“No, it didn’t make any difference,” said the lawyer, gloomily. “As for finding out things, well, I have, and I haven’t! There’s no trace of Zara, but there’s other news.”
“What is it?”
“Well, it’s mighty queer, I’ll say that for it. When I went to see Zara’s father this morning, he refused to see me—sent out word that he didn’t want me to act as his lawyer any more. He’s got another lawyer, and who do you suppose it is?”
The two girls stared at him, surprised and puzzled.
“Brack!” exclaimed Jamieson. “What do you know about that for a mess, eh? If half of what I believe is right, Brack’s his worst enemy. He’s hand in glove with the people who are responsible for all his trouble, and yet here he goes and gets the scoundrel to act as his lawyer!”
“Oh, what a shame!” said Eleanor, indignantly. “And he wouldn’t even see you to explain?”
“Absolutely not! I tried to get them to let me in, and I sent him an urgent message, telling him it was of the utmost importance for us to have a talk, but I couldn’t budge him.”
Eleanor was flushed with resentment.
“Well, that settles it!” she said, indignantly. “If people don’t want to be helped, one can’t help them. He and Zara will just have to look out for themselves, I guess. Bessie, don’t you think Zara must have gone with those people in the car willingly?”
“Yes, I do,” said Bessie. “But—”
“Then I think she and her father are an ungrateful pair, and they deserve anything that happens to them! I’m certainly not going to worry myself about them any more, and I should think you would drop the whole thing, Charlie Jamieson, and attend to your own affairs!”
“Hold on! You’re going a bit too fast, Eleanor,” he said, laughing lightly. “Let’s see what Bessie thinks about it.”
Bessie, who had flushed too, but not with anger, when Eleanor thus gave her resentment full play, was glad of the chance to speak.
“I do think Zara went off willingly and of her own accord,” she said. “I’m sure of that, because she couldn’t have been taken away without my hearing something.”
“Well, then,” began Eleanor, “doesn’t that prove—”
“But if Zara was willing to go off that way, I believe it’s because she thought she was doing the right thing,” Bessie went on, determinedly. “Someone must have seen her and told her something she believed, though perhaps it wasn’t true.”
“Of course!” said Jamieson, heartily, “That’s what I’ve thought from the start, and don’t you see who it probably was? Why, Brack! He was in the neighborhood yesterday morning and he must have seen her. He might have told her anything—any wild story. You see, we are pretty much in the dark about this affair yet. We don’t know why these people are so keen after Zara’s father, or why they’ve put up this job on him. So I don’t think I’ll get mad and drop it just because Zara and her father have probably been fooled into acting in a way that would seem likely to irritate me.”