The Filigree Ball HTML version

1. The Moore House?
Are You Speaking Of The Moore House?
For a detective whose talents, had not been recognized at headquarters, I possessed an
ambition which, fortunately for my standing with the lieutenant of the precinct, had not
yet been expressed in words. Though I had small reason for expecting great things of
myself, I had always cherished the hope that if a big case came my way I should be found
able to do something with it something more, that is, than I had seen accomplished by the
police of the District of Columbia since I had had the honor of being one of their number.
Therefore, when I found myself plunged, almost without my own volition, into the
Jeffrey Moore affair, I believed that the opportunity had come whereby I might
distinguish myself.
It had complications, this Jeffrey-Moore affair; greater ones than the public ever knew,
keen as the interest in it ran both in and out of Washington. This is why I propose to tell
the story of this great tragedy from my own standpoint, even if in so doing I risk the
charge of attempting to exploit my own connection with this celebrated case. In its course
I encountered as many disappointments as triumphs, and brought out of the affair a heart
as sore as it was satisfied; for I am a lover of women and -
But I am keeping you from the story itself.
I was at the station-house the night Uncle David came in. He was always called Uncle
David, even by the urchins who followed him in the street; so I am showing him no
disrespect, gentleman though he is, by giving him a title which as completely
characterized him in those days, as did his moody ways, his quaint attire and the
persistence with which he kept at his side his great mastiff, Rudge. I had long since heard
of the old gentleman as one of the most interesting residents of the precinct. I had even
seen him more than once on the avenue, but I had never before been brought face to face
with him, and consequently had much too superficial a knowledge of his countenance to
determine offhand whether the uneasy light in his small gray eyes was natural to them, or
simply the result of present excitement. But when he began to talk I detected an
unmistakable tremor in his tones, and decided that he was in a state of suppressed
agitation; though he appeared to have nothing more alarming to impart than the fact that
he had seen a light burning in some house presumably empty.
It was all so trivial that I gave him but scant attention till he let a name fall which caused
me to prick up my ears and even to put in a word. "The Moore house," he had said.
"The Moore house?" I repeated in amazement. "Are you speaking of the Moore house?"