Keeping His Promise by Algernon Blackwood
It was eleven o'clock at night, and young Marriott
was locked into his room, cramming as hard as he
could cram. He was a "Fourth Year Man" at
Edinburgh University and he had been ploughed
for this particular examination so often that his
parents had positively declared they could no
longer supply the funds to keep him there.
His rooms were cheap and dingy, but it was the
lecture fees that took the money. So Marriott
pulled himself together at last and definitely made
up his mind that he would pass or die in the
attempt, and for some weeks now he had been
reading as hard as mortal man can read. He was
trying to make up for lost time and money in a
way that showed conclusively he did not understand
the value of either. For no ordinary man—and
Marriott was in every sense an ordinary man—can
afford to drive the mind as he had lately been
driving his, without sooner or later paying the
Among the students he had few friends or
acquaintances, and these few had promised not to
disturb him at night, knowing he was at last
reading in earnest. It was, therefore, with feelings
a good deal stronger than mere surprise that he
heard his door-bell ring on this particular night
and realised that he was to have a visitor. Some
men would simply have muffled the bell and gone
on quietly with their work. But Marriott was not
this sort. He was nervous. It would have
bothered and pecked at his mind all night long
not to know who the visitor was and what he
wanted. The only thing to do, therefore, was to
let him in—and out again—as quickly as possible.
The landlady went to bed at ten o'clock punctually,
after which hour nothing would induce her
to pretend she heard the bell, so Marriott jumped
up from his books with an exclamation that
augured ill for the reception of his caller, and
prepared to let him in with his own hand.
The streets of Edinburgh town were very still at
this late hour—it was late for Edinburgh—and in
the quiet neighbourhood of F—— Street, where
Marriott lived on the third floor, scarcely a sound
broke the silence. As he crossed the floor, the
bell rang a second time, with unnecessary clamour,
and he unlocked the door and passed into the little
hallway with considerable wrath and annoyance
in his heart at the insolence of the double
"The fellows all know I'm reading for this
exam. Why in the world do they come to bother
me at such an unearthly hour?"
The inhabitants of the building, with himself,
were medical students, general students, poor
Writers to the Signet, and some others whose
vocations were perhaps not so obvious. The stone
staircase, dimly lighted at each floor by a gas-jet
that would not turn above a certain height, wound
down to the level of the street with no pretence at
carpet or railing. At some levels it was cleaner
than at others. It depended on the landlady of the
The acoustic properties of a spiral staircase seem
to be peculiar. Marriott, standing by the open
door, book in hand, thought every moment the
owner of the footsteps would come into view.
The sound of the boots was so close and so loud
that they seemed to travel disproportionately in
advance of their cause. Wondering who it could
be, he stood ready with all manner of sharp
greetings for the man who dared thus to disturb
his work. But the man did not appear. The steps
sounded almost under his nose, yet no one was
A sudden queer sensation of fear passed over
him—a faintness and a shiver down the back. It
went, however, almost as soon as it came, and he
was just debating whether he would call aloud to
his invisible visitor, or slam the door and return
to his books, when the cause of the disturbance
turned the corner very slowly and came into
It was a stranger. He saw a youngish man
short of figure and very broad. His face was the
colour of a piece of chalk and the eyes, which were
very bright, had heavy lines underneath them.
Though the cheeks and chin were unshaven and
the general appearance unkempt, the man was
evidently a gentleman, for he was well dressed
and bore himself with a certain air. But, strangest
of all, he wore no hat, and carried none in his
hand; and although rain had been falling steadily
all the evening, he appeared to have neither
overcoat nor umbrella.
A hundred questions sprang up in Marriott's
mind and rushed to his lips, chief among which
was something like "Who in the world are you?"
and "What in the name of heaven do you come
to me for?" But none of these questions found
time to express themselves in words, for almost at
once the caller turned his head a little so that the
gas light in the hall fell upon his features from a
new angle. Then in a flash Marriott recognised
"Field! Man alive! Is it you?" he gasped.
The Fourth Year Man was not lacking in
intuition, and he perceived at once that here was a
case for delicate treatment. He divined, without
any actual process of thought, that the catastrophe
often predicted had come at last, and that this
man's father had turned him out of the house.
They had been at a private school together years
before, and though they had hardly met once since,
the news had not failed to reach him from time to
time with considerable detail, for the family lived
near his own and between certain of the sisters
there was great intimacy. Young Field had gone
wild later, he remembered hearing about it all—drink,
a woman, opium, or something of the sort—he
could not exactly call to mind.
"Come in," he said at once, his anger vanishing.
"There's been something wrong, I can see.
Come in, and tell me all about it and perhaps I can
help—" He hardly knew what to say, and
stammered a lot more besides. The dark side of
life, and the horror of it, belonged to a world that
lay remote from his own select little atmosphere
of books and dreamings. But he had a man's
heart for all that.
He led the way across the hall, shutting the
front door carefully behind him, and noticed as
he did so that the other, though certainly sober,
was unsteady on his legs, and evidently much
exhausted. Marriott might not be able to pass his
examinations, but he at least knew the symptoms
of starvation—acute starvation, unless he was
much mistaken—when they stared him in the
"Come along," he said cheerfully, and with
genuine sympathy in his voice. "I'm glad to see
you. I was going to have a bite of something to
eat, and you're just in time to join me."
The other made no audible reply, and shuffled so
feebly with his feet that Marriott took his arm by
way of support. He noticed for the first time that
the clothes hung on him with pitiful looseness.
The broad frame was literally hardly more than a
frame. He was as thin as a skeleton. But, as he
touched him, the sensation of faintness and dread
returned. It only lasted a moment, and then
passed off, and he ascribed it not unnaturally to
the distress and shock of seeing a former friend
in such a pitiful plight.
"Better let me guide you. It's shamefully dark—this
hall. I'm always complaining," he said
lightly, recognising by the weight upon his arm
that the guidance was sorely needed, "but the old
cat never does anything except promise." He led
him to the sofa, wondering all the time where he
had come from and how he had found out the
address. It must be at least seven years since
those days at the private school when they used to
be such close friends.
"Now, if you'll forgive me for a minute," he
said, "I'll get supper ready—such as it is. And
don't bother to talk. Just take it easy on the
sofa. I see you're dead tired. You can tell me
about it afterwards, and we'll make plans."
The other sat down on the edge of the sofa and
stared in silence, while Marriott got out the brown
loaf, scones, and huge pot of marmalade that
Edinburgh students always keep in their cupboards.
His eyes shone with a brightness that suggested
drugs, Marriott thought, stealing a glance at him
from behind the cupboard door. He did not like
yet to take a full square look. The fellow was in
a bad way, and it would have been so like an
examination to stare and wait for explanations.
Besides, he was evidently almost too exhausted to
speak. So, for reasons of delicacy—and for another
reason as well which he could not exactly formulate
to himself—he let his visitor rest apparently unnoticed,
while he busied himself with the supper.
He lit the spirit lamp to make cocoa, and when
the water was boiling he drew up the table
with the good things to the sofa, so that Field
need not have even the trouble of moving to a
"Now, let's tuck in," he said, "and afterwards
we'll have a pipe and a chat. I'm reading for an
exam, you know, and I always have something
about this time. It's jolly to have a companion."
He looked up and caught his guest's eyes directed
straight upon his own. An involuntary shudder
ran through him from head to foot. The face
opposite him was deadly white and wore a dreadful
expression of pain and mental suffering.
"By Gad!" he said, jumping up, "I quite forgot.
I've got some whisky somewhere. What an ass I
am. I never touch it myself when I'm working
He went to the cupboard and poured out a stiff
glass which the other swallowed at a single gulp
and without any water. Marriott watched him
while he drank it, and at the same time noticed
something else as well—Field's coat was all over
dust, and on one shoulder was a bit of cobweb.
It was perfectly dry; Field arrived on a soaking
wet night without hat, umbrella, or overcoat, and
yet perfectly dry, even dusty. Therefore he had
been under cover. What did it all mean? Had
he been hiding in the building? . . .
It was very strange. Yet he volunteered
nothing; and Marriott had pretty well made up
his mind by this time that he would not ask any
questions until he had eaten and slept. Food and
sleep were obviously what the poor devil needed
most and first—he was pleased with his powers of
ready diagnosis—and it would not be fair to press
him till he had recovered a bit.
They ate their supper together while the host
carried on a running one-sided conversation,
chiefly about himself and his exams and his "old
cat" of a landlady, so that the guest need not
utter a single word unless he really wished to—which
he evidently did not! But, while he toyed
with his food, feeling no desire to eat, the other ate
voraciously. To see a hungry man devour cold
scones, stale oatcake, and brown bread laden with
marmalade was a revelation to this inexperienced
student who had never known what it was to be
without at least three meals a day. He watched
in spite of himself, wondering why the fellow did
not choke in the process.
But Field seemed to be as sleepy as he was
hungry. More than once his head dropped and he
ceased to masticate the food in his mouth. Marriott
had positively to shake him before he would go on
with his meal. A stronger emotion will overcome
a weaker, but this struggle between the sting of
real hunger and the magical opiate of overpowering
sleep was a curious sight to the student, who
watched it with mingled astonishment and alarm.
He had heard of the pleasure it was to feed hungry
men, and watch them eat, but he had never actually
witnessed it, and he had no idea it was like
this. Field ate like an animal—gobbled, stuffed,
gorged. Marriott forgot his reading, and began
to feel something very much like a lump in his
"Afraid there's been awfully little to offer you,
old man," he managed to blurt out when at length
the last scone had disappeared, and the rapid,
one-sided meal was at an end. Field still made no
reply, for he was almost asleep in his seat. He
merely looked up wearily and gratefully.
"Now you must have some sleep, you know," he
continued, "or you'll go to pieces. I shall be up
all night reading for this blessed exam. You're
more than welcome to my bed. To-morrow we'll
have a late breakfast and—and see what can be
done—and make plans—I'm awfully good at
making plans, you know," he added with an
attempt at lightness.
Field maintained his "dead sleepy" silence,
but appeared to acquiesce, and the other led the
way into the bedroom, apologising as he did so to
this half-starved son of a baronet—whose own
home was almost a palace—for the size of the
room. The weary guest, however, made no
pretence of thanks or politeness. He merely
steadied himself on his friend's arm as he staggered
across the room, and then, with all his clothes on,
dropped his exhausted body on the bed. In less
than a minute he was to all appearances sound
For several minutes Marriott stood in the open
door and watched him; praying devoutly that he
might never find himself in a like predicament, and
then fell to wondering what he would do with his
unbidden guest on the morrow. But he did not
stop long to think, for the call of his books was
imperative, and happen what might, he must see
to it that he passed that examination.
Having again locked the door into the hall, he
sat down to his books and resumed his notes on
materia medica where he had left off when the
bell rang. But it was difficult for some time to concentrate
his mind on the subject. His thoughts
kept wandering to the picture of that white-faced,
strange-eyed fellow, starved and dirty, lying in his
clothes and boots on the bed. He recalled their
schooldays together before they had drifted apart,
and how they had vowed eternal friendship—and
all the rest of it. And now! What horrible
straits to be in. How could any man let the love
of dissipation take such hold upon him?
But one of their vows together Marriott, it
seemed, had completely forgotten. Just now, at
any rate, it lay too far in the background of his
memory to be recalled.
Through the half-open door—the bedroom led
out of the sitting-room and had no other door—came
the sound of deep, long-drawn breathing, the
regular, steady breathing of a tired man, so tired
that, even to listen to it made Marriott almost
want to go to sleep himself.
"He needed it," reflected the student, "and
perhaps it came only just in time!"
Perhaps so; for outside the bitter wind from
across the Forth howled cruelly and drove the rain
in cold streams against the window-panes, and
down the deserted streets. Long before Marriott
settled down again properly to his reading, he
heard distantly, as it were, through the sentences
of the book, the heavy, deep breathing of the
sleeper in the next room.
A couple of hours later, when he yawned and
changed his books, he still heard the breathing, and
went cautiously up to the door to look round.
At first the darkness of the room must have
deceived him, or else his eyes were confused and
dazzled by the recent glare of the reading lamp.
For a minute or two he could make out nothing
at all but dark lumps of furniture, the mass of
the chest of drawers by the wall, and the white
patch where his bath stood in the centre of the
Then the bed came slowly into view. And on
it he saw the outline of the sleeping body gradually
take shape before his eyes, growing up strangely
into the darkness, till it stood out in marked
relief—the long black form against the white
He could hardly help smiling. Field had not
moved an inch. He watched him a moment or
two and then returned to his books. The night
was full of the singing voices of the wind and rain.
There was no sound of traffic; no hansoms clattered
over the cobbles, and it was still too early for
the milk carts. He worked on steadily and
conscientiously, only stopping now and again to
change a book, or to sip some of the poisonous
stuff that kept him awake and made his
brain so active, and on these occasions Field's
breathing was always distinctly audible in the
room. Outside, the storm continued to howl, but
inside the house all was stillness. The shade of
the reading lamp threw all the light upon the
littered table, leaving the other end of the room
in comparative darkness. The bedroom door was
exactly opposite him where he sat. There was
nothing to disturb the worker, nothing but an
occasional rush of wind against the windows, and
a slight pain in his arm.
This pain, however, which he was unable to
account for, grew once or twice very acute. It
bothered him; and he tried to remember how, and
when, he could have bruised himself so severely,
but without success.
At length the page before him turned from
yellow to grey, and there were sounds of wheels
in the street below. It was four o'clock. Marriott
leaned back and yawned prodigiously. Then he
drew back the curtains. The storm had subsided
and the Castle Rock was shrouded in mist. With
another yawn he turned away from the dreary
outlook and prepared to sleep the remaining four
hours till breakfast on the sofa. Field was still
breathing heavily in the next room, and he first
tip-toed across the floor to take another look
Peering cautiously round the half-opened door
his first glance fell upon the bed now plainly
discernible in the grey light of morning. He
stared hard. Then he rubbed his eyes. Then he
rubbed his eyes again and thrust his head farther
round the edge of the door. With fixed eyes he
stared harder still, and harder.
But it made no difference at all. He was staring
into an empty room.
The sensation of fear he had felt when Field
first appeared upon the scene returned suddenly,
but with much greater force. He became conscious,
too, that his left arm was throbbing violently and
causing him great pain. He stood wondering, and
staring, and trying to collect his thoughts. He
was trembling from head to foot.
By a great effort of the will he left the support
of the door and walked forward boldly into the
There, upon the bed, was the impress of a body,
where Field had lain and slept. There was the
mark of the head on the pillow, and the slight
indentation at the foot of the bed where the boots
had rested on the counterpane. And there, plainer
than ever—for he was closer to it—was the
Marriott tried to pull himself together. With
a great effort he found his voice and called his
friend aloud by name!
"Field! Is that you? Where are you?"
There was no reply; but the breathing continued
without interruption, coming directly from the
bed. His voice had such an unfamiliar sound that
Marriott did not care to repeat his questions, but
he went down on his knees and examined the bed
above and below, pulling the mattress off finally,
and taking the coverings away separately one
by one. But though the sounds continued there
was no visible sign of Field, nor was there any
space in which a human being, however small,
could have concealed itself. He pulled the bed
out from the wall, but the sound stayed where it
was. It did not move with the bed.
Marriott, finding self-control a little difficult in
his weary condition, at once set about a thorough
search of the room. He went through the cupboard,
the chest of drawers, the little alcove where
the clothes hung—everything. But there was no
sign of anyone. The small window near the
ceiling was closed; and, anyhow, was not large
enough to let a cat pass. The sitting-room door
was locked on the inside; he could not have got
out that way. Curious thoughts began to trouble
Marriott's mind, bringing in their train unwelcome
sensations. He grew more and more excited; he
searched the bed again till it resembled the scene
of a pillow fight; he searched both rooms, knowing
all the time it was useless,—and then he searched
again. A cold perspiration broke out all over his
body; and the sound of heavy breathing, all this
time, never ceased to come from the corner where
Field had lain down to sleep.
Then he tried something else. He pushed the
bed back exactly into its original position—and
himself lay down upon it just where his guest had
lain. But the same instant he sprang up again
in a single bound. The breathing was close beside
him, almost on his cheek, and between him and
the wall! Not even a child could have squeezed
into the space.
He went back into his sitting-room, opened the
windows, welcoming all the light and air possible,
and tried to think the whole matter over quietly
and clearly. Men who read too hard, and slept
too little, he knew were sometimes troubled with
very vivid hallucinations. Again he calmly reviewed
every incident of the night; his accurate
sensations; the vivid details; the emotions stirred
in him; the dreadful feast—no single hallucination
could ever combine all these and cover so long a
period of time. But with less satisfaction he
thought of the recurring faintness, and curious
sense of horror that had once or twice come over
him, and then of the violent pains in his arm.
These were quite unaccountable.
Moreover, now that he began to analyse and
examine, there was one other thing that fell upon
him like a sudden revelation: During the whole
time Field had not actually uttered a single
word! Yet, as though in mockery upon his
reflections, there came ever from that inner room
the sound of the breathing, long-drawn, deep, and
regular. The thing was incredible. It was absurd.
Haunted by visions of brain fever and insanity,
Marriott put on his cap and macintosh and left
the house. The morning air on Arthur's Seat
would blow the cobwebs from his brain; the scent
of the heather, and above all, the sight of the sea.
He roamed over the wet slopes above Holyrood for a
couple of hours, and did not return until the exercise
had shaken some of the horror out of his bones, and
given him a ravening appetite into the bargain.
As he entered he saw that there was another
man in the room, standing against the window
with his back to the light. He recognised his
fellow-student Greene, who was reading for the
"Read hard all night, Marriott," he said, "and
thought I'd drop in here to compare notes and
have some breakfast. You're out early?" he added,
by way of a question. Marriott said he had a
headache and a walk had helped it, and Greene
nodded and said "Ah!" But when the girl had
set the steaming porridge on the table and gone
out again, he went on with rather a forced tone,
"Didn't know you had any friends who drank,
This was obviously tentative, and Marriott
replied drily that he did not know it either.
"Sounds just as if some chap were 'sleeping it
off' in there, doesn't it, though?" persisted the
other, with a nod in the direction of the bedroom,
and looking curiously at his friend. The two
men stared steadily at each other for several
seconds, and then Marriott said earnestly—
"Then you hear it too, thank God!"
"Of course I hear it. The door's open. Sorry
if I wasn't meant to."
"Oh, I don't mean that," said Marriott, lowering
his voice. "But I'm awfully relieved. Let me
explain. Of course, if you hear it too, then it's
all right; but really it frightened me more than
I can tell you. I thought I was going to have
brain fever, or something, and you know what a
lot depends on this exam. It always begins
with sounds, or visions, or some sort of beastly
hallucination, and I—"
"Rot!" ejaculated the other impatiently. "What
are you talking about?"
"Now, listen to me, Greene," said Marriott, as
calmly as he could, for the breathing was still
plainly audible, "and I'll tell you what I mean,
only don't interrupt." And thereupon he related
exactly what had happened during the night,
telling everything, even down to the pain in his
arm. When it was over he got up from the table
and crossed the room.
"You hear the breathing now plainly, don't
you?" he said. Greene said he did. "Well, come
with me, and we'll search the room together."
The other, however, did not move from his
"I've been in already," he said sheepishly; "I
heard the sounds and thought it was you. The
door was ajar—so I went in."
Marriott made no comment, but pushed the
door open as wide as it would go. As it opened,
the sound of breathing grew more and more
"Someone must be in there," said Greene under
"Someone is in there, but where?" said
Marriott. Again he urged his friend to go in
with him. But Greene refused point-blank;
said he had been in once and had searched the
room and there was nothing there. He would
not go in again for a good deal.
They shut the door and retired into the other
room to talk it all over with many pipes. Greene
questioned his friend very closely, but without
illuminating result, since questions cannot alter
"The only thing that ought to have a proper,
a logical, explanation is the pain in my arm," said
Marriott, rubbing that member with an attempt
at a smile. "It hurts so infernally and aches all
the way up. I can't remember bruising it, though."
"Let me examine it for you," said Greene. "I'm
awfully good at bones in spite of the examiners'
opinion to the contrary." It was a relief to play
the fool a bit, and Marriott took his coat off and
rolled up his sleeve.
"By George, though, I'm bleeding!" he exclaimed.
"Look here! What on earth's this?"
On the forearm, quite close to the wrist, was a
thin red line. There was a tiny drop of apparently
fresh blood on it. Greene came over and looked
closely at it for some minutes. Then he sat back
in his chair, looking curiously at his friend's face.
"You've scratched yourself without knowing
it," he said presently.
"There's no sign of a bruise. It must be something
else that made the arm ache."
Marriott sat very still, staring silently at his
arm as though the solution of the whole mystery
lay there actually written upon the skin.
"What's the matter? I see nothing very
strange about a scratch," said Greene, in an unconvincing
sort of voice. "It was your cuff links
probably. Last night in your excitement—"
But Marriott, white to the very lips, was trying
to speak. The sweat stood in great beads on his
forehead. At last he leaned forward close to his
"Look," he said, in a low voice that shook a
little. "Do you see that red mark? I mean
underneath what you call the scratch?"
Greene admitted he saw something or other,
and Marriott wiped the place clean with his
handkerchief and told him to look again more
"Yes, I see," returned the other, lifting his head
after a moment's careful inspection. "It looks
like an old scar."
"It is an old scar," whispered Marriott, his lips
trembling. "Now it all comes back to me."
"All what?" Greene fidgeted on his chair. He
tried to laugh, but without success. His friend
seemed bordering on collapse.
"Hush! Be quiet, and—I'll tell you," he
said. "Field made that scar."
For a whole minute the two men looked each
other full in the face without speaking.
"Field made that scar!" repeated Marriott at
length in a louder voice.
"Field! You mean—last night?"
"No, not last night. Years ago—at school,
with his knife. And I made a scar in his
arm with mine." Marriott was talking rapidly
"We exchanged drops of blood in each other's
cuts. He put a drop into my arm and I put
one into his—"
"In the name of heaven, what for?"
"It was a boys' compact. We made a sacred
pledge, a bargain. I remember it all perfectly
now. We had been reading some dreadful book
and we swore to appear to one another—I
mean, whoever died first swore to show himself to
the other. And we sealed the compact with each
other's blood. I remember it all so well—the
hot summer afternoon in the playground, seven
years ago—and one of the masters caught us and
confiscated the knives—and I have never thought
of it again to this day—"
"And you mean—" stammered Greene.
But Marriott made no answer. He got up and
crossed the room and lay down wearily upon the
sofa, hiding his face in his hands.
Greene himself was a bit non-plussed. He left
his friend alone for a little while, thinking it all
over again. Suddenly an idea seemed to strike
him. He went over to where Marriott still lay
motionless on the sofa and roused him. In any
case it was better to face the matter, whether there
was an explanation or not. Giving in was always
the silly exit.
"I say, Marriott," he began, as the other turned
his white face up to him. "There's no good being
so upset about it. I mean—if it's all an hallucination
we know what to do. And if it isn't—well,
we know what to think, don't we?"
"I suppose so. But it frightens me horribly
for some reason," returned his friend in a hushed
voice. "And that poor devil—"
"But, after all, if the worst is true and—and
that chap has kept his promise—well, he has, that's
all, isn't it?"
"There's only one thing that occurs to me,"
Greene went on, "and that is, are you quite sure
that—that he really ate like that—I mean that he
actually ate anything at all?" he finished, blurting
out all his thought.
Marriott stared at him for a moment and then
said he could easily make certain. He spoke
quietly. After the main shock no lesser surprise
could affect him.
"I put the things away myself," he said, "after
we had finished. They are on the third shelf in
that cupboard. No one's touched 'em since."
He pointed without getting up, and Greene took
the hint and went over to look.
"Exactly," he said, after a brief examination;
"just as I thought. It was partly hallucination,
at any rate. The things haven't been touched.
Come and see for yourself."
Together they examined the shelf. There was
the brown loaf, the plate of stale scones, the oatcake,
all untouched. Even the glass of whisky
Marriott had poured out stood there with the
whisky still in it.
"You were feeding—no one," said Greene
"Field ate and drank nothing. He was not there
"But the breathing?" urged the other in a low
voice, staring with a dazed expression on his face.
Greene did not answer. He walked over to the
bedroom, while Marriott followed him with his
eyes. He opened the door, and listened. There
was no need for words. The sound of deep,
regular breathing came floating through the air.
There was no hallucination about that, at any
rate. Marriott could hear it where he stood on
the other side of the room.
Greene closed the door and came back. "There's
only one thing to do," he declared with decision.
"Write home and find out about him, and meanwhile
come and finish your reading in my rooms.
I've got an extra bed."
"Agreed," returned the Fourth Year Man; "there's
no hallucination about that exam; I must pass that
And this was what they did.
It was about a week later when Marriott got the
answer from his sister. Part of it he read out to
"It is curious," she wrote, "that in your letter
you should have enquired after Field. It seems
a terrible thing, but you know only a short while
ago Sir John's patience became exhausted, and he
turned him out of the house, they say without a
penny. Well, what do you think? He has killed
himself. At least, it looks like suicide. Instead
of leaving the house, he went down into the cellar
and simply starved himself to death. . . . They're
trying to suppress it, of course, but I heard it all
from my maid, who got it from their footman. . . .
They found the body on the 14th and the doctor
said he had died about twelve hours before. . . .
He was dreadfully thin. . . ."
"Then he died on the 13th," said Greene.
"That's the very night he came to see you."
Marriott nodded again.