“If I was only sure!” exclaimed Pinky.
“You may be. I know death—I’ve seen it often enough. They’ll have the coroner over there in the morning. It’s Flanagan’s concern, not yours or mine, so keep out of it if you know when you’re well off.”
“I’ll appear against her at the inquest,” said Pinky.
“You’ll do no such thing. Keep your tongue behind your teeth. It’s time enough to show it when it’s pulled out. Take my advice, and mind your own business. You’ll have enough to do caring for your own head, without looking after other people’s.”
“I’m not one of that kind,” answered Pinky, a little tartly; “and if there’s any way to keep Flanagan from murdering another child, I’m going to find it out.”
“You’ll find out something else first,” said Norah, with a slight curl of her lip.
“The way to prison.”
“Pshaw! I’m not afraid.”
“You’d better be. If you appear against Flanagan, she’ll have you caged before to-morrow night.”
“How can she do it?”
“Swear against you before an alderman, and he’ll send you down if it’s only to get his fee. She knows her man.”
“Suppose murder is proved against her?”
“Suppose!” Norah gave a little derisive laugh.
“They don’t look after things in here as they do outside. Everybody’s got the screws on, and things must break sometimes, but it isn’t called murder. The coroner understands it all. He’s used to seeing things break.”
FOR a short time the sounds of cruel exultation came over from Flanagan’s; then all was still.
“Sal’s put her mark on you,” said Norah, looking steadily into Pinky’s face, and laughing in a cold, half-amused way.
Pinky raised her hand to her swollen cheek. “Does it look very bad?” she asked.
“Spoils your beauty some.”
“Will it get black?”
“Shouldn’t wonder. But what can’t be helped, can’t. You’ll mind your own business next time, and keep out of Sal’s way. She’s dangerous. What’s the matter?”
“Got a sort of chill,” replied the girl, who from nervous reaction was beginning to shiver.
“Oh, want something to warm you up.” Norah brought out a bottle of spirits. Pinky poured a glass nearly half full, added some water, and then drank off the fiery mixture.
“None of your common stuff,” said Norah, with a smile, as Pinky smacked her lips. The girl drew her handkerchief from her pocket, and as she did so a piece of paper dropped on the floor.
“Oh, there it is!” she exclaimed, light flashing into her face. “Going to make a splendid hit. Just look at them rows.”
Norah threw an indifferent glance on the paper.
“They’re lucky, every one of them,” said Pinky. “Going to put half a dollar on each row—sure to make a hit.”