At this point came a knock at her door and her father entered. One look at his face—red, perspiring and decidedly unhappy—served to cheer his daughter.
“Been down to the steamship offices,” he panted, mopping his bald head. “They’re open to-day, just like it was a week day—but they might as well be closed. There’s nothing doing. Every boat’s booked up to the rails; we can’t get out of here for two weeks —maybe more.”
“I’m sorry,” said his daughter.
“No, you ain’t! You’re delighted! You think it’s romantic to get caught like this. Wish I had the enthusiasm of youth.” He fanned himself with a newspaper. “Lucky I went over to the express office yesterday and loaded up on gold. I reckon when the blow falls it’ll be tolerable hard to cash checks in this man’s town.”
“That was a good idea.”
“Ready for breakfast?” he inquired.
“Quite ready,” she smiled.
They went below, she humming a song from a revue, while he glared at her. She was very glad they were to be in London a little longer. She felt she could not go, with that mystery still unsolved.
The last peace Sunday London was to know in many weary months went by, a tense and anxious day. Early on Monday the fifth letter from the young man of the Agony Column arrived, and when the girl from Texas read it she knew that under no circumstances could she leave London now.
Dear lady from home: I call you that because the word home has for me, this hot afternoon in London, about the sweetest sound word ever had. I can see, when I close my eyes, Broadway at midday; Fifth Avenue, gay and colorful, even with all the best people away; Washington Square, cool under the trees, lovely and desirable despite the presence everywhere of alien neighbors from the district to the South. I long for home with an ardent longing; never was London so cruel, so hopeless, so drab, in my eyes. For, as I write this, a constable sits at my elbow, and he and I are shortly to start for Scotland Yard. I have been arrested as a suspect in the case of Captain Fraser-Freer’s murder!
I predicted last night that this was to be a red-letter day in the history of that case, and I also saw myself an unwilling actor in the drama. But little did I suspect the series of astonishing events that was to come with the morning; little did I dream that the net I have been dreading would to-day engulf me. I can scarcely blame Inspector Bray for holding me; what I can not understand is why Colonel Hughes—
But you want, of course, the whole story from the beginning; and I shall give it to you. At eleven o’clock this morning a constable called on me at my rooms and informed me that I was wanted at once by the Chief Inspector at the Yard.