“Yes, yes. I remember. And the box on the table—the box that’s in my mental picture, and is not in the photograph—that was the apparatus you’ve just been describing.”
The Inspector turned upon me with a rapidity that fairly took my breath away.
“Well, where are the other ones?” he asked, pouncing down upon me quite fiercely.
“The other what?” I repeated, amazed; for I didn’t really understand him.
“Why, the other photographs!” he replied, as if trying to surprise me. “There must have been more, you know. It held six plates. Except for this one, the apparatus, when we found it, was empty.”
His manner seemed to crush out the faint spark of recollection that just flickered within me. I collapsed at once. I couldn’t stand such brusqueness.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I answered in despair. “I never saw the plates. I know nothing about them.”
THE STORY OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS
The Inspector scanned me close for a few minutes in silence. He seemed doubtful, suspicious. At last he made a new move. “I believe you, Miss Callingham,” he said, more gently. “I can see this train of thought distresses you too much. But I can see, too, our best chance lies in supplying you with independent clues which you may work out for yourself. You must re-educate your memory. You want to know all about this murder, of course. Well, now, look over these papers. They’ll tell you in brief what little we know about it. And they may succeed in striking afresh some resonant chord in your memory.”
He handed me a book of pasted newspaper paragraphs, interspersed here and there in red ink with little manuscript notes and comments. I began to read it with profound interest. It was so strange for me thus to learn for the first time the history of my own life; for I was quite ignorant as yet of almost everything about my First State, and my father and mother.
The paragraphs told me the whole story of the crime, as far as it was known to the world, from the very beginning. First of all, in the papers, came the bald announcement that a murder had been committed in a country town in Staffordshire; and that the victim was Mr. Vivian Callingham, a gentleman of means, residing in his own house, The Grange, at Woodbury. Mr. Callingham was the inventor of the acmegraphic process. The servants, said the telegram to the London papers, had heard the sound of a pistol-shot, about half-past eight at night, coming from the direction of Mr. Callingham’s library. Aroused by the report, they rushed hastily to the spot, and broke open the door, which was locked from within. As they did so, a horrible sight met their astonished eyes. Mr. Callingham’s dead body lay extended on the ground, shot right through the heart, and weltering in its life-blood. Miss Callingham stood by his side, transfixed with horror,