“It is safe, M’sieu Jeems,” she cried. “Don’t be afraid!”
M’sieu Jeems! And the laughing note of mockery in her voice! He rallied himself and followed her up the three steps to the door. Her hand found the latch, the door opened, and swiftly they were inside. The lamp in the window was close to them, but for a space he could not see because of the water in his eyes. He blinked it out, drew a hand across his face, and looked at Marette. She stood three or four paces from him. Her face was very white, and she was panting as if hard-run for breath, but her eyes were shining, and she was smiling at him. The water was running from her in streams.
“You are wet,” she said. “And I am afraid you will catch cold. Come with me!”
Again she was making fun of him just as she had made fun of him at Cardigan’s! She turned, and he ran upstairs behind her. At the top she waited for him, and as he came up, she reached out her hand, as if apologizing for having taken it from him when they entered the bungalow. He held it again as she led him down the hall to a door farthest from the stair. This she opened, and they entered. It was dark inside, and the girl withdrew her hand again, and Kent heard her moving across the room. In that darkness a new and thrilling emotion possessed him. The air he was breathing was not the air he had breathed in the hall. In it was the sweet scent of flowers, and of something else—the faint and intangible perfume of a woman’s room. He waited, staring. His eyes were wide when a match leaped into flame in Marette’s fingers. Then he stood in the glow of a lamp.
He continued to stare in the stupidity of a shock to which he was not accustomed. Marette, as if to give him time to acquaint himself with his environment, was taking off her raincoat. Under it her slim little figure was dry, except where the water had run down from her uncovered head to her shoulders. He noticed that she wore a short skirt, and boots, adorably small boots of splendidly worked caribou. And then suddenly she came toward him with both hands reaching out to him.
“Please shake hands and say you’re glad,” she said. “Don’t look so—so—frightened. This is my room and you are safe here.”
He held her hands tight, staring into the wonderful, violet eyes that were looking at him with the frank and unembarrassed directness of a child’s. “I—I don’t understand,” he struggled. “Marette, where is Kedsty?”
“He should be returning very soon.”
“And he knows you are here, of course?”
She nodded. “I have been here for a month.”
Kent’s hands closed tighter about hers. “I—I don’t understand,” he repeated. “Tonight Kedsty will know that it was you who rescued me and you who shot Constable Willis. Good God, we must lose no time in getting away!”
“There is great reason why Kedsty dare not betray my presence in his house,” she said quietly. “He would die first! And he will not suspect that I have brought you to my room, that an escaped murderer is hiding under the very roof of the Inspector of Police! They will search for you everywhere but here! Isn’t it splendid? He planned it all, every move, even to the screaming in front of your cell—”