Telling Madeleine not to unpack her bags, I gave her one of my kimonos and ordered her to lie down while I slipped down-stairs for a few words with Mrs. Mundy. There was time for only a hurried talk, but during it I told her what I wanted her to do, what she must get Mr. Crimm to do, and also, if inquiry was made for me during the coming day she was to say I was out and she did not know just when I would be in. As Mrs. Swink was unaware that her daughter had made frequent visits to Scarborough Square at the same time Mr. Thomas Cressy happened to be there, she was hardly apt to associate me with their departure from the city; still, with less justice I have been held responsible for things with which I had nothing to do, and, that Mrs. Mundy be prepared for possible questions, I gave her a few instructions concerning them.
She recalled clearly the conversation of which I had heard a few words, but the girl talking to her had not mentioned the name of the girl of whom she talked, or of that of the man who was being nursed by her.
“She spoke of her as a friend who was a fool to care for a man as she cared.” Mrs. Mundy put her hand to her mouth to cover a yawn. “She said—”
I got up. It was too late for details. “Find the girl who came to see you, and if the friend of whom she is speaking is Etta Blake, get her address and go to see her, if you can. If not, send Mr. Crimm. Tell the latter he must find Harrie. He may be somewhere under an assumed name. So may Etta Blake. Do you suppose it is possible they—can be together somewhere?”
“Anything is possible.” Mrs. Mundy blinked her eyes bravely to prevent my seeing the overpowering sleep in them, and quickly I went to the door.
“It’s a shame you have to go to the train with us. You can come right back, however, and sleep as late as you want. The cab will be here at three-thirty. Take a nap until then, and don’t look so worried. I’m not committing a crime. I’m helping to keep some one else from committing one. Good night.” I kissed the dear soul and, leaving her, hurried up-stairs.
Madeleine was lying down when I came back in the room, and, wanting much to talk, she began to do so, but unfeelingly I made her stop. Getting out the oldest and shabbiest dress I possessed, with a hat to correspond, I took off my party dress and slipped into a warm and worn wrapper. After putting a few things in a bag, without further undressing, I stretched out on the couch near the foot of the bed and in the dark called to Madeleine.
“You won’t be a beautiful bride if you don’t get some sleep. Shut your eyes.” Mine were shut. I wasn’t going to be married. I was only a very tired maiden-lady about to do something she had no business doing, and shamelessly I went to sleep and left Madeleine awake.
Seemingly I had slept but a few minutes when, opening my eyes, I saw Madeleine standing, fully dressed, by the side of my couch, and looking down at me. “It’s ten minutes past three,” she said. “I hate to wake you, but—”