“Is there anything that points to her in your discernment by your five senses, Miss Ames?” Stone asked, very gravely. “Has Mrs, Embury a faintly ticking watch?”
“Yes, her wrist-watch,” Aunt Abby answered, though speaking evidently against her will.
“And it is possible that she slipped on her husband’s jersey; and it is possible there was raspberry jam on the sleeve of it. You see, I am not doubting the evidence of your senses. Now, as to the gasoline. Had Mrs, Embury, or her maid, by any chance, been cleaning any laces or finery with gasoline?”
“I won’t tell you!” and Aunt Abby shook her head so obstinately that it was quite equivalent to an affirmative answer!
“Now, you see, Aunt Abby,” protested Elliott, in an agonized voice, “why I want you to shut up about that confounded ‘vision’! You are responsible for this case Mr. Stone is so ingeniously building up against Eunice! You are getting her into a desperate coil, from which it will be difficult to extricate her! If Shane got hold of this absurd yarn—”
“It’s not entirely absurd,” broke in Stone, “but I agree with you, Mr. Elliott; if Shane learns of it—he won’t investigate any further!”
“He shan’t know of it,” was the angry retort. “I got you here, Mr. Stone—”
“To discover the truth, or to free Mrs, Embury?”
There was a pause, and the two men looked at each other. Then Mason Elliott said, in a low voice, “To free Mrs, Embury.”
“I can’t take the case that way,” Stone replied. “I will abandon the whole affair, or—I will find out the truth.”
“Abandon it!” cried a ringing voice, and the door of her bedroom was flung open as Eunice again appeared.
She was in a towering fury, her face was white and her lips compressed to a straight scarlet line.
“Give up the case! I will take my chances with any judge or jury rather than with you!” She faced Stone like the “Tiger” her husband had nicknamed her. “I have heard every word—Aunt Abby’s story—and your conclusions! Your despicable ‘deductions,’ as I suppose you call them! I’ve had enough of the ’celebrated detective’! Quite enough of Fleming Stone—and his work!”
She stepped back and gazed at him with utter scorn beautiful as a sculptured Medea, haughty as a tragedy queen.
“Independent as a pig on ice!” Fibsy communicated with himself, and he stared at her with undisguised admiration.
“Eunice,” and the pain in Mason Elliott’s voice was noticeable; “Eunice, dear, don’t do yourself such injustice.”
“Why not? When everybody is unjust to me! You, Mason, you and this—this infallible detective sit here and deliberately build up what you call a ‘case’ against me—me, Eunice Embury! Oh—I hate you all!”
A veritable figure of hate incarnate, she stood, her white hands clasping each other tightly, as they hung against her black gown. Her head held high, her whole attitude fiercely defiant, she flung out her words with a bitterness that betokened the end of her endurance—the limit of her patience.