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Jacques Futrelle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 119 pages of information about Elusive Isabel.

“At three o’clock,” he repeated.

For a moment they stood with their arms around each other, then tenderly his visitor kissed him, and went out.  He remained looking after her vacantly until the chug-chug of her automobile, as it moved off down the road, was lost in the distance, then turned again to the long work-table.

VIII

MISS THORNE AND NOT MISS THORNE

From a pleasant, wide-open bay-window of her apartments on the second floor, Miss Thorne looked out upon the avenue with inscrutable eyes.  Behind the closely drawn shutters of another bay-window, farther down the avenue, on the corner, she knew a man named Hastings was hiding; she knew that for an hour or more he had been watching her as she wrote.  In the other direction, in a house near the corner, another man named Blair was similarly ensconced, and he, too, had been watching as she wrote.  There should be a third man, Johnson.  Miss Thorne curiously studied the face of each passer-by, seeking therein something to remember.

She sat at the little mahogany desk and a note with the ink yet wet upon it lay face up before her.  It was addressed to Signor Pietro Petrozinni in the district prison, and read: 

“My Dear Friend: 

“I have been waiting to write you with the hope that I could report Senor Alvarez out of danger, but his condition, I regret to say, remains unchanged.  Shall I send an attorney to you?  Would you like a book of any kind?  Or some delicacy sent in from a restaurant?  Can I be of any service to you in any way?  If I can please drop me a line.

“Sincerely,

“Isabel Thorne.”

At last she rose and standing in the window read the note over, folded it, placed it in an envelope and sealed it.  A maid came in answer to her ring, and there at the window, under the watchful eyes of Blair and Hastings—­and, perhaps, Johnson—­she handed the note to the maid with instructions to mail it immediately.  Two minutes later she saw the maid go out along the avenue to a post-box on the corner.

Then she drew back into the shadow of the room, slipped on a dark-colored wrap, and, standing away from the window, safe beyond the reach of prying eyes, waited patiently for the postman.  He appeared about five o’clock and simultaneously another man turned the corner near the post-box and spoke to him.  Then, together, they disappeared from view around the corner.

“So that’s Johnson, is it?” mused Miss Thorne, and she smiled a little.  “Mr. Grimm certainly pays me the compliment of having me carefully watched.”

A few minutes later she dropped into the seat at the desk again.  The dark wrap had been thrown aside and Hastings and Blair from their hiding-places could see her distinctly.  After a while they saw her rise quickly, as an automobile turned into the avenue, and lean toward the window eagerly looking out.  The car came to a standstill in front of the legation, and Mr. Cadwallader, an under-secretary of the British embassy, who was alone in the car, raised his cap.  She nodded and smiled, then disappeared in the shadows of the room again.

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