That Affair Next Door, by Anna Katherine Green


Taken Aback.

One incident more and this portion of my story is at an end. My poor patient, sicker than she had been the night before, left me but little leisure for thought or action disconnected with my care for her. But towards morning she grew quieter, and finding in an open drawer those tangled threads of yarn of which I have spoken, I began to rewind them, out of a natural desire to see everything neat and orderly about me. I had nearly finished my task when I heard a strange noise from the bed. It was a sort of gurgling cry which I found hard to interpret, but which only stopped when I laid my work down again. Manifestly this sick girl had very nervous fancies.

When I went down to breakfast the next morning, I was in that complacent state of mind natural to a woman who feels that her abilities have asserted themselves and that she would soon receive a recognition of the same at the hands of the one person for whose commendation she had chiefly been working. The identification of Miss Oliver by the Chinaman was the last link in the chain connecting her with the Mrs. James Pope who had accompanied Mr. Van Burnam to his father’s house in Gramercy Park, and though I would fain have had the murdered woman’s rings to show, I was contented enough with the discoveries I had made to wish for the hour which would bring me face to face with the detective.

But a surprise awaited me at the breakfast table in the shape of a communication from that gentleman. It had just been brought from my house by Lena, and it ran thus:


“Pardon our interference. We have found the rings which you think so conclusive an evidence of guilt against the person secreting them; and, with your permission [this was basely underlined], Mr. Franklin Van Burnam will be in custody to-day.

“I will wait upon you at ten.

“Respectfully yours,


Franklin Van Burnam! Was I dreaming? Franklin Van Burnam accused of this crime and in custody! What did it mean? I had found no evidence against Franklin Van Burnam.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55