Then, too, her cherished spinning-wheel, at least two hundred and fifty years old, which had looked so pretty after she had gilded it and added a knot of pink sarsenet, was departed; and gone as well was the mirror-topped table, with its array of china swan and frogs and water-lilies artistically grouped about its speckless surface. Even her prized engraving of “Michael Angelo Buonarotti”—contentedly regarding his just finished Moses, while a pope tiptoed into the room through a side-door—had been removed, with all its splendors of red-plush and intricate gilt-framing.
Just here and there, in fine, like a familiar face in a crowd, she could discover some one of her more sedately-colored “parlor ornaments”; and the whole history of it—its donor or else its price, the gestures of the shopman, even what sort of weather it was when she and Rudolph found “exactly what I’ve been looking for” in the shop-window, and the Stapyltonian, haggling over the price with which Patricia had bargained—such unimportant details as these now vividly awakened in recollection.... In fine, this room was not her parlor at all, and in it Patricia was lonely.... Yes, yes, she would be nowadays, the colonel reflected, for he himself had never been in thorough sympathy with all the changes made by Roger’s self-assured young wife.
Thus it was with the first floor of the house, through which Patricia strayed with uniform discomfort. This place was home no longer.
Thus it was with the first floor of the house. Everywhere the equipments were strange, or at best arranged not quite as Patricia would have placed them. Yet they had not any look of being recently purchased. Even that hideous stair-carpet was a little worn, she noted, as noiselessly she mounted to the second story.
The house was perfectly quiet, save for a tiny shrill continuance of melody that somehow seemed only to pierce the silence, not to dispel it. Rudolph—of all things!—had in her absence acquired a canary. And everybody knew what an interminable nuisance a canary was.
She entered the front room. It had been her bedroom ever since her marriage. She remembered this as with a gush of defiant joy.
So it seemed to Rudolph Musgrave that Patricia came actually into the room that had been hers....
A canary was singing there, very sweet and shrill and as in defiant joy. Its trilling seemed to fill the room. In the brief pauses of his song the old clock, from which Rudolph had removed the pendulum on the night of Agatha’s death would interpose an obstinate slow ticking; and immediately the clock-noise would be drowned in melody. Otherwise the room was silent.
In the alcove stood the bed which had been Patricia’s. Intent upon its occupant were three persons, with their backs turned to her. One Patricia could easily divine to be a doctor; he was twiddling a hypodermic syringe between his fingers, and the set of his shoulders was that of acquiescence. Profiles of the others she saw: one a passive nurse in uniform, who was patiently chafing the right hand of the bed’s occupant; the other a lean-featured red-haired stranger, who sat crouched in his chair and held the dying man’s left hand.