“What!” Mrs, Desternay could scarcely believe her ears.
“Honest, you’d better look out. It’s coming off now.”
“Nothing of the sort,” and Fifi whipped out a vanity case, and readjusted her cosmetic adornment.
“Then I take it you two are not friends?”
“We most certainly are not. I wouldn’t do anything in the world to injure Eunice Embury—in fact, I’d help her, even now—though she scorned my assistance—but we’re not friends—no!”
“All right, I just wanted to know. Ask right out—that’s my motto.”
“It seems to be! Anything else you are thirsting to learn?”
“Yes’m. You know that ‘Hamlet’ performance—you and Mis’ Embury went to?”
“Yes,” said Fifi, cautiously.
“You know you accused her of talkin’ it over with you—”
“Yes’m—I know you say she did—I got that from Mr. Shane—but, lemme tell you, ma’am, friendly like, you want to be careful how you tell that yarn—’cause they’s chance fer a perfectly good slander case against you!”
“What nonsense!” but Fifi paled a little under her delicate rouge.
“No nonsense whatsomever. But here’s the point. Was there a witness to that conversation?”
“Why, let me see. We talked it over at the matinee—we were alone then—but, yes, of course—I recollect now—that same evening Eunice was here and Mr. Hendricks was, too, and Mr. Patterson—he lives in their apartment house—the Embury’s, I mean-and we all talked about it! There! I guess that’s witnesses enough!”
“I guess it is. But take it from me, lady, you’re too pretty to get into a bothersome lawsuit—and I advise you to keep on the sunny side of the street, and let these shady matters alone.”
“I’ll gladly do so—honest, I don’t want to get Eunice in bad—”
“Oh, no! we all know you don’t want to get her in bad—unless it can be done with abserlute safety to your own precious self. Well—it can’t, ma’am. You keep on like you’ve begun—and your middle name’ll soon be trouble! Good morning, ma’am.”
Fibsy rose, bowed and left the room so suddenly that Fifi hadn’t time to stop him if she had wanted to. And he left behind him a decidedly scared little woman.
Fibsy then went straight to the offices of Mason Elliott.
He was admitted and given an audience at once.
“What is it, McGuire?” asked the broker.
“A lot of things, Mr. Elliott. First of all—I suppose the police are quite satisfied with the alibis of you and Mr. Hendricks?”
“Yes,” and Elliott looked curiously into the grave, earnest little face. He had resented, at first, the work of this boy, but after Fleming Stone had explained his worth, Elliott soon began to see it for himself.
“They are unimpeachable,” he went on; “I was at home, and Mr. Hendricks was in Boston. This has been proved over and over by many witnesses, both authentic and credible.”