“But the links are mine. There is no question of it— my initials and arms are cut into them.” The impatience was gone and a certain curiosity was manifesting itself.
“Quite true, and yet you once thought the links were stolen. So let us presume for the present that they were stolen and that this woman either bought them, or was given them, or found them.”
Felix began pacing the floor, a gleam of hope illumining the dark corners of his heart. The interview, too, had calmed him—as do all confessions.
The priest settled back in his seat. He saw that the crisis had passed. There might be another outburst in the future, but it would not have the intensity of the one he had just witnessed. He waited until Felix was opposite his chair and then asked, in a low voice: “Well, may I not be right, Mr. O’Day?”
Felix paused in his walk and gazed down at the priest. “I don’t know,” he answered slowly. “My head is not clear enough to think it out. Mrs. Cleary might help unravel it. She saw her and will remember. Shall I sound her when I go home—not to excite her suspicions, of course, but so as to find out whether her visitor were large or small—details like that?”
“No, I will ask her, and in a way not to make her suspect. She will think I am hunting for one of my own people. It is wiser that she should not know yet what you have told me. I would rather wait for the time when this poor creature, whoever she is, needs a sister’s tenderness. She will get it there, for no finer woman lives than Kitty Cleary.”
A sigh of intense relief escaped Felix. “And now tell me where you will begin your hunt?” he asked, one of his old search-light glances flashing from beneath his brows.
“Nowhere in particular. On the East Side, perhaps, where I have means of knowing what strangers come and go. Then among my own people here. I shall know within twenty-four hours whether she has been in the habit of attending evening service—that is, within the last six months. A woman of the poorer class would be difficult to locate, but there should not be the slightest trouble in picking out one who, less than a year ago, occupied your wife’s social position— no matter how badly she were dressed.”
Felix stood musing. He had reached the limit of the help he had come for.
“And what can I do to assist?”
“Nothing. Go home, and when I need you I will send word. Good night.”
Had Felix continued his visits to Stephen Carlin’s shop, he might have escaped many sleepless hours and saved himself many weary steps.