“Under arrest!” he blatted wildly. “Carrying fire-arms! Causing a crowd to collect—!”
“All right—all right!” P. Sybarite told him roughly. “I admit it. I’m not resisting, am I? Take that gun out of my ear and help me get this lady into the car before she’s trampled and torn to pieces by these staring fools!”
Stupidly enough, the man comprehended some part of his admonishment. Staring blankly from the little man to the girl, he pocketed his weapon and, grasping Marian’s arm, assisted her into the touring car.
“Thanks!” cried P. Sybarite, jumping up on the running-board. “You’re most amiable, my friend!”
And with the heel of his open hand he struck the man forcibly upon the chest, so that he reeled back, tripped over the hapchance foot of an innocent by-stander, and went sprawling and blaspheming upon his back.
Somebody laughed hysterically.
“Go!” P. Sybarite cried to the chauffeur.
The crowd gave way before the lunge of the car....
They were halfway to Fifth Avenue before pursuit was thought of; had turned the corner before it was fairly started; in five minutes had thrown it off entirely and were running free at a moderate pace up Broadway just above Columbus Circle....
“Where to now, boss?” the chauffeur presently enquired.
P. Sybarite looked enquiringly at his charge. Since her rescue she had neither moved nor spoken—had rested motionless in her corner of the tonneau, eyes closed, body relaxed and listless. But now she roused; unveiled the dear wonder of her eyes of brown; even mustered up the ghost of a smile.
“Wherever you think best,” she told him gently.
“The Plaza? You might be bothered there. We may be traced—we’re sure to. This only saves us for the day. To-morrow—reporters—all that—perhaps. Perhaps not!... Don’t you know somebody out of town to whom you could go for the day? Once across the city line, we’re safe for a little.”
She nodded: breathed an address in Westchester County....
Some time later P. Sybarite became sensible of an amazing fact. A hand of his rested on the cushioned seat, and in it lay, now warm and wonderfully soft and light, Marian’s hand.
He stared incredulously until he had confirmed the substance of this impression; looked up blinking; met the confident, straightforward, and wistful regard of the girl; and blushed to his brows.
The car swept on and on, through the golden hush of that glorious Sunday morning....
Toward ten of that same Sunday morning a touring car of majestic mien drew up in front of a boarding-house in Thirty-eighth Street West.
From this alighted a little man of somewhat bedraggled appearance, wearing a somewhat weather-beaten but heartfelt grin.
Ostentatiously (or so it seemed to one solitary and sour-mouthed spectator, disturbed in his perusal of a comic supplement on the brownstone stoop of the boarding-house) he shook hands with the chauffeur, and, speaking guardedly, confirmed some private understanding with him.