“What is the matter?” she asked.
“Nothing much,” replied Larry. “I just saw my queer stranger again and——”
“You’d like to follow him, and you don’t want to leave me,” put in Grace with quick wit. “Now run right along. I can go to that hotel all by myself and see Captain Padduci. I’m not a bit afraid. I once traveled from London to Paris alone. You hurry after him, and I’ll see the captain. I’ll telephone you the result of my interview. You can come up and see me this evening, and we’ll talk over some more plans.”
“That will be good,” Larry said, “but are you sure you won’t mind me leaving you?”
“I can get along all right,” replied Grace. “Of course I’d like to have you come along, for I believe you understand this matter better than I do, but I want you to find that other man and get your story.”
Larry was inclined both ways, but he knew it would be better to hurry after Mah Retto, as Grace could make all the necessary inquiries of Captain Padduci.
“Until to-night, then,” the young reporter said, as he hurried out of the steamship office, and Grace turned to go to the captain’s hotel.
Reaching the street Larry saw, some distance ahead of him, the form of the man whose actions so puzzled him, and who had led him such a baffling chase.
“Here is where I get you,” thought Larry, as he hurried on.
LARRY GETS A SCARE
Through the crowded street the young reporter ran, bumping into several persons, and causing them to mutter more or less impolite exclamations about youths who trod on the toes of innocent pedestrians.
Larry could catch occasional glimpses of his man, and he noted that Retto looked back every now and then to see if he was being followed.
“Oh, I’m after you, my East Indian friend,” Larry remarked to himself. “I’m going to have an accounting with you now. There’s something queer about you.”
No sooner had Larry given expression to this last sentence, speaking somewhat aloud, as was his habit when thinking intently, than he slipped on a banana pealing and fell down with a force that jarred him all over.
“I’ll have to be more careful,” thought Larry, as he got up and found that no bones were broken. He started off again after Retto. “I wasn’t looking where I was going, thinking so much of Retto. Where is he now? He must have got quite a way ahead.”
He had; so far that Larry could no longer see him. The reporter tried to peer through the ever-shifting crowd, for a glimpse of Retto, but with no success.
“He’s gone,” he murmured. “However, I know where he lives and I’ll go there at once. No! I’ve got to get a story in for to-day’s paper about Mr. Potter. I haven’t much time before the first edition. Guess I’d better telephone it in, and let Mr. Emberg have one of the men fix it up.”