“Did he escape?” cried Dorothy from the steps.
“He gave us the slip, confound him, Dorothy.”
“I’m glad, really I am. What could we have done with him if he had been caught? But are you not coming in?”
“Oh, not to-night, thank you. Can’t you have some one bring out my hat and coat?” He was beginning to feel faint and sick, and purposely kept the bloody arm from the light.
“You shall not have them unless you come in for them. Besides, we want you to tell us what happened. We are crazy with excitement. Madame de Cartier fainted, and mamma is almost worried to death.”
“Are you not coming up, Mr. Quentin?” called Mrs. Garrison, from the veranda.
“You must come in,” said de Cartier, coming up at that moment with the count and Mr. Knowlton.
“Really, I must go to the hotel, I am a little faint after that wretched run. Let me go, please; don’t insist on my coming in,” he said.
“Mon dieu!” exclaimed the count. “It is blood, Monsieur! You are hurt!”
“Oh, not in the least—merely a—”
“Phil!” cried Dorothy, standing in front of him, her wide eyes looking intently into his. “Are you hurt? Tell me!”
“Just a little cut in the arm or shoulder, I think. Doesn’t amount to anything, I assure—”
“Come in the house at once, Philip Quentin!” she exclaimed. “Mr. Knowlton, will you ask Franz to telephone for Dr. Berier?” Then she saw the blood-stained hand and shuddered, turning her face away. “Oh, Phil!” she whispered.
“That pays for this cut and more, if necessary,” he said, in a low voice, as he walked at her side up the steps.
“Lean on me, Phil,” she said. “You must be faint.” He laughed merrily, and his eyes sparkled with something not akin to pain.
Dr. Berier came and closed the gash in his shoulder. An hour later he came downstairs, to find Mrs. Garrison and Dorothy alone.
“You were very brave, Mr. Quentin, but very foolhardy,” said Mrs. Garrison. “I hope from my heart the wound will give you little trouble.”
His good right hand closed over hers for an instant and then clasped Dorothy’s warmly, lingeringly.
“You must let us hear from you to-morrow,” said she, softly.
“Expect me to fetch the message in person,” said he, and he was off down the steps. He did not look back, or he might have seen her standing on the veranda, her eyes following him till he was joined by another man at the corner below.
HE CLAIMED A DAY
The strange experience of the evening brought Quentin sharply to a sense of realization. It proved to him that he was feared, else why the unusual method of campaign? To what extent the conspirators would carry their seemingly unnecessary warfare he was now, for the first time, able to form some sort of opinion. The remarkable boldness of the spy at the Garrison home left room for considerable speculation as to his motive. What was his design and what would have been the ending to his sinister vigil? Before Quentin slept that night he came to the drowsy conclusion that luck had really been with him, despite his wound and Courant’s escape, and that the sudden exposure of the spy destroyed the foundation for an important move in the powderless conflict.