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The Diamond Queen
by [?]

In the main bedroom was a double bed, a couch, a wardrobe, and a small, thin-legged writing or dressing table.

On the white bed lay the now cold and marble figure of the once vivacious little dancer who had enchanted thousands in life–petite, brunette, voluptuous. Rawaruska was beautiful, even in death.

Her finely chiseled features, lacking that heaviness which often characterizes European women, were, however, terribly drawn and her perfect complexion on which she had prided herself was now all mottled and bluish.

As Kennedy examined the body, I could not help observing that there seemed to be every evidence that the girl had been asphyxiated in some strange manner.

Had it been by a deft touch on a nerve of her beautiful, soft neck that had constricted the throat and cut off her breath? I had heard of such things. Or had it been asphyxiation due to a poison that had paralyzed the chest muscles?

The purser, as soon as we came aboard, had summoned the ship’s surgeon, and we had scarcely arrived at Rawaruska’s room when he joined us. He was one of those solid, reliable doctors, not brilliant, but one in whom you might place great confidence, a Dr. Sanderson, educated in Edinburgh, and long a follower of the sea.

“Was there any evidence of a struggle?” asked Kennedy.

“No, none whatever,” replied the doctor.

“No peculiar odor, no receptacle of any kind near her that might have held poison?”

“No, nothing that could have been used to hold poison or a drug.”

Kennedy was regarding the face of the little dancer attentively. “Most extraordinary,” he remarked slowly, “that congested look she has.”

“Yes,” agreed Dr. Sanderson, “her face was flushed and blue when I got to her–cyanotic, I should say. There seemed to be a great dryness of her throat and the muscles of her throat were paretic. Her pupils were dilated, too, and her pulse was rapid, as if from a greatly increased blood pressure.”

“Was she conscious?” asked Kennedy, almost reverently turning over her rigid body and looking at the back of her neck and the upper spine. “Did she recognize anything, say anything?”

“She seemed to be in a state of amnesia,” replied Sanderson slowly. “Evidently if she had seen anything she had forgotten or wouldn’t tell,” he added cautiously.

“Who found her?” asked Craig. “How was she discovered?”

“Why, Miss Hoffman found her,” replied the purser quickly. “She called one of the stewards. She had been sitting in the library reading until quite late and Rawaruska had retired early, for she was not a good sailor, they tell me. It must have been nearly midnight when De Guerre and a friend, pausing at the library door on their way from the smoking room, saw Miss Hoffman, and all three stopped in the Ritz restaurant for a bite to eat.

“De Guerre walked down the corridor with Miss Hoffman afterwards,” he continued, “and left her as she went into the room with his wife. Perhaps a minute later–long enough anyway so that he had reached the other end of the corridor–she screamed. She had turned on the light and had found Rawaruska lying half across the bed, unconscious. Miss Hoffman called to the steward to summon Dr. Preston, but he came to me first, instead.”

“Dr. Preston?” repeated Kennedy.

“Yes, a young American physician, the friend who had been with De Guerre in the smoking room part of the evening, and later made up the party in the restaurant,” vouchsafed Sanderson.

“The man De Guerre was talking to as we came down the hall,” put in Thompson.

“H’m,” mused Kennedy, evidently thinking of the remark we had overheard.

“I’ve talked with him now and then myself,” admitted Sanderson; “a bright fellow who has been studying abroad and after many adventures succeeded in getting across the border into Holland and thence to England. He managed to squeeze into the steerage of the Sylvania, though, of course, like De Guerre, he was classed as a first-cabin passenger. He had become very friendly with Rawaruska and her party while they were waiting for bookings in London.”