“There seem to have been a number of very peculiar disappearances lately,” resumed Kennedy, “but this case of Mrs. Edwards is by far the most extraordinary. Of course the Star hasn’t had that—yet,” he concluded, handing me a sheet of notepaper.
“Mr. Waldon didn’t give it out, hoping to avoid scandal.”
I took the paper and read eagerly, in a woman’s hand:
“My dear miss fox: I have been down here at Seaville on our houseboat, the Lucie, for several days for a purpose which now is accomplished.
“Already I had my suspicions of you, from a source which I need not name. Therefore, when the Kronprinz got into wireless communication with the station at Seaville I determined through our own wireless on the Lucie to overhear whether there would be any exchange of messages between my husband and yourself.
“I was able to overhear the whole thing and I want you to know that your secret is no longer a secret from me, and that I have already told Mr. Edwards that I know it. You ruin his life by your intimacy which you seem to want to keep up, although you know you have no right to do it, but you shall not ruin mine.
“I am thoroughly disillusioned now. I have not decided on what steps to take, but—”
Only a casual glance was necessary to show me that the writing seemed to grow more and more weak as it progressed, and the note stopped abruptly, as if the writer had been suddenly interrupted or some new idea had occurred to her.
Hastily I tried to figure it out. Lucie Waldon, as everybody knew, was a famous beauty, a marvel of charm and daintiness, slender, with big, soulful, wistful eyes. Her marriage to Tracy Edwards, the wealthy plunger and stockbroker, had been a great social event the year before, and it was reputed at the time that Edwards had showered her with jewels and dresses to the wonder and talk even of society.
As for Valerie Fox, I knew she had won quick recognition and even fame as a dancer in New York during the previous winter, and I recalled reading three or four days before that she had just returned on the Kronprinz from a trip abroad.
“I don’t suppose you have had time to see Miss Fox,” I remarked. “Where is she?”
“At Beach Park now, I think,” replied Waldon, “a resort a few miles nearer the city on the south shore, where there is a large colony of actors.”
I handed back the letter to Kennedy.
“What do you make of it?” he asked, as he folded it up and put it back into his pocket.
“I hardly know what to say,” I replied. “Of course there have been rumors, I believe, that all was not exactly like a honeymoon still with the Tracy Edwardses.”
“Yes,” returned Waldon slowly, “I know myself that there has been some trouble, but nothing definite until I found this letter last night in my sister’s room. She never said anything about it either to mother or myself. They haven’t been much together during the summer, and last night when she disappeared Tracy was in the city. But I hadn’t thought much about it before, for, of course, you know he has large financial interests that make him keep in pretty close touch with New York and this summer hasn’t been a particularly good one on the stock exchange.”