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Agatha Webb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about Agatha Webb.

No one knew.

“I wish some one would find my son.  I want him to go into town with me.”

“He’s over in the woods there,” volunteered a voice from without.

“In the woods!” repeated the father, in a surprised tone.

“Yes, sir; we all saw him go.  Shall we sing out to him?”

“No, no; I will manage very well without him.”  And taking up his hat Mr. Sutherland stepped out again upon the porch.

Suddenly he stopped.  A hand had been laid on his arm and an insinuating voice was murmuring in his ear: 

“Do you mind if I go with you?  I will not make any trouble.”

It was the same young lady we have seen before.

The old gentleman frowned—­he who never frowned and remarked shortly: 

“A scene of murder is no place for women.”

The face upturned to his remained unmoved.

“I think I will go,” she quietly persisted.  “I can easily mingle with the crowd.”

He said not another word against it.  Miss Page was under pay in his house, but for the last few weeks no one had undertaken to contradict her.  In the interval since her first appearance on the porch, she had exchanged the light dress in which she had danced at the ball, for a darker and more serviceable one, and perhaps this token of her determination may have had its influence in silencing him.  He joined the crowd, and together they moved down-hill.  This was too much for the servants of the house.  One by one they too left the house till it stood absolutely empty.  Jerry snuffed out the candles and shut the front door, but the side entrance stood wide open, and into this entrance, as the last footstep died out on the hillside, passed a slight and resolute figure.  It was that of the musician who had questioned Miss Page’s attractions.

II

ONE NIGHT’S WORK

Sutherlandtown was a seaport.  The village, which was a small one, consisted of one long street and numerous cross streets running down from the hillside and ending on the wharves.  On one of the corners thus made, stood the Webb house, with its front door on the main street and its side door on one of the hillside lanes.  As the group of men and boys who had been in search of Mr. Sutherland entered this last-mentioned lane, they could pick out this house from all the others, as it was the only one in which a light was still burning.  Mr. Sutherland lost no time in entering upon the scene of tragedy.  As his imposing figure emerged from the darkness and paused on the outskirts of the crowd that was blocking up every entrance to the house, a murmur of welcome went up, after which a way was made for him to the front door.

But before he could enter, some one plucked him by the sleeve.

“Look up!” whispered a voice into his ear.

He did so, and saw a woman’s body hanging half out of an upper window.  It hung limp, and the sight made him sick, notwithstanding his threescore years of experience.

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