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12. Mr. Gryce Finds An Antidote For Old Age
"I thought I should make you sit up. I really calculated upon doing so, sir. Yes, I
have established the plain fact that this Brotherson was near to, if not in the exact
line of the scene of crime in each of these extraordinary and baffling cases. A
very odd coincidence, is it not?" was the dry conclusion of our eager young
"Odd enough if you are correct in your statement. But I thought it was conceded
that the man Brotherson was not personally near,--was not even in the building at
the time of the woman's death in Hicks Street; that he was out and had been out
for hours, according to the janitor."
"And so the janitor thought, but he didn't quite know his man. I'm not sure that I
do. But I mean to make his acquaintance and make it thoroughly before I let him
go. The hero--well, I will say the possible hero of two such adventures--deserves
some attention from one so interested in the abnormal as myself."
"Sweetwater, how came you to discover that Mr. Dunn of this ramshackle
tenement in Hicks Street was identical with the elegantly equipped admirer of
Miss Challoner?"
"Just this way. The night before Miss Challoner's death I was brooding very
deeply over the Hicks Street case. It had so possessed me that I had taken this
street in on my way from Flatbush; as if staring at the house and its swarming
courtyard was going to settle any such question as that! I walked by the place
and I looked up at the windows. No inspiration. Then I sauntered back and
entered the house with the fool intention of crossing the courtyard and wandering
into the rear building where the crime had occurred. But my attention was
diverted and my mind changed by seeing a man coming down the stairs before
me, of so fine a figure that I involuntarily stopped to look at him. Had he moved a
little less carelessly, had he worn his workman's clothes a little less naturally, I
should have thought him some college bred man out on a slumming expedition.