“And that’s true,” put in Miss Ames. “For two people who loved each other to distraction, I often thought the Emburys were the most quarrelsome I ever saw.”
Shane looked sharply at the old lady. “Is that so?” he said. “Did you hear this particular quarrel, ma’am?”
“Not that I remember. If I did, I didn’t take’ much notice of it.”
“What was it about?”
“Oh, the same old subject. Mrs, Embury wanted—”
“Aunt Abby, hush! What are you talking about! Leave me to tell my own secrets, pray!”
“Secrets, ma’am?” Shane’s cold blue eyes glistened. “Who’s talking of secrets?”
“Nobody,” offered Hendricks. “Seems to me, Shane, you’re trying to frighten two nervous women into a confession—”
“Who said anything about a confession? What’s to be confessed? Who’s made any accusations?”
Hendricks was silent. He didn’t like the man Shane at all, but he saw plainly that he was a master of his craft, and depended on his sudden and startling suggestions to rouse antagonism or fear and so gather the facts he desired.
“I’m asking nobody’s secrets,” he went on, “except in so far as I’m obliged to, by reason of my duty. And in that connection, ma’am, I ask you right here and now, what you meant by your reference to secrets?”
Eunice looked at him a moment in silence. Then she said, “You have, I daresay, a right to ask that. And I’ve not the least objection to answering. Mr. Embury was the kindest of husbands, but it did not suit his ideas to give me what is known as an allowance. This in no way reflects on his generosity, for he insisted that I should have a charge account at any shops I wished. But, because of a whim, I often begged that I be given a stated and periodical allowance. This, I have no reason for not admitting, was the cause of most of our so-called ‘quarrels.’ This is what I should prefer to keep ‘secret’ but not if it is for any reason a necessary admission.”
Shane looked at her in undisguised admiration.
“Fine!” he ejaculated, somewhat cryptically. “And you quarreled about this last night?”
“Last evening, before we went out.”
“Not after you came home?”
“No; the subject was not then mentioned.”
“H’m. And you two were as friendly as ever? No coolness—sorta left over, like?”
“No!” Eunice spoke haughtily, but the crimson flood that rose to her cheeks gave the lie to her words.
Driscoll came in.
“I’ve found out what killed Mr. Embury,” he said, in his quiet fashion.
“What?” cried the Examiner and Shane, at the same time.
“Can’t tell you—just yet. I’ll have to go out on an errand. Stay here—all of you—till I get back.”
The dapper little figure disappeared through the hall door, and Shane turned back to the group with a grunt of satisfaction.