Mr. Gryce felt himself at a greater disadvantage in his attempt to solve the mystery of this affair than in any
other which he had entered upon in years. First, the victim had been a solitary man, with no household save
his man-of-all-work, the mute. Secondly, he had lived in a portion of the city where no neighbors were
possible; and he had even lacked, as it now seemed, any very active friends. Though some hours had elapsed
since his death had been noised abroad, no one had appeared at the door with inquiries or information. This
seemed odd, considering that he had been for some months a marked figure in this quarter of the town. But,
then, everything about this man was odd, nor would it have been in keeping with his surroundings and
peculiar manner of living for him to have had the ordinary associations of men of his class.
This absence of the usual means of eliciting knowledge from the surrounding people, added to, rather than
detracted from, the interest which Mr. Gryce was bound to feel in the case, and it was with a feeling of relief
that a little before midnight he saw the army of reporters, medical men, officials, and such others as had
followed in the coroner’s wake, file out of the front door and leave him again, for a few hours at least, master
of the situation.
For there were yet two points which he desired to settle before he took his own much-needed rest. The first
occupied his immediate attention. Passing before a chair in the hall on which a small boy sat dozing, he
roused him with the remark:
“Come, Jake, it’s time to look lively. I want you to go with me to the exact place where that lady ran across
The boy, half dead with sleep, looked around him for his hat.
“I’d like to see my mother first,” he pleaded. “She must be done up about me. I never stayed away so long
“Your mother knows where you are. I sent a message to her hours ago. She gave a very good report of you,
Jake; says you’re an obedient lad and that you never have told her a falsehood.”
“She’s a good mother,” the boy warmly declared. “I’d be as bad–as bad as my father was, if I did not treat her
well.” Here his hand fell on his cap, which he put on his head.