Page images

with his partner, who had been with him through the evening, he was walking up the street, when to his surprise, just before reaching the end of the block, he saw Helen crossing from the opposite corner, and coming towards them.

Reaching the sidewalk, she crossed the street southward, going in the direction of the hotel. She did not observe him, and he could not overtake her, as she was some distance in advance and walking rapidly. He could not guess what errand caused her presence on the street at so late an hour, especially as Helen's

valiant courage for such venture's had reached its lowest possible ebb during the present reign of desperate characters in

"Didn't you



for a

the city.

you tonight, but your transit was too rapid."

"What, Harvey!"
"When you

was crossing the street."

"Crossing the street where?"
“Up town."
"But, when?"

"Why tonight, a half hour ago."

"Why Harvey, I havn't been out."

Harvey turned from his papers and looked at her.

the street from the drug store to Walker's corner and from there past the White House a half hour ago ?” he asked.

“I haven't left the room since you went away, except moment, and then only to step along the hall to Mrs. Harley's door. That was directly after you left the office.”

Harvey expressed his astonishment. "It is, of course,

case of mistaken identity, but certainly the most remarkable one I ever experienced."

He could not help puzzling over it for sometime, so distinct and striking had been the resemblance of the person he had seen to Helen. Only the latter's unquestionable and all-sufficing word could have convinced him that he had made a mistake.

After breakfast the next morning Harvey came up to their room from the dining hall with Helen for a forgotten errand. Helen had loosened the fastening to the


The two men walked down to the post-office, and stood chatting for a few moments over the mail before Harvey took his way homeward again to the hotel. Going up stairs he found the door locked, as usual—a result of Helen's precaution—but at the sound of his hand on the lock the latter came at

once to give him admittance. She was somewhat silent, he thought, though the open book in her hand furnished

perhaps for her abstraction.

He was busy for a short time with his letters, and while putting them away spoke over his shoulder

to Helen, who sitting by the grate.

"I made an attempt to overtake







precious pin the day before, and For Helen's sake, as well Harvey was

to take it to the for the pin, which was indeed too jeweller for repair. Harvey valuable to be lost without some smiled as Helen knelt down and effort being made for its restorafumbled in the impossible place tion, Harvey went out to secure under the dresser for the box. the services of a detective. Going

In instant, however, she down stairs, in the lower hall he turned to him with a white face. met the proprietor of the hotel, “Oh, Harvey, it's not here!" and told him of the loss. He walked over and stooped The latter was

a short, blonde down by her side.

individual, with brisk, off-hand "What is it, little one? can't speech and gestures. you find the box?"

"Been expecting the lightning "It is gone, Harvey; it has to strike my house every day," been stolen!"

he ejaculated in reply. "Sur"You've put it somewhere else, prised the thing hasn't occurred haven't you?"

before. Suppose

of the "I haven't touched it since last rest of us will be touched before night; you saw me place it here they're through with us. Going just before you went out."

for a detective? That's right. It was true. She had worn the Can't move too quick. May be pin to the dining room for sup- able to scent the trail if you get per, and later in their room had right after it." removed it and put it away with Discussing the affair, he agreed her usual nervous apprehension upon the improbability of thieves at Harvey's absence; and the having entered the room during latter could not but concede the the night, especially as the door improbability of her having had been found, as usual, locked removed it to forget the occurrence and bolted. in so short a time.

"The whole affair," he at length To satisfy herself and Harvey volunteered, "took place during beyond doubt, however, Helen your and Mrs. Gray's absence." searched the

thoroughly, “The mystery of it," replied but without avail.

Harvey, “lies in the fact that the The only explanation suggest- room was not vacant at all. Mrs. ing itself—that of thieves having Gray herself remained there durentered during their sleep in the ing the entire evening." night-was rendered mysterious, “She went out after you did," both from the fact of their finding returned the other with his eccenthe key and lock of the door tric blunt positiveness. untouched, and the absolute cer- “There is some mistake," comtainty of the place of concealment menced Harvey. being known to no one but them- "No mistake at all; met her selves.

up town and bowed to her; walked









behind her down the street, and had passed, bore the loss more saw her come up stairs. Why | bravely than Harvey had imagined, you've only to ask her."

probably in view of her former Harvey explained his

apprehension and care for the mistake of the night before.

jewel. She mentioned it fre"Well it's all right then of quently, however, dwelling wondercourse; if Mrs. Gray says so ingly upon the mysterious circan certainly take her assurance cumstances connected with its as positive evidence that we disappearance. were both fooled; but I wouldn't There


great believe anybody but her."

disappointment connected with Harvey walked up the street the event of the robbery which slowly his mind busy with puzzled in fact seemed of as much imporruminations.

tance as the loss of the diamond. Though his


Harvey who was dealing in real satisfied and the hearty and sin- estate had sold for a neat sum cere acquiesence of the proprietor piece of property which had in the certainty of mistake left no before been purchased in Helen's possible chance of disagreeable name; and out of this small permisunderstanding or complica- sonal fortune she had promised tions for Helen, yet the slight herself the pleasure of celebrating tinge of mystery connected with Harvey's coming birthday with a the affair was distasteful to his gift which should approach in sensitive consciousness. He value and preciousness something wished that the other had not like the remembrance that had chanced to make the mistake in been her own. regard to Helen's identity.

The fate of the latter, however, The affair of the robbery had made her dubious as to the afforded little material for conjec- | extravagance which might result ture upon which to work and in a like experience, and she in though the detective took the fact had half determined to sacrimatter in hand little hope could fice the cherished desire to her be entertained for the restoration discretion. of the jewel.

As the natal day drew near, The only active measure however, the yearning returned mending itself—that of setting a with renewed intensity and Helen watch at the pawn shops-was still irresolute essayed to gain carried out, though the

comfort and decision by a confispicuous size and brilliancy of the dence of her dilemma expressed gem rendered it improbable that in parables to Harvey. That the dullest of thieves should seek person of penetration gaining to dispose of it by this method swift intention of the pleasure within the limits of the city. promised Helen by the indulgence

Helen after the first excitement with characteristic playful stub





bornness insisted upon claiming moonlight whose crowning halo the fruits of her intention; and was later to envelop the earth. on the day in question accom- It was quite dark after their panied her to the scene of their supper at the hotel and Harvey former purchase with an assumed walked down to the office with air of importance and swagger Helen's anxiously repeated warnwhich convulsed Helen to the ings in his ears, her fears being extent of endangering the sensi- equally divided between the house tiveness of the clerk waiting on

thieves who might attempt to get them, who was not in the secret the jewel and the footpads who of the quietly executed eccentri- made the public streets dangerous cities of manner whose ridiculous for the business men trusting unnaturalness was forcing Helen's themselves to the thoroughfares unwilling amusement.

after nightfall. Harvey wrote in Their mutual choice

the office until ten o'clock then diamond scarf-pin, the jewel being locked up and went down the the twin almost in lustre and size narrow staircase into the street. of the one which had been in As he stepped out of the entry Helen's possession.

on to the sidewalk his careless "I shan't wear this," said Har- glance turning westward caught vey exasperatingly to Helen after sight of a familiar figure walking the purchase was completed; "but rapidly towards the corner. For it will do to keep in the house instant Harvey held his as a charm against burglars." breath.

Helen's figure As Harvey's enjoyment of extra- Helen's step and he could almost vagance and display was limited declare her familiar wrap and entirely to Helen's indulgence bonnet; yet the memory of his in it, this threat for a time former deception held him carried into literal effect, and it uncertainty. became Helen's task again to He went forward a few steps devise methods of protection then stood still looking after the against the still flourishing retreating figure. She had reached attempts of the housebreakers. the opposite sidewalk and the

This was worse than the former light from the street lamp under trial, as Harvey's business kept which she was passing brought him as a usual thing now late at the into clear distinctiveness the office and his absence was the familiar outline of figure and cosoccasion of added anxiety.

tume. It had been a rainy day but the There could be no doubt this clouds toward nightfall rolled off time. It was Helen, Harvey to the west assisting at the gor- turned swiftly and followed her. geous transformation

of As he started across the street the sunset and then fading out to

he saw

a man advance from the give chance to the climax of shadow of the trees












creek and come towards Helen. "Have you brought the diaAs he joined her the light fell mond?” he asked quickly. upon him showing his face and Helen answered in the negative. figure quite distinctly.

The man

made an impatient Her companion was the strik

gesture. ingly handsome and aristocratic "Why have you disappointed individual whom they had dubbed me?" "the marquis."

There was no response. For a moment the husband's “Did your husband wear it heart stopped beating. Then about him?" with blind impulse of grief "No." and rage he hurried after them. "Where is it kept?" Before he could overtake them

“In a

small compartment of they had reached the board fence the writing-desk." enclosing the sidewalk outside "Did you misunderstand the unfinished Board of Trade this morning when we met?" building. They paused here and

There was a faltering and inauentering the open gate leading

dible response. into the enclosure stood close in "Very well. Now listen to me. the shadow of the fence engaged Tomorrow evening at half-past in earnest conversation.

eight o'clock you will bring the It was the man who carried on diamond scarf-pin to this place. the talk principally, however, You understand?" Helen herself replying only in Yes." low monosyllables. Harvey was "That is all. You may return about to rush forward blindly home.” when some of the man's words As the two came through the reaching his ears impelled him gate Harvey's enraged blow fell to pause.

He stood breathlessly upon the scoundrel's face, strikoutside looking through the nar- ing him senseless


the row aperture near him upon the ground. As he fell Helen uttered couple within. Helen's back a strange cry, and the next instant was towards him but the man was clinging to Harvey, her breath was facing him, his handsome coming in deep, frightened sobs. features outlined distinctly in “Harvey, what does this mean; the moonlight. His eyes were what has happened?" fixed earnestly upon Helen and Her tone and his tones low but distinct reached those of one who had been newly Harvey plainly from the enclosure. awakened from sleep. “Did you mention

to anyone

Harvey's heart gave a great that you were coming out to- throb of relief and thankfulness. night?" he questioned.

They confirmed the conviction Helen made a low response

which had come to him like a which Harvey did not catch. burst of heavenly light after the



« PreviousContinue »