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9. The Incident Of The Partly Lifted Shade
The fellow had a way with him, hard to resist. Cold as George was and
exhausted by an excitement of a kind to which he was wholly unaccustomed, he
found himself acceding to the detective's request; and after a quick lunch and a
huge cup of coffee in a restaurant which I wish I had time to describe, the two
took a car which eventually brought them into one of the oldest quarters of the
Borough of Brooklyn. The sleet which had stung their faces in the streets of New
York had been left behind them somewhere on the bridge, but the chill was not
gone from the air, and George felt greatly relieved when Sweetwater paused in
the middle of a long block before a lofty tenement house of mean appearance,
and signified that here they were to stop, and that from now on, mum was to be
their watchword.
George was relieved I say, but he was also more astonished than ever. What
kind of haunts were these for the cultured gentleman who spent his evenings at
the Clermont? It was easy enough in these days of extravagant sympathies, to
understand such a man addressing the uneasy spirits of lower New York--he had
been called an enthusiast, and an enthusiast is very often a social agitator--but to
trace him afterwards to a place like this was certainly a surprise. A tenement --
such a tenement as this--meant home--home for himself or for those he counted
his friends, and such a supposition seemed inconceivable to my poor husband,
with the memory of the gorgeous parlour of the Clermont in his mind. Indeed, he
hinted something of the kind to his affable but strangely reticent companion, but
all the answer he got was a peculiar smile whose humorous twist he could barely
discern in the semi-darkness of the open doorway into which they had just
"An adventure! certainly an adventure!" flashed through poor George's mind, as
he peered, in great curiosity down the long hall before him, into a dismal rear,
opening into a still more dismal court. It was truly a novel experience for a
business man whose philanthropy was carried on entirely by proxy--that is, by his
wife. Should he be expected to penetrate into those dark, ill-smelling recesses, or