“I know nodinks about it,” replied the man, as he disappeared down the stairs.
A NEW ACQUAINTANCE
Mavis’ heart seemed to stop. She knew the bag contained her trinkets, her reserve capital of twenty-three pounds, Perigal’s letters, her powder-puff, and other feminine odds and ends. What she could not remember was if she had posted her note to Perigal, which contained the money she was returning to him. As much as her consternation would permit, she rapidly passed over in her mind everything that had happened since she had left the restaurant in Oxford Street. For the life of her, she could not recall going into a postoffice to purchase the stamp of which she had been in need. Her next thought was the quickest way to get back her property, at which the word police immediately suggested itself. Once outside the house, she made careful note of its number; she then walked quickly till she came upon a policeman, to whom she told her trouble.
“Was you there alone?” asked the constable.
Mavis looked at him inquiringly.
“I mean was you with a gentleman?”
Mavis bit her lip, but saw it would not help her to be indignant. She told the man how she got there, a statement which made him civil and sympathetic.
“It’s a bad place, and we’ve had many complaints about it. You’d better complain to the inspector at the station, miss.”
He directed her to where she should go. Exhausted with hunger and the fear of losing all her possessions, she followed the policeman’s instructions, till she presently found herself telling an inspector at the station of the theft; he advised her to either make a charge, or, if she disliked the publicity of the police court, to instruct a solicitor. Believing that making a charge would be more effectual, besides speedier, she told the inspector of her decision.
“Very well. Your name, please?”
“Mrs,” he wrote, as he glanced at the wedding ring which she now wore on her finger.
“What address, please?” was his next question.
“I haven’t one at present.”
The man looked at her in surprise, at which Mavis explained how she had come from Melkbridge the day before.
“At least you can give us your husband’s address.”
“He’s abroad,” declared Mavis, with as much resolution as she could muster.
“Then you might give me the address of your friends in Melkbridge.”
“To write to?” asked Mavis.
“In case it should be necessary.”