Against Odds - A Detective Story
by Lawrence L. Lynch
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'La!' she finished, 'I s'pose, come to think, he's been brought here now to be tried, ain't he?'

With the shadow of a smile upon his face, the officer turned toward the farmer.

'What is your complaint?' he asked courteously; and he shot me a glance which I knew meant, 'Let him tell his own story.' And now, being authorized to speak, Farmer Camp began to tell, in his own homely way, the story of the 'greenback swindle,' as he termed it. When he had reached the point in the narrative where I made my unlucky attempt to rout the swindlers, he turned toward me.

'I've had an idee sence, though my wife didn't agree with me much'—here came an audible sniff from Mrs. Camp—'that this here young man might 'a' meant well, after all, and we wus a little mite hasty; but, ye see, he'd been a-lookin' at us so long, an' my wife'd been a-noticin' it, havin' her mind kind o' sot like on confidence people and sech, that she felt kind o' oneasy at his sharp looks—they wus so keen, she said, an' so quick to look away, she got nervous, and said she felt as if he wus a-lookin' right inter my pockets.'

'There now, Camp, you needn't be a-excusin' me! I stick ter my idee. Anyone can see that the young feller ain't innocent, else somebody'd 'a' spoke fur him, fust off——'

Here Dave exploded audibly, and the officer checked her with a motion of his hand.

'Let me settle this point at once by telling you, madam, that the gentleman you have accused is an officer high in his profession, and sent here to protect the public and look after criminals. He had but just arrived, and it was because of this that he was without his officer's badge, which would at once have put those men to rout had it been worn and displayed to them. Let me tell you now, to prevent further mistakes, that the detectives upon whom we rely in greatest emergencies are always to be found in citizen's clothes, and they are not likely to display a badge, except when necessary.'

Long before the end of this speech consternation was written all over the face of Adam Camp, but his wife was made of sterner stuff, and when her better half had stuttered and floundered half through a sufficiently humble apology, directed, of course, toward myself, she broke in upon his effort, no whit abashed:

'There, Camp, it's easy enough ter see how we came ter make sech a mistake, and I'm sure the young man will bear no malice to'ard a couple of folks old enough ter be his parients. 'Twas them sharp-lookin' eyes that set me ter noticin' ye, when you was lookin' over Camp fust off, down to the Administration Building, and when you went an' sot down on the settee by him, an' then got up an' followed us so fur, what was I to think? You was a-watchin' us sure enough, only you meant well by it. But, land sakes! in sech a place, where everybody is tryin' to look out fur number one, I did what looked my dooty. I'm willin' to ask yer pardon, though, and I ain't goin' ter bear no malice.'

Overwhelmed by this magnanimity, I murmured my thanks and complete satisfaction with her amende honorable, and tried to turn the occasion to such profit as might be by questioning the man a little.

'You were saying that you changed a bill, or were about to do so. Did the man make any difficulty after I left you?'

'No, sir. He seemed in a kind of a hurry, and made out to be onsartin whether he could spare so much small money, as he called it. But finally he counted out a roll of bills, and had me count them after him.'

'There—in the crowd where you stood?'

'Wal, no. He took us to one side a little—right in behind the place where the little man was a-sellin' canes—sort of up ag'inst a partition, and there we made the dicker.'

'And he left you right away?' queried the officer in charge.

'Yes—jest about as quick as he could.'

'And the other,' I asked, 'the man who took you to this agent—the man with the large Sabbath-school class?'

'Oh! he asked us to go to the terminus station with him and see his young men; but my wife wanted to see things, and we jest went as fur as the door, out of perliteness.'

'And when did you discover that you had been swindled?'

'Wal, M'riar wanted to ride in one of them coopy things with a man-hoss behind and before; and when she got ready to get out, which was purty soon, I give one of them fellers a two-dollar soovyneer bill, but they made a great jabbering about it, and M'riar says, says she, "I guess they ain't got the change;" so I fished out some pennies, and a dime and two postage stamps, and after a bit they tuk 'em and waddled off. Then we got to lookin' up and down, and we didn't have no more 'casion to use money—M'riar was so busy seein' the folks and their clo's—till we got hungry, and then come the rumpus. When I come to pay the bill, they was a reg'lar howl, an' we come mighty near bein' marched off to the calaboose, same's you was. They said the bill I offered 'em first off, an' all the rest, was counterfeit.'

Until now Brainerd had taken no part in the dialogue; but now, with a quick glance in my direction, he asked;

'Will you describe the man who gave you the money—the supposed agent?'

Camp pondered. 'Wal,' he began, 'he was tall, 's much as six foot, I should say, an' his eyes were black an' big. His hair was consid'able long, and he had a good deal of it on his face in a big bushy moustache. He had a slim nose—and he wore a big di'mond on his little finger.'

'Did you notice his hands?'


'Wal, I did!' interposed his wife. 'I seen the di'mond, ef 'twas a di'mond. His hands was white—real white, 'long side of his face, and they looked like reg'lar claws; sech long fingers and pointed nails.'

'Ah!' Dave shot me a glance full of meaning. 'Now, Mrs. Camp, you seem a very observing woman. Will you describe the other man—the gentleman with the Sabbath-school class?'

The woman's head became even more erect, and her look more firm and confident than before. 'Yes,' she said at once; 'I can.' She cast her eyes about her, and, seeing a vacant chair near her interlocutor—the one lately vacated by myself—she seated herself deliberately, and began:

'He wasn't much to look at; about as big as you, mebbe, and about the same complected as that gentleman,' pointing to the sergeant at the desk, 'only his nose was longer, and sort of big and nobby at the end, an' a leetle red. I remember he had bigger ears than common, too; they sort of set straight out. His eyes were little, and a sort of watery gray, and his hair was kind of thin and sandy-like. He had some little mutton-chop whiskers, and a little hair, a'most tan-colour, on his upper lip. His mouth was quite big, and I noticed he had two front teeth with gold fillin' into 'em. He had gloves on his hands when we see him first, but when we met him afterward they was off.'

'Afterward, you say—did you meet him after you had discovered that you had been swindled?' I broke in.


'You see,' broke in Adam Camp, 'it was this way: we was comin' out of Midway, for we'd been out a'most to the end a-seein' the sights, an' when we got hungry we went into a place a blue-coat said was good, the Vienny Caffy, he called it. Well, it was there we had the fuss about the money, and they told us to come here right away and make a complaint. We started, and was jest comin' past that menagerie place, when M'riar wanted to stop jest afore the place and look at the big lion over the door.'

'A live one,' interpolated M'riar.

'Yes, a live one. Well, standin' there, all to once I see that Sunday-school feller come out o' the door a pickin' his teeth. He was right in front of me, and at first he seemed not to see me, and was hurryin' off dretful fast, but I caught on to his arm and says, quick-like: "Look here; I want to tell you somethin' fer your own good and to swap favers." Then he sort of slowed up, and axed me to pardin him—he was in haste, an' gettin' orful anxious about them boys. Then I says right out, "My friend, I'm anxious too, and you've got cause to be: you an' me's been swindled;" and then he most jumped, and asked, "How swindled?" "Hev you broke one of them two-dollar bills yit?" says I. "No," says he; an' then I up an' told him the hull story.'

'Did you tell him you were coming here?' I asked, as he paused a moment.

'No, because he got so excited and talked so fast; I declare, he put it all out of my head.'

Again he stopped, as if loth to continue, but again Mrs. Camp took up the parable.

'Now, father, yer may jest as well out with it! Ye see, this chap flew all to pieces, so to speak, an' he was goin' to have a officer right away. He had a letter of interducshun from his minister to home to the capt'in of the Columbine perleece—they was related somehow—and he would jest have them men arrested; an' then he happened ter think that 'twas gittin' late and time a'most for that train with them Sunday-school children to come, and it put him out awfully; but he said that he'd make it his bizness to see to that, and then he made a 'p'intment with Camp to meet him at half-past ten ter-day, an' they'd go tergether ter see the Columbine perleeceman.' She paused, and uttered a cackling laugh. 'Wal,' she concluded, 'Camp see that 'twas gittin' purty late, so he 'greed to it; an' I didn't say nothin', but arter he'd gone ter meet them boys ag'in I put my foot down ter come here fust, an' not to wait till mebbe the feller'd git away, and finally Camp reckoned 'twould be best, and so we came. Someway that feller sort o' went ag'in' me, to'rds the last. I don't want to be hasty ag'in, but I sort o' feel as if he might be kind o' tricky, 's well's the rest.'

It did not take us long to convince the Camps that they had been duped all round, and while we had little faith in their ever seeing the 'Sunday-school feller' again, we obtained their promise to keep their appointment with him; and here Dave Brainerd suddenly muttered an excuse to the two officers, and said in my ear, 'If I am not back in fifteen minutes meet me at the Administration at four sharp.' And with a nod to the Camps he went hastily out. I felt very sure of his errand. He had fancied, like myself, that 'Smug,' fearing lest the Camps might prove too clever for his wiles—perhaps suspecting the keen-eyed old woman—had followed them in order to assure himself whether it would be safe to keep his latest appointment with them, and this indeed proved to be the case.

Before the Camps left the place we had easily convinced them that their 'Sunday-school friend' and not I, had been the 'confidence man,' and that if he kept this last appointment with them it would only be to lure them into another trap, and a worse one, for it would have for its aim the suppression of any and all evidence they might have been inclined to give to the 'perleece.'

In convincing the gentle old man, and shattering his faith in my friend Smug, I could see that we had dealt his simple, kindly nature a real blow, but Mother Camp was of sterner stuff.

'You needn't worrit about me, not now,' she assured me, with a vigorous nod. 'After gitten' into one trap I ain't a-goin' to tumble into any more, an' I ain't goin' ter let him, neither, not when I'm on hand. I've told that man, more times 'n I've got fingers an' toes, that he was too soft-hearted; allus feedin' tramps 'n' stray dawgs, an' swallerin' all the beggars' yarns.'

'I guess ye needn't worrit, M'riar,' the old man said, with a faint show of spirit. 'Things might 'a' been worst. I didn't aim ter squander a hundred dollars to one lick, but I've got'n nuff left yit ter see the Fair an' git home on, so I guess we may as well be a-seein' it; a body hes to live, live an' larn.'

And with this sentiment the pair took their departure, a little the wiser, and more wary, perhaps, for the words of warning and advice given them by the officer in charge, who had taken their names and address, and made a memorandum of their 'complaint.'

He had smiled slightly when told their street and number, and had remarked that at least Stony Island Avenue had the merit of nearness, adding the friendly caution, 'Don't make boarding-house acquaintances, good people, and keep on the bright side of the way in going home late.' Whereupon I made a mental note to investigate this same hardly-named avenue.

Long before the end of the Fair I had cause to thank myself for this mental note, and that it was held in remembrance.

Brainerd did not appear at the stipulated time, and I was too eager to be out in full sight of that wonder city to remain at the bureau; so taking the Intramural Railway at the nearest station I began to circle in and out among those marvels of genius, skill, and nineteenth century enterprise which, combined, had placed, in a time so short as to seem a miracle, this city of beauty beside the blue Lake Michigan.

And now I began to ask myself why the visitor who had nothing to do but to see this wonder of wonders, and had no need to keep one eye upon the passing faces, did not see it, at least until it grew familiar from that point of view, from a seat in an Intramural.

What a kaleidoscopic panorama! In taking my place I had not even noticed the direction in which I was moving. I had been seeing such a marvel of glimpses, domes, roofs, the lagoon in the distance, a flashing glimpse of the lake through glittering, airy turrets, trees, statues, flags—beauty and charm everywhere. I had taken a round-trip ticket, and I whirled on and on, until somehow I saw the great glass dome of the Horticultural Building, and a moment later a fleeting view of Midway recalled to my mind my own personality and interests. As I gazed at it, stretching away westward, a veritable Joseph's coat of a street, it was gone, and I saw the tall dome of Illinois, the Art Gallery in the distance, with the lagoon again gleaming through trees, to be lost again, while roofs, windows, vistas of streets surrounded me, and I could peep in at the windows we were passing; and then I heard the cry of the guard, and noted the name as we slacked speed at Mount Vernon Station, almost upon the roof of the Old Virginia Building. I peered out as we drew up to this station in the air, and drew back a little as a second train, moving in the opposite direction, dashed by. I am in the rear car, and as we move away from Mount Vernon, suddenly I have a vision of someone who must have flung himself from the forward car at the last moment, and who is running along the platform, and in the direction of the passing train, in breathless haste, his head bare, his hat clutched in his swinging hand.

It is Dave Brainerd, and as we tear around a curve and he is lost to my sight, I am brought back to thoughts of business. Dave has evidently 'struck a trail.' Wondering much, I stop at the north loop, and standing with the Government Building to my right and the Fisheries with its curving colonnades on my left, I gaze off upon the blue and shining waters of the lake, and realize fully for the first time the awful incongruity between all this stateliness and beauty and our mission in its midst—a criminal hunt!



Our chief had arranged for us, and in advance of our arrival, that our letters should be received at the bureau, where a desk was always at our disposal; and a little before four o'clock I dropped in once more to look for letters and ask if Dave had made a second appearance. The letters were in waiting for both of us, but there was no news of Dave, and, stowing the letters in my pocket, I sought once more the Court of Honour; seating myself near the great MacMonnies Fountain, in the shade of the Administration Building, where Dave could not fail to find me, to read my letters and wait for him.

I was in no haste, with that magnificent court spread out before me, and the blue dancing waves of Lake Michigan in the distance, Nature's background for the great Peristyle, surmounted by that novel and beautiful Columbus quadriga, in itself a work of art such as is seldom seen, and with golden Justice, dominant and serene, commanding and overlooking all.

Forgetting my letters, I let my eyes wander slowly from point to point of beauty, letting the moments pass unheeded.

'Fine figure of a woman, eh?'

I started, and came suddenly down to earth, at the sound of one of my friend's characteristic speeches. He was standing beside me, as imperturbable of countenance as usual, but looking somewhat blown; and he dropped upon the bench, and stretched his legs, and pulled off his hat, like a weary man who means to enjoy a little well-earned rest.

I knew him too well to display any curiosity, and I merely sorted out from the bundle of letters still unopened in my hand those bearing his name, and laid them upon his knee, and with merely a nod and smile, by way of greeting, addressed myself to my own.

The first was a brief business document; the next a schoolboy's letter, short, of course, from a young brother, my sole living tie and charge. The third was from our chief, and I saw, upon opening it, that it was addressed, within, to both of us.

'Dave,' I ventured, 'may I interrupt?'

'You can't,' he replied. 'I've done. They're of no consequence,' and he thrust the two missives I had given him into his loose side-pocket. 'Blaze away, boy.'

The letter was not long, and, after some minor instructions and some suggestions, came this passage:

'"I wonder if either of you remembers the case of the Englishman who wrote us at much length some six months ago concerning his son, 'lost or missing'—we did not succeed in finding him in New York——"'

'And small wonder,' chuckled Dave, whose memory was a storehouse. 'We hadn't even the skeleton of a description.'

'"In New York, you remember,"' I read on, '"and it has seemed to me that you may as well look out for him in your intervals of leisure, if there are such."'

'Old man's growing sarcastic,' grumbled my friend.

'"It's a good thing, if successful,"' I continued; '"and the Fair is the best place in the world for a 'hide out.' If the young fellow's above-ground I'll wager something he's in Chicago now; that is, if he really did come to America a year ago, as his fond father (?) writes. I enclose for your further information his letter; and I would be proud of the fact if you two fellows could unearth him at the Columbian City. I give you carte blanche for the case."'

'Umph! That means roll up your sleeves and go in.'

I took up the copy of the Englishman's letter. 'Shall I read it?' I asked, 'or is it——'

'Don't say "engraven on your memory,"' implored Dave. 'Yes—go ahead.'

'"DUNDALK HOUSE, '"January 3, 1893.

'"MESSRS. ——.

'"GENTLEMEN,—On November 6th, in the year 1892, Carroll L. Rae, Esq., of Dundalk House, left his home, ostensibly for a few days in London. He was never seen again at Dundalk, and we have been accurately informed that he sailed for America in that same month. Being of age, he drew from his bankers while in London one thousand pounds, the full amount deposited to his credit; since that time no trace of him has been found.

'"Carroll L. Rae is twenty-six years of age, and tall, lacking one-half inch of being six feet in height. He is slender, broad-shouldered, upright; fair skin, blue eyes, brown hair; features regular and refined; hair worn very short, but inclined to curl close to skull; strong in athletic sports; a graduate of Queen's College; has small, aristocratic feet and hands; a skilled horseman; sings a fine and unusually high tenor; has a singularly strong control over all animals. We have no portrait of him since childhood. Has strong leaning toward military life and somewhat literary tendencies. Am prepared to send blank cheque for the payment of expenses of thorough search, and add as reward when found two thousand pounds. Address all correspondence to

'"SIR HUGO RAE, '"Dundalk House, Egham, '"Surrey."'

'Umph!' broke out Brainerd, when I had read the last word. 'Typical old English paterfamilias! Tyrannical, I'll be bound. I'll bet something the young fellow ran away from parental tyranny. How did the thing come out at the first attempt? I don't seem to recall it.'

'And for a good reason. You were in Canada, and I was occupied with that Rockville murder. I think they put Sturgis on the case. English himself, you know.'


'Well, as nearly as I remember, Sturgis advertised, to begin, "something to his advantage," etc.'

'Of course!' contemptuously.

'This failed, and he made the tour of the hotels, swell places first, then going down in the scale, hunted the registers; haunted the places most affected by the English tourist; halted good-looking, or English-looking, blond young men until they turned on him. In fact, tried all the dodges—and failed.'

'Of course! It's one thing to find a person who has been hidden, and quite another to search for one who hides himself. What do you think has set the chief to looking this lost son up here, and through us?'

'Why, you know his ways—he seldom stops to explain; but I fancy he may have heard again from Sir Hugo Rae.'

I took up the two sheets, and was about to thrust them into their envelope, when Brainerd suddenly said:

'Hold on, boy! there's something written across the back of that copied letter.'

I turned it over and read the half-dozen lines written thereon:

'"Carroll Rae, if found, is to be told at once that his brother, Sir Hugo, is dead."'

'Oh!' ejaculated Brainerd; 'so it's not his father. Well, that alters things. We may be able to find a Sir Carroll Rae, especially as he must have about exhausted that thousand pounds if he has been doing the States in true English style.'

'At any rate,' I added, 'it's on our books. I suppose one may keep an eye out for a swell young Englishman here as well as elsewhere. It's only one more face in the crowd.'

'And that reminds me,' said my friend. 'This business almost put it out of my head. I took a turn on that Intramural road this afternoon.'

'Yes?' I knew better than to interrupt at this point.

'And I saw, I am sure I saw—whom do you think?'

'Dave, that's like a woman! I'm surprised at you. You saw Delbras.'

'Wrong! I saw, I'm certain of it, Greenback Bob.'


'He was dressed very swell—you might have mistaken him for one of the board of directors; but it was Bob.'

'And you piped him home, of course?' I queried.

'Of course I didn't. He was going one way, and I the other, each on an Intramural car.'

'Oh! and you were running to stop the car, and Bob, when I saw you at Mount Vernon Station,' I said wickedly; 'did you overtake it?'

'I did—just.'

'And Bob?' eagerly.

'Well,' with a grin, 'I'm sorry to disappoint you, but when I jumped on board, at the last moment, I found that Bob had got off while I got on. In fact, I saw him going downstairs as I was borne away to Fifty-seventh Street. There, boy, don't look so mournful; it's all in the game. I couldn't find a trace of him; but we know he's here.'

* * * * *

I had decided on the night of my arrival, after pondering late the adventure of the black bag, or, as I now described it to myself, Miss Jenrys' bag, upon my course of action concerning it.

In her letter to her friend she had mentioned the entrance at Fifty-seventh Street as being near their place of abode, and I had promised myself that I would be early at that gate to watch for the coming of Miss Jenrys, and to restore her property—what else?

But I had not counted upon a diamond robbery at the very beginning of my World's Fair adventures, and as I wished to go unaccompanied, I did not attempt to stand guard at evening.

But the second morning saw me at an early hour alone, and so near the gate at Fifty-seventh Street that I could in no possible way miss the lady should she appear.

I had not needed to avoid Dave. He had been prompt to tell me that he meant to put in the day looking for Greenback Bob, and that he should 'do his looking' upon Midway.

'And why Midway?' I had asked him.

'Because, if there's a place that is better than all other places in which to hide one's self, that place is the Midway.'

It was quite true; and as I made my way toward the northern entrance, I turned over in my mind an idea suggested, or revived, by Dave's last words.

As I passed toward the entrance between the unique little house of South Dakota on one side and hospitable and home-like Nebraska State Building on the other, my gaze was caught by the restfulness and charm of the western facade of the latter, with its broad portico and the little lawn lying between the broad steps facing the western boundary of the grounds, the little stream flowing under overhanging trees of nature's own planting, and past the little natural arbour of climbing vines draping themselves among the branches, making shade and coolness for the groups loitering underneath upon the rustic seats scattered freely and inviting all.

While I gazed, a voice close behind me said, in a wheedling drawl:

'Dew come in! You never saw sech a place! Why, upstairs beats this all out of sight. Sech parlours, with velvet chairs, and sofys, and a pianer; I tell ye Nebrasky beats some o' them stuck-up Eastern States!'

I turned, to see a fat, rosy-faced and eager woman, in the defiant bonnet I have learned to know as from 'out west,' piloting a lean and reluctant woman, quite as typical as a rural New Englander, through the gate of the inclosure; and, prompted doubtless by the words I had just heard, I took another and more extended survey of the building so justly extolled, this time lifting my eyes to the upper window and the balcony overhanging the stream.

Was it a mere passing resemblance, or a fancied one, or was the face I saw for just an instant at one of those upper windows the face of the little brunette adventuress who had laid claim to Miss Jenrys' bag? If so, she had been scanning the increasing crowd through an opera-glass, and had dropped this in seeming haste, and vanished, before I could prolong my glance.

'It's hardly likely,' I said to myself, and turned toward the bridge spanning the little stream, and lying between me and the entrance I sought.

As I stepped upon the bridge I saw, on the other side, just coming out from the shadow of the elevated tracks above the entrance, the lithe form and rare blond face, not to be mistaken anywhere, with its fine clear contour, its dark eyes, and fine healthful pallor.

She came forward leisurely, and stopped by the railing at the edge of the platform to look down at the white-hooded Laplander who constantly paddled up and down in the little stream, between the bridge and the Lapland Village behind the inclosure, a few rods to the north.

Just then there was a cry from beyond the gates, followed by the rat-tat-tat of a drum, and one of those perpetually arriving 'processions' came filing down the platform and across the bridge. I was in no haste to accost Miss Jenrys at the very entrance, and possibly in the face of one or more of my ever-present brethren of the watchful eye, and so, while she waited unhurried upon one side of the bridge, I stopped also, looking down upon the little stream and feigning interest in the white-robed canoeist paddling, and doubtless perspiring, in the mild June air. The procession was not a long one, and was formed of boys, half-grown, and wholly effervescent, wearing what was evidently an extemporized uniform, and carrying a banner which informed me that it was a boys' school, sent from an outlying town through the liberality of an 'Honorable' somebody whose name I did not hear; for the fact of the sending was not emblazoned upon the red-silk banner they carried, but was announced, often and willingly, in reply to numerous queries all along the line.

They were a healthy and wholesome lot of fellows, and while I gazed at them, not without a feeling of interest in and sympathy with their day's pleasure, a little figure flitted past me, through the tiniest of spaces between the marching lads and myself, pressed close against the rail, and I saw again the little brunette hastening toward the platform at the gate. Wondering a little, I kept my post.

There was the usual rabble of all sorts and conditions swelling the ranks in the rear, and when these had crowded across the bridge, there was another throng of more leisurely moving visitors. But Miss Jenrys was not in this throng; and when they had passed and the stream of travel had somewhat thinned I moved forward, only a few steps, however, for just beyond me, advancing slowly, with a smile upon her lips, and her eyes turned toward a companion, came Miss Jenrys.

She had entered the grounds alone—of that I had been ocularly convinced; and that she should find a companion so soon had never entered my thoughts.

But she had a companion, and I almost gnashed my teeth as I saw tripping along at her side the little brunette.

She was talking volubly, in the low, quiet manner that I knew, and if she saw me in passing she disguised the fact skilfully.

I waited until they were a few paces ahead, and then followed them slowly, chewing the cud of bitter reflection.

Could it be that I was losing my skill in reading and judging faces—I, upon whom the men of our force relied for a rapid, and usually correct, guess at a strange face? Was I mistaken in this little brunette, then? Or had I been mistaken in my judgment of Miss Jenrys?

No, never! I had set her down at once for a lady, in the sweet old-fashioned meaning of the word—womanly, refined, good and true; and had not her letters confirmed this? But this dark-haired, quick-speaking little person by her side—was she, after all, a friend? And had I committed a faux pas in refusing to deliver up the little bag? And if so, had I the courage to approach these two and commit myself? Could I tell Miss Jenrys how, failing to think of a better way of finding her, I had read her letters? I had meant, of course, to do this; but could I, with those pert, mocking eyes upon me? No; in my heart I knew that it was not that which vexed me. Could I bear the scrutiny of those clear, straightforward brown eyes in that other presence, which would put me at so sore a disadvantage?

Then I shook myself and my senses together. After all she came alone. Might they not separate soon? How could I tell that there was not a friend, several friends perhaps, waiting for that troublesome brunette back in the Nebraska Building?

They were walking straight down the street toward the lake, with a row of State buildings upon one side and the great spreading Art Gallery on the other. It was a perfect June morning, and the sight of the blue lake at the end of that splendid promenade, and the fresh breeze blowing off it, were inspiriting. There was to be some State function that day, and the crowd was thickening. Made bold by numbers, I came close behind them. Miss Jenrys had unfurled a big blue umbrella, and the two walked in the shade of it; and in order to screen myself, in part at least, should the brunette, whom I was beginning to detest heartily, turn and look suddenly back, I shook out the closely-rolled folds of my own umbrella and poised it carefully between my face and the sun.

And now, made bold by my canopy, and frankly bent upon hearing what I could, I drew daringly near, and when they stopped and stood to gaze at the ornate New York State Building, I halted also.

'By no means,' I heard the soft voice of the lovely blonde say, as she moved back a pace to look up at the facade. 'That would be quite too enterprising. I am chaperoned by my aunt, who is not so good a sight-seer as myself, and for two days I have ventured——' Here the sharp call of some hurrying chair-boys drowned her words, and I next heard the brunette's voice.

'Things do happen so strangely'—it was impossible to catch all of her words—'mamma is sick so often—and papa—I do dislike being alone, though—in the Art Gallery—acquaintances. That is all—I do wish——'

They moved on, Miss Jenrys increasing her speed perceptibly, and seeking, it seemed to me, to walk a little aloof from her companion, which caused me to wonder if she could be expecting or hoping to meet anyone. I was no longer able to hear their conversation, but they again paused and gazed long at the fine colonial building of the State of Massachusetts.

I had hardly looked to see Miss Jenrys enter the placid New York halls, but when she turned away from Massachusetts without entering or so much as climbing the terrace steps, I wondered; and then, as the pair turned away, and after a moment of seeming hesitation moved on toward the lake, a man, tall and well dressed, passed me so closely and at such a rapid pace as to attract my attention to himself. He walked well, with a quick, swinging stride, and I think I never saw a man's clothes fit better. His hands were gloved, and in one of them he carried a natty umbrella, using it as a cane. I had not seen his face, for he turned it neither to right nor left; and his splendid disregard for the beauties all about him was explained when I saw him halt beside Miss Jenrys and hold out a hand with the assured air of an old friend. I was near enough to see the smile on her face when she turned to greet him, but the few quick words they exchanged were of course unheard. Then I saw her turn toward the brunette on the other side; but that brisk little person had already drawn back, and now she said a word or two, nodded airily, and, turning, went quickly away.

A moment later Miss Jenrys and her companion turned about and went toward the Massachusetts Building, and I saw his face. It was dark and handsome; and as they mounted the terrace side by side I pressed boldly forward, under the shadow of my umbrella, and thanking my lucky stars that I had it with me, and that—because it was on the cards that at ten o'clock I was to go to the rendezvous where Farmer Camp was to meet, or await, Mr. Smug, for he knew him by no other name—I was lightly but sufficiently disguised in a wig slightly sprinkled with gray, and long about my neck and ears, and a very respectable looking short and light set of moustaches and whiskers, the whole finished with a pair of gold-rimmed glasses.

Wearing these, I ventured so close that I heard, while toiling behind them up the broad old-fashioned stairway, a few fragmentary words from the lips of Miss Jenrys, who seemed replying to some question.

'I cannot, indeed—the best of reasons. My aunt is not here, Mr. Voisin.'

'Mr. Voisin!' I fell back and meditated. So this was the handsome Frenchman, the rival of 'him'! I did not again attempt to overhear their conversation, but I followed them about the building as they moved slowly from room to room, and now I did not follow with my eyes upon the graceful and stately movements, the lovely profiles and turns of the head, of the fair woman moving on before me, but I noted carefully every gesture, every pose and turn, the gait, carriage, and as correctly as possible the height, weight, and length of limb of Mr. Maurice Voisin of France, and I felt that I was doing well.

When at last they turned from the building, which neither had seemed in haste to leave, I looked at my watch, and knew that I had barely time to reach the southern end of the grounds even aided by the Intramural. As I came out upon the street once more, and was passing hurriedly by the eastern portico of the New York Building, I chanced to lift my eyes toward it. The great curtains between the fluted columns were swaying in the breeze, and from between two, which she seemed to be trying to hold together with unsteady hands, the face of the little brunette, dark and frowning, looked cautiously out.



When Farmer Camp had presented himself at the rendezvous after his visit to the bureau, he had found Smug awaiting him, but in company with a muscular stranger, with whom he represented himself to have important business; and after a few 'leading questions,' which Camp answered quite naively, the two excused themselves, Smug making a second appointment for the following day.

Again the farmer was prompt, and this time Mrs. Camp also. I did not make my presence known to them, and Smug did not appear, so I left them to digest this clear case of perfidy, while they viewed the wonders of the Transportation Building and the great golden doorway; and, believing, like Brainerd, that the Midway was a mine likely to yield us at least a clue, I turned my steps westward, my thoughts a singular medley, in which the Camps, Miss Jenrys, Delbras, Greenback Bob, the little brunette, and Monsieur Voisin were strangely intermingled; and—I am obliged to admit it—the young fellow who had accosted me upon Midway, and avowed a knowledge of Miss Jenrys, was also in my thoughts.

If it was true that he knew the owner of the black bag, why not question him—carelessly, of course? Perhaps—well, perhaps he knew Monsieur Voisin also.

I could hardly have given myself a reason for this sudden anxiety, but it was there, and it sent me straight down Midway Plaisance, as nearly in my former tracks as was possible. It was too late for breakfast, I assured myself, and far too early for luncheon, ergo, if my friend the guard was still upon his beat, I must surely see him, sooner or later.

And so it proved. As I emerged from the shadow of the viaduct, over which the Intramural rattled and rolled, I saw him, not far ahead and coming toward me, his hands clasped behind him, his chin-strap down, his face absorbed, and seemingly oblivious of all about him.

When we were but a few feet apart, he turned upon his heel and began his backward march, with the same air of indifference to all about him.

As he neared the long low cottage opposite the village of the little Javanese, and having 'Java or Home Restaurant' over its door in big letters, and as I was nearing him, I saw him suddenly throw up his head and spring forward. At the same moment I noted a man—hatless, coatless, and wearing upon his waistcoat the badge which indicated his position as 'head waiter'—come running from the direction of the Home Restaurant, pointing as he ran, breathlessly, toward a man and woman who were walking rather briskly eastward.

As the guard came opposite this couple I saw him halt just a perceptible instant, his eye upon the hurrying waiter; then he stepped quickly before the coming couple and made a courteous but positive gesture, clearly an order to halt. The man did not halt, but brushed past the polite guard with a scowling face. He was a big fellow, flashily dressed, and with a countenance at once coarse and dissipated; and as he made a second forward movement I could distinctly see his hand drop, with a significant gesture, toward his right hip.

'Stop him!' cried the almost breathless head-waiter. 'A beat.'

At the word the woman made a little forward spring, and the man made a movement to follow.

'Halt!' commanded the guard, at the same time clapping a hand upon the man's shoulder, and then——

It was only the work of a moment.

There was a quick movement on the man's part, and I saw the butt of a big revolver, and called out in warning: 'Take care!' I might have saved my breath. The tall guard stood moveless until the weapon was actually in sight, and then the arm in the blue coat shot out, strong, swift, straight from the shoulder, and the pistol-arm dropped, the weapon fell to the ground, and the man staggered back, to be received in the unwilling arms of the head-waiter, to struggle there for a moment, and then to submit, quite as much to the fire in the young guard's eye as to the strength of his arm. The woman at the first sign of struggle had drawn away from her companion, slipped into the crowd about them, and was making off in haste, when I said, addressing the waiter:

'Must she be stopped?'

The fellow shook his head. 'Let her go,' he said; 'they were dodging their breakfast-bill.'

It was the common trick of a common sharper. Having ordered and eaten a late breakfast, they had called for something additional, and in the absence of the waiter had left their places near the door and slipped away.

It was over in a moment. The man, forced into honesty by strength superior to his own, sulkily paid the bill, while denying the claim, and then, like his companion, he slipped through the crowd and was soon out of sight.

Meantime, my friend the guard, with a look of disgust and weariness upon his face, had turned away the moment his duty was done, and I followed him, smiling a little over this reversal of our positions.

'Well,' I said, as I reached his side, 'I see there is good reason for your ability to judge a "straight-from-the-shoulder" knock-out blow.'

He turned quickly, and with a shade of haughtiness upon his face, which was lost in a smile as he recognised me.

'Ah,' he said courteously, 'good-morning! So you witnessed that pitiful affair. It does not fall to my lot to serve ladies.' He hesitated slightly, and then asked, 'Did you deliver up your find?'

I laughed and shook my head. I had fallen into step with him, and we were now moving slowly along his beat.

'If you refer to the lady with the dark eyes, who had the poor taste to ignore your presence,' I said, 'I did not. I may have committed a blunder, but my judgment condemned the little person.'

He turned toward me a quick look of interest.

'Then you thought——' He stopped, and the red blood dyed his face as on that first day.

'I thought,' I instantly took up the word, 'that she was an adventuress, not a companion or friend to the owner of the little bag.'

'And you were right,' he exclaimed. 'The lady who—who dropped the bag you found was alone when those foreign brutes with their palanquin ran against her. I was not near enough to reach her promptly; but I saw—and the other—the brunette, it is a strange fancy, perhaps, but I have thought that she had been following Miss—the lady, though for what purpose——' He stopped. 'It is no affair of mine. I—I am glad that the lady has her property.'

'But she has not got her property.'

'No? Pardon me, I did not understand.'

He had turned his face to the front, but I could see that he was agitated, and was holding himself under with a strong hand. As I walked beside him and noted his fine physique, the well-set head and clear-cut features, I felt genuinely attracted toward the manly fellow, and wondered what was the secret of his interest in that lovely girl, whom he had yet shunned; for, looking back upon the events of the previous day, I could see that he had purposely held aloof from the moment when he saw that a champion and protector was at hand.

'I had thought,' he said after a little, 'that is, I fancied there might be something—some clue to her whereabouts in the bag.'

'It was not complete,' I answered. 'When I could not overtake her, and the brunette did not recommend herself to my confidence, I opened the bag, after some hesitation.'

'Yes?' The syllable was a direct and eager question.

'I found nothing by way of identification save two letters, both unsealed, and these, after some reluctance, I opened.'

'Ah!' A trifle stiffly.

'The first was from a lady in Boston to a lady here at the World's Fair.'

'Indeed!' A freer tone, almost a sigh of relief.

'This gave me so little information that I was obliged to open the second letter, which was written, I suppose, by the owner of the bag, and not as yet posted; even this did not give me her address.'

'How strange!'

We had reached the end of his beat, and now I turned with him, and we sauntered slowly toward the Ferris Wheel. I felt that he was worthy of a grain of comfort, if I were able to give it, and I said:

'It was like this. The letter from Boston was written on the eve of a start for this place. The other letter, if posted, would have passed the lady for whom it was intended upon the road. This last letter, written supposedly by the owner of the bag, states that she, having left her New York home some time since, is now in the World's Fair City in company with an aunt, whom she describes as rustic, but delightful, and that because they are stopping very near the Fair she feels safe in coming alone on such days as her aunt elects to pass in the quiet of her own apartment; and the only clue to an address is the statement that she enters the grounds by the Fifty-seventh Street gate.'

'Ah!' It is a sigh of genuine relief. At last he has a clue, if a slight one. But what does he want of a clue? Having gotten thus far, I relate briefly my experience of this morning, omitting description and the name of Monsieur Voisin, whom I describe as a tall dark-haired gentleman, evidently a foreigner, and then I play my card.

I am here upon business of an important nature; my time is limited; I do not know the lady; and having committed the folly of holding back first because of the brunette, and last—well, because I had an especial reason for not coming under the notice of this strange man—in short, had I found the lady alone I should have returned her property; in the presence of a third party I did not wish to do so; and then I put my question.

He had said that he knew this young lady, and, being here day after day, he would be likely to see her again. She would be sure to revisit the Midway; and what could be more easy than for him to return her lost property, explaining as he chose? It would relieve me much; it would be to me a genuine favour.

The guard was silent for a time; then he paused in his measured walk and turned to face me.

'If I have not misunderstood,' he said slowly, 'you set out this morning for the purpose of restoring to the lady her lost property?'


'And—do you mean to tell me that because of the presence of this brunette first, and then of the man, you gave up the idea?'

'Quite so.'

'I confess,' he said, 'that I cannot understand why those people should be a hindrance; nevertheless, I am ready to believe that your reason is good and sufficient.'

'Thank you.'

'I trust,' he hastened to add, 'that you will judge me as generously when I say that I cannot oblige you. I know the name of the lady, it is true; but, much as I may desire to serve you, I cannot do so. My desire to avoid the lady, to remain unrecognised by her, is as strong as is yours to hold aloof from her escort. It's an odd position,' he added, with a slow half-smile. 'I trust the contents of Miss—of the bag were not of too great value—not indispensable to her?'

'By no means—quite the contrary; and this being the case, we will trouble ourselves no more about it. Of course I can't urge my request under the circumstances.' I could not repress a smile at the absurdity of the situation. 'And to say that I don't bear malice, as they say in making up a quarrel, let us exchange cards.' I produced my card, a simple pasteboard of the size known as the visiting-card, and with only my name engraved across it.

The guard drew back a step, and again that ready flush dyed his face.

'Pardon me. You are addressing me as one gentleman to another, and if I were to give you the name by which I am known here it would not be my true one. I will not give you a fictitious name, and—I can give no other.'

I was silent a moment, then—'I will not urge you,' I said; 'but at least, as man and man, equals, we can shake bands.' And I held out my own.

His face cleared instantly, and he promptly placed his palm upon mine.

'I can do that,' he said, 'as man to man, as an equal, and'—he threw back his handsome head—'I shall never, I trust, have reason to hesitate before giving my hand as an honest man to an honest man; and now——' He paused, and I with him.

'And now,' I supplemented, 'we are neither of us idlers. This is your beat?'

'For the present.'

'Then—I hope we shall meet again. Success to you.'

'And to you.' He lifted his hat as I turned away, and looking back a moment after, I saw him once more a Columbian Guard on duty, piloting an old woman across the street and away from a sprinkling-cart.

'Handsome enough to be a prince,' I thought. 'An American prince, and poor, doubtless. Honest, I'll wager; and with a mystery. I wonder if the world is pouring all its mysteries into this White City of the world.'



Two days had passed since my talk with my friend the guard, and although Brainerd, myself, and others had thoroughly searched Midway Plaisance, hoping to obtain a glimpse of our quarry or a hint of their presence, we had been unsuccessful. We found many things in Midway, but neither Greenback Bob nor his friend Delbras.

'I tell you,' Dave had said on the previous night, when we were discussing our failure and its probable reasons—'I tell you, Carl, these men began their business in Midway—I'm sure of it; and I solemnly believe that you're the fellow that scared them away.'

'I, indeed—how?'

'Simply by springing upon them in that Camp affair. I believe they spotted you.'

I felt chapfallen, for I was more than half inclined to believe that Dave's notion was the correct one, and I wondered that I had not thought of this myself.

'And if they did,' went on Dave, 'it would be the most natural thing in the world for them to "fold up their tents like the Arabs," etc. Don't you think so?'

'Granting your first premises,' I conceded grudgingly, 'your second, of course, are tenable. Perhaps you have an idea where their "tents" are now spread?'

'Oh, you always try the sarcastic dodge when you are beaten a bit,' grinned Dave good-humouredly; 'but that's all right. I think we may as well give the Midway a rest, at any rate.'

'I suppose you have noted that the Woman's Building has had more than its share of stealing of late?' said I.


'Well, you should read the papers, and look in at the bureau, once a day at least. They've had an attack upon the exhibits—failed, I believe—and a number of pockets picked.'

'Do you suggest the Woman's Building?'

'To-morrow I suggest the vicinity of the Court of Honour and the Administration Building. It's the Princess Eulalia's day, you remember; or had you failed to note that?'

'Go on, boy; wound me where I'm weakest,' scoffed Dave.

But I chose to ignore Dave's chaff.

'I suggest that we join the crowd early, and stay with it late.'

'Done!' cried he.

'It's hard to tell where they will elect to work. There will be a thinning out inside the buildings, but a crowd outside, and such a crowd as this will be—all with necks craned and attention fixed; ladies in gay attire, the cream of the city's visitors as well as the other side; and there will be at least half a dozen false cries of "There she comes!" and somebody's pocket will suffer at each cry.'

'Right you are!' agreed Dave. 'It'll be a swell crowd, and it's my opinion that our men will be in the thick of it.'

* * * * *

Early the next morning I went to see if anything had been reported concerning the diamond robbery, for as yet little had been accomplished. There was one of the attendants, a young woman, whom I had felt uncertain about. She was pretty, and I thought artful and vain; and I had learned from another employe of the Lausch Pavilion that she had formed the acquaintance of a rather flashily dressed person wearing much jewellery, and that just before the robbery she had been seen to receive two or three slyly-delivered billets-doux. The girl was being closely watched, and one of the guards, who was stationed near, and who was said to have been seen loitering near the pavilion oftener and longer than was needful, was likewise under close surveillance.

But this morning there was something to report. It did not come through any of the men at work upon the case, nor was it in the nature of a discovery. It was an anonymous letter, and it came through the United States mail, having been posted in Chicago, at the up-town post-office.

It was addressed 'To whom it may concern,' at the bureau, and was brief and to the point.

'If you do not want to waste time,' the letter began, 'turn your attention to the men in charge of the robbed jewellery exhibit; and if you also keep an eye upon a certain up-town man who keeps a place advertised as a "jewellery-store," and with rather a shady reputation—a man not above doing a little business in uncut gems, say, in a very quiet way—you may find some of the lost gems between the two.'

There was no signature, and I saw at a glance that the writing was carefully disguised.

I was not inclined to treat this document seriously, though I could see that it had created quite a sensation at the office, and when asked my opinion concerning it I said:

'If this letter means anything but to mislead, it can mean but one of two things; either it is written by one of the thieves to draw us away from the right track, or it is written by someone who belongs to a gang, and who means, if possible and safe, to sell out his comrades for all he can get and a promise of safety. I've seen this done.'

'And what is your opinion?'

'I'm more than half inclined to think it is a hoax.'

'As how?'

'It may be the work of a crank or a practical joker,' I replied; and I thought it possible, though hardly probable.

'If we had advertised this thing,' said the officer slowly, 'I should think little of this letter, but it has not been made public.'

'It is known,' I reminded him, 'to some three hundred men here in the grounds, and it has been told to—how many sellers of jewellery up in the city, not to mention their employes? Half a dozen picked men have been detailed to work upon the case. I don't think it likely, but some officer who covets a bit of special work might have thought it worth while to muddle the job for us; or some revengeful clerk up-town may be trying to get even with some enemy. However, the thing can't be ignored, and my advice would be, trace the letter to its author, if possible.'

There were no letters for us that morning, and I left the place soon, certain that the machinery of the bureau was quite equal to the task of looking after the anonymous letter, which, after all, did not occupy a large place in my mind.

Since my talk with my mysterious guard, I had made next day another effort to see Miss Jenrys. I had waited at the gate at Fifty-seventh Street for three long and precious morning hours, and then I had turned away anathematizing myself, and vowing that hereafter I would attend to my own legitimate business, and not prowl about after an evasive beauty, who, no doubt, had already purchased a new bag and forgotten her loss. But in my heart I knew it was not to restore the bag alone that I so earnestly looked for Miss Jenrys. I had not fallen in love, not at all; but yet somehow I had a singular anxiety to see again the face of this sweet blonde, and to hear her mellow, musical voice, if only in the two words, 'Thank you.'

Even as I turned away after my long and fruitless waiting, I did not promise myself to forget her, nor altogether to quit the chase. I hypocritically said, 'Now I will trust a little to chance.' How Dave would have laughed could he have known my thoughts!

* * * * *

By nine o'clock that morning there were thousands of people thronging the Court of Honour, drifting out and in under the arches of the Administration Building, and up and down upon the streets on either side of it. Everywhere there was a look of expectancy, and no apparent desire to move on.

As the morning advanced, and the active guards began to stretch ropes at either side of the entrance through which the procession would pass, the throng drew together from various directions and massed themselves, as many of them as could drawing close to the rope outside; some with the narrow comfortless-looking red chairs seating themselves with the great rope actually resting upon their knees, to be hemmed in and pressed upon at once by row after row of crowding, pushing humanity, while others swarmed boldly between the ropes and filled the smooth gravelled space reserved for the honoured guests and the city magnates attendant upon them.

It was a good-humoured crowd, but it held its place until, from the entrance of the building, a line of guards in full uniform came slowly out, while from the east a second company came forward, two by two, and these spreading into a line, single file, and facing about, united with the others in forming an L, and thus slowly, quietly, but none the less surely, they advanced, while just as slowly and almost as composedly the crowd fell back, and outward, until the roped-in space was cleared, only to partially fill, and to be again cleared, once and again.

Brainerd and I had separated upon reaching the place, and I had not seen him since, although I had moved about from point to point almost ceaselessly.

As eleven o'clock approached the crowd began to grow restless, and questions to be bandied about from one to another, while guards, as ignorant for the most part as their questioners, were interviewed endlessly.

'When is she coming?'

'Is she coming soon?'

'Are you sure she will come here?'

'Is it eleven o'clock?' etc.

It was eleven o'clock when I drew out from the throng that had pressed within the ropes, only to be slowly driven out again, and passed through an aisle of fans and parasols, which had been opened and kept open, the width of three men, shoulder to shoulder, by a constant passing of its length; and I was skirting one side of the building slowly and with my eyes searching the crowd of faces, when I heard a familiar voice near me speaking in impatient tones.

'Law, pa, it's no use! I ain't a-goin' to set on that tottlin' thing one minit longer—not for all the infanties in Ameriky! What more's a furrin infanty than a home-born one, anyhow?' There was a stir next the rope and a break in the wall of humanity about it, and then Mrs. Camp emerged, her bonnet very much awry, and her husband bringing up the rear, puffing and worried, with a little red chair hanging from one shoulder and the faded umbrella clutched in one hand.

They saw me at the same moment.

'Wal,' began the lady, 'I'm glad I ain't the only simpleton in the world! If here you ain't! I can't get over thinkin' what a ridickerlus thing it is fur half of Ameriky, a'most, to turn out jest to see a baby that's brought acrost from where Columbus used to live! Jest as if a Spanish baby was a-goin' to enjoy sech a crowd as this! One thing's certain, I ain't goin' to wait; if the pore leetle creetur is half as tired's I be, it'll want a nap fust thing! Come on, pa!'

A shout of laughter drowned her last words, and after explaining to Mr. Camp that I was 'looking for a friend,' I got away from the absurd old woman, who, with her husband at her heels, was marching toward the lake—'Where there was enough water, maybe, to make a ripple and where one wouldn't get stepped on if one happened to tumble down.'

As I found myself upon the outskirts of the crowd, someone set up a cry of 'There she comes!' and there was a movement toward the west end of the Administration Building.

Two or three carriages had drawn up inside the roped-in space, and several smiling gentlemen with boutonnieres upon their immaculate coats stood in waiting near. I turned the corner to the north, where the crowd was less dense, and had begun to deliberate upon the wisdom of moving on, when, straight across my path, half running and evidently in pursuit of some one, I saw the little brunette. I had made a quick step in pursuit, when a gloved hand was thrust out before me. 'Stand back!' was the order. There was a rush from the south end, a sudden prancing of hoofs upon the gravel, and a carriage drawn by four fine bay horses came into view around the corner of the Mines Building.

'Here she comes!' is again the cry. I am pressed back against the wall, and close beside me the soft-rolling carriage is drawn up; a gentleman alights, and, waving aside the obsequious footman, assists a lady to descend. In a moment they are gone, swallowed up by the big arched entrance, and a murmur runs through the crowd. If not the 'infanty,' they have seen one as fair and as gracious, the first lady of the White City, the able and beloved president of the Woman's Board.

When she has passed within I replace my uplifted hat and seek an egress through the crowd, past the restive four-in-hand and down the street which leads to Wooded Island, in pursuit of the little brunette, who had vanished in that direction. And now there seemed a breaking up of the crowd, strains of music could be heard in the distance, and rumours of an approaching parade are rife. Wooded Island, at the south end, seems quite alive with moving forms; and I saunter over the first bridge, cross the tiny island of the hunters' camp and Australian squatters' hut, cross a second picturesque bridge, and begin to examine the faces moving about the flower-bordered paths, thronging the rhododendron exhibit, and resting upon the scattered benches.

I pass some time in this way, and have turned my face toward the mainland once more, when a burst of music, near at hand, draws my eyes to the opposite bank, where, between the west facade of the great Manufactures Building and the lagoon, the 'wild riders' led by Buffalo Bill, prince of show-men, are defiling past, with their fine horses curvetting and restless under their gorgeous trappings and the weight of their fantastic and variously costumed riders; their banners are fluttering and their weapons glisten in the breeze and the sunshine.

There is a grand rush toward the two bridges, and as I hasten on with the rest I catch a glimpse once more, as she comes down a side-path, of the elusive brunette.

She is close in the wake of two women, who are running hand in hand, and I hasten to place myself as near her as possible, but discreetly in the rear.

And now, from the opposite side of the lagoon, we hear another burst of music and a cry, 'The princess! the princess!' We cross the first bridge and dash upon the next, which, being high and arched in the centre, is at once filled with spectators, while the more venturesome hurry over and line the banks of the lagoon and the sides of the two opposite roads, by which, from the east and west, the two cavalcades will approach—that of the 'Wild West' coming from the east, filing past the north end of the Electricity Building, and turning opposite the bridge to file southward, straight down from our coigne of vantage to the entrance to the Administration Building opposite us.

I had followed the brunette closely, and when she arrived at the end of the bridge, where the head of the 'Wild West' column was just turning southward, the crowd upon the sloping south end was dense, and some hardy spirits were scaling the five-foot pedestals of the great deer upon either side.

Upon these pedestals, straight-sided and square, there was 'standing-room at the top,' as some wag observed, and I pressed forward, meaning to mount with the aid of the iron handrail; as I reached the pedestal on the left, near which the brunette had halted beside the two women before mentioned, and who I began to think were in her company, the wag at the top bent down and put out an inviting hand.

'Help you up, ladies; good view up here, and nobody to make us get down in this crowd. It's quite easy; just step on that rail.'

One of the two women stepped forward, put out her hand, paused, measured the distance with her eye, put a foot upon the rail, and uttered a little squeak.

'O-w! I ca-an't, pos-sibly!'

Without a word the little brunette, at least six inches shorter, stepped forward, put out her hand, set one foot upon the rail, and went to the top of the big block with an agility that was amazing in a woman.

As for me, I had been quite near her, and it almost took away my breath.

I kept my eyes upon her like one fascinated, until the beautiful princess, preceded by the white-plumed hussars and escorted by the mayor and city council, came from the west, and passed us so close that her charming face, aglow with smiles and bright looks of interest, was distinctly seen and roundly cheered.

We watched her drive slowly down the avenue formed by open ranks of her escort, and then the crowd was ready to follow her and surround the Administration Building, watching wondering—an American throng attendant upon, and admiring, not royalty alone, but royalty, beauty, and gracious womanhood combined in one charming whole.

When the cheer which announced the infanta's descent from her carriage had died away, I turned to see what my brunette, safely bestowed upon her pedestal, would elect to do next.

I was soon enlightened, for she turned at the first movement of the crowd about her, and, seating herself upon the edge of the pedestal, dropped lightly to the ground and walked briskly away.

I followed, of course, determined not to be easily left behind again; and as I went, my mind was occupied with an entirely new thought. I had made a discovery, and it might be an important one. I had found that the brunette, like myself, was in disguise.



When Brainerd and I compared notes that night, we came to the mutual conclusion that the Camps were ordained to mingle their destiny with ours in some measure, we chanced upon them so often; and they seemed, since our encounter at the bureau, to take it for granted that we were to continue the acquaintance, now set, in their opinion, upon an official basis, and that it would be a mutual pleasure.

After leaving me, or, rather, after I had separated myself from them at the Administration Building, they had wandered down the Grand Plaza and made their way to the Peristyle, where, after some time, they had encountered Brainerd; and in the course of their amiable converse they had given him some valuable information, or so he thought it.

'You see,' he said, 'to begin at the beginning, I had mingled all the morning with crowds here and there, and as it was nearing noon I wandered across the Plaza and came to that handsome bridge spanning the canal at the north-west corner of the Liberal Arts. As I crossed this bridge I saw a launch slip out from the landing at the further end, and in that launch two men, one of whom I was sure was Greenback Bob, and the other, from your description, I'll wager was your friend Smug.'

'Are you sure?' I demanded.

'Morally certain, yes. Well, as you may guess, I scurried across the little bridge and jumped into the next launch, for they were not easy to follow by the land route, with always the chance that they might go ashore on the wrong side of the lagoon. Well, I kept them in sight until we had made the round of the basin, and they made no offer to land, although the launch filled and emptied before we were back at the bridge from which we started. As we passed under the bridge my heart was in my mouth, for the boat was out of sight for some moments, but when we shot out into the sunlight there they were, not so far ahead of us, and about to run underneath the bridge at the end of the south canal. I wondered a little at their going away from the crowd just then, but that was their affair, so I just shifted my position in order to keep a better watch upon their boat as we came abreast of the bridge, and then, as the mischief would have it, a launch coming from the other way pushed through and under the bridge and struck us such a blow that the women screamed, and one of them let her parasol fall into the water. Then, of course, there was an exchange of compliments between the two crews, and a scramble and delay in securing the parasol: and when at last we were out on the other side the boat ahead was so far away from the landing, where she had of course made her stop, that I could just make out that the two men had left her and she was almost empty. To add to my agony, two boats had passed us while we floundered after that parasol and exchanged compliments with the other boat, and as we lay there waiting I looked wildly about me, and saw at last, on the bridge almost over my head, my two men, standing close by the railing and talking with a little dark woman, who——'

'Describe her!' I broke in.

'Well, now——'

'Was she something under five feet?'


'Dark eyes and hair?'


'A broad black hat with plumes, a red veil, and four-in-hand tie?'

'Upon my word, she had 'em all.'

'I knew it; but go on.'

'I can't, not very far at least. I just kept myself from swearing while I sat and saw those three so sociable up there, and I not in it. Before I got to the landing I had seen the woman trip away.'

'Toward the Plaza?'

'Precisely. Everybody seemed going that way. It was almost time for the infanta to appear. When I set foot on shore I made for that bridge. I had seen them start slowly on after the woman; but when I got upon the bridge I could just see the hat of your friend Smug in a jam some distance ahead, near the Electricity Building, and Bob, the eel, had vanished once more.'

'At what time was this?'

He named the time, and then I told him how I had encountered the little brunette, lost her, and found her again, and of her agile leap at the bridge.

'Lively girl!' Dave commented. I had told him the story of her agility with some empressement, but he did not seem to see my drift. 'You're sure it's the same who tried to claim the young woman's bag?'

'Quite sure—from your description.'

'Umph! Mine? And she's the one who met the lady at the gate, and left her when the man appeared?'

'The same.'

'Um-m! She tries to secure the young lady's bag; she meets her as though by appointment; and she meets our quarry, too. She seems to know them all. Query: Does she, by any chance, know—well, say you? Who is she? What is she?'

'Who she is I don't know, what she is I can tell you,' said I.


'She, as we have called her, is a man.'

I had nothing to add to this, and Dave was not willing to accept my statement, based as it was upon that leap at the bridge. 'No woman ever made that jump; I knew it. It showed practice, and that not of the sort that is taken by women.' This had been my argument, and after some discussion and difference of opinions Dave got back to the Camps.

He had met them wandering about the Peristyle, and gazing across the grand basin at the splendid MacMonnies Fountain.

'Which ort,' Mrs. Camp had declared, 'to sail out, leastwise, the boat with that white woman settin' up there on top, and come across to serlute that big gold goddiss. For my part,' she added, 'I've seen one thing that was as it ort to be. They took an' set a woman up in the midst of their court, and made her bigger and brighter and handsomer than anything else. But if they was bent on calling her Justice, why,' she opined, 'that there court ought to be called a court of justice.'

The two old people had evidently grown lonely and sated with grandeur, and when she had aired her views concerning the golden goddess, Mrs. Camp began to talk about our adventure with the counterfeiters.

'That friend of yours was right,' she said. 'That Sunday-school chap didn't come to time; and we ain't seen him sence not to speak to.' And then she related how, on coming away from their rooms on Stony Island Avenue that morning, they had seen, just across the street from them, the man Smug in earnest conversation with a tall man whose back was turned toward them, and who after a few words had turned and walked away southward, while Smug had entered a cafe close at hand, doubtless to breakfast.

Dave had questioned them closely, hoping to learn more; but beyond the facts as first stated little was added.

The men had met at a point 'a few squares' from the Camps' 'boarding-house'—possibly four or five. The man in conversation with Smug was tall, and very straight, 'sort of stiff like,' and well dressed. They were quite sure, also, that he was dark, and that he wore a beard. Incidentally they gave Dave the number of their Stony Island residence.

'We shan't have much trouble to find the Camps,' Dave said in concluding his narration. 'The old lady has taken a great fancy for the Liberal Arts Building, and she generally spends her time sitting upon a chair in the centre of Columbia Avenue and admiring at her leisure. She says she "'d ruther see things in the lump, sort of." And I believe they take a walk every morning around the Plaza, the Court, the Peristyle, and then up the lake shore from Victoria House, which she won't enter—because she "hates old England and all the Englishers"—to the point where Fifty-seventh Street drops into Lake Michigan. And every afternoon, I verily believe, they walk arm-in-arm up and down the length of Midway, without stopping or entering anywhere.'

In our summing up we found we had accomplished very little legitimate business. We had established the fact that Greenback Bob was at the Fair, and the presumption was strong, amounting almost to a certainty, that Delbras was also there. We had connected the man Smug with one, if not both, for Dave was sure that the man's companion on Stony Island Avenue was Delbras, and now this brunette, whom I believed to be a man in woman's attire, seemed to be identifying herself, or himself, with the 'gang.'

'If you can prove that the brunette's a man or boy,' said Dave, 'then I'll say don't look farther for the third party who came with Delbras from France; and if that should prove the case, tell me, what designs have this gang upon Miss—what do you call her?'

I started. It was Dave who was growing imaginative now. And yet——

'I had only thought of the brunette as having seen the bag fall, and hoping for a find,' I said doubtfully.

'Then how did you account for her being at the entrance gate two days after?' queried Dave scornfully.

'Supposing it to have been an accidental meeting, I fancied she might have thought of telling Miss Jenrys what she knew of her loss, hoping for a reward, perhaps.'

'Carl, you are growing stupid! You have thought too much of the blonde and not enough of the brunette! Think! In the first instance both are alone; Miss J. drops her bag; why does this particular—well, say woman for the present—why does this woman see it? She must have been some paces behind, or you would have seen her; or if not you, the guard, or even the young lady herself. That brunette was shadowing Miss J.'

I was silent before his arguments. I began to think I had been one-sided in my thoughts of the two; and now how simple it all seemed!

'The girl, you say, was watching the gate through a glass, and from a protected and safe point of view. She rushes to meet the young lady, perhaps introduces herself, perhaps is known, and she leaves her when the good-looking man appears. Carl, what use do you intend to make of that black bag?'

'Hitherto,' I replied, 'it has been a side issue; now it seems to me that we may serve both its owner and ourselves by restoring the bag, and keeping an eye upon all concerned.'

* * * * *

The next day I was early at the Fifty-seventh Street gate, and I waited long, but no Miss Jenrys came through; and after loitering near until almost noon, I took a light luncheon at the nearest point possible, and at noon went back to my post. But if Miss Jenrys entered the grounds that day, it was through some other entrance.

On the next morning she came at an early hour, her fair face radiant as the June weather, and beside her was a small-faced little woman who might have seen forty years or sixty; except for her snowy hair, time seemed to have forgotten her. Her dress was a near approach to the Quaker garb of the followers of Penn. Everything about her was of softest gray; but the face, framed by the prim Quaker bonnet, was as fair as an infant's, and with a child's soft colouring in the cheeks that had not yet lost the charming curves of young womanhood. She looked like a creature whom Life had loved so well that Time had not been permitted to touch or tarry near her, so gentle, and sweet, and good.

But there was no weakness in the placid, fair face, nor in the smooth, even step, neither swift nor slow, with which she moved on beside the fair young woman at her side.

I had watched for this arrival while I sauntered about, now on one side of the bridge, now on the other, and vibrating between the buildings of Nebraska and South Dakota, on either side the broad promenade beginning at the bridge. The west windows of both these hospitable houses overlooked the little stream, proffering a welcome to the visitor at the very outset; and when the two ladies crossed the arching bridge on the side nearest the Nebraska Building I was not surprised to see them halt, look for a moment upon the shady bit of greensward with the inviting rustic seats beneath the vine-draped trees close to the water's edge, and then enter. I was very near them, meaning this time to make a prompt and bold approach, and as I turned to enter I heard the elder say:

'No, June, my child. Thee must let me go my way.' She halted and laid her hand upon the girl's arm. 'I must take these beauties in slowly, else they will not take lodgment in my memory; besides, this place is too tempting.'

They moved on towards the shaded seats, and I took from my pocket a map of the grounds, and, standing on the lowest step of the portico, affected to study it, while the talk went on.

'Thee can go through this house while I look at the place and the people, child, and hear the music. Where is that music?'

'Oh, aunty! That horrid Esquimaux band! They've never happened to be in tune before when we came in, fortunately.'

'Fie, June! I'm sure it's very good. Now go. You know I care little for fine furnishings, but if there is anything that you think I shall like to see, you may show it to me when you have seen your fill, and I mine. There, go, child! I am going to knit.'

The Quakeress took out her knitting, and her niece, uttering a soft laugh, and giving the shoulder of the other an affectionate pat, turned away, saying over her shoulder:

'You're a wilful auntie, and you shall have your way. I'll not be long, so look and listen your fill.'

This was the chance for which I had waited, and I took advantage of it by closing my map and following her into the building and up the stairs.

I did not accost her at once, but waited until she had looked about the larger room facing the south and west, where the case of minerals, the great deer, and other western treasures and trophies were displayed, and had sauntered about the cosy and tasteful parlours, looking at the pictures and bits of decorative work; and when she had re-entered the big sunny south room again, and after a little more loitering among the exhibits went to one of the windows and stood looking down into the street, I, who had been standing near an opposite window, was about to cross the room and accost her, when a sudden shout from the street caused me to look out once more.

My window faced the bridge, and I saw that a chair-boy, coming too hastily over the bridge with his freight, and perhaps unaccustomed to his wheeled steed, had let slip his hold upon the handle at the back of the chair just as he had reached the downward slope of the bridge, and chair and occupant, a burly man looking quite able to walk, went whirling down the slope, charging into a couple of young men dressed in killing style and wearing big yellow boutonnieres, and overturning itself and all concerned.

They were gathering themselves up in much disorder, and I could not resist a smile at the ludicrous scene; but the smile soon left my face when I saw, passing the scene of distress with rapid steps and without a glance toward it, and coming straight toward the entrance below, the little brunette.

With rapid steps I crossed to the opposite window, and, taking off my hat, bowed before the surprised and now somewhat haughty-looking blonde.

'Miss Jenrys?' I said interrogatively.

She bowed assent.

'May I speak with you a moment?'

She did not answer promptly, and I put my hand to my pocket and drew out my card—the same that I had proffered to the guard a few days before.

She took it and read the name aloud, and in a tone of polite inquiry:

'Carl Masters?'



I had not meant to do it, but while I stood there with her clear brown eyes, not repellent but fearless and full of dignity, fixed upon my face in polite but guarded inquiry, the determination suddenly seized me to be as frank and truthful in dealing with this frank and truthful woman as I had a right to be.

I had meant to return the bag, ask her pardon for tampering with its contents, and say no more; only keeping as much as possible an eye to her welfare and safety if I saw it menaced. Now I meant something more; and so, while she held my card in daintily gloved fingers and looked at me with level, questioning eyes, I said, with the thought of the approaching brunette underlying my words:

'Miss Jenrys, I am the person who was of some small assistance a few days ago when you came near incurring serious injury at the hands of a pair of Turks and a sedan-chair.' I saw a look of remembrance, if not of recognition, flash into her face, and I hurried on. 'I do not mention this as entitling me to your notice, but I ask you to accept my word as that of one having no personal motive save the desire to serve you, and to listen to me for a few moments.'

She was scanning my face nervously, and now she said:

'I do not recall your face, though I remember the circumstance to which you refer. If you are the gentleman who held back that reckless foreigner with a strong arm, and so saved me from something more serious than a little pain in the shoulder, I am certainly your debtor, and I am glad of this opportunity to thank you.'

A little back of the place where she stood, in a corner, hemmed in on one side by a long glass case of exhibits of various sorts, was an armchair, placed there, doubtless, for the ease of the person in charge of said case and its contents. There was no such person present, however, at that hour, and I pointed toward the chair, and said:

'If you will kindly take that seat, so that I may not feel that I am compelling you to stand, I will not detain you long.'

She turned toward the seat, looked at it, at me, and finally beyond me and across the room, as if debating, and half inclined to pass me and escape; and then I saw a sudden withdrawal of the eyes and a compression of the lips, slight but perceptible. She turned as if in haste, almost, and seated herself in the chair, first turning it toward the windows so that her back would be toward the interior of the room, and then, to my surprise, she beckoned me, with a half-smile, to a place upon the window-seat, which would narrowly serve this purpose.

I had not once looked back or about me, but I did not flatter myself that my words alone had won for me this graciousness; she had seen the little brunette, and desired to avoid her.

'Thank you,' I said, when we were both seated. 'I will now come to the point at once. You must know, then, that after you had passed on and out of sight in the crowd I discovered at my very feet—so close that no one had ventured to pick it up, if anyone had seen it in that crowd—a black leather bag—a chatelaine, I think you ladies call it.'

'Oh! you found my bag?' The look of reserve was lost in a quick and charming smile. 'I am very glad!'

'I found it, and I tried to follow you and restore it, but you had disappeared.'

'I had indeed; in at the first gate, which happened to be the Javanese Village.'

'That explains my failure. I had given up my search, and was about to go on my way, when I was approached by a young lady, a small person with dark eyes and wearing a large plumed sailor-hat, who explained that she was a friend to the lady whose bag I had in my hand, that she had seen me pick it up, and would now restore it to her.'

'And you gave it to her?'

'Was it not right?'

'The person was an impostor.'

'Is it possible? And yet two days after, as you were entering the grounds, and I was about to approach you, I saw this same person greet you, seemingly, and walk on in your company. It made a coward of me. I dared not approach in the face of a friend of yours whom I had treated as an impostor.'

'How do you mean?'

'I mean that I doubted the person, and refused to give her the bag.' And I hurriedly made confession, telling her how at last I was forced to read first her friend's letter and then her own, in order to learn her name, and that then her address was still a mystery. 'I had but one chance of finding you,' I concluded. 'You had informed your friend that your apartments were conveniently near the Fifty-seventh Street entrance.'

'Oh! Indeed!' I had seen the quick colour flash into her face at my mention of the letters, and of having read them, and the restraint was once more evident in face and voice when she said:

'I thank you, sir; but the contents of the bag—it was hardly worth the trouble you have taken to restore it—that is——'

'I have it with me, Miss Jenrys, and when I am sure that we are not under surveillance I will place it in your hands; and now I owe it to myself to make my own conduct in this affair and my present position clearer. At first it was with me a simple matter of returning a lost article to a lady. Failing to overtake you, I might perhaps have turned it over to some guard but for the interference of the brunette, who at once put me on the defensive and aroused my suspicion. It somehow seemed to me that the young person was more than commonly anxious to possess your bag, and then it occurred to me that the bag might contain something or some information that she especially wished to possess. My interest was aroused, and then I took the liberty of examining your bag, and having done so, I determined at least to attempt to return it to you, and to ask you to pardon the liberty I had taken with your correspondence.'

'I suppose anyone would have done the same,' she said, rather coldly. 'What I do not comprehend is why you did not return the bag to me in the presence of this person, of whom you might have warned me.'

'It is that which I am about to explain,' I replied gravely. 'And I must, for the sake of others whose interests I represent, ask you to regard what I am now about to tell you as a confidence made necessary because of the circumstances. Miss Jenrys, the card in your hand bears my real name, but few know me by it, because I so often bear others, as one of the necessities of my profession. I am known here to those who know me at all as one of those secret service men you have no doubt heard or read of. In other words——'

'A detective?' She bent forward and scanned my face narrowly.

'When I saw you in company with the little brunette, as I have since called her for want of a better title, I was at first amazed and inclined to doubt my own sagacity; but when—I am making a clean breast of it, Miss Jenrys—when I followed you, doubtful what course to pursue, I saw you joined by a gentleman, and I saw the brunette slip away from you as she would hardly have done, as you would hardly have allowed her to do, had she been friend or acquaintance. I am enrolled here as a "special," but I came, in company with another, with a definite object in view. Within these grounds are several persons under suspicion, and whom we are hoping to capture and convict, and when I tell you that only yesterday I learned that this same little brunette who claimed your property and friendship was seen in company with two suspected persons, you will hardly wonder that what I had attempted to do from purest courtesy from one stranger to another, and that other a lady, I felt impelled to do from a sense of duty, as well as desire to save one whom I had seen to be alone, and who might, for aught I could tell, be menaced by some unsuspected danger.'

There was no fear on her face, only a slightly troubled look, as she asked:

'What do you mean?'

'Simply that it is my duty to warn you, and to ask you if you know of any reason why you should be followed, or watched, or menaced by any manner of danger?'

'No'—she slowly shook her fair head—'no reason whatever.'

'And may I ask you about this person, this brunette? I would not say 'this woman.''

She started slightly, and leaned toward me.

'Is she here still?' she whispered.

I turned my head and cast a deliberate glance around the room.

'I do not see her,' I said; 'but she may be below, with an eye on the staircase.'

'It's more than likely. It's little I can tell you,' she said. 'She ran up to me that morning at the gate, her face beaming and her hand held out, and when she was close to me, and I drew away from her, she began the most profuse apologies: she was very near-sighted, and she had mistaken me for an old acquaintance she had not seen for some time; then she kept on by my side, prattling about her "mamma," who had not been able to leave the hotel since they came; of her dread of being alone, and her eagerness to see the Fair. She had hoped, when she saw me, that she had found someone who would let her "just follow along, so that she would not feel so much alone," etc. I did not like her volubility, yet I could see no way, short of absolute rudeness, of shaking her off. When I met a New York acquaintance, down near the lake shore, she quite surprised me by quietly slipping away. Do you think——' She paused, and arose with a quick, easy grace which seemed inherent. 'Will you come down and be introduced to my aunt?' she asked. 'I have great confidence in her judgment of—gentlemen, and she ought to know this; that is, if you can give me the time.'

'My time is entirely yours,' I declared recklessly, 'and nothing would give me more pleasure than to pay my entirely sincere respects to that lovely woman I saw in your company, and who, I am almost certain, saw me playing the spy upon her niece.'

She smiled as she moved toward the stairway, at the head of which she turned and paused a moment.

'Do you think she will approach us?' she asked.

'I can't imagine what she will do.'

'But she will see you, and——'

I think the smile on my face stopped her.

'You did not recognise me,' I said. 'She may not.'

She looked into my face keenly, and then a quick look of intelligence flashed into her eyes.

'Oh!' It was all she said, but it meant much. She took a step downward, and turned again. 'Of course I must not enlighten my aunt?'

'If you are willing to let it lie between us two—at first?'

'Certainly,' she said gravely, and went on down the stairs.

At the landing, half-way down, where the staircase turned to right and left, I saw, over her shoulder, a little dark figure standing in the west doorway.

'Turn to the right,' I said, over her shoulder. '"The longest way round," you know.'

She nodded, and without a glance in the other direction went down the east side, turned at the foot to wait for me with the air of one quite absorbed in an agreeable companion, and we went out at the door facing the Minnesota Building and the morning sun. As we stepped outside I paused in my turn.

'One word, if you will allow it. I may have to learn more of this person. It may make difficulties for me, and—who knows?—perhaps for you, if she imagines that you know her for—what she is. Or guesses, as she might——'

'What you are?' she interposed. 'You may trust me.'

We turned at the corner, and came once more to the west side and the little arbour. As we rounded the corner my companion suddenly slipped her little hand beneath my elbow, giving it at the same time a significant little pressure. The brunette, having doubtless watched our progress through the window, was coming down the steps and straight toward us.

For just a passing moment I knew how Miss Jenrys looked to the friends who knew her, and whom she knew best. She was smiling and preoccupied as we stepped within the inclosure.

'See,' she said, hastening her own steps and mine, with a bright look toward the benches, 'there is auntie.'

The little brunette was almost abreast of us, and my companion's smiling gaze was still fixed upon the figure under the vines; then she turned her head, and, just at the place where we could turn from the walk, let her eyes turn toward the figure just opposite us.

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