“Paul, it is bon voyage for both of us,” she said.
“Yes, my dear.”
She looked at me thoughtfully a minute.
“Paul, when we get home——”
“I do not know,” she said, putting her palms to her head. “Perhaps I shall remember then. But you—you must stay with me, Paul.”
Her lips quivered slightly. She turned her head away and looked out of the window at the horrible maze of houses in the Bronx and the disfiguring sign-boards.
New York was slipping away. All my old life was slipping away like this—and evil following us. I slipped one of the automatics out of my suit-case into my pocket and swore that I would guard Jacqueline from any shadow of harm.
Each minute that I spent with her increased my passion for her. I had ceased to have illusions on that score. One question recurred to my mind incessantly. Could she be ignorant that she had a husband somewhere? Would she tell me—or was this the chief of the memories that she had laid aside?
I opened one of the newspapers that I had bought at the station bookstand, dreading to find in flaring letters the headlines announcing the discovery of the body.
I found the announcement—but in small type. The murder was ascribed to a gang battle—the man could not be identified, and apparently both police and public considered the affair merely one of those daily slayings that occur in that city.
Another newspaper devoted about the same amount of space to the account, but it published a photograph of the dead man, taken in the alley, where, it appeared, the reporter had viewed the body before it had been removed. The photograph looked horribly lifelike. I cut it out and placed it in my pocketbook.
For the present I felt safe. I believed the affair would be forgotten soon. And meanwhile here was Jacqueline.
I turned toward her. She was asleep at my side, and her head drooped on my shoulder. We sat thus all the afternoon, while the city disappeared behind us, and we passed through Connecticut and approached the Vermont hills.
Then we had a gay little supper in the dining car. Afterward I walked to the car entrance and flung the broken dog collar away—across the fields. That was the last link that bound us to the past.
Then the berths were lowered and made up; and fastening from my upper place the curtain which fell before Jacqueline’s, I knew that, for one night more, at least, I held her in safe ward.
M. LE CURE
The very obvious decision at which I arrived after a night of cogitation in my berth was that Jacqueline was to pass as my sister. I explained my plan to her at breakfast.