“When was that, Rose?”
“A few days after the state convention when you shot the hot tacks into Thatcher. He had been at Waupegan, you remember.”
Dan remembered. And he recalled also that Bassett had seen Sylvia at Mrs. Owen’s the day following the convention, and it was not astonishing that the sight of her had reminded him of his offer to pay for her education. His own relation to the matter was clear enough now that Rose had yielded her secret.
Rose watched him as he drew on his overcoat and she handed him his hat and gloves. Her friend, “the beautiful one,” would not suffer; she was confident of this, now that Harwood was fully armed to protect her.
“Keep after Ramsay by telephone until you find him. Tell him to come here and wait for me if it’s all day. If you fail to catch him by telephone, go out and look for him and bring him here.”
In a moment he was hurrying toward Mrs. Owen’s.
THE MAN OF SHADOWS
The dome was a great blot against the stars when, shortly after eight o’clock that evening, Sylvia entered the capitol.
All night, in the room she had occupied on that far day of her first visit to Mrs. Owen, Sylvia had pondered. It is not for us to know what passed in that still chamber between her and her friend; but it was the way of both women to meet the truth squarely. They discussed facts impersonally, dispassionately, and what Sylvia had assumed, her old friend could not controvert. Not what others had done, not what others might do, but what course Sylvia should follow—this was the crux of the situation.
“I must think it out; I must think it out,” Sylvia kept repeating. At last Mrs. Owen left her lying dressed on the bed, and all night Sylvia lay there in the dark. Toward morning she had slept, and later when Mrs. Owen carried up her breakfast she did not refer to her trouble except to ask whether there was any news. Mrs. Owen understood and replied that there was nothing. Sylvia merely answered and said: “Then there is still time.” What she meant by this her kind old friend did not know; but she had faith in her Sylvia. Dan came, but he saw Mrs. Owen only. Later Sylvia asked what he had said, and she merely nodded when Rose’s story was repeated. Again she said: “Yes; there is still time.”
Sylvia had kept her room all day, and Mrs. Owen had rigidly respected her wish to be alone. She voluntarily appeared at the evening meal and talked of irrelevant things: of her school work, of the sale of the house at Montgomery, of the projected school at Waupegan.
“I’m going out for a while,” she said, after an hour in the little office. “I shan’t be gone long, Aunt Sally; don’t trouble about me. I have my key, you know.”
When she had gone, Mrs. Owen called one of the colored men from the stable and gave him a line to Harwood, with a list of places where Dan might be found. Her message was contained in a single line:—