."
Then they entered where I was. As the door closed I caught sight of the inspector's face
turned earnestly toward me. In his eyes I read my duty, and girded up my heart, as it
were, to meet--what? In that moment it was impossible to tell.
The next enlightened me. With a total ignoring of my presence, due probably to his great
excitement, Mr. Grey turned on his companion the moment he had closed the door and,
seizing him by the collar, cried:
"Fairbrother, you villain, why have you called on your wife like this? Are you murderer
as well as thief?"
Fairbrother! this man? Then who was he who was being nursed back to life on the
mountains beyond Santa Fe? Sears? Anything seemed possible in that moment.
Meanwhile, dropping his hand from the other's throat as suddenly as he had seized it, Mr.
Grey caught up the stiletto from the table where he had flung it, crying: "Do you
recognize this?"
Ah, then I saw guilt!
In a silence worse than any cry, this so-called husband of the murdered woman, the man
on whom no suspicion had fallen, the man whom all had thought a thousand miles away
at the time of the deed, stared at the weapon thrust under his eyes, while over his face
passed all those expressions of fear, abhorrence and detected guilt which, fool that I was,
I had expected to see reflected in response to the same test in Mr. Grey's equable
countenance.
 
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