He began to regain his nerve, and to busy
himself knotting the strands of the story into a connected narrative.
And when, a few minutes later, he handed a message to the manager of the
telegraph office and demanded a clear wire into the _Banner_
office, he was quite the old breezy Simpkins.
Then, coat off, a cigar between his teeth, he sat down beside the
operator and began to write his story, his flying fingers keeping time
with the clicking instrument. He made no mention of the fears that had
beset him in the hall and the manner of his exit from it. But there was
enough and to spare of the dramatic in what he sent. After a sensational
half-column of introduction, fitting the murder on Mrs. Athelstone, and
enlarging on the certainty of one's sin finding one out, provided it
were assisted by a _Banner_ reporter, he swung into the detailed
story, dwelling on the woman's madness and sliding over the details of
the murder as much as possible.
Then he described how, for more than a month, Mrs Athelstone had labored
over the body, hiding it days in the empty case and dragging it out
nights, until she had finished it, with the exception of some detail
about the head, into a faithful replica of the mummy of Amosis, the
original of which she had no doubt burned. It all made a vivid story;
for never had his imagination been in such working order, and never had
it responded more generously to his demands upon it.