Soon afterward Agent Sanders and Mr. Wing went to Philadelphia and took Veronica away with them. Before they went the Winnebagos all flung themselves upon Mr. Wing and implored him not to let the agent take her away. “You know she is all right,” pleaded Sahwah. “You tell him not to arrest her.”
Mr. Wing threw out his hands in a helpless gesture. “You don’t understand, my dear,” he said patiently. “I can’t tell Special Agent Sanders ‘not to’ do anything. I don’t happen to have the authority.”
“Oh-h,” said the Winnebagos.
“You see,” he went on gently, “Agent Sanders is only doing his duty in arresting her. It’s his business to run down the enemies of our country and he is working for the good of all of us. The case against her is pretty strong, you’ll have to admit. She’s an alien enemy, a friend of this Prince Karl Augustus; is wearing a ring which his wife gave her. Then here comes this letter from him which will expose him as the head of a great plot. Veronica is in the house with that letter; she is known to have been alone in the room where it was; soon after that she leaves the house and says she is going home with a sick headache. When you get home you find her trying to steal unobserved into the back entry. She herself admits that she had an appointment with someone during that time. The next morning the letter is found to have disappeared. Naturally all suspicion points to her, and how could Sanders do anything else but put her under arrest? This is a serious matter, much more serious than you can guess, if that letter goes back into the hands of the prince’s agents.”
“But do you really think she took the letter?” asked Sahwah despairingly.
Mr. Wing shrugged his shoulders and repeated his gesture of helplessness. “It’s hard to know what to expect from such a temptestuous nature as that,” he said seriously. “A nature which can work up such a passionate loyalty for an adopted country—what must its feelings have been toward its own native land? Suppose when the chance unexpectedly came to aid the cause for which her country is fighting and for which her father died, the old ties were stronger than the new, and she could not resist the temptation? A nature like hers is capable of going to any extreme. Naturally I hate to suspect her of any connection with enemy agents, but as a servant of the government it is my duty to act upon anything that is in the least suspicious. Sanders is absolutely convinced that she’s a dangerous spy in the employ of the enemy, for she answers the description of a young girl he has been trying to find for a long time, a girl who belongs to the Hungarian nobility who has helped German agents in this country.
“Sanders is dead sure she took that letter and passed it back to the prince’s agents, and you really can’t blame him for thinking so. For, hang it all, if she didn’t, who under the shining sun did?”