But McKnight had not gone, after all. I heard him coming back, his voice preceding him, and I groaned with irritation.
“Wake up!” he called. “Somebody’s sent you a lot of flowers. Please hold the box, Mrs. Klopton; I’m going out to be run down by an automobile.”
I roused to feeble interest. My brother’s wife is punctilious about such things; all the new babies in the family have silver rattles, and all the sick people flowers.
McKnight pulled up an armful of roses, and held them out to me.
“Wonder who they’re from?” he said, fumbling in the box for a card. “There’s no name—yes, here’s one.”
He held it up and read it with exasperating slowness.
“’Best wishes for an
A companion in misfortune.’
“Well, what do you know about that!” he exclaimed. “That’s something you didn’t tell me, Lollie.”
“It was hardly worth mentioning,” I said mendaciously, with my heart beating until I could hear it. She had not forgotten, after all.
McKnight took a bud and fastened it in his button-hole. I’m afraid I was not especially pleasant about it. They were her roses, and anyhow, they were meant for me. Richey left very soon, with an irritating final grin at the box.
“Good-by, sir woman-hater,” he jeered at me from the door.
So he wore one of the roses she had sent me, to luncheon with her, and I lay back among my pillows and tried to remember that it was his game, anyhow, and that I wasn’t even drawing cards. To remember that, and to forget the broken necklace under my head!
I was in the house for a week. Much of that time I spent in composing and destroying letters of thanks to Miss West, and in growling at the doctor. McKnight dropped in daily, but he was less cheerful than usual. Now and then I caught him eying me as if he had something to say, but whatever it was he kept it to himself. Once during the week he went to Baltimore and saw the woman in the hospital there. From the description I had little difficulty in recognizing the young woman who had been with the murdered man in Pittsburg. But she was still unconscious. An elderly aunt had appeared, a gaunt person in black, who sat around like a buzzard on a fence, according to McKnight, and wept, in a mixed figure, into a damp handkerchief.
On the last day of my imprisonment he stopped in to thrash out a case that was coming up in court the next day, and to play a game of double solitaire with me.
“Who won the ball game?” I asked.
“We were licked. Ask me something pleasant. Oh, by the way, Bronson’s out to-day.”
“I’m glad I’m not on his bond,” I said pessimistically. “He’ll clear out.”
“Not he.” McKnight pounced on my ace. “He’s no fool. Don’t you suppose he knows you took those notes to Pittsburg? The papers were full of it. And he knows you escaped with your life and a broken arm from the wreck. What do we do next? The Commonwealth continues the case. A deaf man on a dark night would know those notes are missing.”