“Oh, Lord!” he exclaimed, “what’s he huffy about now? He told me I could come on deck as soon as we started.”
The girl turned upon me a sweet and lovely smile and nodded. Then, with Stumps at her side, she moved to meet the young man. When he saw them coming he halted, and, when they joined him, began talking earnestly, almost angrily. As he did so, much to my bewilderment, he glared at me. At the same moment Kinney grabbed me by the arm.
“Come below!” he commanded. His tone was hoarse and thrilling with excitement.
“Our adventures,” he whispered, “have begun!”
I felt, for me, adventures had already begun, for my meeting with the beautiful lady was the event of my life, and though Kinney and I had agreed to share our adventures, of this one I knew I could not even speak to him. I wanted to be alone, where I could delight in it, where I could go over what she had said; what I had said. I would share it with no one. It was too wonderful, too sacred. But Kinney would not be denied. He led me to our cabin and locked the door.
“I am sorry,” he began, “but this adventure is one I cannot share with you.” The remark was so in keeping with my own thoughts that with sudden unhappy doubt I wondered if Kinney, too, had felt the charm of the beautiful lady. But he quickly undeceived me.
“I have been doing a little detective work,” he said. His voice was low and sepulchral. “And I have come upon a real adventure. There are reasons why I cannot share it with you, but as it develops you can follow it. About half an hour ago,” he explained, “I came here to get my pipe. The window was open. The lattice was only partly closed. Outside was that young man from Harvard who tried to make my acquaintance, and the young Englishman who came on board with that blonde.” Kinney suddenly interrupted himself. “You were talking to her just now,” he said. I hated to hear him speak of the Irish lady as “that blonde.” I hated to hear him speak of her at all. So, to shut him off, I answered briefly: “She asked me about the Singer Building.”
“I see,” said Kinney. “Well, these two men were just outside my window, and, while I was searching for my pipe, I heard the American speaking. He was very excited and angry. ‘I tell you,’ he said, ’every boat and railroad station is watched. You won’t be safe till we get away from New York. You must go to your cabin, and stay there.’ And the other one answered: ‘I am sick of hiding and dodging.’”
Kinney paused dramatically and frowned.
“Well,” I asked, “what of it?”
“What of it?” he cried. He exclaimed aloud with pity and impatience.
“No wonder,” he cried, “you never have adventures. Why, it’s plain as print. They are criminals escaping. The Englishman certainly is escaping.”
I was concerned only for the lovely lady, but I asked: “You mean the Irishman called Stumps?”