The Darrow Enigma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 272 pages of information about The Darrow Enigma.

Maitland, who had been startled by the old gentleman’s conduct, now returned to the window and opened it about six inches.  There was no other window open in the room, and yet so fresh was the air that we were not uncomfortable.  Darrow, with ill-concealed pride, then asked his daughter to sing, and she left him and went to the piano.  “Shall I not light the lamp?” I asked.  “I think we shall not need it,” the old gentleman replied, “music is always better in the gloaming.”

In order that you may understand what follows, it will be necessary for me to describe to you our several positions in the room.  The apartment is large, nearly square, and occupies the southeast corner of the house.  The eastern side of the room has one window, that which had been left open about six inches, and on the southern side of the room there were two windows, both of which were securely fastened and the blinds of which had been closed by the painters who, that morning, had primed the eastern and southern sides of the house, preparatory to giving it a thorough repainting.  On the north side of the room, but much nearer to the western than the eastern end, are folding doors.  These on this occasion were closed and fastened.  On the western side of the room is the piano, and to the left of it, near the southwest corner, is a door leading to the hallway.  This door was closed.  As I have already told you, Darrow sat in a high-backed easy-chair facing the piano and almost in the centre of the room.  The partly opened window on the east side was directly behind him and fully eight feet away.  Herne and Browne sat upon Darrow’s right and a little in front of him against the folding doors, while Maitland and I were upon his left, between him and the hall door.  Gwen was at the piano.  There are no closets, draperies, or niches in the room.  I think you will now be able to understand the situation fully.

Whether the gloom of the scene suggested it to her, or whether it was merely a coincidence, I do not know, but Miss Darrow began to sing “In the Gloaming” in a deep, rich contralto voice which seemed fraught with a weird, melancholy power.  When I say that her voice was ineffably sympathetic I would not have you confound this quality either with the sepulchral or the aspirated tone which usually is made to do duty for sympathy, especially in contralto voices.  Every note was as distinct, as brilliantly resonant, as a cello in a master’s hand.  So clear, so full the notes rang out that I could plainly feel the chair vibrate beneath me.

“In the gloaming, O my darling! 
When the lights are dim and low,
And the quiet shadows falling
Softly come and softly go. 
When the winds are sobbing faintly
With a gentle unknown woe,
Will you think of me and love me
As you did once, long ago?

“In the gloaming, O my darling! 
Think not bitterly of me,
Though I passed away in silence,
Left you lonely, set you free. 
For my heart was crushed with longing. 
What had been could never be: 
It was best to leave you thus, dear,
Best for you and best—­”

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The Darrow Enigma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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