A thief in the night

I touched his arm and found it rigid as an iron bar. It contained nothing that appeared to interest them, and after going through the contents of the sideboard cupboards methodically, the superintendent turned a leaf of his note-book and said: Retrieved May 12, As the new witness, a small, dry, eminently professional-looking man, stepped briskly up to the table, I stole a quick, rather furtive glance at my companions and saw my own alarm plainly reflected in their faces and bearing. But the bottle was already open and had been in the cellaret since lunch.

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Immediately afterwards my name was called and I took my place at the table, not without a slight degree of nervousness; for, though I was well enough used to examinations, it was in the capacity of examiner, not of witness, and I was fully alive to the possibility of certain pitfalls which the coroner might, if he were wide enough awake, dig for me.

While Barbara was absent, breaking the news to the servants, I tried to bring Madeline to a more composed frame of mind.

As a Thief in the Night

My father was a doctor and he taught me simple dispensing so that I could help him. Presently I must call on Mr Brodribb, the other executor, and let him know what has happened. Madeline considered for a few moments and then replied in a low, shaky voice: When I had given him his last dose—that was out of the new bottle—I took the old bottle away and washed it at once.

The deep yellow stains on his fingers, the reek in the air and a pile of cigarette-ends in an ash-bowl were enough to account for a good deal of nervous thisf, even if there were nothing more—no drugs or drink.

But if three ounces of Liquor Arsenicalis had been in the bottle, the medicine would have been quite a dark red. I think the jury would have liked to bait Wallingford but apparently could not think nighr any suitable questions.

But Nighy could not imagine him making an enemy and, so far as I know, he never did. It is impossible to suppose that it could have got in by accident. Deceased was always ailing, more or less, and those about him came to accept ill-health as his normal condition.

Nor was their hasty retreat unjustified.

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The worst had happened—at least, so I thought—and we all stood condemned; but Barbara most of all. Considerable gastric discomfort and troublesome cough.

But it had the merit of brevity. You must have formed some thisf as to why they have decided to hold an inquest. The maid has told him that I am here. The immense majority of doctors pass through the whole of their professional lives without meeting with such a case; and it is not surprising that when the infinitely rare contingency arises, it nearly always takes the practitioner unawares.

A Thief in the Night (short story collection) - Wikipedia

Then I turned to cross the road and as I did so, looked up at the house. The total amount actually found was thus a little over three and a half grains—a lethal dose.

It would be so vindictive, especially for a clergyman. When Amos had concluded his statement, the coroner glanced at the Jury, and as no one offered to put any questions, he dismissed the witness and called the next—Mabel Withers—who, at once, came forward to the table. That is a matter of fact which is not disputed and which you must accept, unless you have any reasons for rejecting their testimony, which I feel sure you have not. She was now quite herself again, quiet, dignified, rather reserved and even a little inscrutable.

After staring at me for a few moments with starting eyes and mouth agape, he flung up his arms and uttered a hoarse shout.

He felt that the presence of a nurse would have been disturbing. I suggested it more than once to deceased, but he wouldn't hear of it. He urged me not to raise any objections and advised me to say nothing to anyone but to wait until the coroner's decision was made known.

He was a kindly, just and generous man, amiable and even-tempered; rather reserved and aloof; not very human, perhaps, and somewhat self-contained and solitary. The other witnesses—the members of the household—would nihgt much more likely to remember.

I took it in and carried it up at once. Second, there is the nature of the poison. When the bearers went to the house to fetch the body, I accompanied them and took the opportunity to examine the bedroom. He nodded a little impatiently. A Thief in the Night series.

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