“That’s the man, and that’s the reason,” said Butler. “I don’t care to have anything of this known in Philadelphy. That’s why I’m here. This man has a house on Girard Avenue—Nineteen-thirty-seven. You can find that out, too, when you get over there.”
“Yes,” agreed Mr. Martinson.
“Well, it’s him that I want to know about—him—and a certain woman, or girl, rather.” The old man paused and winced at this necessity of introducing Aileen into the case. He could scarcely think of it—he was so fond of her. He had been so proud of Aileen. A dark, smoldering rage burned in his heart against Cowperwood.
“A relative of yours—possibly, I suppose,” remarked Martinson, tactfully. “You needn’t tell me any more—just give me a description if you wish. We may be able to work from that.” He saw quite clearly what a fine old citizen in his way he was dealing with here, and also that the man was greatly troubled. Butler’s heavy, meditative face showed it. “You can be quite frank with me, Mr. Butler,” he added; “I think I understand. We only want such information as we must have to help you, nothing more.”
“Yes,” said the old man, dourly. “She is a relative. She’s me daughter, in fact. You look to me like a sensible, honest man. I’m her father, and I wouldn’t do anything for the world to harm her. It’s tryin’ to save her I am. It’s him I want.” He suddenly closed one big fist forcefully.
Martinson, who had two daughters of his own, observed the suggestive movement.
“I understand how you feel, Mr. Butler,” he observed. “I am a father myself. We’ll do all we can for you. If you can give me an accurate description of her, or let one of my men see her at your house or office, accidentally, of course, I think we can tell you in no time at all if they are meeting with any regularity. That’s all you want to know, is it—just that?”
“That’s all,” said Butler, solemnly.
“Well, that oughtn’t to take any time at all, Mr. Butler—three or four days possibly, if we have any luck—a week, ten days, two weeks. It depends on how long you want us to shadow him in case there is no evidence the first few days.”
“I want to know, however long it takes,” replied Butler, bitterly. “I want to know, if it takes a month or two months or three to find out. I want to know.” The old man got up as he said this, very positive, very rugged. “And don’t send me men that haven’t sinse—lots of it, plase. I want men that are fathers, if you’ve got ’em—and that have sinse enough to hold their tongues—not b’ys.”
“I understand, Mr. Butler,” Martinson replied. “Depend on it, you’ll have the best we have, and you can trust them. They’ll be discreet. You can depend on that. The way I’ll do will be to assign just one man to the case at first, some one you can see for yourself whether you like or not. I’ll not tell him anything. You can talk to him. If you like him, tell him, and he’ll do the rest. Then, if he needs any more help, he can get it. What is your address?”