Mrs. Markham stood beside the table, hardly moving, until she knew by whir and horn that the Norcross automobile was gone. Then she sent Ellen to bed, and herself moved quickly to a secretary in the little alcove library back of the drawing-room. Taking a key from her bosom, she unlocked a drawer and took out a packet of yellow legal cap paper. Holding this document concealed in a fold of her waist, she passed rapidly to an apartment upstairs. She opened the door softly, and listened. Nothing sounded within but the light, even breathing of a sleeper. After a moment, she crossed the room, finding her way expertly in the darkness. Well within, she knelt and began some operation on the floor.
And her hand made a slip. A crash echoed through the house. Following the startled, half-articulate cry of a sudden awakening, Mrs. Markham, still finding her way with marvelous precision in the darkness, passed through a set of portieres and crossed to the bed.
“Hush, dear,” she said, “I only came upstairs to borrow a handkerchief. Go to sleep. I’m sure it won’t bother your rest. Don’t think of it again.”
ROSALIE’S SECOND REPORT
As though to prove her maxim, “Nothing turns out the way you expect it,” Rosalie, on her second Tuesday off, failed to meet her anxious young employer in the ladies’ parlor of the Hotel Greenwich. Instead came a page, calling “Dr. Blake!” It was a note—“Stuyvesant Fish Park as soon as you get this. R. Le G.,” it read. Dr. Blake leaped into a taxicab and hurried to the rendezvous. He spied her on a park bench, watching with interest the maneuvers of the little Russian girls, as they swarmed over the rocker swings. Even before he came within speaking distance of her, he perceived that something must have happened—read it in her attitude, her manner of one who lulls a suppressed excitement. When she turned to answer his quick “Mme. Le Grange!” her cheeks carried a faint color, and her gray eyes were shining. But her face was serious, too; her dimples, barometer of her gayer emotions, never once rippled. Before he was fairly seated, she tumbled out the news in a rush:
“Well! I never was more fooled in my life!”
“She’s a fraud!” He jumped joyously to conclusions. “You can prove it!”
Rosalie put a slender finger to her lips.
“Not so loud. Yids have ears. I ain’t dead sure of anything now. I ain’t even sure she don’t have me followed when I leave the house. That’s why I sent for you to change meeting places. There’s nothing as safe as outdoors, because you can watch the approaches.”
“But is she a fake? Can you prove it?” persisted Dr. Blake.
“I’m a woman,” responded Rosalie Le Grange, “not a newspaper reporter. I can’t tell my story in a headline before I git to it. I’ve got to go my own gait or I can’t go at all. Now you listen and don’t interrupt, or I’ll explode. It goes back, anyhow, into our last talk.