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39. Chapter XXXIX (continued)
But he felt thirsty, and went into the kitchen to get himself some water. Here, too, was order. On a rack were the plates that she had used for dinner on the night of her quarrel with Strickland, and they had been carefully washed. The knives and forks were put away in a drawer. Under a cover were the remains of a piece of cheese, and in a tin box was a crust of bread. She had done her marketing from day to day, buying only what was strictly needful, so that nothing was left over from one day to the next. Stroeve knew from the enquiries made by the police that Strickland had walked out of the house immediately after dinner, and the fact that Blanche had washed up the things as usual gave him a little thrill of horror. Her methodicalness made her suicide more deliberate. Her self-possession was frightening. A sudden pang seized him, and his knees felt so weak that he almost fell. He went back into the bedroom and threw himself on the bed. He cried out her name.
The thought of her suffering was intolerable. He had a sudden vision of her standing in the kitchen -- it was hardly larger than a cupboard -- washing the plates and glasses, the forks and spoons, giving the knives a rapid polish on the knife-board; and then putting everything away, giving the sink a scrub, and hanging the dish-cloth up to dry -- it was there still, a gray torn rag; then looking round to see that everything was clean and nice. He saw her roll down her sleeves and remove her apron -- the apron hung on a peg behind the door -- and take the bottle of oxalic acid and go with it into the bedroom.
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