Only three percent of subway tracks in 276 underground stations are cleaned to the MTA's own standards, which is at least once every three weeks. That's one finding in an audit released today by City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office. The report also finds 88 percent of stations are cleaned fewer than eight times a year, which potentially exposes millions of commuters to track fires, train delays and rat infestation in hundreds of stations. Auditors made several recommendations to the MTA, including allocating more funds and employees to improve cleanliness and buying more effective vacuum trains. For its part, the MTA says budgeted resources for station cleanliness have already increased 25 percent (from $111 million in 2008 to $139 million in 2014) and a $32 million contract for new vacuum trains was approved in March. What do you say? How dirty is your subway line? Which platform or station needs to be cleaned? Are you surprised to learn 88 percent of stations are cleaned fewer than eight times a year? How much of this problem is a result of discourteous straphangers? Would you welcome a ban on eating and drinking on subways?Jenni's Thoughts:I believe that it really is the responsible of bother MTA and straphangers to keep our system clean. Whether it's making sure that the cleaning employees are doing their diligently to making sure there are more trash cans, to encouraging the riding public to be courteous and not litter. Personally, I strongly believe people should refrain from eating or drinking other than water on the train. I've been to countries where eating and drinkins is actually prohibited and their transit system is sparkling clean. I know some people say that the grime of the City is what makes it unique and classic, but it's time to take some action and clean this City. Your E-mails:
ShatziManhattanThe NYC subways are on par with the sewers of Calcutta. As a retiree in the city I get to see many lines and so far believe the E Lexington 53 St station ranks up there with the WORST. Look at what all businesses around you do....every night they PAY a crew to clean only one day's accumulation. The MTA should do the same instead of blaming those who pay their salaries. But that's the lesser problem. Look at the infrastructure...the brown stained walls, the crumbling ceilings, the visible neglect that surrounds you!
I have friends that have gotten rid of chronic headaches by eliminating gluten or dairy. I know people that have had great success on the keto diet. Others have found Weight Watchers works best for them.
Robey tried hard to be cheerful; preparing to turn forty was a sour portion for him. He believed that at one-sixty-five he was about twelve or fifteen pounds overweight. His wife disagreed--much too gaily, he thought--saying he ought to lose closer to twenty. The Rogaine with minoxidil that Foote had encouraged him to obtain and apply two weeks before had not visibly arrested, much less reversed, the gradual but alarming recession of his coarse reddish hair. His dentist had admonished him to see a periodontist for attention to what he diagnosed as advancing gum disease that otherwise would leave him toothless before fifty, "unless I have the good sense to die first."
"I can't believe it. Why go to all this trouble? There're plenty of places you can drive to and walk up to and jump off and kill yourself, if that's what you want to do. Don't need any training to do that. All the lessons; the classroom instruction; the tethered training jumps from that steel tower they've got up there: what is it, three or four hundred feet off the ground, and they take you up there and you jump? Forget it. I'm finished right there. I wouldn't dare to climb that high, never mind jump off. You want me to conclude he did it all in order to kill himself in style? All the supervised practice jumps with the instructors: everything was preliminary to the big day when Nick Hardigrew got himself killed? Nobody was negligent? No one failed to exercise due care? It wasn't anyone's fault?"
Rina: So, first of all, women interact more with the medical industry. They go to the doctor more than men starting from when they're teenagers (visiting the gynecologist, for example). And as you mentioned, women and mothers are still burdened with the second shift. But also, if you're to believe the polls, women are more stressed than men, particularly because they don't have institutional support and they don't have child care policies or you know, whatever it is, pick your poison.
Sara: YES. I always come back to motherhood, but the promise of certainties is so tantalizing for mothers in particular. Say your toddler is having meltdowns at bedtime every night. If somebody told you it was as simple as cutting gluten from the toddler\u2019s diet, um, you will cut gluten from that screaming toddler\u2019s diet! You want to believe something will fix the problem. And you\u2019re right \u2013 a doctor is much more likely to mention bedtime meltdowns as a symptom of any number of causes. It could be a developmental delay OR it could be totally typical. Often you leave the pediatrician with a vague book recommendation feeling like, Well the doctor\u2019s answer is Who Knows, but I\u2019m fried and want to sleep so I\u2019m listening to the wellness influencer and cutting out gluten.
Hubert Granice, pacing the length of his pleasant lamp-lit library,paused to compare his watch with the clock on the chimney-piece.Three minutes to eight.In exactly three minutes Mr. Peter Ascham, of the eminent legalfirm of Ascham and Pettilow, would have his punctual hand on thedoor-bell of the flat. It was a comfort to reflect that Ascham was sopunctual -- the suspense was beginning to make his host nervous. And thesound of the door-bell would be the beginning of the end -- after thatthere'd be no going back, by God -- no going back!Granice resumed his pacing. Each time he reached the end of theroom opposite the door he caught his reflection in the Florentine mirrorabove the fine old walnut credence he had picked up at Dijon -- sawhimself spare, quick-moving, carefully brushed and dressed, butfurrowed, gray about the temples, with a stoop which he corrected by aspasmodic straightening of the shoulders whenever a glass confrontedhim: a tired middle-aged man, baffled, beaten, worn out.As he summed himself up thus for the third or fourth time the dooropened and he turned with a thrill of relief to greet his guest. But itwas only the man-servant who entered, advancing silently over the mossysurface of the old Turkey rug."Mr. Ascham telephones, sir, to say he's unexpectedly detained andcan't be here till eight-thirty."Granice made a curt gesture of annoyance. It was becoming harderand harder for him to control these reflexes. He turned on his heel,tossing to the servant over his shoulder: "Very good. Put off dinner."Down his spine he felt the man's injured stare. Mr. Granice hadalways been so mild-spoken to his people -- no doubt the odd change inhis manner had already been noticed and discussed below stairs. And verylikely they suspected the cause. He stood drumming on the writing-tabletill he heard the servant go out; then he threw himself into a chair,propping his elbows on the table and resting his chin on his locked hands.Another half hour alone with it!He wondered irritably what could have detained his guest. Someprofessional matter, no doubt -- the punctilious lawyer would haveallowed nothing less to interfere with a dinner engagement, moreespecially since Granice, in his note, had said: "I shall want a littlebusiness chat afterward."But what professional matter could have come up at thatunprofessional hour? Perhaps some other soul in misery had called on thelawyer; and, after all, Granice's note had given no hint of his ownneed! No doubt Ascham thought he merely wanted to make another change inhis will. Since he had come into his little property, ten years earlier,Granice had been perpetually tinkering with his will.Suddenly another thought pulled him up, sending a flush to hissallow temples. He remembered a word he had tossed to the lawyer somesix weeks earlier, at the Century Club. "Yes -- my play's as good astaken. I shall be calling on you soon to go over the contract. Thosetheatrical chaps are so slippery -- I won't trust anybody but you to tiethe knot for me!" That, of course, was what Ascham would think he waswanted for. Granice, at the idea, broke into an audible laugh -- a queerstage-laugh, like the cackle of a baffled villain in a melodrama. Theabsurdity, the unnaturalness of the sound abashed him, and he compressedhis lips angrily. Would he take to soliloquy next?He lowered his arms and pulled open the upper drawer of thewriting-table. In the right-hand corner lay a thick manuscript, bound inpaper folders, and tied with a string beneath which a letter had beenslipped. Next to the manuscript was a small revolver. Granice stared amoment at these oddly associated objects; then he took the letter fromunder the string and slowly began to open it. He had known he should doso from the moment his hand touched the drawer. Whenever his eye fell onthat letter some relentless force compelled him to re-read it.It was dated about four weeks back, under the letter-head of "TheDiversity Theatre.""My Dear Mr. Granice:"I have given the matter my best consideration for the last month,and it's no use -- the play won't do. I have talked it over with MissMelrose -- and you know there isn't a gamer artist on our stage -- and Iregret to tell you she feels just as I do about it. It isn't the poetrythat scares her -- or me either. We both want to do all we can to helpalong the poetic drama -- we believe the public's ready for it, andwe're willing to take a big financial risk in order to be the first togive them what they want. But we don't believe they could be made towant this. The fact is, there isn't enough drama in your play to theallowance of poetry -- the thing drags all through. You've got a bigidea, but it's not out of swaddling clothes."If this was your first play I'd say: try again. But it has beenjust the same with all the others you've shown me. And you remember theresult of 'The Lee Shore,' where you carried all the expenses ofproduction yourself, and we couldn't fill the theatre for a week. Yet'The Lee Shore' was a modern problem play -- much easier to swing thanblank verse. It isn't as if you hadn't tried all kinds --"Granice folded the letter and put it carefully back into theenvelope. Why on earth was he re-reading it, when he knew every phrasein it by heart, when for a month past he had seen it, night after night,stand out in letters of flame against the darkness of his sleepless lids?"It has been just the same with all the other you've shown me."That was the way they dismissed ten years of passionate unremittingwork!"You remember the result of 'The Lee Shore'."Good God -- as if he were likely to forget it! He re-lived it allnow in a drowning flash: the persistent rejection of the play, hissudden resolve to put it on at his own cost, to spend ten thousanddollars of his inheritance on testing his chance of success -- the feverof preparation, the dry-mouthed agony of the "first night," the flatfall, the stupid press, his secret rush to Europe to escape thecondolence of his friends!"It isn't as if you hadn't tried all kinds."No -- he had tried all kinds: comedy, tragedy, prose and verse, thelight curtain-raiser, the short sharp drama, the bourgeoisrealistic andthe lyrical-romantic -- finally deciding that he would no longer"prostitute his talent" to win popularity, but would impose on thepublic his own theory of art in the form of five acts of blank verse.Yes, he had offered them everything -- and always with the same result.Ten years of it -- ten years of dogged work and unrelieved failure.The ten years from forty to fifty -- the best ten years of his life! Andif one counted the years before, the silent years of dreams,assimilation, preparation -- then call it half a man's life-time: half aman's life-time thrown away!And what was he to do with the remaining half? Well, he had settledthat, thank God! He turned and glanced anxiously at the clock. Tenminutes past eight -- only ten minutes had been consumed in that stormyrush through his whole past! And he must wait another twenty minutes forAscham. It was one of the worst symptoms of his case that, in proportionas he had grown to shrink from human company, he dreaded more and moreto be alone. . . . But why the devil was he waiting for Ascham? Whydidn't he cut the knot himself? Since he was so unutterably sick of thewhole business, why did he have to call in an outsider to rid him ofthis nightmare of living?He opened the drawer again and laid his hand on the revolver. Itwas a small slim ivory toy -- just the instrument for a tired suffererto give himself a "hypodermic" with. Granice raised it slowly in onehand, while with the other he felt under the thin hair at the back ofhis head, between the ear and the nape. He knew just where to place themuzzle: he had once got a young surgeon to show him. And as he found thespot, and lifted the revolver to it, the inevitable phenomenon occurred.The hand that held the weapon began to shake, the tremor communicateditself to his arm, his heart gave a wild leap which sent up a wave ofdeadly nausea to his throat, he smelt the powder, he sickened at thecrash of the bullet through his skull, and a sweat of fear broke outover his forehead and ran down his quivering face. . .He laid away the revolver with an oath and, pulling out acologne-scented handkerchief, passed it tremulously over his brow andtemples. It was no use -- he knew he could never do it in that way. Hisattempts at self-destruction were as futile as his snatches at fame! Hecouldn't make himself a real life, and he couldn't get rid of the lifehe had. And that was why he had sent for Ascham to help him. . .The lawyer, over the Camembert and Burgundy, began to excusehimself for his delay."I didn't like to say anything while your man was about -- but thefact is, I was sent for on a rather unusual matter --""Oh, it's all right," said Granice cheerfully. He was beginning tofeel the usual reaction that food and company produced. It was not anyrecovered pleasure in life that he felt, but only a deeper withdrawalinto himself. It was easier to go on automatically with the socialgestures than to uncover to any human eye the abyss within him."My dear fellow, it's sacrilege to keep a dinner waiting --especially the production of an artist like yours." Mr. Ascham sippedhis Burgundy luxuriously. "But the fact is, Mrs. Ashgrove sent for me."Granice raised his head with a quick movement of surprise. For amoment he was shaken out of his self-absorption."Mrs. Ashgrove?"Ascham smiled. "I thought you'd be interested; I know your passionfor causes celebres. And this promises to be one. Of course it's out ofour line entirely -- we never touch criminal cases. But she wanted toconsult me as a friend. Ashgrove was a distant connection of my wife's.And, by Jove, it is a queer case!" The servant re-entered, and Aschamsnapped his lips shut.Would the gentlemen have their coffee in the dining-room?"No -- serve it in the library," said Granice, rising. He led theway back to the curtained confidential room. He was really curious tohear what Ascham had to tell him.While the coffee and cigars were being served he fidgeted about thelibrary, glancing at his letters -- the usual meaningless notes andbills -- and picking up the evening paper. As he unfolded it a headlinecaught his eye."ROSE MELROSE WANTS TO PLAY POETRY."THINKS SHE HAS FOUND HER POET."He read on with a thumping heart -- found the name of a youngauthor he had barely heard of, saw the title of a play, a "poeticdrama," dance before his eyes, and dropped the paper, sick, disgusted.It was true, then -- she was "game" -- it was not the manner but thematter she mistrusted!Granice turned to the servant, who seemed to be purposelylingering. "I shan't need you this evening, Flint. I'll lock up myself."He fancied the man's acquiescence implied surprise. What was goingon, Flint seemed to wonder, that Mr. Granice should want him out of theway? Probably he would find a pretext for coming back to see. Granicesuddenly felt himself enveloped in a network of espionage.As the door closed he threw himself into an armchair and leanedforward to take a light from Ascham's cigar."Tell me about Mrs. Ashgrove," he said, seeming to himself to speakstiffly, as if his lips were cracked."Mrs. Ashgrove? Well, there's not much to tell.""And you couldn't if there were?" Granice smiled."Probably not. As a matter of fact, she wanted my advice about herchoice of counsel. There was nothing especially confidential in our talk.""And what's your impression, now you've seen her?""My impression is, very distinctly, that nothing will ever beknown.""Ah -- ?" Granice murmured, puffing at his cigar."I'm more and more convinced that whoever poisoned Ashgrove knewhis business, and will consequently never be found out. That's a capitalcigar you've given me.""You like it? I get them over from Cuba." Granice examined his ownreflectively. "Then you believe in the theory that the clever criminalsnever are caught?""Of course I do. Look about you -- look back for the last dozenyears -- none of the big murder problems are ever solved." The lawyerruminated behind his blue cloud. "Why, take the instance in your ownfamily: I'd forgotten I had an illustration at hand! Take old JosephLenman's murder -- do you suppose that will ever be explained?"As the words dropped from Ascham's lips his host looked slowlyabout the library, and every object in it stared back at him with astale unescapable familiarity. How sick he was of looking at that room!It was as dull as the face of a wife one has wearied of. He cleared histhroat slowly; then he turned his head to the lawyer and said: "I couldexplain the Lenman murder myself."Ascham's eye kindled: he shared Granice's interest in criminal cases."By Jove! You've had a theory all this time? It's odd you nevermentioned it. Go ahead and tell me. There are certain features in theLenman case not unlike this Ashgrove affair, and your idea may be a help."Granice paused and his eye reverted instinctively to the tabledrawer in which the revolver and the manuscript lay side by side. Whatif he were to try another appeal to Rose Melrose? Then he looked at thenotes and bills on the table, and the horror of taking up again thelifeless routine of life -- of performing the same automatic gesturesanother day -- displaced his fleeting vision."I haven't a theory. I know who murdered Joseph Lenman."Ascham settled himself comfortably in his chair, prepared forenjoyment."You know? Well, who did?" he laughed."I did," said Granice, rising.He stood before Ascham, and the lawyer lay back staring up at him.Then he broke into another laugh."Why, this is glorious! You murdered him, did you? To inherit hismoney, I suppose? Better and better! Go on, my boy! Unbosom yourself!Tell me all about it! Confession is good for the soul."Granice waited till the lawyer had shaken the last peal of laughterfrom his throat; then he repeated doggedly: "I murdered him."The two men looked at each other for a long moment, and this timeAscham did not laugh."Granice!""I murdered him -- to get his money, as you say."There was another pause, and Granice, with a vague underlying senseof amusement, saw his guest's look change from pleasantry to apprehension."What's the joke, my dear fellow? I fail to see.""It's not a joke. It's the truth. I murdered him." He had spokenpainfully at first, as if there were a knot in his throat; but each timehe repeated the words he found they were easier to say.Ascham laid down his extinct cigar."What's the matter? Aren't you well? What on earth are you drivingat?""I'm perfectly well. But I murdered my cousin, Joseph Lenman, and Iwant it known that I murdered him.""You want it known?""Yes. That's why I sent for you. I'm sick of living, and when I tryto kill myself I funk it." He spoke quite naturally now, as if the knotin his throat had been untied."Good Lord -- good Lord," the lawyer gasped."But I suppose," Granice continued, "there's no doubt this would bemurder in the first degree? I'm sure of the chair if I own up?"Ascham drew a long breath; then he said slowly: "Sit down, Granice.Let's talk."IIGranice told his story simply, connectedly.He began by a quick survey of his early years -- the years ofdrudgery and privation. His father, a charming man who could never say"no," had so signally failed to say it on certain essential occasionsthat when he died he left an illegitimate family and a mortgaged estate.His lawful kin found themselves hanging over a gulf of debt, and youngGranice, to support his mother and sister, had to leave Harvard and buryhimself at eighteen in a broker's office. He loathed his work, and hewas always poor, always worried and in ill-health. A few years later hismother died, but his sister, an ineffectual neurasthenic, remained onhis hands. His own health gave out, and he had to go away for sixmonths, and work harder than ever when he came back. He had no knack forbusiness, no head for figures, no dimmest insight into the mysteries ofcommerce. He wanted to travel and write -- those were his inmostlongings. And as the years dragged on, and he neared middle-age withoutmaking any more money, or acquiring any firmer health, a sick despairpossessed him. He tried writing, but he always came home from the officeso tired that his brain could not work. For half the year he did notreach his dim up-town flat till after dark, and could only "brush up"for dinner, and afterward lie on the lounge with his pipe, while hissister droned through the evening paper. Sometimes he spent an eveningat the theatre; or he dined out, or, more rarely, strayed off with anacquaintance or two in quest of what is known as "pleasure." And insummer, when he and Kate went to the sea-side for a month, he dozedthrough the days in utter weariness. Once he fell in love with acharming girl -- but what had he to offer her, in God's name? She seemedto like him, and in common decency he had to drop out of the running.Apparently no one replaced him, for she never married, but grewstoutish, grayish, philanthropic -- yet how sweet she had been when hehad first kissed her! One more wasted life, he reflected. . .But the stage had always been his master-passion. He would havesold his soul for the time and freedom to write plays! It was in him-- he could not remember when it had not been his deepest-seatedinstinct. As the years passed it became a morbid, a relentless obsession-- yet with every year the material conditions were more and moreagainst it. He felt himself growing middle-aged, and he watched thereflection of the process in his sister's wasted face. At eighteen shehad been pretty, and as full of enthusiasm as he. Now she was sour,trivial, insignificant -- she had missed her chance of life. And she hadno resources, poor creature, was fashioned simply for the primitivefunctions she had been denied the chance to fulfil! It exasperated himto think of it -- and to reflect that even now a little travel, a littlehealth, a little money, might transform her, make her young anddesirable. . . The chief fruit of his experience was that there is nosuch fixed state as age or youth-there is only health as againstsickness, wealth as against poverty; and age or youth as the outcome ofthe lot one draws.At this point in his narrative Granice stood up, and went to leanagainst the mantel-piece, looking down at Ascham, who had not moved fromhis seat, or changed his attitude of rigid fascinated attention."Then came the summer when we went to Wrenfield to be near oldLenman -- my mother's cousin, as you know. Some of the family alwaysmounted guard over him -- generally a niece or so. But that year theywere all scattered, and one of the nieces offered to lend us her cottageif we'd relieve her of duty for two months. It was a nuisance for me, ofcourse, for Wrenfield is two hours from town; but my mother, who was aslave to family observances, had always been good to the old man, so itwas natural we should be called on -- and there was the saving of rentand the good air for Kate. So we went."You never knew Joseph Lenman? Well, picture to yourself an amoebaor some primitive organism of that sort, under a Titan's microscope. Hewas large, undifferentiated, inert -- since I could remember him he haddone nothing but take his temperature and read the Churchman. Oh, andcultivate melons -- that was his hobby. Not vulgar, out-of-door melons-- his were grown under glass. He had miles of it at Wrenfield -- hisbig kitchen-garden was surrounded by blinking battalions ofgreen-houses. And in nearly all of them melons were grown -- earlymelons and late, French, English, domestic -- dwarf melons and monsters:every shape, colour and variety. They were petted and nursed likechildren -- a staff of trained attendants waited on them. I'm not surethey didn't have a doctor to take their temperature -- at any rate theplace was full of thermometers. And they didn't sprawl on the groundlike ordinary melons; they were trained against the glass likenectarines, and each melon hung in a net which sustained its weight andleft it free on all sides to the sun and air. . ."It used to strike me sometimes that old Lenman was just like oneof his own melons -- the pale-fleshed English kind. His life, apatheticand motionless, hung in a net of gold, in an equable warm ventilatedatmosphere, high above sordid earthly worries. The cardinal rule of hisexistence was not to let himself be 'worried.' . . . I remember hisadvising me to try it myself, one day when I spoke to him about Kate'sbad health, and her need of a change. 'I never let myself worry,' hesaid complacently. 'It's the worst thing for the liver -- and you lookto me as if you had a liver. Take my advice and be cheerful. You'll makeyourself happier and others too.' And all he had to do was to write acheque, and send the poor girl off for a holiday!"The hardest part of it was that the money half-belonged to usalready. The old skin-flint only had it for life, in trust for us andthe others. But his life was a good deal sounder than mine or Kate's --and one could picture him taking extra care of it for the joke ofkeeping us waiting. I always felt that the sight of our hungry eyes wasa tonic to him."Well, I tried to see if I couldn't reach him through his vanity. Iflattered him, feigned a passionate interest in his melons. And he wastaken in, and used to discourse on them by the hour. On fine days he wasdriven to the green-houses in his pony-chair, and waddled through them,prodding and leering at the fruit, like a fat Turk in his seraglio. Whenhe bragged to me of the expense of growing them I was reminded of ahideous old Lothario bragging of what his pleasures cost. And theresemblance was completed by the fact that he couldn't eat as much as amouthful of his melons -- had lived for years on buttermilk and toast.'But, after all, it's my only hobby -- why shouldn't I indulge it?' hesaid sentimentally. As if I'd ever been able to indulge any of mine! Onthe keep of those melons Kate and I could have lived like gods. . ."One day toward the end of the summer, when Kate was too unwell todrag herself up to the big house, she asked me to go and spend theafternoon with cousin Joseph. It was a lovely soft September afternoon-- a day to lie under a Roman stone-pine, with one's eyes on the sky,and let the cosmic harmonies rush through one. Perhaps the vision wassuggested by the fact that, as I entered cousin Joseph's hideous blackwalnut library, I passed one of the under-gardeners, a handsomefull-throated Italian, who dashed out in such a hurry that he nearlyknocked me down. I remember thinking it queer that the fellow, whom Ihad often seen about the melon-houses, did not bow to me, or even seemto see me."Cousin Joseph sat in his usual seat, behind the darkened windows,his fat hands folded on his protuberant waistcoat, the last number ofthe Churchman at his elbow, and near it, on a huge dish, a fat melon --the fattest melon I'd ever seen. As I looked at it I pictured theecstasy of contemplation from which I must have roused him, andcongratulated myself on finding him in such a mood, since I had made upmy mind to ask him a favour. Then I noticed that his face, instead oflooking as calm as an eggshell, was distorted and whimpering -- andwithout stopping to greet me he pointed passionately to the melon."'Look at it, look at it -- did you ever see such a beauty? Suchfirmness -- roundness -- such delicious smoothness to the touch?' It wasas if he had said 'she' instead of 'it,' and when he put out his senilehand and touched the melon I positively had to look the other way."Then he told me what had happened. The Italian under-gardener, whohad been specially recommended for the melon-houses -- though it wasagainst my cousin's principles to employ a Papist -- had been assignedto the care of the monster: for it had revealed itself, early in itsexistence, as destined to become a monster, to surpass its plumpest,pulpiest sisters, carry off prizes at agricultural shows, and bephotographed and celebrated in every gardening paper in the land. TheItalian had done well -- seemed to have a sense of responsibility. Andthat very morning he had been ordered to pick the melon, which was to beshown next day at the county fair, and to bring it in for Mr. Lenman togaze on its blonde virginity. But in picking it, what had the damnedscoundrelly Jesuit done but drop it -- drop it crash on the sharp spoutof a watering-pot, so that it received a deep gash in its firm palerotundity, and was henceforth but a bruised, ruined, fallen melon?"The old man's rage was fearful in its impotence -- he shook,spluttered and strangled with it. He had just had the Italian up and hadsacked him on the spot, without wages or character -- had threatened tohave him arrested if he was ever caught prowling about Wrenfield. 'ByGod, and I'll do it -- I'll write to Washington -- I'll have the pauperscoundrel deported! I'll show him what money can do!' As likely as notthere was some murderous Black-hand business under it -- it would befound that the fellow was a member of a 'gang.' Those Italians wouldmurder you for a quarter. He meant to have the police look into it. . .And then he grew frightened at his own excitement. 'But I must calmmyself,' he said. He took his temperature, rang for his drops, andturned to the Churchman. He had been reading an article on Nestorianismwhen the melon was brought in. He asked me to go on with it, and I readto him for an hour, in the dim close room, with a fat fly buzzingstealthily about the fallen melon."All the while one phrase of the old man's buzzed in my brain likethe fly about the melon. 'I'll show him what money can do!' Goodheaven! If I could but show the old man! If I could make him see hispower of giving happiness as a new outlet for his monstrous egotism! Itried to tell him something about my situation and Kate's -- spoke of myill-health, my unsuccessful drudgery, my longing to write, to makemyself a name -- I stammered out an entreaty for a loan. 'I canguarantee to repay you, sir-I've a half-written play as security. . .'"I shall never forget his glassy stare. His face had grown assmooth as an egg-shell again -- his eyes peered over his fat cheeks likesentinels over a slippery rampart."'A half-written play -- a play of yours as security?' He lookedat me almost fearfully, as if detecting the first symptoms of insanity.'Do you understand anything of business?' he enquired mildly. I laughedand answered: 'No, not much.'"He leaned back with closed lids. 'All this excitement has been toomuch for me,' he said. 'If you'll excuse me, I'll prepare for my nap.'And I stumbled out of the room, blindly, like the Italian."Granice moved away from the mantel-piece, and walked across to thetray set out with decanters and soda-water. He poured himself a tallglass of soda-water, emptied it, and glanced at Ascham's dead cigar."Better light another," he suggested.The lawyer shook his head, and Granice went on with his tale. Hetold of his mounting obsession -- how the murderous impulse had waked inhim on the instant of his cousin's refusal, and he had muttered tohimself: "By God, if you won't, I'll make you." He spoke more tranquillyas the narrative proceeded, as though his rage had died down once theresolve to act on it was taken. He applied his whole mind to thequestion of how the old man was to be "disposed of." Suddenly heremembered the outcry: "Those Italians will murder you for a quarter!"But no definite project presented itself: he simply waited for aninspiration.Granice and his sister moved to town a day or two after theincident of the melon. But the cousins, who had returned, kept theminformed of the old man's condition. One day, about three weeks later,Granice, on getting home, found Kate excited over a report fromWrenfield. The Italian had been there again -- had somehow slipped intothe house, made his way up to the library, and "used threateninglanguage." The house-keeper found cousin Joseph gasping, the whites ofhis eyes showing "something awful." The doctor was sent for, and theattack warded off; and the police had ordered the Italian from theneighbourhood.But cousin Joseph, thereafter, languished, had "nerves," and losthis taste for toast and butter-milk. The doctor called in a colleague,and the consultation amused and excited the old man-he became once morean important figure. The medical men reassured the family -- toocompletely! -- and to the patient they recommended a more varied diet:advised him to take whatever "tempted him." And so one day, tremulously,prayerfully, he decided on a tiny bit of melon. It was brought up withceremony, and consumed in the presence of the house-keeper and ahovering cousin; and twenty minutes later he was dead. . ."But you remember the circumstances," Granice went on; "howsuspicion turned at once on the Italian? In spite of the hint the policehad given him he had been seen hanging about the house since 'thescene.' It was said that he had tender relations with the kitchen-maid,and the rest seemed easy to explain. But when they looked round to askhim for the explanation he was gone -- gone clean out of sight. He hadbeen 'warned' to leave Wrenfield, and he had taken the warning so toheart that no one ever laid eyes on him again."Granice paused. He had dropped into a chair opposite the lawyer's,and he sat for a moment, his head thrown back, looking about thefamiliar room. Everything in it had grown grimacing and alien, and eachstrange insistent object seemed craning forward from its place to hear him."It was I who put the stuff in the melon," he said. "And I don'twant you to think I'm sorry for it. This isn't 'remorse,' understand.I'm glad the old skin-flint is dead -- I'm glad the others have theirmoney. But mine's no use to me any more. My sister married miserably,and died. And I've never had what I wanted."Ascham continued to stare; then he said: "What on earth was yourobject, then?""Why, to get what I wanted -- what I fancied was in reach! Iwanted change, rest, life, for both of us -- wanted, above all, formyself, the chance to write! I travelled, got back my health, and camehome to tie myself up to my work. And I've slaved at it steadily for tenyears without reward -- without the most distant hope of success! Nobodywill look at my stuff. And now I'm fifty, and I'm beaten, and I knowit." His chin dropped forward on his breast. "I want to chuck the wholebusiness," he ended.IIIIt was after midnight when Ascham left.His hand on Granice's shoulder, as he turned to go --"DistrictAttorney be hanged; see a doctor, see a doctor!" he had cried; and so,with an exaggerated laugh, had pulled on his coat and departed.Granice turned back into the library. It had never occurred to himthat Ascham would not believe his story. For three hours he hadexplained, elucidated, patiently and painfully gone over every detail --but without once breaking down the iron incredulity of the lawyer's eye.At first Ascham had feigned to be convinced -- but that, as Granicenow perceived, was simply to get him to expose himself, to entrap himinto contradictions. And when the attempt failed, when Granicetriumphantly met and refuted each disconcerting question, the lawyerdropped the mask suddenly, and said with a goodhumoured laugh: "By Jove,Granice you'll write a successful play yet. The way you've worked thisall out is a marvel."Granice swung about furiously -- that last sneer about the playinflamed him. Was all the world in a conspiracy to deride his failure?"I did it, I did it," he muttered sullenly, his rage spendingitself against the impenetrable surface of the other's mockery; andAscham answered with a smile: "Ever read any of those books onhallucination? I've got a fairly good medico-legal library. I could sendyou one or two if you like. . ."Left alone, Granice cowered down in the chair before hiswritingtable. He understood that Ascham thought him off his head."Good God -- what if they all think me crazy?"The horror of it broke out over him in a cold sweat -- he sat thereand shook, his eyes hidden in his icy hands. But gradually, as he beganto rehearse his story for the thousandth time, he saw again howincontrovertible it was, and felt sure that any criminal lawyer wouldbelieve him."That's the trouble -- Ascham's not a criminal lawyer. And thenhe's a friend. What a fool I was to talk to a friend! Even if he didbelieve me, he'd never let me see it -- his instinct would be to coverthe whole thing up. . . But in that case -- if he did believe me -- hemight think it a kindness to get me shut up in an asylum. . ." Granicebegan to tremble again. "Good heaven! If he should bring in an expert --one of those damned alienists! Ascham and Pettilow can do anything --their word always goes. If Ascham drops a hint that I'd better be shutup, I'll be in a strait-jacket by to-morrow! And he'd do it from thekindest motives -- be quite right to do it if he thinks I'm a murderer!"The vision froze him to his chair. He pressed his fists to hisbursting temples and tried to think. For the first time he hoped thatAscham had not believed his story."But he did -- he did! I can see it now -- I noticed what a queereye he cocked at me. Good God, what shall I do -- what shall I do?"He started up and looked at the clock. Half-past one. What ifAscham should think the case urgent, rout out an alienist, and come backwith him? Granice jumped to his feet, and his sudden gesture brushed themorning paper from the table. Mechanically he stooped to pick it up, andthe movement started a new train of association.He sat down again, and reached for the telephone book in the rackby his chair."Give me three-o-ten . . . yes."The new idea in his mind had revived his flagging energy. He wouldact -- act at once. It was only by thus planning ahead, committinghimself to some unavoidable line of conduct, that he could pull himselfthrough the meaningless days. Each time he reached a fresh decision itwas like coming out of a foggy weltering sea into a calm harbour withlights. One of the queerest phases of his long agony was the intenserelief produced by these momentary lulls."That the office of the Investigator? Yes? Give me Mr. Denver,please. . . Hallo, Denver. . . Yes, Hubert Granice. . . . Just caughtyou? Going straight home? Can I come and see you . . . yes, now . . .have a talk? It's rather urgent . . . yes, might give you somefirst-rate 'copy.' . . . All right!" He hung up the receiver with alaugh. It had been a happy thought to call up the editor of theInvestigator -- Robert Denver was the very man he needed. . .Granice put out the lights in the library -- it was odd how theautomatic gestures persisted! -- went into the hall, put on his hat andovercoat, and let himself out of the flat. In the hall, a sleepyelevator boy blinked at him and then dropped his head on his foldedarms. Granice passed out into the street. At the corner of Fifth Avenuehe hailed a crawling cab, and called out an up-town address. The longthoroughfare stretched before him, dim and deserted, like an ancientavenue of tombs. But from Denver's house a friendly beam fell on thepavement; and as Granice sprang from his cab the editor's electricturned the corner.The two men grasped hands, and Denver, feeling for his latch-key,ushered Granice into the brightly-lit hall."Disturb me? Not a bit. You might have, at ten to-morrow morning .. . but this is my liveliest hour . . . you know my habits of old."Granice had known Robert Denver for fifteen years -- watched hisrise through all the stages of journalism to the Olympian pinnacle ofthe Investigator's editorial office. In the thickset man with grizzlinghair there were few traces left of the hungry-eyed young reporter who,on his way home in the small hours, used to "bob in" on Granice, whilethe latter sat grinding at his plays. Denver had to pass Granice's flaton the way to his own, and it became a habit, if he saw a light in thewindow, and Granice's shadow against the blind, to go in, smoke a pipe,and discuss the universe."Well -- this is like old times -- a good old habit reversed." Theeditor smote his visitor genially on the shoulder. "Reminds me of thenights when I used to rout you out. . . How's the play, by the way?There is a play, I suppose? It's as safe to ask you that as to say tosome men: 'How's the baby?'"Denver laughed good-naturedly, and Granice thought how thick andheavy he had grown. It was evident, even to Granice's tortured nerves,that the words had not been uttered in malice -- and the fact gave him anew measure of his insignificance. Denver did not even know that he hadbeen a failure! The fact hurt more than Ascham's irony."Come in -- come in." The editor led the way into a small cheerfulroom, where there were cigars and decanters. He pushed an armchairtoward his visitor, and dropped into another with a comfortable groan."Now, then -- help yourself. And let's hear all about it."He beamed at Granice over his pipe-bowl, and the latter, lightinghis cigar, said to himself: "Success makes men comfortable, but it makesthem stupid."Then he turned, and began: "Denver, I want to tell you --"The clock ticked rhythmically on the mantel-piece. The little roomwas gradually filled with drifting blue layers of smoke, and throughthem the editor's face came and went like the moon through a moving sky.Once the hour struck -- then the rhythmical ticking began again. Theatmosphere grew denser and heavier, and beads of perspiration began toroll from Granice's forehead."Do you mind if I open the window?""No. It is stuffy in here. Wait -- I'll do it myself." Denverpushed down the upper sash, and returned to his chair. "Well -- go on,"he said, filling another pipe. His composure exasperated Granice."There's no use in my going on if you don't believe me."The editor remained unmoved. "Who says I don't believe you? And howcan I tell till you've finished?"Granice went on, ashamed of his outburst. "It was simple enough, asyou'll see. From the day the old man said to me, 'Those Italians wouldmurder you for a quarter,' I dropped everything and just worked at myscheme. It struck me at once that I must find a way of getting toWrenfield and back in a night -- and that led to the idea of a motor. Amotor -- that never occurred to you? You wonder where I got the money, Isuppose. Well, I had a thousand or so put by, and I nosed around till Ifound what I wanted -- a second-hand racer. I knew how to drive a car,and I tried the thing and found it was all right. Times were bad, and Ibought it for my price, and stored it away. Where? Why, in one of thoseno-questions-asked garages where they keep motors that are not forfamily use. I had a lively cousin who had put me up to that dodge, and Ilooked about till I found a queer hole where they took in my car like ababy in a foundling asylum. . . Then I practiced running to Wrenfieldand back in a night. I knew the way pretty well, for I'd done it oftenwith the same lively cousin -- and in the small hours, too. The distanceis over ninety miles, and on the third trial I did it under two hours.But my arms were so lame that I could hardly get dressed the nextmorning. . ."Well, then came the report about the Italian's threats, and I sawI must act at once. . . I meant to break into the old man's room, shoothim, and get away again. It was a big risk, but I thought I could manageit. Then we heard that he was ill -- that there'd been a consultation.Perhaps the fates were going to do it for me! Good Lord, if that couldonly be! . . ."Granice stopped and wiped his forehead: the open window did notseem to have cooled the room."Then came word that he was better; and the day after, when I cameup from my office, I found Kate laughing over the news that he was totry a bit of melon. The house-keeper had just telephoned her -- allWrenfield was in a flutter. The doctor himself had picked out the melon,one of the little French ones that are hardly bigger than a large tomato-- and the patient was to eat it at his breakfast the next morning."In a flash I saw my chance. It was a bare chance, no more. But Iknew the ways of the house -- I was sure the melon would be brought inover night and put in the pantry ice-box. If there were only one melonin the ice-box I could be fairly sure it was the one I wanted. Melonsdidn't lie around loose in that house-every one was known, numbered,catalogued. The old man was beset by the dread that the servants wouldeat them, and he took a hundred mean precautions to prevent it. Yes, Ifelt pretty sure of my melon . . . and poisoning was much safer thanshooting. It would have been the devil and all to get into the old man'sbedroom without his rousing the house; but I ought to be able to breakinto the pantry without much trouble."It was a cloudy night, too -- everything served me. I dinedquietly, and sat down at my desk. Kate had one of her usual headaches,and went to bed early. As soon as she was gone I slipped out. I had gottogether a sort of disguise -- red beard and queer-looking ulster. Ishoved them into a bag, and went round to the garage. There was no onethere but a half-drunken machinist whom I'd never seen before. Thatserved me, too. They were always changing machinists, and this newfellow didn't even bother to ask if the car belonged to me. It was avery easygoing place. . ."Well, I jumped in, ran up Broadway, and let the car go as soon asI was out of Harlem. Dark as it was, I could trust myself to strike asharp pace. In the shadow of a wood I stopped a second and got into thebeard and ulster. Then away again -- it was just eleven-thirty when Igot to Wrenfield."I left the car in a dark lane behind the Lenman place, and slippedthrough the kitchen-garden. The melon-houses winked at me through thedark -- I remember thinking that they knew what I wanted to know. . . .By the stable a dog came out growling -- but he nosed me out, jumped onme, and went back. . . The house was as dark as the grave. I kneweverybody went to bed by ten. But there might be a prowling servant --the kitchen-maid might have come down to let in her Italian. I had torisk that, of course. I crept around by the back door and hid in theshrubbery. Then I listened. It was all as silent as death. I crossedover to the house, pried open the pantry window and climbed in. I had alittle electric lamp in my pocket, and shielding it with my cap I gropedmy way to the ice-box, opened it -- and there was the little Frenchmelon . . . only one."I stopped to listen -- I was quite cool. Then I pulled out mybottle of stuff and my syringe, and gave each section of the melon ahypodermic. It was all done inside of three minutes -- at ten minutes totwelve I was back in the car. I got out of the lane as quietly as Icould, struck a back road that skirted the village, and let the car outas soon as I was beyond the last houses. I only stopped once on the wayin, to drop the beard and ulster into a pond. I had a big stone ready toweight them with and they went down plump, like a dead body -- and attwo o'clock I was back at my desk."Granice stopped speaking and looked across the smoke-fumes at hislistener; but Denver's face remained inscrutable.At length he said: "Why did you want to tell me this?"The question startled Granice. He was about to explain, as he hadexplained to Ascham; but suddenly it occurred to him that if his motivehad not seemed convincing to the lawyer it would carry much less weightwith Denver. Both were successful men, and success does not understandthe subtle agony of failure. Granice cast about for another reason."Why, I -- the thing haunts me . . . remorse, I suppose you'd callit. . ."Denver struck the ashes from his empty pipe."Remorse? Bosh!" he said energetically.Granice's heart sank. "You don't believe in -- remorse?""Not an atom: in the man of action. The mere fact of your talkingof remorse proves to me that you're not the man to have planned and putthrough such a job."Granice groaned. "Well -- I lied to you about remorse. I've neverfelt any."Denver's lips tightened sceptically about his freshly-filled pipe."What was your motive, then? You must have had one.""I'll tell you --" And Granice began again to rehearse the story ofhis failure, of his loathing for life. "Don't say you don't believe methis time . . . that this isn't a real reason!" he stammered outpiteously as he ended.Denver meditated. "No, I won't say that. I've seen too many queerthings. There's always a reason for wanting to get out of life -- thewonder is that we find so many for staying in!" Granice's heart grewlight. "Then you do believe me?" he faltered."Believe that you're sick of the job? Yes. And that you haven't thenerve to pull the trigger? Oh, yes -- that's easy enough, too. But allthat doesn't make you a murderer -- though I don't say it proves youcould never have been one.""I have been one, Denver -- I swear to you.""Perhaps." He meditated. "Just tell me one or two things.""Oh, go ahead. You won't stump me!" Granice heard himself say witha laugh."Well -- how did you make all those trial trips without excitingyour sister's curiosity? I knew your night habits pretty well at thattime, remember. You were very seldom out late. Didn't the change in yourways surprise her?""No; because she was away at the time. She went to pay severalvisits in the country soon after we came back from Wrenfield, and wasonly in town for a night or two before -- before I did the job.""And that night she went to bed early with a headache?""Yes -- blinding. She didn't know anything when she had that kind.And her room was at the back of the flat."Denver again meditated. "And when you got back -- she didn't hearyou? You got in without her knowing it?""Yes. I went straight to my work -- took it up at the word whereI'd left off -- Why, Denver, don't you remember?" Granice suddenly,passionately interjected."Remember -- ?""Yes; how you found me -- when you looked in that morning, betweentwo and three . . . your usual hour . . .?""Yes," the editor nodded.Granice gave a short laugh. "In my old coat -- with my pipe: lookedas if I'd been working all night, didn't I? Well, I hadn't been in mychair ten minutes!"Denver uncrossed his legs and then crossed them again. "I didn'tknow whether you remembered that.""What?""My coming in that particular night -- or morning."Granice swung round in his chair. "Why, man alive! That's why I'mhere now. Because it was you who spoke for me at the inquest, when theylooked round to see what all the old man's heirs had been doing thatnight -- you who testified to having dropped in and found me at my deskas usual. . . . I thought that would appeal to your journalistic senseif nothing else would!"Denver smiled. "Oh, my journalistic sense is still susceptibleenough -- and the idea's picturesque, I grant you: asking the man whoproved your alibi to establish your guilt.""That's it -- that's it!" Granice's laugh had a ring of triumph."Well, but how about the other chap's testimony -- I mean thatyoung doctor: what was his name? Ned Ranney. Don't you remember mytestifying that I'd met him at the elevated station, and told him I wason my way to smoke a pipe with you, and his saying: 'All right; you'llfind him in. I passed the house two hours ago, and saw his shadowagainst the blind, as usual.' And the lady with the toothache in theflat across the way: she corroborated his statement, you remember.""Yes; I remember."Well, then?""Simple enough. Before starting I rigged up a kind of mannikin withold coats and a cushion -- something to cast a shadow on the blind. Allyou fellows were used to seeing my shadow there in the small hours -- Icounted on that, and knew you'd take any vague outline as mine.""Simple enough, as you say. But the woman with the toothache sawthe shadow move -- you remember she said she saw you sink forward, as ifyou'd fallen asleep.""Yes; and she was right. It did move. I suppose some extra-heavydray must have jolted by the flimsy building -- at any rate, somethinggave my mannikin a jar, and when I came back he had sunk forward, halfover the table."There was a long silence between the two men. Granice, with athrobbing heart, watched Denver refill his pipe. The editor, at anyrate, did not sneer and flout him. After all, journalism gave a deeperinsight than the law into the fantastic possibilities of life, preparedone better to allow for the incalculableness of human impulses."Well?" Granice faltered out.Denver stood up with a shrug. "Look here, man -- what's wrong withyou? Make a clean breast of it! Nerves gone to smash? I'd like to takeyou to see a chap I know -- an ex-prize-fighter -- who's a wonder atpulling fellows in your state out of their hole --""Oh, oh --" Granice broke in. He stood up also, and the two meneyed each other. "You don't believe me, then?""This yarn -- how can I? There wasn't a flaw in your alibi.""But haven't I filled it full of them now?"Denver shook his head. "I might think so if I hadn't happened toknow that you wanted to. There's the hitch, don't you see?"Granice groaned. "No, I didn't. You mean my wanting to be foundguilty -- ?""Of course! If somebody else had accused you, the story might havebeen worth looking into. As it is, a child could have invented it. Itdoesn't do much credit to your ingenuity."Granice turned sullenly toward the door. What was the use ofarguing? But on the threshold a sudden impulse drew him back. "Lookhere, Denver -- I daresay you're right. But will you do just one thingto prove it? Put my statement in the Investigator, just as I've made it.Ridicule it as much as you like. Only give the other fellows a chance atit -- men who don't know anything about me. Set them talking and lookingabout. I don't care a damn whether you believe me -- what I want is toconvince the Grand Jury! I oughtn't to have come to a man who knowsme-your cursed incredulity is infectious. I don't put my case well,because I know in advance it's discredited, and I almost end by notbelieving it myself. That's why I can't convince YOU. It's a viciouscircle." He laid a hand on Denver's arm. "Send a stenographer, and putmy statement in the paper.But Denver did not warm to the idea. "My dear fellow, you seem toforget that all the evidence was pretty thoroughly sifted at the time,every possible clue followed up. The public would have been ready enoughthen to believe that you murdered old Lenman-you or anybody else. Allthey wanted was a murderer -- the most improbable would have served. Butyour alibi was too confoundedly complete. And nothing you've told me hasshaken it." Denver laid his cool hand over the other's burning fingers."Look here, old fellow, go home and work up a better case -- then comein and submit it to the Investigator."IVThe perspiration was rolling off Granice's forehead. Every few minuteshe had to draw out his handkerchief and wipe the moisture from hishaggard face.For an hour and a half he had been talking steadily, putting hiscase to the District Attorney. Luckily he had a speaking acquaintancewith Allonby, and had obtained, without much difficulty, a privateaudience on the very day after his talk with Robert Denver. In theinterval between he had hurried home, got out of his evening clothes,and gone forth again at once into the dreary dawn. His fear of Aschamand the alienist made it impossible for him to remain in his rooms. Andit seemed to him that the only way of averting that hideous peril was byestablishing, in some sane impartial mind, the proof of his guilt. Evenif he had not been so incurably sick of life, the electric chair seemednow the only alternative to the straitjacket.As he paused to wipe his forehead he saw the District Attorneyglance at his watch. The gesture was significant, and Granice lifted anappealing hand. "I don't expect you to believe me now-but can't you putme under arrest, and have the thing looked into?"Allonby smiled faintly under his heavy grayish moustache. He had aruddy face, full and jovial, in which his keen professional eyes seemedto keep watch over impulses not strictly professional."Well, I don't know that we need lock you up just yet. But ofcourse I'm bound to look into your statement --"Granice rose with an exquisite sense of relief. Surely Allonbywouldn't have said that if he hadn't believed him!"That's all right. Then I needn't detain you. I can be found at anytime at my apartment." He gave the address.The District Attorney smiled again, more openly. "What do you sayto leaving it for an hour or two this evening? I'm giving a littlesupper at Rector's -- quiet, little affair, you understand: just MissMelrose -- I think you know her -- and a friend or two; and if you'lljoin us. . ."Granice stumbled out of the office without knowing what reply hehad made.He waited for four days -- four days of concentrated horror. Duringthe first twenty-four hours the fear of Ascham's alienist dogged him;and as that subsided, it was replaced by the exasperating sense that hisavowal had made no impression on the District Attorney. Evidently, if hehad been going to look into the case, Allonby would have been heard frombefore now. . . . And that mocking invitation to supper showed clearlyenough how little the story had impressed him!Granice was overcome by the futility of any farther attempt toinculpate himself. He was chained to life -- a "prisoner ofconsciousness." Where was it he had read the phrase? Well, he waslearning what it meant. In the glaring night-hours, when his brainseemed ablaze, he was visited by a sense of his fixed identity, of hisirreducible, inexpugnable selfness , keener, more insidious, moreunescapable, than any sensation he had ever known. He had not guessedthat the mind was capable of such intricacies of self-realization, ofpenetrating so deep into its own dark windings. Often he woke from hisbrief snatches of sleep with the feeling that something material wasclinging to him, was on his hands and face, and in his throat -- and ashis brain cleared he understood that it was the sense of his own loathedpersonality that stuck to him like some thick viscous substance.Then, in the first morning hours, he would rise and look out of hiswindow at the awakening activities of the street -- at thestreet-cleaners, the ash-cart drivers, and the other dingy workersflitting hurriedly by through the sallow winter light. Oh, to be one ofthem -- any of them -- to take his chance in any of their skins! Theywere the toilers -- the men whose lot was pitied -- the victims weptover and ranted about by altruists and economists; and how gladly hewould have taken up the load of any one of them, if only he might haveshaken off his own! But, no-the iron circle of consciousness held themtoo: each one was hand-cuffed to his own hideous ego. Why wish to be anyone man rather than another? The only absolute good was not to be . . .And Flint, coming in to draw his bath, would ask if he preferred hiseggs scrambled or poached that morning?On the fifth day he wrote a long urgent letter to Allonby; and forthe succeeding two days he had the occupation of waiting for an answer.He hardly stirred from his rooms, in his fear of missing the letter by amoment; but would the District Attorney write, or send a representative:a policeman, a "secret agent," or some other mysterious emissary of thelaw?On the third morning Flint, stepping softly -- as if, confound it!his master were ill -- entered the library where Granice sat behind anunread newspaper, and proferred a card on a tray.Granice read the name -- J. B. Hewson -- and underneath, in pencil,"From the District Attorney's office." He started up with a thumpingheart, and signed an assent to the servant.Mr. Hewson was a slight sallow nondescript man of about fifty-thekind of man of whom one is sure to see a specimen in any crowd. "Justthe type of the successful detective," Granice reflected as he shookhands with his visitor.And it was in that character that Mr. Hewson briefly introducedhimself. He had been sent by the District Attorney to have "a quiettalk" with Mr. Granice -- to ask him to repeat the statement he had madeabout the Lenman murder.His manner was so quiet, so reasonable and receptive, thatGranice's self-confidence returned. Here was a sensible man -- a man whoknew his business -- it would be easy enough to make him see throughthat ridiculous alibi! Granice offered Mr. Hewson a cigar, and lightingone himself -- to prove his coolness -- began again to tell his story.He was conscious, as he proceeded, of telling it better than everbefore. Practice helped, no doubt; and his listener's detached,impartial attitude helped still more. He could see that Hewson, atleast, had not decided in advance to disbelieve him, and the sense ofbeing trusted made him more lucid and more consecutive. Yes, this timehis words would certainly carry conviction. . .VDespairingly, Granice gazed up and down the shabby street. Beside himstood a young man with bright prominent eyes, a smooth but not toosmoothly-shaven face, and an Irish smile. The young man's nimble glancefollowed Granice's."Sure of the number, are you?" he asked briskly."Oh, yes -- it was 104.""Well, then, the new building has swallowed it up -- that's certain."He tilted his head back and surveyed the half-finished front of abrick and limestone flat-house that reared its flimsy elegance above arow of tottering tenements and stables."Dead sure?" he repeated."Yes," said Granice, discouraged. "And even if I hadn't been, Iknow the garage was just opposite Leffler's over there." He pointedacross the street to a tumble-down stable with a blotched sign on whichthe words "Livery and Boarding" were still faintly discernible.The young man dashed across to the opposite pavement. "Well, that'ssomething -- may get a clue there. Leffler's -- same name there, anyhow.You remember that name?""Yes -- distinctly."Granice had felt a return of confidence since he had enlisted theinterest of the Explorer's "smartest" reporter. If there were momentswhen he hardly believed his own story, there were others when it seemedimpossible that every one should not believe it; and young PeterMcCarren, peering, listening, questioning, jotting down notes, inspiredhim with an exquisite sense of security. McCarren had fastened on thecase at once, "like a leech," as he phrased it -- jumped at it, thrilledto it, and settled down to "draw the last drop of fact from it, and hadnot let go till he had." No one else had treated Granice in that way --even Allonby's detective had not taken a single note. And though a weekhad elapsed since the visit of that authorized official, nothing hadbeen heard from the District Attorney's office: Allonby had apparentlydropped the matter again. But McCarren wasn't going to drop it -- nothe! He positively hung on Granice's footsteps. They had spent thegreater part of the previous day together, and now they were off again,running down clues.But at Leffler's they got none, after all. Leffler's was no longera stable. It was condemned to demolition, and in the respite betweensentence and execution it had become a vague place of storage, ahospital for broken-down carriages and carts, presided over by ablear-eyed old woman who knew nothing of Flood's garage across the way-- did not even remember what had stood there before the new flat-housebegan to rise."Well -- we may run Leffler down somewhere; I've seen harder jobsdone," said McCarren, cheerfully noting down the name.As they walked back toward Sixth Avenue he added, in a lesssanguine tone: "I'd undertake now to put the thing through if you couldonly put me on the track of that cyanide."Granice's heart sank. Yes -- there was the weak spot; he had feltit from the first! But he still hoped to convince McCarren that his casewas strong enough without it; and he urged the reporter to come back tohis rooms and sum up the facts with him again."Sorry, Mr. Granice, but I'm due at the office now. Besides, it'dbe no use till I get some fresh stuff to work on. Suppose I call you uptomorrow or next day?"He plunged into a trolley and left Granice gazing desolately afterhim.Two days later he reappeared at the apartment, a shade less jauntyin demeanor."Well, Mr. Granice, the stars in their courses are against you, asthe bard says. Can't get a trace of Flood, or of Leffler either. And yousay you bought the motor through Flood, and sold it through him, too?""Yes," said Granice wearily."Who bought it, do you know?"Granice wrinkled his brows. "Why, Flood -- yes, Flood himself. Isold it back to him three months later.""Flood? The devil! And I've ransacked the town for Flood. That kindof business disappears as if the earth had swallowed it."Granice, discouraged, kept silence."That brings us back to the poison," McCarren continued, hisnote-book out. "Just go over that again, will you?"And Granice went over it again. It had all been so simple at thetime -- and he had been so clever in covering up his traces! As soon ashe decided on poison he looked about for an acquaintance whomanufactured chemicals; and there was Jim Dawes, a Harvard classmate, inthe dyeing business -- just the man. But at the last moment it occurredto him that suspicion might turn toward so obvious an opportunity, andhe decided on a more tortuous course. Another friend, Carrick Venn, astudent of medicine whom irremediable ill-health had kept from thepractice of his profession, amused his leisure with experiments inphysics, for the exercise of which he had set up a simple laboratory.Granice had the habit of dropping in to smoke a cigar with him on Sundayafternoons, and the friends generally sat in Venn's work-shop, at theback of the old family house in Stuyvesant Square. Off this work-shopwas the cupboard of supplies, with its row of deadly bottles. CarrickVenn was an original, a man of restless curious tastes, and his place,on a Sunday, was often full of visitors: a cheerful crowd ofjournalists, scribblers, painters, experimenters in divers forms ofexpression. Coming and going among so many, it was easy enough to passunperceived; and one afternoon Granice, arriving before Venn hadreturned home, found himself alone in the work-shop, and quicklyslipping into the cupboard, transferred the drug to his pocket.But that had happened ten years ago; and Venn, poor fellow, waslong since dead of his dragging ailment. His old father was dead, too,the house in Stuyvesant Square had been turned into a boarding-house,and the shifting life of New York had passed its rapid sponge over everytrace of their obscure little history. Even the optimistic McCarrenseemed to acknowledge the hopelessness of seeking for proof in thatdirection."And there's the third door slammed in our faces." He shut hisnote-book, and throwing back his head, rested his bright inquisitiveeyes on Granice's furrowed face."Look here, Mr. Granice -- you see the weak spot, don't you?"The other made a despairing motion. "I see so many!""Yes: but the one that weakens all the others. Why the deuce do youwant this thing known? Why do you want to put your head into the noose?"Granice looked at him hopelessly, trying to take the measure of hisquick light irreverent mind. No one so full of a cheerful animal lifewould believe in the craving for death as a sufficient motive; andGranice racked his brain for one more convincing. But suddenly he sawthe reporter's face soften, and melt to a naive sentimentalism."Mr. Granice -- has the memory of it always haunted you?"Granice stared a moment, and then leapt at the opening. "That's it-- the memory of it . . . always . . ."McCarren nodded vehemently. "Dogged your steps, eh? Wouldn't letyou sleep? The time came when you had to make a clean breast of it?""I had to. Can't you understand?"The reporter struck his fist on the table. "God, sir! I don'tsuppose there's a human being with a drop of warm blood in him thatcan't picture the deadly horrors of remorse --"The Celtic imagination was aflame, and Granice mutely thanked himfor the word. What neither Ascham nor Denver would accept as aconceivable motive the Irish reporter seized on as the most adequate;and, as he said, once one could find a convincing motive, thedifficulties of the case became so many incentives to effort."Remorse -- REMORSE," he repeated, rolling the word under histongue with an accent that was a clue to the psychology of the populardrama; and Granice, perversely, said to himself: "If I could only havestruck that note I should have been running in six theatres at once."He saw that from that moment McCarren's professional zeal would befanned by emotional curiosity; and he profited by the fact to proposethat they should dine together, and go on afterward to some music-hallor theatre. It was becoming necessary to Granice to feel himself anobject of pre-occupation, to find himself in another mind. He took akind of gray penumbral pleasure in riveting McCarren's attention on hiscase; and to feign the grimaces of moral anguish became a passionatelyengrossing game. He had not entered a theatre for months; but he sat outthe meaningless performance in rigid tolerance, sustained by the senseof the reporter's observation.Between the acts, McCarren amused him with anecdotes about theaudience: he knew every one by sight, and could lift the curtain fromevery physiognomy. Granice listened indulgently. He had lost allinterest in his kind, but he knew that he was himself the real centre ofMcCarren's attention, and that every word the latter spoke had anindirect bearing on his own problem."See that fellow over there -- the little dried-up man in the thirdrow, pulling his moustache? His memoirs would be worth publishing,"McCarren said suddenly in the last entr'acte.Granice, following his glance, recognized the detective fromAllonby's office. For a moment he had the thrilling sense that he wasbeing shadowed."Caesar, if he could talk -- !" McCarren continued. "Know who heis, of course? Dr. John B. Stell, the biggest alienist in the country --"Granice, with a start, bent again between the heads in front ofhim. "That man -- the fourth from the aisle? You're mistaken. That'snot Dr. Stell."McCarren laughed. "Well, I guess I've been in court enough to knowStell when I see him. He testifies in nearly all the big cases wherethey plead insanity."A cold shiver ran down Granice's spine, but he repeatedobstinately: "That's not Dr. Stell.""Not Stell? Why, man, I know him. Look -- here he comes. If itisn't Stell, he won't speak to me."The little dried-up man was moving slowly up the aisle. As heneared McCarren he made a slight gesture of recognition."How'do, Doctor Stell? Pretty slim show, ain't it?" the reportercheerfully flung out at him. And Mr. J. B. Hewson, with a nod ofamicable assent, passed on.Granice sat benumbed. He knew he had not been mistaken -- the manwho had just passed was the same man whom Allonby had sent to see him: aphysician disguised as a detective. Allonby, then, had thought himinsane, like the others -- had regarded his confession as the maunderingof a maniac. The discovery froze Granice with horror -- he seemed to seethe mad-house gaping for him."Isn't there a man a good deal like him -- a detective named J. B.Hewson?"But he knew in advance what McCarren's answer would be. "Hewson? J.B. Hewson? Never heard of him. But that was J. B. Stell fast enough -- Iguess he can be trusted to know himself, and you saw he answered to hisname."VISome days passed before Granice could obtain a word with the DistrictAttorney: he began to think that Allonby avoided him.But when they were face to face Allonby's jovial countenance showedno sign of embarrassment. He waved his visitor to a chair, and leanedacross his desk with the encouraging smile of a consulting physician.Granice broke out at once: "That detective you sent me the otherday --"Allonby raised a deprecating hand." -- I know: it was Stell the alienist. Why did you do that, Allonby?"The other's face did not lose its composure. "Because I looked upyour story first -- and there's nothing in it.""Nothing in it?" Granice furiously interposed."Absolutely nothing. If there is, why the deuce don't you bring meproofs? I know you've been talking to Peter Ascham, and to Denver, andto that little ferret McCarren of the Explorer. Have any of them beenable to make out a case for you? No. Well, what am I to do?"Granice's lips began to tremble. "Why did you play me that trick?""About Stell? I had to, my dear fellow: it's part of my business.Stell is a detective, if you come to that -- every doctor is."The trembling of Granice's lips increased, communicating itself ina long quiver to his facial muscles. He forced a laugh through his drythroat. "Well -- and what did he detect?""In you? Oh, he thinks it's overwork -- overwork and too muchsmoking. If you look in on him some day at his office he'll show you therecord of hundreds of cases like yours, and advise you what treatment tofollow. It's one of the commonest forms of hallucination. Have a cigar,all the same.""But, Allonby, I killed that man!"The District Attorney's large hand, outstretched on his desk, hadan almost imperceptible gesture, and a moment later, as if an answer tothe call of an electric bell, a clerk looked in from the outer office."Sorry, my dear fellow -- lot of people waiting. Drop in on Stellsome morning," Allonby said, shaking hands.McCarren had to own himself beaten: there was absolutely no flaw inthe alibi. And since his duty to his journal obviously forbade hiswasting time on insoluble mysteries, he ceased to frequent Granice, whodropped back into a deeper isolation. For a day or two after his visitto Allonby he continued to live in dread of Dr. Stell. Why might notAllonby have deceived him as to the alienist's diagnosis? What if hewere really being shadowed, not by a police agent but by a mad-doctor?To have the truth out, he suddenly determined to call on Dr. Stell.The physician received him kindly, and reverted withoutembarrassment to the conditions of their previous meeting. "We have todo that occasionally, Mr. Granice; it's one of our methods. And you hadgiven Allonby a fright."Granice was silent. He would have liked to reaffirm his guilt, toproduce the fresh arguments which had occurred to him since his lasttalk with the physician; but he feared his eagerness might be taken fora symptom of derangement, and he affected to smile away Dr. Stell'sallusion."You think, then, it's a case of brain-fag -- nothing more?""Nothing more. And I should advise you to knock off tobacco. Yousmoke a good deal, don't you?"He developed his treatment, recommending massage, gymnastics,travel, or any form of diversion that did not -- that in short --Granice interrupted him impatiently. "Oh, I loathe all that -- andI'm sick of travelling.""H'm. Then some larger interest -- politics, reform, philanthropy?Something to take you out of yourself.""Yes. I understand," said Granice wearily."Above all, don't lose heart. I see hundreds of cases like yours,"the doctor added cheerfully from the threshold.On the doorstep Granice stood still and laughed. Hundreds of caseslike his -- the case of a man who had committed a murder, who confessedhis guilt, and whom no one would believe! Why, there had never been acase like it in the world. What a good figure Stell would have made in aplay: the great alienist who couldn't read a man's mind any better thanthat!Granice saw huge comic opportunities in the type.But as he walked away, his fears dispelled, the sense oflistlessness returned on him. For the first time since his avowal toPeter Ascham he found himself without an occupation, and understood thathe had been carried through the past weeks only by the necessity ofconstant action. Now his life had once more become a stagnant backwater,and as he stood on the street corner watching the tides of traffic sweepby, he asked himself despairingly how much longer he could endure tofloat about in the sluggish circle of his consciousness.The thought of self-destruction recurred to him; but again hisflesh recoiled. He yearned for death from other hands, but he couldnever take it from his own. And, aside from his insuperable physicalreluctance, another motive restrained him. He was possessed by thedogged desire to establish the truth of his story. He refused to beswept aside as an irresponsible dreamer -- even if he had to killhimself in the end, he would not do so before proving to society that hehad deserved death from it.He began to write long letters to the papers; but after the firsthad been published and commented on, public curiosity was quelled by abrief statement from the District Attorney's office, and the rest of hiscommunications remained unprinted. Ascham came to see him, and beggedhim to travel. Robert Denver dropped in, and tried to joke him out ofhis delusion; till Granice, mistrustful of their motives, began to dreadthe reappearance of Dr. Stell, and set a guard on his lips. But thewords he kept back engendered others and still others in his brain. Hisinner self became a humming factory of arguments, and he spent longhours reciting and writing down elaborate statements of his crime, whichhe constantly retouched and developed. Then gradually his activitylanguished under the lack of an audience, the sense of being buriedbeneath deepening drifts of indifference. In a passion of resentment heswore that he would prove himself a murderer, even if he had to commitanother crime to do it; and for a sleepless night or two the thoughtflamed red on his darkness. But daylight dispelled it. The determiningimpulse was lacking and he hated too promiscuously to choose his victim.. . So he was thrown back on the unavailing struggle to impose the truthof his story. As fast as one channel closed on him he tried to pierceanother through the sliding sands of incredulity. But every issue seemedblocked, and the whole human race leagued together to cheat one man ofthe right to die.Thus viewed, the situation became so monstrous that he lost hislast shred of self-restraint in contemplating it. What if he were reallythe victim of some mocking experiment, the centre of a ring ofholiday-makers jeering at a poor creature in its blind dashes againstthe solid walls of consciousness? But, no -- men were not so uniformlycruel: there were flaws in the close surface of their indifference,cracks of weakness and pity here and there. . .Granice began to think that his mistake lay in having appealed topersons more or less familiar with his past, and to whom the visibleconformities of his life seemed a final disproof of its one fiercesecret deviation. The general tendency was to take for the whole of lifethe slit seen between the blinders of habit: and in his walk down thatnarrow vista Granice cut a correct enough figure. To a vision free tofollow his whole orbit his story would be more intelligible: it would beeasier to convince a chance idler in the street than the trainedintelligence hampered by a sense of his antecedents. This idea shot upin him with the tropic luxuriance of each new seed of thought, and hebegan to walk the streets, and to frequent out-of-the-way chop-housesand bars in his search for the impartial stranger to whom he shoulddisclose himself.At first every face looked encouragement; but at the crucial momenthe always held back. So much was at stake, and it was so essential thathis first choice should be decisive. He dreaded stupidity, timidity,intolerance. The imaginative eye, the furrowed brow, were what hesought. He must reveal himself only to a heart versed in the tortuousmotions of the human will; and he began to hate the dull benevolence ofthe average face. Once or twice, obscurely, allusively, he made abeginning -- once sitting down at a man's side in a basement chop-house,another day approaching a lounger on an east-side wharf. But in bothcases the premonition of failure checked him on the brink of avowal. Hisdread of being taken for a man in the clutch of a fixed idea gave him anunnatural keenness in reading the expression of his interlocutors, andhe had provided himself in advance with a series of verbal alternatives,trap-doors of evasion from the first dart of ridicule or suspicion.He passed the greater part of the day in the streets, coming homeat irregular hours, dreading the silence and orderliness of hisapartment, and the critical scrutiny of Flint. His real life was spentin a world so remote from this familiar setting that he sometimes hadthe mysterious sense of a living metempsychosis, a furtive passage fromone identity to another -- yet the other as unescapably himself!One humiliation he was spared: the desire to live never revived inhim. Not for a moment was he tempted to a shabby pact with existingconditions. He wanted to die, wanted it with the fixed unwavering desirewhich alone attains its end. And still the end eluded him! It would notalways, of course -- he had full faith in the dark star of his destiny.And he could prove it best by repeating his story, persistently andindefatigably, pouring it into indifferent ears, hammering it into dullbrains, till at last it kindled a spark, and some one of the carelessmillions paused, listened, believed. . .It was a mild March day, and he had been loitering on the westsidedocks, looking at faces. He was becoming an expert in physiognomies: hiseagerness no longer made rash darts and awkward recoils. He knew now theface he needed, as clearly as if it had come to him in a vision; and nottill he found it would he speak. As he walked eastward through theshabby reeking streets he had a premonition that he should find it thatmorning. Perhaps it was the promise of spring in the air -- certainly hefelt calmer than for many days. . .He turned into Washington Square, struck across it obliquely, andwalked up University Place. Its heterogeneous passers always allured him-- they were less hurried than in Broadway, less enclosed and classifiedthan in Fifth Avenue. He walked slowly, watching for his face.At Union Square he felt a sudden relapse into discouragement, likea votary who has watched too long for a sign from the altar. Perhaps,after all, he should never find his face. . . The air was languid, andhe felt tired. He walked between the bald grass-plots and the twistedtrees, making for an empty seat. Presently he passed a bench on which agirl sat alone, and something as definite as the twitch of a cord madehim stop before her. He had never dreamed of telling his story to agirl, had hardly looked at the women's faces as they passed. His casewas man's work: how could a woman help him? But this girl's face wasextraordinary -- quiet and wide as a clear evening sky. It suggested ahundred images of space, distance, mystery, like ships he had seen, as aboy, quietly berthed by a familiar wharf, but with the breath of farseas and strange harbours in their shrouds. . . Certainly this girlwould understand. He went up to her quietly, lifting his hat, observingthe forms -- wishing her to see at once that he was "a gentleman.""I am a stranger to you," he began, sitting down beside her, "butyour face is so extremely intelligent that I feel. . . I feel it is theface I've waited for . . . looked for everywhere; and I want to tell you--"The girl's eyes widened: she rose to her feet. She was escaping him!In his dismay he ran a few steps after her, and caught her roughlyby the arm."Here -- wait -- listen! Oh, don't scream, you fool!" he shouted out.He felt a hand on his own arm; turned and confronted a policeman.Instantly he understood that he was being arrested, and something hardwithin him was loosened and ran to tears."Ah, you know -- you know I'm guilty!"He was conscious that a crowd was forming, and that the girl'sfrightened face had disappeared. But what did he care about her face? Itwas the policeman who had really understood him. He turned and followed,the crowd at his heels. . .VIIIn the charming place in which he found himself there were so manysympathetic faces that he felt more than ever convinced of the certaintyof making himself heard.It was a bad blow, at first, to find that he had not been arrestedfor murder; but Ascham, who had come to him at once, explained that heneeded rest, and the time to "review" his statements; it appeared thatreiteration had made them a little confused and contradictory. To thisend he had willingly acquiesced in his removal to a large quietestablishment, with an open space and trees about it, where he had founda number of intelligent companions, some, like himself, engaged inpreparing or reviewing statements of their cases, and others ready tolend an interested ear to his own recital.For a time he was content to let himself go on the tranquil currentof this existence; but although his auditors gave him for the most partan encouraging attention, which, in some, went the length of reallybrilliant and helpful suggestion, he gradually felt a recurrence of hisold doubts. Either his hearers were not sincere, or else they had lesspower to aid him than they boasted. His interminable conferencesresulted in nothing, and as the benefit of the long rest made itselffelt, it produced an increased mental lucidity which rendered inactionmore and more unbearable. At length he discovered that on certain daysvisitors from the outer world were admitted to his retreat; and he wroteout long and logically constructed relations of his crime, and furtivelyslipped them into the hands of these messengers of hope.This occupation gave him a fresh lease of patience, and he nowlived only to watch for the visitors' days, and scan the faces thatswept by him like stars seen and lost in the rifts of a hurrying sky.Mostly, these faces were strange and less intelligent than those ofhis companions. But they represented his last means of access to theworld, a kind of subterranean channel on which he could set his"statements" afloat, like paper boats which the mysterious current mightsweep out into the open seas of life.One day, however, his attention was arrested by a familiar contour,a pair of bright prominent eyes, and a chin insufficiently shaved. Hesprang up and stood in the path of Peter McCarren.The journalist looked at him doubtfully, then held out his handwith a startled deprecating, "Why -- ?""You didn't know me? I'm so changed?" Granice faltered, feeling therebound of the other's wonder."Why, no; but you're looking quieter -- smoothed out," McCarrensmiled."Yes: that's what I'm here for -- to rest. And I've taken theopportunity to write out a clearer statement --"Granice's hand shook so that he could hardly draw the folded paperfrom his pocket. As he did so he noticed that the reporter wasaccompanied by a tall man with grave compassionate eyes. It came toGranice in a wild thrill of conviction that this was the face he hadwaited for. . ."Perhaps your friend -- he is your friend? -- would glance overit -- or I could put the case in a few words if you have time?"Granice's voice shook like his hand. If this chance escaped him he feltthat his last hope was gone. McCarren and the stranger looked at eachother, and the former glanced at his watch."I'm sorry we can't stay and talk it over now, Mr. Granice; but myfriend has an engagement, and we're rather pressed --"Granice continued to proffer the paper. "I'm sorry -- I think Icould have explained. But you'll take this, at any rate?"The stranger looked at him gently. "Certainly -- I'll take it." Hehad his hand out. "Good-bye.""Good-bye," Granice echoed.He stood watching the two men move away from him through the longlight hall; and as he watched them a tear ran down his face. But as soonas they were out of sight he turned and walked hastily toward his room,beginning to hope again, already planning a new statement.Outside the building the two men stood still, and the journalist'scompanion looked up curiously at the long monotonous rows of barredwindows."So that was Granice?""Yes -- that was Granice, poor devil," said McCarren."Strange case! I suppose there's never been one just like it? He'sstill absolutely convinced that he committed that murder?""Absolutely. Yes."The stranger reflected. "And there was no conceivable ground forthe idea? No one could make out how it started? A quiet conventionalsort of fellow like that -- where do you suppose he got such a delusion?Did you ever get the least clue to it?"McCarren stood still, his hands in his pockets, his head cocked upin contemplation of the barred windows. Then he turned his bright hardgaze on his companion."That was the queer part of it. I've never spoken of it -- but Idid get a clue.""By Jove! That's interesting. What was it?"McCarren formed his red lips into a whistle. "Why -- that it wasn'ta delusion."He produced his effect -- the other turned on him with a pallid stare."He murdered the man all right. I tumbled on the truth by themerest accident, when I'd pretty nearly chucked the whole job.""He murdered him -- murdered his cousin?""Sure as you live. Only don't split on me. It's about the queerestbusiness I ever ran into. . . do about it? Why, what was I to do? Icouldn't hang the poor devil, could I? Lord, but I was glad when theycollared him, and had him stowed away safe in there!"The tall man listened with a grave face, grasping Granice'sstatement in his hand."Here -- take this; it makes me sick," he said abruptly, thrustingthe paper at the reporter; and the two men turned and walked in silenceto the gates.10 Add The Bolted Door to your library.Return to the Edith Wharton library, or . . . Read the next short story; The Choice 2b1af7f3a8