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table. He could not help seeing the dead thing. How still it was!
How horribly white the long hands looked! It was like a dreadful
Having locked the door behind him, he crept quietly downstairs.
The woodwork creaked, and seemed to cry out as if in pain. He
stopped several times, and waited. No: everything was still. It was
merely. the sound of his own footsteps.
When he reached the library, he saw the bag and coat in the corner.
They must be hidden away somewhere. He unlocked a secret press
that was in the wainscoting, a press in which he kept his own
curious disguises, and put them into it. He could easily burn them
afterwards. Then he pulled out his watch. It was twenty minutes to
He sat down and began to think. Every year-every month, almost-
men were strangled in England for what he had done. There had
been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too
close to the earth.... And yet what evidence was there against him?
Basil Hallward had left the house at eleven. No one had seen him
come in again. Most of the servants were at Selby Royal. His valet
had gone to bed.... Paris? Yes. It was to Paris that Basil had gone,
and by the midnight train, as he had intended. With his curious
reserved habits, it would be months before any suspicions would
be aroused. Months! Everything could be destroyed long before
A sudden thought struck him. He put on his fur coat and hat, and
went out into the hall. There he paused, hearing the slow, heavy
tread of the policeman on the pavement outside, and seeing the
flash of the bull’s-eye reflected in the window. He waited, and held
After a few moments he drew back the latch, and slipped out,
shutting the door very gently behind him. Then he began ringing,
the bell. In about five minutes his valet appeared, half dressed, and
looking very drowsy.
“I am sorry to have had to wake you up, Francis,” he said, stepping
in; “but I had forgotten my latchkey. What time is it?” “Ten
minutes past two, sir,” answered the man, looking at the clock and
“Ten minutes past two? How horribly late! You must wake me at
nine to-morrow. I have some work to do.” “All right, sir.” “Did
any one call this evening?” “Mr. Hallward, sir. He stayed here till
eleven, and then he went away to catch his train.”
“Oh! I am sorry I didn’t see him. Did he leave any message?” “No,
sir, except that he would write to you from Paris, if he did not find
you at the club.” “That will do, Francis. Don’t forget to call me at