The Jewel of Seven Stars - Page 3

"These small wounds here, deep and jagged, seem as if made with a bluntinstrument. This in particular would seem as if made with some kind ofsharp wedge; the flesh round it seems torn as if with lateral pressure."

Turning to Miss Trelawny he said presently:

"Do you think we might remove this bangle? It is not absolutelynecessary, as it will fall lower on the wrist where it can hangloosely; but it might add to the patient's comfort later on." The poorgirl flushed deeply as she answered in a low voice:

"I do not know. I--I have only recently come to live with my Father;and I know so little of his life or his ideas that I fear I can hardlyjudge in such a matter. The Doctor, after a keen glance at her, saidin a very kindly way:

"Forgive me! I did not know. But in any case you need not bedistressed. It is not required at present to move it. Were it so Ishould do so at once on my own responsibility. If it be necessarylater on, we can easily remove it with a file. Your Father doubtlesshas some object in keeping it as it is. See! there is a tiny keyattached to it...." As he was speaking he stopped and bent lower,taking from my hand the candle which I held and lowering it till itslight fell on the bangle. Then motioning me to hold the candle in thesame position, he took from his pocket a magnifying-glass which headjusted. When he had made a careful examination he stood up andhanded the magnifying-glass to Dolan, saying as he did so:

"You had better examine it yourself. That is no ordinary bangle. Thegold is wrought over triple steel links; see where it is worn away. Itis manifestly not meant to be removed lightly; and it would need morethan an ordinary file to do it."

The Superintendent bent his great body; but not getting close enoughthat way knelt down by the sofa as the Doctor had done. He examinedthe bangle minutely, turning it slowly round so that no particle of itescaped observation. Then he stood up and handed the magnifying-glassto me. "When you have examined it yourself," he said, "let the ladylook at it if she will," and he commenced to write at length in hisnotebook.

I made a simple alteration in his suggestion. I held out the glasstoward Miss Trelawny, saying:

"Had you not better examine it first?" She drew back, slightly raisingher hand in disclaimer, as she said impulsively:

"Oh no! Father would doubtless have shown it to me had he wished me tosee it. I would not like to without his consent." Then she added,doubtless fearing lest her delicacy of view should give offence to therest of us:

"Of course it is right that you should see it. You have to examine andconsider everything; and indeed--indeed I am grateful to you..."

She turned away; I could see that she was crying quietly. It wasevident to me that even in the midst of her trouble and anxiety therewas a chagrin that she knew so little of her father; and that herignorance had to be shown at such a time and amongst so many strangers.That they were all men did not make the shame more easy to bear, thoughthere was a certain relief in it. Trying to interpret her feelings Icould not but think that she must have been glad that no woman'seyes--of understanding greater than man's--were upon her in that hour.

When I stood up from my examination, which verified to me that of theDoctor, the latter resumed his place beside the couch and went on withhis ministrations. Superintendent Dolan said to me in a whisper:

"I think we are fortunate in our doctor!" I nodded, and was about toadd something in praise of his acumen, when there came a low tapping atthe door.

Chapter II

Strange Instructions

Superintendent Dolan went quietly to the door; by a sort of naturalunderstanding he had taken possession of affairs in the room. The restof us waited. He opened the door a little way; and then with a gestureof manifest relief threw it wide, and a young man stepped in. A youngman clean-shaven, tall and slight; with an eagle face and bright, quickeyes that seemed to take in everything around him at a glance. As hecame in, the Superintendent held out his hand; the two men shook handswarmly.

"I came at once, sir, the moment I got your message. I am glad I stillhave your confidence."

"That you'll always have," said the Superintendent heartily. "I havenot forgotten our old Bow Street days, and I never shall!" Then,without a word of preliminary, he began to tell everything he knew upto the moment of the newcomer's entry. Sergeant Daw asked a fewquestions--a very few--when it was necessary for his understanding ofcircumstances or the relative positions of persons; but as a ruleDolan, who knew his work thoroughly, forestalled every query, andexplained all necessary matters as he went on. Sergeant Daw threwoccasionally swift glances round him; now at one of us; now at the roomor some part of it; now at the wounded man lying senseless on the sofa.

When the Superintendent had finished, the Sergeant turned to me andsaid:

"Perhaps you remember me, sir. I was with you in that Hoxton case."

"I remember you very well," I said as I held out my hand. TheSuperintendent spoke again:

"You understand, Sergeant Daw, that you are put in full charge of thiscase."

"Under you I hope, sir," he interrupted. The other shook his head andsmiled as he said:

"It seems to me that this is a case that will take all a man's time andhis brains. I have other work to do; but I shall be more thaninterested, and if I can help in any possible way I shall be glad to doso!"

"All right, sir," said the other, accepting his responsibility with asort of modified salute; straightway he began his investigation.

First he came over to the Doctor and, having learned his name andaddress, asked him to write a full report which he could use, and whichhe could refer to headquarters if necessary. Doctor Winchester bowedgravely as he promised. Then the Sergeant approached me and said sottovoce:

"I like the look of your doctor. I think we can work together!"Turning to Miss Trelawny he asked:

"Please let me know what you can of your Father; his ways of life, hishistory--in fact of anything of whatsoever kind which interests him, orin which he may be concerned." I was about to interrupt to tell himwhat she had already said of her ignorance in all matters of her fatherand his ways, but her warning hand was raised to me pointedly and shespoke herself.

"Alas! I know little or nothing. Superintendent Dolan and Mr. Rossknow already all I can say."

Tags: Bram Stoker Horror
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2023