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.
Inspired by this week’s Flash! Friday prompt(s): Anna Karenina, unhappy socialite, the value of family/marriage, Tsarist Russia.
What do you think? Consummate con man, actual hypnotic powers, or credulous Constable?