Brown turned him over to Frona with a bow, which a smile of hers paid for in full. She did not deem it unwise to cultivate cordiality with the lawyer. What she was working for was time—time for her father to come, time to be closeted with St. Vincent and learn all the details of what really had occurred. So she put questions, questions, interminable questions, to La Flitche. Twice only did anything of moment crop up.
“You spoke of the first shot, Mr. La Flitche. Now, the walls of a log cabin are quite thick. Had your door been closed, do you think you could have heard that first shot?”
He shook his head, though his dark eyes told her he divined the point she was endeavoring to establish.
“And had the door of Borg’s cabin been closed, would you have heard?”
Again he shook his head.
“Then, Mr. La Flitche, when you say the first shot, you do not mean necessarily the first shot fired, but rather the first shot you heard fired?”
He nodded, and though she had scored her point she could not see that it had any material bearing after all.
Again she worked up craftily to another and stronger climax, though she felt all the time that La Flitche fathomed her.
“You say it was very dark, Mr. La Flitche?”
“Ah, oui; quite dark.”
“How dark? How did you know it was John you met?”
“John make much noise when he run. I know that kind of noise.”
“Could you see him so as to know that it was he?”
“Then, Mr. La Flitche,” she demanded, triumphantly, “will you please state how you knew there was blood on the hands of Mr. St. Vincent?”
His lip lifted in a dazzling smile, and he paused a moment. “How? I feel it warm on his hands. And my nose—ah, the smoke of the hunter camp long way off, the hole where the rabbit hide, the track of the moose which has gone before, does not my nose tell me?” He flung his head back, and with tense face, eyes closed, nostrils quivering and dilated, he simulated the quiescence of all the senses save one and the concentration of his whole being upon that one. Then his eyes fluttered partly open and he regarded her dreamily. “I smell the blood on his hands, the warm blood, the hot blood on his hands.”
“And by gad he can do it!” some man exclaimed.
And so convinced was Frona that she glanced involuntarily at St. Vincent’s hands, and saw there the rusty-brown stains on the cuffs of his flannel shirt.
As La Flitche left the stand, Bill Brown came over to her and shook hands. “No more than proper I should know the lawyer for the defence,” he said, good-naturedly, running over his notes for the next witness.
“But don’t you think it is rather unfair to me?” she asked, brightly. “I have not had time to prepare my case. I know nothing about it except what I have gleaned from your two witnesses. Don’t you think, Mr. Brown,” her voice rippling along in persuasive little notes, “don’t you think it would be advisable to adjourn the meeting until to-morrow?”