The infinite scorn with which she brought out the last phrase showed her earnestness and her determination to have the matter pushed no further.
But Examiner Crowell was by no means the inefficient little man he looked. His eyes took on a new glitter, and narrowed as they looked at the angry woman before him.
“I am sorry, Mrs, Embury,” he said, gently, but with a strong decision in his tone, “but your wishes cannot be considered. The law is inexorable. The mystery of this case is deepened rather than lessened by your extraordinary behavior and I must—”
But his brave manner quailed before the lightning of Eunice’s eyes.
“What!” she cried; “you defy me! You will call the police against my desire—my command! You will not, sir! I forbid it!”
Crowell looked at her with a new interest. It would seem he had discovered a new species of humanity. Doubtless he had never seen a woman like that in his previous experience.
For Eunice was no shrew. She did not, for a moment, lose her poise or her dignity. Indeed, she was rather more imperious and dominating in her intense anger than when more serene. But she carried conviction. Both Elliott and Hendricks hoped and believed she could sway the Examiner to her will.
Aunt Abby merely sat nodding her head, in corroboration of Eunice’s speeches. “Yes—yes—that’s so!” she murmured, unheeding whether she were heard or not.
The Examiner, however, paid little attention to the decrees of the angry woman. He looked at Eunice, curiously, even admiringly, and then went across the room to the telephone.
Eunice flew after him and snatched the instrument from his hand.
“Stop!” she cried, fairly beside herself with fury. “You shall not!”
Both Elliott and Hendricks sprang from their chairs, and Dr. Harper rose to take care of Eunice as an irresponsible patient, but Crowell waved them all back.
“Sit down, gentlemen,” he said; “Mrs, Embury, think a minute. If you act like that you will—you inevitably will—draw suspicion on yourself!”
“I don’t care!” she screamed; “better that than the—the publicity—the shame of a police investigation! Oh, Sanford—my husband!”
It was quite clear that uppermost in her disturbed mind was the dread of the disgrace of the police inquiry. This had dulled her poignant grief, her horror, her sadness—all had been lost in the immediate fear of the impending unpleasantness.
“And, too,” the Examiner went on, coldly, “It is useless for you to rant around like that! I’ll simply go to another telephone.”
Eunice stepped back and looked at him, more in surprise than submission. To be told that she was “ranting around” was not the way in which she was usually spoken to! Moreover, she realized it was true, that to jerk the telephone away from Dr. Crowell could not permanently prevent his sending his message.