What made him hesitate was the way the slouch-hat shaded the intruder’s face, the gas-jets not revealing the features. Only the end of the chin was visible, and the round of the lower cheek showing above the heavy cape-collar of the overcoat.
Dalton by this time had reached the street-door, which he closed gently behind him, holding it for an instant to prevent its making a noise. Felix lunged forward, reopened it quickly, and gazed out into the night. Dalton had vanished as completely as if the earth had swallowed him.
Another man, who had kept his eyes on O’Day as he peered into the dark, an undersized, gaunt-looking man, sidled toward Felix and pulled at his coat sleeve. “I ain’t too early, am I? You said eight o’clock?”
Felix looked at him keenly. “Oh, yes, I remember— no, you are all right. How long have you been here?”
“About half an hour.”
“Did you notice which way that man went who has just shut the door?”
The tramp looked about him in a helpless way. “I wasn’t lookin’. I was a-watchin’ you—waitin’ for you to come out—but I got on to him when he went in awhile ago.”
“Then you have seen him before?”
“Of course I’ve seen him before. He plays pool where I’ve been a-workin’.”
Felix bent closer. “Do you know his name?”
“Sure! His name’s Stanton. He’s been puttin’ sompin’ to soak, I guess. I heard last week he was up against it. Do you know him?”
Felix remained silent a moment, checking his own disappointment, and then answered slowly: “I thought I did, but I see I am mistaken. Come inside the store where it is warmer. I have secured you a job, and will take you with me when I have finished here.”
Had a spark of human feeling been left in Dalton’s body, it would have been kindled into a flame of sympathy, could he have seen Lady Barbara when she opened the box early next morning, and stood trembling over the loss of the mantilla.
Her first hope was that she had inadvertently taken it to Rosenthal’s with the other pieces of lace, and that Mangan had found it when he checked up her work. Then a cold chill ran through her, her anxiety increasing every moment. Had she dropped it in the street? Had the woman who jostled her on the way up the long staircase to the workroom, picked up her package when she stumbled? Perhaps some one had crept in during the night and, finding the box near the door, had caught up the mantilla and escaped without being detected? Could she herself have dragged it into her bedroom, entangled in the folds of her skirt? Was it not near the window, or in her basket, or behind the door, or—
Martha, with a shake of her head, put all these theories to flight.
“No, it isn’t in your room at all, and it isn’t anywhere else around here; and nobody’s been in here from the outside; and they couldn’t get in if they tried, for I bolted the door when we went to bed. The only person who has had the run of the place is Mr. Dalton, and he—”