The Leavenworth Case HTML version

37. Culmination
"Saint seducing gold."
--Romeo and Juliet.
"When our actions do not, Our fears do make us traitors."
I NEVER saw such a look of mortal triumph on the face of a man as that which crossed
the countenance of the detective.
"Well," said he, "this is unexpected, but not wholly unwelcome. I am truly glad to learn
that Miss Leavenworth is innocent; but I must hear some few more particulars before I
shall be satisfied. Get up, Mr. Harwell, and explain yourself. If you are the murderer of
Mr. Leavenworth, how comes it that things look so black against everybody but
But in the hot, feverish eyes which sought him from the writhing form at his feet, there
was mad anxiety and pain, but little explanation. Seeing him making unavailing efforts to
speak, I drew near.
"Lean on me," said I, lifting him to his feet.
His face, relieved forever from its mask of repression, turned towards me with the look of
a despairing spirit. "Save! save!" he gasped. "Save her--Mary--they are sending a report--
stop it!"
"Yes," broke in another voice. "If there is a man here who believes in God and prizes
woman's honor, let him stop the issue of that report." And Henry Clavering, dignified as
ever, but in a state of extreme agitation, stepped into our midst through an open door at
our right.
But at the sight of his face, the man in our arms quivered, shrieked, and gave one bound
that would have overturned Mr. Clavering, herculean of frame as he was, had not Mr.
Gryce interposed.
"Wait!" he cried; and holding back the secretary with one hand-- where was his
rheumatism now!--he put the other in his pocket and drew thence a document which he
held up before Mr. Clavering. "It has not gone yet," said he; "be easy. And you," he went
on, turning towards Trueman Harwell, "be quiet, or----"
His sentence was cut short by the man springing from his grasp. "Let me go!" he
shrieked. "Let me have my revenge on him who, in face of all I have done for Mary
Leavenworth, dares to call her his wife! Let me--" But at this point he paused, his
quivering frame stiffening into stone, and his clutching hands, outstretched for his rival's