Butler gave it to him.
“And there’ll be no talk about this?”
“None whatever—I assure you.”
“And when’ll he be comin’ along?”
“To-morrow, if you wish. I have a man I could send to-night. He isn’t here now or I’d have him talk with you. I’ll talk to him, though, and make everything clear. You needn’t worry about anything. Your daughter’s reputation will be safe in his hands.”
“Thank you kindly,” commented Butler, softening the least bit in a gingerly way. “I’m much obliged to you. I’ll take it as a great favor, and pay you well.”
“Never mind about that, Mr. Butler,” replied Martinson. “You’re welcome to anything this concern can do for you at its ordinary rates.”
He showed Butler to the door, and the old man went out. He was feeling very depressed over this—very shabby. To think he should have to put detectives on the track of his Aileen, his daughter!
The very next day there called at Butler’s office a long, preternaturally solemn man of noticeable height and angularity, dark-haired, dark-eyed, sallow, with a face that was long and leathery, and particularly hawk-like, who talked with Butler for over an hour and then departed. That evening he came to the Butler house around dinner-time, and, being shown into Butler’s room, was given a look at Aileen by a ruse. Butler sent for her, standing in the doorway just far enough to one side to yield a good view of her. The detective stood behind one of the heavy curtains which had already been put up for the winter, pretending to look out into the street.
“Did any one drive Sissy this mornin’?” asked Butler of Aileen, inquiring after a favorite family horse. Butler’s plan, in case the detective was seen, was to give the impression that he was a horseman who had come either to buy or to sell. His name was Jonas Alderson, and be looked sufficiently like a horsetrader to be one.
“I don’t think so, father,” replied Aileen. “I didn’t. I’ll find out.”
“Never mind. What I want to know is did you intend using her to-morrow?”
“No, not if you want her. Jerry suits me just as well.”
“Very well, then. Leave her in the stable.” Butler quietly closed the door. Aileen concluded at once that it was a horse conference. She knew he would not dispose of any horse in which she was interested without first consulting her, and so she thought no more about it.
After she was gone Alderson stepped out and declared that he was satisfied. “That’s all I need to know,” he said. “I’ll let you know in a few days if I find out anything.”