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

“It will be necessary for your name to appear on the invitation,” the ambassador went on to explain.  “If you will give me your name I’ll have my secretary—­”

“Oh, yes, my name,” she interrupted gaily.  “Why, Count, you embarrass me.  You know, really, I have no name.  Isn’t it awkward?”

“I understand perfectly, Madam,” responded the count.  “I should have said a name.”

She meditated a moment.

“Well, say—­Miss Thorne—­Miss Isabel Thorne,” she suggested at last.  “That will do very nicely, don’t you think?”

“Very nicely, Miss Thorne,” and the ambassador bowed again.  “Please excuse me a moment, and I’ll give my secretary instructions how to proceed.  There will be a delay of a few minutes.”

He opened the door and went out.  For a minute or more Miss Thorne sat perfectly still, gazing at the blank wooden panels, then she rose and went to the window again.  In the distance, hazy in the soft night, the dome of the capitol rose mistily; over to the right was the congressional library, and out there where the lights sparkled lay Pennsylvania Avenue, a thread of commerce.  Miss Thorne saw it all, and suddenly stretched out her arms with an all-enveloping gesture.  She stood so for a minute, then they fell beside her, and she was motionless.

Count di Rosini entered.

“Everything is arranged, Miss Thorne,” he announced.  “Will you go with me in my automobile, or do you prefer to go alone?”

“I’ll go alone, please,” she answered after a moment.  “I shall be there about eleven.”

The ambassador bowed himself out.

And so Miss Isabel Thorne came to Washington!

II

MR. CAMPBELL AND THE CABLE

Just as it is one man’s business to manufacture watches, and another man’s business to peddle shoe-strings, so it was Mr. Campbell’s business to know things.  He was a human card index, a governmental ready reference posted to the minute and backed by all the tremendous resources of a nation.  From the little office in the Secret Service Bureau, where he sat day after day, radiating threads connected with the huge outer world, and enabled him to keep a firm hand on the diplomatic and departmental pulse of Washington.  Perhaps he came nearer knowing everything that happened there than any other man living; and no man realized more perfectly than he just how little of all of it he did know.

In person Mr. Campbell was not unlike a retired grocer who had shaken the butter and eggs from his soul and settled back to enjoy a life of placid idleness.  He was a little beyond middle age, pleasant of face, white of hair, and blessed with guileless blue eyes.  His genius had no sparkle to it; it consisted solely of detail and system and indefatigability, coupled with a memory that was well nigh infallible.  His brain was as serene and orderly as a cash register; one almost expected to hear it click.

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