“It was dark. I stood just inside. Then something rushed past me and out of the door, a something—I don’t know what—a woman, I thought at first, in white.”
“If the room was dark, how could you tell it was white?”
“There was a faint light—enough to see that. There was no noise —just a sort of swishing sound.”
“What did you do then?”
“I waited a moment, and hurried back to the after house.”
“Was the axe gone then?”
“I do not know.”
“Did you see the axe at that time?”
“Did you touch it?”
“I have never touched it, at that time or before.”
She could not be shaken in her testimony and was excused. She had borne her grilling exceedingly well, and, in spite of her flippancy, there was a ring of sincerity about the testimony that gave it weight.
Following her evidence, the testimony of Tom, the cook, made things look bad for Singleton, by connecting him with Mrs. Johns’s intruder in the captain’s room. He told of Singleton’s offer to make him a key to the galley with wire. It was clear that Singleton had been a prisoner in name only, and this damaging statement was given weight when, on my recall later, I identified the bunch of keys, the file, and the club that I had taken from Singleton’s mattress. It was plain enough that, with Singleton able to free himself as he wished, the attack on Burns and the disappearance of the axe were easily enough accounted for. It would have been possible, also, to account for the white figure that had so alarmed the men, on the same hypothesis. Cross-examination of Tom by Mr. Goldstein, Singleton’s attorney, brought out one curious fact. He had made no dark soup or broth for the after house. Turner had taken nothing during his illness but clam bouillon, made with milk, and the meals served to the four women had been very light. “They lived on toast and tea, mostly,” he said.
That completed the taking of evidence for the day. In spite of the struggles of the clever young Jew, the weight of testimony was against Singleton. But there were curious discrepancies.
Turner went on the stand the next morning.
“Marshall Benedict Turner.”
“West 106th Street, New York City.”
“Member of the firm of L. Turner’s Sons, shipowners. In the coast trade.”
“Do you own the yacht Ella?”
“Do you recognize this chart?”
“Yes. It is the chart of the after house of the Ella.”
“Will you show where your room is on the drawing?”
“And Mr. Vail’s?”
“Next, connecting through a bath-room.”
“Where was Mr. Vail’s bed on the chart?”