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  * * * * *There was a long silence in the room after Garson's passing. Itwas broken, at last, by the Inspector, who got up from his chair,and advanced toward the husband and wife. In his hand, hecarrcardano litecoin bridgeied a sheet of paper, roughly scrawled. As he stopped beforethe two, and cleared his throat, Mary withdrew herself fromDick's arms, and regarded the official with brooding eyes fromout her white face. Something strange in her enemy's expressioncaught her attention, something that set new hopes alive withinher in a fashion wholly inexplicable, so that she waited with asudden, breathless eagerness.

"Thank you, but I am quitterra credit coin price predictione capable of looking after myself. I shall be all right when I leave here.""Perhaps you're not the best judge of that."

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He went out as he spoke. He did not close the door, and she wondered whether it would be worth while, to attempt to escape to the security of the open street. But she judged correctly that it would not be easy to do. And if he were really 'phoning the police - - But she did not believe that.Well, while she must remain here, there was no reason she should not take the comfort that the room provided. She sank into the depths of a padded chair. . . .She sat there a long time, her mind reviewing and memorizing what had occurred, and reaching the sound conclusion that her presence in that house provided a difficult problem for its owner to solve. With less certain logic, she offered herself the comfortable deduction that she had nothing about which to worry. That was for the proprietor of the Snacklit Home. And so, relaxation from past excitement, comfort and warmth had their natural effect, and when, a full hour afterwards, the door opened quietly, she was so nearly asleep that she was unaware of what was happening until it was almost too late to speak.She looked up to see a tea-tray on a low table beside her, and a maid-servant retiring through the door. She called sharply and rather incoherently, on which the girl came a step back into the room."How long have I - what time is it?" she began, as she rose from the chair. "Will you tell Mr. - the gentleman - that I cannot stay longer? I should like a taxi called. That is if mine - - "

She saw the uselessness of saying more to a girl whose vacuous expression did not change. She knew the event could not end in that casual manner. Not, at least, owing to any demand by her. Not unless he whom she had so inaccurately described a moment before should have decided that there was no more that could be usefully said and that it would be prudent to let her go without the opportunity for further words.The girl said tonelessly: "Yes, madam. I'll let the master know what you say."But Mary's next words came wholly as a surprise, seeminglytotally irrelevant to this instant of crisis. Yet they ranga-throb with an hysterical anxiety.

"Dick," she cried, "what are those tapestries worth?" With thequestion, she pointed toward the draperies that shrouded thegreat octagonal window.The young man was plainly astonished, disconcerted as well by theobtrusion of a sordid detail into the tragedy of the time."Why in the world do you----?" he began, impatiently.Mary stamped her foot angrily in protest against the delay.

"Tell me--quick!" she commanded. The authority in her voice andmanner was not to be gainsaid.Dick yielded sullenly.

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"Oh, two or three hundred dollars, I suppose," he answered."Why?""Never mind that!" Mary exclaimed, violently. And now the girl'svoice came stinging like a whiplash. In Garson's face, too, wasgrowing fury, for in an instant of illumination he guessedsomething of the truth. Mary's next question confirmed his ragingsuspicion."How long have you had them, Dick?"By now, the young man himself sensed the fact that somethingmysteriously baneful lay behind the frantic questioning on thisseemingly trivial theme."Ever since I can remember," he replied, promptly.

Mary's voice came then with an intonation that broughtenlightenment not only to Garson's shrewd perceptions, but alsoto the heavier intelligences of Dacey and of Chicago Red."And they're not famous masterpieces which your father boughtrecently, from some dealer who smuggled them into this country?"So simple were the words of her inquiry, but under them beatsomething evil, deadly.The young man laughed contemptuously."I should say not!" he declared indignantly, for he resented theimplication against his father's honesty.

"It's a trick! Burke's done it!" Mary's words came with accusingvehemence.There was another single step made by Griggs toward the door intothe passage.

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Mary's eye caught the movement, and her lips soundlessly formedthe name:"Griggs!"The man strove to carry off the situation, though he knew wellthat he stood in mortal peril. He came a little toward the girlwho had accused him of treachery. He was very dapper in hisevening clothes, with his rather handsome, well-groomed face setin lines of innocence.

"He's lying to you!" he cried forcibly, with a scornful gesturetoward Dick Gilder. "I tell you, those tapestries are worth amillion cold."Mary's answer was virulent in its sudden burst of hate. Foronce, the music of her voice was lost in a discordant cry ofdetestation."You stool-pigeon! You did this for Burke!"Griggs sought still to maintain his air of innocence, and hestrove well, since he knew that he fought for his life againstthose whom he had outraged. As he spoke again, his tones weretremulous with sincerity--perhaps that tremulousness was bornchiefly of fear, yet to the ear his words came stoutly enough fortruth:"I swear I didn't! I swear it!"Mary regarded the protesting man with abhorrence. The perjuredwretch shrank before the loathing in her eyes."You came to me yesterday," she said, with more of restraint inher voice now, but still with inexorable rancor. "You came to meto explain this plan. And you came from him--from Burke!""I swear I was on the level. I was tipped off to the story by apal," Griggs declared, but at last the assurance was gone out ofhis voice. He felt the hostility of those about him.Garson broke in ferociously."It's a frame-up!" he said. His tones came in a deadened roar ofwrath.

On the instant, aware that further subterfuge could be of noavail, Griggs swaggered defiance."And what if it is true?" he drawled, with a resumption of hisaristocratic manner, while his eyes swept the group balefully.

He plucked the police whistle from his waistcoat-pocket, andraised it to his lips.He moved too slowly. In the same moment of his action, Garsonhad pulled the pistol from his pocket, had pressed the trigger.

There came no spurt of flame. There was no sound--save perhaps afaint clicking noise. But the man with the whistle at his lipssuddenly ceased movement, stood absolutely still for the space ofa breath. Then, he trembled horribly, and in the next instantcrashed to the floor, where he lay rigid, dead."Damn you--I've got you!" Garson sneered through clenched teeth.

His eyes were like balls of fire. There was a frightful grin oftriumph twisting his mouth in this minute of punishment.In the first second of the tragedy, Dick had not understood.Indeed, he was still dazed by the suddenness of it all. But thefalling of Griggs before the leveled weapon of the other man,there to lie in that ghastly immobility, made him to understand.He leaped toward Garson--would have wrenched the pistol from theother's grasp. In the struggle, it fell to the floor.

Before either could pick it up, there came an interruption. Evenin the stress of this scene, Chicago Red had never relaxed hisprofessional caution. A slight noise had caught his ear, he hadstooped, listening. Now, he straightened, and called his warning."Somebody's opening the front door!"Garson forgot his weapon in this new alarm. He sprang to theoctagonal window, even as Dick took possession of the pistol.

"The street's empty! We must jump for it!" His hate was forgottennow in an emotion still deeper, and he turned to Mary. His facewas all gentleness again, where just before it had been evilincarnate, aflame with the lust to destroy. "Come on, Mary," hecried.Already Chicago Red had snapped off the lights of the chandelier,had sprung to the window, thrown open a panel of it, and hadvanished into the night, with Dacey at his heels. As Garsonwould have called out to the girl again in mad anxiety for haste,he was interrupted by Dick:

"She couldn't make it, Garson," he declared coolly andresolutely. "You go. It'll be all right, you know. I'll takecare of her!""If she's caught----!" There was an indescribable menace in theforger's half-uttered threat."She won't be." The quality of sincerity in Dick's voice wasmore convincing than any vow might have been.

"If she is, I'll get you, that's all," Garson said gravely, asone stating a simple fact that could not be disputed.Then he glanced down at the body of the man whom he had done todeath."And you can tell that to Burke!" he said viciously to the dead."You damned squealer!" There was a supremely malevolent contentin his sneer.

Chapter 19 Within The TollsThe going of Garson left the room deathly still. Dick stared fora moment at the space of window left uncovered by the draperiesnow, since the man had hurried past them, without pausing to drawthem after him. Then, presently, the young man turned again toMary, and took her hand in his. The shock of the event hadsomehow steadied him, since it had drawn his thoughts from thatother more engrossing mood of concern over the crisis in his ownlife. After all, what mattered the death of this crook? hisfancy ran. The one thing of real worth in all the world was thelife that remained to be lived between him and her.... Then,violently, the selfishness of his mood was made plain to him.

For the hand he held was shaking like some slender-stalked lilyin the clutch of the sirocco. Even as he first perceived thefact, he saw the girl stagger. His arm swept about her in avirile protecting embrace--just in time, or she would havefallen.A whisper came from her quivering lips. Her face was close tohis, else he could not have caught the uncertain murmuring. Thatface now was become ghastly pale. The violet eyes were widenedand dull. The muscles of her face twitched. She rested supinelyagainst him, as if bereft of any strength of body or of soul.

Yet, in the intensity of her utterance, the feeble whisper strucklike a shriek of horror."I--I--never saw any one killed before!"The simple, grisly truth of the words--words that he might havespoken as well--stirred the man to the deeps of his being. Heshuddered, as he turned his eyes to avoid seeing the thing thatlay so very near, mercifully merged within the shadows beyond thegentle radiance from the single lamp. With a pang of infinitepity for the woman in his arms, he apprehended in some degree thetorture this event must have inflicted on her. Frightful to him,it must in truth be vastly worse to her. There was her womanlysensitiveness to enhance the innate hideousness of the thing thathad been done here before their eyes. There was, too, the factthat the murderer himself had been the man to whom she owed herlife. Yes, for him, Dick realized with poignant sympathy, thehappening that night was terrible indeed: for her, as he guessednow at last, the torture must be something easily to overwhelmall her strength. His touch on her grew tender beyond theordinary tenderness of love, made gentler by a great underlyingcompassion for her misery.

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster