The Darrow Enigma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 272 pages of information about The Darrow Enigma.
to acknowledge the falsity of my theories.  I said shortly after the murder was committed that I thought the assassin was short and probably did not weigh over one hundred and thirty-five pounds; that he most likely had some especial reason for concealing his footprints, and that he had a peculiarity in his gait.  I felt tolerably sure then of all this, but now it turns out that M. Latour is six feet tall in his stockings, and thin; and that, emaciated as he is, he tips the scales at one hundred and fifty pounds by reason of his large frame.  His feet are as commonplace as—­as yours, Doc, and his gait as regular as—­mine.  Is it to be expected that I am going to give up all my pet illusions without a struggle?”

When the hour for the trial arrived Gwen insisted on accompanying us to the court-room.  She had a great deal of confidence in George and felt sure that, as he expressed a strong doubt of the prisoner’s guilt, he would triumph in proving him innocent.  She determined, therefore, to be present at the trial, even before her attendance should be required as a witness.

M. Latour, when he was led into the prisoner’s box, seemed to have aged greatly during his incarceration.  It was with a marked effort that he arose and straightened himself up as the indictment was read to him.  When the words:  “Are you guilty or not guilty?” were addressed to him every eye was turned upon him and every ear listened to catch the first sound of his voice, but no sound came.  The question was repeated more loudly, “Are you guilty or not guilty?” Like one suddenly awakened from a reverie M. Latour started, turned toward his questioner, and in a full, firm voice replied:  “Guilty!” I was so dumfounded that I could offer Gwen no word of comfort to alleviate this sudden shock.  Maitland and Godin seemed about the only ones in the court-room who were not taken off their feet, so to speak, by this unexpected plea, and George was at Gwen’s side in a moment and whispered something to her which I could not hear, but which I could see had a very beneficial effect upon her.  We had all expected a long, complicated trial, and here the whole matter was reduced to a mere formality by M. Latour’s simple confession, “Guilty!” Is it any wonder, therefore, that we were taken aback?

While we were recovering from our surprise at this sudden turn of affairs, Maitland was engaged in private conversation with the Judge, with whom, he afterward told me, he had become well acquainted both in his own cases and in those of other lawyers requiring his services as an expert chemist.  He never told me what passed between them, nor the substance of any of the brief interviews which followed with the prosecuting attorney, his associate counsel, and other legal functionaries.  All I know is that when the case was resumed M. Latour’s senior counsel, Jenkins, kept carefully in the background, leaving the practical conduct of the case in Maitland’s hands.

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The Darrow Enigma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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