She looked over the thin sheets of paper, but could make nothing of them; she then turned back to the first letter that had come to light. The sheets were open and she felt no hesitancy about reading them.
What Sahwah read sent her heart wildly pounding against her throat. “Atterbury?” “Strikes?”—and signed by Prince Karl Augustus of Hohenburg? This must be the very letter that was stolen from Mr. Wing’s desk—the letter they accused Veronica of taking! Eugene Prince, the artist, had taken it and hidden it under the lining of his sketch book. But no one had ever thought of suspecting him! He had been so sure that Veronica was an enemy agent, and here he was one himself! She had been right after all, Veronica was innocent, and her faith in her had not been betrayed. For a moment that one great dazzling fact blotted out all other facts. It was not too late yet to save Veronica from internment. She must get to Mr. Wing as fast as she could with her great discovery. She must——Here Sahwah looked down, and directly into the face of Eugene Prince, standing on the ground beside the tree, his eye on the portfolio and the articles spread out in her lap. For a moment “they looked at each other, tense, speechless, then the artist sprang into the tree, snatched the portfolio and the letter away from her and darted away into the woods. Stunned by surprise Sahwah slid limply to the ground, vainly looking around to see where the artist had gone. The woods had swallowed him. At Sahwah’s feet lay the gilt-lettered ship’s ribbon, the letter addressed to Waldemar von Oldenbach and the thin sheets of paper, and in her hand she still clutched the bottom half of one of the pages of the stolen letter, the half that bore the prince’s signature and the name of Atterbury in one of the lines.”
“Tell me something about this artist who called himself Eugene Prince,” said Lieutenant Allison, who, propped up in bed with Mr. Wing and the Winnebagos around him, had been looking over the contents of the sketching portfolio which Sahwah had just brought in.
Mr. Wing, still dazed from the shock of learning that the man he had looked upon as such a good friend had played him false, described the artist as well as he could. The lieutenant listened with a puzzled frown until he heard about the funny little drawings that the artist used to make, and then he interrupted with a triumphant exclamation.