The soothing hand which she laid on the girl’s throbbing head was quite in contrast with the manner in which I recalled her to have spoken of the girl when first we saw her at the Montmartre. She must have seen the look of surprise on my face.
“I can’t condemn these girls too strongly when I see them themselves,” she remarked. “It would be so easy for them to stop and lead a decent life, if they only would forget the white lights and the gay life that allures them. It is when they are so down and out that I long to give them a hand to help them up again and show them how foolish it is to make slaves of themselves.”
“Call a cab, Walter,” said Kennedy, who had been observing the girl closely. “There is nothing more that we can expect to accomplish here. Everybody has escaped by this time. But we must get this poor girl in a private hospital or sanitarium where she can recover.”
Clare had disappeared. A moment later she returned from the room she had had downstairs with her hat on.
“I’m going with her,” she announced simply.
“What—you, Miss Kendall?”
“Yes. If a girl ever needed a friend, it is this girl now. There is nothing I can do for the moment. I will take care of her in my apartment until she is herself again.”
The girl seemed to half understand, and to be grateful to Clare. Kennedy watched her hovering over the drug victim without attempting to express the admiration which he felt.
Just as the cab was announced, he drew Miss Kendall aside. “You’re a trump,” he said frankly. “Most people would pass by on the other side from such as she is.”
They talked for a moment as to the best place to go, then decided on a quiet little place uptown where convalescents were taken in.
“I think you can still be working on the case, if you care to do so,” suggested Craig as Miss Kendall and her charge were leaving.
“How?” she asked.
“When you get her to this sanitarium, try to be with her as much as you can. I think if anyone can get anything out of her, you can. Remember it is more than this girl’s rescue that is at stake. If she can be got to talk she may prove an important link toward piecing together the solution of the mystery of Betty Blackwell. She must know many of the inside secrets of the Montmartre,” he added significantly.
They had gone, and Craig and I had started to go also when we came across a negro caretaker who seemed to have stuck by the place during all the excitement.
“Do you know that girl who just went out?” asked Craig.
“No, sah,” she replied glibly.
“Look here,” demanded Craig, facing her. “You know better than that. She has been here before, and you know it. I’ve a good mind to have you held for being in charge of this place. If I do, all the Marie Margots and Ike the Droppers can’t get you out again.”
The negress seemed to understand that this was no ordinary raid.