Presently he came directly opposite the light on the other side of the Drive so that it shone for an instant full on his face. Jane looked and shuddered. Never in all her life had she seen any man's countenance so convulsed, not with pain, but with a soul-terrifying expression of hate, of virulent, murderous hate.
Distorted though the man's face was with such bitter frightfulness, she recognized him, not as any one she knew, but merely as one of the tenants in the same apartment building.
"It's one of the people next door," she said to herself and in verification of her identification, as he approached the building, the young man cast a swift glance over his shoulder, and then, as if satisfied that he was unobserved, dashed hurriedly in at the entrance.
Jane, more than ever wrought up with fear and dread of she knew not what, sprang hastily into bed and drew the covers about her shoulders.
As yet she did not lie down but shiveringly waited. Presently she heard the elevator stop. She heard the key opening the door of the next apartment. In a few minutes she heard the man moving about his bedroom, separated from her own room by a mere six inches of plaster and paper, or whatever it is that apartment-house walls are made of.
What could have happened? She was certain that something terrible had occurred in which the young man next door had played a tragic, perhaps even a criminal part. She tried in vain to conjecture what circumstance could have been responsible for the look of hatred she had seen on his face. She wondered what had been the fate of the man who had been following him. Had they quarrelled and fought? What could have been the subject of their quarrel?
She tried to summarize what she knew about the people next door, and was amazed to discover how little she had to draw upon. As in most New York apartment houses so in Jane's home all the tenants were utter strangers to each other, one family not even knowing the names of any of the others. Occasionally, to be sure, one rather resentfully rode up or down in the elevator with some of the other tenants but always without noticing or speaking to them. Jane's family had been living in the building for five years, and of the twenty other families they knew the names of only two, having learned them by accident rather than intention. About the people next door Jane now discovered that she really knew nothing at all. There was a man with a gray beard who never took off his hat in the elevator, and there was the handsome young chap whom she had just seen entering. But what their names were, or their business, or how long they had lived there, or whether they were father and son, what servants they kept, or whether either or both of them was married--these were questions she could have answered as readily as if they had been living in Dallas, Texas, or Seattle, Washington, as in the next apartment. Quickly she found that she really knew nothing at all about them except--she could not recall that any one had told her or how she had got the impression--she was almost certain they were some sort of foreigners.