OCR Interpretation

The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 05, 1903, Image 4

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1903-07-05/ed-1/seq-4/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

here, even by a trick, so that you might
see with your own eyes whether or no
your lover comes to call at this actress'
house after midnight Then, whatever
happened, I need no longer blame my
self." -: .
"You reason very strangely," I said,
as quietly as I could. "And there can be
no excuse for spying. That is all I have
to 6ay— except that I am going hdme
•"Then you will leave me here alone?"
cried Marion, with a shrill sound in her
voice as though she were on the point of
bursting into sobs.
That sound made me rather gentler, for
father and I have always schooled our
selves to be gentle with Marion, no mat
ter how difficult. "No. of course not,"
I said, soothingly. "I shouldn't dream of
leaving you alone. We will simply tell
the coachman to drive us back to the
"If you go in the coupe," returned
Marion, beginning to gasp ominously, "I
shall have to stand here In the street
and goodness knows what may come of
It at this tima of night I must etay.
I've vowed to do that, and I always keep
mv word, even with my»eif. I am deter
mined to know for duty's sake, if nothing
else, whether or not injustice has been
done Noel Brent; and I will know, at
whateveT sacrifice."
I was so aghast at her. and so at a loss
what to do with any one who seemed so
Insane, that for a moment I could not
think what to say. And In that moment
something happened. A very handsome,
tall, dark young Frencnman appeared in
the street close to where our coupe was
drawn up at the pavement In an In
stant he had disappeared again; but as
he passed us I heard something fall on
the asphalt with a soft thud that had a
subdued undertone of a "chink" in It
I was looking out of the window on
that side, for I'd been ready to direct the
coachman to take us home, and, I saw
that a little silk bag lay on the pavement
I was sure that the young man must
have dropped it and was Just on the
point of calling after him when Marion
gripped my arm very hard. "Sh!" sh«
whispered, "unless you want Noel Brent
to know. There h« is, down there at
Juliette de Nevers' gate; and oh, «ee!
somebody's letting him In. Somebody
must have been waiting."
There was a queer note In her voice
that sounded more like Joy than sorrow;
but to do her Justice, I was In no state
to Judge of other people's feelings and
motives. I even forgot about the young
man who had dropped the silk bag close
to our carriage. I started back from the
window, though it was on the wrong side
and we were almost at the far end of the
street from Mademoiselle de Nevers*
I sat shrinking against the cushions for
a few minutes in. a perfect panic for fear
Noel should suspect and think I had come
to spy upon him; but after awhile I re
covered myself a little, and said that If
Marion wouldn't drive home with me I
would leave her and get out and walk.
"I must wait and know how long he
stops with her," she exclaimed, with such
a greedy, curious air, that I could stand
no more. I flung open the door. Jumped
out of the coupe and almost stepped on
the little «llk bag.
Quite mechanically I stooped and picked
tt up, looking first one way and then the
other; but the young man who had. I was
sure, dropped it was nowhere to be seen.
It Is queer how, when you are only inter
ested in one thing in the world, still an
other part of your brain goes on acting
Independently of your real thoughts. I
suppose there must have been a vague
idea In my preoccupied mind that it would
be better to take home the bag as the
owner was gone, and then advertise It In
the paper, rather than let it lie In the
street perhaps to be carried off by some
dishonest person.
Anyway, I kept the bag In my hand,
though at the time I scarcely seemed to
be thinking about It I was listening to
Marlon, who begged me to come into the
coupe again and she would do anything I
wished. So I did, and we drove back to
the hotel, where I got out feeling as if the
whole experience had been a hateful
dream. And It was not until I had betn
In bed for nearly an hour that I remem
bered I must have left the silk bag In the
coupe, as I had no recollection of it after
getting Into the carriage and laying it in
my lap. I was sorry that I hadn't left it
in the street instead of taking responsi
bility upon myself and then failing to
carry it out But of course, it was too
late to do anything until next day. and I
could only hope that there had been noth
ing of real value in the bag— unless the
coachman proved scrupulously honest
It was a wretched night Never once
did I close my eyes. I was thoroughly
ashamed and humiliated, as well as un
happy. Maybe I had been vain, and
needed the punishment for my self-con
celt for I had been conceited enough to
believe that Noel loved me, and would be
true to tne even in spite of the fascina
tions of a beautiful woman like Juliette
de Nevers. Of course, though she is an
actress, she is received in society, and Is
tremendously admired for her beauty and
wit as well as her cleverness, so that she
Is a very formidable rival for any girl.
EU11, I am afraid I've been rather spoilt,
for I thought that Noel would prove true
to me, notwithstanding the .flirtations
Marlon mad* so much of with Made
xdolselle de Nevers and several other
women more or less prominent In the
world. But he himself had shown me un-
all three complimented tne on looking ex
tremely well; and already I tried to be
gin flirting a little, according to the agree
ment I had made with myself.
After breakfast I slipped away for a
minute while the others were planning
about going out, and told the people in
th9 bureau that I had lost a little silk
bag in the coupe last night— it would
have been useless to particularize about
its not being mine.
They said that they would sand to the
stables at once and see if such a thing
had been found: but I could not wait to
learn whether the cabman was honest or
not. I ran in to see Marion, pretending
to be very bright and gay, and ief using
to talk of what had passed last night.
She did not want to drive with us to see
the motor car, but it was arranged that
Aunt Clem and I should come back, for
her afterward, and we would go out to
gether shopping and luncheon at some
nice amusing place where our two men
would meet us.
We were a long time looking at the mo
tor car and deciding, for Lord Gawain
and Captain Menxies were both enthu
siasts about that kind of thing, it seemed.
Then came our calling at the hotel for
Marion, and a stroll through several shops
in th« Rue de la Paix: and it was two
o'clock when we got to Ritz's, although
we had promised Lord Gawain to be there
at half-past one.
He and Captain Menzies were waiting
for us, and Lord Gawain had a newspaper
in his hand. They both looked 6O queer
and grave that the minute we met Aunt
Clem asked what was the matter, wheth
er they had news that any of our friends
were ill or dead.
"Noel Brent is accused of murder," said
Lord Gawain. in his abrupt, tactless way.
But I couldn't believe my ears. I stood
listening stupidly, with a foolish half
smile on my face, while he went on ex
citedly to tell things which hardly seemed
to mean anything to me. '
"What nonsense!" I heard Aunt Clem
exclaim. "Why. we were talking to him
last night in our own hotel. He was all
right then."
"I'm afraid it was that appointment of
his which wasn't all rigM." her husband
said. "Anyway, it seems to have got him
into trouble. It's in this afternoon's Echo
de Paris, and no doubt the other papers—
the most extraordinary story I ever came
across in my life— reads like melodrama.
It seems Brent wanted to find a certain
man here whom ho couldn't find, and
went last evening: to a private detective
chap named Dubois. who has been giving
evidence to the police; lost no time In be
ginning the hunt, got hot on the scent at
last, followed it to a house in a street
near the Boulevard St. Michel, and there
in the room where he had been led to ex
pect he would find his quarry came upon
Noel Brent (who had. after all, been clev
er enough to get ahead of the detective
In the search) ransacking the room, and
covered with the blood of the wanted
man, whose dead body lay on the floor."
It seemed as If It were another person,
and not I, who went back that afternoon
to the Elysee Palace Hotel after hearing
that Noel Brent was in prison on a charge
of murder.
Naturally we were all certain that there
was a monstrous mistake; but If he had
been a stranger to us and we had read
the report in the newspapers we would
have thought the evidence very strong
against him. Dear Aunt Clem, who likes
and admires Noel immensely, tried to
laugh angrily and say how horrid and
ridiculous these French people were, al
ways doing something sensational and
stupid, having to eat humble pie after
ward. But Lord Gawain and Captain
Menzies did not think that the authorities
would have to eat humble pie at all,
however the case went, for they could not
do otherwise than they had done In the
face of the evidence. I did hate them so
for talking like that Men are horrid
when they parade their sense of Justice,
not making any difference whether it's an
affair of a friend or an enemy. But, of
course, no one in the party except Marion
dreamed that there had been anything
more than friendship between Noel and
me, so they talked quite freely.
As I listened to the evidence given so
far, which Lord Gawain explained to us.
as we did not care to read about It In the
paper, and realized the danger in which
Noel stood, all my proud resentment
against him seemed to be very trivial. No
matter what his behavior toward me had
been, he must have been sorely, tempted
by that other woman, and he was inno
cent of this crime with which they
charged him. I could not help forgiving
him everything, down deep In my heart,
and loving and yearning orer him with a
great tenderness, though he was nothing
to me any more— not even . a friend. I
wanted more than anything In the whole
world to help him, and as Lord Gawain
discussed the dreadful affair, I thought I
saw a way in which I could— Marion and
I together.
At least, Noel was splendidly loyal to
that woman at whose gate we had seen
him. When questioned he nad refused to
say where he had been between midnight
and ten minutes to 2. at which time the
detective had found him by the body of
the murdered man. among a heap of scat
tered papers, which showed that the room
had been ransacked In --»-~n of some
It h* ha/4 />Vif>e»n in foil narViann Vi«
crime, whether It was likely that after
committing a murder he would choose to
come back and remain* for some time in
the room with the dead body of his vic
tim: but that went for nothing because
of the disordered condition of the room,
which proved that a long and exhaustive
search had been made. And a motive
was supplied apparently through a state
ment of the detective, Dubols, who said
that Noel's object In having the mur
dered man "shadowed" was because a
thing of enormous value had been stolen,
which must be recovered immediately on
pain of the most disastrous consequences.
I was bo anxious to speak . alone with
Marion that when we got back to the
hotel I made her come into my room and
began at once upon the subject which I
had refused to discuss with her earlier in
the morning. I said very excitedly that,
as we knew Noel had been with Juliette
de Nevers at the time when the murder
was being committed, it seemed to me
that we ought to come forward and prove
an alibi, or whatever they call it, in spite
of himself.
But Marion had been thinking the thing
over more calmly than I had. She point
ed out to me that even If we took so bold
a course as to bring Mile, de Nevers'
name into the case when Noel was sac
rificing so ¦ much to save ,her, we could
do him no real good. I flew to the con
clusion at first that this argument .was
mere sophistry, because Marion was
ashamed of what we had done and could
not bear to be compromised; but she
went on to remind me that it was only
about twenty minutes or so past twelve
when Noel had gone In at the gate In
the Rue d'Anjou, and for all we. could
prove to the contrary he might have come
out again ten minutes later, for we had
not remained in the street longer than
that after seeing him.
If I had not been so obstinately deter
mined to go away, she said, but had con
sented to wait as she begged me to do,
we might actually be in a position now
to save Noel In spite of himself; but as It
was we could do nothing which would
help him in the eyes of tne law, for there
would have been plenty of time for him
to go from the Rue d'Anjou to the Rue
de la Tour between half-past 12 and the
tfcne when the man there was murdered.
I couldn't help seeing that Marion had.
right on her side, still I could not give
up the hope of doing something, when we
seemed to know so much; and it was so
dreadful to be told that our helplessness
was "all my fault" that I had to beg
Marion to leave me alone for a few min
utes, feeling that I should not be mistress
of myself.
She was angry at being asked to go
away, and slammed and bolted the door
between our rooms— but I did not care.
I wanted to think— and perhaps to cry.
However, I hadn't time to begin before
there was a knock at the other door, and
a servant of the hatel handed In a little
It was something which I had lost the
night before, he explained, and had been
sent to me, as I had left instructions at
the bureau.
I gave the man ten francs for the hon
est coachman, and almost mechanically
(not being in a mood to take interest in
irrelevant matters) I opened the brown
paper wrappings. Sure enough, inside
was the silk bag which I had so stupidly
forgotten in the coupe, and I untied the
ribbons, peeping in with. the idea of find
ing an addrass.
Even In my preoccupation I was aston
ished at what I did see— a wonderful
necklace of diamonds, or at least, if not
diamonds, a marvelous Imitation.
At any other time I should have been
curious and excited, and my first thought
would have been to put an advertisement
in the paper; but as it was It didn't seem
to matter very much whether the hand
some young man who had dropped the
bag got his property back to-morrow or
next week, though, of course, . he must—
if th© Jewels were real— be In a terrible
state of mind about it by this time.
I simply put the bag into a writing-case
that was in my big, fitted travelling bag,
locked it up, and went on working out
the plan that had come into my head
even before I had sent Marion out of the
Perhaps the idea was an absolutely mad
one, but I wanted more than I had ever
wanted anything to see Noel— not as a
lover, oh no I but merely as a friend
falsely accused of a crime whom I might
be able to help.
I had no knowledge of French police
procedure, but it seemed just possible
that I might be allowed to see him in
the presence of others, if the authorities
knew who I really was; and I thought, as
father liked Noel, he would not object to
my making use of his name as a sort of
passport, provided I could manage it.
Then it occurred to me that, as the police
people might not believe me If I went and,
announced that I was the daughter of the
British Home Secretary, I had better jo
to our Embaasador, who is a friend of
father's and ask if he could do anything
for me.
I could see that Sir George was reluct
ant to do anything for me in the matter,
perhaps because if he had a daughter he
would not thank my father to interfere
in such a way. But I persuaded him that
If he didn't help me I would try what I
could do without any help, which would
make things a lot worse. So he wrote a
letter to the Chief of the Police in Paris,
saying who I was, and asking as a favor
that I might be permitted a few minutes'
conversation with the accused man.
before it becomes more disagreeable. And
as for me, I saw you in the street after
you left us all in the hotel; that is why
I mention the other matter, because you
can guess that the two might be con
nected, and If there Is anything I can
I spoke very, very fast, hoping that the
warder might not be familiar enough with
English to catch every word, and only
hinting things Instead of saying them
straight out. But when I had gone so
far, Noel cut me short.
"I can't tell you how much I thank you
for this," he said. "It's ( far | beyond
thanks, though it's like you to have come,
Marg— Miss Revelstoke. It's comfort
enough formfc to think you should do It,
but as for what you propose it must not
be. Nothing would be gained— rather the
other way. Believe me when I say that
I know this. And neither you nor any of
my friends who— who are kind enough to
care— must be troubled about me. Every
thing will surely come right, sooner or
later, though I may have to suffer a lit
tle annoyance for a while."
"Annoyance!" I echoed. "If only it Is
no worse than that."
"It won't be. I shall be well defended.
It will all be shown up as a huge mis
"Is there nothing I— we can do, then?"
I asked, miserably conscious that he was
determined not to have Juliette de Nev
ers' name brought in.
He hesitated for a moment. "I sup
pose." he said at last, "that there's no use
hoping you will believe me innocent of
something else which— hurts me worse
than the accusation that has landed me
"I think there's not much use talking of
that." I answered.
"Well," sighed Noel, "I won't talk of it
then, though I hoped— oh, don't misunder
stand me— I know that after all this dis
graceful publicity I would not have the
right to press for anything beyond bare
justice. I wouldn't do it even if I had the
right. But I hoped you might have come
to say that, though nothing could be as
It might have been, you believed me
The tears started to my eyes and I
turned away. "This wouldn't have made
any difference," I said in a muffled, brok
en voice. "But there even are more rea
sons why I can't believe what you ask
me to than you know. That's partly why
I came, for I would give'anythmg to help
"I regret to inform mademoiselle that
the five minutes permitted for her inter
view with the prisoner have expired." an
nounced the warder in French. "She will
have time but for adieu."
I held out my hand to Noel, and he
grasped it. pressing it so tightly that it
hurt. "Anything!" I repeated.
Suddenly a light flashed into his eyes,
and his face flushed up to his forehead.
You are an angel of generosity." he
said, in a conventional tone, though a
quiver ran through his voice. Then, very
low and au.ck-so quick, so unexpectedly
that I could scarcely understand— he spoke
In Italian. "For more than my life, go to
the room of the murder; get in somehow,
and take from the front of the stove, un
der the ashes, a parchment. Give it to
Juliette with your own hands. Every mo
ment counts. I've no one else to ask, or
I'd cut off my hand sooner than put it on
you.' 1
With a swift. resentfHl movement of
suspicion the warder came close to us.
"That is forbidden!" he said sternly. "In
what language did you speak?"
"He spoke in Italian." I answered has
tily, looking as Innocent as I could "and
he only bade me good-by. We' have
been very dear friends. It Is hard not to
have a last word for purselves alone."
¦ "That may be true; but it is neverthe
less forbidden," replied the warder, glar
ing reproachfully at Noel. "I must re
port this: and no further communication
can be permitted."
With this, Noel was so Bharply ordered
to go that my ears tingled, and I should
have liked to kill the whole French police
force. To hear a little wretched police
man speak like that to my dear, brave,
big Englishman, and to know that It
would only be childish of him to resist—
oh, it was unbearable!
Noel only held his head rather high, and
pressed his lips together^ and at the door
as he was going out he threw me back
one look. It said as plainly as if he had
spoken: "Remember!"
I did Indeed remember; but it was not
until I had driven part of the way toward
home that I entirely realized the full
meaning of those few hurried, stolen
sentences in Italian, with which Noel had
defied the law.
I was to go— I was to do— oh, it wasn't
possible that Noel should have asked such
a thin* of me!
But the protest of my soul could not
change thfe thing that was. He had asked
it, and he had said that it meant "mote
than his life." He had dared to send me
on a mission to that woman for whose
sake he had flung my love away, and— I
would go. Oh, yes, I would go, if it killed
me. I had told him that I would "do any
thing," and he had taken advantage.
A kind of fury possessed me. If I had
known that death in some ghastly form
awaited me in the horrible house to which
Noel .was sending me, still I would have
gone. . •
When the first confession of my. mind
had passed I thought very clearly— as
clearly as I ever had in my life.
Noel's words— "get In somehow"— were
in themselves a warning that I should
, have . difficulty in getting aamitiance to
the room where the murder had been
done. '
I tried to think it all out, ignorant as
I was of such things. The body, proba
bly, would have been taken away by the
time, but perhaps the house would be
guarded by the police.. If not that— since
many people lived there and would be
inconvenienced by such a proceeding— at
all events It was certain that strangers
would not be allowed to prowl morbidly
at their own sweet will about the room
where a great crime had been committed.
To get in and do what Noel wanted done
without being seen in the act, and more
harm than good accomplished, I would
have to bribe somebody very heavily.
Even that might not succeed— but it
would surely be the only hope; and I
turned my attention to considering my
I had left home at very short notice
and had only brought with me to Paris
what I had at hand— enough to do a little
shopping, which would be more a cloak
for my state of mind that a genuine
This morning I had started out with
about £20, after giving Marion the same
amount, and I had bought a couple of
expensive hats, some silk stockings and
some smart handkerchiefs in the Rue de
la Paix, so that now I hadn't much more
than £5 left. Marlon had spent quite as
much as I had, and I rembered laughing
at Aunt Clem's slang, when she had ex
claimed on the way to Ritz's that she was
"cleaned out."
If I found that I had to bribe some po
liceman In charge, or even the concierge,
it would be worse than useless to make a
stingy bid. I must offer so large an
amount that, even if the bribed official
were discovered and dismissed, he would
have at least what we could have earned
in his situation in a year. That might
really tempt him. The sum that suggest
ed itself to me was £100. I might begin
with offering less, but I would want to
have that to work up If necessary. Yet
how was I to get it?
Of course, I might apply to Lord Ga
waln, but he is such a reckless man
about money, always forgetting to take
enough when he goes anywhera, that it
was doubtful if he would have half as
much to spare in a hurry; and even if he
had he would be very curious and sur
prised at my asking for it at a moment's
notice. And I must have it at a moment's
notice, for Noel had said, with a desper
ate look in his eyes, that "every minute
There wasn't time to telegraph home
there wasn't time to do anything; but
suddenly in the cab I clapped my hand*
together and gave a little cry— for the
queerest idea had darted into my head.
They knew in the hotel who I was, and
that If I said I could get money at a cer
tain time it would be all right. I couldn't
ask them very well to U-nd It, though,
with no security at all. But there was
that diamond necklace I had found. It
wouldn't be claimed till to-morrow some
time, even if I sent an advertisement to
the papers the first thing when I got
home— which I shouldn't really -take time
to do; and, meanwhile, I would ask the
manager to loan me £100 on it. If it were
real, as I hoped, he might do that as a
favor; and I could get the money from
home in twenty-four hours; yet if It were
not real? Well, I could but try!
Told by Juliette de Nevers.
We had looked everywhere for the dia
mond necklace, Maxlme and I, and to him,
poor fellow, its loss for the second time
seemed all-important He did not see in
red letters, always before his eyes, these
two words. "The Treaty," as I did. He
was in happy ignorance of that other loss
which I— I, of all people in the world
had inflicted upon him. He was satisfied
with my statement that by means of a
person employed by me the necklace had
been recovered and given to him as a sur
prise. «
We searched the garden, the whole
street, and came back to search for the
second time the drawing room where we
had talked together. But it was all in
vain, and at last he left me to retrace his
steps along the way he had come, and to
make inauiries for the cab In which he
had driven part of the distance.
As for me, there was no thought of
steep, but when I had unlocked the door
of the boudoir, found the room empty and
the window j open, and talked with old
Henri (who admitted having seen the
English gentleman stealing cautiously
away). . there was nothing left for me to
do save wait in the. dim hope that Noel
Brent might return with news.
Clinging to this hope, I would not go
to bed. But when five o'clock came and
he had not returned, it seemed that for
an hour or two at least I must give. up
the Idea of seeing him. I undressed, there
fore," and went to bed.
When I awoke and looked hastily at my
watch, to my dismay it was after eleven
o'clock. I was wild with fear lest the
servants in their well-meaning stupidity
had sent important visitors away, refus
ing to disturb me. But when Agnes came
flying In answer to my violent ringing of
the bell, she said that no one had been.
There were letters, and a telegram, and
Henri had bought all the morning pa
The telegram proved to be from Max
lme, saying that he had not recovered
wumi w*s !.»., ui itutrnea anytmng cuu
cerning it. From Noel Brent there was
no word at all: and I could not under
stand his silence. Not to come or to
write, or even to wire!— it was cruel :i
less something had happened to him. i
determined to send Henri to the Ely«-e
Palace Hotel to inquire, and did so, about
12 o'clock-
Henri was not long In doing his errand,
though U seemed forever to me. When he
came, however, it was but to tell me that
which sharpened my anxiety.
"Mr. James Quest of Birmingham"
(that was the name, of course, for which
I had directed Henri to inquire) had gone
out after supping about midnight and
had not yet returned to the hotel.
The only delay of which my poor, affec
tionate old servant had been guilty was a
short ope. He had stopped and bought
all the evening papers, which, when he
had given me the news, he thrust into
my hands with a beaming countenance.
I would have flung the papers aside
without a glance when Henri's back was
turned had it not suddenly occurred to
me that, if Noel Brent had had an acci
dent of any sort. It might be reported.
When I read what had happened— how
he was accused of murder and while de
claring his innocence had refused to state
how and where he had spent the time be
tween midnight and a quarter to 2 in the
morning, my heart -went out to him In
a wave of gratitude for his brave loyalty.
Here was a man! He declined to speak
the words which would prove me a liar
to Maxlme and compromise me beyond
repair in the eyes of my lover.
My first Impulse was to hasten to the
Chief of Police, with whom I was per
sonally acquainted, and say: "Monsieur,
this gentleman cannot have committed
a murder in the Rue de la Tour between
midnight and a quarter to 2. for at twenty
minutes past 12 he came to my house and
did not leave till nearly half-past 1, as my
servant can prove."
I even sprang from my chair to ring
for Agnes and call for my hat and gloves
and order my carriage. But— I sat down
again and deliberately crushed the im
pulse. I could not yield to It. I dared
It was after 3 when Agnes, who had at
last despaired of inducing me to take
food, came again to the door of my bou
doir where I sat.
"Mademoiselle, the Count Ipanoff Is
here," she announced.
The words aroused me. "Send him
away. I will not see him!" I cried, an
"But he has sent a note, mademoiselle,
which he begs you to read. Here it is."
Curiosity born of fear made me open it.
I yielded to its bidding, and then— I
changed my mind, as doubtless he had
foreseen. I told Agnes that Count Ipan
off should come to me in the boudoir.
He entered, smiling— and the door was
softly closed.
"Well?" I said shortly, thrusting my
hands behind me when he held out his.
"My note told you the truth. I have
news for you. Of course you have seen
the papers? You know that your English
friend is in trouble?"
"The English friend whom you would
have liked to see arrested last night on a
ridiculous, baseless charge," I sneered,
boldly assuming my suspicions to be
facts. "This, no doubt, will also soon b«
shown to be baseless, because It Is equal
ly ridiculous."
"Ridiculous or not," said Ipanoff, "it Is
likely to cause you trouble, as well as
your discreet friend."
"I do not see that." I answered. "My
name does not enter Into the affair at all.
You have said— my friend Is discreet. Be
sides, It is nothing to me. What have I
to do with it?"
"As to that, you know best. But I com*
to you, as before, out or friendship, to
warn you, to help you, if I can."
"Your friendship— your help!". I echoed,
"You may need, and be thankful to
avail yourself of both. Would you not be
glad, to begin with, if you could know
what questions the Juge d'Instruction has
put to Mr. Noel Brent and what answers
Mr. Noel Brent has made?"
Strange that this very thought had been
torturing me before the man appeared—
the thought that questions had been asked
and answers given which might mean
everything • to me if I could only bear
them. But I answered, "That is impossi
ble. No one can know except the two
men present." .
"Three men were present. Besides those
two there was the lawyer whom the Eng
lishman has employed to see him through
the case. It is permitted now that the
accused shall be accompanied by his law
yer when he comes before the Juge d'In
struction. The gentleman whom your
friend has chosen is an acquaintance of
mine and is Indebted to me for his first
successful case. It is odd, Is It not. what
a fancy Monsieur Brent has for employ
ing my friends? Last night It was Du
bols. To-day It is Duplessis."
"You keep yourself singularly well In
formed of the movements of your friends
—and your enemies," I said. "But I ques
tion whether your information is often
trustworthy. I have reason to know that
you have— made mistakes."
"It would not be difficult for you to be
lieve If you understood the formalities.
Monsieur Brent's only need of a lawyer
to-day with the Juge d'Instruction was
to have a man who' would see that his
client's ignorance of French law did not
plunge him into stupidities which would
prejudice his cause."
mutaKaciy now roonsn nan wen my con
fidence In my own poor little power of
holding him. and I told myself over and
over again that I was completely dis
illusioned, that my love for Noel had
come to an end with my faith In him. I
even made up my mind that I would flirt
desperately with Captain Meniies, who Is
very good looking and nice; and if It ware
really true, as Aunt Clem said, that he
had been In love with my photograph for
a. year and carried It about with him in
South Africa, I would try to make him
more in love still with me, so that he
might propose as Quickly as possible.
He had done such brave things in tha
war that people were talking a great deal
about him, and if I decided to accept him
(which would please dear Aunt Clem),
Noel would be sure to see lots of para
graphs about the engagement In the pa
pers. I thought I should like to come out
very soon, ao that Noel would believe I
had not cared at all seriously for him.
In the morning, when It was time to get
up (it seemed as if it never, never would
be, the hours wer* so long), I stared at
myself critically in the glass, but I didn't
look as badly as one might have sup
posed. I was only a little pale, and my
eyes seemed somehow extraordinarily
large. I was glad I hadn't brought a
maid, for it was Just as well to be alone;
and after I had a cold bath and dressed
and pinched my cheeks, I really looked
very fit.
Marion didn't $et up for breakfast, but
I went down because I knew that Aunt
Clem and the others meant to be early,
on account of seeing the new motor car.
Sure enough they were in the cafe be
fore ne, and Aunt Clem had been so
anxious about ,my "attack of falntness"
that I . felt wretchedly guilty, thinking
of what Marion and X had sneaked out
to do after I had excused myself. But
might have saved himself, for several doc
tors gave evidence that the murder must
have been committed nearly an nour be
fore the crime was discovered by the very
detective whom Noel had employed to
seek the dead man.
Yet he would only say that he had left
the hotel at such and such a time and had
been walking the streets since, mention-
Ing some of the streets through which
he had passed. But nobody had come
forward who had seen him there, and the
concierge at the house where the murder
had been done made matters look very
badly for Noel by saying that, though he
had not been In the room during the
whole hour which must have elapsed,
when he came at about half -past 1, It
was for the second time. It seemed that
somebody had called an hour earlier, ask
ing In very English sort of French for a
Monsieur Poisson, an English friend of
hif. The concierge had been already In
bed in his little box, and had been too
sleepy to notice this man's face. The
only thing he had thought of was the
English-sounding accent, and as Monsieur
Poisson (who was away for the day)
often bad callers in the middle of the
night, he (the concierge) had not been
surprised that the little gentleman, who
had come to stay till Monsieur Polsson's
return, should also have a visitor at a
late hour.
When the concierge had been sound
asleep again for a while the English caller
went out, saying . he might come back.
And then the bell rang again and a man
came in for Monsieur Poisson, whom the
concierge supposed to be the same, but
would i.ot have been absolutely certain
(as he was very tired and sleepy) if he
had not asked and the man had ad
mitted it.
Noel had demanded. In denying the
So far I bad gone without once realizing
what it would be to come suddenly face
to face with Noel in circumstances so ter
ribly changed, or what his opinion of me
and my motives would be for coming to
him without being asked, now that we
were not even friends.
But all the terror of it came over me
while I waited In an ugly little bare re
ception-room, and every nerve and vein in
my whole body was throbbing, so that I
couldn't make up my mind what I meant
to Bay.
While I sat waiting— a perfect mass of
electric wires— there was a sound of foot
steps outside the door, and when It opened
there stood Noel himself, with two men in
uniform. One of them came in with him—
I suppose he must have been the warder—
and he stopped near the door of the room,
which was so small that everything one
said in an ordinary tone of voice could
be heard from one end to the other.
I sprang up. from the chair In which I
had been sitting and began to talk as
quickly as I could, for there was a
strange look in Noel's eyes which pierced
my heart, and I did not know What he
might say before he understood my posi
tion. .
"We were all so dreadfully sorry for
what has happened, Mr. Brent," I stam
mered, trying to be quite cool, like an
ordinary friend, though suddenly I loved
him more than I ever had, and could have
forgiven worse things ' than he had done
If only, only he had loved me, and riot
that other. "I couldn't help coming at
once, as I knew my father would wish
me to. fo 1 got permission to see you.
And— what I wanted to say is— at least
one, of, the, things— that I think the, lady
here in Paris, of whom we spoke at the
railway station in London : yesterday—
what ages ago!— might be able to: do
something to get you out of this position
| When there is anything new to improve your 2
• form you'll surely find it at the •
2 ' tTioricv B| S3.viriQ'* store *
jS firB Mr^*& ' ifli B~"* f\ "W^ ¦ £) 1 1 XT\ (~^ t^ W^k Smw A
9 i^?'"'s^B ' Si X^ M %JL a. m II ¦ W \^J I %J IBB gra TT
2 pMIS|Hp^Pifall;M^ tume; neither sight nor touch reveals * •
2 R : •'^HKB|Je|? > more an inspiration than an invention. •
J Photographed from life without. AGENCY FOR LA VIDA CORSETS. njotoaraphed trnix Ilf. with. 2

xml | txt