Little of special interest relative to the strike, so far as the girls were concerned, took place on the last Saturday and Sunday before Christmas. Mr. Stanlock reported the recent occurrences to the police in detail, but what the police planned to do was not communicated in the form of hint or suggestion to the members of Flamingo Fire. If Mr. Stanlock knew, he kept the information a close secret. In harmony with his habitual reticence on business matters, he sought to avoid further discussion of the subject.
On Saturday, however, there was added to the events of the season one item of great importance, which would have caused Marion no little uneasiness could she have caught more than the most superficial hint concerning it. This hint was so superficial that it consisted merely of a glimpse at the address and postmark on a letter that arrived at the house with the early mail. Marion took the letters and papers from the mail box, and as she was distributing them she observed the Hollyhill postmark on an envelope addressed in a man’s handwriting to Helen Nash.
“I wonder who it can be,” the hostess mused as she laid the letter on Helen’s dresser. “I didn’t know that she was on specially friendly terms with any of the boys of Hollyhill. But then you can never know what to expect of her. You find out what she is going to do when she does it.”
In spite of the paradox, no truer statement of Helen’s nature had ever been made. She said nothing to any of the girls about the letter she had received and if subsequent events had not recalled the incident, Marion probably would have forgotten it entirely.
The three detectives employed by Mr. Stanlock were housed in the now vacant sleeping quarters of the chauffeur over the garage. A buzzer connected with the house and an agreed signal system of “1,” “2,” “3” served as a means of quick information as to how many of the men were wanted at any given time. Sunday morning another chauffeur, engaged by Mr. Stanlock, arrived and was housed with the detectives.
It was not the duty of the latter, of course, to accompany or follow anybody leaving the house unless they were called. Hence it was quite possible for any of the guests to start out alone and make a trip to any part of the city without the protection of a watchful guard. The possibility that any of the guests might desire to take such a course did not occur to Marion or any other member of the household. It was presumed that everybody would gladly accept such protection on every occasion when it seemed advisable.