Upon resuming the examination, the first witness called for was Mary Catron, the second cook, a woman about thirty-five years of age, with an honest face, but one indicative of a fiery temper. Her testimony was brief, but given wit_ directness that was amusing. When questioned of the occurrences of the da_receding the murder, she replied,—
"I know nothing of what went on except from the gossip of the rest. My plac_as in the kitchen, and I had too much to do that day to be loitering round i_he halls, leaning on a broom-handle, and listening at keyholes," and she cas_ glance of scathing contempt in the direction of the chambermaid.
"Did this 'gossip' that you speak of have any bearing on what has sinc_ccurred?" the coroner inquired.
"Well, sir, it might and it mightn't. 'Twas mostly about the will that Mr.
Mainwaring was making; and as how them that got little was angry that the_idn't get more, and them as got much was growling at not getting the whole."
"How did the servants gain any knowledge of this will?"
"That's more than I can say, sir, except as I knows the nature of some folks."
Upon further questioning, the witness stated that on the night of the murder, between the hours of two and three, she was aroused by a sound like th_losing of an outside door, but on going to one of the basement windows t_isten, she heard nothing further and concluded she had been mistaken.
"Did you see the coachman at that time?" she was asked.
"A few minutes later I looked out again and I see him gaping and grinning a_he house and jabbering to himself like an idiot, and I was minded to send hi_bout his business if he hadn't a-took himself off when he did."
"He was perfectly sober, was he not?"
"Sober for aught that I know; but, to my thinking, he's that daft that he'_oways responsible for aught that he says."
"Were you up-stairs soon after the alarm was given?" asked the coroner, whe_he had told of hearing from the butler the news of the murder.
"Yes, sir; I went up as soon as ever I heard what had happened."
"Who was in the library at that time?"
"Nobody but some of the servants, sir. I met Mr. Whitney just as I came out."
"Did you meet any one else?"
"I met no one, but I saw the housekeeper coming out of her son's room. Sh_idn't see me; but she was telling him to get ready quick to go somewheres, and I heard her say to hurry, for every minute was precious."
Louis Picot, the head cook, could give no information whatever. When the alar_as given, he had rushed, with the other servants, to the scene of the murder, and in his imperfect English, accompanied by expressive French gestures, h_ried to convey his horror and grief at the situation, but that was all.
The two maids who attended the English ladies were next called upon; but thei_estimony was mainly corroborative of that given by the chambermaid, excep_hat Sarah Whitely, Miss Carleton's maid, stated, in addition, that she ha_een Mr. Walter LaGrange leave his mother's room in great haste and go down- stairs, and a little later, from one of the upper windows, saw him riding awa_rom the stables in the direction of the south gate.
But one servant remained, "Uncle Mose," as he was familiarly called, the ol_olored man having charge of the grounds at Fair Oaks. His snow-white hair an_ent form gave him a venerable appearance; but he was still active, and th_hrewd old face showed both humor and pathos as he proceeded with his story.
He had been a slave in his younger days, and still designated his lat_mployer by the old term "mars'r." He was a well-known character to man_resent, including Dr. Westlake, who knew that in this instance question_ould have to be abandoned and the witness allowed to tell his story in hi_wn way.
"Well, Uncle Mose, you have been employed at Fair Oaks for a long time, haven't you?"
"Moah dan twenty yeahs, sah, I'se had charge ob dese y'er grounds; an' mars'_ainwaring, he t'ought nobody but ole Mose cud take cyah ob 'em, sah."
"You were about the grounds as usual Wednesday, were you not?"
"I was 'bout de grounds all day, sah, 'case dere was a pow'ful lot to d_-gittin' ready for de big doins dere was goin' to be on mars'r's birfday."
"Did you see either of the strangers who called that day?"
"I'se a-comm' to dat d'rectly, sah. You see, sah, I wants to say right heah, befo' I goes any furder, dat I don' know noffin 'cept what tuk place under m_wn obserbation. I don' feel called upon to 'spress no 'pinions 'bout nobody.
I jes' wants to state a few recurrences dat I noted at de time, speshally
'bout dem strangers as was heah in pertickeler. Well, sah, de fust man, h_ome heah in de mawnin'. De Inglish gentlemens, dey had been a-walkin' in d_rounds and jes' done gone roun' de corner oh de house to go to mars'_ainwaring's liberry, when dis man he comes up de av'nue in a kerridge, an' d_ust ting I heah 'im a-cussin' de driver. Den he gets out and looks roun' kin_' quick, jes' like de possum in de kohn, as ef he was 'fraid somebody don_ee 'im. I was fixin' de roses on de front poach, an' I looked at 'im pow'fu_harp, an' when de dooh opened he jumped in quick, as ef he was glad to ge_ut o' sight. Well, sah, I didn't like de 'pearance ob dat man, an' I jes'
t'ought I'd get anoder look at 'im, but he stayed a mighty long time, sah, an'
bime'by I had to go to de tool-house, an' when I gets back the kerridge wa_one."
"Could you describe the man, Uncle Mose?" the coroner asked.
"No, sah, I don' know as I could 'scribe 'im perzacly; but I'd know 'im, n_atter where I sot eyes on 'im, and I know'd 'im the nex' time I see 'im.
Well, sah, dat aft'noon, mars'r Mainwaring an' de folks had gone out ridin', an' I was roun' kind o' permiscuous like, an' I see anoder kerridge way dow_e av'nue by de front gate, an' I waited, 'spectin' maybe I'd see dat ma_gain. While I was waitin' by de front dooh, all oh a sudden a man come roun'
from de side, as ef he come from mars'r Mainwaring's liberry, but he wa_noder man."
"Didn't he look at all like the first man?" inquired the coroner.
"No, sah; he looked altogedder diff'rent; but I don' know as I could stat_har'in de differensiashun consisted, sah. Dis man was berry good lookin'
'ceptin' his eyes, an' dem yoh cudn' see, 'case he had on cull'ed glasses.
Mebbe his eyes was pow'ful weak, er mebbe he didn't want nobody to see 'em; but I 'spicioned dem glasses d'rectly, sah, an' I watched 'im. He goes down t_e kerridge an' takes out a coat an' says sump' in to de driver, an' d_erridge goes away tow'ds de town, an' he walks off de oder way. Bime'by I see
'im gwine back again on de oder side ob de street-"
"Was he alone?" interrupted the coroner.
"Yes, sah; an' I done kep' my eye on 'im, an' he didn' go on to de town, bu_uhned down de fust side street. Well, sah, I didn' see no moah ob 'im den; but dat ebenin' I'd ben a-workin' roun' de house, sprinklin' de grass an_ettin' ready foh de nex' day, when I happens to pass by de side dooh, an' _ees dem two men comm' out togedder."
"What time was this, Uncle Mose?" the coroner asked, quickly.
"Well, sah," said the old man, reflectively, "my mem'ry is a littl_erelictious on dat p'int, but I knows 'twas gettin' putty late."
"Are you sure these were the same two men you had seen earlier in the day?"
"Yes, sah; 'case I stepped in de bushes to watch 'em. Dey talked togedde_erry low, an' den one man goes back into de house, an' I seen 'im plain in d_all light, an' he was de fust man; an' while I was a-watchin' 'im, de ode_an he disappeahed an' I cudn' see 'im nowhar, but I know'd he was de man da_ame in de aft'noon, 'case he look jes' like 'im, an' toted a coat on his arm.
Well, sah, I t'inks it a berry cur'is sarcumstance, an' I was jes' comm' to d_reclushun dat I'd mention it to some ob de fambly, when de fust man, he com_o de dooh wid de housekeeper. I was in de shadder and dey didn' see me, but _eah 'im say, kind o' soft like, 'Remember, my deah lady, dis is a biz'nes_ontract; I does my part, an' I 'spects my pay.' An' she says, 'Oh, yes, yo_hall hab yohr money widout fail.' An' I says to myse'f, 'Mose, yoh ole fool, what you stan'in' heah foh? Dat ain't nuffin dat consarns yoh nohow,' an' _oes home, an' dat's all I know, sah. But I'se ben pow'ful sorry eber senc_at I didn' let mars'r Mainwaring know 'bout it, 'case I has my 'spicions,"
and the old darkey shook his head, while the tears coursed down his furrowe_heeks.
"How did you hear of Mr. Mainwaring's death?" asked the coroner.
"De coachman, he done tole me, sah."
"Why, the coachman stated that you told him what had occurred."
"No, sah; he done tole me; I'd come up to de place pow'ful ahly dat mawnin'
'case dere was to be such big doings dat day, an' I was gwine to de tool-hous_oh sump'in, an' I see mars'r Walter ridin' away from de stables pow' ful fas'
on his hoss-"
"Do you mean Walter LaGrange?"
"Yes, sah; an' de coachman he came out an' I ax 'im whar de young man wa_wine dat ahly, an' he say mars'r Mainwaring ben killed, an' mars'r Walter ha_o go to town as fas' as his hoss cud take 'im."
"Do you know when he returned?"
"He came back, sah, befo' berry long, an' den he went away agin and didn'_ome back till mos' noon."
When the old darkey had been dismissed the coachman was recalled.
"What did you mean by stating that you first heard of Mr. Mainwaring's deat_rom the gardener, when the reverse was the truth?"
"I don't know," he replied, carelessly; "I s'pose I got mixed. I remembe_alking with him about it, and I thought he told me."
"You had forgotten the interview with Walter LaGrange, I presume."
Brown made no answer.
"Why did you not mention that?"
"I wasn't asked to," he replied in insolent tones; "you said nothing to m_bout Mr. LaGrange."
"You are expected to state in full every occurrence having any bearing on th_ituation. You may give the particulars of that interview now."
"There's nothing to tell more than Uncle Mose told. I was working in th_tables as usual, and Mr. LaGrange came in in a big hurry and ordered me t_addle his horse as quick as I could, that Mr. Mainwaring had been murdered, and he'd got to go to town."
"At what time was this?"
"About half-past seven, I should say."
"Did he state his errand?"
"When did he return?"
"I saw his horse standing in the yard outside the stables about half an hou_fter, and then 'twas gone, and I didn't see it again till noon."
Walter LaGrange was next called. He stated that he had spent the greater par_f the day preceding the murder away from Fair Oaks; he had not been at hom_o luncheon or dinner, and consequently knew nothing of the strangers seen o_he place that day. He had returned about half-past ten that evening, an_emembered seeing Mr. Mainwaring and his guests seated on the veranda, but h_ad gone directly to his room without meeting any one. The first intimatio_hich he had received of any unusual occurrence the next morning was when hi_other entered his room and told him that Mr. Mainwaring had either bee_urdered or had committed suicide, no one knew which.
"Was that her only object in coming to your room?"
"No, sir; she wanted me to do an errand for her."
"Will you state the nature of this errand?"
"It was only to deliver a note."
"To Mr. Hobson," the young man answered weakly, while his mother frowned, th_irst sign of emotion of any kind which she had betrayed that day.
"Did you deliver the note?"
"Then, under your mother's orders, you went to the city on your second trip, did you not?"
"Were you successful in finding Mr. Hobson there?"
"Yes, sir," the witness answered sullenly.
"You had other business in the city aside from meeting him, had you not?"
Between the coroner's persistence and his mother's visible signs o_ispleasure, Walter LaGrange was fast losing his temper.
"If you know so much about this business, I don't see the use of you_uestioning me," he retorted angrily. "It's no affair of mine anyway; I ha_othing to do with it, nor I won't be mixed up in it; and if you want an_nformation you'd better ask mother for it; it's her business and none o_ine."
After a few more questions, which the witness answered sullenly and i_onosyllables, he was dismissed.
"Mr. Higgenbotham," announced the coroner. The greatest surprise wa_anifested on every side as the senior member of a well-known firm o_ewellers stepped forward; the same gentleman who had accompanied Mr. Whitne_n his return from the city on the preceding day.
"Mr. Higgenbotham," said the coroner, "I believe you are able to furnish som_estimony which will be pertinent at this time."
"Yes, Dr. Westlake," responded the other, in deep, musical tones, "I thin_ossibly I can render you a little assistance in your investigations."
"Mr. Higgenbotham, do you recognize the young gentleman who has just given hi_estimony?"
"I do, sir," said the witness, adjusting a pair of eyeglasses and gazin_teadily at Walter LaGrange. "I recall his features perfectly."
"You were personally acquainted with the late Hugh Mainwaring, I believe?"
"Yes, sir, intimately acquainted with him."
"You are, I believe, familiar with the Mainwaring jewels which are no_issing?" continued the coroner.
Walter LaGrange looked uncomfortable and his mother's cheek paled.
"I am, sir; having had them repeatedly left in my possession for safe keepin_uring their owner's absence from home; and I have also a complete list o_hem, with a detailed description of every piece."
"Very well, Mr. Higgenbotham, will you now please state when, and under wha_ircumstances, you saw this young gentleman?"
"I was seated in my private office yesterday morning, when my head clerk cam_n and asked me to step out into the salesrooms for a moment, as he said _oung man was there trying to sell some very fine jewels, and, from his yout_nd his ignorance of their value, he feared something was wrong. I went ou_mmediately and saw this young gentleman, who handed me for inspection _uperb diamond brooch and an elegant necklace of diamonds and pearls. _nstantly recognized the gems as pieces from the old Mainwaring collection o_ewels. Simultaneously there occurred to my mind the report of the murder o_ugh Mainwaring, which I had heard but a short time before, although then _new nothing of the robbery. Naturally, my suspicions were awakened. _uestioned the young man closely, however, and he stated that his home was a_air Oaks, and that his mother was a distant relative of Mr. Mainwaring's; that the jewels were hers, and she wished to dispose of them for ready cash t_eet an emergency. His story was so plausible that I thought possibly m_uspicions had been somewhat hasty and premature. Still, I declined t_urchase the jewels; and when he left the store I ordered one of our privat_etectives to follow him and report to me. In the course of an hour th_etective returned and reported that the young man had sold the jewels to _awnbroker for less than one-fourth their actual value. About half an hou_ater I heard the news of the robbery at Fair Oaks, and that the family jewel_ere missing; and knowing that Mr. Whitney was here, I immediately telephone_o him the facts which I have just stated. He came in to the city at once, an_e proceeded to the pawnshop, where he also identified the jewels."
Mr. Higgenbotham paused for a moment, producing a package from an inne_ocket, which he proceeded to open.
"We secured a loan of the jewels for a few days," he continued, advancin_owards the coroner. "Here they are, and here is a copy of the list of which _poke. By comparing these gems with the description of those which I hav_hecked on the list, you will see that they are identical."
He placed the open casket on the table. There was a moment's silence, broke_y subdued exclamations of admiration as Dr. Westlake lifted the gems fro_heir resting-place.
"You are correct," he said; "the description is complete. There is no doub_hat these are a part of the collection. I see you have marked the value o_hese two items as seven thousand dollars."
"Yes; that is a moderate valuation. And were the prices of the other article_arried out, you would see that, with the exception of a few very smal_ieces, these have the least value of the entire lot. I believe I can be of n_urther service."
Mrs. LaGrange was next recalled.
"Have you anything to say in reference to the testimony just given?" th_oroner inquired.
"I have this much to say," she replied, haughtily, "that I could have give_ou the history of those jewels, including, perhaps, some facts of which eve_r. Higgenbotham and Mr. Whitney are in ignorance, and thus have spared yo_he infinite pains you have taken to make public the straits to which I wa_educed, because of my position here, when in need of a little ready money. _ould have informed you that they were originally a part of the old Mainwarin_ollection of gems, until they were given me by my husband."
"It hardly seems consistent that a man who treated his wife in the manner i_hich you claim to have been treated would bestow upon her gifts of such valu_s these," the coroner remarked with emphasis.
"They were of little value to him," she answered, with scorn; "as you hav_een informed, they were the poorest which he possessed. Besides, there wer_imes when I could persuade him to almost anything,—anything but t_cknowledge his lawful wife and his legitimate son."
"Was the money which you were forced to raise by the sale of these jewels t_e paid to Hobson?"
"In accordance with the terms of your contract with him, made a few hour_receding the death of Mr. Mainwaring?"
"Yes," she replied, defiantly. "And as you probably would ask the nature o_hat contract, I will save you the trouble. Knowing that my son and I wer_ikely to be defrauded of our rights in the same manner in which Hug_ainwaring had defrauded others, I engaged Mr. Hobson as my attorney, as he, better than any one else, knew the facts in the case. When I learned yesterda_orning of my husband's death, I realized that I would have immediate need o_is services, and accordingly sent him word to that effect. He demanded _arge cash payment at once. The result of this demand Mr. Higgenbotham ha_lready told you."
"How was Hobson to secure for you your rights from Hugh Mainwaring?"
"That was left entirely to his own discretion."
"Will you describe the appearance of Mr. Hobson's clerk?"
"Unfortunately, I am unable to do so. He was merely brought as a witness t_ur contract. I knew that he was present, but he remained in the shadow, and _ook no notice of him whatever."
"Your contract, then, was a verbal one?"
Upon being closely questioned, Mrs. LaGrange reiterated her assertions of th_receding day, laying particular stress upon the alleged interview betwee_ugh Mainwaring and his secretary, after which she was dismissed, and Harr_cott was recalled.
"Mr. Scott," said the coroner, "what were the relations existing between Mr.
Mainwaring and yourself up to the time of his death?"
Scott flushed slightly as he replied, "Those ordinarily existing betwee_mployer and employed, except that I believe Mr. Mainwaring accorded me mor_han usual consideration, and I, while duly appreciative of his kindness, ye_ook especial pains never to exceed the bounds of an employee."
"Were there ever any unpleasant words passed between you?"
"Was your last interview with Mr. Mainwaring of a friendly nature?"
"What have you to say in reference to the testimony given to the effect tha_our voice was heard and recognized in angry conversation with Mr. Mainwarin_t nearly one o'clock?"
"I have to say that it is false, and without foundation."
"Do you mean to say that the statement of the witness was wholly withou_ruth?"
"I do not deny that such an interview, as alleged by the witness, may hav_aken place, for that is something concerning which I have no knowledg_hatever; but I do deny that she heard my voice, or that I was in the librar_t that time, or at any time after about twenty minutes past twelve."
"Was that the time at which you went to your room?"
"Very near that time, as my interview with Mr. Mainwaring could not hav_xceeded ten minutes."
"At what time did you retire?"
"I sat up very late that night, for my mind was so occupied with some persona_atters that I felt no inclination for sleep. I lighted a cigar and became s_bsorbed in my own thoughts that I was totally unaware of the lapse of time, until I was aroused by what I thought was a stealthy step outside. I the_ecame conscious, for the first time, that I was very weary, both physicall_nd mentally, and I also discovered that it was nearly three o'clock.
Astonished to find it so late, and exhausted by hours of protracted thought, _hrew myself as I was upon a low couch, where I slept soundly until awakene_n the morning."
Further questions failed to reveal any discrepancy in his statement, and h_as dismissed.
The testimony of Ralph Mainwaring and of his son added nothing of interest o_mportance. Mr. Thornton testified to his incidental meeting with Hobson an_o the reputation which the man had borne in London. When he had resumed hi_eat the coroner remarked,—
"As a matter of form, I will have to call upon the ladies, though it is no_xpected they will be able to furnish any information throwing light on thi_ysterious case."
It was, as he had said, little more than a ceremony and occupied but a fe_oments. Miss Carleton was the last one called upon. She stated that it wa_early eleven o'clock when she reached her room, but added that she did no_etire immediately, as her cousin, Miss Thornton, had come in, and they ha_hatted together for more than an hour; that while so engaged, she heard Mr.
Scott come up-stairs and enter his room, which adjoined hers, and lock th_oor for the night.
"At what hour was this?" inquired the coroner.
"It could not have been more than twenty minutes after twelve, as it wa_wenty-five minutes after twelve when my cousin went to her room, and this wa_bout five minutes earlier."
"Can you state whether or not he left his room within the next half-hour?"
"I know that he did not," she replied. "I can testify that he remained in hi_oom until after one o'clock. After my cousin left I discovered that the moo_as just rising, and the view across the Hudson being extremely beautiful, a_ell as novel to me, I extinguished the light in my room and sat down by th_pen window to enjoy it. I heard Mr. Scott stepping quietly about his room fo_ few moments; then all was still. I sat for some time admiring the scenery, until I was aroused by hearing him pacing back and forth like a person in dee_hought. I then found it was much later than I supposed,—nearly one o'
clock,—and I immediately retired; but so long as I was awake I could hear hi_alking in his room."
As Miss Carleton finished her testimony it was evident that the tide o_eneral opinion had turned somewhat in favor of the young secretary, but th_atter quietly ignored the friendly glances cast in his direction.
It was generally supposed that all testimony in the case had now been heard.
Considerable surprise was, therefore, manifested when the coroner nodded t_r. Whitney, who, in turn, beckoned to some one in the hall. In response th_utler appeared, ushering in a tall man, with cadaverous features and small, dark eyes, which peered restlessly about him.
"Richard Hobson," announced the coroner.
"At your service, sir," said the man, advancing with a cringing gait an_awning, apologetic smile.
"Mr. Hobson," said the coroner, after a few preliminaries, "I understand yo_ere somewhat acquainted with the late Hugh Mainwaring."
"Well, yes, sir, somewhat," the other replied in soft, insinuating tones, bu_ith peculiar emphasis on the word used by Dr. Westlake. "Indeed, I might say, without exaggeration, that I was probably better acquainted with tha_stimable gentleman than was any one in this country."
"When did you last see Mr. Mainwaring?"
"I have not seen him to speak with him for fully twenty-three years."
"You have corresponded with, him, however, in that time?"
The witness showed no surprise.
"We exchanged a few letters while I was in England. I have neither heard fro_im nor written to him since coming to this country."
"When did you last see him, regardless of whether you spoke to him or not?"
"Probably within the last two or three weeks. I have occasionally met him o_he street."
"Did Mr. Mainwaring see you at any of these times?"
"If he did, he did not recognize me."
"Did you see him when you called at Fair Oaks, Wednesday,—either morning o_vening?"
"I did not."
"Mr. Hobson, will you describe the man who accompanied you when you called i_he evening, Wednesday?"
"I could give you a general description. He was a large man, about my ow_eight, but heavier, and rather good looking, on the whole. But I am not goo_n details, such as complexion, color of hair, and so on; and then, you know, those little things are very easily changed."
"What was his name?"
Mr. Hobson smiled blandly. "The name by which I know him is John Carroll, bu_ have no idea as to his real name. He is a very eccentric character, many- sided as it were, and I never know which side will come uppermost."
"He is your clerk and in your employ, is he not?"
"Agent, I think, would be a preferable term. He is in my employ, he transact_ertain business for me, but he does it in his own way, and comes and goes a_is own discretion."
"Where is he at present?"
"I have no idea, sir."
"Did he leave for the city that night, or did he remain with you at th_iverside Hotel?"
"He was not with me at the hotel except for a few hours. I have not th_lightest idea from whence he came to see me, when he went away, or in wha_irection he went. He was in haste to be excused as soon as our joint busines_as done, and I have not seen him since."
"Did he have on dark glasses that day?"
"Not when I saw him, but that was only in my room at the hotel, and for a fe_oments in this house; he would have no need for them at either place."
"Did he not accompany you from the hotel to Fair Oaks?"
"No, sir; we met here by prearrangement."
"When do you expect to see your agent again?"
"Whenever he has any business reports to make," Hobson replied, with a_xasperating smile; "but I have no idea when that will be. He has othe_ommissions to execute; he is in the employ of others besides myself, an_ransacts some business on his own account also."
"I understand, Mr. Hobson, that you have repeatedly extorted money from Mr.
Mainwaring by threatening to disclose facts in your possession regarding som_uestionable transaction."
"No, sir; my action could not be termed extortion or blackmail within th_eaning of the law, though to any one conversant with Mr. Mainwaring's privat_orrespondence it may have had that appearance. I was, however, merely makin_n effort to collect what was legally due me. Mr. Mainwaring, before leavin_ngland, had voluntarily bound himself to pay me a certain sum upon th_ondition that I would not reveal certain transactions of considerably mor_han questionable character. I kept my part of the contract, but he failed i_is. I wrote him, therefore, threatening, unless he fulfilled his share of th_greement, to institute proceedings against him, which would naturally involv_ disclosure of his secret. He never paid me in full and the secret is stil_ine," he paused, then added slowly, "to keep or to sell, as will pay m_est."
"Was Hugh Mainwaring ever married?" the coroner asked, abruptly.
"I believe he was not generally considered a married man, sir."
"Was there ever any private marriage?"
Hobson smiled enigmatically. "You already have the word of the lady herself, sir; that should be sufficient. I cannot reveal any of Hugh Mainwaring'_ecrets,—unless I am well paid for it!"
Hobson was dismissed without further questions, and the examination being no_t an end, the coroner's jury retired to the room in the rear of the library.
Very few left the house, for all felt that little time would be required fo_he finding of a verdict, and comment and opinion were freely exchanged.
"Well," said Mr. Sutherland, turning towards the secretary with a smile, "the_id not learn one fact from that last witness, for I doubt whether one of th_ew statements he did make had an iota of truth in it. By the way, Mr. Scott, it's a very fortunate thing that you've got the proofs you have. It would be _isky piece of work to depend on that man's word for proof; he is as slipper_s an eel. With those proofs, however, there is no doubt but that you've got _trong case."
"It will be hard to convince Ralph Mainwaring of that fact."
"Yes, he looks as though he would hold on to his opinions pretty tenaciously."
"Not so tenaciously as he would grasp any money coming within his reach!"
At a little distance, Mr. Whitney was engaged in conversation with th_nglishmen.
"I never thought he could be in any way connected with it," he was saying. "I_he first place, there was no motive, there could be none; then, again, _elieve he is altogether above suspicion. I know that Mr. Mainwaring had th_ost implicit confidence in him."
"Well," said Mr. Thornton, "for my part, I'm heartily glad if there is nothin_n it. I always liked the young fellow."
"That's just where I don't agree with you; I don't like him," Ralph Mainwarin_eplied in a surly tone. "He may be all right so far as this matter i_oncerned; I don't say yet that he is or isn't; but I do say that to defame _an's character after he's dead, in the manner he has, is simply outrageous, and, you may depend upon it, there's some personal spite back of it."
"Oh, well, as to Hugh's character, I don't think you or I are going to fre_urselves about that," laughed Mr. Thornton. "He probably sowed his wild oat_ith the rest of us, and there may have been some reason for his leavin_ngland as he did."
"I don't believe it," Ralph Mainwaring retorted, angrily; but before he coul_ay more, the doors opened and the coroner's jury filed into the room. Ther_as instant silence, and a moment later the verdict had been announced. It wa_hat every one had expected, and yet there was not one but experienced _eeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction.
"We find that the deceased, Hugh Mainwaring, came to his death by th_ischarge of a revolver in the hands of some person or persons to us unknown."