The Gilded Hour Page 150

Jack took a folded piece of paper from his notebook and handed it to her. “This will run in five newspapers tomorrow.”

Anna skimmed it, and then looked at them. “This might help reduce the number of women who go to him, but how could it help in identifying him?”

The two men glanced at each other. “We have a suspect,” Oscar said. “We’ll be watching him.”

“Can I ask who it is?”

“No.” Jack’s tone was firm.

Oscar scowled at him. “Come on, man. She’s up to her eyebrows already. And if I have to remind you, she’s been behind most of the useful information we have.”

“I know that,” Jack said shortly.

Anna said, “Oscar, I know what this is. What we have here is the Brooklyn Bridge.”

The look on his face was almost comical, and so she explained.

“I wanted Jack to take me to the top of one of the arches,” she said. “This was before it opened. We had a philosophical disagreement about the boundary between protectiveness and paternalism. I think this is a similar situation.”

Oscar was trying not to grin. “And how did that turn out?”

“Not in my favor,” Anna said. “But this time it will.”

•   •   •

THEY TOOK A break while Oscar went back to Mulberry Street to collect some materials. Jack took Anna’s hand and led her outside to sit in the garden.

“Something Oscar said made me realize we aren’t taking advantage of this.” He gestured around himself. “I keep meaning to look into putting together a pergola. Would you like that?”

Anna lifted their linked hands and pulled him toward a small bench at the far end of the garden.

She said, “This will do for the time being. So, you’re going to have to convince me about Neill Graham.”

He considered for a moment. “Tell me first why you’re so sure he’s not involved.”

“These women may each have been desperate in her own way, but none of them was stupid. They had money—some more than others, but all of them were well off when compared to the average. They had households to run—and you know what that entails.” She drew a breath and held it for a few heartbeats.

“A woman like this, with money and position, a woman who isn’t stupid isn’t going to hand herself over to a twenty-one-year-old intern. That kind of woman wants nice offices and treatment rooms and all the latest medicines and instruments. She wants anesthesia and laudanum and a physician with many years’ experience. She wants decorum and white hair and distinction and manners, and she’s willing to pay for all those things. Graham is polite and solicitous, but I can’t see Janine Campbell or any of the others simply handing over a pile of money and then surrendering to his care. Have I convinced you?”

“Not yet,” Jack said. “But then you weren’t there when Graham told us what it was like to examine poor women. There was—revulsion, even hatred, in his whole demeanor. And his keen interest in the Campbell case and the others—there’s some kind of connection.”

“I take you at your word,” she said. “After talking to Mrs. Smithson today I wouldn’t be surprised if she were connected too. I have no idea how. Is there one simple scenario that pulls together all the small pieces?”

“That’s what we’re working on. Look, here comes Oscar with his maps and the rest of the case file. Anna.”

She looked up at him, waiting.

“Promise me something.”

That made her laugh. “Just like that? You want carte blanche on everything, or just one thing in particular?”

“I want you to promise me you won’t go digging around Jefferson Square anymore on your own.”

Anna grabbed his earlobe and pulled, ignoring his yelp to plant a kiss on his cheek. “That’s a deal,” she said. “I won’t go back there on my own. Satisfied?”

His brow pleated itself when he scowled, as he was doing now. “Savard,” he said. “I know you, and you’ve got something up your sleeve.”

“I will not put myself in harm’s way,” she said. “I know very well that I’m out of my depths. I’m not foolish, Mezzanotte. What I am, what I’ve got up my sleeve, as you put it, is anger. I can’t remember ever being so angry.”

He studied her face for a long moment, and then nodded. “Let’s go see what Oscar’s got.”


THE NEXT MORNING Jack caught up with Anna before she had reached Cooper Square, took her Gladstone bag, and held out his free arm; he raised a brow at her until she took it.

“I said I’d be home in time to walk you to work.”

“I wanted to get an early start. And you need to get some sleep, Mezzanotte.”

Mornings Anna was often on edge, but there was something more to her mood this morning. They had spent a good part of the evening poring over the surveyor maps of the Jefferson Square area, compiling a list of buildings within three blocks of the coffeehouse and Smithson’s where a doctor might have offices. It would take days for the officers assigned to the case to canvass all of them, but that was the next and necessary step. That, and a new and more intense look at Neill Graham.

He said, “You didn’t sleep well.”

“Not especially.”

“I wondered if this would happen.”

She rounded on him, her brows drawn down. Ready to be irritated; almost, Jack thought, eager to be irritated. “What would happen?”

“You with your quick doctor’s mind and quicker surgeon’s hands are finding the slow pace of the law frustrating.”

They stopped at a corner to let an omnibus pass, wheels screeching on the rails. When they had crossed the street Anna looked up at him.

“I had a dream,” she said. “I don’t usually remember my dreams, but this one woke me and I was damp with sweat. After that I couldn’t sleep any more at all.”

He waited, but she didn’t go on. “You don’t want to tell me about the dream.”

“I think I have to tell you about the dream. It goes onto that long list of things I need to talk to you about.”

Jack was tired too; they had been called out to a street fight after midnight, stevedores and sailors bent on breaking each other’s heads. He thought about telling her this story and decided it would wait until they were both in better moods.

In front of the New Amsterdam he gave back her Gladstone bag, brushed a curl off her forehead, and kissed the corner of her eye so that her lashes fluttered against his mouth.

“You’re not easily spooked,” he said. “But I’d be surprised if this case didn’t give you some bad dreams.”

She seemed to relax a little, her forehead pressed to his jaw. And still she looked unhappy, distracted, overwhelmed. He didn’t like any of it, and there was nothing he could do for her in the here and now.

“I didn’t dream about the case,” she said finally. “It was about my brother. I dreamed he came to apologize to me, and I hit him in the head. With a hammer. But he was a ghost and he just stood there looking at me as if I’d disappointed him.”

Jack heard himself draw in a sharp breath. “We need more time to talk about this,” he said. “But I don’t mind telling you that I thought that when you got around to telling me about Paul, the story would be something else entirely.”

“I know.” She touched his cheek with her gloved hand. “I think that’s why it’s been so hard for me to talk about it. Everybody expects a story that I can’t give them.”

“Anna. I’ll take whatever you’ve got.”

She smiled then, something almost regretful in her expression.

“We’ll talk tonight.” She went up on tiptoe to kiss his cheek and he turned his head to catch her mouth. A soft, warm kiss; in need of comfort herself, she tried instead to comfort him.

He kissed her back, possessively, hungrily, to remind her who he was.

•   •   •

THE OPERATING ROOM was one place where Anna knew she could drop everything and clear her mind. There was a simple hernia to be done, an operation she did day in and day out, but she was looking forward to it. Then she turned into the hall and saw Archer Campbell waiting outside her office door.

Two thoughts went through her mind at that moment: first, that it would be childish and silly to run away; and second, there were times when she really did have use for a hammer.

“Dr. Savard.” He dragged his hat off his head with a reluctance that spoke volumes. “Can I have a word?”

“Mr. Campbell. No, you may not. I have to be in surgery in five minutes. I’m just here to leave my wraps.”

She unlocked the door and went in, locked it behind herself, and took a moment to catch her breath. Then she went on as she had done every morning for as long as she had come to work at the New Amsterdam: she took off her hat, changed her shoes, and exchanged her shirtwaist for a fresh tunic and put on a full apron over that. The whole time she was aware that Campbell was still in the hall, waiting.

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