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CHAPTER 17: The Inexplicable Gallery (continued)
"Had this criticism been made at the time, we could only have answered that the assassin had disappeared from the gallery in such a way that we thought he was no longer anywhere! He had eluded us when we all had our hands stretched out ready to seize him - when we were almost touching him. We had no longer any ground for hoping that we could clear up the mystery of that night.
"As soon as I rapped at the door it was opened, and the keeper asked us quietly what we wanted. He was undressed and preparing to go to bed. The bed had not yet been disturbed.
"We entered and I affected surprise.
"'Not gone to bed yet?'
"'No,' he replied roughly. 'I have been making a round of the park and in the woods. I am only just back - and sleepy. Good-night!'
"'Listen,' I said. 'An hour or so ago, there was a ladder close by your window.'
"'What ladder? - I did not see any ladder. Good-night!'
"And he simply put us out of the room. When we were outside I looked at Larsan. His face was impenetrable.
'Well?' I said.
"'Well?' he repeated.
"'Does that open out any new view to you?'
"There was no mistaking Larsan's bad temper. On re-entering the chateau, I heard him mutter:
"'It would be strange - very strange - if I had deceived myself on that point!'
"He seemed to be talking to me rather than to himself. He added: "'In any case, we shall soon know what to think. The morning will bring light with it.'"
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