Page:Post - Uncle Abner (Appleton, 1918).djvu/52

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The Wrong Hand

written on the morning that your brother died. … Listen! When Elnathan Stone stepped back from your brother's bed he stumbled over a piece of carpet. The under side of that carpet was smeared with ink, where a bottle had been broken. I put my finger on it and it was wet."

The hunchback began to howl and bellow like a beast penned in a corner. I crouched under Abner's coat in terror. The creature's cries filled the great, empty house. They rose a hellish crescendo on the voices of the wind; and for accompaniment the sleet played shrill notes on the windowpanes, and the loose shingles clattered a staccato, and the chimney whistled—like weird instruments under a devil's fingers.

And all the time Abner stood looking down at the man—an implacable, avenging Nemesis—and his voice, deep and level, did not change.

"But, before that, we knew that you had killed your brother! We knew it when we stood before his bed. 'Look there,' said Rufus—'at that bloody handprint!' … We looked. … And we knew that Enoch's hand had not made that print. Do you know how we knew that, Gaul? … I will tell you. … The bloody print on your brother's right hand was the print of a right hand!"

Gaul signed the deed, and at dawn we rode away, with the hunchback's promise that he would come that afternoon before a notary and acknowledge

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