“Say,” said he gruffly. “You Mr. Krootzer? Wot? Yes? Well, this kid comes to the station-house and hollers that she’s stole a ring and somebody that ain’t had anything to do with it is gettin’ pinched fer stealin’ it. The kid acts plumb bug-house, but Sarge he says fer me to come around and see wot’s up. Wot is she, dippy? Did she re’ly steal a di’mond? This don’t look like wot you’d call a likely place to find a di’mond.”
“No,” said Herr Kreutzer, after he had had sufficient time to sense the meaning of the officer’s strange statement, “she did not steal a diamond, or anything. It was good of you to bring her home to me. The dear child—she suffers from,—er—what you call emotional insanity, I think. A little too much love for an old man and his daughter, possibly. That is what I think. It is nothing worse than that. Thank you, very much, for bringing her to me. Take this, sir, for your trouble.” He handed him, with bland benevolence, his last dollar.
“Say, I’m gettin’ it a good deal better than the cop wot come here to this house a while ago. He’s bein’ stuck together at the hospital in a dozen places, they tell me. He’s like a jig-saw puzzle.”
“Ah, I wonder what could have occurred to him.”
The officer went down the stairs.
“Come in, my child,” the flute-player invited M’riar. “Soon you will be better, doubtless. Yes, I feel quite certain that you will be better, soon.”
He softly closed the door behind them.
“M’riar,” he said slowly, “sit down by me. I think I play you something—just a little something—on my flute.”
“My heye!” said M’riar, entranced.
“But no,” said Kreutzer. “First come to me. Ah, give me a kiss. Always shall you have a home with me or with my Anna.”
Spellbound, after he had kissed her, she sat close by his feet upon the floor until he finished playing and laid down the flute. “I s’y!” she murmured, then.