“I know. Poor girl, I don’t blame her for those spasms of rage. She can’t help it, you know. And she’s improving every day.”
“That’s what Sanford said. He thought he helped her, and I dare say he did. But sometimes he had to speak pretty sharply to her. Just as one would to a naughty child.”
“That’s what she is, bless her heart! Just a naughty child. We must be very considerate of her now, Aunt Abby, mustn’t we?”
“Yes, indeed. She is sorely to be pitied. She adored Sanford. I don’t know what she will do.”
When after the autopsy, Dr. Harper announced that it was necessary to send for the Medical Chief Examiner, Eunice cried out, “Why, what do you mean? He’s the same as a Coroner!”
“He takes the place of the Coroner, nowadays,” rejoined Harper, “and in Dr. Marsden’s opinion his attendance is necessary.”
“Do you mean Sanford was murdered?”
Eunice whispered, her face white and drawn.
“We can’t tell, Mrs, Embury. It is a most unusual case. There is absolutely no indication of foul play, but, on the other hand, there is no symptom or condition that tells the reason of his death. That is your finding, Dr. Marsden?”
“Yes,” agreed the other. “Mr. Embury died because of a sudden and complete paralysis of respiration and circulation. There is nothing we can find to account for that and by elimination of all other possible causes we are brought to the consideration of poison. Not any known or evident poison, but a subtle, mysteriously administered toxic agent of some sort—”
“You must be crazy!” and Eunice faced him with scornful glance and angry eyes. “Who would poison my husband? How could any one get at him to do it? Why would they, anyway?”
Dr. Marsden looked at her curiously. “Those questions are not for me, madame,” he said, a little curtly. “I shall call Examiner Crowell, and he will take charge of the case.”
“He’s the same as a coroner! I won’t have him!” Eunice declared.
“It isn’t for you to say,” Dr. Marsden was already at the telephone. “The course of events makes it imperative that I should call Dr. Crowell. He is not a coroner. He is, of course, a Civil Service appointee, and as such, in authority. You will do whatever he directs.”
Eunice Embury was silent from sheer astonishment. Never before had she been talked to like this. Accustomed to dictate, to give orders, to have her lightest word obeyed, she was dumfounded at being overruled in this fashion.
The men took in the situation more clearly.
“Medical Examiner!” exclaimed Hendricks. “Is it a case for him?”
“Yes,” returned Marsden, gravely. “At least, it is a very mysterious death. Mystery implies wrong—of some sort. Had Mr. Embury been a man with a weak heart, or any affected organ, I should have been able to make a satisfactory diagnosis. But his sound, perfect condition precludes any reason for this sudden death. It must be looked into. It may be the Examiner will find a simple, logical cause, but I admit I can find none—and I am not inexperienced.”