“I think not,” she answered. “I don’t understand all that the doctor says. It seems to me that all you men here lead such strenuous lives that you have no time to be ill. You simply wait until you collapse.”
“I’m afraid that’s true, Miss Longworth,” he said, “and if you will forgive my saying so, I fancy you have been doing a little too much yourself, worrying and looking after your uncle. Can’t I tempt you out for a little way in my automobile? It’s a delightful afternoon.”
She shook her head.
“You are very kind,” she said, “but I seem to be the only person for whom my uncle asks sometimes, and he is awake just now. I should not like to be away.”
“He is conscious, then?” Littleson asked.
“Perfectly,” she answered.
“I suppose it is quite useless asking to see him?”
“Quite. The doctor would never allow it. He has to be kept absolutely quiet, and free from excitement,”
“I hope,” he said, “that he did not hear anything of the attempted burglary the other night?”
Virginia smiled very faintly, and her dark eyes rested for a moment upon his.
“No!” she answered, “we kept that from him. You see nothing was really stolen. As a matter of fact there was so little in that room which could have been of any value to any one.”
“Exactly!” he answered, feeling a little uncomfortable.
“There are so many lovely things all over the house,” she continued, “that it has puzzled me very much why they should have chosen to try only to break open that desk in the library. It seems queer, doesn’t it?”
“Perhaps it does,” he admitted. “On the other hand, they might have thought that your uncle had bonds and papers worth a great deal more than any of the ordinary treasures they could collect.”
“Well,” she said, “they got nothing at all. Somehow, I don’t fancy,” she added, “that my uncle is the sort of man to keep valuable things where they could possibly be stolen.”
He determined to be a little daring. He raised his eyebrows, and looked at her with a smile which was meant to be humorous.
“Fortunate for him that he doesn’t,” he answered, “for, frankly, if I knew where to find it, I should certainly steal that document that Mr. Weiss came and worried you about. We ought to have it. If it got into any one’s hands except your uncle’s, it would be the most serious thing that ever happened to any of us.”
“I don’t think,” she said reassuringly, “that you need worry. My uncle does not part easily with things which he believes have value.”
He laughed, not quite naturally.
“I see,” he said, “that you are beginning to appreciate your uncle.”
“One learns all manner of things,” she answered, “very quickly here.”