“That is nice of you,” she said. “I’m glad to hear you say it. I never knew how pleasant it was to have some one who was willing to be hung for me. But you will go. And I will not go. There isn’t time to explain all about it just now, for Inspector Kedsty will be here very soon, and I must dry my hair and show you your hiding-place—if you have to hide.”
She began to brush her hair again. In the mirror Kent caught a glimpse of the smile still trembling on her lips.
“I’m not questioning you,” he guarded himself again, “but if you could only understand how anxious I am to know where Kedsty is, how Fingers found you, why you made us believe you were leaving the Landing and then returned—and—how badly I want to know something about you—I almost believe you’d talk a little while you are drying your hair.”
“It was Mooie, the old Indian,” she said. “It was he who found out in some way that I was here, and then M’sieu Fingers came himself one night when the Inspector was away—got in through a window and simply said that you had sent him, when I was just about to shoot him. You see, I knew you weren’t going to die. Kedsty had told me that. I was going to help you in another way, if M’sieu Fingers hadn’t come. Inspector Kedsty was over there tonight, at his cabin, when the thing happened down there. It was a part of Fingers’ scheme—to keep him out of the way.”
Suddenly she grew rigid. The brush remained poised in her hair. Kent, too, heard the sound that she had heard. It was a loud tapping at one of the curtained windows, the tapping of some metallic object. And that window was fifteen feet above the ground!
With a little cry the girl threw down her brush, ran to the window, and raised and lowered the curtain once. Then she turned to Kent, swiftly dividing her hair into thick strands and weaving them into a braid.
“It is Mooie,” she cried. “Kedsty is coming!”
She caught his hand and hurried him toward the head of the bed, where two long curtains were strung on a wire. She drew these apart. Behind them were what seemed to Kent an innumerable number of feminine garments.
“You must hide in them, if you have to,” she said, the excited little tremble in her voice again. “I don’t think it will come to that, but if it does, you must! Bury yourself way back in them, and keep quiet. If Kedsty finds you are here—”
She looked into his eyes, and it seemed to Kent that there was something which was very near to fear in them now.
“If he should find you here, it would mean something terrible for me,” she went on, her hands creeping to his arms. “I can not tell you what it is now, but it would be worse than death. Will you promise to stay here, no matter what happens down there, no matter what you may hear? Will you—Mr. Kent?”
“Not if you call me Mr. Kent,” he said, something thickening in his throat.