“Well, we landed, had our baggage chalked, and went to the Plaza for the night. In the morning, we took a taxi to the Pennsylvania Station, were held up by traffic, and were hurrying down the marble steps to catch our train, when a man, hurrying also, jostled Madame Durrand. Her heel caught and she plunged head first down to the landing. Of course men sprang forward to her assistance and picked her up—with her wrist and ankle broken. She was plucky, however, wonderfully plucky. She did not faint, as I’m sure I should have done; she just turned ghastly pale—and said to me, with a bit of smile, motioning for me to bend over her so that none could hear:
“‘I told you so, Edith. Here is where you come in.’ She slid her hand under her skirt, drew out the envelope, and slipped it to me. ‘Hurry!’ she said. ‘You can yet make the train.’
“But I was obdurate; I wouldn’t leave her until she was in a hospital and comfortable. And when she saw I meant it, she smiled—and fainted. Well, instead of the ten o’clock train, I caught the twelve, which should have landed me here at five, but a series of delays, due to accidents ahead; put us at seven. It was, I thought, too late to deliver my letter that evening, so I took a taxi here and had dinner. Then I paid a short visit to some friends at the Shoreham and returned shortly before midnight. I found two notices that I had been called on the telephone at 10:15 and 11:00, by parties who declined to give their names or leave a call. This struck me as queer since no one knew of my being in town except my friends at the Shoreham. A moment after I entered my room, the telephone rang. I answered. A man’s voice came back.
“‘Who is that?’ said he.
“‘Whom do you want?’ said I.
“‘I wish to speak to Mrs. Clephane.’
“‘Very well,’ said I; ‘I’m Mrs. Clephane.’
“‘Oh, Mrs. Clephane, we have been trying for you since ten o’clock!’ said he. ’The Ambassador wishes to see you at once. Can you be ready to come in fifteen minutes—we’ll send a carriage for you?’
“’How did you know’—I began, then stopped. ‘Yes, I’ll be ready,’ said I; ‘but let one of the staff come with the carriage.’
“‘Oh, of course!’ he replied. ‘In fifteen minutes, madame?’
“I didn’t fancy going out at midnight, yet I had undertaken the matter and I would see it through. I had not changed from my travelling suit and it hadn’t a pocket in it; nor had I one such as Madame Durrand employed, so I was carrying the letter pinned inside my waist. Now I took it out and put it in my hand-bag, all the while thinking over the affair and liking it less the more I thought. It was pretty late at night, and there was something suspicious about the affair. I went to the desk and hurriedly wrote a note to the friends that I had just left; then I called a page, and ordered him to take it at once to the Shoreham. On the envelope I had written the instruction that it was not to be delivered until morning.