“The point of a knife blade. The extreme point,” she emphasised. “It might easily escape the observation even of the most critical, without such aid as is given by this glass.”
“No one thought of using a magnifying-glass on this,” blurted out the sergeant. “The marks made by the knife were plain enough for all to see, and that was all which seemed important.”
Mr. Black said nothing; he was feeling a trifle cheap;—something which did not agree with his crusty nature. Not having seen Mrs. Scoville for a half-hour without her veil, her influence over him was on the wane, and he began to regret that he had laid himself open to this humiliation.
She saw that it would be left for her to wind up the interview and get out of the place without arousing too much attention. With a self-possession which astonished both men, knowing her immense interest in this matter, she laid down the stick, and, with a gentle shrug of her shoulders, remarked in an easy tone:
“Well, it’s curious! The inns and outs of a crime, I mean. Such a discovery ten years after the event (I think you said ten years) is very interesting.” Then she sighed: “Alas! it’s too late to benefit the one whose life it might have saved. Mr. Black, shall we be going? I have spent a most entertaining quarter of an hour.”
Mr. Black glanced from her to the sergeant before he joined her. Then, with one of his sour smiles directed towards the former, he said:
“I wouldn’t be talking about this, sergeant. It will do no good, and may subject us to ridicule.”
The sergeant, none too well pleased, nodded slightly. Seeing which, she spoke up:
“I don’t know about that, I should think it but proper reparation to the dead to let it be known that his own story of innocence has received this late confirmation.”
But the lawyer continued to shake his head, with a very sharp look at the sergeant. If he could have his way, he would have this matter stop just where it was.
Alas! he was not to have his way, as he saw, when at parting he essayed to make a final protest against a public as well as premature reopening of this old case. She did not see her position as he did, and wound up her plea by saying:
“The public must lend their aid, if we are to get the evidence we need to help us. Can we find the man who whittled that stick? Never. But some one else may. I am going to give the men and women of this town a chance. I’m too anxious to clear my husband’s memory to shrink from any publicity. You see, I believe that the real culprit will yet be found.”
The lawyer dropped argument. When a woman speaks in that tone, persuasion is worse than useless. Besides, she had raised her veil. Strange, what a sensitive countenance will do!
ALL IS CLEAR
“This is my daughter, Judge Ostrander, Reuther, this is the judge.”