“I hate to go, Miss Ashton,” he was adding. “I’d stay—if I saw any prospect of the others going. But—you see—this is the first time to-night—that I’ve had a word with you—alone.”
It was not only an emergency, but there were limits to Kennedy’s eavesdropping propensities, and spying on Carton’s love affairs was quite another thing from Langhorne’s.
Quickly Craig turned the lever all the way over.
“Carton—Miss Ashton—this is Kennedy,” he called. “Back of the big palm you’ll find a vocaphone. Don’t take that cab! They are going to stick you up. Wait—I’ll explain all in a moment!”
THE WALL STREET WOLF
It was a startled couple that we found when we reached the conservatory. As we made our hasty explanation, Carton overwhelmed us with thanks for the prompt and effective manner in which Kennedy had saved him from the machinations of the defeated gangsters.
Miss Ashton, who would have kept her nerves under control throughout any emergency, actually turned pale as she learned of the danger that had been so narrowly averted. I am sure that her feelings, which she made no effort to conceal, must have been such as to reassure Carton if he had still any doubt on that score.
The delay in his coming out, however, had been just enough to arouse suspicion, and by the time that we reached the side entrance to the house both Ike and the night-hawk taxicab which had evidently been drafted into service had disappeared, leaving no clue.
The result of the discovery over the vocaphone was that none of us left Miss Ashton’s until much later than we had expected.
Langhorne, apparently, had gone shortly after he left the conservatory the last time, and Mrs. Ogleby had preceded him. When at last we managed to convince Miss Ashton that it was perfectly safe for Carton to go, nothing would suffice except that we should accompany him as a sort of bodyguard to his home. We did so, without encountering any adventure more thrilling than seeing an argument between a policeman and a late reveller.
“I can’t thank you fellows too much,” complimented Carton as we left him. “I was hunting around for you, but I thought you had found a suffrage meeting too slow and had gone.”
“On the contrary,” returned Kennedy, equivocally, “we found it far from slow.”
Carton did not appreciate the tenor of the remark and Craig was not disposed to enlighten him.
“What do you suppose Mrs. Ogleby meant in her references to Carton?” mused Kennedy when we reached our own apartment.
“I can’t say,” I replied, “unless before he came to really know Miss Ashton, they were intimate.”
Kennedy shook his head. “Why will men in a public capacity get mixed up with women of the adventuress type like that, even innocently?” he ruminated. “Mark my words, she or someone else will make trouble for him before we get through.”