“We must get some word,” asserted Miss Kendall. “This silence is almost like the silence of death.”
“I’m afraid I shall have to impose on you that task,” said Kennedy thoughtfully to her. “There seems to be no course open to us but to transfer our watch from Dr. Harris to this Marie. Of course it is too early to hear from our search by means of the portrait parle. But we have both seen Dr. Harris and Marie enter the beauty parlour of Madame Margot. Now, I don’t mean to cast aspersions on your own good looks, Miss Kendall. They are of the sort with which no beauty parlour except Nature can compete.”
A girl of another type than Clare would probably have read a half dozen meanings into his sincere compliment. But then, I reflected that a man of another type than Craig could not have made the remark without expecting her to do so. There was a frankness between them which, I must confess, considerably relieved me. I was not prepared to lose Kennedy, even to Miss Kendall.
She smiled. “You want me to try a course in artificial beautification, don’t you?”
“Yes. Walter doesn’t need it, and as for me, nothing could make me a modern Adonis. Seriously, though, a man couldn’t get in there, I suppose. At least that is one of the many things I want you to find out. Under the circumstances, you are the only person in whom I have confidence enough to believe that she can get at the facts there. Find out all you can about the character of the place and the people who frequent it. And if you can learn anything about that Madame Margot who runs the place, so much the better.”
“I’ll try,” she said simply.
Kennedy resumed his tests of the powder in the packets which Dr. Harris had been distributing, and I endeavoured to make myself as little in the way as possible. It was not until the close of the afternoon that a taxicab drove up and deposited Miss Kendall at the door.
“What luck?” greeted Kennedy eagerly, as she entered. “Do you feel thoroughly beautified?”
“Don’t make me smile,” she replied, as she swept in with an air that would have done credit to the star in a comic opera. “I’d hate to crack or even crease the enamel on my face. I’ve been steamed and frozen, beaten and painted and—–”
“I’m sorry to have been the cause of such cruel and unusual punishment,” apologized Craig.
“No, indeed. Why, I enjoyed it. Let me tell you about the place.”
She leaned against the laboratory table, certainly an incongruous picture in her new role as contrasted with the stained and dirty background of paraphernalia of medico-legal investigation. I could not help feeling that if Clare Kendall ever had decided to go in for such things, Marie herself would have had to look sharp to her laurels.
“As you enter the place,” she began, “you feel a delightful warmth and there is an odour of attar of roses in the air. There are thick half-inch carpets that make walking a pleasure and dreamy Sleepy Hollow rockers that make it an impossibility. It is all very fascinating.