The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

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by E.C. Bentley
     
 

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In the only comfortably furnished room in the offices of the Record, the telephone on Sir James Molloy's table buzzed. Sir James made a motion with his pen, and Mr. Silver, his secretary, left his work and came over to the instrument.
"Who is that?" he said. "Who?… I can't hear you … Oh, it's Mr. Bunner, is it? Yes, but … I know, but he's fearfully busy this… See more details below

Overview

In the only comfortably furnished room in the offices of the Record, the telephone on Sir James Molloy's table buzzed. Sir James made a motion with his pen, and Mr. Silver, his secretary, left his work and came over to the instrument.
"Who is that?" he said. "Who?… I can't hear you … Oh, it's Mr. Bunner, is it? Yes, but … I know, but he's fearfully busy this afternoon. Can't you … Oh, really? Well, in that case—just hold on, will you?"
He placed the receiver before Sir James. "It's Calvin Bunner, Sigsbee Manderson's right hand man," he said concisely. "He insists on speaking to you personally. Says it is the gravest piece of news. He is talking from the house down by Bishopsbridge, so it will be necessary to speak clearly."
Sir James looked at the telephone, not affectionately, and took up the receiver. "Well?" he said in his strong voice; and listened. "Yes," he said. The next moment Mr. Silver, eagerly watching him, saw a look of amazement and horror. "Good God," murmured Sir James. Clutching the instrument, he slowly rose to his feet, still bending ear intently. At intervals he repeated, "Yes." Presently, as he listened, he glanced at the clock, and spoke quickly to Mr. Silver over the top of the transmitter. "Go and hunt up Figgis and young Williams. Hurry!" Mr. Silver darted from the room.
The great journalist was a tall, strong, clever Irishman of fifty, swart and black-mustached, a man of untiring business energy, well known in the world, which he understood very thoroughly, and played upon with the half-cynical competence of his race. Yet was he without a touch of the charlatan: he made no mysteries, and no pretenses of knowledge, and he saw instantly through these in others. In his handsome, well-bred, well-dressed appearance there was something a little sinister when anger or intense occupation put its imprint about his eyes and brow; but when his generous nature was under no restraint he was the most cordial of men. He was managing director of the company which owned that most powerful morning paper, the Record, and also that most indispensable evening paper, the Sun, which had its offices on the other side of the street. He was moreover editor-in-chief of the Record, to which he had in the course of years attached the most variously capable personnel in the country. It was a maxim of his that where you could not get gifts, you must do the best you could with solid merit; and he employed a great deal of both. He was respected by his staff as few are respected in a profession not favorable to the growth of the sentiment of reverence.
"You're sure that's all?" asked Sir James, after a few minutes of earnest listening and questioning. "And how long has this been known?… Yes, of course, the police are; but the servants? Surely it's all over the place down there by now… . Well, we'll have a try… . Look here, Bunner, I'm infinitely obliged to you about this. I owe you a good turn. You know I mean what I say. Come and see me the first day you get to town… . All right, that's understood. Now I must act on your news. Good-by."
Sir James hung up the receiver, and seized a railway time-table from the rack before him. After a rapid consultation of this oracle, he flung it down with a forcible word as Mr. Silver hurried into the room, followed by a hard-featured man with spectacles, and a youth with an alert eye.
"I want you to jot down some facts, Figgis," said Sir James, banishing all signs of agitation and speaking with a rapid calmness. "When you have them, put them into shape just as quick you can for a special edition of the Sun." The hard-featured man nodded and glanced at the clock, which pointed to a few minutes past three; he pulled out a notebook and drew a chair up to the big writing-table. "Silver," Sir James went on, "go and tell Jones to wire our local correspondent very urgently, to drop everything and get down to Marlstone at once. He is not to say why in the telegram. There must not be an unnecessary word about this news until the Sun is on the streets with it—you all understand. Williams, cut across the way and tell Mr. Anthony to hold himself ready for a two-column opening that will knock the town endways. Just tell him that he must take all measures and precautions for a scoop. Say that Figgis will be over in five minutes with the facts, and that he had better let him write up the story in his private room. As you go, ask Miss Morgan to see me here at once and tell the telephone people to see if they can get Mr. Trent on the wire for me. After seeing Mr. Anthony, return here and stand by." The alert-eyed young man vanished like a spirit.
Sir James turned instantly to Mr. Figgis, whose pencil was poised over the paper. "Sigsbee Manderson has been murdered," he began quickly and clearly, pacing the floor with his hands behind him. Mr. Figgis scratched down a line of shorthand.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940149093359
Publisher:
Hillside Publishing
Publication date:
01/13/2015
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
391,663
File size:
0 MB

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