The Leavenworth Case HTML version

"It out-herods Herod."
"A thing devised by the enemy."
--Richard III
A HALF-HOUR had passed. The train upon which I had every reason to expect Mr.
Gryce had arrived, and I stood in the doorway awaiting with indescribable agitation the
slow and labored approach of the motley group of men and women whom I had observed
leave the depot at the departure of the cars. Would he be among them? Was the telegram
of a nature peremptory enough to make his presence here, sick as he was, an absolute
certainty? The written confession of Hannah throbbing against my heart, a heart all
elation now, as but a short half-hour before it had been all doubt and struggle, seemed to
rustle distrust, and the prospect of a long afternoon spent in impatience was rising before
me, when a portion of the advancing crowd turned off into a side street, and I saw the
form of Mr. Gryce hobbling, not on two sticks, but very painfully on one, coming slowly
down the street.
His face, as he approached, was a study.
"Well, well, well," he exclaimed, as we met at the gate; "this is a pretty how-dye-do, I
must say. Hannah dead, eh? and everything turned topsy-turvy! Humph, and what do you
think of Mary Leavenworth now?"
It would therefore seem natural, in the conversation which followed his introduction into
the house and installment in Mrs. Belden's parlor, that I should begin my narration by
showing him Hannah's confession; but it was not so. Whether it was that I felt anxious to
have him go through the same alternations of hope and fear it had been my lot to
experience since I came to R----; or whether, in the depravity of human nature, there
lingered within me sufficient resentment for the persistent disregard he had always paid
to my suspicions of Henry Clavering to make it a matter of moment to me to spring this
knowledge upon him just at the instant his own convictions seemed to have reached the
point of absolute certainty, I cannot say. Enough that it was not till I had given him a full
account of every other matter connected with my stay in this house; not till I saw his eye
beaming, and his lip quivering with the excitement incident upon the perusal of the letter
from Mary, found in Mrs. Belden's pocket; not, indeed, until I became assured from such
expressions as "Tremendous! The deepest game of the season! Nothing like it since the
Lafarge affair!" that in another moment he would be uttering some theory or belief that
once heard would forever stand like a barrier between us, did I allow myself to hand him
the letter I had taken from under the dead body of Hannah.
I shall never forget his expression as he received it; "Good heavens!" cried he, "what's