beside a desk and waited, expecting
and hoping to see (the charming "Miss
Upon the desk, lay an open letter,
apparently just received. At a glance
I saw it was addressed to Miss Pur
cell an'd from Meyer. It told her that
the manager of their great branch
house in another .city had disappear
ed with almost its entire cash capital,
which meant "fealure and ruin un
" less "
A step behind me prevented my
reading" further. It was Miss Purcell,
but I had already gained a great tip.
The house of Israel Meyer was in
solvent and that item of news be
longed to my agency.
If the beautiful clever girl whom I
arose to greet guessed that I was the
possessor of news vitally perilous to
the interests of the employer to
whom she was loyal, she surerbly
concealed it. As I spoke such words
as "casual call," "new statement"
and the like, she smiled graciously
and took from the desk a signed
audited statement showing the busi
ness in the most solvent condition in
"As of the twehty-tffth," she re
minded. "By the way, as you are
here liave you ever looked over our
stock?- No? It will evidence the
great and varied business we do," and
she led the way to the open vault
doorway guarded only by the heavily
barred inner door. She bowed me
ahead of her click!
The door had crashed to upon me,
shutting me into the vault, a helpless
prisoner. I watched my captor run to
the front door and close and lock it
to prevent any intrusion of an out
sider: Her eyes were dancing with
excitement, her pretty face flushed
and animated as she came up to the
"Do you understand?" she asked,
with a doubtful smile playing about
her lips. v
"I think I do," I rejoined, with a
shrug'of my shoulders. "It is clever.
You know that I comprehend the
house is on the rocks. How long can
you keep it quiet?"
"Twenty-four h.ours," she answer
ed with confidence, "and by that time
we will have tided over the stress.
You are the only one who has re
ceived a hint of the. truth. It would,
be cruel to crush a troubled old man
who will surely come out all right."
"Duty is duty, and with freedom I
should certainly have sent my un
fortunate news broadcast I was
cleverly trappe'd," I admitted.
"Listen," spoke my fair gaoler;
"you will be glad of my action later
on. I could not be untrue to my em
ployer, so I have done a desperate
act. You can be made comfortable
in your temporary prison. I will pass
through the bars whatever of food
you care for, and cigars. rv$l talk
with you, read to you. Th,e-e is a
piano in the nearest living rpotn. I
"will, if you choose, play and sihg for
"Charming!" I laughed; truly so.
But what of the penalty to me of re
maining absent from my work?"
"You shall not sufter for it," said
Miss Purcell, 4mfeUy and reas
suringly. I never spent so pleasant an even
ing, despite my awkward situation.
Miss Purcell brought me a meal that
was delicious. She -conversed with
me, she fead her favorite poems to
me, she supplied xne with some choice
Havanas, that old Israel Meyer must
have imported of course, at a bar
gain. Then she left me to sleep on
some blankets she had passed
through the bars at the door.
About the middle of the night It
awoke. I heard a strange boring
sound. It was "beside a bolted iron,
trap in the concrete floor right at my
side. This led to a cellar where the
coarser drosses were stored. I lay
still and watched, for the light shone
into the vault from the electrk,jet in
the counting room. ,,"''
Some one hatj evidently broken
into the cellar.. They bored a'hole
through th floor and a human hand
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