“I scorn to answer!” The cold tones showed no fear, no trepidation, but Eunice’s white fingers interlaced themselves in a nervous fashion.
“Do you know anything about it, Miss Ames?”
“N—no,” stammered Aunt Abby, trembling, as she looked now at the detectives and then at Eunice.
“Well, it couldn’t have put itself there,” went on Driscoll. “Who else has access to that place?”
Eunice gave no heed to this speech. She gave no heed to the speaker, but stared at him, unseeingly, her gaze seeming to go straight through him.
“Why, the maid,” said Aunt Abby, with a helpless glance toward Elliott and Hendricks, as if beseeching assistance.
“The servants must be considered,” said Hendricks, catching at a straw. “They may know something that will help.”
“Call the maid,” said Shane, briefly, and, as neither of the women obeyed, he turned to Ferdinand, who hovered in the background, and thundered: “Bring her in—you!”
Maggie appeared, shaken and frightened, but when questioned, she answered calmly and positively.
“I put that dropper in the medicine closet,” she said, and every one looked toward her.
“Where did you get it?” asked Shane.
“I found it—on the floor.”
“On the floor? Where?”
“Beside Miss Ames’ bed.” The girl’s eyes were cast down; she looked at nobody, but gave her answers in a dull, sing-song way, almost as if she had rehearsed them before.
“This morning—when I made up her room.”
“Had you ever seen it before?”
“Why did you think it belonged to Miss Ames?”
“I didn’t think anything about it. I found it there, and I supposed it belonged to Miss Ames, and I put it away.”
“Why did you put it in the medicine chest?”
The girl looked up, surprised.
“That seemed to me the proper place for it. Whenever I find a bottle of camphor or a jar of cold cream—or anything like that —I always put it in the medicine chest. That’s where such things belong. So I thought it was the right place for the little dropper. Did I do wrong?”
“No, Maggie,” Driscoll said, kindly, “that was all right. Now tell us exactly where you found it.”
“I did tell you. On the floor, just beside Miss Ames’ bed. Near the head of the bed.”
“Well, Miss Ames—I guess it’s up to you. What were you doing with this thing?”
“I didn’t have it at all! I never saw it before!”
“Come, come, that won’t do! How could it get there?”
“I don’t know, but I didn’t put it there.” The old lady trembled pitifully, and looked from one to another for help or guidance.
“Of course, she didn’t!” cried Eunice. “You sha’n’t torment my aunt! Cease questioning her! Talk to me if you choose—and as you choose—but leave Miss Ames alone!”