‘You say she,’ pointing to the body, ‘died of apoplexy?’
‘Yes,’ he answered, curtly, ’all the symptoms of apoplexy are there.’
‘You are wrong!’ gasped Kitty, laying her hand on his arm, ’it is poison!’
‘Poison!’ echoed Madame and the Doctor in surprise.
‘Listen,’ said Kitty, quickly, pulling herself together by a great effort. ’I came home from the ball between two and three, I entered the room to go to my own,’ pointing to the other door; ’I did not know Selina was with Madame.’
‘No,’ said Madame, quietly, ’that is true, I only asked her to stop at the last moment.’
‘I was going quietly to bed,’ resumed Kitty, hurriedly, ’in order not to waken Madame, when I saw the portrait of M. Vandeloup on the table; I took it up to look at it.’
‘How could you see without a light?’ asked Dr Chinston, sharply, looking at her.
‘There was a night light burning,’ replied Kitty, pointing to the fragments on the floor; ’and I could only guess it was M. Vandeloup’s portrait; but at all events,’ she said, quickly, ’I sat down in the chair over there and fell asleep.’
‘You see, doctor, she had been to a ball and was tired,’ interposed Madame Midas; ’but go on, Kitty, I want to know why you say Selina was poisoned.’
‘I don’t know how long I was asleep,’ said Kitty, wetting her dry lips with her tongue, ’but I was awoke by a noise at the window there,’ pointing towards the window, upon which both her listeners turned towards it, ’and looking, I saw a hand coming out from behind the curtain with a bottle in it; it held the bottle over the glass on the table, and after pouring the contents in, then withdrew.’
‘And why did you not cry out for assistance?’ asked the doctor, quickly.
‘I couldn’t,’ she replied, ’I was so afraid that I fainted. I recovered my senses, Selina had drank the poison, and when I got up on my feet and went to the bed she was in convulsions; I woke Madame, and that’s all.’
‘A strange story,’ said Chinston, musingly, ‘where is the glass?’
‘It’s broken, doctor,’ replied Madame Midas; ’in getting out of bed I knocked the table down, and both the night lamp and glass smashed.’
‘No one could have been concealed behind the curtain of the window?’ said the doctor to Madame Midas.
‘No,’ she replied, ’but the window was open all night; so if it is as Kitty says, the man who gave the poison must have put his hand through the open window.’
Dr Chinston went to the window and looked out; there were no marks of feet on the flower bed, where it was so soft that anyone standing on it would have left a footmark behind.
‘Strange,’ said the doctor, ‘it’s a peculiar story,’ looking at Kitty keenly.
‘But a true one,’ she replied boldly, the colour coming back to her face; ‘I say she was poisoned.’
‘By whom?’ asked Madame Midas, the memory of her husband coming back to her.