A slight smile dangerously edged the American’s lips. With a careless feint of glancing over his shoulder, he tightened every muscle and leaped ahead. The violent impact of his body bore his victim, cursing, to the ground.
“Ah!” said Carl wresting a revolver from the other’s hand, “I thought so! My friend, when you try a trick like that again, guard your hands before you fall to staring. A fool might have turned—and been shot in the back for his pains, eh? Monsieur,” he murmured softly, pinioning the other with his weight and smiling insolently, “we’ve a long ride ahead of us. Privacy, I think, is essential to the perfect adjustment of our future relations. There are one or two inexplicable features—”
The eyes of the other met his with a level glance of desperate hostility.
With an undisciplined flash of temper, Carl brutally clubbed his assailant into insensibility with the revolver butt and dragged him heavily to the tonneau of his car, throbbing unheeded in the darkness. Having assured himself of his guest’s continued docility by the sinister adjustment of a handkerchief, an indifferent rag or so from the repair kit and a dirty rope, he covered the motionless figure carelessly with a robe and sprang to the wheel, whistling softly. With a throb, the great car leaped, humming, to the road.
At midnight the lights of Harlem lay ahead. The ride from the hills, three hours of storm and squirting gravel, had been made with the persistent whir and drone of a speeding engine. But once had it rested black and silent in a lonely road of dripping trees, while the driver hurried into a roadside tavern and telephoned.
Now, with a purring sigh as a bridge loomed ahead, the car slackened and stopped. Carl slowly lighted a cigarette. At the end of the bridge a straggler struck a match and flung it lightly in the river, the disc of his cigar a fire-point in the shadows.
The car rolled on again and halted.
A stocky young man behind the fire-point emerged from the darkness and climbed briskly into the tonneau.
“Hello, Hunch,” said Carl.
“’Lo!” said Hunch and stared intently at the robe.
“Take a look at him,” invited Carl carelessly. “It’s not often you have an opportunity of riding with one of his brand. He’s in the Almanach de Gotha.”
“T’ell yuh say!” said Hunch largely, though the term had conveyed no impression whatever to his democratic mind.
Cautiously raising the robe Hunch Dorrigan stared with interest at the prisoner he was inconspicuously to assist into the empty town house of the Westfalls.
IN THE CAMP OF THE GYPSY LADY
From a garish dream of startling unpleasantness, Philip Poynter stirred and opened his eyes.
“Well, now,” he mused uncomfortably, “this is more like it! This is the sort of dream to have! I wonder I never had sufficient wit to carve out one like this before. Birds and trees and wind fussing pleasantly around a fellow’s bed—and by George! those birds are making coffee!”