"I don't know what o'clock it was when I went to sleep. I don't know how long I slept, or whether I dreamed or not. The candle and the fire had both burned out, and it was pitch dark when I woke. I can't even say why I woke--unless it was the coldness of the room.
"There was a spare candle on the chimney- piece. I found the matchbox, and got a light. Then for the first time, I turned round toward the bed; and I saw--"
She had seen the dead body of her husband, murdered while she was unconsciously at his side--and she fainted, poor creature, at the bare remembrance of it.
The proceedings were adjourned. She received every possible care and attention; the chaplain looking after her welfare as well as the surgeon.
I have said nothing of the evidence of the landlady and servants. It was taken as a mere formality. What little they knew proved nothing against Mrs. Zebedee. The police made no discoveries that supported her first frantic accusation of herself. Her master and mistress, where she had been last in service, spoke of her in the highest terms. We were at a complete deadlock.
It had been thought best not to surprise Mr. Deluc, as yet, by citing him as a witness. The action of the law was, however, hurried in this case by a private communication received from the chaplain.
After twice seeing, and speaking with, Mrs. Zebedee, the reverend gentleman was persuaded that she had no more to do than himself with the murder of her husband. He did not consider that he was ju stified in repeating a confidential communication--he would only recommend that Mr. Deluc should be summoned to appear at the next examination. This advice was followed.
The police had no evidence against Mrs. Zebedee when the inquiry was resumed. To assist the ends of justice she was now put into the witness-box. The discovery of her murdered husband, when she woke in the small hours of the morning, was passed over as rapidly as possible. Only three questions of importance were put to her.