The Leavenworth Case HTML version
15. Ways Opening
"It is not and it cannot come to good."
I ATTENDED the funeral of Mr. Leavenworth, but did not see the ladies before or after
the ceremony. I, however, had a few moments' conversation with Mr. Harwell; which,
without eliciting anything new, provided me with food for abundant conjecture. For he
had asked, almost at first greeting, if I had seen the Telegram of the night before; and
when I responded in the affirmative, turned such a look of mingled distress and appeal
upon me, I was tempted to ask how such a frightful insinuation against a young lady of
reputation and breeding could ever have got into the papers. It was his reply that struck
"That the guilty party might be driven by remorse to own himself the true culprit."
A curious remark to come from a person who had no knowledge or suspicion of the
criminal and his character; and I would have pushed the conversation further, but the
secretary, who was a man of few words, drew off at this, and could be induced to say no
more. Evidently it was my business to cultivate Mr. Clavering, or any one else who could
throw any light upon the secret history of these girls.
That evening I received notice that Mr. Veeley had arrived home, but was in no condition
to consult with me upon so painful a subject as the murder of Mr. Leavenworth. Also a
line from Eleanore, giving me her address, but requesting me at the same time not to call
unless I had something of importance to communicate, as she was too ill to receive
visitors. The little note affected me. Ill, alone, and in a strange home,--'twas pitiful!
The next day, pursuant to the wishes of Mr. Gryce, in I stepped into the Hoffman House,
and took a seat in the reading room. I had been there but a few moments when a
gentleman entered whom I immediately recognized as the same I had spoken to on the
corner of Thirty-seventh Street and Sixth Avenue. He must have remembered me also,
for he seemed to be slightly embarrassed at seeing me; but, recovering himself, took up a
paper and soon became to all appearance lost in its contents, though I could feel his
handsome black eye upon me, studying my features, figure, apparel, and movements with
a degree of interest which equally astonished and disconcerted me. I felt that it would be
injudicious on my part to return his scrutiny, anxious as I was to meet his eye and learn
what emotion had so fired his curiosity in regard to a perfect stranger; so I rose, and,
crossing to an old friend of mine who sat at a table opposite, commenced a desultory
conversation, in the course of which I took occasion to ask if he knew who the handsome
stranger was. Dick Furbish was a society man, and knew everybody.
"His name is Clavering, and he comes from London. I don't know anything more about
him, though he is to be seen everywhere except in private houses. He has not been
received into society yet; waiting for litters of introduction, perhaps."