Mr. Pierce, with his hand on the knob, turned and looked at me in the candle-light. Then he opened the door.
Arabella gave another yelp and rushed out; she went between my feet like a shot and almost overthrew me, and when I’d got my balance again I looked into the room. Mr. Pierce was at the window, staring out, and the room was empty.
“The idiot!” Mr. Pierce said. “If it hadn’t been for that snowbank! Here, give me that candle!”
He stood there waving it in circles, but there was neither sight nor sound from below. After a minute Mr. Pierce put the window down and we stared at the room. All the bureau drawers were out on the floor, and the lid of poor Miss Cobb’s trunk was open and the tray upset. But her silver-backed brush was still on the bureau and the ring the insurance agent had given her lay beside it.
We brought her back to her room, and she didn’t know whether to be happy that she was vindicated or mad at the state her things were in. I tucked her up in bed after she’d gone over her belongings and Mr. Pierce had double-locked the window and gone out. She drew my head down to her and her eyes were fairly popping out of her head.
“I feel as though I’m going crazy, Minnie!” she whispered, “but the only things that are gone are my letters from Mr. Jones, and—my black woolen tights!”
NO MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN
I slept late the next morning, and when I’d had breakfast and waded to the spring-house it was nearly nine. It was still snowing, and no papers or mail had got through, although the wires were still in fair working order.
As I floundered out I thought I saw somebody slink around the corner of the spring-house, but when I got there nobody was in sight. I was on my knees in front of the fireplace, raking out the fire, when I heard the door close behind me, and when I turned, there stood Mr. Dick, muffled to the neck, with his hat almost over his face.
“What the deuce kept you so late this morning?” he demanded, in a sulky voice, and limping over to a table he drew a package out of his pocket and slammed it on the table.
“I was up half the night, as usual,” I said, rising. “You oughtn’t to be here, Mr. Dick!”
He caught hold of the rail around the spring, and hobbling about, dropped into a chair with a groan.
“For two cents,” he declared, “I’d chop a hole in the ice pond and drown myself. There’s no marriage in Heaven.”
“That’s no argument for the other place,” I answered, and stopped, staring. He was pulling something out of his overcoat pocket, an inch at a time.
“For God’s sake, Minnie,” he exclaimed, “return this—this garment to—whomever it belongs to!”
He handed it to me, and it was Miss Cobb’s black tights! I stood and stared.
“And then,” he went on, reaching for the package on the table, “when you’ve done that, return to ‘Binkie’ these letters from her Jonesie.”