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Unformatted text preview: 'What on earth are you doing out there, James? Why don't you come and get your breakfast?' 'Just
coming, my dear,' I said hastily. 'I've been hanging up my overcoat.' 'You could have hung up half a
dozen overcoats in this time.' She was quite right. I could have.
I walked into the dining-room, gave Caroline the accustomed peck on the cheek, and sat down to eggs
and bacon. The bacon was rather cold.
'You've had an early call,' remarked Caroline.
'Yes,' I said. 'King's Paddock. Mrs Ferrars.' 'I know,' said my sister.
'How did you know?' 'Annie told me.' Annie is the house parlourmaid. A nice girl, but an inveterate
There was a pause. I continued to eat eggs and bacon. My sister's nose, which is long and thin, quivered
a little at the tip, as it always does when she is interested or excited over anything.
'Well?' she demanded.
'A sad business. Nothing to be done. Must have died in her sleep.' 'I know,' said my sister again.
This time I was annoyed.
'You can't know,' I snapped. 'I didn't know myself until I got there, and haven't mentioned it to a soul yet.
If that girl Annie knows, she must be a clairvoyant.' 'It wasn't Annie who told me. It was the milkman. He
had it from the Ferrarses' cook.' As I say, there is no need for Caroline to go out to get information. She
sits at home and it comes to her.
My sister continued: 'What did she die of? Heart failure?' 'Didn't the milkman tell you that?' I inquired
Sarcasm is wasted on Caroline. She takes it seriously and answers accordingly.
'He didn't know,' she explained.
After all, Caroline was bound to hear sooner or later. She might as well hear from me.
'She died of an overdose of veronal. She's been taking it lately for sleeplessness. Must have taken too
much.' 'Nonsense,' said Caroline immediately. 'She took it on purpose. Don't tell me!' It is odd, when
you have a secret belief of your own which you do not wish to acknowledge, the. voicing of it by
someone else will rouse you to a fury of denial. I burst immediately into indignant speech.
'There you go again,' I said. 'Rushing along without rhyme or reason. Why on earth should Mrs Ferrars
wish to commit suicide? A widow, fairly young still, very well off, good health, and nothing to do but
enjoy life. It's absurd.' 'Not at all. Even you must have noticed how different she has been looking lately.
It's been coming on for the last six months. She's looked positively hag-ridden. And you have just
admitted that she hasn't been able to sleep.' 'What is your diagnosis?' I demanded coldly. 'An unfortunate
love affair, I suppose?' My sister shook her head.
''Remorse,1 she said, with great gusto. 'Remorse?' 'Yes. You never would believe me when I told you she poisoned her husband. I'm more than
ever convinced of it now.' 'I don't think you're very logical,' I objected. 'Surely if a woman committed a
crime like murder, she'd be sufficiently cold-blooded to enjoy the fruits of it without any weak-minded
sentimentality such as repentance.'...
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