The Leavenworth Case HTML version

12. Eleanores
"Constant you are-- . . . And for secrecy No lady closer."
Henry IV.
"No, 't is slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile."
THE door was opened by Molly. "You will find Miss Eleanore in the drawing-room, sir,"
she said, ushering me in.
Fearing I knew not what, I hurried to the room thus indicated, feeling as never before the
sumptuous-ness of the magnificent hall with its antique flooring, carved woods, and
bronze ornamentations:--the mockery of things for the first time forcing itself upon me.
Laying my hand on the drawing-room door, I listened. All was silent. Slowly pulling it
open, I lifted the heavy satin curtains hanging before me to the floor, and looked within.
What a picture met my eyes!
Sitting in the light of a solitary gas jet, whose faint glimmering just served to make
visible the glancing satin and stainless marble of the gorgeous apartment, I beheld
Eleanore Leavenworth. Pale as the sculptured image of the Psyche that towered above her
from the mellow dusk of the bow-window near which she sat, beautiful as it, and almost
as immobile, she crouched with rigid hands frozen in forgotten entreaty before her,
apparently insensible to sound, movement, or touch; a silent figure of despair in presence
of an implacable fate.
Impressed by the scene, I stood with my hand upon the curtain, hesitating if to advance or
retreat, when suddenly a sharp tremble shook her impassive frame, the rigid hands
unlocked, the stony eyes softened, and, springing to her feet, she uttered a cry of
satisfaction, and advanced towards me.
"Miss Leavenworth!" I exclaimed, starting at the sound of my own voice.
She paused, and pressed her hands to her face, as if the world and all she had forgotten
had rushed back upon her at this simple utterance of her name.
"What is it?" I asked.
Her hands fell heavily. "Do you not know? They--they are beginning to say that I--" she
paused, and clutched her throat. "Read!" she gasped, pointing to a newspaper lying on the
floor at her feet.