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13. Time, Circumstance, And A Villain' S Heart
"Our first difficulty is this. We must prove motive. Now, I do not think it will be so
very hard to show that this Brotherson cherished feelings of revenge towards
Miss Challoner. But I have to acknowledge right here and now that the most
skillful and vigourous pumping of the janitor and such other tenants of the Hicks
Street tenement as I have dared to approach, fails to show that he has ever held
any communication with Mrs. Spotts, or even knew of her existence until her
remarkable death attracted his attention. I have spent all the afternoon over this,
and with no result. A complete break in the chain at the very start."
"Humph! we will set that down, then, as so much against us."
"The next, and this is a bitter pill too, is the almost insurmountable difficulty
already recognised of determining how a man, without approaching his victim,
could manage to inflict a mortal stab in her breast. No cloak of complete
invisibility has yet been found, even by the cleverest criminals."
"True. The problem is such as a nightmare offers. For years my dreams have
been haunted by a gnome who proposes just such puzzles."
"But there's an answer to everything, and I'm sure there's an answer to this.
Remember his business. He's an inventor, with startling ideas. So much I've
seen for myself. You may stretch probabilities a little in his case; and with this
conceded, we may add by way of off-set to the difficulties you mention,
coincidences of time and circumstance, and his villainous heart. Oh, I know that I
am prejudiced; but wait and see! Miss Challoner was well rid of him even at the
cost of her life."
"She loved him. Even her father believes that now. Some lately discovered letters
have come to light to prove that she was by no means so heart free as he
supposed. One of her friends, it seems, has also confided to him that once, while
she and Miss Challoner were sitting together, she caught Miss Challoner in the
act of scribbling capitals over a sheet of paper. They were all B's with the