The Apartment Next Door (Chapter 2, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 2

Impatiently Jane looked at her wrist watch. It lacked an hour of the time when she was to meet her mother at the Ritz for tea. Her nerves still all ajangle from excitement and worry over the morning's tragedy, and her own accidental secret knowledge of certain aspects of the case had made it wholly impossible for her to do anything that day with even simulated interest.

She had been debating with herself whether or not to confide to her mother the story of the tragic tableau of which she had been an accidental witness, when Mrs. Strong had dashed into her bedroom to give her a hurried peck on the cheek and to say that she was off to luncheon and the matinee with Mrs. Starrett.

"You're not looking well to-day, dear," her mother had said. "Stay in bed and rest and join us for tea if you like."

Before she had opportunity to tell what she had seen, her mother was gone, but Jane had found it impossible to obey her well-meant injunction. She rose and dressed, her mind busy all the while with the problem of what her duty was. As she donned her clothing she paused from time to time to listen for sounds from the next apartment.

What was her neighbor doing now? Had he read of the discovery of the man's body in the street? Perhaps he had fled already? Not a sound was to be heard there. He did not look in the least like what Jane imagined a murderer would, yet certainly the circumstances pointed all too plainly to his guilt. She had seen two men dash around the corner, one in pursuit of the other. One of them had come back alone. Not long afterward a body--the body of the other man--had been found with a bullet in his heart. It must have been a murder.

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