“Have you ever been held up?” queried Mr. Grimm.
“No, but I expect to be every day,” was the reply. “I’ve got a new motor, you know, and I’ve never been able to see how fast it is. The other evening I ran up to Baltimore with it in an hour and thirty-seven minutes from Alexandria to Druid Hill Park, and that’s better than forty miles. I never did let the motor out, you know, because we ran in the dark most of the way.”
Mr. Grimm was still gazing at the photograph.
“Did you go alone?” he asked.
“There’s no fun motoring alone, you know. Senorita Rodriguez was with me. Charming girl, what?”
A little while later Mr. Grimm sauntered out into the drawing-room and made his way toward Miss Thorne and the French ambassador. Monsieur Boissegur rose, and offered his hand cordially.
“I hope, Monsieur,” said Mr. Grimm, “that you are no worse off for your—your unpleasant experience?”
“Not at all, thanks to you,” was the reply. “I have just thanked Miss Thorne for her part in the affair, and—”
“I’m glad to have been of service,” interrupted Mr. Grimm lightly.
The ambassador bowed ceremoniously and moved away. Mr. Grimm dropped into the seat he had just left.
“You’ve left the legation, haven’t you?” he asked.
“You drove me out,” she laughed.
“Drove you out?” he repeated. “Drove you out?”
“Why, it was not only uncomfortable, but it was rather conspicuous because of the constant espionage of your Mr. Blair and your Mr. Johnson and your Mr. Hastings,” she explained, still laughing. “So I have moved to the Hotel Hilliard.”
Mr. Grimm was twisting the seal ring on his little finger.
“I’m sorry if I’ve made it uncomfortable for you,” he apologized. “You see it’s necessary to—”
“No explanation,” Miss Thorne interrupted. “I understand.”
“I’m glad you do,” he replied seriously. “How long do you intend to remain in the city?”
“Really I don’t know—two, three, four weeks, perhaps. Why?”
“I was just wondering.”
Senorita Rodriguez came toward them.
“We’re going to play bridge,” she said, “and we need you, Isabel, to make the four. Come. I hate to take her away, Mr. Grimm.”
Mr. Grimm and Miss Thorne rose together. For an instant her slim white hand rested on Mr. Grimm’s sleeve and she stared into his eyes understandingly with a little of melancholy in her own. They left Mr. Grimm there.
LETTERS FROM JAIL
For two weeks Signor Pietro Petrozinni, known to the Secret Service as an unaccredited agent of the Italian government, and the self-confessed assailant of Senor Alvarez of the Mexican legation, had been taking his ease in a cell. He had been formally arraigned and committed without bail to await the result of the bullet wound which had been inflicted upon the diplomatist from Mexico at the German Embassy Ball, and, since then, undisturbed and apparently careless of the outcome, he had spent his time in reading and smoking. He had answered questions with only a curt yes or no when he deigned to answer them at all; and there had been no callers or inquiries for him. He had abruptly declined a suggestion of counsel.