The Circular Staircase (Chapter 4, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 4

Gertrude gazed at the face in a kind of fascination. Then she put out
her hands blindly, and I thought she was going to faint.

"He has killed him!" she muttered almost inarticulately; and at that,
because my nerves were going, I gave her a good shake.

"What do you mean?" I said frantically. There was a depth of grief and
conviction in her tone that was worse than anything she could have
said. The shake braced her, anyhow, and she seemed to pull herself
together. But not another word would she say: she stood gazing down at
that gruesome figure on the floor, while Liddy, ashamed of her flight
and afraid to come back alone, drove before her three terrified
women-servants into the drawing-room, which was as near as any of them
would venture.

Once in the drawing-room, Gertrude collapsed and went from one fainting
spell into another. I had all I could do to keep Liddy from drowning
her with cold water, and the maids huddled in a corner, as much use as
so many sheep. In a short time, although it seemed hours, a car came
rushing up, and Anne Watson, who had waited to dress, opened the door.
Three men from the Greenwood Club, in all kinds of costumes, hurried
in. I recognized a Mr. Jarvis, but the others were strangers.

"What's wrong?" the Jarvis man asked--and we made a strange picture, no
doubt. "Nobody hurt, is there?" He was looking at Gertrude.

"Worse than that, Mr. Jarvis," I said. "I think it is murder."

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