“He has gone by many other names,” said the doctor gravely, “and not one he did not leave to be cursed behind him. That man, Miss Hunt, has left a track of blood and tears across the world. Whether he is mad as well as wicked, we are trying, in the interests of science, to discover. In any case, we shall have to take him to a magistrate first, even if only on the road to a lunatic asylum. But the lunatic asylum in which he is confined will have to be sealed with wall within wall, and ringed with guns like a fortress, or he will break out again to bring forth carnage and darkness on the earth.”
Rosamund looked at the two doctors, her face growing paler and paler. Then her eyes strayed to Michael, who was leaning on the gate; but he continued to lean on it without moving, with his face turned away towards the darkening road.
The Allegorical Practical Joker
The criminal specialist who had come with Dr. Warner was a somewhat more urbane and even dapper figure than he had appeared when clutching the railings and craning his neck into the garden. He even looked comparatively young when he took his hat off, having fair hair parted in the middle and carefully curled on each side, and lively movements, especially of the hands. He had a dandified monocle slung round his neck by a broad black ribbon, and a big bow tie, as if a big American moth had alighted on him. His dress and gestures were bright enough for a boy’s; it was only when you looked at the fish-bone face that you beheld something acrid and old. His manners were excellent, though hardly English, and he had two half-conscious tricks by which people who only met him once remembered him. One was a trick of closing his eyes when he wished to be particularly polite; the other was one of lifting his joined thumb and forefinger in the air as if holding a pinch of snuff, when he was hesitating or hovering over a word. But those who were longer in his company tended to forget these oddities in the stream of his quaint and solemn conversation and really singular views.
“Miss Hunt,” said Dr. Warner, “this is Dr. Cyrus Pym.”
Dr. Cyrus Pym shut his eyes during the introduction, rather as if he were “playing fair” in some child’s game, and gave a prompt little bow, which somehow suddenly revealed him as a citizen of the United States.
“Dr. Cyrus Pym,” continued Warner (Dr. Pym shut his eyes again), “is perhaps the first criminological expert of America. We are very fortunate to be able to consult with him in this extraordinary case—”
“I can’t make head or tail of anything,” said Rosamund. “How can poor Mr. Smith be so dreadful as he is by your account?”
“Or by your telegram,” said Herbert Warner, smiling.
“Oh, you don’t understand,” cried
the girl impatiently.
“Why, he’s done us all more good than going to church.”