“You can guess I was in an awful funk when I found myself alone on the beastly old carpet, and I couldn’t manage it at all. I suppose it was because I couldn’t speak the language; Shin Shira used Arabic or something, wasn’t it? I tried all sorts of things too, a little bit of French—you know, ‘Avez-vous la plume de ma soeur?’ and ’Donnez-moi du pain,’ and things like that out of my French exercises, but it didn’t do any good: we only went out to sea.
“It was frightfully cold all night, and I couldn’t sleep at all, and I began to get awfully hungry; but the next morning about eleven o’clock I began to descend very slowly and gradually down to the sea. I thought I was going to be drowned, but fortunately just before I touched the water they saw me from the Ruby, and sent a boat out to pick me up. Everybody was awfully decent on board, and I had plenty of grub and changed my clothes. A fellow who was going over with his people lent me his while mine were being dried.
“Then when I got to New York your cable message was there waiting for me, so I knew it was all right.”
We were very thankful to have found the boy again, and within three weeks we were happily home once more, and the adventure with the Magic Carpet was a thing of the past.
The carpet itself was left floating out at sea, and from that day to this I have not heard of it again.
MYSTERY NO. IV
SHIN SHIRA AND THE DUCHESS
It all began with the collar-stud—at least I put it down at that.
You see, I was dressing rather nervously to go to a charity “At Home” at the Duchess of Kingslake’s. I had not met the lady previously, but some young friends of mine had been invited to the “At Home,” and they had persuaded the Duchess to ask me too.
I do not know many titled people, and had never before visited a real live Duchess, so I was just telling myself that I must really be on my very best behaviour, and above all, that I must not be late in arriving. The card had mentioned “4 to 6.30,” and it was past three o’clock now.
I was just struggling to fix my collar, which was rather stiff and tight, when suddenly the stud popped out and rolled away to—where?
Down I got on my hands and knees, and groped about in every direction that I could think of. I lit a candle, and searched in every available hiding-place; but no—no collar-stud could be anywhere found.
And the time was going on. I rang the bell for Mrs. Putchy, my housekeeper.
“Please, Mrs. Putchy, send at once to the nearest hosier’s and buy me a plain collar-stud, and kindly ask Mary to get back as quickly as possible. I am expecting the cab every moment.”
“It is at the door, sir,” said Mrs. Putchy; “and I don’t know, I’m sure, where Mary will be able to get a collar-stud for you to-day. This is Thursday, you know, sir, early closing day.”