“I would, Mr. Hanlon,” and Fibsy looked regretful, “if I was my own boss. But, you see, I’m under orders. I’m F. Stone’s helper—and I’ll tell you what he says I may—and that’s all.”
“That goes. I don’t want any more than your boss lets you spill. And now, honest, what did you come here for?”
“To look in that wardrobe, as I said.”
“Why, bless your heart, child, you’re welcome to do that.”
Hanlon drew a key from his pocket, and flung the wardrobe door wide.
“There you are—go to it!”
Swiftly, but methodically, Fibsy took down every article of wearing apparel the wardrobe contained, glanced at it and returned it, Hanlon looking on with an amused expression on his face.
“Any incriminating evidence?” he said at last, as Fibsy hung up the final piece of clothing.
“Not a scrap,” was the hearty reply. “If I don’t get more evidence offen somebody else than I do from you, I’ll go home empty-handed!”
“Let me help you,” and Hanlon spoke kindly; “I’ll hunt evidence with you.”
“Some day, maybe. I’ve got to-day all dated up. And, say, why did you tell me you wasn’t a steeplejack painter, when you are?”
“You’re right, I am. But I don’t want it known, because I’m going to branch out in a new field soon, and I don’t want that advertised at present.”
“I know, Mr. Barton told me. You’re going to be a human fly, and cut up pranks on the edges of roofs of skyscrapers—”
“Hush, not so loud. Yes, I am, but the goal is far distant. But I’m going to have a whack at it—and I know I can succeed, in time.”
Hanlon’s eyes had a faraway, hopeful look, as if gazing into a future of marvelous achievement in his chosen field. “Oh, I say, boy, it’s glorious, this becoming expert in something difficult. It pays for all the work and training and practice!”
The true artist ambition rang in his voice, and Fibsy gazed at him fascinated, for the boy was a hero-worshipper, and adored proficiency in any art.
“When you going to exhibit?” he asked eagerly.
“A little try at it next week. Want’a come?”
“Don’t I. Where?”
“Hush! I’ll whisper. Philadelphia.”
“I’ll be there! Lemme ’no the date and all.”
“Yes, I will. Must you go? Here’s your hat.”
Fibsy laughed, took the hint and departed.
“What a feller!” he marveled to himself,
as he went on his way.
“Oh, gee! what a feller!”
THE GUILTY ONE
“Alvord, you shock me—you amaze me! How dare you talk to me of love, when my husband hasn’t been dead a fortnight?”
“What matter, Eunice? You never really loved Sanford—”
“I did—I did!”
“Not lately, anyhow. Perhaps just at first—and then, not deeply. He carried you originally by storm—it was an even toss-up whether he or Elliott or I won out. He was the most forceful of the three, and he made you marry him—didn’t he now?”