Part 3 out of 4
A. In this city - Decatur Street. =20
Q. What motive led you to kill him?
A. He cheated me at cards, and I swore to be even with him.
Q. Had you any other reason?
A. I owed him twelve hundred and thirty-five dollars which I borrowed
of him hoping my luck would change. He won it all back from me by
false play, and when I could not meet it he pressed me over hard.
Q. You say this occurred on Decatur Street. What was the date?
A. I do not remember.
Q. What month was it?
A. It was in March. Early in March.
Q. You are sure it was in March?
Q. Should you say it was between the 1st and 15th of March?
A. Yes. I am positive it was before the 15th of March.
Q. Have you long known that M. Godin was at work upon this case?
Q. When did you first become aware of it?
A. Not until my arrest.
Q. When did you first see M. Godin?
A. When I was arrested.
Q. Did he ever call at your rooms?
A. Never - not to my knowledge - I never saw him till the day of my
Q. With what weapon did you kill Mr. Darrow?
A. I made use of a specially constructed hypodermic syringe.
Half-smothered exclamations of surprise were heard from every part
of the room. Even the Judge gave a start at this astounding bit of
testimony. Every person present knew perfectly well that no human
being could have entered or left the Darrow parlour without certain
discovery, yet here was a man, apparently in his right mind, who
soberly asserted that he had used a hypodermic syringe. Maitland
and Godin alone seemed cool and collected. Throughout all Latour's
testimony, M. Godin watched the witness with a burning concentration.
It seemed as if the great detective meant to bore through Latour's
gaze down to the most secret depths of his soul. Not for an instant
did he take his eyes from Latour. I said to myself at the time that
this power of concentration explained, in a great measure, this
detective's remarkable success. Nothing was permitted to escape
him, and little movements which another man would doubtless never
notice, had, for M. Godin, I felt sure, a world of suggestive
Maitland's calm demeanour, so resourceful in its serenity, caused
all eyes to turn at length to him as if for explanation. He
continued with slow deliberation.
Q. In what particulars was this hypodermic syringe of special
M. Latour seemed nervous and ill at ease. He shifted from side to
side as if M. Godin's glance had pierced him like a rapier, and he
were trying vainly to wriggle off of it. He seemed unable to
disengage himself and at length replied in a wearied and spiritless
A. In two particulars only. In the first place, it was very small,
having a capacity of but five or six drops, and, in the second place,
it was provided with an internal spring which, when released, worked
the plunger and ejected the contents with extreme rapidity.
Q. What operated this spring?
A. Around the needle-like point of the syringe, less than a quarter
of an inch from its end, was a tiny, annular bit of metal. This
little metallic collar was forced upward by the pressure of the flesh
as the sharp point entered it, and this movement released the spring
and instantly and forcibly ejected the contents of the cylinder.
Q. Did you use a poison in this syringe?=20
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you use?
M. LATOUR hesitated and shifted helplessly about as if he dreaded to
go farther into these particulars, and fondly hoped someone might
come to his rescue. His gaze seemed to shift about the room without
in the least being able to disentangle itself from that of M. Godin.
He remained silent and the question was repeated.
Q. What did you use?
Again the witness hesitated while everyone, save only Maitland and
Godin, leaned eagerly forward to catch his reply. At length it
came in a voice scarcely above a whisper.
A. Anhydrous hydrocyanic acid.
A long-drawn "Hum!" escaped from Maitland, while M. Godin gave not
the slightest indication of surprise. It was quite evident to us
all that the astute Frenchman had acquired complete control of the
case before he had arrested the assassin. At this juncture the Court
said, addressing Maitland:
"This substance is extremely poisonous, I take it."
"Your Honour," Maitland replied, "it is the most fatal of all poisons
known to chemists. It is also called cyanhydric, and, more commonly,
prussic acid. An insignificant amount, when inhaled or brought into
contact with the skin, causes immediate death. If a drop be placed
upon the end of a glass rod and brought toward the nose of a live
rabbit he will be dead before it reaches him."
A profound silence - the death-like quiet which accompanies an almost
breaking tension - reigned in the court-room as Maitland turned again
Q. I understand you to say you used anhydrous hydrocyanic or
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you sufficiently understand chemistry to use these terms with
accuracy? Might you not have used potassium cyanide or prussiate
A. I am a tolerably good chemist, and have spoken understandingly.
Potassium cyanide, KCN, is a white, crystalline compound, and could
hardly be used in a hypodermic syringe save in solution, in which
condition it would not have been sufficiently poisonous to have
served my purpose.
At this reply many of the audience exchanged approving glances.
They believed M. Latour had shown himself quite a match for Maitland
in not falling easily into what they regarded as a neat little trap
which had been set to prove his lack of chemical knowledge. They
attributed Maitland's failure to further interrogate Latour upon
his understanding of chemistry as evidence that he had met an equal.
To be sure, they were not quite clear in their own minds why Latour's
counsel should be at such pains to carefully examine a man who had
already confessed, but they believed they knew when a lawyer had met
his match, and felt sure that this was one such instance. Clinton
Browne, who sat in one of the front seats, seemed to find a deal
more to amuse him in this incident than was apparent to me. Some
men have such=20a wonderful sense of humour!
Q. When Mr. Darrow was murdered he sat in the centre of his parlour,
surrounded by his daughter and invited guests. Will you tell the
Court how you entered and left this room without detection?
Again the witness hesitated and looked irresolutely, almost
tremblingly, about him, but seemed finally to steady himself, as it
were, upon Godin's glance. It's a strange thing how the directness
and intense earnestness of a strong man will pull the vacillation
of a weak one into line with it, even as great ships draw lesser
ones into their wakes. The excited audience hung breathlessly upon
Latour's utterance. At last they were to know how this miracle of
crime had been performed. Every auditor leaned forward in his seat,
and those who were a trifle dull of hearing placed their hands to
their ears, fearful lest some syllable of the riddle's solution
should escape them. M. Latour remained dumb. The Judge regarded
him sternly and said:
"Answer the question. How did you enter the Darrow parlour?"
A. I - I did - I did not enter it.
Again a half-suppressed exclamation of surprise traversed the room.
Q. If you did not enter the room how did you plunge the hypodermic
syringe into your victim's neck?
It seemed for a moment as if the witness would utterly collapse,
but he pulled himself together, as with a mighty effort, and fairly
took our breath away with his astounding answer:
A. I - I did not strike Mr. Darrow with the syringe.
The audience literally gasped in open-mouthed amazement, while the
Court turned fiercely upon Latour and said:
"What do you mean by first telling us you killed Mr. Darrow by
injecting poison into his circulation from a specially prepared
hypodermic syringe, and then telling us that you did not strike him
with this syringe. What do you mean, sir? Answer me!"
A sudden change came over M. Latour. All his timidity seemed to
vanish in a moment, as he drew himself up to his full height and
faced the Judge. It seemed to me as if till now he had cherished
a hope that he might not be forced to give the details of his awful
crime, but that he had at last concluded he would be obliged to
disclose all the particulars, and had decided to manfully face the
Every eye was fixed upon him, and every ear strained to its utmost
as he turned slowly toward the Judge and said with a calm dignity
A. Your Honour is in error. I said that I made use of a specially
constructed hypodermic syringe. I have not said that I struck Mr.
Darrow with it. There is, therefore, nothing contradictory in my
Again the prisoner had scored, and again the audience exchanged
approving glances which plainly said: "He's clever enough for them
Then the Court continued the examination.
Q. Were you upon the Darrow estate when Mr. Darrow met his death?
A. Yes, your Honour.
A. Just outside the eastern parlour-window, your Honour.
Q. Did you strike the blow which caused Mr. Darrow's death?
A. No, your Honour. =20
Q. What! Have you not said you are responsible for his murder?
A. Yes, your Honour.
Q. Ah, I see! You had some other person for an accomplice?
A. No, your Honour.
Q. Look here, sir! Do you propose to tell us anything of your
own accord, or must we drag it out of you piecemeal?
A. No power can make me speak if I do not elect to, and I only elect
to answer questions. Commission for contempt will hardly discipline
a man in my position, and may lead me to hold my peace entirely.
The Court turned away with an expression of disgust and engaged
Jenkins and Maitland in a whispered conversation. The prisoner had
again scored. There is enough of the bully in many judges to cause
the public to secretly rejoice when they are worsted. It was plain
to be seen that the audience was pleased with Latour's defiance.
Maitland now resumed the examination with his accustomed ease. One
would have thought he was addressing a church sociable, - if he
judged by his manner.
Q. You have testified to being responsible for the death of John
Darrow. The instrument with which he was killed was directly or
indirectly your handiwork, yet you did not strike the blow, and you
have said you had no other person for an accomplice. Am I
substantially correct in all this?
A. You are quite correct.
Q. Very good. Did John Darrow's death result from a poisoned wound
made by the instrument you have described?
A. It did.
This reply seemed to nonplus us all with the exception of Maitland
and Godin. These two seemed proof against all surprises. The rest
of us looked helplessly each at his neighbour as if to say, "What
next?" and we all felt, - at least I did and the others certainly
looked it, - as if the solution of the enigma were farther away
Maitland proceeded in the same methodical strain.
Q. A blow was given, yet neither you nor any person acting as your
accomplice gave it. Did Mr. Darrow himself give the blow?
A. No, sir.
Q. I thought not. Did any person give it?
A. No, sir.
The audience drew a deep inspiration, as if with one accord! They
had ceased to reason. Again and again had we been brought, as we
all felt sure, within a single syllable of the truth, only to find
ourselves at the next word more mystified than ever. It would
hardly have surprised us more if the prisoner had informed us that
Mr. Darrow still lived. The excitement was so intense that thought
was impossible, so we could only listen with bated breath for someone
else to solve the thing for our beleaguered and discouraged minds.
After a word with his colleague, Maitland resumed.
Q. A blow was given, yet no person gave it. Was it given by anything
which is alive?
A. It was not.
You could have heard a pin drop, so silent was the room during the
pause which preceded Maitland's next question.
Q. Did you arrange some inanimate object or objects outside the
eastern window, or elsewhere, on the Darrow estate so that it or
they might wound Mr. Darrow?
A. No, - no inanimate object other than the hypodermic syringe
already referred to.
Q. To my question: "A blow was given, yet no person gave it. Was
it given by anything which is alive?" you have answered: "It was
not." Let me now ask: Was it given by anything which was at that
A. It was.
There was a stir all over the court-room. Here at last was a
suggestive admission. The examination was approaching a crisis!
Q. And you have said it was not a person. Was it not an animal?
A. It was.
"An animal!" we all ejaculated with the unanimity of a Greek chorus.
So audible were the exclamations of incredulity which arose from the
spellbound audience that the crier's gavel had to be brought into
requisition before Maitland could proceed.
Q. Did you train a little Capucin monkey to strike this blow?
A. I did.
A great sigh, the result of suddenly relieved tension, liberally
interlarded with unconscious exclamations, swept over the court-room
and would not be gavelled into silence until it had duly spent itself.
Even the Judge so far forgot his dignity as to give vent to a
Q. In order that this monkey might not attack the wrong man after you
had armed him, you taught him to obey certain signals given by little
twitches upon the cord by which you held him. A certain signal was
to creep stealthily forward, another to strike, and still another to
crawl quickly back with the weapon. When circumstances seemed most
favourable to the success of your designs, - that is, when Miss
Darrow's voice and the piano prevented any slight sound from
attracting attention, - you gently dropped the monkey in at the
window and signalled him what to do. When Mr. Darrow sprang to his
feet you recalled the monkey and hastened away. Is not this a fairly
correct description of what occurred?
A. It is true to the letter.
Q. And subsequently you killed the monkey lest he should betray you
by exhibiting his little tricks, at an inopportune moment in a way
to compromise you. Is it not so?
A. It is. I killed him, though he was my daughter's pet.
We were stricken aghast at Maitland's sudden grasp of the case.
Even Godin was surprised. What could it all mean? Had Maitland
known the facts all along? Had he simply been playing with the
witness for reasons which we could not divine? M. Godin's face
was a study. He ceased boring holes in Latour with his eyes and
turned those wonderful orbs full upon Maitland, in whom they
seemed to sink to the depths of his very soul. Clearly M. Godin
was surprised at this exhibition of Maitland's power.
Browne, who throughout the trial had glared at Maitland with an
unfriendliness which must have been apparent to everyone, now
lowered blacker than ever, it seemed to me. I wondered what could
have occurred to still further displease him, and finally concluded
it must either be some transient thought which had come uncalled
into his mind, or else a feeling of envy at his rival's prominence
in the case, and the deservedly good reputation he was making. His
general ill-feeling I, of course, charged to jealousy, for I could
not but note his uncontrollable admiration for Gwen. I fully
believed he would have given his own life - or anyone else's for
that matter - to possess her, and I decided to speak a word of
warning to George. After a short, whispered consultation with
Jenkins and the prosecuting attorney, Maitland turned to the prisoner
"That will do. M. Latour may leave the stand."
It seemed to the spectators that the affair was now entirely cleared
up, and they accordingly settled themselves comfortably for the
formal denouement. They were, therefore, much taken aback when
Maitland continued, addressing the jury:
"The evidence against the prisoner would indeed seem overwhelming,
even had we not his confession. Apart from this confession we have
no incriminating evidence save such as has been furnished by the
government's chief witness, M. Godin. As it is through this
gentleman's efforts that Latour was brought within reach of justice,
it is but natural that much should be clear to him which may be
puzzling to those who have not made so close a study of the case.
I think he will enlighten us upon a few points. M. Godin will
please take the stand."
At this there was much whispering in the courtroom.. Maitland's
course seemed decidedly anomalous. Everyone wondered why he should
be at such pains to prove that which had been already admitted and
which, moreover, since he was representing Latour, it would seem he
would most naturally wish to disprove. M. Godin, however, took the
stand and Maitland proceeded to examine him in a way which only
added amazement to wonder.
Q. How long have you been at work on this case?
A. Ever since the murder.
Q. When did you first visit M. Latour's rooms?
A. Do you mean to enter them?
A. I did not enter his rooms until the day he was arrested. I went
to other rooms of the same tenement-house on previous occasions.
Q. Have you reason to believe M. Latour ever saw you prior to the
day of his arrest?
A. No. I am sure he did not. I was especially careful to keep out
of his way.
Q. You are certain that on the several occasions when you say you
entered his rooms you were not observed by him while there?
A. I did not say I entered his rooms on several occasions.
Q. What did you say?
A. I said I never was in his rooms but once, and that was upon the
day of his arrest.
Q. I understand. Were you not assisted in your search for Mr.
Darrow's murderer by certain library books which you discovered M.
Latour had been reading?
A. I - I don't quite understand.
Q. M. Latour obtained some books from the Public Library for hall
use, giving his name as - as -=20
A. Weltz. Yes, they did assist me. There were some also taken under
the name of Rizzi.
Q. Exactly. Those are the names, I think. How was your attention
called to these books?
A. I met Latour at the library by accident, and he at once struck me
as a man anxious to avoid observation. This made it my business to
watch him. I saw that he signed his name as "Weltz" on the slips.
The next day I saw him there again, and this time he signed the
slips "Rizzi." This was long before the murder, and I was not at
work upon any case into which I could fit this "Weltz" or "Rizzi."
I was convinced in my own mind, however, that he was guilty of some
crime, and so put him down in my memory for future reference. During
my work upon this present case this incident recurred to me, and I
followed up the suggestion as one which might possibly throw some
light upon the subject.
Q. Did you peruse the books M. Latour borrowed under the names of
Weltz and Rizzi?
A. I did not.
Q. Did you not look at any of them?
A. No. It did not occur to me to examine their names.
Q. You probably noticed that there were several of them. Among the
pile was one by Alexander Wynter Blyth entitled, "Poisons, Their
Effects and Detection." Did you notice that?
A. No. I did not notice any of them.
Q. But after you became suspicious of M. Latour, did you not then
look up the slips, find this work, and read it?
A. No. I have never seen the book in my life and did not even know
such a work existed.
Q. Oh! Then the perusal of the books had no part in the tracking of
A. None whatever.
Q. Do you ever play cards?
A. Yes, sometimes, to pass the time.
Q. Do you play for money?
A. Sometimes for a small stake - just enough to make it interesting.
Q. Are you familiar with the house in which Mr. Darrow was murdered?
A. I have only such knowledge of it as I acquired at the examination
immediately after the murder. You will remember I entered but the
Q. And the grounds about the house? Surely you examined them?
A. On the contrary, I did not.
Q. Did you not even examine the eastern side of the house?
A. I did not. I have never been within the gate save on the night in
question, and then only to traverse the front walk to and from the
house in company with Messieurs Osborne and Allen. I was convinced
that the solution of the problem was to be found within the room in
which the murder was committed, and that my notes taken the night
of the tragedy contained all the data I could hope to get.
Q. Was not this rather a singular assumption?
A. For many doubtless it would be; but I have my own methods, and I
think I may say they have been measurably successful in most cases.
[This last was said with a good-natured smile and a modest dignity
that completely won the audience.]
At this point Maitland dismissed M. Godin and the court adjourned
for the day. That night M. Godin made his first call upon Gwen.
Their interview was private, and Gwen had nothing to say about it
further than that her caller had not hesitated to inform her that
he was aware a reward had been offered and that he considered he
had earned it. Maitland questioned her as to what he had claimed
as his due, but Gwen, with her face alternately flushed and ashen,
begged to be permitted to keep silence.
This attitude was, of course, not without its significance to
Maitland, and it was easy to see that M. Godin's visit had much
displeased him. But he was not the only one who was displeased
that night. I regret that my promise of utter candour compels me
to bear witness to my own foolishness; for when Maitland found it
necessary to take Jeannette into the back parlour and to remain
there alone with her in earnest conversation one hour and twelve
minutes - I happened to notice the exact time - it seemed to me he
was getting unpleasantly confidential, and it nettled me. You may
fancy that I was jealous, but it was, most likely, only pique, or,
at the worst, envy. I was provoked at the nonchalant ease with
which this fellow did offhand a thing I had been trying to work
myself up to for several days, and had finally abandoned from sheer
lack of courage. Why couldn't I carelessly say to her, "Miss
Jeannette, a word with you if you please," and then take her into
the parlour and talk a "whole history." Oh, it was envy, that's
what it was! And then the change in Jeannette! If he had not been
making love to her - well, I have often wondered since if it were
all envy, after all
The next morning M. Latour's trial was resumed, and Maitland again
put M. Godin upon the stand. The object of this did not appear at
the time, though I think the Judge fully understood it. Maitland's
first act was to show the Judge and Jury a glass negative and a
letter, which he asked them to examine carefully as he held the
articles before them. He then passed the negative to M. Godin,
"Please take this by the lower corner, between your thumb and
forefinger, so that you may be sure not to touch the sight of the
picture; hold it to the light, and tell me if you recognise the
face." M. Godin did as directed and replied without hesitancy: "It
is a picture of M. Latour." "Good," rejoined Maitland, taking back
the negative and passing him the letter; "now tell me if you
recognise that signature." M. Godin looked sharply at the letter,
holding it open between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, and
read the signature, "'Carl Cazenove.' I should say that was M.
"Good again," replied Maitland, reaching for the paper and appearing
somewhat disconcerted as he glanced at it. "You have smutched the
signature; - however, it doesn't matter," and he exhibited the paper
to the Judge and Jury. "The negative must have been oily - yes,
that's where it came from," and he quietly examined it with a
magnifying glass, to the wonderment of us all. "That is all, M.
Godin; thank you."
As the celebrated detective left the stand we were all doing our best
to fathom what possible bearing all this could have upon Latour's
confession. M. Godin for once seemed equally at a loss to comprehend
the trend of affairs, if I may judge by the deep furrows which
gathered between his eyes.
Maitland then proceeded to address the Court and to sum up his case,
the gist of which I shall give you as nearly as possible in his own
words, omitting only such portions as were purely formal,
uninteresting, or unnecessarily verbose.
"Your Honour and Gentlemen of the Jury: John Darrow was murdered and
the prisoner, M. Gustave Latour, has confessed that he did the deed.
When a man denies the commission of a crime we do not feel bound to
consider his testimony of any particular value; but when, on the
other hand, a prisoner accused of so heinous a crime as murder
responds to the indictment, 'I am guilty,' we instinctively feel
impelled to believe his testimony. Why is this? Why do we doubt
his word when he asserts his innocence and accept it when he
acknowledges his guilt? I will tell you. It is all a question of
motive. Could we see as cogent a motive for asseverating his guilt
as we find for his insisting upon his innocence, we should lend as
much credence to the one as to the other. I propose to show that M.
Latour has what seems to him the strongest of motives for confessing
to the murder of John Darrow. If I am able to do this to your
satisfaction, I shall practically have thrown M. Latour's entire
testimony out of court, and nothing of importance will then remain
but the evidence of the government's witness, M. Godin."
A great wave of excitement swept over the room at these remarks.
"What!" each said to himself, "is it possible that this lawyer will
try to prove that Latour, despite his circumstantial confession,
did not commit the murder after all?" We did not dare let such a
thought take hold of us, yet could not see what else could explain
Maitland's remarks. Is it any wonder, therefore, that we all waited
breathlessly for him to continue? M. Godin's face was dark and
lowering. It was evident he did not propose to have his skill as a
detective, - and with it the Darrow reward, - set aside without a
struggle - at least so it seemed to me. The room was as quiet as
the grave when Maitland continued.
"I shall show you that M. Godin's testimony is utterly unreliable,
and, moreover, that it is intentionally so."
This was a direct accusation, and at it M. Godin's face became of
ashen pallor. I felt that he was striving to control his anger and
saw the effort that it cost him as he fastened Maitland with a
stiletto-like look that was anything but reassuring. George did
not appear to notice it and continued easily:
"I shall prove to you beyond a doubt that, in the actual murder of
John Darrow, only one person was concerned, - by which I mean, that
only one person was outside the east window when he met his death.
I shall also show that M. Latour was not, and could not by any
possibility have been, that person. [At this juncture Browne arose
and walked toward the door. He was very pale and looked anything
but well. I thought he was going to leave, but he reseated himself
at the back of the room near the door.] I shall convince you that
M. Latour's description of the way the murder was committed is false."
All eyes were turned toward Latour, but he made no sign either of
affirmation or dissent. With his eyes closed and his hands falling
listlessly in front of him, he sat in a half-collapsed condition,
like one in a stupor. M. Godin shifted uneasily in his chair, as
if he could not remain silent much longer. Maitland proceeded with
"Mr. Clinton Browne - "
But he did not finish the sentence. At the name "Mr. Clinton Browne"
he was interrupted by a sudden commotion at the rear of the room,
followed by a heavy fall which shook the whole apartment. We all
turned and looked toward the door. Several men had gathered about
someone lying upon the floor, and one of them was throwing water in
the face of the prostrate man. Presently he revived a little, and
they bore him out into the cooler air of the corridor. It was
Clinton Browne. The great tension of the trial, his own strong
emotions, and the closeness of the room had doubtless been too much
for him. I could not but marvel at it, however. Here were delicate
women with apparently little or no staying power, and yet this
athlete, with the form of a Mars and the fibre of a Hercules, must
be the first to succumb. Verily, even physicians are subject to
When quiet had been fully restored Maitland continued:
"I was about to say when the interruption occurred that Mr. Clinton
Browne and Mr. Charles Herne would both testify to the fact that a
very sensible time elapsed between the delivery of the blow and the
death of the victim. You will see, therefore, that I shall prove to
your satisfaction that Mr. Darrow's death did not result from prussic
acid, as stated by the prisoner. I shall show you that a chemical
analysis of the wound made in my laboratory shortly after the murder
gave none of the well-known prussic-acid reactions. I shall prove
to you that John Darrow sprang to his feet after receiving the blow
which caused his death. That he clutched at his throat, and that,
after an effort consuming several seconds, he spoke disjointedly.
I shall convince you that if he had been poisoned in the manner
described he would have been dead before he could have so much as
raised his hand to his throat. We have been very particular to
make sure the exact nature of the poison which it is claimed was
used, so there can be no possible doubt upon this point. I shall
show you further that the little Capucin monkey which M. Latour says
he killed is still alive, and I will produce him, if necessary, and
will challenge M. Latour, or anyone else for that matter, to put him
through the drill which it is claimed he has been taught. I shall
inform you that, since I claim the monkey had no part in Mr. Darrow's
death, I could not, during my examination of the prisoner, have been
stating anything from knowledge when I spoke of the manner in which
he had trained the animal, and gave details which M. Latour accepted
as those of the murder. My sole effort was to state a plausible way,
in order to see if the prisoner would not adopt it as the actual
course pursued. I also coupled with this the killing of the monkey
(though I knew the animal was still alive), that I might see if M.
Latour would follow my lead in this also. You have seen that he did
so; that he indorsed my guesses where they were purely guesses, and
that he also accepted the one statement I knew to be false. I shall
therefore ask you to consider about what the chances are that a
series of guesses like those which I made would represent the exact
facts as M. Latour has claimed, while at the same time you do not
lose sight of the undeniable fact that upon the only detail regarding
which I had positive information, M. Latour bore false testimony."
Here Maitland whispered to Jenkins, who in turn spoke to the sheriff
or some other officer of the court. I would have given a good deal
just then to have been able to translate M. Godin's thoughts. His
face was a study. Maitland immediately resumed:
"It has been positively stated by M. Latour that he gambled with Mr.
Darrow on Decatur Street between the 1st and 15th day of March. This
is false. In the first place it can be shown that while Mr. Darrow
occasionally played cards at his own home, he never gambled,
uniformly refusing to play for even the smallest stake. Furthermore,
Mr. Darrow's physician will testify that Mr. Darrow was confined
to his bed from the 25th day of February to the 18th day of March,
and that he visited him during that time at least once, and oftener
twice, every day.
"Again; M. Latour asserts that he never saw M. Godin till the day
of his arrest, and M. Godin asserts that he never entered M. Latour's
rooms until that day. I have a photograph and here a phonographic
record. The picture shows M. Latour's rooms with that gentleman and
M. Godin sitting at a table and evidently engaged in earnest
conversation. This cylinder is a record of a very interesting
portion of that conversation - M. Godin will please not leave the
This last was said as M. Godin started toward the door. The officer
to whom Jenkins had recently spoken laid his hand upon the detective
and detained him. "We may need M. Godin," Maitland continued, "to
explain things to us.
"I invite your attention to the fact that M. Godin has testified
that he was assisted in his search for Mr. Darrow's murderer by
certain library slips which he saw M. Latour make out in two
different names. He has also testified that he did not know even
the names of any of the books procured on these slips, and that
one of them, entitled 'Poisons, Their Effects and Detection,' he
not only never read, but never even heard of. I shall show you
that all of these books were procured with M. Godin's knowledge,
and that most of them were read by him. I shall prove to you
beyond a doubt that he has not only heard of this particular work
on poisons, but that he has read it and placed his unmistakable
signature on page 469 thereof beside the identical paragraph which
suggested to Mr. Darrow's murderer the manner of his assassination!"
M. Godin started as if he had been stabbed, but quickly regained
his self-control as Maitland continued: "Here is the volume in
question. You will please note the thumb-mark in the margin of page
469. There is but one thumb in the world that could have made that
mark, and that is the thumb you have seen register itself upon this
letter. It is also the thumb that made this paint smutch upon this
slip of glass."
All eyes were turned upon M. Godin. He was very pale, yet his jaw
was firmly set and something akin to a defiant smile played about
his handsome mouth. To say that the audience was amazed is to convey
no adequate idea of their real condition. We felt prepared for
anything. I almost feared lest some sudden turn in the case might
cast suspicion upon myself, or even Maitland. Without apparently
noticing M. Godin's discomfiture, George continued:
"M. Godin has testified that he sometimes plays cards, but only for
a small stake - just enough, he says, to make it interesting. I
shall show you that he is a professional gambler as well as a
"The morning after the murder was committed I made a most careful
examination of the premises, particularly of the grounds near the
eastern window. As the result of my observations, I informed Miss
Darrow that I had reason to believe that her father had been murdered
by a person who had some good motive for concealing his footprints,
and who also had a halting gait. The weight of this person I was
able to estimate at not far from one hundred and thirty-five pounds,
and his height as about five feet and five inches. I also stated it
as my opinion that the person who did the deed had the habit of
biting his finger nails, and a particular reason for sparing the
nail of the little finger and permitting it to grow to an abnormal
length. This was not guesswork on my part, for in the soft soil
beneath the eastern window I found a perfect impression of a closed
hand. Here is the cast of that hand. Look well at it. Notice the
wart upon the upper joint of the thumb, and the crook in the third
finger where it has evidently been broken. M. Godin says he never
entered the yard of the Darrow estate, except on the night of the
murder in company with Messrs. Osborne and Allen, and that then he
merely passed up and down the front walk on his way to and from the
house, yet the paint-mark on this slip of glass was made by his
thumb, and the glass itself was cut by me from the eastern window
of the Darrow house - the window through which the murder was
committed. This plaster cast was taken from an impression in the
soil beneath the same window on the morning after the murder. The
hand is the hand of M. Godin. You will note that one of this
gentleman's feet is deformed and that he habitually halts in his
We all glanced at M. Godin to verify these assertions, but that
gentleman folded his arms in a way to conceal his hands and thrust
his feet out of sight beneath the chair in front of him, while he
smiled at us with the utmost apparent good nature. He would be
game to the last, there was no doubt of that.
Maitland recalled our attention by saying:
"Officer, you will please arrest M. Godin!"
An excited whisper was heard from every corner, and many were the
half-audible comments that were broken off by the imperative fall
of the crier's gavel. So tense had been the strain that it was some
time before complete order could be restored. When it was again
quiet Maitland continued:
"Your Honour and Gentlemen of the Jury: We will rest our case here
for to-day. To-morrow, or rather on Monday, we shall show the
strange influence which M. Godin exercised over M. Latour, as well
as M. Latour's reasons for his confession. We shall endeavour to
make clear to you how M. Latour was actually led to believe he had
murdered John Darrow, and how he was bribed to confess a crime=20
committed by another. Of the hypnotic power of M. Godin over M.
Latour I have indisputable proof, though we shall see that M. Godin
by no means relied wholly upon this power. We shall show you also
that sufficient time elapsed to enable M. Godin, by great skill
and celerity, to make away with the evidences of his guilt in time
to enable him to be present with Messrs. Osborne and Allen at the
examination. In short, we shall unravel before you a crime which,
for cleverness of conception and adroitness of execution, has never
been equalled in the history of this community."
Maitland having thus concluded his remarks by dropping into a
courteous plural in deference to Mr. Jenkins, the court adjourned
until Monday, and I left Gwen in Maitland's charge while I hurried
home, fearful lest I should not be the first to bring to Jeannette
the glad news of her father's innocence, for I had not the slightest
doubt of Maitland's ability to prove conclusively all he had
I need not describe to you my interview with Jeannette. There are
things concerning it which, even at this late day, when their
roseate hue glows but dimly in the blue retrospect of the past, - it
would seem sacrilege for me to mention to another. Believe me, I am
perfectly aware of your inquisitive nature, and I know that this
omission may nettle you. Charge it all up, then, to the perversity
of a bachelor in the throes of his first, last, and only love
experience. You must see that such things cannot be conveyed to
another with anything like their real significance. Were I to say
I was carried beyond myself by her protestations of gratitude until,
in a delirium of joy, I seized her in my arms and covered her with
kisses, do you for a moment fancy you could appreciate my feelings?
Do you imagine that the little tingle of sympathy which you might
experience were I to say that, instead of pushing me from her, I
felt her clasp tighten about me, - would tell you anything of the
great torrent of hot blood that deluged my heart as she lay there
in my arms, quivering ecstatically at every kiss? No! a thousand
times no! Therefore have I thought best to say nothing about it.
Our love can keep its own secrets. - But alas! this was long ago,
and as I sit here alone writing this to you, I cannot but wonder,
with a heavy sense of ever-present longing, where on this great
earth Jeannette - 'my Jeannette,' I have learned to call her - is
now. You see a bachelor's love-affair is a serious thing, and years
cannot always efface it. But to return to the past:
Jeannette, I think, was not more pleased than Gwen at the turn
affairs had taken. Indeed, so exuberant was Gwen in her quiet way
that I marvelled much at the change in her, so much, indeed, that
finally I determined to question Alice about it.
"I can understand," I said to her, "why Gwen, on account of her
sympathy and love for Jeannette, should be glad that M. Latour is
likely to be acquitted. I can also appreciate the distaste she may
have felt at the prospect of having to deal with M. Godin under the
terms of her father's will; but even both of these considerations
seem to me insufficient to account for her present almost ecstatic
condition. There is an immediateness to her joy which could hardly
result from mere release from a future disagreeable possibility.
How do you account for it, sis?" Alice's answer was somewhat
enigmatical and didn't give me the information I sought. "Ned,"
she replied," I'll pay for the tickets to the first circus that
comes here, just to see if you can find the trunks on the elephants."
Do my best, I couldn't make her enlighten me any further, for, to
every question, she replied with a most provoking laugh.
Maitland called and spent most of the next day, which was Sunday,
with us, and we all talked matters over. He did not seem either
to share or understand Gwen's exuberance of spirits, albeit one
could easily observe that he had a measure of that satisfaction
which always comes from success. More than once I saw him glance
questioningly at Gwen with a look which said plainly enough: "What
is the meaning of this remarkable change? Why should it so matter
to her whether M. Latour's or M. Godin's death avenges her father's
murder?" When he left us at night I could see he had not answered
that question to his own satisfaction.
The Devil throws double sixes when he turns genius heliward.
The next morning after the events last narrated I was utterly
dumfounded by an article which met my gaze the instant I took up
my paper. It was several moments before I sufficiently recovered
my faculties to read it aloud to Gwen, Alice, and Jeannette, all
of whom had noticed my excitement, and were waiting with such
patience as they could command. I read the following article
through from beginning to end without pause or comment:
M. Godin Anticipates the Law. - The Real Murderer of John Darrow
Writes His Confession and Then Suicides in His Cell. - Contrived
to Mix His Own Poison Under the Very Nose of His Jailer! -=20
The Dorchester Mystery Solved at Last. - Full Description of the
Life of One of the Cleverest Criminals of the Century.
At 4.30 this morning M. Godin was found dead in his cell, No. 26, at
Charles Street Jail. The manner of his death might still be a
mystery had he not left a written confession of his crime and the
summary manner of his taking off. This was written yesterday
afternoon and evening, M. Godin being permitted to have a light on
the ground that he had important legal documents to prepare for use
on the morrow. We give below the confession in full.
"I am beaten at a game in which I did my own shuffling. I never
believe in trying to bluff a full hand. Had I had but ordinary
detectives with whom to deal, I make bold to say I should have come
off rich and triumphant. 'I had no means of knowing that I was to
play with a chemist who would use against me the latest scientific
implements of criminal warfare. It is, therefore, to the
extraordinary means used for my detection that I impute my defeat,
rather than to any bungling of my own. This is a grim consolation,
but it is still a consolation, for I have always prided myself upon
being an artist in my line. As I propose to put myself beyond the
reach of further cross-examination, I take this opportunity to make
a last statement of such things as I care to have known. After this
is finished I shall sup on acetate of lead and bid good-night to the
"Lest some may marvel how I came by this poison, and even lay
suspicions upon my jailers, let me explain that there is a small
piece of lead water-pipe crossing the west angle of my room. This
being Sunday, I was permitted to have beans and brown bread for
breakfast. I asked for a little vinegar for my beans, and a small
cruet was brought to me. I had no difficulty in secreting a
considerable quantity of the vinegar in order that I might, when
occasion served, apply it to the lead pipe. This I have done, and
have now by me enough acetate of lead to kill a dozen men. This
form of death will not be particularly pleasant, I am aware, but I
prefer it to its only alternative. So much for that.
"I was horn in Marseilles, and my right name is Jean Fouchet. My
father intended me for the priesthood, and gave me a good college
education in Paris. His hopes, however, were destined to
disappointment. In college I formed the habit of gambling, and a
year after my graduation found me at Monte Carlo. While there I
quarrelled with a gambling accomplice and ended by killing him.
This made my stay in France dangerous for me, and I took the first
opportunity which presented itself to embark for America.
"Familiarity with criminals had made me familiar with crime, and I
added the occupation of detective to my profession of gambling.
These two avocations had now become my sole means of support, and I
plied my trades in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for several
years, during which time I became a naturalised citizen of the
"When the Cuban rebellion broke out I could not restrain my longing
for adventure, and joined a filibustering expedition sailing from
New York. I did this from no love I bore the Cuban cause, but merely
for the excitement it promised. While handling a heavy shot during
my first engagement I accidentally dropped it upon my left foot,
crushing that member so badly that it has never regained its shape.
This deformity has rendered it impossible for me to conceal my
identity. Three months after this accident I was taken prisoner by
the Spanish and shipped to Spain as a political malefactor. A farce
of a trial was granted to me, not to see whether or not I was guilty,
but simply to determine between the dungeon and the garrote. It
would have been far better for me had I been sentenced to the latter
instead of the former.
"As a political offender I was doomed to imprisonment at Ceuta, an
old Moorish seaport town in Morocco, opposite Gibraltar and upon
the side of the ancient mountain Abyla. This mountain forms one
of the 'Pillars of Hercules,' the Rock of Gibraltar being the other.
It is almost impregnable, and is used by Spain as Siberia is used
by Russia, only it is far, far more horrible. The town was built
by the Moors in 945, and nowhere else on earth are there to be found
an equal number of devices for the torture of human beings. If
anyone thinks the horrors of the Inquisition are no longer
perpetrated let him get sent to Ceuta: I have good cause to believe
that the Inquisition itself is far from dead in Spain. Alas for the
person who is sent to Ceuta! The town is small, and, to guard
against possible attack, the Moors constructed a chain of fortresses
around it. It is in the black cellars of these disintegrating
fortresses that the dungeons are located. They are in tiers to the
depth of fifty or sixty feet, and are hewn out of the solid rock.
They are reached through narrow openings in the stone floors of the
fortresses, and when one of these horrible holes is opened the foul
odor of filth and decomposition is utterly overpowering. Some of
these dungeons contain as many as thirty or forty men. I was placed
in a cell reserved for solitary confinement. I have never been a
man who regarded life seriously, or feared to risk it upon sufficient
occasion, but my heart froze within me when the horror of my
situation was revealed to me. A stone box perhaps eight feet square
- as I lay upon the floor I could touch its opposite sides with my
hands and feet - had been prepared for my entrance by cutting a slit
in one of its walls just large enough for the passage of my body.
Through this narrow opening I was dropped into the total darkness
within. A blacksmith followed and welded my fetters, for locks and
keys are never used. A chain having a heavy weight pendant from it
was riveted to my ankle, and an iron band was similarly fastened to
my waist. This band was fastened by a chain to an iron ring deeply
sunk in the solid rock. When these horrible preparations were
completed the blacksmith left me and a mason bricked up the slit
through which I had entered, leaving only a hand-breadth of space
for air and the thrusting through of such scraps of food as were to
be allowed me. Language is powerless to describe the feelings of a
man in such a position. He realises that his only hope is in disease
- disease bred of the darkness, the dampness, the starvation, and
the horrible filth. He says to himself: 'How long, 0 God! how
long?' - For hours I remained prone and inert - how long I do not
know; night and day are all one in the dungeons of Ceuta. Then I
began to think. Could I escape? I felt that all power of thought,
all cleverness would soon desert me, and I said to myself: 'If
anything is to be done, it must be done at once.' I knew not then
what long-drawn horrors a mortal could endure. Whenever I attempted
to walk the iron mass fastened to my leg would 'bring me up short,'
often, in my early forgetfulness of it, throwing me prone upon my
face. After a little I learned to move with a halting gait,
striding out with the free limb and pausing to pull my burden after
me with the other. This habit, learned in the squalor and darkness
of the dungeon hells of Ceuta, I have never been able to unlearn.
"It was many days before I could see how anything short of a miracle
could enable me to escape. I tried to calmly reason it all out, and
every time came to the same horrible conclusion, viz.: I must rot
there unless help came to me from without. This seemed impossible,
and all the horrors of a lingering death stared me in the face.
Every two or three days one of the jailers would come to the slit
in the masonry and leave there a dish of water and a few crusts of
bread. I tried on one occasion to speak with him, but he only
laughed in my face and turned away. Finally I hit upon a plan which
seemed to offer the only possible means of escape. In my college
days I was well acquainted with M. Charcot, and even assisted in
some of his earlier hypnotic experiments. The subject interested
me, and I followed it closely till I became something of an adept
myself. There were in those days but few people I could not
mesmerise, provided sufficient opportunity were allowed me for
hypnotic suggestion. I determined to see if any of this old power
still remained with me, and, if so, to strive to render my jailer
subservient to my will. But how should I keep him within ear-shot
long enough to work upon him? Clearly all appeals to pity were
useless. I must excite his greed, nothing else would reach him.
This was not an easy thing to do without a sou in my possession,
yet I did it. When I heard his step I crawled to the opening in
the wall and mumbled in a crazy sort of a way about a hidden
treasure. At the word 'treasure' I saw him pause and listen, but
I pretended not to be aware of his presence and rambled on, in a
loose, disjointed fashion, about piracies committed by me and the
great amount of booty I had secreted. My plan worked perfectly.
The jailer came to the aperture in the wall and called me to him.
Muttering incoherently, I obeyed. He asked me what offence brought
me there, and I, with a good deal of intentional misunderstanding,
told him I was a pirate and a smuggler. He asked me where the
treasure I had been talking about was hidden. My reply, - I
remember the exact words in which I couched it, - made him mine
completely. I said: 'We buried it near Fez - Treasure? I don't
know anything about any treasure.'
"To all the many questions he then asked me I returned only
incoherent replies, but I was careful to be again raving about
buried riches upon the next visit. In this way I kept him by me
long enough to influence him, and in less than a month he was
completely subject to my will. I tested my power over him in divers
ways. Any delicacy I wished I compelled him to bring me. In this
way I was enabled to regain a portion of my lost strength. When I
concluded the time had come for me to make good my escape, I caused
him to come to my cell at midnight and remove the bricks from the
slit while I put on the disguise he had brought me. Once out of my
stone tomb we carefully walled it up again and then departed to find
my imaginary hidden treasure. We made our way without trouble to
Algiers, for my companion had money, and sailed thence via Gibraltar
for England. During the trip my companion jumped overboard and was
drowned in the Bay of Biscay. Thus I was completely freed from Ceuta
and its terrible pest-hole.
"From England I sailed to New York, reaching America penniless and
in ill health. Things not going to my liking in New York, I came
to Boston and took up my old callings of gambler and detective. It
was at this time that I saw John Darrow's curious notice in the
newspaper, offering, in the event of his murder, a most liberal
reward to anyone who would bring the assassin to justice.
"Mon Dieu! How I needed money. I would have bartered my soul for
a tithe of that amount. It was the old, old story, only new in Eden.
Ah! but how I loved her! She must have money, money, always money!
That was ever her cry. When I could not supply it she sought it of
others, and this drove me mad. If, I said to myself, I could only
get this reward! This was something really worth working for, and if
I could but get it, she should be mine only. I at once set to work
upon the problem.
"It was not an easy thing to solve. I might be able to hire a man
to do the deed for me, but he would hardly be willing to hang for
it without disclosing my part in the transaction. It was at this
time that I first met M. Latour on Decatur Street. He at once
impressed me as being just the man I wanted, and I began to gradually
subdue his will. In this circumstances greatly aided me. When I
found him he was in very poor health and without any means of
sustenance. His daughter was able to earn a little, but not nearly
enough to keep the wolf from the door. Add to this that he had a
cancer, which several physicians had assured him would prove fatal
within a year, that he was afflicted with an almost insane fear that
his daughter would come to want after his death, and you have before
you the conditions which determined my course. My first thought
was to influence him to do the deed himself, but, recalling the
researches of M. Charcot in these matters, I came to the conclusion
that such a course would be almost certain to lead to detection,
since a hypnotic subject can only be depended upon so long as the
conditions under which he acts are precisely those which have been
suggested to him. Any unforeseen variations in these conditions
and he fails to act, exposes everything, and the whole carefully
planned structure falls to the ground. When, therefore, the time
came which I had set for the deed, I found it possible to drug M.
Latour, abduct him from his home, and to keep him confined and
unconscious until I had killed Mr. Darrow in a manner I will describe
in due course. As soon as I had committed the murder and established
what I fondly believed would be a perfect alibi in my attendance at
the examination, I secretly conveyed the still unconscious M. Latour
to his rooms and awaited his return to consciousness. I then asked
him how he came in such a state and what he was doing in Dorchester.
He was, of course, ignorant of everything. Little by little I
worked upon him till he came to believe himself guilty of John
"I had availed myself of his interest in the subject of cancer to
get him to the library. It is one of my maxims never to take an
avoidable risk, for which reason I made Latour apply for the books
I wanted, as well as for the medical works he desired to peruse.
As he was ambidextrous, I suggested the use of the two names Weltz
and Rizzi, the former to be written with his right and the latter
with his left hand. I was actuated in all this by two motives.
First, I was manufacturing evidence which might stand me in good
stead later, as well as minimising somewhat my own risk in getting
the information I needed; and, secondly, I was getting Latour into
a good atmosphere for my hypnotic influence. Not a word of all
these matters did he relate to his daughter, whom he loves with a
devotion I have never seen equalled. Indeed, it was this very
affection that made my plan feasible. When I had convinced him he
was a murderer I showed him Mr. Darrow's curious advertisement
offering a reward, should he be assassinated, to anyone bringing
about the conviction of his assailant.
"'In a year,' I said to him, 'you will die of cancer, if your crime
be not previously discovered and punished. Your daughter will then
be penniless. How much better for you to permit me in a few months
to accuse you of the murder. You then confess; I claim and secure
the reward and secretly divide with you; you are sentenced; but as
considerable time will transpire between this and the date set for
your execution, you in the meantime will die of cancer, leaving
Jeannette well provided for.'
"I think my influence over him would have been sufficient to have
compelled him to all this, could he have reasoned out no benefit
accruing to himself or daughter by such a course, but with
circumstances thus in my favour my task was an easy one. The
public knows all it need know of what occurred after this. This
man, Maitland, was in the next room to Latour's, overheard our
conversation, and even phonographed our words and photographed our
positions. It has always been a matter of pride with me to
gracefully acknowledge that three aces are not so good as a full
house, therefore I confess myself beaten, though not subdued.
"I consider this the very best tribute I can pay to the genius of
the man who has undone me. I take my punishment, however, into my
"In my haste to have done with all this and to start on my long and
chartless journey, I had well-nigh forgotten to tell just how I
killed Mr. Darrow. No hypodermic syringe had anything to do with
it. The while plan came to me while reading that fatal page upon
which I left my telltale thumb-signature in my search for some
feasible plan of making away with my victim. I need not go into
particulars, for I know perfectly well that this Maitland knows to
a nicety how the thing was done. The Daboia Russellii, or Russell's
viper, is one of the best known and most deadly of Indian vipers.
I procured one of these reptiles at the cost of great delay and some
slight risk. That is the whole story. On the night of the murder
I took the viper in a box and went down to the water-front, near the
Darrow estate. Here I cut a small pole from a clump of alders, made
a split in one end of it, and thrust it over the tail of the viper.
It pinched him severely and held him fast despite his angry struggles
to free himself and to attack anything within his reach. All that
remained to be done was to thrust this through the window into the
darkened room and to bring the viper within reach of Mr. Darrow.
This I did, being careful to crouch so as not to obstruct the light
of the window. When I heard my victim's outcry I withdrew the pole,
and with it, of course, the viper, and made good my escape. That
the reptile bit Mr. Darrow under the chin while his back was toward
the window was mere chance, though I regarded it as a very lucky
occurrence, since it seemed to render the suicide theory at first
"I had had some fear lest the hissing of the viper might have been
heard, for which reason I hazarded the only question I asked at the
examination, and was completely reassured by its answer. I should
perhaps state that my purpose in keeping in the background at this
examination was my desire to avoid attracting attention to my
deformed foot and my halting gait. This latter I had taken pains to
conceal at my entrance, but I knew that the first step I took in
forgetfulness would expose my halting habit. I had no fear of either
Osborne or Allen, but there was something about this Maitland that
bade me at once be on my guard, and, as I have said before, I never
take an avoidable risk. For this reason I sat at once in the darkest
corner I could find and remained there throughout the examination. I
thought it extremely unlikely, though possible, that an attempt might
be made to track the assassin with dogs, yet, since that is precisely
the first thing I myself would have done, I decided that the risk was
worth avoiding. I accordingly set the boat adrift to indicate an
escape by water, and then waded along the beach for half a mile or
so, carrying the pole, boards, etc., with me. As I kept where the
water was at least six inches deep I knew no dog could follow my
trail. At the point where I left the water I sat down upon a rock
and put on my stockings and shoes, thoroughly saturating them at the
same time with turpentine, and pouring the remainder of the bottle
upon the rock where I had sat. As I had known prisoners escaped
from Libby Prison to pass in this way undetected within twenty feet
of bloodhounds upon their trail, I felt that my tracks had been well
covered, and made all possible haste to get ready to attend the
examination with the special detail.
"And now I have finished. Before this meets any other eye than mine
I shall be dead - beyond the punishment of this world and awaiting
the punishment of the next. Lest some may fancy I do not believe
this, - thinking that if I did I could not so have acted, - let me
say there is no moral restraining power in fear. Fear is essentially
selfish, and selfishness is at the bottom of all crimes, my own among
the rest. I leave behind me none who will mourn me, and have but one
satisfaction, viz.: the knowledge that I shall be regarded as an
artist in crime. I take this occasion to bid the public an adieu
not altogether, I confess, unmixed with regrets. I am now on that
eminence called 'Life'; in a few minutes I shall have jumped off into
the darkness, and then - all is mystery."
When I had finished reading this article we all remained silent for
a long time. Gwen was the first to speak, and then only to say
slowly, as if thinking aloud: " And so it is all over."
It often happens that two souls who love are, like the parts of
a Mexican gemel-ring, the more difficult to intertwine the better
they fit each other.
You may be assured that, after reading M. Godin's confession, we
looked forward to seeing Maitland with a good deal of interest. We
knew this new turn of affairs would cause him to call at once, so
we all strove to possess our souls in patience while we awaited his
coming. In less than half an hour he was with us. "The news of your
success has preceded you," said Gwen as soon as he was seated. "I
wish to he the first to offer you my congratulations. You have done
for me what none other could have done and I owe you a debt of
gratitude I can never repay. The thought that I was unable to carry
out my father's wishes, - that I could do nothing to free his name
from the reproaches which had been cast upon it, was crushing my
heart like a leaden weight. You have removed this burden, and,
believe me, words fail to express the gratitude I feel. I shall
beg of you to permit me to pay you the sum my father mentioned and
to - to - " She hesitated and Maitland did not permit her to
finish her sentence.
"You must pardon me, Miss Darrow," he replied, "but I can accept no
further payment for the little I have done. It has been a pleasure
to do it and the knowledge that you are now released from the
disagreeable possibilities of your father's will is more than
sufficient remuneration. If you still feel that you owe me anything,
perhaps you will be willing to grant me a favour."
"There is nothing," she said earnestly, "within my power to grant
for which you shall ask in vain."
"Let me beg of you then," he replied, "never again to seek to repay
me for any services you may fancy I have rendered. There is nothing
you could bestow upon me which I would accept." She gave him a
quick, searching glance and I noticed a look of pain upon her face,
but Maitland gave it no heed, for, indeed, he seemed to have much
ado either to know what he wanted to say, or knowing it, to say it.
"And now," he continued, "I must no longer presume to order your
actions. You have considered my wishes so conscientiously, have
kept your covenant so absolutely, that what promised to be a
disagreeable responsibility has become a pleasure which I find
myself loth to discontinue. All power leads to tyranny. Man cannot
be trusted with it. Its exercise becomes a consuming passion, and
he abuses it. The story is the same, whether nations or individuals
be considered. I myself, you see, am a case in point. I thank you
for the patience you have shown and the pains you have taken to make
everything easy and pleasant for me; and now I must be going, as I
have yet much to do in this matter. "It may be a long time," he
said, extending his hand to her, "before we meet again. We have
travelled the same path - " but he paused as if unable to proceed,
and a deadly pallor overspread his face as he let fall both her hand
and his own. He made a heroic effort to proceed.
"I - I shall miss - very - very much miss - pray pardon me - I - I
believe I'm ill - a little faint I'd - I'd better get out into the
air - I shall - shall miss - pardon - I - I'm not quite myself -
goodbye, good-bye!" and he staggered unsteadily, half blindly to the
door and out into the street without another word. He certainly
did look ill.
Gwen's face was a study. In it surprise, fear, pain, and dismay,
each struggled for predominance. She tried to retain her
self-control while I was present, but it was all in vain. A moment
later she threw herself upon the sofa, and, burying her face in the
cushions, wept long and bitterly. I stole quietly away and sent
Alice to her, and after a time she regained her self-control, if
not her usual interest in affairs.
As day after day passed, however, and Maitland neglected to call,
transacting such business as he had through me, the shadow on
Gwen's face deepened, and the elasticity of manner, whereof she
had given such promise at Maitland's last visit, totally deserted
her, giving place to a dreamy, far-away stolidity of disposition
which I knew full well boded no good. I stood this sort of thing
as long as I could, and then I determined to call on Maitland and
give him a "piece of my mind."
I did call, but when I saw him all my belligerent resolutions
vanished. He was sitting at his table trying to work out some
complicated problem, and he was utterly unfitted for a single
minute's consecutive thought. I had not seen him for more than two
weeks, and during that time he had grown to look ten years older.
His face was drawn, haggard, and deathly pale.
"For Heaven's sake, George," I exclaimed, "what is the matter with
"I've an idea I'm spleeny," he replied with a ghastly attempt at a
smile. This was too much for me. He should have the lecture after
all. The man who thinks he is dying may be spleeny, but the man
who says he is spleeny is, of the two, the one more likely to be
"See here, old man," I began, "don't you get to thinking that when
you hide your own head in the sand no one can see the colour of
your feathers. You might as well try to cover up Bunker Hill
Monument with a wisp of straw. Don't you suppose I know you love
Gwen Darrow? That's what's the matter with you."
"Well," he replied, "and if it is, what then?"
"What then?" I ejaculated. "What then? Why go to her like a man;
tell her you love her and ask her to be your wife. That's what I'd
do if I loved - " But he interrupted me before I had finished the
lie, and I was not sorry, for, if I had thought before I became
involved in that last sentence, how I feared to speak to Jeannette
- well, I should have left it unsaid. I have made my living
giving advice till it has become a fixed habit.
"See here, Doc," he broke in upon me, "I do love Gwen Darrow as few
men ever love a woman, and the knowledge that she can never be my
wife is killing me. Don't interrupt me! I know what I am saying.
She can never be my wife! Do you think I would sue for her hand?
Do you think I would be guilty of making traffic of her gratitude?
Has she not her father's command to wed me if I but ask her, even
as she would have wed that scoundrel, Godin, had things gone as he
planned them? Did she not tell us both that she should keep her
covenant with her father though it meant for her a fate worse than
death? And you would have me profit by her sacrifice? For shame!
Love may wither my heart till it rustles in my breast like a dried
leaf, but I will never, never let her know how I love her. And see
here, Doc, promise me that you will not tell her I love her - nay,
I insist on it."
Thus importuned I said, though it went much against the grain, for
that was the very thing I had intended, "She shall not learn it
first through me." This seemed to satisfy him, for he said no more
upon the subject. When I went back to Gwen I was in no better frame
of mind than when I left her. Here were two people so determined
to be miserable in spite of everything and everybody that I sought
Jeannette by way of counter-irritant for my wounded sympathy.
Ah, Jeannette! Jeannette! to this day the sound of your sweet name
is like a flash of colour to the eye. You were a bachelor's first
and last love, and he will never forget you.
All human things cease - some end. Happy are they who can spring
the hard and brittle bar of experience into a bow of promise. For
such, there shall ever more be an orderly gravitation.
My next call on Maitland was professional. I found him abed and in
a critical condition. I blamed myself severely that I had allowed
other duties to keep me so long away, and had him at once removed to
the house, where I might, by constant attendance in the future,
atone for my negligence in the past. Despite all our efforts,
however, Maitland steadily grew worse. Gwen watched by him night
and day until I was finally obliged to insist, on account of her
own health, that she should leave the sick room long enough to take
the rest she so needed. Indeed, I feared lest I should soon have
two invalids upon my hands, but Gwen yielded her place to Jeannette
and Alice during the nights and soon began to show the good effects
I should have told you that, during all this time, Jeannette was
staying with us as a guest. I had convinced her father that it was
best she should remain with us until the unpleasant notoriety caused
by his arrest had, in a measure, subsided. Then, too, I told him
with a frankness warranted, I thought, by circumstances that he
could not hope to live many weeks longer, and that every effort
should be made to make the blow his death would deal Jeannette as
light as possible. At this he almost lost his self-control. "What
will become of my child when I am gone?" he moaned. "I shall leave
her penniless and without any means of support."
"My dear Mr. Latour," I replied, "you need give yourself no
uneasiness on that score. I will give you my word, as a man of
honour, that so long as Miss Darrow and I live we will see that your
daughter wants for none of the necessities of life, - unless she
shall find someone who shall have a better right than either of us
to care for her." This promise acted like magic upon him. He
showered his blessings upon me, exclaiming, "You have lifted a great
load from my heart, and I can now die in peace!" And so, indeed,
he did. In less than a week he was dead. I had prepared Jeannette
for the shock and so had her father, but, for all this, her grief
was intense, for she loved her father with a strength of love few
children give their parents. In time, however, her grief grew less
insistent and she began to gain something of her old buoyancy.
In the meantime, Maitland's life seemed to hang by a single thread.
It was the very worst case of nervous prostration I have ever been
called to combat, and for weeks we had to be contented if we enabled
him to hold his own. During all this time Gwen watched both
Maitland and myself with a closeness that suffered nothing to escape
her. I think she knew the changes in his condition better even than
And now I am to relate a most singular action on Gwen's part. I
doubt not most of her own sex would have considered it very
unfeminine, but anyone who saw it all as I did could not, I think,
fail to appreciate the nobility of womanhood which made it possible.
Gwen was not dominated by those characteristics usually epitomised
in the epithet 'lady.' She was a woman, and she possessed, in a
remarkable degree, that fineness of fibre, that solidity of
character, and that largeness of soul which rise above the petty
conventionalities of life into the broad realm of the real verities
It occurred on the afternoon of the first day that Maitland showed
the slightest improvement. I remember distinctly how he had fallen
into a troubled sleep from which he would occasionally cry out in a
half-articulate manner, and how Gwen and I sat beside him waiting for
him to awaken. Suddenly he said something in his sleep that riveted
our attention. "I tell you, Doc," he muttered, "though love of her
burn my heart to a cinder, I will never trade upon her gratitude,
nor seek to profit by the promise she made her father. Never, so
help me God!"
Gwen gave me one hurried, sweeping glance and then, throwing herself
upon the sofa, buried her face in the cushions. I forbore to
disturb her till I saw that Maitland was waking, when I laid my hand
upon her head and asked her to dry her eyes lest he should notice her
"May I speak to him?" she said, with a look of resolution upon her
face. I could not divine her thoughts, as she smiled at me through
her tears, but I had no hesitancy in relying upon her judgment, so
I gave her permission and started to leave the room.
"Please don't go," she said to me. "I would prefer you should hear
what I have to say." I=20reseated myself and Gwen drew near the
bedside. Maitland was now awake and following her every motion.
"I have something I want to say to you," she said, bending over him.
"Do you feel strong enough to listen?" He nodded his head and she
continued. "You have already done a great deal for me, yet I come
to you now to ask a further favour, - I will not say a sacrifice
- greater than all the rest. Will you try to grant it?"
The rich, deep tones of her voice, vibrant with tender earnestness,
seemed to me irresistible.
"I will do anything in my power," the invalid replied, never once
moving his eyes from hers.
"Then Heaven grant it be within your power!" she murmured, scarcely
above a whisper. "Try not to despise me for what I am about to say.
Be lenient in your judgment. My happiness, perhaps my very life,
depends upon this issue. I love you more than life; try to love me,
if only a little!"
I watched the effect of this declaration with a good deal of anxiety.
For fully half a minute Maitland seemed to doubt the evidence of his
senses. I saw him pinch himself to see if he were awake, and being
thus reassured, he said slowly: "Try - to - love - - you! In vain
have I tried not to love you from the moment I first saw you. Oh,
my God! how I adore you!" He reached his arms out toward her, and,
in a moment, they were locked in each other's embrace.
I saw the first kiss given and then stole stealthily from the room.
There was now no need of a doctor. The weird, irresistible alchemy
of love was at work and the reign of medicine was over. I did not
wish to dim the newly found light by my shadow, and, - well, - I
wanted to see Jeannette, so I left.
I need not tell you, even though you are a bachelor, how fast
Maitland improved. Gwen would permit no one else to nurse him, and
this had much to do with the rapidity of his recovery. In a month
he was able to go out, and in another month Gwen became Mrs. Maitland.
A happier pair, or one better suited to each other, it has never
been my privilege to know. As I visited them in their new home I
became more and more dissatisfied with bachelor existence, and there
were times when I had half a mind to go straight to Jeannette and
ask her advice in the matter. Ah, those days! They will never come
to me again. Never again will a pink and white angel knock so loudly
at my heart, or be so warmly welcomed. I wonder where she is and if
she is thinking of me.
And now I may as well stop, for my narrative is over, and I hear
someone coming along the hail, doubtless after me. It is only
Harold, so I may add a word or two more. I am writing now with
difficulty, for some frolicsome individual has placed a hand over
my eyes and says, "Guess." I can just see to write between the
fingers. Again I am commanded, " Guess!" so I say carelessly,
"Alice." Then, would you believe it, someone kisses me and
says: "Will you ever have done with that writing? The children
wish me to inform you that they have some small claim upon your
time." You see how it is. I've got to stop, so I say, as becomes
an obedient gentleman: "Very well, I will quit upon one condition.
I have been wondering where on earth you were. Tell me what you
have been doing with yourself. I have been repeating in retrospect
all the horrors of bachelordom."
"Why, Ned dear," my wife replies, "I've only been down-town
shopping for Harold and little Jeannette. Bless me, I should think
I'd been gone a year!"
"Bless you, my dear Jeannette," I reply; "I should think you had,"
and I draw her down gently into my lap and kiss her again and again
for the sake of the conviction it will carry. She says I am
smothering her, which means she is convinced.
You see I have learned some things since I was a bachelor.