Irresistibly Urbane

Of course I am innocent, Constable.

Evelina’s sister, Bronya, was the one who introduced us. I gave a brief lecture on the vital fluid and animal magnetism, which Evelina quite enjoyed. Thereafter, we would often meet for tea and discuss Mesmer’s work.

I believe her husband was away in the war at the time.

Improper? The very suggestion offends me. I am a practitioner of animal charisma; the vital fluid exudes from my pores, as in Mesmer’s theories. I can sometimes fascinate young women, but I am the very soul of discretion and propriety at all times.

Evelina? I know only the basic facts. She awoke early, went down to the train station, and disappeared. They found her clothing scattered somewhere down the track.

What did Bronya say? No, I can’t imagine Evelina distraught. I’m certain that’s just hysteria.

Naturally, I am utterly innocent. Exactly right. Thank you, Constable.

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Inspired by this week’s Flash! Friday prompt(s): Anna Karenina, unhappy socialite, the value of family/marriage, Tsarist Russia.

Scene from “Anna Karenina,” 1914 Russian film by Vladimir Gardin. Photo is in the public domain in the United States.

What do you think? Consummate con man, actual hypnotic powers, or credulous Constable?