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Title: The Blind Man's Eyes
Author: MacHarg, William, 1872-1951, Balmer, Edwin, 1883-1959
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Blind Man's Eyes" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: "Until I come to you as--as you have never known me
yet!"]



THE BLIND MAN'S EYES


By WILLIAM MACHARG & EDWIN BALMER



With Frontispiece

By WILSON C. DEXTER



A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers ---- New York


Published by Arrangements with LITTLE, BROWN & COMPANY



_Copyright, 1916,_

BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY


_All rights reserved_



To

R. G.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

     I  A FINANCIER DIES
    II  THE EXPRESS IS HELD FOR A PERSONAGE
   III  MISS DORNE MEETS EATON
    IV  TRUCE
     V  ARE YOU HILLWARD?
    VI  THE HAND IN THE AISLE
   VII  "ISN'T THIS BASIL SANTOINE?"
  VIII  SUSPICION FASTENS ON EATON
    IX  QUESTIONS
     X  THE BLIND MAN'S EYES
    XI  PUBLICITY NOT WANTED
   XII  THE ALLY IN THE HOUSE
  XIII  THE MAN FROM THE TRAIN
   XIV  IT GROWS PLAINER
    XV  DONALD AVERY IS MOODY
   XVI  SANTOINE'S "EYES" FAIL HIM
  XVII  THE FIGHT IN THE STUDY
 XVIII  UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS
   XIX  PURSUIT
    XX  WAITING
   XXI  WHAT ONE CAN DO WITHOUT EYES
  XXII  THE MAN HUNT
 XXIII  NOT EATON--OVERTON
  XXIV  THE FLAW IN THE LEFT EYE
   XXV  "IT'S ALL RIGHT, HUGH"--AT LAST



THE BLIND MAN'S EYES


CHAPTER I

A FINANCIER DIES

Gabriel Warden--capitalist, railroad director, owner of mines and
timber lands, at twenty a cow-puncher, at forty-eight one of the
predominant men of the Northwest Coast--paced with quick, uneven steps
the great wicker-furnished living room of his home just above Seattle
on Puget Sound.  Twice within ten minutes he had used the telephone in
the hall to ask the same question and, apparently to receive the same
reply--that the train from Vancouver, for which he had inquired, had
come in and that the passengers had left the station.

It was not like Gabriel Warden to show nervousness of any sort; Kondo,
the Japanese doorman, who therefore had found something strange in this
telephoning, watched him through the portières which shut off the
living-room from the hall.  Three times Kondo saw him--big, uncouth in
the careless fit of his clothes, powerful and impressive in his
strength of feature and the carriage of his well-shaped head--go to the
window and, watch in hand, stand staring out.  It was a Sunday evening
toward the end of February--cold, cloudy and with a chill wind driving
over the city and across the Sound.  Warden evidently saw no one as he
gazed out into the murk; but each moment, Kondo observed, his
nervousness increased.  He turned suddenly and pressed the bell to call
a servant.  Kondo, retreating silently down the hall, advanced again
and entered the room; he noticed then that Warden's hand, which was
still holding the watch before him, was shaking.

"A young man who may, or may not, give a name, will ask for me in a few
moments.  He will say he called by appointment.  Take him at once to my
smoking-room, and I will see him there.  I am going to Mrs. Warden's
room now."

He went up the stairs, Kondo noticed, still absently holding his watch
in his hand.

Warden controlled his nervousness before entering his wife's
room,--where she had just finished dressing to go out,--so that she did
not at first sense anything unusual.  In fact, she talked with him
casually for a moment or so before she even sent away her maid.  He had
promised a few days before to accompany her to a concert; she thought
he had come simply to beg off.  When they were alone, she suddenly saw
that he had come to her to discuss some serious subject.

"Cora," he said, when he had closed the door after the maid, "I want
your advice on a business question."

"A business question!"  She was greatly surprised.  She was a number of
years younger than he; he was one of those men who believe all business
matters should be kept from their wives.

"I mean it came to me through some business--discoveries."

"And you cannot decide it for yourself?"

"I had decided it."  He looked again at his watch.  "I had quite
decided it; but now--It may lead to some result which I have suddenly
felt that I haven't the right to decide entirely for myself."

Warden's wife for the first time felt alarmed.  She could not well
describe his manner; it did not suggest fear for himself; she could not
imagine his feeling such fear; but she was frightened.  She put her
hand on his arm.

"You mean it affects me directly?"

"It may.  For that reason I feel I must do what you would have me do."

He seized both her hands in his and held her before him; she waited for
him to go on.

"Cora," he said, "what would you have me do if you knew I had found out
that a young man--a man who, four or five years ago, had as much to
live for as any man might--had been outraged in every right by men who
are my friends?  Would you have me fight the outfit for him?  Or would
you have me--lie down?"

His fingers almost crushed hers in his excitement.  She stared at him
with only pride then; she was proud of his strength, of his ability to
fight, of the power she knew he possessed to force his way against
opposition.  "Why, you would fight them!"

"You mean you want me to?"

"Isn't that what you had decided to do?"

He only repeated.  "You want me to fight them?"

"Of course."

"No matter what it costs?"

She realized then that what he was facing was very grave.

"Cora," he said, "I didn't come to ask your advice without putting this
squarely to you.  If I go into this fight, I shall be not only an
opponent to some of my present friends; I shall be a threat to
them--something they may think it necessary to remove."

"Remove?"

"Such things have happened--to better men than I, over smaller matters."

She cried out.  "You mean some one might kill you?"

"Should that keep me from going in?"

She hesitated.  He went on: "Would you have me afraid to do a thing
that ought to be done, Cora?"

"No," she said; "I would not."

"All right, then.  That's all I had to know now.  The young man is
coming to see me to-night, Cora.  Probably he's downstairs.  I'll tell
you all I can after I've talked with him."

Warden's wife tried to hold him a moment more, but he loosed himself
from her and left her.

He went directly downstairs; as he passed through the hall, the
telephone bell rang.  Warden himself answered it.  Kondo, who from his
place in the hall overheard Warden's end of the conversation, made out
only that the person at the other end of the line appeared to be a
friend, or at least an acquaintance, of Warden's.  Kondo judged this
from the tone of the conversation; Warden spoke no names.  Apparently
the other person wished to see Warden at once.  Warden finished, "All
right; I'll come and get you.  Wait for me there."  Then he hung up.

Turning to Kondo, he ordered his limousine car.  Kondo transmitted the
order and brought Warden's coat and cap; then Kondo opened the house
door for him and the door of the limousine, which had been brought
under the porte-cochère.  Kondo heard Warden direct the chauffeur to a
drug store near the center of the city; the chauffeur was Patrick
Corboy, a young Irishman who had been in Warden's employ for more than
five years; his faithfulness to Warden was never questioned.  Corboy
drove to the place Warden had directed.  As they stopped, a young man
of less than medium height, broad-shouldered and wearing a mackintosh,
came to the curb and spoke to Warden.  Corboy did not hear the name,
but Warden immediately asked the man into the car; he directed Corboy
to return home.  The chauffeur did this, but was obliged on the way to
come to a complete stop several times, as he met streetcars or other
vehicles on intersecting streets.

Almost immediately after Warden had left the house, the door-bell rang
and Kondo answered it.  A young man with a quiet and pleasant bearing
inquired for Mr. Warden and said he came by appointment.  Kondo ushered
him into the smoking room, where the stranger waited.  The Jap did not
announce this arrival to any one, for he had already received his
instructions; but several times in the next half hour he looked in upon
him.  The stranger was always sitting where he had seated himself when
Kondo showed him in; he was merely waiting.  In about forty minutes,
Corboy drove the car under the porte-cochère again and got down and
opened the door.  Kondo had not heard the car at once, and the
chauffeur had not waited for him.  There was no motion inside the
limousine.  The chauffeur looked in and saw Mr. Warden lying back
quietly against the cushions in the back of the seat; he was alone.

Corboy noticed then that the curtains all about had been pulled down;
he touched the button and turned on the light at the top of the car,
and then he saw that Warden was dead; his cap was off, and the top of
his head had been smashed in by a heavy blow.

The chauffeur drew back, gasping; Kondo, behind him on the steps, cried
out and ran into the house calling for help.  Two other servants and
Mrs. Warden, who had remained nervously in her room, ran down.  The
stranger who had been waiting, now seen for the first time by Mrs.
Warden, came out from the smoking room to help them.  He aided in
taking the body from the car and helped to carry it into the living
room and lay it on a couch; he remained until it was certain that
Warden had been killed and nothing could be done.  When this had been
established and further confirmed by the doctor who was called, Kondo
and Mrs. Warden looked around for the young man--but he was no longer
there.

The news of the murder brought extras out upon the streets of Seattle,
Tacoma, and Portland at ten o'clock that night; the news took the first
page in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York papers, in competition
with the war news, the next morning.  Seattle, stirred at once at the
murder of one of its most prominent citizens, stirred still further at
the new proof that Warden had been a power in business and finance;
then, as the second day's dispatches from the larger cities came in, it
stirred a third time at the realization--for so men said--that this was
the second time such a murder had happened.

Warden had been what was called among men of business and finance a
member of the "Latron crowd"; he had been close, at one time, to the
great Western capitalist Matthew Latron; the properties in which he had
made his wealth, and whose direction and administration had brought him
the respect and attention of other men, had been closely allied with or
even included among those known as the "Latron properties"; and Latron,
five years before, had been murdered.  The parallel between the two
cases was not as great as the newspapers in their search for the
startling made it appear; nevertheless, there was a parallel.  Latron's
murderer had been a man who called upon him by appointment, and
Warden's murderer, it appeared, had been equally known to him, or at
least equally recommended.  Of this as much was made as possible in the
suggestion that the same agency was behind the two.

The statement of Cora Warden, indicating that Warden's death might have
been caused by men with whom he was--or had been at one
time--associated, was compared with the fact that Latron's death had
occurred at a time of fierce financial stress and warfare.  But in this
comparison Warden's statement to his wife was not borne out.  Men of
high place in the business world appeared, from time to time during the
next few days, at Warden's offices and even at his house, coming from
other cities on the Coast and from as far east as Chicago; they felt
the need, many of them, of looking after interests of their own which
were involved with Warden's.  All concurred in saying that, so far as
Warden and his properties were concerned, the time was one of peace;
neither attack nor serious disagreement had threatened him.

More direct investigation of the murder went on unceasingly through
these days.  The statements of Kondo and Corboy were verified; it was
even learned at what spot Warden's murderer had left the motor
unobserved by Corboy.  Beyond this, no trace was found of him, and the
disappearance of the young man who had come to Warden's house and
waited there for three quarters of an hour to see him was also complete.

No suspicion attached to this young man; Warden's talk with his wife
made it completely clear that, if he had any connection with the
murder, it was only as befriending him brought danger to Warden.  His
disappearance seemed explicable therefore only in one way.  Appeals to
him to come forward were published in the newspapers; he was offered
the help of influential men, if help was what he needed, and a money
reward was promised for revealing himself and explaining why Warden saw
inevitable danger in befriending him.  To these offers he made no
response.  The theory therefore gained ground that his appointment with
Warden had involved him in Warden's fate; it was generally credited
that he too must have been killed; or, if he was alive, he saw in
Warden's swift and summary destruction a warning of his own fate if he
came forward and sought to speak at this time.

Thus after ten days no information from or about this mysterious young
man had been gained.



CHAPTER II

THE EXPRESS IS HELD FOR A PERSONAGE

On the morning of the eleventh day, Bob Connery, special conductor for
the Coast division of one of the chief transcontinentals, was having
late breakfast on his day off at his little cottage on the shore of
Puget Sound, when he was treated to the unusual sight of a large
touring car stopping before his door.  The car carried no one but the
chauffeur, however, and he at once made it plain that he came only as a
message-bearer when he hurried from the car to the house with an
envelope in his hand.  Connery, meeting him at the door, opened the
envelope and found within an order in the handwriting of the president
of the railroad and over his signature.


Connery:

No. 5 being held at Seattle terminal until nine o'clock--will run one
hour late.  This is your authority to supersede the regular man as
conductor--prepared to go through to Chicago.  You will facilitate
every desire and obey, when possible, any request even as to running of
the train, which may be made by a passenger who will identify himself
by a card from me.

H. E. JARVIS.


The conductor, accustomed to take charge of trains when princes,
envoys, presidents and great people of any sort took to travel publicly
or privately, fingered the heavy cream-colored note-paper upon which
the order was written and looked up at the chauffeur.

The order itself was surprising enough even to Connery.  Some passenger
of extraordinary influence, obviously, was to take the train; not only
the holding of the transcontinental for an hour told this, but there
was the further plain statement that the passenger would be incognito.
Astonishing also was the fact that the order was written upon private
note-paper.  There had been a monogram at the top of the sheet, but it
had been torn off; that would not have been if Mr. Jarvis had sent the
order from home.  Who could have had the president of the road call
upon him at half past seven in the morning and have told Mr. Jarvis to
hold the Express for an hour?

Connery, having served for twenty of his forty-two years under Mr.
Jarvis, and the last five, at least, in almost a confidential capacity,
was certain of the distinctive characters of the president's
handwriting.  The enigma of the order, however, had piqued him so that
he pretended doubt.

"Where did you get this?" he challenged the chauffeur.

"From Mr. Jarvis."

"Of course; but where?"

"You mean you want to know where he was?"

Connery smiled quietly.  If he himself was trusted to be cautious and
circumspect, the chauffeur also plainly was accustomed to be in the
employ of one who required reticence.  Connery looked from the note to
the bearer more keenly.  There was something familiar in the
chauffeur's face--just enough to have made Connery believe, at first,
that probably he had seen the man meeting some passenger at the station.

"You are--" Connery ventured more casually.

"In private employ; yes, sir," the man cut off quickly.  Then Connery
knew him; it was when Gabriel Warden traveled on Connery's train that
the conductor had seen this chauffeur; this was Patrick Corboy, who had
driven Warden the night he was killed.  But Connery, having won his
point, knew better than to show it.  "Waiting for a receipt from me?"
he asked as if he had abandoned his curiosity.

The chauffeur nodded.  Connery took a sheet of paper, wrote on it,
sealed it in an envelope and handed it over; the chauffeur hastened
back to his car and drove off.  Connery, order in hand, stood at the
door watching the car depart.  He whistled softly to himself.
Evidently his passenger was to be one of the great men in Eastern
finance who had been brought West by Warden's death.  As the car
disappeared, Connery gazed off to the Sound.

The March morning was windy and wet, with a storm blowing in from the
Pacific.  East of the mountains--in Idaho and Montana--there was snow,
and a heavy fall of it, as the conductor well knew from the long list
of incoming trains yesterday stalled or badly overdue; but at Seattle,
so far, only rain or a soft, sloppy sleet had appeared.  Through this
rose the smoke from tugs and a couple of freighters putting out in
spite of the storm, and from further up Eliot Bay reverberated the roar
of the steam-whistle of some large ship signaling its intention to pass
another to the left.  The incoming vessel loomed in sight and showed
the graceful lines, the single funnel and the white- and red-barred
flag of the Japanese line, the Nippon Yusen Kaisha.  Connery saw that
it was, as he anticipated, the _Tamba Maru_, due two days before,
having been delayed by bad weather over the Pacific.  It would dock,
Connery estimated, just in time to permit a passenger to catch the
Eastern Express if that were held till nine o'clock.  So, as he
hastened to the car-line, Connery smiled at himself for taking the
trouble to make his earlier surmises.  More probably the train was
being held just for some party on the boat.  Going to the chief
dispatcher's office to confirm understanding of his orders, he found
that Mr. Jarvis had sent simply the curt command, "Number Five will run
one hour late."  Connery went down to the trainsheds.

The Eastern Express, with its gleaming windows, shining brass and
speckless, painted steel, was standing between the sooty,
slush-splashed trains which had just struggled in from over the
mountain; a dozen passengers, tired of waiting on the warm, cushioned
seats of the Pullmans, sauntered up and down beside the cars,
commenting on the track-conditions which, apparently, prevented even
starting a train on time.  Connery looked these over and then got
aboard the train and went from observation to express car.  Travel was
light that trip; in addition to the few on the platform, Connery
counted only fourteen passengers on the train.  He scrutinized these
without satisfaction; all appeared to have arrived at the train long
before and to have been waiting.  Connery got off and went back to the
barrier.

Old Sammy Seaton, the gateman, stood in his iron coop twirling a punch
about his finger.  Old Sammy's scheme of sudden wealth--every one has a
plan by which at any moment wealth may arrive--was to recognize and
apprehend some wrongdoer, or some lost or kidnaped person for whom a
great reward would be given.  His position at the gate through which
must pass most of the people arriving at the great Coast city, or
wishing to depart from it, certainly was excellent; and by constant and
careful reading of the papers, classifying and memorizing faces, he
prepared himself to take advantage of any opportunity.  Indeed, in his
years at the gate, he had succeeded in no less than seven acknowledged
cases in putting the police upon the track of persons "wanted"; these,
however, happened to be worth only minor rewards.  Sammy still awaited
his great "strike."

"Any one off on Number Five, Sammy?" Connery questioned carelessly as
he approached.  Sammy's schemes involved the following of the comings
and goings of the great as well as of the "wanted."

Old Sammy shook his head.  "What're we holding for?" he whispered.
"Ah--for them?"

A couple of station-boys, overloaded with hand-baggage, scurried in
from the street; some one shouted for a trunk-truck, and baggagemen
ran.  A group of people, who evidently had come to the station in
covered cars, crowded out to the gate and lined up to pass old Sammy.
The gateman straightened importantly and scrutinized each person
presenting a ticket.  Much of the baggage carried by the boys, and also
the trunks rushed by on the trucks, bore foreign hotel and steamship
"stickers."  Connery observed the label of the Miyaka Hotel, Kioto,
leaving visible only the "Bombay" of another below it; others
proclaimed "Amoy," "Tonkin," and "Shanghai."  This baggage and some of
the people, at least, undoubtedly had just landed from the _Tamba
Maru_.  Connery inspected with even greater attention the file at the
gate and watched old Sammy also as each passed him.

The first of the five in line was a girl--a girl about twenty-two or
three, Connery guessed.  She was of slightly more than medium height,
slender and erect in figure, and with slim, gloved hands.  She had the
easy, interested air of a person of assured position.  She evidently
had come to the station in a motor-car which had kept off the sleet,
but had let in the wind--a touring-car, possibly, with top up.  Her
fair cheeks were ruddy and her blue eyes bright; her hair, which was
deep brown and abundant, was caught back from her brow, giving her a
more outdoor and boyish look.  When Connery first saw her, she seemed
to be accompanying the man who now was behind her; but she offered her
own ticket for perusal at the gate, and as soon as she was through, she
hurried on ahead alone.

Whether or not she had come from the Japanese boat, Connery could not
tell; her ticket, at least, disclaimed for her any connection with the
foreign baggage-labels, for it was merely the ordinary form calling for
transportation from Seattle to Chicago.  Connery was certain he did not
know her.  He noticed that old Sammy had held her at the gate as long
as possible, as if hoping to recollect who she might be; but now that
she was gone, the gateman gave his attention more closely to the first
man--a tall, strongly built man, neither heavy nor light, and with a
powerful patrician face.  His hair and his mustache, which was clipped
short and did not conceal his good mouth, were dark; his brows were
black and distinct, but not bushy or unpleasantly thick; his eyes were
hidden by smoked glasses such as one wears against a glare of snow.

"Chicago?" old Sammy questioned.  Connery knew that it was to draw the
voice in reply; but the man barely nodded, took back his ticket--which
also was the ordinary form of transportation from Seattle to
Chicago--and strode on to the train.  Connery found his gaze following
this man; the conductor did not know him, nor had old Sammy recognized
him; but both were trying to place him.  He, unquestionably, was a man
to be known, though not more so than many who traveled in the
transcontinental trains.

A trim, self-assured man of thirty--his open overcoat showed a cutaway
underneath--came past next, proffering the plain Seattle-Chicago ticket.

An Englishman, with red-veined cheeks, fumbling, clumsy fingers and
curious, interested eyes, immediately followed.  To him, plainly, the
majority of the baggage on the trucks belonged; he had "booked" the
train at Hong Kong and seemed pleasantly surprised that his tourist
ticket was instantly accepted.  The name upon the strip, "Henry
Standish," corresponded with the "H. S., Nottingham," emblazoned on the
luggage.

The remaining man, carrying his own grips, which were not initialed,
set them down in the gate and felt in his pocket for his transportation.

This fifth person had appeared suddenly after the line of four had
formed in front of old Sammy at the gate; he had taken his place with
them only after scrutiny of them and of the station all around.  Like
the Englishman's, his ticket was a strip which originally had held
coupons for the Pacific voyage and some indefinite journey in Asia
before; unlike the Englishman's,--and his baggage did not bear the
pasters of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha,--the ticket was close to the date
when it would have expired.  It bore upon the line where the purchaser
signed, the name "Philip D. Eaton" in plain, vigorous characters
without shading or flourish.  An American, and too young to have gained
distinction in any of the ordinary ways by which men lift themselves
above others, he still made a profound impression upon Connery.  There
was something about him which said, somehow, that these strips of
transportation were taking him home after a long and troublesome
absence.  He combined, in some strange way, exaltation with weariness.
He was, plainly, carefully observant of all that went on about him,
even these commonplace formalities connected with taking the train; and
Connery felt that it was by premeditation that he was the last to pass
the gate.

As a sudden eddy of the gale about the shed blew the ticket from old
Sammy's cold fingers, the young man stooped to recover it.  The wind
blew off his cloth cap as he did so, and as he bent and straightened
before old Sammy, the old man suddenly gasped; and while the traveler
pulled on his cap, recovered his ticket and hurried down the platform
to the train, the gateman stood staring after him as though trying to
recall who the man presenting himself as Philip D. Eaton was.

Connery stepped beside the old man.

"Who is it, Sammy?" he demanded.

"Who?" Sammy repeated.  His eyes were still fixed on the retreating
figure.  "Who?  I don't know."

The gateman mumbled, repeating to himself the names of the famous, the
great, the notorious, in his effort to fit one to the man who had just
passed.  Connery awaited the result, his gaze following Eaton until he
disappeared aboard the train.  No one else belated and bound for the
Eastern Express was in sight.  The president's order to the conductor
and to the dispatcher simply had directed that Number Five would run
one hour late; it must leave in five minutes; and Connery, guided by
the impression the man last through the gate had made upon him and old
Sammy both, had no doubt that the man for whom the train had been held
was now on board.

For a last time, the conductor scrutinized old Sammy.  The gateman's
mumblings were clearly fruitless; if Eaton were not the man's real
name, old Sammy was unable to find any other which fitted.  As Connery
watched, old Sammy gave it up.  Connery went out to the train.  The
passengers who had been parading the platform had got aboard; the last
five to arrive also had disappeared into the Pullmans, and their
luggage had been thrown into the baggage car.  Connery jumped aboard.
He turned back into the observation car and then went forward into the
next Pullman.  In the aisle of this car the five whom Connery had just
watched pass the gate were gathered about the Pullman conductor,
claiming their reservations.  Connery looked first at Eaton, who stood
beside his grips a little apart, but within hearing of the rest; and
then, passing him, he joined the Pullman conductor.

The three who had passed the gate first--the girl, the man with the
glasses and the young man in the cutaway--it had now become clear were
one party.  They had had reservations made, apparently, in the name of
Dorne; and these reservations were for a compartment and two sections
in this car, the last of the four Pullmans.  As they discussed the
disposition of these, the girl's address to the spectacled man made
plain that he was her father; her name, apparently, was Harriet; the
young man in the cutaway coat was "Don" to her and "Avery" to her
father.  His relation, while intimate enough to permit him to address
the girl as "Harry," was unfailingly respectful to Mr. Dorne; and
against them both Dorne won his way; his daughter was to occupy the
drawing-room; he and Avery were to have sections in the open car.

"You have Sections One and Three, sir," the Pullman conductor told him.
And Dorne directed the porter to put Avery's luggage in Section One,
his own in Section Three.

The Englishman who had come by the Japanese steamer was unsupplied with
a sleeping-car ticket; he accepted, after what seemed only an automatic
and habitual debate on his part, Section Four in Car Three--the next
car forward--and departed at the heels of the porter.  Connery watched
more closely, as now it came the turn of the young man whose ticket
bore the name of Eaton.  Like the Englishman with the same sort of
ticket from Asia, Eaton had no reservation in the sleepers; he
appeared, however, to have some preference as to where he slept.

"Give me a Three, if you have one," he requested of the Pullman
conductor.  His voice, Connery noted, was well modulated, rather deep,
distinctly pleasant.  At sound of it, Dorne, who with his daughter's
help was settling himself in his section, turned and looked that way
and said something in a low tone to the girl.  Harriet Dorne also
looked, and with her eyes on Eaton, Connery saw her reply inaudibly,
rapidly and at some length.

"I can give you Three in Car Three, opposite the gentleman I just
assigned," the Pullman conductor offered.

"That'll do very well," Eaton answered in the same pleasant voice.

As the porter now took his bags, Eaton followed him out of the car.
Connery looked around the sleeper; then, having allowed a moment to
pass so that he would not too obviously seem to be following Eaton, he
went after them into the next car.  He expected, rather, that Eaton
would at once identify himself to him as the passenger to whom
President Jarvis' short note had referred.  Eaton, however, paid no
attention to him, but was busy taking off his coat and settling himself
in his section as Connery passed.

The conductor, willing that Eaton should choose his own time for
identifying himself, passed slowly on, looking over the passengers as
he went.  The cars were far from full.

Besides Eaton, Connery saw but half a dozen people in this car: the
Englishman in Section Four; two young girls of about nineteen and
twenty and their parents--uninquisitive-looking, unobtrusive,
middle-aged people who possessed the drawing-room; and an alert,
red-haired, professional-looking man of forty whose baggage was marked
"D. S.--Chicago."  Connery had had nothing to do with putting Eaton in
this car, but his survey of it gave him satisfaction; if President
Jarvis inquired, he could be told that Eaton had not been put near to
undesirable neighbors.  The next car forward, perhaps, would have been
even better; for Connery saw, as he entered it, that but one of its
sections was occupied.  The next, the last Pullman, was quite well
filled; beyond this was the diner.  Connery stood a few moments in
conversation with the dining car conductor; then he retraced his way
through the train.  He again passed Eaton, slowing so that the young
man could speak to him if he wished, and even halting an instant to
exchange a word with the Englishman; but Eaton allowed him to pass on
without speaking to him.  Connery's step quickened as he entered the
next car on his way back to the smoking compartment of the observation
car, where he expected to compare sheets with the Pullman conductor
before taking up the tickets.  As he entered this car, however, Avery
stopped him.

"Mr. Dorne would like to speak to you," Avery said.  The tone was very
like a command.

Connery stopped beside the section, where the man with the spectacles
sat with his daughter.  Dorne looked up at him.

"You are the train conductor?" he asked, seeming either unsatisfied of
this by Connery's presence or merely desirous of a formal answer.

"Yes, sir," Connery replied.

Dorne fumbled in his inner pocket and brought out a card-case, which he
opened, and produced a card.  Connery, glancing at the card while the
other still held it, saw that it was President Jarvis' visiting card,
with the president's name in engraved block letters; across its top was
written briefly in Jarvis' familiar hand, "_This is the passenger_";
and below, it was signed with the same scrawl of initials which had
been on the note Connery had received that morning--"_H. R. J._"

Connery's hand shook as, while trying to recover himself, he took the
card and looked at it more closely, and he felt within him the sinking
sensation which follows an escape from danger.  He saw that his too
ready and too assured assumption that Eaton was the man to whom Jarvis'
note had referred, had almost led him into the sort of mistake which is
unpardonable in a "trusted" man; he had come within an ace, he
realized, of speaking to Eaton and so betraying the presence on the
train of a traveler whose journey his superiors were trying to keep
secret.

"You need, of course, hold the train no longer," Dorne said to Connery.

"Yes, sir; I received word from Mr. Jarvis about you, Mr. Dorne.  I
shall follow his instructions fully."  Connery recalled the discussion
about the drawing-room which had been given to Dorne's daughter.  "I
shall see that the Pullman conductor moves some one in one of the other
cars to have a compartment for you, sir."

"I prefer a place in the open car," Dorne replied.  "I am well situated
here.  Do not disturb any one."

As he went forward again after the train was under way, Connery tried
to recollect how it was that he had been led into such a mistake, and
defending himself, he laid it all to old Sammy.  But old Sammy was not
often mistaken in his identifications.  If Eaton was not the person for
whom the train was held, might he be some one else of importance?  Now
as he studied Eaton, he could not imagine what had made him accept this
passenger as a person of great position.  It was only when he passed
Eaton a third time, half an hour later, when the train had long left
Seattle, that the half-shaped hazards and guesses about the passenger
suddenly sprang into form.  Connery stood and stared back.  Eaton did
not look like any one whom he remembered having seen; but he fitted
perfectly some one whose description had been standing for ten days in
every morning and evening edition of the Seattle papers.  Yes, allowing
for a change of clothes and a different way of brushing his hair, Eaton
was exactly the man whom Warden had expected at his house and who had
come there and waited while Warden, away in his car, was killed.

Connery was walking back through the train, absent-minded in trying to
decide whether he could be at all sure of this from the mere printed
description, and trying to decide what he should do if he felt sure,
when Mr. Dorne stopped him.

"Conductor, do you happen to know," he questioned, "who the young man
is who took Section Three in the car forward?"

Connery gasped; but the question put to him the impossibility of his
being sure of any recognition from the description.  "He gave his name
on his ticket as Philip D. Eaton, sir," Connery replied.

"Is that all you know about him?"

"Yes, sir."

"If you find out anything about him, let me know," Dorne bade.

"Yes, sir."  Connery moved away and soon went back to look again at
Eaton.  Had Mr. Dorne also seen the likeness of Eaton in the published
descriptions of the man whom Warden had said was most outrageously
wronged? the man for whom Warden had been willing to risk his life, who
afterwards had not dared to come forward to aid the police with
anything he might know?  Connery determined to let nothing interfere
with learning more of Eaton; Dorne's request only gave him added
responsibility.

Dorne, however, was not depending upon Connery alone for further
information.  As soon as the conductor had gone, he turned back to his
daughter and Avery upon the seat opposite.

"Avery," he said in a tone of direction, "I wish you to get in
conversation with this Philip Eaton.  It will probably be useful if you
let Harriet talk with him too.  She would get impressions helpful to me
which you can't."

The girl started with surprise but recovered at once.  "Yes, Father,"
she said.

"What, sir?" Avery ventured to protest.



CHAPTER III

MISS DORNE MEETS EATON

Dorne motioned Avery to the aisle, where already some of the
passengers, having settled their belongings in their sections, were
beginning to wander through the cars seeking acquaintances or players
to make up a card game.  Eaton, however, was not among these.  On the
contrary, when these approached him in his section, he frankly avoided
chance of their speaking to him, by an appearance of complete immersion
in his own concerns.  The Englishman directly across the aisle from
Eaton clearly was not likely to speak to him, or to anybody else,
without an introduction; the red-haired man, "D. S.," however, seemed a
more expansive personality.  Eaton, seeing "D. S." look several times
in his direction, pulled a newspaper from the pocket of his overcoat
and engrossed himself in it; the newspaper finished, he opened his
traveling bag and produced a magazine.

But as the train settled into the steady running which reminded of the
days of travel ahead during which the half-dozen cars of the train must
create a world in which it would be absolutely impossible to avoid
contact with other people, Eaton put the magazine into his traveling
bag, took from the bag a handful of cigars with which he filled a
plain, uninitialed cigar-case, and went toward the club and observation
car in the rear.  As he passed through the sleeper next to him,--the
last one,--Harriet Dorne glanced up at him and spoke to her father;
Dorne nodded but did not look up.  Eaton went on into the wide-windowed
observation-room beyond, which opened onto the rear platform protected
on three sides.

The observation-room was nearly empty.  The sleet which had been
falling when they left Seattle had changed to huge, heavy flakes of
fast-falling snow, which blurred the windows, obscured the landscape
and left visible only the two thin black lines of track that, streaming
out behind them, vanished fifty feet away in the white smother.  The
only occupants of the room were a young woman who was reading a
magazine, and an elderly man.  Eaton chose a seat as far from these two
as possible.

He had been there only a few minutes, however, when, looking up, he saw
Harriet Dorne and Avery enter the room.  They passed him, engaged in
conversation, and stood by the rear door looking out into the storm.
It was evident to Eaton, although he did not watch them, that they were
arguing something; the girl seemed insistent, Avery irritated and
unwilling.  Her manner showed that she won her point finally.  She
seated herself in one of the chairs, and Avery left her.  He wandered,
as if aimlessly, to the reading table, turning over the magazines
there; abandoning them, he gazed about as if bored; then, with a wholly
casual manner, he came toward Eaton and took the seat beside him.

"Rotten weather, isn't it?" Avery observed somewhat ungraciously.

Eaton could not well avoid reply.  "It's been getting worse," he
commented, "ever since we left Seattle."

"We're running into it, apparently."  Again Avery looked toward Eaton
and waited.

"It'll be bad in the mountains, I suspect," Eaton said.

"Yes--lucky if we get through."

The conversation on Avery's part was patently forced; and it was
equally forced on Eaton's; nevertheless it continued.  Avery introduced
the war and other subjects upon which men, thrown together for a time,
are accustomed to exchange opinions.  But Avery did not do it easily or
naturally; he plainly was of the caste whose pose it is to repel, not
seek, overtures toward a chance acquaintance.  His lack of practice was
perfectly obvious when at last he asked directly: "Beg pardon, but I
don't think I know your name."

Eaton was obliged to give it.

"Mine's Avery," the other offered; "perhaps you heard it when we were
getting our berths assigned."

And again the conversation, enjoyed by neither of them, went on.
Finally the girl at the end of the car rose and passed them, as though
leaving the car.  Avery looked up.

"Where are you going, Harry?"

"I think some one ought to be with Father."

"I'll go in just a minute."

She had halted almost in front of them.  Avery, hesitating as though he
did not know what he ought to do, finally arose; and as Eaton observed
that Avery, having introduced himself, appeared now to consider it his
duty to present Eaton to Harriet Dorne, Eaton also arose.  Avery
murmured the names.  Harriet Dorne, resting her hand on the back of
Avery's chair, joined in the conversation.  As she replied easily and
interestedly to a comment of Eaton's, Avery suddenly reminded her of
her father.  After a minute, when Avery--still ungracious and still
irritated over something which Eaton could not guess--rather abruptly
left them, she took Avery's seat; and Eaton dropped into his chair
beside her.

Now, this whole proceeding--though within the convention which,
forbidding a girl to make a man's acquaintance directly, says nothing
against her making it through the medium of another man--had been so
unnaturally done that Eaton understood that Harriet Dorne deliberately
had arranged to make his acquaintance, and that Avery, angry and
objecting, had been overruled.

She seemed to Eaton less alertly boyish now than she had looked an hour
before when they had boarded the train.  Her cheeks were smoothly
rounded, her lips rather full, her lashes very long.  He could not look
up without looking directly at her, for her chair, which had not been
moved since Avery left it, was at an angle with his own.  A faint,
sweet fragrance from her hair and clothing came to him and made him
recollect how long it was--five years--since he had talked with, or
even been near, such a girl as this; and the sudden tumult of his
pulses which her nearness caused warned him to keep watch of what he
said until he had learned why she had sought him out.

To avoid the appearance of studying her too openly, he turned slightly,
so that his gaze went past her to the white turmoil outside the windows.

"It's wonderful," she said, "isn't it?"

"You mean the storm?"  A twinkle of amusement came to Eaton's eyes.
"It would be more interesting if it allowed a little more to be seen.
At present there is nothing visible but snow."

"Is that the only way it affects you?"  She turned to him, apparently a
trifle disappointed.

"I don't exactly understand."

"Why, it must affect every man most as it touches his own interests.
An artist would think of it as a background for contrasts--a thing to
sketch or paint; a writer as something to be written down in words."

Eaton understood.  She could not more plainly have asked him what he
was.

"And an engineer, I suppose," he said, easily, "would think of it only
as an element to be included in his formulas--an _x_, or an _a_, or a
_b_, to be put in somewhere and square-rooted or squared so that the
roof-truss he was figuring should not buckle under its weight."

"Oh--so that is the way you were thinking of it?"

"You mean," Eaton challenged her directly, "am I an engineer?"

"Are you?"

"Oh, no; I was only talking in pure generalities, just as you were."

"Let us go on, then," she said gayly.  "I see I can't conceal from you
that I am doing you the honor to wonder what you are.  A lawyer would
think of it in the light of damage it might create and the subsequent
possibilities of litigation."  She made a little pause.  "A business
man would take it into account, as he has to take into account all
things in nature or human; it would delay transportation, or harm or
aid the winter wheat."

"Or stop competition somewhere," he observed, more interested.

The flash of satisfaction which came to her face and as quickly was
checked and faded showed him she thought she was on the right track.

"Business," she said, still lightly, "will--how is it the newspapers
put it?--will marshal its cohorts; it will send out its generals in
command of brigades of snowplows, its colonels in command of regiments
of snow-shovelers and its spies to discover and to bring back word of
the effect upon the crops."

"You talk," he said, "as if business were a war."

"Isn't it?--like war, but war in higher terms."

"In higher terms?" he questioned, attempting to make his tone like
hers, but a sudden bitterness now was betrayed by it.  "Or in lower?"

"Why, in higher," she declared, "demanding greater courage, greater
devotion, greater determination, greater self-sacrifice."

"What makes you say that?"

"Soldiers themselves say it, Mr. Eaton, and all the observers in this
horrible war say it when they say that they find almost no cowards and
very few weaklings among all the millions of every sort of men at the
front.  They could not say the same of those identical millions under
the normal conditions of everyday business life."

He remained silent, though she waited for him to reply.

"You know that is so, Mr. Eaton," she said.  "One has only to look on
the streets of any great city to find thousands of men who have not had
the courage and determination to carry on their share of the ordinary
duties of life.  Recruiting officers can pick any man off the streets
and make a good soldier of him, but no one could be so sure of finding
a satisfactory employee in that way.  Doesn't that show that daily
life, the everyday business of earning a living and bearing one's share
in the workaday world, demands greater qualities than war?"

Her face had flushed eagerly as she spoke; a darker, livid flush
answered her words on his.

"But the opportunities for evil are greater, too," he asserted almost
fiercely.

"What do you mean?"

"For deceit, for lies, for treachery, Miss Dorne!  Violence is the evil
of war, and violence is the evil most easily punished, even if it does
not bring its own punishment upon itself.  But how many of those men
you speak of on the streets have been deliberately, mercilessly, even
savagely sacrificed to some business expediency, their future
destroyed, their hope killed!"  Some storm of passion, whose meaning
she could not divine, was sweeping him.

"You mean," she asked after an instant's silence, "that you, Mr. Eaton,
have been sacrificed in such a way?"

"I am still talking in generalities," he denied ineffectively.

He saw that she sensed the untruthfulness of these last words.  Her
smooth young forehead and her eyes were shadowy with thought.  Eaton
was uneasily silent.  The train roared across some trestle, giving a
sharp glimpse of gray, snow-swept water far below.  Finally Harriet
Dorne seemed to have made her decision.

"I think you should meet my father, Mr. Eaton," she said.  "Would you
like to?"

He did not reply at once.  He knew that his delay was causing her to
study him now with greater surprise.

"I would like to meet him, yes," he said, "but,"--he hesitated, tried
to avoid answer without offending her, but already he had affronted
her,--"but not now, Miss Dorne."

She stared at him, rebuffed and chilled.

"You mean--"  The sentence, obviously, was one she felt it better not
to finish.  As though he recognized that now she must wish the
conversation to end, he got up.  She rose stiffly.

"I'll see you into your car, if you're returning there," he offered.

Neither spoke, as he went with her into the next car; and at the
section where her father sat, Eaton bowed silently, nodded to Avery,
who coldly returned his nod, and left her.  Eaton went on into his own
car and sat down, his thoughts in mad confusion.

How near he had come to talking to this girl about himself, even
though, he had felt from the first that that was what she was trying to
make him do!  Was he losing his common sense?  Was the self-command on
which he had so counted that he had dared to take this train deserting
him?  He felt that he must not see Harriet Dorne again alone.  At first
this was all he felt; but as he sat, pale and quiet, staring vacantly
at the snow-flakes which struck and melted on the window beside him,
his thoughts grew more clear.  In Avery he had recognized, by that
instinct which so strangely divines the personalities one meets, an
enemy from the start; Dorne's attitude toward him, of course, was not
yet defined; as for Harriet Dorne--he could not tell whether she was
prepared to be his enemy or friend.



CHAPTER IV

TRUCE

The Eastern Express, mantled in a seething whirl of snow, but still
maintaining very nearly its scheduled time and even regaining a few
lost minutes from hour to hour as, now well past the middle of the
State, it sped on across the flatter country in its approach to the
mountains, proceeded monotonously through the afternoon.  Eaton watched
the chill of the snow battle against the warmth of the double windows
on the windward side of the car, until finally it conquered and the
windows became--as he knew the rest of the outside of the cars must
have been long before--merely a wall of white.  This coating,
thickening steadily with the increasing severity of the storm as they
approached the Rockies, dimmed the afternoon daylight within the car to
dusk.

Presently all became black outside the windows, and the passengers from
the rear cars filed forward to the dining car and then back to their
places again.  Eaton took care to avoid the Dorne party in the diner.
Soon the porter began making up the berths to be occupied that night;
but as yet no one was retiring.  The train was to reach Spokane late in
the evening; there would be a stop there for half an hour; and after
the long day on the train, every one seemed to be waiting up for a walk
about the station before going to bed.  But as the train slowed, and
with a sudden diminishing of the clatter of the fishplates under its
wheels and of the puffings of exhausted steam, slipped into the lighted
trainsheds at the city, Eaton sat for some minutes in thought.  Then he
dragged his overcoat down from its hook, buttoned it tightly about his
throat, pulled his traveling cap down on his head and left the car.
All along the train, vestibule doors of the Pullmans had been opened,
and the passengers were getting out, while a few others, snow-covered
and with hand-luggage, came to board the train.  Eaton, turning to
survey the sleet-shrouded car he had left, found himself face to face
with Miss Dorne, standing alone upon the station platform.

Her piquant, beautiful face was half hidden in the collar of the great
fur coat she had worn on boarding the train, and her cheeks were ruddy
with the bite of the crisp air.

"You see before you a castaway," she volunteered, smiling.

He felt it necessary to take the same tone.  "A castaway?" he
questioned.  "Cast away by whom?"

"By Mr. Avery, if you must know, though your implication that anybody
should have cast me away--anybody at all, Mr. Eaton--is unpleasant."

"There was no implication; it was simply inquiry."

"You should have put it, then, in some other form; you should have
asked how I came to be in so surprising a position."

"'How,' in this part of the country, Miss Dorne, is not regarded as a
question, but merely as a form of salutation," he bantered.  "It was
formerly employed by the Indian aborigines inhabiting these parts, who
exchanged 'How's' when passing each other on the road.  If I had said
'How,' you might simply have replied 'How,' and I should have been
under the necessity of considering the incident closed."

She laughed.  "You do not wish it to be closed."

"Not till I know more about it."

"Very well; you shall know more.  Mr. Avery brought me out to take a
walk.  He remembered, after bringing me as far as this, that we had not
asked my father whether he had any message to be sent from here or any
commission to execute; so he went back to find out.  I have now waited
so many minutes that I feel sure it is my father who has detained him.
The imperfectly concealed meaning of what I am telling you is that I
consider that Mr. Avery, by his delay, has forfeited his right.  The
further implication--for _I_ do imply things, Mr. Eaton--is that you
cannot very well avoid offering to take the post of duty he has
abandoned."

"You mean walk with you?"

"I do."

He slipped his hand inside her arm, sustaining her slight, active body
against the wind which blew strongly through the station and scattered
over them snow-flakes blown from the roofs of the cars, as they walked
forward along the train.  Her manner had told him that she meant to
ignore her resentment of the morning; but as, turning, they commenced
to walk briskly up and down the platform, he found he was not wholly
right in this.

"You must admit, Mr. Eaton, that I am treating you very well."

"In pardoning an offense where no offense was meant?"

"It is partly that--that I realized no offense was meant.  Partly it is
because I do not pass judgment on things I do not understand.  I could
imagine no possible reason for your very peculiar refusal."

"Not even that I might be perhaps the sort of person who ought not to
be introduced into your party in quite that way?"

"That least of all.  Persons of that sort do not admit themselves to be
such; and if I have lived for twen--I shall not tell you just how many
years--the sort of life I have been obliged to live almost since I was
born, without learning to judge men in that respect, I must have failed
to use my opportunities."

"Thank you," he returned quietly; then, as he recollected his
instinctive prejudice against Avery: "However, I am not so sure."

She plainly waited for him to go on, but he pretended to be concerned
wholly with guiding her along the platform.

"Mr. Eaton!"

"Yes."

"Do you know that you are a most peculiar man?"

"Exactly in what way, Miss Dorne?"

"In this: The ordinary man, when a woman shows any curiosity about
himself, answers with a fullness and particularity and eagerness which
seems to say, 'At last you have found a subject which interests me!'"

"Does he?"

"Is that the only reply you care to make?"

"I can think of none more adequate."

"Meaning that after my altogether too open display of curiosity
regarding you, I can still do nothing better than guess, without any
expectation that you, on your part, will deign to tell me whether I am
right or wrong.  Very well; my first guess is that you have not done
much walking with young women on station platforms--certainly not much
of late."

"I'll try to do better, if you'll tell me how you know that?"

"You do very well.  I was not criticising you, and I don't have to tell
why.  Ask no questions; it is a clairvoyant diviner who is speaking."

"Divinity?"

"Diviner only.  My second guess is that you have been abroad in far
lands."

"My railroad ticket showed as much as that."

"Pardon me, if it seriously injures your self-esteem; but I was not
sufficiently interested in you when you came aboard the train, to
observe your ticket.  What I know is divined from the exceedingly odd
and reminiscent way in which you look at all things about you--at this
train, this station, the people who pass."

"You find nothing reminiscent, I suppose, in the way I look at you?"

"You do yourself injustice.  You do not look at me at all, so I cannot
tell; but there could hardly be any reminiscence extending beyond this
morning, since you never saw me before then."

"No; this is all fresh experience."

"I hope it is not displeasing.  My doubt concerning your evidently
rather long absence abroad is as to whether you went away to get or to
forget."

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand."

"Those are the two reasons for which young men go to Asia, are they
not?--to get something or to forget something.  At least, so I have
been given to understand.  Shall I go on?"

"Go on guessing, you mean?  I don't seem able to prevent it."

"Then my third guess is this--and you know no one is ever allowed more
than three guesses."  She hesitated; when she went on, she had entirely
dropped her tone of banter.  "I guess, Mr. Eaton, that you have been--I
think, are still--going through some terrible experience which has
endured for a very long time--perhaps even for years--and has nearly
made of you and perhaps even yet may make of you something far
different and--and something far less pleasing than you--you must have
been before.  There!  I have transcended all bounds, said everything I
should not have said, and left unsaid all the conventional things which
are all that our short acquaintance could have allowed.  Forgive
me--because I'm not sorry."

He made no answer.  They walked as far as the rear of the train, turned
and came back before she spoke again:

"What is it they are doing to the front of our train, Mr. Eaton?"

He looked.  "They are putting a plow on the engine."

"Oh!"

"That seems to be only the ordinary push-plow, but if what I have been
overhearing is correct, the railroad people are preparing to give you
one of the minor exhibitions of that everyday courage of which you
spoke this morning, Miss Dorne."

"In what particular way?"

"When we get across the Idaho line and into the mountains, you are to
ride behind a double-header driving a rotary snow-plow."

"A double-header?  You mean two locomotives?"

"Yes; the preparation is warrant that what is ahead of us in the way of
travel will fully come up to anything you may have been led to expect."
They stood a minute watching the trainmen; as they turned, his gaze
went past her to the rear cars.  "Also," he added, "Mr. Avery, with his
usual gracious pleasure at my being in your company, is hailing you
from the platform of your car."

She looked up at Eaton sharply, seemed about to speak, and then checked
what was upon her tongue.  "You are going into your own car?"  She held
out to him her small gloved hand.  "Good-by, then--until we see one
another again."

"Good night, Miss Dorne."

He took her hand and retaining it hardly the fraction of an instant,
let it go.  Was it her friendship she had been offering him?  Men use
badinage without respect to what their actual feelings may be;
women--some memory from the past in which he had known such girls as
this, seemed to recall--use it most frequently when their feelings,
consciously or unconsciously, are drawing toward a man.

Eaton now went into the men's compartment of his car, where he sat
smoking till after the train was under way again.  The porter looked in
upon him there to ask if he wished his berth made up now; Eaton nodded
assent, and fifteen minutes later, dropping the cold end of his cigar
and going out into the car, he found the berth ready for him.  "D.
S.'s" section, also made up but with the curtains folded back
displaying the bedding within, was unoccupied; jerkings of the
curtains, and voices and giggling in the two berths at the end of the
car, showed that Amy and Constance were getting into bed; the
Englishman was wide awake in plain determination not to go to bed until
his accustomed Nottingham hour.  Eaton, drawing his curtains together
and buttoning them from the inside, undressed and went to bed.  A
half-hour later the passage of some one through the aisle and the
sudden dimming of the crack of light which showed above the curtains
told him that the lights in the car had been turned down.  Eaton closed
his eyes, but sleep was far from him.

Presently he began to feel the train beginning to labor with the
increasing grade and the deepening snow.  It was well across the State
line and into Idaho; it was nearing the mountains, and the weather was
getting colder and the storm more severe.  Eaton lifted the curtain
from the window beside him and leaned on one elbow to look out.  The
train was running through a bleak, white desolation; no light and no
sign of habitation showed anywhere.  Eaton lay staring out, and now the
bleak world about him seemed to assume toward him a cruel and merciless
aspect.  The events of the day ran through his mind again with sinister
suggestion.  He had taken that train for a certain definite, dangerous
purpose which required his remaining as obscure and as inconspicuous as
possible; yet already he had been singled out for attention.  So far,
he was sure, he had received no more than that--attention, curiosity
concerning him.  He had not suffered recognition; but that might come
at any moment.  Could he risk longer waiting to act?

He dropped on his back upon the bed and lay with his hands clasped
under his head, his eyes staring up at the roof of the car.

In the card-room of the observation car, playing and conversation still
went on for a time; then it diminished as one by one the passengers
went away to bed.  Connery, looking into this car, found it empty and
the porter cleaning up; he slowly passed on forward through the train,
stopping momentarily in the rear Pullman opposite the berth of the
passenger whom President Jarvis had commended to his care.  His
scrutiny of the car told him all was correct here; the even breathing
within the berth assured him the passenger slept.

Connery went on through to the next car and paused again outside the
berth occupied by Eaton.  He had watched Eaton all day with results
that still he was debating with himself; he had found in a newspaper
the description of the man who had waited at Warden's, and he reread
it, comparing it with Eaton.  It perfectly confirmed Connery's first
impression; but the more Connery had seen of Eaton, and the more he had
thought over him during the day, the more the conductor had become
satisfied that either Eaton was not the man described or, if he was,
there was no harm to come from it.  After all, was not all that could
be said against Eaton--if he was the man--simply that he had not
appeared to state why Warden was befriending him?  Was it not possible
that he was serving Warden in some way by not appearing?  Certainly Mr.
Dorne, who was the man most on the train to be considered, had
satisfied himself that Eaton was fit for an acquaintance; Connery had
seen what was almost a friendship, apparently, spring up between Eaton
and Dorne's daughter during the day.

The conductor went on, his shoulders brushing the buttoned curtains on
both sides of the narrow aisle.  Except for the presence of the
passenger in the rear sleeper, this inspection was to the conductor the
uttermost of the commonplace; in its monotonous familiarity he had
never felt any strangeness in this abrupt and intimate bringing
together of people who never had seen one another before, who after
these few days of travel together, might probably never see one another
again, but who now slept separated from one another and from the
persons passing through the cars by no greater protection than these
curtains designed only to shield them from the light and from each
other's eyes.  He felt no strangeness in this now.  He merely assured
himself by his scrutiny that within his train all was right.  Outside--

Connery was not so sure of that; rather, he had been becoming more
certain hour by hour all through the evening, that they were going to
have great difficulty in getting the train through.  Though he knew by
President Jarvis' note that the officials of the road must be watching
the progress of this especial train with particular interest, he had
received no train-orders from the west for several hours.  His inquiry
at the last stop had told him the reason for this; the telegraph wires
to the west had gone down.  To the east, communication was still open,
but how long it would remain so he could not guess.  Here in the deep
heart of the great mountains--they had passed the Idaho boundary-line
into Montana--they were getting the full effect of the storm; their
progress, increasingly slow, was broken by stops which were becoming
more frequent and longer as they struggled on.  As now they fought
their way slower and slower up a grade, and barely topping it,
descended the opposite slope at greater speed as the momentum of the
train was added to the engine-power, Connery's mind went back to the
second sleeper with its single passenger, and he spoke to the Pullman
conductor, who nodded and went toward that car.  The weather had
prevented the expected increase of their number of passengers at
Spokane; only a few had got aboard there; there were worse grades
ahead, in climbing which every pound of weight would count; so
Connery--in the absence of orders and with Jarvis' note in his
pocket--had resolved to drop the second sleeper.

At Fracroft--the station where he was to exchange the ordinary plow
which so far had sufficed, and couple on the "rotary" to fight the
mountain drifts ahead--he swung himself down from the train, looked in
at the telegraph office and then went forward to the two giant
locomotives, on whose sweating, monstrous backs the snow, suddenly
visible in the haze of their lights, melted as it fell.  He waited on
the station platform while the second sleeper was cut out and the train
made up again.  Then, as they started, he swung aboard and in the
brightly lighted men's compartment of the first Pullman checked up his
report-sheets with a stub of pencil.  They had stopped again, he
noticed; now they were climbing a grade, more easily because of the
decrease of weight; now a trestle rumbled under the wheels, telling him
just where they were.  Next was the powerful, steady push against
opposition--the rotary was cutting its way through a drift.

Again they stopped--once more went on.  Connery, having put his papers
into his pocket, dozed, awoke, dozed again.  The snow was certainly
heavy, and the storm had piled it up across the cuts in great drifts
which kept the rotary struggling almost constantly now.  The progress
of the train halted again and again; several times it backed, charged
forward again--only to stop, back and charge again and then go on.  But
this did not disturb Connery.  Then something went wrong.  All at once
he found himself, by a trainman's instinctive and automatic action,
upon his feet; for the shock had been so slight as barely to be felt,
far too slight certainly to have awakened any of the sleeping
passengers in their berths.  He went to the door of the car, lifted the
platform stop, threw open the door of the vestibule and hanging by one
hand to the rail, swung himself out from the side of the car to look
ahead.  He saw the forward one of the two locomotives wrapped in clouds
of steam, and men arm-deep in snow wallowing forward to the rotary
still further to the front, and the sight confirmed fully his
apprehension that this halt was more important and likely to last much
longer than those that had gone before.



CHAPTER V

ARE YOU HILLWARD?

It is the wonder of the moment of first awakening that one--however
tried or troubled he may be when complete recollection returns--may
find, at first, rehearsal of only what is pleasant in his mind.  Eaton,
waking and stretching himself luxuriously in his berth in the reverie
halfway between sleep and full consciousness, found himself supremely
happy.  His feelings, before recollection came to check them, reminded
him only that he had been made an acquaintance, almost a friend, the
day before, by a wonderful, inspiring, beautiful girl.  Then suddenly,
into his clearing memory crushed and crowded the reason for his being
where he was.  By an instinctive jerk of his shoulders, almost a
shudder, he drew the sheet and blanket closer about him; the smile was
gone from his lips; he lay still, staring upward at the berth above his
head and listening to the noises in the car.

The bell in the washroom at the end of the car was ringing violently,
and some one was reinforcing his ring with a stentorian call for
"Porter!  Porter!"

Eaton realized that it was very cold in his berth--also that the train,
which was standing still, had been in that motionless condition for
some time.  He threw up the window curtain as he appreciated that and,
looking out, found that he faced a great unbroken bank of glistening
white snow as high as the top of the car at this point and rising even
higher ahead.  He listened, therefore, while the Englishman--for the
voice calling to the porter was his--extracted all available
information from the negro.

"Porter!" Standish called again.

"Yessuh!"

"Close my window and be quick about it!"

"It's closed, suh."

"Closed?"

"Yessuh; I shut it en-durin' the night."

"Closed!" the voice behind the curtains iterated skeptically; there was
a pause during which, probably, there was limited exploration.  "I say,
then, how cold is it outside?"

"Ten below this morning, suh."

"What, what?  Where are we?"

"Between Fracroft and Simons, suh."

"Yet?"

"Yessuh, yit!"

"Hasn't your silly train moved since four o'clock?"

"Moved?  No, suh.  Not mo'n a yahd or two nohow, suh, and I reckon we
backed them up again."

"That foolish snow still?"

"Yessuh; and snow some more, suh."

"But haven't we the plow still ahead?"

"Oh, yessuh; the plow's ahaid.  We still got it; but that's all, suh.
It ain't doin' much; it's busted."

"Eh--what?"

"Yessuh--busted!  There was right smart of a slide across the track,
and the crew, I understands, diagnosed it jus' fo' a snowbank and done
bucked right into it.  But they was rock in this, suh; we's layin'
right below a hill; and that rock jus' busted that rotary like a
Belgium shell hit it.  Yessuh--pieces of that rotary essentially
scattered themselves in four directions besides backwards and fo'wards.
We ain't done much travelin' since then."

"Ah!  But the restaurant car's still attached?"

"De restaur--oh, yessuh.  We carries the diner through--from the Coast
to Chicago."

"H'm!  Ten below!  Porter, is that wash-compartment hot?  And are they
serving breakfast yet?"

"Yessuh; yessuh!"

The Briton, from behind his curtains, continued; but Eaton no longer
paid attention.

"Snowed in and stopped since four!"  The realization startled him with
the necessity of taking it into account in his plans.  He jerked
himself up in his berth and began pulling his clothes down from the
hooks; then, as abruptly, he stopped dressing and sat absorbed in
thought.  Finally he parted the curtains and looked out into the aisle.

The Englishman, having elicited all he desired, or could draw, from the
porter, now bulged through his curtains and stood in the aisle,
unabashed, in gaudy pajamas and slippers, while he methodically bundled
his clothes under his arm; then, still garbed only in pajamas, he
paraded majestically to the washroom.  The curtains over the berths at
the other end of the car also bulged and emitted the two dark-haired
girls.  They were completely kimono-ed over any temporary deficiency of
attire and skipped to the drawing-room inhabited by their parents.  The
drawing-room door instantly opened at Amy's knock, admitted the girls
and shut again.  Section Seven gave to the aisle the reddish-haired D.
S.  He carried coat, collar, hairbrushes and shaving case and went to
join the Briton in the men's washroom.

There was now no one else in the main part of the car; and no berths
other than those already accounted for had been made up.  Yet Eaton
still delayed; his first impulse to get up and dress had been lost in
the intensity of the thought in which he was engaged.  He had let
himself sink back against the pillows, while he stared, unseeingly, at
the solid bank of snow beside the car, when the door at the further end
of the coach opened and Conductor Connery entered, calling a name.
"Mr. Hillward!  Mr. Lawrence Hillward!  Telegram for Mr. Hillward!"

Eaton started at the first call of the name; he sat up and faced about.

"Mr. Hillward!  Telegram for Mr. Lawrence Hillward!"

The conductor was opposite Section Three; Eaton now waited tensely and
delayed until the conductor was past; then putting his head out of his
curtains and assuring himself that the car was otherwise empty as when
he had seen it last, he hailed as the conductor was going through the
door.

"What name?  Who is that telegram for?"

"Mr. Lawrence Hillward."

"Oh, thank you; then that's mine."  He put his hand out between the
curtains to take the yellow envelope.

Connery held back.  "I thought your name was Eaton."

"It is.  Mr. Hillward--Lawrence Hillward--is an associate of mine who
expected to make this trip with me but could not.  So I should have
telegrams or other communications addressed to him.  Is there anything
to sign?"

"No, sir--train delivery.  It's not necessary."

Eaton drew his curtains close again and ripped the envelope open; but
before reading the message, he observed with alarm that his pajama
jacket had opened across the chest, and a small round scar, such as
that left by a high-powered bullet penetrating, was exposed.  He gasped
almost audibly, realizing this, and clapped his hand to his chest and
buttoned his jacket.  The message--nine words without signature--lay
before him:


Thicket knot youngster omniscient issue foliage lecture tragic
instigation.


It was some code which Eaton recognized but could not decipher at once.
It was of concern, but at that instant, less of concern than to know
whether his jacket had been open and his chest exposed when he took the
message.  The conductor was still standing in the aisle.

"When did you get this?" Eaton asked, looking out.

"Just now."

"How could you get it here?" Eaton questioned, watching the conductor's
face.

"We've had train instruments--the emergency telegraph--on the wires
since four o'clock and just got talking with the stations east; wires
are still down to the west.  That message came through yesterday some
time and was waiting for you at Simons; when we got them this morning,
they sent it on."

"I see; thanks."  Eaton, assured that if the conductor had seen
anything, he suspected no significance in what he saw, closed his
curtains and buttoned them carefully.  The conductor moved on.  Eaton
took a small English-Chinese pocket-dictionary from his vest pocket and
opened it under cover of the blanket; counting five words up from
_thicket_ he found _they_; five down from _knot_ gave him _know_; six
up from _youngster_ was _you_; six down from _omniscient_ was _one_;
seven up from _issue_ was _is_; and so continuing, he translated the
nine words to:

"They know you.  One is following.  Leave train instantly."

Eaton, nervous and jerky, as he completed the first six words, laughed
as he compiled the final three.  "Leave train instantly!"  The humor of
that advice in his present situation, as he looked out the window at
the solid bank of snow, appealed to him.  He slapped the little
dictionary shut and returned it to his pocket.  A waiter from the
dining car came back, announcing the first call for breakfast, and
spurred him into action.  Passengers from the Pullman at the rear
passed Eaton's section for the diner.  He glanced out at the first two
or three; then he heard Harriet Dorne's voice in some quiet,
conventional remark to the man who followed her.  Eaton started at it;
then he dressed swiftly and hurried into the now deserted washroom and
then on to breakfast.

The dining car, all gleaming crystal and silver and white covers
within, also was surrounded by snow.  The space outside the windows
seemed somewhat wider than that about the sleeping car.  And a moment
before Eaton went forward, the last cloud had cleared and the sun had
come out bright.  The train was still quite motionless; the great
drifts of snow, even with the tops of the cars on either side, made
perfectly plain how hopeless it would be to try to proceed without the
plow; and the heavy white frost which had not yet cleared from some of
the window-panes, told graphically of the cold without.  But the dining
car was warm and cheerful, and it gave assurance that, if the train was
helpless to move, it at least offered luxuries in its idleness.  As
Eaton stepped inside the door, the car seemed all cheer and good
spirits.

Fresh red carnations and ruddy roses were, as usual, in the cut-glass
vases on the white cloths; the waiters bore steaming pots of coffee and
bowls of hot cereals to the different tables.  These, as usual, were
ten in number--five with places for four persons each, on one side of
the aisle, and five, each with places for two persons, beside the
windows on the other side of the car.

Harriet Dorne was sitting facing the door at the second of the larger
tables; opposite her, and with his back to Eaton, sat Donald Avery.  A
third place was laid beside the girl, as though they expected Dorne to
join them; but they had begun their fruit without waiting.  The girl
glanced up as Eaton halted in the doorway; her blue eyes brightened
with a look part friendliness, part purpose.  She smiled and nodded,
and Avery turned about.

"Good morning, Mr. Eaton," the girl greeted.

"Good morning, Miss Dorne," Eaton replied collectedly.  He nodded also
to Avery, who, stiffly returning the nod, turned back again to Miss
Dorne.

Amy and Constance, with their parents, occupied the third large table;
the other three large tables were empty.  "D. S." was alone at the
furthest of the small tables; a traveling-salesman-looking person was
washing down creamed Finnan haddock with coffee at the next; the
passenger who had been alone in the second car was at the third; the
Englishman, Standish, was beginning his iced grape-fruit at the table
opposite Miss Dorne; and at the place nearest the door, an
insignificant broad-shouldered and untidy young man, who had boarded
the train at Spokane, had just spilled half a cup of coffee over the
egg spots on his lapels as his unsteady and nicotine-stained fingers
all but dropped the cup.

The dining car conductor, in accordance with the general determination
to reserve the larger tables for parties traveling together, pulled
back the chair opposite the untidy man; but Eaton, with a sharp sense
of disgust, went past to the chair opposite the Englishman.

As he was about to seat himself there, the girl again looked up.  "Oh,
Mr. Eaton," she smiled, "wouldn't you like to sit with us?  I don't
think Father is coming to breakfast now; and if he does, of course
there's still room."

She pulled back the chair beside her enticingly; and Eaton accepted it.

"Good morning, Mr. Avery," he said to Miss Dorne's companion formally
as he sat down, and the man across the table murmured something
perforce.

As Eaton ordered his breakfast, he appreciated for the first time that
his coming had interrupted a conversation--or rather a sort of
monologue of complaint on the part of Standish addressed impersonally
to Avery.

"Extraordinarily exposed in these sleeping cars of yours, isn't one,
wouldn't you say?" the Englishman appealed across the aisle.

"Exposed?" Avery repeated, more inclined to encourage the conversation.

"I say, is it quite the custom for a train servant--whenever he fancies
he should--to reach across one, sleeping?"

"He means the porter closed his window during the night," Eaton
explained to Avery.

"Quite so; and I knew nothing about it--nothing at all.  Fancy!  There
was I in the bunk, and the beggar comes along, pulls my curtains aside,
reaches across me--"

"It got very cold in the night," Avery offered.

"I know; but is that any reason for the beggar invading my bunk that
way?  He might have done anything to me!  Any one in the car might have
done anything to me!  Any one in your bally corridor-train might have
done anything.  There was I, asleep--quite unconscious; people passing
up and down the aisle just the other side of a foolish fall of curtain!
How does any one know one of those people might not be an enemy of
mine?  Remarkable people, you Americans--inconsistent, I say.  Lock
your homes with most complicated fastenings--greatest lock-makers in
the world--burglar alarms on windows; but when you travel, expose
yourselves as one wouldn't dream of exposing oneself elsewhere.
Amazing places, your Pullman coaches!  Why, any one might do anything
to any one!  What's to stop him, what?"

Eaton, suddenly reminded of his telegram, put a hand into his pocket
and fingered the torn scraps; he had meant to remove and destroy them,
but had forgotten.  He glanced at Harriet Dorne.

"What he says is quite true," she observed.  She was smiling, however,
as most of the other passengers were, at the Englishman's vehemence.

They engaged in conversation as they breakfasted--a conversation in
which Avery took almost no part, though Miss Dorne tried openly to draw
him in; then the sudden entrance of Connery, followed closely by a
stout, brusque man who belonged to the rear Pullman, took Eaton's
attention and hers.

Other passengers also looked up; and the nervous, untidy young man at
the table near the door again slopped coffee over himself as the
conductor gazed about.

"Which is him?" the man with Connery demanded loudly.

Connery checked him, but pointed at the same time to Eaton.

"That's him, is it?" the other man said.  "Then go ahead."

Eaton observed that Avery, who had turned in his seat, was watching
this diversion on the part of the conductor with interest.  Connery
stopped beside Eaton's seat.

"You took a telegram for Lawrence Hillward this morning," he asserted.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because it was mine, or meant for me, as I said at the time.  My name
is Eaton; but Mr. Hillward expected to make this trip with me."

The stout man with the conductor forced himself forward.

"That's pretty good, but not quite good enough!" he charged.
"Conductor, get that telegram for me!"

Eaton got up, controlling himself under the insult of the other's
manner.

"What business is it of yours?" he demanded.

"What business?  Why, only that I'm Lawrence Hillward--that's all, my
friend!  What are you up to, anyway?  Lawrence Hillward traveling with
you!  I never set eyes on you until I saw you on this train; and you
take my telegram!"  The charge was made loudly and distinctly; every
one in the dining car--Eaton could not see every one, but he knew it
was so--had put down fork or cup or spoon and was staring at him.
"What did you do it for?  What did you want with it?" the stout man
blared on.  "Did you think I wasn't on the train?  What?

"I was in the washroom," he continued, roaring for the benefit of the
car, "when the conductor went by with it.  I couldn't take the telegram
then--so I waited for the conductor to come back.  When I got dressed,
I found him, and he said you'd claimed my message.  Say, hand it over
now!  What were you up to?  What did you do that for?"

Eaton felt he was paling as he faced the blustering smaller man.  He
realized that the passengers he could see--those at the smaller
tables--already had judged his explanation and found him wanting; the
others unquestionably had done the same.  Avery was gazing up at him
with a sort of contented triumph.

"The telegram was for me, Conductor," he repeated.

"Get that telegram, Conductor!" the stout man demanded again.

"I suppose," Connery suggested, "you have letters or a card or
something, Mr. Eaton, to show your relationship to Lawrence Hillward."

"No; I have not."

The man asserting himself as Hillward grunted.

"Have you anything to show you are Lawrence Hillward?" Eaton demanded
of him.

"Did you tell any one on the train that your name was Hillward before
you wanted this telegram?"

It was Harriet Dorne's voice which interposed; and Eaton felt his pulse
leap as she spoke for him.

"I never gave any other name than Lawrence Hillward," the other
declared.

Connery gazed from one claimant to the other.  "Will you give this
gentleman the telegram?" he asked Eaton.

"I will not."

"Then I shall furnish him another copy; it was received here on the
train by our express-clerk as the operator.  I'll go forward and get
him another copy."

"That's for you to decide," Eaton said; and as though the matter was
closed for him, he resumed his seat.  He was aware that, throughout the
car, the passengers were watching him curiously; he would have foregone
the receipt of the telegram rather than that attention should be
attracted to him in this way.  Avery was still gazing at him with that
look of quiet satisfaction; Eaton had not dared, as yet, to look at
Harriet Dorne.  When, constraining himself to a manner of indifference,
he finally looked her way, she began to chat with him as lightly as
before.  Whatever effect the incident just closed had had upon the
others, it appeared to have had none at all upon her.

"Are you ready to go back to our car now, Harriet?" Avery inquired when
she had finished her breakfast, though Eaton was not yet through.

"Surely there's no hurry about anything to-day," the girl returned.
They waited until Eaton had finished.

"Shall we all go back to the observation car and see if there's a walk
down the track or whether it's snowed over?" she said impartially to
the two.  They went through the Pullmans together.

The first Pullman contained four or five passengers; the next, in which
Eaton had his berth, was still empty as they passed through.  The
porter had made up all the berths, and only luggage and newspapers and
overcoats occupied the seats.  The next Pullman also, at first glance,
seemed to have been deserted in favor of the diner forward or of the
club-car further back.  The porter had made up all the berths there
also, except one; but some one still was sleeping behind the curtains
of Section Three, for a man's hand hung over the aisle.  It was a
gentleman's hand, with long, well-formed fingers, sensitive and at the
same time strong.  That was the berth of Harriet Dorne's father; Eaton
gazed down at the hand as he approached the section, and then he looked
up quickly to the girl.  She had observed the hand, as also had Avery;
but, plainly, neither of them noticed anything strange either in its
posture or appearance.  Their only care had been to avoid brushing
against it on their way down the aisle so as not to disturb the man
behind the curtain; but Eaton, as he saw the hand, started.

He was the last of the three to pass, and so the others did not notice
his start; but so strong was the fascination of the hand in the aisle
that he turned back and gazed at it before going on into the last car.
Some eight or ten passengers--men and women--were lounging in the
easy-chairs of the observation-room; a couple, ulstered and fur-capped,
were standing on the platform gazing back from the train.

The sun was still shining, and the snow had stopped some hours before;
but the wind which had brought the storm was still blowing, and
evidently it had blown a blizzard after the train stopped at four that
morning.  The canyon through the snowdrifts, bored by the giant rotary
plow the night before, was almost filled; drifts of snow eight or ten
feet high and, in places, pointing still higher, came up to the rear of
the train; the end of the platform itself was buried under three feet
of snow; the men standing on the platform could barely look over the
higher drifts.

"There's no way from the train in that direction now," Harriet Dorne
lamented as she saw this.

"There was no way five minutes after we stopped," one of the men
standing at the end of the car volunteered.  "From Fracroft on--I was
the only passenger in sleeper Number Two, and they'd told me to get up;
they gave me a berth in another car and cut my sleeper out at
Fracroft--we were bucking the drifts about four miles an hour; it
seemed to fill in behind about as fast and as thick as we were cutting
it out in front.  It all drifted in behind as soon as we stopped, the
conductor tells me."

The girl made polite acknowledgment and referred to her two companions.

"What shall we do with ourselves, then?"

"Cribbage, Harriet?  You and I?" Avery invited.

She shook her head.  "If we have to play cards, get a fourth and make
it auction; but must it be cards?  Isn't there some way we can get out
for a walk?"

CHAPTER VI

THE HAND IN THE AISLE

The man whose interest in the passenger in Section Three of the last
sleeper was most definite and understandable and, therefore, most
openly acute, was Conductor Connery.  Connery had passed through the
Pullmans several times during the morning--first in the murk of the
dawn before the dimmed lamps in the cars had been extinguished; again
later, when the passengers had been getting up; and a third time after
all the passengers had left their berths except Dorne, and after nearly
all the berths had been unmade and the bedding packed away behind the
panels overhead.  Each time he passed, Connery had seen the hand which
hung out into the aisle from between the curtains; but the only
definite thought that came to him was that Dorne was a sound sleeper.

Nearly all the passengers had now breakfasted.  Connery, therefore,
took a seat in the diner, breakfasted leisurely and after finishing,
went forward to see what messages had been received as to the relieving
snow-plows.  Nothing definite yet had been learned; the snow ahead of
them was fully as bad as this where they were stopped, and it would be
many hours before help could get to them.  Connery walked back through
the train.  Dorne by now must be up, and might wish to see the
conductor.  Unless Dorne stopped him, however, Connery did not intend
to speak to Dorne.  The conductor had learned in his many years of
service that nothing is more displeasing to the sort of people for whom
trains are held than officiousness.

As Connery entered the last sleeper, his gaze fell on the dial of
pointers which, communicating with the pushbuttons in the different
berths, tell the porter which section is calling him, and he saw that
while all the other arrows were pointing upward, the arrow marked "3"
was pointing down.  Dorne was up, then--for this was the arrow denoting
his berth--or at least was awake and had recently rung his bell.

Connery looked in upon the porter, who was cleaning up the washroom.

"Section Three's getting up?" he asked.

"No, Mistah Connery--not yet," the porter answered.

"What did he ring for?"  Connery thought Dorne might have asked for him.

"He didn't ring.  He ain't moved or stirred this morning."

"He must have rung."  Connery looked to the dial, and the porter came
out of the washroom and looked at it also.

"Fo' the lan's sake.  I didn't hear no ring, Mistah Connery.  It mus'
have been when I was out on the platform."

"When was that?"

"Jus' now.  There ain't been nobody but him in the car for fifteen
minutes, and I done turn the pointers all up when the las' passenger
went to the diner.  It can't be longer than a few minutes, Mistah
Connery."

"Answer it, then," Connery directed.

As the negro started to obey, Connery followed him into the open car.
He could see over the negro's shoulder the hand sticking out into the
aisle, and this time, at sight of it, Connery started violently.  If
Dorne had rung, he must have moved; a man who is awake does not let his
hand hang out into the aisle.  Yet the hand had not moved.  Nothing was
changed about it since Connery had seen it before.  The long, sensitive
fingers fell in precisely the same position as before, stiffly
separated a little one from another; they had not changed their
position at all.

"Wait!"  Connery seized the porter by the arm.  "I'll answer it myself."

He dismissed the negro and waited until he had gone.  He looked about
and assured himself that the car, except for himself and the man lying
behind the curtains of Section Three, was empty.  He slowed, as he
approached the hand.  He halted and stood a moment beside the berth,
himself almost breathless as he listened for the sound of breathing
within.  He heard nothing, though he bent closer to the curtain.  Yet
he still hesitated, and retreating a little and walking briskly as
though he were carelessly passing up the aisle, he brushed hard against
the hand and looked back, exclaiming an apology for his carelessness.

The hand fell back heavily, inertly, and resumed its former position
and hung as white and lifeless as before.  No response to the apology
came from behind the curtains; the man in the berth had not roused.
Connery rushed back to the curtains and touched the hand with his
fingers.  It was cold!  He seized the hand and felt it all over; then,
gasping, he parted the curtains and looked into the berth.  He stared;
his breath whistled out; his shoulders jerked, and he drew back,
instinctively pressing his two clenched hands against his chest and the
pocket which held President Jarvis' order.

The man in the berth was lying on his right side facing the aisle; the
left side of his face was thus exposed; and it had been crushed in by a
violent blow from some heavy weapon which, too blunt to cut the skin
and bring blood, had fractured the cheekbone and bludgeoned the temple.
The proof of murderous violence was so plain that the conductor, as he
saw the face in the light, recoiled with starting eyes, white with
horror.

He looked up and down the aisle to assure himself that no one had
entered the car during his examination; then he carefully drew the
curtains together again, and hurried to the forward end of the car
where he had left the porter.

"Lock the rear door of the car," he commanded.  "Then come back here."

He gave the negro the keys, and himself waited to prevent any one from
entering the car at his end.  Looking through the glass of the door, he
saw the young man Eaton standing in the vestibule of the car next
ahead.  Connery hesitated; then he opened the door and beckoned Eaton
to him.

"Will you go forward, please," he requested, "and see if there isn't a
doctor--"

"You mean the man with red hair in my car?" Eaton inquired.

"That's the one."

Eaton started off without asking any questions.  The porter, having
locked the rear door of the car, returned and gave Connery back the
keys.  Connery still waited, until Eaton returned with the red-haired
man, "D. S."  He let them in and locked the door behind them.

"You are a doctor?" Connery questioned the red-haired man.

"I am a surgeon; yes."

"That's what's wanted.  Doctor--"

"My name is Sinclair.  I am Douglas Sinclair, of Chicago."

Connery nodded.  "I have heard of you."  He turned then to Eaton.  "Do
you know where the gentleman is who belongs to Mr. Dorne's
party?--Avery, I believe his name is."

"He is in the observation car," Eaton answered.

"Will you go and get him?  The car-door is locked.  The porter will let
you in and out.  Something serious has happened here--to Mr. Dorne.
Get Mr. Avery, if you can, without alarming Mr. Dorne's daughter."

Eaton nodded understanding and followed the porter, who, taking the
keys again from the conductor, let him out at the rear door of the car
and reclosed the door behind him.  Eaton went on into the observation
car.  As he passed the club compartment of this car, he sensed an
atmosphere of disquiet which gave him first the feeling that some of
these people must know already that there was something wrong farther
forward; but this was explained when he heard some one say that the
door of the car ahead was locked.  Another asked Eaton how he had got
through; he put the questioner off and went on into the
observation-room.  No suspicion of anything having occurred had as yet
penetrated there.

"How long you've been!" Harriet Dorne remarked as he came near.  "And
how is it about the roof promenade?"

"Why, all right, I guess, Miss Dorne--after a little."  Controlling
himself to an appearance of casualness, he turned then to Avery: "By
the way, can I see you a moment?"

Without alarming Harriet Dorne, he got Avery away and out of the car.
A few passengers now were collected upon the platforms between this car
and the next, who questioned and complained as Eaton, pushing by them
with Avery, was admitted by the negro, who refused the others
admittance.

"Is it something wrong with Mr. Dorne?" Donald Avery demanded as Eaton
drew back to let Avery precede him into the open part of the car.

"So the conductor says."

Avery hurried forward toward the berth where Connery was standing
beside the surgeon.  Connery turned toward him.

"I sent for you, sir, because you are the companion of the man who had
this berth."

Avery pushed past him, and leaped forward as he looked past the
surgeon.  "What has happened to Mr. Dorne?"

"You see him as we found him, sir."  Connery stared down nervously
beside him.

Avery leaned inside the curtains and recoiled.  "He's dead!"

"The doctor hasn't made his examination yet; but, there seems no doubt
he's dead."  Connery was very pale but controlled.

"He's been murdered!"

"It looks so, Mr. Avery.  Yes; if he's dead, he's certainly been
murdered," Connery agreed.  "This is Doctor Douglas Sinclair, a Chicago
surgeon.  I called him just now to make an examination; but since Mr.
Dorne seems to have been dead for some time, I waited for you before
moving the body.  You can tell,"--Connery avoided mention of President
Jarvis' name,--"tell any one who asks you, Mr. Avery, that you saw him
just as he was found."

He looked down again at the form in the berth, and Avery's gaze
followed his; then, abruptly, it turned away.  Avery stood clinging to
the curtain, his eyes darting from one to another of the three men.

"As he was found?  When?" he demanded.  "Who found him that way?  When?
How?"

"I found him so," Connery answered.

Avery said nothing more.

"Will you start your examination now, Dr. Sinclair," Connery suggested.
"No--I'll ask you to wait a minute."

Noises were coming to them from the platforms at both ends of the car,
and the doors were being tried and pounded on, as passengers attempted
to pass through.  Connery went to the rear, where the negro had been
posted; then, repassing them, he went to the other end of the car.  The
noises ceased.  "The Pullman conductor is forward, and the brakeman is
back there now," he said, as he turned to them.  "You will not be
interrupted, Dr. Sinclair."

"What explanation did you give them?" Eaton asked.

"Why?" Connery returned.

"I was thinking of Miss Dorne."

"I told them nothing which could disturb her."  Connery, as he spoke,
pulled back the curtains, entirely exposing the berth.

The surgeon, before examining the man in the berth more closely, lifted
the shades from the windows.  Everything about the berth was in place,
undisturbed; except for the mark of the savage blow on the side of the
man's head, there was no evidence of anything unusual.  The man's
clothes were carefully and neatly hung on the hooks or in the little
hammock; his glasses were in their case beside the pillow; his watch
and purse were under the pillow; the window at his feet was still
raised a crack to let in fresh air while he slept.  Save for the marks
upon the head, the man might yet be sleeping.  It was self-evident
that, whatever had been the motives of the attack, robbery was not one;
whoever had struck had done no more than reach in and deliver his
murderous blow; then he had gone on.

Connery shut the window.

As the surgeon carefully and deliberately pulled back the bedclothing
and exposed the body of the man clothed in pajamas, the others watched
him.  Sinclair made first an examination of the head; completing this,
he unbuttoned the pajamas upon the chest, loosened them at the waist
and prepared to make his examination of the body.

"How long has he been dead?" Connery asked.

"He is not dead yet."

"You mean he is still dying?"

"I did not say so."

"You mean he is alive, then?"

"Life is still present," Sinclair answered guardedly.  "Whether he will
live or ever regain consciousness is another question."

"One you can't answer?"

"The blow, as you can see,"--Sinclair touched the man's face with his
deft finger-tips,--"fell mostly on the cheek and temple.  The cheekbone
is fractured.  He is in a complete state of coma; and there may be some
fracture of the skull.  Of course, there is some concussion of the
brain."

Any inference to be drawn from this as to the seriousness of the
injuries was plainly beyond Connery.  "How long ago was he struck?" he
asked.

"Some hours."

"You can't tell more than that?"

"Longer ago than five hours, certainly."

"Since four o'clock, then, rather than before?"

"Since midnight, certainly; and longer ago than five o'clock this
morning."

"Could he have revived half an hour ago--say within the hour--enough to
have pressed the button and rung the bell from his berth?"

Sinclair straightened and gazed at the conductor curiously.  "No,
certainly not," he replied.  "That is completely impossible.  Why did
you ask?"

Connery avoided answer.

The doctor glanced down quickly at the form of the man in the berth;
then again he confronted Connery.  "Why did you ask that?" he
persisted.  "Did the bell from this berth ring recently?"

Connery shook his head, not in negation of the question, but in refusal
to answer then.  But Avery pushed forward.  "What is that?  What's
that?" he demanded.

"Will you go on with your examination, Doctor?" Connery urged.

"You said the bell from this berth rang recently!" Avery accused
Connery.

"I did not say that; he asked it," the conductor evaded.

"But is it true?"

"The pointer in the washroom, indicating a signal from this berth, was
turned down a minute ago," Connery had to reply.  "A few moments
earlier, all pointers had been set in the position indicating no call."

"What!" Avery cried.  "What was that?"

Connery repeated the statement.

"That was before you found the body?"

"That was why I went to the berth--yes," Connery replied; "that was
before I found the body."

"Then you mean you did not find the body," Avery charged.  "Some one,
passing through this car a minute or so before you, must have found
him!"

Connery attended without replying.

"And evidently that man dared not report it and could not wait longer
to know whether Mr.--Mr. Dorne, was really dead; so he rang the bell!"

"Ought we keep Dr. Sinclair any longer from the examination, sir?"
Connery now seized Avery's arm in appeal.  "The first thing for us to
know is whether Mr. Dorne is dying.  Isn't--"

Connery checked himself; he had won his appeal.  Eaton, standing
quietly watchful, observed that Avery's eagerness to accuse now had
been replaced by another interest which the conductor's words had
recalled.  Whether the man in the berth was to live or die--evidently
that was momentously to affect Donald Avery one way or the other.

"Of course, by all means proceed with your examination, Doctor," Avery
directed.

As Sinclair again bent over the body, Avery leaned over also; Eaton
gazed down, and Connery--a little paler than before and with lips
tightly set.



CHAPTER VII

"ISN'T THIS BASIL SANTOINE?"

The surgeon, having finished loosening the pajamas, pulled open and
carefully removed the jacket part, leaving the upper part of the body
of the man in the berth exposed.  Conductor Connery turned to Avery.

"You have no objection to my taking a list of the articles in the
berth?"

Avery seemed to oppose; then, apparently, he recognized that this was
an obvious part of the conductor's duty.  "None at all," he replied.

Connery gathered up the clothing, the glasses, the watch and purse, and
laid them on the seat across the aisle.  Sitting down, then, opposite
them, he examined them and, taking everything from the pockets of the
clothes, he began to catalogue them before Avery.  In the coat he found
only the card-case, which he noted without examining its contents, and
in the trousers a pocket-knife and bunch of keys.  He counted over the
gold and banknotes in the purse and entered the amount upon his list.

"You know about what he had with him?" he asked.

"Very closely.  That is correct.  Nothing is missing," Avery answered.

The conductor opened the watch.  "The crystal is missing."

Avery nodded.  "Yes; it always--that is, it was missing yesterday."

Connery looked up at him, as though slightly puzzled by the manner of
the reply; then, having finished his list, he rejoined the surgeon.

Sinclair was still bending over the naked torso.  With Eaton's help, he
had turned the body upon its back in order to look at its right side,
which before had been hidden.  It had been a strong, healthy body;
Sinclair guessed its age at fifty.  As a boy, the man might have been
an athlete,--a college track-runner or oarsman,--and he had kept
himself in condition through middle age.  There was no mark or bruise
upon the body, except that on the right side and just below the ribs
there now showed a scar about an inch and a half long and of peculiar
crescent shape.  It was evidently a surgical scar and had completely
healed.

Sinclair scrutinized this carefully and then looked up to Avery.  "He
was operated on recently?"

"About two years ago."

"For what?"

"It was some operation on the gall-bladder."

"Performed by Kuno Garrt?"

Avery hesitated.  "I believe so."

He watched Sinclair more closely as he continued his examination; the
surgeon had glanced quickly at the face on the pillow and seemed about
to question Avery again; but instead he laid the pajama jacket over the
body and drew up the sheet and blanket.  Connery touched the surgeon on
the arm.  "What must be done, Doctor?  And where and when do you want
to do it?"

Sinclair, however, it appeared, had not yet finished his examination.
"Will you pull down the window-curtains?" he directed.

As Connery, reaching across the body, complied, the surgeon took a
matchbox from his pocket, and glancing about at the three others as
though to select from them the one most likely to be an efficient aid,
he handed it to Eaton.  "Will you help me, please?"

"What is it you want done?"

"Strike a light and hold it as I direct--then draw it away slowly."

He lifted the partly closed eyelid from one of the eyes of the
unconscious man and nodded to Eaton: "Hold the light in front of the
pupil."

Eaton obeyed, drawing the light slowly away as Sinclair had directed,
and the surgeon dropped the eyelid and exposed the other pupil.

"What's that for?" Avery now asked.

"I was trying to determine the seriousness of the injury to the brain.
I was looking to see whether light could cause the pupil to contract."

"Could it?" Connery asked.

"No; there was no reaction."

Avery started to speak, checked himself--and then he said: "There could
be no reaction, I believe, Dr. Sinclair."

"What do you mean?"

"His optic nerve is destroyed."

"Ah!  He was blind?"

"Yes, he was blind," Avery admitted.

"Blind!" Sinclair ejaculated.  "Blind, and operated upon within two
years by Kuno Garrt!"  Kuno Garrt operated only upon the all-rich and
-powerful or upon the completely powerless and poor; the unconscious
man in the berth could belong only to the first class of Garrt's
clientele.  The surgeon's gaze again searched the features in the
berth; then it shifted to the men gathered about him in the aisle.

"Who did you say this was?" he demanded of Avery.

"I said his name was Nathan Dorne," Avery evaded.

"No, no!" Sinclair jerked out impatiently.  "Isn't this--"  He
hesitated, and finished in a voice suddenly lowered: "Isn't this Basil
Santoine?"

Avery, if he still wished to do so, found it impossible to deny.

"Basil Santoine!" Connery breathed.

To the conductor alone, among the four men standing by the berth, the
name seemed to have come with the sharp shock of a surprise; with it
had come an added sense of responsibility and horror over what had
happened to the passenger who had been confided to his care, which made
him whiten as he once more repeated the name to himself and stared down
at the man in the berth.

Conductor Connery knew Basil Santoine only in the way that Santoine was
known to great numbers of other people--that is, by name but not by
sight.  There was, however, a reason why the circumstances of
Santoine's life had remained in the conductor's mind while he forgot or
had not heeded the same sort of facts in regard to men who traveled
much more often on trans-continental trains.  Thus Connery, staring
whitely at the form in the berth, recalled for instance Santoine's age;
Santoine was fifty-one.

Basil Santoine at twenty-two had been graduated from Harvard, though
blind.  His connections,--the family was of well-to-do Southern
stock,--his possession of enough money for his own support, made it
possible for him to live idly if he wished; but Santoine had not chosen
to make his blindness an excuse for doing this.  He had disregarded too
the thought of foreign travel as being useless for a man who had no
eyes; and he had at once settled himself to his chosen profession,
which was law.  He had not found it easy to get a start in this;
lawyers had shown no willingness to take into their offices a blind boy
to whom the surroundings were unfamiliar and to whom everything must be
read; and he had succeeded only after great effort in getting a place
with a small and unimportant firm.  Within a short time, well within
two years, men had begun to recognize that in this struggling law-firm
there was a powerful, clear, compelling mind.  Santoine, a youth living
in darkness, unable to see the men with whom he talked or the documents
and books which must be read to him, was beginning to put the stamp of
his personality on the firm's affairs.  A year later, his name appeared
with others of the firm; at twenty-eight, his was the leading name.  He
had begun to specialize long before that time, in corporation law; he
married shortly after this.  At thirty, the firm name represented to
those who knew its particulars only one personality, the personality of
Santoine; and at thirty-five--though his indifference to money was
proverbial--he was many times a millionaire.  But except among the
small and powerful group of men who had learned to consult him,
Santoine himself at that time was utterly unknown.

There are many such men in all countries,--more, perhaps, in America
than anywhere else,--and in their anonymity they are like minds without
physical personality; they advise only, and so they remain out of
public view, behind the scenes.  Now and then one receives publicity
and reward by being sent to the Senate by the powers that move behind
the screen, or being called to the President's cabinet.  More often,
the public knows little of them until they die and men are astonished
by the size of the fortunes or of the seemingly baseless reputations
which they leave.  So Santoine--consulted continually by men concerned
in great projects, immersed day and night in vast affairs, capable of
living completely as he wished--had been, at the age of forty-six,
great but not famous, powerful but not publicly known.  At that time an
event had occurred which had forced the blind man out unwillingly from
his obscurity.

This event had been the murder of the great Western financier Matthew
Latron.  There had been nothing in this affair which had in any way
shadowed dishonor upon Santoine.  So much as in his role of a mind
without personality Santoine ever fought, he had fought against Latron;
but his fight had been not against the man but against methods.  There
had come then a time of uncertainty and unrest; public consciousness
was in the process of awakening to the knowledge that strange things,
approaching close to the likeness of what men call crime, had been
being done under the unassuming name of business.  Government
investigation threatened many men, Latron among others; no precedent
had yet been set for what this might mean; no one could foresee the
end.  Scandal--financial scandal--breathed more strongly against Latron
than perhaps against any of the other Western men.  He had been among
their biggest; he had his enemies, of whom impersonally Santoine might
have been counted one, and he had his friends, both in high places; he
was a world figure.  Then, all of a sudden, the man had been struck
down--killed, because of some private quarrel, men whispered, by an
obscure and till then unheard-of man.

The trembling wires and cables, which should have carried to the
waiting world the expected news of Latron's conviction, carried instead
the news of Latron's death; and disorder followed.  The first public
concern had been, of course, for the stocks and bonds of the great
Latron properties; and Latron's bigness had seemed only further
evidenced by the stanchness with which the Latron banks, the Latron
railroads and mines and public utilities stood firm even against the
shock of their builder's death.  Assured of this, public interest had
shifted to the trial, conviction and sentence of Latron's murderer; and
it was during this trial that Santoine's name had become more publicly
known.  Not that the blind man was suspected of any knowledge--much
less of any complicity--in the crime; the murder had been because of a
purely private matter; but in the eager questioning into Latron's
circumstances and surroundings previous to the crime, Santoine was
summoned into court as a witness.

The drama of Santoine's examination had been of the sort the
public--and therefore the newspapers--love.  The blind man, led into
the court, sitting sightless in the witness chair, revealing himself by
his spoken, and even more by his withheld, replies as one of the
unknown guiders of the destiny of the Continent and as counselor to the
most powerful,--himself till then hardly heard of but plainly one of
the nation's "uncrowned rulers,"--had caught the public sense.  The
fate of the murderer, the crime, even Latron himself, lost temporarily
their interest in the public curiosity over the personality of
Santoine.  So, ever since, Santoine had been a man marked out; his
goings and comings, beside what they might actually reveal of
disagreements or settlements among the great, were the object of
unfounded and often disturbing guesses and speculations; and
particularly at this time when the circumstances of Warden's death had
proclaimed dissensions among the powerful which they had hastened to
deny, it was natural that Santoine's comings and goings should be as
inconspicuous as possible.

It had been reported for some days that Santoine had come to Seattle
directly after Warden's death; but when this was admitted, his
associates had always been careful to add that Santoine, having been a
close personal friend of Gabriel Warden, had come purely in a personal
capacity, and the impression was given that Santoine had returned
quietly some days before.  The mere prolonging of his stay in the West
was more than suggestive that affairs among the powerful were truly in
such state as Warden had proclaimed; this attack upon Santoine, so
similar to that which had slain Warden, and delivered within eleven
days of Warden's death, must be of the gravest significance.

Connery stood overwhelmed for the moment with this fuller recognition
of the seriousness of the disaster which had come upon this man
entrusted to his charge; then he turned to the surgeon.

"Can you do anything for him here, Doctor?" he asked.

The surgeon glanced down the car.  "That stateroom--is it occupied?"

"It's occupied by his daughter."

"We'll take him in there, then.  Is the berth made?"

The conductor went to the rear of the car and brought the porter who
had been stationed there, with the brakeman.  He set the negro to
making up the berth; and when it was finished, the four men lifted the
inert figure of Basil Santoine, carried it into the drawing-room and
laid it on its back upon the bed.

"I have my instruments," Sinclair said.  "I'll get them; but before I
decide to do anything, I ought to see his daughter.  Since she is here,
her consent is necessary before any operation on him."

The surgeon spoke to Avery.  Eaton saw by Avery's start of recollection
that Harriet Dorne's--or Harriet Santoine's--friend could not have been
thinking of her at all during the recent moments.  The chances of life
or death of Basil Santoine evidently so greatly and directly affected
Donald Avery that he had been absorbed in them to the point of
forgetting all other interests than his own.  Eaton's own thought had
gone often to her.  Had Connery in his directions said anything to the
trainmen guarding the door or to the passengers on the platforms, that
had frightened her with suspicions of what had happened here?  When the
first sense of something wrong spread back to the observation car, what
word had reached her?  Did she connect it with her father?  Was
she--the one most closely concerned--among those who had been on the
rear platform seeking admittance?  Was she standing there in the aisle
of the next car waiting for confirmation of her dread?  Or had no word
reached her, and must the news of the attack upon her father come to
her with all the shock of suddenness?

Eaton had been about to leave the car, where he now was plainly of no
use, but these doubts checked him.

"Miss Santoine is in the observation car," Avery said.  "I'll get her."

The tone was in some way false--Eaton could not tell exactly how.
Avery started down the aisle.

"One moment, please, Mr. Avery!" said the conductor.  "I'll ask you not
to tell Miss Santoine before any other passengers that there has been
an attack upon her father.  Wait until you get her inside the door of
this car."

"You yourself said nothing, then, that can have made her suspect it?"
Eaton asked.

Connery shook his head; the conductor, in doubt and anxiety over
exactly what action the situation called for,--unable, too, to
communicate any hint of it to his superiors to the West because of the
wires being down,--clearly had resolved to keep the attack upon
Santoine secret for the time.  "I said nothing definite even to the
trainmen," he replied; "and I want you gentlemen to promise me before
you leave this car that you will say nothing until I give you leave."

His eyes shifted from the face of one to another, until he had assured
himself that all agreed.  As Avery left the car, Eaton found a seat in
one of the end sections near the drawing-room.  Sinclair and the
conductor had returned to Santoine.  The porter was unmaking the berth
in the next section which Santoine had occupied, having been told to do
so by Connery; the negro bundled together the linen and carried it to
the cupboard at the further end of the car; he folded the blankets and
put them in the upper berth; he took out the partitions and laid them
on top of the blankets.  Eaton stared out the window at the bank of
snow.  He did not know whether to ask to leave the car, or whether he
ought to remain; and he would have gone except for recollection of
Harriet Santoine.  He had heard the rear door of the car open and close
some moments before, so he knew that she must be in the car and that,
in the passage at that end, Avery must be telling her about her father.
Then the curtain at the end of the car was pushed further aside, and
Harriet Santoine came in.

She was very pale, but quite controlled, as Eaton knew she would be.
She looked at Eaton, but did not speak as she passed; she went directly
to the door of the drawing-room, opened it and went in, followed by
Avery.  The door closed, and for a moment Eaton could hear voices
inside the room--Harriet Santoine's, Sinclair's, Connery's.  The
conductor then came to the door of the drawing-room and sent the porter
for water and clean linen; Eaton heard the rip of linen being torn, and
the car became filled with the smell of antiseptics.

Donald Avery came out of the drawing-room and dropped into the seat
across from Eaton.  He seemed deeply thoughtful--so deeply, indeed, as
to be almost unaware of Eaton's presence.  And Eaton, observing him,
again had the sense that Avery's absorption was completely in
consequences to himself of what was going on behind the door--in how
Basil Santoine's death or continued existence would affect the fortunes
of Donald Avery.

"Is he going to operate?" Eaton asked.

"Operate?  Yes; he's doing it," Avery replied shortly.

"And Miss Santoine?"

"She's helping--handing instruments and so on."

Avery could not have replied, as he did, if the strain this period must
impose upon Harriet Santoine had been much in his mind.  Eaton turned
from him and asked nothing more.  A long time passed--how long, Eaton
could not have told; he noted only that during it the shadows on the
snowbank outside the window appreciably changed their position.  Once
during this time, the door of the drawing-room was briefly opened,
while Connery handed something out to the porter, and the smell of the
antiseptics grew suddenly stronger; and Eaton could see behind Connery
the surgeon, coatless and with shirt-sleeves rolled up, bending over
the figure on the bed.  Finally the door opened again, and Harriet
Santoine came out, paler than before, and now not quite so steady.

Eaton rose as she approached them; and Avery leaped up, all concern and
sympathy for her immediately she appeared.  He met her in the aisle and
took her hand.

"Was it successful, dear?" Avery asked.

She shut her eyes before she answered, and stood holding to the back of
a seat; then she opened her eyes, saw Eaton and recognized him and sat
down in the seat where Avery had been sitting.

"Dr. Sinclair says we will know in four or five days," she replied to
Avery; she turned then directly to Eaton.  "He thought there probably
was a clot under the skull, and he operated to find it and relieve it.
There was one, and we have done all we can; now we may only wait.  Dr.
Sinclair has appointed himself nurse; he says I can help him, but not
just yet.  I thought you would like to know."

"Thank you; I did want to know," Eaton acknowledged.  He moved away
from them, and sat down in one of the seats further down the car.
Connery came out from the drawing-room, went first to one end of the
car, then to the other; and returning with the Pullman conductor, began
to oversee the transfer of the baggage of all other passengers than the
Santoine party to vacant sections in the forward sleepers.  People
began to pass through the aisle; evidently the car doors had been
unlocked.  Eaton got up and left the car, finding at the door a porter
from one of the other cars stationed to warn people not to linger or
speak or make other noises in going through the car where Santoine was.

As the door was closing behind Eaton, a sound came to his ears from the
car he just had left--a young girl suddenly crying in abandon.  Harriet
Santoine, he understood, must have broken down for the moment, after
the strain of the operation; and Eaton halted as though to turn back,
feeling the blood drive suddenly upon his heart.  Then, recollecting
that he had no right to go to her, he went on.



CHAPTER VIII

SUSPICION FASTENS ON EATON

As he entered his own car, Eaton halted; that part of the train had
taken on its usual look and manner, or as near so, it seemed, as the
stoppage in the snow left possible.  Knowing what he did, Eaton stared
at first with astonishment; and the irrational thought came to him that
the people before him were acting.  Then he realized that they were
almost as usual because they did not know what had happened; the fact
that Basil Santoine had been attacked--or that he was on the
train--still had been carefully kept secret by the spreading of some
other explanation of the trouble in the car behind.  So now, in their
section, Amy and Constance were reading and knitting; their parents had
immersed themselves in double solitaire; the Englishman looked out the
window at the snow with no different expression than that with which he
would have surveyed a landscape they might have been passing.
Sinclair's section, of course, remained empty; and a porter came and
transferred the surgeon's handbag and overcoat to the car behind in
which he was caring for Santoine.

Eaton found his car better filled than it had been before, for the
people shifted from the car behind had been scattered through the
train.  He felt a hand on his arm as he started to go to his seat, and
turned and faced Connery.

"If you must say anything, say it was appendicitis," the conductor
warned when he had brought Eaton back to the vestibule.  "Mr. Dorne--if
a name is given, it is that--was suddenly seized with a recurrence of
an attack of appendicitis from which he had been suffering.  An
immediate operation was required to save him; that was what Dr.
Sinclair did."

Eaton reaffirmed his agreement to give no information.  He learned by
the conversation of the passengers that Connery's version of what had
happened had been easily received; some one, they said, had been taken
suddenly and seriously ill upon the train.  Their speculation, after
some argument, had pitched on the right person; it was the tall,
distinguished-looking man in the last car who wore glasses.  At noon,
food was carried into the Santoine car.

Keeping himself to his section, Eaton watched the car and outside the
window for signs of what investigation Connery and Avery were making.
What already was known had made it perfectly clear that whoever had
attacked Santoine must still be upon the train; for no one could have
escaped through the snow.  No one could now escape.  Avery and Connery
and whoever else was making investigation with them evidently were not
letting any one know that an investigation was being made.  A number of
times Eaton saw Connery and the Pullman conductor pass through the
aisles.  Eaton went to lunch; on his way back from the diner, he saw
the conductors with papers in their hands questioning a passenger.
They evidently were starting systematically through the cars, examining
each person; they were making the plea of necessity of a report to the
railroad offices of names and addresses of all held up by the stoppage
of the train.  As Eaton halted at his section, the two conductors
finished with the man from the rear who had been installed in Section
One, and they crossed to the Englishman opposite.  Eaton heard them
explain the need of making a report and heard the Englishman's answer,
with his name, his address and particulars as to who he was, where he
was coming from and whither he was going.

Eaton started on toward the rear of the train.

"A moment, sir!" Connery called.

Eaton halted.  The conductors confronted him.

"Your name, sir?" Connery asked.

"Philip D. Eaton."

Connery wrote down the answer.  "Your address?"

"I--have no address."

"You mean you don't want to give it?"

"No, I have none.  I was going to a hotel in Chicago--which one I
hadn't decided yet."

"Where are you coming from?"

"From Asia."

"That's hardly an address, Mr. Eaton!"

"I can give you no address abroad.  I had no fixed address there.  I
was traveling most of the time.  You could not reach me or place me by
means of any city or hotel there.  I arrived in Seattle by the Asiatic
steamer and took this train."

"Ah! you came on the _Tamba Maru_."

Connery made note of this, as he had made note of all the other
questions and answers.  Then he said something to the Pullman
conductor, who replied in the same low tone; what they said was not
audible to Eaton.

"You can tell us at least where your family is, Mr. Eaton," Connery
suggested.

"I have no family."

"Friends, then?"

"I--I have no friends."

"What?"

"I say that I can refer you to no friends."

"Nowhere?"

"Nowhere."

Connery pondered for several moments.  "The Mr. Hillward--Lawrence
Hillward, to whom the telegram was addressed which you claimed this
morning, your associate who was to have taken this train with you--will
you give me his address?"

"I thought you had decided the telegram was not meant for me."

"I am asking you a question, Mr. Eaton--not making explanations.  It
isn't impossible there should be two Lawrence Hillwards."

"I don't know Hillward's address."

"Give me the address, then, of the man who sent the telegram."

"I am unable to do that, either."

Connery spoke again to the Pullman conductor, and they conversed
inaudibly for a minute.  "That is all, then," Connery said finally.

He signed his name to the sheet on which he had written Eaton's
answers, and handed it to the Pullman conductor, who also signed it and
returned it to him; then they went on to the passenger now occupying
Section Four, without making any further comment.

Eaton abandoned his idea of going to the rear of the train; he sat
down, picked up his magazine and tried to read; but after an instant,
he leaned forward and looked at himself in the little mirror between
the windows.  It reassured him to find that he looked entirely normal;
he had been afraid that during the questioning he might have turned
pale, and his paleness--taken in connection with his inability to
answer the questions--might have seriously directed the suspicions of
the conductors toward him.  The others in the car, who might have
overheard his refusal to reply to the questions, would be regarding him
only curiously, since they did not know the real reasons for the
examination.  But the conductors--what did they think?

Already, Eaton reflected, before the finding of the senseless form of
Basil Santoine, there had occurred the disagreeable incident of the
telegram to attract unfavorable attention to him.  On the other hand,
might not the questioning of him have been purely formal?  Connery
certainly had treated him, at the time of the discovery of Santoine, as
one not of the class to be suspected of being the assailant of
Santoine.  Avery, to be sure, had been uglier, more excited and
hostile; but Harriet Santoine again had treated him trustfully and
frankly as one with whom thought of connection with the attack upon her
father was impossible.  Eaton told himself that there should be no
danger to himself from this inquiry, directed against no one, but
including comprehensively every one on the train.

As Eaton pretended to read, he could hear behind him the low voices of
the conductors, which grew fainter and fainter as they moved further
away, section by section, down the car.  Finally, when the conductors
had left the car, he put his magazine away and went into the men's
compartment to smoke and calm his nerves.  His return to America had
passed the bounds of recklessness; and what a situation he would now be
in if his actions brought even serious suspicions against him!  He
finished his first cigar and was debating whether to light another,
when he heard voices outside the car, and opening the window and
looking out, he saw Connery and the brakeman struggling through the
snow and making, apparently, some search.  They had come from the front
of the train and had passed under his window only an instant before,
scrutinizing the snowbank beside the car carefully and looking under
the car--the brakeman even had crawled under it; now they went on.
Eaton closed the window and lighted his second cigar.  Presently
Connery passed the door of the compartment carrying something loosely
wrapped in a newspaper in his hands.  Eaton finished his cigar and went
back to his seat in the car.

As he glanced at the seat where he had left the magazine and his locked
traveling-bag, he saw that the bag was no longer there.  It stood now
between the two seats on the floor, and picking it up and looking at
it, he found it unfastened and with marks about the lock which told
plainly that it had been forced.

His quick glance around at the other passengers, which showed him that
his discovery of this had not been noticed, showed also that they had
not seen the bag opened.  They would have been watching him if they
had; clearly the bag had been carried out of the car during his
absence, and later had been brought back.  He set it on the floor
between his knees and checked over its contents.  Nothing had been
taken, so far as he could tell; for the bag had contained only
clothing, the Chinese dictionary and the box of cigars, and these all
apparently were still there.  He had laid out the things on the seat
across from him while checking them up, and now he began to put them
back in the bag.  Suddenly he noticed that one of his socks was
missing; what had been eleven pairs was now only ten pairs and one odd
sock.

The disappearance of a single sock was so strange, so bizarre, so
perplexing that--unless it was accidental--he could not account for it
at all.  No one opens a man's bag and steals one sock, and he was quite
sure there had been eleven complete pairs there earlier in the day.
Certainly then, it had been accidental: the bag had been opened, its
contents taken out and examined, and in putting them back, one sock had
been dropped unnoticed.  The absence of the sock, then, meant no more
than that the contents of the bag had been thoroughly investigated.  By
whom?  By the man against whom the telegram directed to Lawrence
Hillward had warned Eaton?

Ever since his receipt of the telegram, Eaton--as he passed through the
train in going to and from the diner or for other reasons--had been
trying covertly to determine which, if any one, among the passengers
was the "one" who, the telegram had warned him, was "following" him.
For at first he had interpreted it to mean that one of "them" whom he
had to fear must be on the train.  Later he had felt certain that this
could not be the case, for otherwise any one of "them" who knew him
would have spoken by this time.  He had watched particularly for a time
the man who had claimed the telegram and given the name of Hillward;
but the only conclusion he had been able to reach was that the man's
name might be Hillward, and that coincidence--strange as such a thing
seemed--might have put aboard the train a person by this name.  Now his
suspicions that one of "them" must be aboard the train returned.

The bag certainly had not been carried out the forward door of the car,
or he would have seen it from the compartment at that end of the car
where he had sat smoking.  As he tried to recall who had passed the
door of the compartment, he remembered no one except trainmen.  The
bag, therefore, had been carried out the rear door, and the man who had
opened it, if a passenger, must still be in the rear part of the train.

Eaton, refilling his cigar-case to give his action a look of
casualness, got up and went toward the rear of the train.  A porter was
still posted at the door of the Santoine car, who warned him to be
quiet in passing through.  The car, he found, was entirely empty; the
door to the drawing-room where Santoine lay was closed.  Two berths
near the farther end of the car had been made up, no doubt for the
surgeon and Harriet Santoine to rest there during the intervals of
their watching; but the curtains of these berths were folded back,
showing both of them to be empty, though one apparently had been
occupied.  Was Harriet Santoine with her father?

He went on into the observation-car.  The card-room was filled with
players, and he stood an instant at the door looking them over, but
"Hillward" was not among them, and he saw no one whom he felt could
possibly be one of "them."  In the observation-room, the case was the
same; a few men and women passengers here were reading or talking.
Glancing on past them through the glass door at the end of the car, he
saw Harriet Santoine standing alone on the observation platform.  The
girl did not see him; her back was toward the car.  As he went out onto
the platform and the sound of the closing door came to her, she turned
to meet him.

She looked white and tired, and faint gray shadows underneath her eyes
showed where dark circles were beginning to form.

"I am supposed to be resting," she explained quietly, accepting him as
one who had the right to ask.

"Have you been watching all day?"

"With Dr. Sinclair, yes.  Dr. Sinclair is going to take half the night
watch, and I am going to take the other half.  That is why I am
supposed to be lying down now to get ready for it; but I could not
sleep."

"How is your father?"

"Just the same; there may be no change, Dr. Sinclair says, for days.
It seems all so sudden and so--terrible, Mr. Eaton.  You can hardly
appreciate how we feel about it without knowing Father.  He was so
good, so strong, so brave, so independent!  And at the same time so--so
dependent upon those around him, because of his blindness!  He started
out so handicapped, and he has accomplished so much, and--and it is so
unjust that there should have been such an attack upon him."

Eaton, leaning against the rail beside her and glancing at her, saw
that her lashes were wet, and his eyes dropped as they caught hers.

"They have been investigating the attack?"

"Yes; Donald--Mr. Avery, you know--and the conductor have been working
on it all day."

"What have they learned?"

"Not much, I think; at least not much that they have told me.  They
have been questioning the porter."

"The porter?"

"Oh, I don't mean that they think the porter had anything to do with
it; but the bell rang, you know."

"The bell?"

"The bell from Father's berth.  I thought you knew.  It rang some time
before Father was found--some few minutes before; the porter did not
hear it, but the pointer was turned down.  They have tested it, and it
cannot be jarred down or turned in any way except by means of the bell."

Eaton looked away from her, then back again rather strangely.

"I would not attach too much importance to the bell," he said.

"Father could not have rung it; Dr. Sinclair says that is impossible.
So its being rung shows that some one was at the berth, some one must
have seen Father lying there and--and rung the bell, but did not tell
any one about Father.  That could hardly have been an innocent person,
Mr. Eaton."

"Or a guilty one, Miss Santoine, or he would not have rung the bell at
all."

"I don't know--I don't understand all it might mean.  I have tried not
to think about anything but Father."

"Is that all they have learned?"

"No; they have found the weapon."

"The weapon with which your father was struck?"

"Yes; the man who did it seems not to have realized that the train was
stopped--or at least that it would be stopped for so long--and he threw
it off the train, thinking, I suppose, we should be miles away from
there by morning.  But the train didn't move, and the snow didn't cover
it up, and it was found lying against the snowbank this afternoon.  It
corresponds, Dr. Sinclair says, with Father's injuries."

"What was it?"

"It seems to have been a bar of metal--of steel, they said, I think,
Mr. Eaton--wrapped in a man's black sock."

"A sock!"  Eaton's voice sounded strange to himself; he felt that the
blood had left his cheeks, leaving him pale, and that the girl must
notice it.  "A man's sock!"

Then he saw that she had not noticed, for she had not been looking at
him.

"It could be carried in that way through the sleepers, you know,
without attracting attention," she observed.

Eaton had controlled himself.  "A sock!" he said again, reflectively.

He felt suddenly a rough tap upon his shoulder, and turning, he saw
that Donald Avery had come out upon the platform and was standing
beside him; and behind Avery, he saw Conductor Connery.  There was no
one else on the platform.

"Will you tell me, Mr. Eaton--or whatever else your name may be--what
it is that you have been asking Miss Santoine?" Avery demanded harshly.

Eaton felt his blood surge at the tone.  Harriet Santoine had turned,
and sensing the strangeness of Avery's manner, she whitened.  "What is
it, Don?" she cried.  "What is the matter?  Is something wrong with
Father?"

"No, dear; no!  Harry, what has this man been saying to you?"

"Mr. Eaton?"  Her gaze went wonderingly from Avery to Eaton and back
again.  "Why--why, Don!  He has only been asking me what we had found
out about the attack on Father!"

"And you told him?" Avery swung toward Eaton.  "You dog!" he mouthed.
"Harriet, he asked you that because he needed to know--he had to know!
He had to know how much we had found out, how near we were getting to
him!  Harry, this is the man that did it!"

Eaton's fists clenched; but suddenly, recollecting, he checked himself.
Harriet, not yet comprehending, stood staring at the two; then Eaton
saw the blood rush to her face and dye forehead and cheek and neck as
she understood.

"Not here, Mr. Avery; not here!"  Conductor Connery had stepped
forward, glancing back into the car to assure himself the disturbance
on the platform had not attracted the attention of the passengers in
the observation-room.  He put his hand on Eaton's arm.  "Come with me,
sir," he commanded.

Eaton thought anxiously for a moment.  He looked to Harriet Santoine as
though about to say something to her, but he did not speak; instead, he
quietly followed the conductor.  As they passed through the
observation-car into the car ahead, he heard the footsteps of Harriet
Santoine and Avery close behind them.



CHAPTER IX

QUESTIONS

Connery pulled aside the curtain of the washroom at the end of the
Santoine car--the end furthest from the drawing-room where Santoine lay.

"Step in here, sir," he directed.  "Sit down, if you want.  We're far
enough from the drawing-room not to disturb Mr. Santoine."

Eaton, seating himself in the corner of the leather seat built against
two walls of the room, and looking up, saw that Avery had come into the
room with them.  The girl followed.  With her entrance into the room
came to him--not any sound from her or anything which he could describe
to himself as either audible or visual--but a strange sensation which
exhausted his breath and stopped his pulse for a beat.  To be
accused--even to be suspected--of the crime against Santoine was to
have attention brought to him which--with his unsatisfactory account of
himself--threatened ugly complications.  Yet, at this moment of
realization, that did not fill his mind.  Whether his long dwelling
close to death had numbed him to his own danger, however much more
immediate it had become, he could not know; probably he had prepared
himself so thoroughly, had inured himself so to expect arrest and
imminent destruction, that now his finding himself confronted with
accusers in itself failed to stir new sensation; but till this day, he
had never imagined or been able to prepare himself for accusation
before one like Harriet Santoine; so, for a moment, thought solely of
himself was a subcurrent.  Of his conscious feelings, the terror that
she would be brought to believe with the others that he had struck the
blow against her father was the most poignant.

Harriet Santoine was not looking at him; but as she stood by the door,
she was gazing intently at Avery; and she spoke first:

"I don't believe it, Don!"

Eaton felt the warm blood flooding his face and his heart throb with
gratitude toward her.

"You don't believe it because you don't understand yet, dear," Avery
declared.  "We are going to make you believe it by proving to you it is
true."

Avery pulled forward one of the leather chairs for her to seat herself
and set another for himself facing Eaton.  Eaton, gazing across
steadily at Avery, was chilled and terrified as he now fully realized
for the first time the element which Avery's presence added.  What the
relations were between Harriet Santoine and Avery he did not know, but
clearly they were very close; and it was equally clear that Avery had
noticed and disliked the growing friendship between her and Eaton.
Eaton sensed now with a certainty that left no doubt in his own mind
that as he himself had realized only a moment before that his strongest
feeling was the desire to clear himself before Harriet Santoine, so
Avery now was realizing that--since some one on the train had certainly
made the attack on Santoine--he hoped he could prove before her that
that person was Eaton.

"Why did you ring the bell in Mr. Santoine's berth?" Avery directed the
attack upon him suddenly.

"To call help," Eaton answered.

Question and answer, Eaton realized, had made some effect upon Harriet
Santoine, as he did not doubt Avery intended they should; yet he could
not look toward her to learn exactly what this effect was but kept his
eyes on Avery.

"You had known, then, that he needed help?"

"I knew it--saw it then, of course."

"When?"

"When I found him."

"'Found' him?"

"Yes."

"When was that?"

"When I went forward to look for the conductor to ask him about taking
a walk on the roof of the cars."

"You found him then--that way, the way he was?"

"That way?  Yes."

"How?"

"How?" Eaton iterated.

"Yes; how, Mr. Eaton, or Hillward, or whatever your name is?  How did
you find him?  The curtains were open, perhaps; you saw him as you went
by, eh?"

Eaton shook his head.  "No; the curtains weren't open; they were
closed."

"Then why did you look in?"

"I saw his hand in the aisle."

"Go on."

"When I came back it didn't look right to me; its position had not been
changed at all, and it hadn't looked right to me before.  So I stopped
and touched it, and I found that it was cold."

"Then you looked into the berth?"

"Yes."

"And having looked in and seen Mr. Santoine injured and lying as he
was, you did not call any one, you did not bring help--you merely
leaned across him and pushed the bell and went on quickly out of the
car before any one could see you?"

"Yes; but I waited on the platform of the next car to see that help did
come; and the conductor passed me, and I knew that he and the porter
must find Mr. Santoine as they did."

"Do you expect us to believe that very peculiar action of yours was the
act of an innocent man?"

"If I had been guilty of the attack on Mr. Santoine, I'd not have
stopped or looked into the berth at all."

"If you are innocent, you had, of course, some reason for acting as you
did.  Will you explain what it was?"

"No--I cannot explain."

With a look almost of triumph Avery turned to Harriet Santoine, and
Eaton felt his flesh grow warm with gratitude again as he saw her meet
Avery's look with no appearance of being convinced.

"Mr. Eaton spoke to me about that," she said quietly.

"You mean he told you he was the one who rang the bell?"

"No; he told me we must not attach too much importance to the ringing
of the bell in inquiring into the attack on Father."

Avery smiled grimly.  "He did, did he?  Don't you see that that only
shows more surely that he did not want the ringing of the bell
investigated because it would lead us to himself?  He did not happen to
tell you, did he, that the kind and size of socks he wears and carries
in his traveling-bag are very nearly the same as the black sock in
which the bar was wrapped with which your father was struck?"

"It was you, then, who took the sock from my bag?" Eaton demanded.

"It was the conductor, and I can assure you, Mr. Eaton-Hillward, that
we are preserving it very carefully along with the one which was found
in the snow."

"But the socks were not exactly the same, were they?" Harriet Santoine
asked.

Avery made a vexed gesture, and turned to Connery.  "Tell her the rest
of it," he directed.

Connery, who had remained standing back of the two chairs, moved
slightly forward.  His responsibility in connection with the crime that
had been carried out on his train had weighed heavily on the conductor;
he was worn and nervous.

"Where shall I begin?" he asked of Avery; he was looking not at the
girl but at Eaton.

"At the beginning," Avery directed.

"Mr. Eaton, when you came to this train, the gateman at Seattle called
my attention to you," Connery began.  "I didn't attach enough
importance, I see now, to what he said; I ought to have watched you
closer and from the first.  Old Sammy has recognized men with criminal
records time and time again.  He's got seven rewards out of it."

Eaton felt his pulses close with a shock.  "He recognized me?" he asked
quietly.

"No, he didn't; he couldn't place you," Connery granted.  "He couldn't
tell whether you were somebody that was 'wanted' or some one well
known--some one famous, maybe; but I ought to have kept my eye on you
because of that, from the very start.  Now this morning you claim a
telegram meant for another man--a man named Hillward, on this train,
who seems to be all right--that is, by his answers and his account of
himself he seems to be exactly what he claims to be."

"Did he read the telegram to you?" Eaton asked.  "It was in code.  If
it was meant for him, he ought to be able to read it."

"No, he didn't.  Will you?"

Eaton halted while he recalled the exact wording of the message.  "No."

Connery also paused.

"Is this all you have against me?" Eaton asked.

"No; it's not.  Mr. Avery's already told you the next thing, and you've
admitted it.  But we'd already been able by questioning the porter of
this car and the ones in front and back of it to narrow down the time
of the ringing of Mr. Santoine's bell not to quarter-hours but to
minutes; and to find out that during those few minutes you were the
only one who passed through the car.  So there's no use of my going
into that."  Connery paused and looked to Avery and the girl.  "You'll
wait a minute, Mr. Avery; and you, Miss Santoine.  I won't be long."

He left the washroom, and the sound of the closing of a door which came
to Eaton a half-minute later told that he had gone out the front end of
the car.

As the three sat waiting in the washroom, no one spoke.  Eaton, looking
past Avery, gazed out the window at the bank of snow.  Eaton understood
fully that the manner in which the evidence against him was being
presented to him was not with any expectation that he could defend
himself; Avery and Connery were obviously too certain of their
conclusion for that; rather, as it was being given thus under Avery's
direction, it was for the effect upon Harriet Santoine and to convince
her fully.  But Eaton had understood this from the first.  It was for
this reason he had not attempted to deny having rung Santoine's bell,
realizing that if he denied it and it afterwards was proved, he would
appear in a worse light than by his inability to account for or assign
a reason for his act.  And he had proved right in this; for the girl
had not been convinced.  So now he comprehended that something far more
convincing and more important was to come; but what that could be, he
could not guess.

As he glanced at her, he saw her sitting with hands clasped in her lap,
pale, and merely waiting.  Avery, as though impatient, had got up and
gone to the door, where he could look out into the passage.  From time
to time people had passed through the car, but no one had stopped at
the washroom door or looked in; the voices in the washroom had not been
raised, and even if what was going on there could have attracted
momentary attention, the instructions to pass quickly through the car
would have prevented any one from stopping to gratify his curiosity.
Eaton's heart-beat quickened as, listening, he heard the car door open
and close again and footsteps, coming to them along the aisle, which he
recognized as those of Conductor Connery and some one else with him.

Avery returned to his seat, as the conductor appeared in the door of
the washroom followed by the Englishman from Eaton's car, Henry
Standish.  Connery carried the sheet on which he had written the
questions he had asked Eaton, and Eaton's answers.

"What name were you using, Mr. Eaton, when you came from Asia to the
United States?" the conductor demanded.

Eaton reflected.  "My own," he said.  "Philip D. Eaton."

Connery brought the paper nearer to the light of the window, running
his finger down it till he found the note he wanted.  "When I asked
this afternoon where you came from in Asia, Mr. Eaton, you answered me
something like this: You said you could give me no address abroad; you
had been traveling most of the time; you could not be placed by
inquiring at any city or hotel; you came to Seattle by the Asiatic
steamer and took this train.  That was your reply, was it not?"

"Yes," Eaton answered.

"The 'Asiatic steamer'--the _Tamba Maru_ that was, Mr. Eaton."

Eaton looked up quickly and was about to speak; but from Connery his
gaze shifted swiftly to the Englishman, and checking himself, he said
nothing.

"Mr. Standish,"--Connery faced the Englishman,--"you came from Yokohama
to Seattle on the _Tamba Maru_, didn't you?"

"I did, yes."

"Do you remember this Mr. Eaton among the passengers?"

"No."

"Do you know he was not among the passengers?"

"Yes, I do."

"How do you know?"

The Englishman took a folded paper from his pocket, opened it and
handed it to the conductor.  Connery, taking it, held it out to Eaton.

"Here, Mr. Eaton," he said, "is the printed passenger-list of the
people aboard the _Tamba Maru_ prepared after leaving Yokohama for
distribution among the passengers.  It's unquestionably correct.  Will
you point out your name on it?"

Eaton made no move to take the paper; and after holding it long enough
to give him full opportunity, Connery handed it back to the Englishman.

"That's all, Mr. Standish," he said.

Eaton sat silent as the Englishman, after staring curiously around at
them with his bulging, interested eyes, left the washroom.

"Now, Mr. Eaton," Connery said, as the sound of Standish's steps became
inaudible, "either you were not on the _Tamba Maru_ or you were on it
under some other name than Eaton.  Which was it?"

"I never said I was on the _Tamba Maru_," Eaton returned steadily.  "I
said I came from Asia by steamer.  You yourself supplied the name
_Tamba Maru_."

"In case of questioning like that, Mr. Eaton, it makes no difference
whether you said it or I supplied it in your hearing.  If you didn't
correct me, it was because you wanted me to get a wrong impression
about you.  You can take notice that the only definite fact about you
put down on this paper has proved to be incorrect.  You weren't on the
_Tamba Maru_, were you?"

"No, I was not."

"Why didn't you say so while Mr. Standish was here?"

"I didn't know how far you had taken him into your confidence in this
matter."

"You did come from Asia, though, as your railroad ticket seemed to
show?"

"Yes."

"From where?"

Eaton did not answer.

"From Yokohama?"

"The last port we stopped at before sailing for Seattle was
Yokohama--yes."

Connery reflected.  "You had been in Seattle, then, at least five days;
for the last steamer you could have come on docked five days before the
_Tamba Maru_."

"You assume that; I do not tell you so."

"I assume it because it must be so.  You'd been in Seattle--or at least
you had been in America--for not less than five days.  In fact, Mr.
Eaton, you had been on this side of the water for as many as eleven
days, had you not?"

"Eleven days?" Eaton repeated.

"Yes; for it was just eleven days before this train left Seattle that
you came to the house of Mr. Gabriel Warden and waited there for him
till he was brought home dead!"

Eaton, sitting forward a little, looked up at the conductor; his glance
caught Avery's an instant; he gazed then to Harriet Santoine.  At the
charge, she had started; but Avery had not.  The identification,
therefore, was Connery's, or had been agreed upon by Connery and Avery
between them; suggestion of it had not come from the Santoines.  And
Connery had made the charge without being certain of it; he was
watching the effect, Eaton now realized, to see if what he had accused
was correct.

"What do you mean by that?" Eaton returned.

"What I said.  You came to see Gabriel Warden in Seattle eleven days
ago," Connery reasserted.  "You are the man who waited in his house
that night and whom every one has been looking for since!"

"Well?" inquired Eaton.

"Isn't that so?" Connery demanded.  "Or do you want to deny that too
and have it proved on you later?"

Again for a moment Eaton sat silent.  "No," he decided, "I do not deny
that."

"Then you are the man who was at Warden's the night he was murdered?"

"Yes," said Eaton, "I was there that evening.  I was the one who came
there by appointment and waited till after Mr. Warden was brought home
dead."

"So you admit that?" Connery gloated; but he could not keep from Eaton
a sense that, by Eaton's admission of the fact, Connery had been
disappointed.  Avery too plainly had expected Eaton to deny it; the
identification of Eaton with the man who had waited at Warden's was
less a triumph to Avery, now that it was confessed.  Indeed, Eaton's
heart leaped with quick gratitude as he now met Harriet Santoine's eyes
and as he heard her turning it into a fact in his favor.

"All you have brought against Mr. Eaton is that he has been indefinite
in his replies to your questions or has refused answers; isn't that
all, Don?" she said.  "So if Mr. Eaton is the one who had the
appointment with Mr. Warden that night, does not that explain his
silence?"

"Explain it?" Avery demanded.  "How?"

"We have Mr. Warden's word that Mr. Eaton came that night because he
was in trouble--he had been outrageously wronged, Don.  He was in
danger.  Because of that danger, undoubtedly, he has not made himself
known since.  May not that be the only reason he has avoided answering
your questions now?"

"No!" Avery jerked out shortly.

Eaton's heart, from pulsating fast with Harriet Santoine's attempt at
his defense, now constricted with a sudden increase of his terror and
anxiety.

"All right, Mr. Eaton!"  Connery now returned to his charge.  "You are
that man.  So besides whatever else that means, you'd been in Seattle
eleven days and yet you were the last person to get aboard this train,
which left a full hour after its usual starting time.  Who were you
waiting to see get on the train before you yourself took it?"

Eaton wet his lips.  To what was Connery working up?  The probability,
now rapidly becoming certainty, that in addition to the recognition of
him as the man who had waited at Warden's--which fact any one at any
time might have charged--Connery knew something else which the
conductor could not have been expected to know--this dismayed Eaton the
more by its indefiniteness.  And he saw, as his gaze shifted to Avery,
that Avery knew this thing also.  All that had gone before had been
only preliminary, then; they had been leading up step by step to the
circumstance which had finally condemned him in their eyes and was to
condemn him in the eyes of Harriet Santoine.

She, he saw, had also sensed the feeling that something else more
definite and conclusive was coming.  She had paled after the flush in
which she had spoken in Eaton's defense, and her hands in her lap were
clenched so tightly that the knuckles showed only as spots of white.

Eaton controlled himself to keep his voice steady.

"What do you mean by that question?" he asked.

"I mean that--however innocent or guilty may be the chance of your
being at Mr. Warden's the night he was killed--you'll have a hard time
proving that you did not wait and watch and take this train because
Basil Santoine had taken it; and that you were not following him.  Do
you deny it?"

Eaton was silent.

"You asked the Pullman conductor for a Section Three after hearing him
assign Mr. Santoine to Section Three in this car.  Do you deny that you
did this so as not to be put in the same car with him?"

Eaton, in his uncertainty, still said nothing.  Connery, bringing the
paper in his hand nearer to the window again, glanced down once more at
the statement Eaton had made.  "I asked you who you knew in Chicago,"
he said, "and you answered 'No one.'  That was your reply, was it not?"

"Yes."

"You still make the same statement?"

"Yes."

"You know no one in Chicago?"

"No one," Eaton repeated.

"And certainly no one there knows you well enough to follow your
movements in relation to Mr. Santoine.  That's a necessary assumption
from the fact that you know no one at all there."

The conductor pulled a telegram from his pocket and handed it to Avery,
who, evidently having already seen it, passed it on to Harriet
Santoine.  She took it, staring at it mechanically and vacantly; then
suddenly she shivered, and the yellow paper which she had read slipped
from her hand and fluttered to the floor.  Connery stooped and picked
it up and handed it toward Eaton.

"This is yours," he said.

Eaton had sensed already what the nature of the message must be, though
as the conductor held it out to him he could read only his name at the
top of the sheet and did not know yet what the actual wording was
below.  Acceptance of it must mean arrest, indictment for the crime
against Basil Santoine; and that, whether or not he later was
acquitted, must destroy him; but denial of the message now would be
hopeless.

"It is yours, isn't it?" Connery urged.

"Yes; it's mine," Eaton admitted; and to make his acceptance definite,
he took the paper from Connery.  As he looked dully down at it, he read:


He is on your train under the name of Dorne.


The message was not signed.

Connery touched him on the shoulder.  "Come with me, Mr. Eaton."

Eaton got up slowly and mechanically and followed the conductor.  At
the door he halted and looked back; Harriet Santoine was not looking;
her face was covered with her hands; Eaton hesitated; then he went on.
Connery threw open the door of the compartment next to the washroom and
corresponding to the drawing-room at the other end of the car, but
smaller.

"You'll do well enough in here."  He looked over Eaton deliberately.
"Judging from your manner, I suppose there's not much use expecting you
to answer anything more about yourself--either in relation to the
Warden murder or this?"

"No," said Eaton, "there is not."

"You prefer to make us find out anything more?"

Eaton made no answer.

"All right," Connery concluded.  "But if you change your mind for the
better, or if you want anything bad enough to send for me, ring for the
porter and he'll get me."

He closed the door upon Eaton and locked it.  As Eaton stood staring at
the floor, he could hear through the metal partition of the washroom
the nervous, almost hysterical weeping of an overstrained girl.  The
thing was done; in so far as the authorities on the train were
concerned, it was known that he was the man who had had the appointment
with Gabriel Warden and had disappeared; and in so far as the train
officials could act, he was accused and confined for the attack upon
Basil Santoine.  But besides being overwhelmed with the horror of this
position, the manner in which he had been accused had roused him to
helpless anger, to rage at his accusers which still increased as he
heard the sounds on the other side of the partition where Avery was now
trying to silence Harriet Santoine and lead her away.

Why had Avery gone at his accusation of him in that way?  Connery had
had the telegram in his pocket from the start of the questioning in the
washroom; Avery had seen and read it; they could have condemned him
with whomever they wished, merely by showing it.  Why, then, had Avery
chosen to drag this girl--strained and upset already by the attack upon
her father and with long hours of nursing ahead of her before expert
help could be got--step by step through their accusation of him?  Eaton
saw that--whatever Harriet Santoine's casual interest in himself might
be--this showed at least that Avery's relation to her was not so
completely accepted by her and so definite as appeared on the surface,
since Avery thought it necessary to convince her rather than merely
tell her.  And what sent the blood hot and throbbing into Eaton's
temples was the cruelty of Avery's action.

So Avery was that kind of a man!  The kind that, when an end is to be
attained, is ready to ignore as though unimportant the human side of
things.  Concurrently with these thoughts--as always with all his
thoughts--was running the memory of his own experience--that experience
of which Eaton had not spoken and of which he had avoided speaking at
any cost; and as he questioned now whether Avery might be one of those
men who to gain an end they deem necessary are ready to disregard
humanity,--to inflict suffering, wrong, injustice,--he realized that he
was beginning to hate Avery for himself, for what he was, aside from
the accusation he brought.

No sounds came to him now from the washroom--the girl must have
controlled herself; footsteps passing the door of his compartment told
him then that the two had gone out into the open car.



CHAPTER X

THE BLIND MAN'S EYES

Half an hour later, Connery unlocked the door of Eaton's compartment,
entered and closed the door behind him.  He had brought in Eaton's
traveling bag and put it down.

"You understand," said the conductor, "that when a train is stalled
like this it is considered as if under way.  So I have local police
power, and I haven't exceeded my rights in putting you under arrest."

"I don't recall that I have questioned your right," Eaton answered
shortly.

"I thought you might question it now.  I'm going to search you.  Are
you going to make trouble or needn't I send for help?"

"I'll help you."  Eaton took off his coat and vest and handed them
over.  The conductor put them on a seat while he felt over his prisoner
for weapons or other concealed objects.  Eaton handed him a
pocket-knife, and the key to his traveling-bag--he had no other
keys--from his trousers pockets.  The conductor discovered nothing
else.  He found a pencil--but no papers or memorandum book--a plain
gold watch, unengraved, and a bill-fold containing seven hundred
dollars in United States bank-notes in the vest.  Connery wrote out a
receipt for the money and handed it to his prisoner.  He returned the
other articles.  In the coat, the conductor found a handkerchief and in
another pocket the torn scraps of the telegram delivered to Eaton in
his berth.

"That's the one we had the fuss over in the dining car," Eaton
volunteered, as the conductor began fitting the scraps together.

"You forgot to completely destroy it, eh?"

"What was the use?"  Eaton took up the other's point of view.  "You had
a copy anyway."

"You might have wanted to get rid of it since the discovery of the
murder."

"Murder?"

"I guess it's the same thing."  The conductor dropped the scraps into
an envelope and put it in his pocket.  He examined the coat for a
tailor's name.

"That coat was copied by a Chinaman in Amoy from the coat I had before.
Before the new one was made, I took out the name of the other tailor so
it wouldn't be copied too," Eaton remarked in explanation of the lack
of any mark.  Connery handed back the coat, went out and locked the
door behind him.

Eaton opened his traveling bag and checked over the contents.  He could
tell that everything in it had been again carefully examined, but
nothing more had been taken except the small Chinese-English
dictionary; that was now gone.  There had been nothing in the bag to
betray any other identity than the one he had given.  Eaton put the bag
away and went back to his seat by the window.

The clear, bright day was drawing toward its dusk: there had been no
movement or attempt to move the train all day.  About six o'clock, as
people began passing forward to the diner, Connery appeared again with
a waiter from the dining car bearing a tray with dinner.

"This is 'on' the Department of Justice, Conductor?" Eaton tried to ask
lightly.

"The check is a dollar twenty.  If you want this, I'll charge it
against your money which I have."

"Make it a dollar, forty-five then," Eaton directed.  "Remember the
waiter."

The black boy grinned and spread the table.

"How is Mr.--" Eaton began.

"Dorne?" Connery put in sharply.

"Thanks," said Eaton.  "I understand.  How is he?"

Connery did not answer, and with the waiter left him, locking him in
again.  At ten, Connery came once more with the porter of the car, and
the conductor stood by silently while the porter made up the berth.
Eaton went to bed with the car absolutely still, with only the wall of
snow outside his window and no evidence of any one about but a subdued
step occasionally passing his door.  Though he had had nothing to do
all the long, lonely hours of the evening but to think, Eaton lay awake
thinking.  He understood definitely now that whatever action was to be
taken following his admission of his presence at Warden's, a charge of
murder or of assault to kill--dependent upon whether Santoine died or
seemed likely to recover--would be made against him at the first city
they reached after the train had started again.  He would be turned
over to the police; inquiry would be made; then--he shrank from going
further with these thoughts.

The night again was very cold; it was clear, with stars shining; toward
midnight wind came; but little snow drifted now, for the cold had
frozen a crust.  In the morning, from somewhere over the snow-covered
country, a man and a boy appeared at the top of the shining bank beside
the train.  They walked beside the sleepers to the dining car, where,
apparently, they disposed of whatever they had brought in the bags they
carried; they came back along the cars and then disappeared.

As he watched them, Eaton felt the desperate impulse to escape through
the window and follow them; but he knew he surely would be seen; and
even if he could get away unobserved, he would freeze; his overcoat and
hat had been kept by Connery.  The conductor came after a time and let
in the porter, who unmade the berth and carried away the linen; and
later, Connery came again with the waiter bringing breakfast.  He had
brought a magazine, which he dropped upon the seat beside Eaton; and he
stood by until Eaton had breakfasted and the dishes were carried away.

"Want to talk yet?" he asked.

"No."

"Is there anything else you want?" he asked.

"I'd like to see Miss Santoine."

Connery turned away.

"You will tell Miss Santoine I have something I want to say to her?"
Eaton asked more definitely.

Connery turned back.  "If you've anything to say, tell it to me," he
bade curtly.

"It will do no good to tell it to you.  Will you tell her what I asked?"

"No," said Connery.

At noon, when they brought Eaton's luncheon, he repeated his request
and was again refused; but less than an hour afterward Connery came to
his door again, and behind Connery, Eaton saw Harriet Santoine and
Avery.

Eaton jumped up, and as he saw the girl's pale face, the color left his
own.

"Miss Santoine has asked to speak to you," Connery announced; and he
admitted Harriet Santoine and Avery, and himself remaining outside in
the aisle, closed the door upon them.

"How is your father?" Eaton asked the girl.

"He seems just the same; at least, I can't see any change, Mr. Eaton."
She said something in a low tone to Avery, who nodded; then she sat
down opposite Eaton, and Avery seated himself on the arm of the seat
beside her.

"Can Dr. Sinclair see any difference?" Eaton asked.

"Dr. Sinclair will not commit himself except to say that so far as he
can tell, the indications are favorable.  He seems to think--"  The
girl choked; but when she went on, her blue eyes were very bright and
her lips did not tremble.  "Dr. Sinclair seems to think, Mr. Eaton,
that Father was found just in time, and that whatever chance he has for
recovery came from you.  Mr. Avery and I had passed by the berth; other
people had gone by.  Sometimes Father had insomnia and wouldn't get to
sleep till late in the morning; so I--and Mr. Avery too--would have
left him undisturbed until noon.  Dr. Sinclair says that if he had been
left as long as that, he would have had no chance at all for life."

"He has a chance, then, now?"

"Yes; but we don't know how much.  The change Dr. Sinclair is expecting
may be either for better or worse.  I--I wanted you to know, Mr. Eaton,
that I recognize--that the chance Father may have came through you, and
that I am trying to think of you as the one who gave him the chance."

The warm blood flooded Eaton's face, and he bowed his head.  She, then,
was not wholly hostile to him; she had not been completely convinced by
Avery.

"What was it you wanted to tell Miss Santoine?" Avery challenged.

"What did Miss Santoine want to tell me?"

"What she has just told you."

Eaton thought for a moment.  The realization that had come to him just
now that something had kept the girl from condemning him as Avery and
Connery had condemned him, and that somehow, for some reason, she must
have been fighting within herself to-day and last night against the
proof of his guilt, flushed him with gratitude and changed the attitude
he had thought it was going to be necessary for him to take in this
talk with her.  As he looked up, her eyes met his; then she looked
quickly away.  Avery moved impatiently and repeated his question:

"What was it you wanted to say?"

"Are they looking for any one, Miss Santoine--any one besides me in
connection with the attack upon your father?"

She glanced at Avery and did not answer.  Avery's eyes narrowed.  "We
are quite satisfied with what we have been doing," he answered.

"Then they are not looking, Miss Santoine!"

Her lips pressed together, and again it was Avery who answered.  "We
have not said so."

"I must assume it, then," Eaton said to the girl without regarding
Avery.  "I have been watching as well as I could since they shut me up
here, and I have listened, but I haven't found any evidence that
anything more is being done.  So I'm obliged to assume that nothing is
being done.  The few people who know about the attack on your father
are so convinced and satisfied that I am the one who did it that they
aren't looking any further.  Among the people moving about on the
train, the--the man who made the attack is being allowed to move about;
he could even leave the train, if he could do so without being seen and
was willing to take his chance in the snow; and when the train goes on,
he certainly will leave it!"

Harriet Santoine turned questioningly to Avery again.

"I am not asking anything of you, you see," Eaton urged.  "I'm not
asking you to let me go or to give me any--any increase of liberty
which might make it possible for me to escape.  I--I'm only warning you
that Mr. Avery and the conductor are making a mistake; and you don't
have to have any faith in me or any belief that I'm telling the truth
when I say that I didn't do it!  I'm only warning you, Miss Santoine,
that you mustn't let them stop looking!  Why, if I had done it, I might
very likely have had an accomplice whom they are going to let escape.
It's only common sense, you see."

"That is what you wanted to say?" Avery asked.

"That is it," Eaton answered.

"We can go, then, Harriet."

But she made no move to go.  Her eyes rested upon Eaton steadily; and
while he had been appealing to her, a flush had come to her cheeks and
faded away and come again and again with her impulses as he spoke.

"If you didn't do it, why don't you help us?" she cried.

"Help you?"

"Yes: tell us who you are and what you are doing?  Why did you take the
train because Father was on it, if you didn't mean any harm to him?
Why don't you tell us where you are going or where you have been or
what you have been doing?  What did your appointment with Mr. Warden
mean?  And why, after he was killed, did you disappear until you
followed Father on this train?  Why can't you give the name of anybody
you know or tell us of any one who knows about you?"

Eaton sank back against the seat away from her, and his eyes shifted to
Avery standing ready to go, and then fell.

"I might ask you in return," Eaton said, "why you thought it worth
while, Miss Santoine, to ask so much about myself when you first met me
and before any of this had happened?  You were not so much interested
then in me personally as that; and it was not because you could have
suspected I had been Mr. Warden's friend; for when the conductor
charged that, it was a complete surprise to you."

"No; I did not suspect that."

"Then why were you curious about me?"

Before Avery could speak or even make a gesture, Harriet seemed to come
to a decision.  "My Father asked me to," she said.

"Your father?  Asked you to do what?"

"To find out about you."

"Why?"

As she hesitated, Avery put his hand upon her shoulder as though
warning her to be still; but she went on, after only an instant.

"I promised Mr. Avery and the conductor," she said, "that if I saw you
I would listen to what you had to say but would not answer questions
without their consent; but I seem already to have broken that promise.
I have been wondering, since we have found out what we have about you,
whether Father could possibly have suspected that you were Mr. Warden's
friend; but I am quite sure that was not the original reason for his
inquiring about you.  My Father thought he recognized your voice, Mr.
Eaton, when you were speaking to the conductor about your tickets.  He
thought he ought to know who you were.  He knew that some time and
somewhere he had been near you before, and had heard you speak; but he
could not tell where or when.  And neither Mr. Avery nor I could tell
him who you were; so he asked us to find out.  I do not know whether,
after we had described you to Father, he may have connected you with
Mr. Warden or not; but that could not have been in his mind at first."

Eaton had paled; Avery had seemed about to interrupt her, but watching
Eaton, he suddenly had desisted.

"You and Mr. Avery?" Eaton repeated.  "He sent you to find out about
me?"

"Sent me--in this case--more than Mr. Avery; because he thought it
would be easier for me to do it."  Harriet had reddened under Eaton's
gaze.  "You understand, Mr. Eaton, it was--was entirely impersonal with
me.  My Father, being blind, is obliged to use the eyes of
others--mine, for one; he has trained me to see for him ever since we
used to take walks together when I was a little girl, and he has made
me learn to tell him what I see in detail, in the way that he would see
it himself; and for helping him to see other things on which I might be
unable to report so definitely and clearly, he has Mr. Avery.  He calls
us his eyes, sometimes; and it was only--only because I had been
commissioned to find out about you that I was obliged to show so much
curiosity."

"I understand," said Eaton quietly.  "Your report to your father, I
suppose, convinced him that he had been mistaken in thinking he knew my
voice."

"No--not that.  He knew that he had heard it; for sounds have so much
meaning to him that he never neglects or forgets them, and he carries
in his mind the voices of hundreds of different people and almost never
makes a mistake among them.  It did make him surer that you were not
any one with whose voice he ought to have been familiar, but only some
one whom he had heard say something--a few words or sentences,
maybe--under conditions which impressed your voice upon his mind.  And
he told Mr. Avery so, and that has only made Mr. Avery and the
conductor more certain that you must be the--one.  And since you will
not tell--"

"To tell would only further confirm them--"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean they would be more certain it was I who--"  Eaton, as he
blundered with the words and checked himself, looked up apprehensively
at Avery; but Avery, if he had thought that it was worth while to let
this conversation go on in the expectation that Eaton might let slip
something which could be used against himself, now had lost that
expectation.

"Come, Harry," he said.

Harriet arose, and Eaton got up as she did and stood as she went toward
the door.

"You said Mr. Avery and the conductor believe--" he began impulsively,
in answer to the something within him which was urging him to know, to
make certain, how far Harriet Santoine believed him to have been
concerned in the attack upon her father.  And suddenly he found that he
did not need to ask.  He knew; and with this sudden realization he all
at once understood why she had not been convinced in spite of the
conviction of the others--why, as, flushing and paling, she had just
now talked with him, her manner had been a continual denial of the
suspicion against him.

To Avery and to Connery the attack upon Santoine was made a vital and
important thing by the prominence of Santoine and their own
responsibility toward him, but after all there was nothing surprising
in there having been an attack.  Even to Harriet Santoine it could not
be a matter of surprise; she knew--she must know--that the father whom
she loved and thought of as the best of men, could not have
accomplished all he had done without making enemies; but she could
conceive of an attack upon him being made only by some one roused to
insane and unreasoning hate against him or by some agent wicked and
vile enough to kill for profit.  She could not conceive of its having
been done by a man whom, little as she had known him, she had liked,
with whom she had chatted and laughed upon terms of equality.  The
accusation of the second telegram had overwhelmed her for a time, and
had driven her from the defense of him which she had made after he had
admitted his connection with Gabriel Warden; but now, Eaton felt, the
impulse in his favor had returned.  She must have talked over with her
father many times the matter of the man whom Warden had determined to
befriend; and plainly she had become so satisfied that he deserved
consideration rather than suspicion that Connery's identification of
Eaton now was to his advantage.  Harriet Santoine could not yet answer
the accusation of the second telegram against him, but--in reason or
out of reason--her feelings refused acceptance of it.

It was her feelings that were controlling her now, as suddenly she
faced him, flushed and with eyes suffused, waiting for the end of the
sentence he could not finish.  And as his gaze met hers, he realized
that life--the life that held Harriet Santoine, however indefinite the
interest might be that she had taken in him--was dearer to him than he
had thought.

Avery had reached the door, holding it open for her to go out.
Suddenly Eaton tore the handle from Avery's grasp, slammed the door
shut upon him and braced his foot against it.  He would be able to hold
it thus for several moments before they could force it open.

"Miss Santoine," he pleaded, his voice hoarse with his emotion, "for
God's sake, make them think what they are doing before they make a
public accusation against me--before they charge me with this to others
not on this train!  I can't answer what you asked; I can't tell you now
about myself; there is a reason--a fair and honest reason, and one
which means life or death to me.  It will not be merely accusation they
make against me--it will be my sentence!  I shall be sentenced before I
am tried--condemned without a chance to defend myself!  That is the
reason I could not come forward after the murder of Mr. Warden.  I
could not have helped him--or aided in the pursuit of his enemies--if I
had appeared; I merely would have been destroyed myself!  The only
thing I could hope to accomplish has been in following my present
course--which, I swear to you, has had no connection with the attack
upon your father.  What Mr. Avery and Connery are planning to do to me,
they cannot undo.  They will merely complete the outrage and injustice
already done me,--of which Mr. Warden spoke to his wife,--and they will
not help your father.  For God's sake, keep them from going further!"

Her color deepened, and for an instant, he thought he saw full belief
in him growing in her eyes; but if she could not accept the charge
against him, neither could she consciously deny it, and the hands she
had been pressing together suddenly dropped.

"I--I'm afraid nothing I could say would have much effect on them,
knowing as little about--about you as I do!"

They dashed the door open then--silenced and overwhelmed him; and they
took her from the room and left him alone again.  But there was
something left with him which they could not take away; for in the
moment he had stood alone with her and passionately pleading, something
had passed between them--he could give no name to it, but he knew that
Harriet Santoine never could think of him again without a stirring of
her pulses which drew her toward him.  And through the rest of the
lonely day and through the sleepless night, he treasured this and
thought of it again and again.

The following morning the relieving snowplows arrived from the east,
and Eaton felt it was the beginning of the end for him.  He watched
from his window men struggling in the snow about the forward end of the
train; then the train moved forward past the shoveled and trampled snow
where rock and pieces of the snowplow were piled beside the
track--stopped, waited; finally it went on again and began to take up
its steady progress.

The attack upon Santoine having taken place in Montana, Eaton thought
that he would be turned over to the police somewhere within that State,
and he expected it would be done at the first stop; but when the train
slowed at Simons, he saw the town was nothing more than a little hamlet
beside a side-track.  They surely could not deliver him to the village
authorities here.  The observation car and the Santoine car were
uncoupled here and the train made up again with the Santoine car as the
last car of the train and the observation car ahead of it.  This,
evidently, was to stop the passing of passengers through the Santoine
car.  Did it mean that the change in Santoine's condition which Dr.
Sinclair had been expecting had taken place and was for the worse?
Eaton would have liked to ask about this of Connery, whom he saw
standing outside his window and keeping watch upon him during the
switching of the cars; but he knew that the conductor would not answer
him.

He rang, instead, for the porter and asked him for a railway folder,
and when this had been brought, he opened it to the map of the railroad
and checked off the names of the towns they would pass through.  Nearly
all the names set in the bold-face letters which denoted the cities and
larger towns ahead of them were, he found, toward the eastern end of
the State; the nearest--and the one, therefore, at which he thought he
would be given up--was several hours away.  At long intervals the train
passed villages all but buried in the snow; the inhabitants of these,
gathered at the stations, stared in on him as they looked in on any
other passenger; and at each of these stops Connery stood outside his
window guarding against possibility of his escape.  Each time, too,
that the train slowed, the porter unlocked the door of the compartment,
opened it and stood waiting until the train had regained its speed;
plainly they were taking no chances of his dropping from the window.

Early in the afternoon, as they approached the town whose name in
bold-face had made him sure that it was the one where he would be given
to the police, Eaton rang for the porter again.

"Will you get me paper and an envelope?" he asked.

The negro summoned the conductor.

"You want to write?" Connery asked.

"Yes."

"You understand that anything you write must be given to me unsealed."

"That's satisfactory to me.  I don't believe that, even though it is
unsealed, you'll take it upon yourself to read it."

The conductor looked puzzled, but sent the porter for some of the
stationery the railroad furnished for passengers.  The negro brought
paper, and pen and ink, and set up the little table in front of Eaton;
and when they had left him and had locked the door, Eaton wrote:


Miss Santoine:

The questions--all of them--that you and others have asked me you are
going to find answered very soon--within a very few hours, it may be,
certainly within a few days--though they are not going to be answered
by me.  When they are answered, you are going to think me the most
despicable kind of man; you are not going to doubt, then,--for the
answers will not let you doubt,--that I was the one who hurt your
father.  You, and every one else, are going to feel--not only because
of that, but because of what you will learn about me--that nothing that
may happen to me will be more than I justly deserve.

I don't seem to care very much what people other than you may think; as
the time grows nearer, I feel that I care less and less about that; but
I do care very much--and more and more--that you are going to think of
me in this way.  It is very hard for me to know that you are going to
regret that you ever let me talk with you in the friendly way you did,
or that you let me walk beside you on the station platform at Spokane,
and that you are going to shrink with horror when you recollect that
you let me touch you and put my hand upon your arm.  I feel that you do
not yet believe that it was I who attacked your father; and I ask
you--even in face of the proof which you are so soon to receive--not to
believe it.  I took this train--


He stopped writing, recollecting that the letter was to be given to
Connery unsealed and that Connery might read it; he scratched out the
sentence he had begun; then he thought a moment and went on:


I ask you not to believe that.  More than that, I ask you--when you
have learned who I am--still to believe in me.  I don't ask you to
defend me against others; you could not do that, for you will see no
one who will not hate and despise me.  But I beg of you, in all honesty
and faith, not to let yourself feel as they do toward me.  I want you
to believe--


He stopped again, but not because he felt that Harriet Santoine would
not believe what he was asking her to believe; instead, it was because
he knew she would.  Mechanically he opened his traveling-bag and got
out a cigar, bit off the end and forgetting in his absorption to light
it, puffed and sucked at it.  The future was sure ahead of him; he
foresaw it plainly, in detail even, for what was happening to him was
only the fulfillment of a threat which had been over him ever since he
landed at Seattle.  He was going out of life--not only Harriet
Santoine's life, but all life, and the letter he was writing would make
Harriet Santoine believe his death to have been an act of injustice, of
cruelty.  She could not help but feel that she herself had been in a
way instrumental in his death, since it was the accusation of violence
against her father which was going to show who he was and so condemn
him.  Dared he, dying, leave a sting like that in the girl's life?

He continued to puff at the unlighted cigar; then, mechanically, he
struck a match to light it.  As the match flared up, he touched it to
the sheet on which he had been writing, held the paper until the
written part was all consumed, and dropped it on the floor of the car,
smiling down at it wryly and grimly.  He would go out of Harriet
Santoine's life as he had come into it--no, not that, for he had come
into it as one who excited in her a rather pleasing doubt and
curiosity, but he would go out of it as a man whom she must hate and
condemn; to recall him would be only painful to her, so that she would
try to kill within her all memory of him.

As he glanced to the window, he saw that they were passing through the
outskirts of some place larger than any they had stopped at before; and
realizing that this must be the place he had picked out on the map as
the one where they would give him to the police, he closed his
traveling bag and made ready to go with them.  The train drew into the
station and stopped; the porter, as it slowed, had unlocked and opened
the door of his compartment, and he saw Connery outside upon the
platform; but this was no different from their procedure at every stop.
Several people got on the train here; others got off; so Connery,
obviously, was not preventing those who had been on the train when
Santoine was struck, from leaving it now.  Eaton, as he saw Connery
make the signal for the train to go ahead, sank back suddenly,
conscious of the suspense he had been under.

He got out the railroad folder and looked ahead to the next town where
he might be given up to the authorities; but when they rolled into this
in the late afternoon the proceedings were no different.  Eaton could
not understand.  He saw by studying the time-table that some time in
the night they would pass the Montana state line into North Dakota.
Didn't they intend to deliver him to the State authorities in Montana?

When the waiter brought his supper, Connery came with him.

"You wrote something to-day?" the conductor asked.

"I destroyed it."

Connery looked keenly around the compartment.  "You brought me two
envelopes; there they are.  You brought three sheets of paper; here are
two, and there's what's left of the other on the floor."

Connery seemed satisfied.

"Why haven't you jailed me?" Eaton asked.

"We're waiting to see how things go with Mr. Santoine."

"Has he been conscious?"

Connery did not answer; and through the conductor's silence Eaton
sensed suddenly what the true condition of affairs must be.  To give
him up to the police would make public the attack upon Santoine; and
until Santoine either died or recovered far enough to be consulted by
them, neither Avery nor Connery--nor Connery's superiors,
apparently--dared to take the responsibility of doing this.  So Eaton
would be carried along to whatever point they might reach when Santoine
died or became fully conscious.  Where would that be?  Clear to Chicago?

It made no material difference to him, Eaton realized, whether the
police took him in Montana or Chicago, since in either case recognition
of him would be certain in the end; but in Chicago this recognition
must be immediate, complete, and utterly convincing.

The next day the weather had moderated, or--here in North Dakota--it
had been less severe; the snow was not deep except in the hollows, and
on the black, windswept farmlands sprouts of winter wheat were faintly
showing.  The train was traveling steadily and faster than its regular
schedule; it evidently was running as a special, some other train
taking the ordinary traffic; it halted now only at the largest cities.
In the morning it crossed into Minnesota; and in the late afternoon,
slowing, it rolled into some large city which Eaton knew must be
Minneapolis or St.  Paul.  All day he had listened for sounds in the
Santoine car, but had heard nothing; the routine which had been
established to take care of him had gone on through the day, and he had
seen no one but Connery and the negro, and his questions to them had
been unanswered.

The car here was uncoupled from the train and picked up by a switch
engine; as dusk fell, Eaton, peering out of his window, could see that
they had been left lying in the railroad yards; and about midnight,
awakening in his berth, he realized that the car was still motionless.
He could account for this stoppage in their progress only by some
change in the condition of Santoine.  Was Santoine sinking, so that
they no longer dared to travel?  Was he, perhaps--dead?

No sounds came to him from the car to confirm Eaton in any conclusion;
there was nothing to be learned from any one outside the car.  A
solitary man, burly and alert, paced quietly back and forth below
Eaton's window.  He was a guard stationed to prevent any escape while
the car was motionless in the yard.

Eaton lay for a long time, listening for other sounds and wondering
what was occurring--or had occurred--at the other end of his car.
Toward morning he fell asleep.



CHAPTER XI

PUBLICITY NOT WANTED

"Basil Santoine dying!  Blind Millionaire lawyer taken ill on train!"

The alarm of the cry came to answer Eaton's question early the next
morning.  As he started up in his berth, he shook himself into
realization that the shouts were not merely part of an evil dream; some
one was repeating the cry outside the car window.  He threw up the
curtain and saw a vagrant newsboy, evidently passing through the
railroad yards to sell to the trainmen.  Eaton's guard outside his
window was not then in sight; so Eaton lifted his window from the
screen, removed that, and hailing the boy, put out his hand for a
paper.  He took it before he recalled that he had not even a cent; but
he looked for his knife in his trousers pocket and tossed it out to the
boy with the inquiry: "How'll that do?"

The boy gaped, picked it up, grinned and scampered off.  Eaton spread
the news-sheet before him and swiftly scanned the lines for information
as to the fate of the man who, for four days, had been lying only forty
feet away from him at the other end of a Pullman car.

The paper--a Minneapolis one--blared at him that Santoine's condition
was very low and becoming rapidly worse.  But below, under a Montana
date-line, Eaton saw it proclaimed that the blind millionaire was
merely sick; there was no suggestion anywhere of an attack.  The paper
stated only that Basil Santoine, returning from Seattle with his
daughter and his secretary, Donald Avery, had been taken seriously ill
upon a train which had been stalled for two days in the snow in
Montana.  The passenger from whom the information had been gained had
heard that the malady was appendicitis, but he believed that was merely
given out to cover some complication which had required surgical
treatment on the train.  He was definite as regarded the seriousness of
Mr. Santoine's illness and described the measures taken to insure his
quiet.  The railroad officials refused, significantly, to make a
statement regarding Mr. Santoine's present condition.  There was
complete absence of any suggestion of violence having been done; and
also, Eaton found, there was no word given out that he himself had been
found on the train.  The column ended with the statement that Mr.
Santoine had passed through Minneapolis and gone on to Chicago under
care of Dr. Douglas Sinclair.

Eaton stared at the newspaper without reading, after he saw that.  He
thought first--or rather, he felt first--for himself.  He had not
realized, until now that he was told that Harriet Santoine had
gone,--for if her father had gone on, of course she was with him,--the
extent to which he had felt her fairness, almost her friendship to him.
At least, he knew now that, since she had spoken to him after he was
first accused of the attack on her father, he had not felt entirely
deserted or friendless till now.  And with this start of dread for
himself, came also feeling for her.  Even if they had taken her father
from the other end of this car early in the night to remove him to
another special car for Chicago, she would be still watching beside him
on the train.  Or was her watch beside the dying man over now?  And
now, if her father were dead, how could Harriet Santoine feel toward
the one whom all others--if not she herself--accused of the murder of
her father?  For evidently it was murder now, not just "an attack."

But why, if Santoine had been taken away, or was dead or dying, had
they left Eaton all night in the car in the yards?  Since Santoine was
dying, would there be any longer an object in concealing the fact that
he had been murdered?

Eaton turned the page before him.  A large print of a picture of
Harriet Santoine looked at him from the paper--her beautiful, deep eyes
gazing at him, as he often had surprised her, frankly interested,
thoughtful, yet also gay.  The newspaper had made up its lack of more
definite and extended news by associating her picture with her father's
and printing also a photograph of Donald Avery--"closely associated
with Mr. Santoine in a confidential capacity and rumored to be engaged
to Miss Santoine."  Under the blind man's picture was a biography of
the sort which newspaper offices hold ready, prepared for the passing
of the great.

Eaton did not read that then.  The mention in the paper of an
engagement between Avery and Harriet Santoine had only confirmed the
relation which Eaton had imagined between them.  Avery, therefore, must
have gone on with her; and if she still watched beside her father,
Avery was with her; and if Basil Santoine was dead, his daughter was
turning to Avery for comfort.

This feature somehow stirred Eaton so that he could not stay quiet; he
dressed and then paced back and forth the two or three steps his
compartment allowed him.  He stopped now and then to listen; from
outside came the noises of the yard; but he made out no sound within
the car.  If it had been occupied as on the days previous, he must have
heard some one coming to the washroom at his end.  Was he alone in the
car now? or had the customary moving about taken place before he awoke?

Eaton had seen no one but the newsboy when he looked out the window,
but he felt sure that, if he had been left alone in the car, he was
being watched so that he could not escape.

His hand moved toward the bell, then checked itself.  By calling any
one, he now must change his situation only for the worse; as long as
they were letting him stay there, so much the better.  He realized that
it was long past the time when the porter usually came to make up his
berth and they brought him breakfast; the isolation of the car might
account for this delay, but it was more likely that he was to find
another reason.

Finally, to free himself from his nervous listening for sounds which
never came, he picked up the paper again.  A column told of Santoine's
youth, his blindness, his early struggle to make a place for himself
and his final triumph--position, wealth and power gained; Eaton,
reading of Harriet Santoine's father, followed these particulars with
interest; and further down the column his interest became even greater.
He read:


The news of Mr. Santoine's visit of a week on the Coast, if not known
already in great financial circles, is likely to prove interesting
there.  Troubles between little people are tried in the courts; the
powerful settle their disagreements among themselves and without appeal
to the established tribunals in which their cases are settled without
the public knowing they have been tried at all.  Basil Santoine, of
late years, has been known to the public as one of the greatest and
most influential of the advisers to the financial rulers of America;
but before the public knew him he was recognized by the financial
masters as one of the most able, clear-minded and impartial of the
adjudicators among them in their own disputes.  For years he has been
the chief agent in keeping peace among some of the great conflicting
interests, and more than once he has advised the declaring of financial
war when war seemed to him the correct solution.  Thus, five years ago,
when the violent death of Matthew Latron threatened to precipitate
trouble among Western capitalists, Santoine kept order in what might
very well have become financial chaos.  If his recent visit to the
Pacific Coast was not purely for personal reasons but was also to
adjust antagonisms such as charged by Gabriel Warden before his death,
the loss of Santoine at this time may precipitate troubles which,
living, his advice and information might have been able to prevent.


Having read and reread this long paragraph, Eaton started to tear out
the picture of Harriet Santoine before throwing the paper away; then he
desisted and thrust the sheets out the window.  As he sat thinking,
with lips tight closed, he heard for the first time that morning
footsteps at his end of the car.  The door of his compartment was
unlocked and opened, and he saw Dr. Sinclair.

"Mr. Santoine wants to speak to you," the surgeon announced quietly.

This startling negation of all he imagined, unnerved Eaton.  He started
up, then sank back for better composure.

"Mr. Santoine is here, then?"

"Here?  Of course he's here."

"And he's conscious?"

"He has been conscious for the better part of two days.  Didn't they
tell you?"  Sinclair frowned.  "I heard Miss Santoine send word to you
by the conductor soon after her father first came to himself."

"You mean he will recover!"

"He would recover from any injury which was not inevitably fatal.  He
was in perfect physical condition, and I never have known a patient to
grasp so completely the needs of his own case and to help the surgeon
as much by his control of himself."

Eaton looked toward the window, breathing hard.  "I heard the
newsboys--"

Sinclair shrugged.  "The papers print what they can get and in the way
which seems most effective to them," was his only comment.

Eaton pulled himself together.  So Santoine was neither dead nor dying.
Therefore, at worst, the charge of murder would not be made; and at
best--what?  He was soon to find out; the papers evidently were
entirely in error or falsely informed.  Basil Santoine was still at the
other end of the car, and his daughter would be with him there.  But as
Eaton followed Sinclair out of the compartment into the aisle, he
halted a moment--the look of the car was so entirely different from
what he had expected.  A nurse in white uniform sat in one of the seats
toward the middle of the car, sewing; another nurse, likewise clothed
in white, had just come out from the drawing-room at the end of the
car; Avery and Sinclair apparently had been playing cribbage, for Avery
sat at a little table in the section which had been occupied by
Santoine, with the cards and cribbage board in front of him.  The
surgeon led Eaton to the door of the drawing-room, showed him in and
left him.

Harriet Santoine was sitting on the little lounge opposite the berth
where her father lay.  She was watching the face of her father, and as
Eaton stood in the door, he saw her lean forward and gently touch her
father's hand; then she turned and saw Eaton.

"Here is Mr. Eaton, Father," she said.

"Sit down," Santoine directed.

Harriet made room for Eaton upon the seat beside her; and Eaton,
sitting down, gazed across at the blind man in the berth.  Santoine was
lying flat on his back, his bandaged head turned a little toward Eaton
and supported by pillows; he was not wearing his dark glasses, and his
eyes were open.  Eyes of themselves are capable of no expression except
as they may be clear or bloodshot, or by the contraction or dilation of
the pupils, or as they shift or are fixed upon some object: their
"expression" is caused by movements of the lids and brows and other
parts of the face.  Santoine's eyes had the motionlessness of the eyes
of those who have been long blind; seeing nothing, with pupils which
did not change in size, they had only the abstracted look which, with
men who see, accompanies deep thought.  The blind man was very weak and
must stay quite still; and he recognized it; but he knew too that his
strength was more than equal to the task of recovery, and he showed
that he knew it.  His mind and will were, obviously, at their full
activity, and he had fully his sense of hearing.

This explained to Eaton the better color in his daughter's face; yet
she was still constrained and nervous; evidently she had not found her
ordeal over with the start of convalescence of her father.  Her lips
trembled now as she turned to Eaton; but she did not speak directly to
him yet; it was Basil Santoine who suddenly inquired:

"What is it they call you?"

"My name is Philip D. Eaton."  Eaton realized as soon as he had spoken
that both question and answer had been unnecessary, and Santoine had
asked only to hear Eaton's voice.

The blind man was silent for a moment, as he seemed to consider the
voice and try again vainly to place it in his memories.  Then he spoke
to his daughter.

"Describe him, Harriet."

Harriet paled and flushed.

"About thirty," she said, "--under rather than over that.  Six feet or
a little more in height.  Slender, but muscular and athletic.  Skin and
eyes clear and with a look of health.  Complexion naturally rather
fair, but darkened by being outdoors a good deal.  Hair dark brown,
straight and parted at the side.  Smooth shaven.  Eyes blue-gray, with
straight lashes.  Eyebrows straight and dark.  Forehead smooth, broad
and intelligent.  Nose straight and neither short nor long; nostrils
delicate.  Mouth straight, with lips neither thin nor full.  Chin
neither square nor pointed, and without a cleft.  Face and head, in
general, of oval Anglo-American type."

"Go on," said Santoine.

Harriet was breathing quickly.  "Hands well shaped, strong but without
sign of manual labor; nails cared for but not polished.  Gray business
suit, new, but not made by an American tailor and of a style several
years old.  Soft-bosomed shirt of plain design with soft cuffs.
Medium-height turn-down white linen collar.  Four-in-hand tie, tied by
himself.  Black shoes.  No jewelry except watch-chain."

"In general?" Santoine suggested.

"In general, apparently well-educated, well-bred, intelligent young
American.  Expression frank.  Manner self-controlled and reserved.
Seems sometimes younger than he must be, sometimes older.  Something
has happened at some time which has had a great effect and can't be
forgotten."

While she spoke, the blood, rising with her embarrassment, had dyed
Harriet's face; suddenly now she looked away from him and out the
window.

Her feeling seemed to be perceived by Santoine.  "Would you rather I
sent for Avery, daughter?" he asked.

"No; no!"  She turned again toward Eaton and met his look defiantly.

Eaton merely waited.  He was confident that much of this description of
himself had been given Santoine by his daughter before the attack had
been made on him and that she had told him also as fully as she could
the two conversations she had had with Eaton.  He could not, somehow,
conceive it possible that Santoine needed to refresh his memory; the
description, therefore, must have been for purposes of comparison.
Santoine, in his blindness, no doubt found it necessary to get
descriptions of the same one thing from several people, in order that
he might check one description against another.  He probably had
Harriet's and Avery's description of Eaton and now was getting
Harriet's again.

"He would be called, I judge, a rather likable-looking man?" Santoine
said tentatively; his question plainly was only meant to lead up to
something else; Santoine had judged in that particular already.

"I think he makes that impression."

"Certainly he does not make the impression of being a man who could be
hired to commit a crime?"

"Very far from it."

"Or who would commit a crime for his own interest--material or
financial interest, I mean?"

"No."

"But he might be led into crime by some personal, deeper interest.  He
has shown deep feeling, I believe--strong, personal feeling, Harriet?"

"Yes."

"Mr. Eaton,"--Santoine addressed him suddenly,--"I understand that you
have admitted that you were at the house of Gabriel Warden the evening
he was killed while in his car.  Is that so?"

"Yes," said Eaton.

"You are the man, then, of whom Gabriel Warden spoke to his wife?"

"I believe so."

"You believe so?"

"I mean," Eaton explained quietly, "that I came by appointment to call
on Mr. Warden that night.  I believe that it must have been to me that
Mr. Warden referred in the conversation with his wife which has since
been quoted in the newspapers."

"Because you were in such a situation that, if Mr. Warden defended you,
he would himself meet danger?"

"I did not say that," Eaton denied guardedly.

"What, then, was your position in regard to Mr. Warden?"

Eaton remained silent.

"You refuse to answer?" Santoine inquired.

"I refuse."

"In spite of the probability that Mr. Warden met his death because of
his intention to undertake something for you?"

"I have not been able to fix that as a probability."

The blind man stopped.  Plainly he appreciated that, where Connery and
Avery had failed in their questionings, he was not likely to succeed
easily; and with his limited strength, he proceeded on a line likely to
meet less prepared resistance.

"Mr. Eaton, have I ever injured you personally--I don't mean directly,
as man to man, for I should remember that; have I ever done anything
which indirectly has worked injury on you or your affairs?"

"No," Eaton answered.

"Who sent you aboard this train?"

"Sent me?  No one."

"You took the train of your own will because I was taking it?"

"I have not said I took it because you were taking it."

"That seems to be proved.  You can accept it from me; it has been
proved.  Did you take the train in order to attack me?"

"No."

"To spy upon me?"

"No."

Santoine was silent for an instant.  "What was it you took the train to
tell me?"

"I?  Nothing."

Santoine moved his head upon the pillow.

"Father!" his daughter warned.

"Oh, I am careful, Harriet; Dr. Sinclair allows me to move a little....
Mr. Eaton, in one of the three answers you have just given me, you are
not telling the truth.  I defy you to find in human reasoning more than
four reasons why my presence could have made you take this train in the
manner and with the attending circumstances you did.  You took it to
injure me, or to protect me from injury; to learn something from me, or
to inform me of something.  I discard the second of these possibilities
because you asked for a berth in another car and for other reasons
which make it impossible.  However, I will ask it of you.  Did you take
the train to protect me from injury?"

"No."

"Which of your former answers do you wish to change, then?"

"None."

"You deny all four possibilities?"

"Yes."

"Then you are using denial only to hide the fact, whatever it may be;
and of the four possibilities I am obliged to select the first as the
most likely."

"You mean that I attacked you?"

"That is not what I said.  I said you must have taken the train to
injure me, but that does not mean necessarily that it was to attack me
with your own hand.  Any attack aimed against me would be likely to
have several agents.  There would be somewhere, probably, a distant
brain that had planned it; there would be an intelligent brain near by
to oversee it; and there would be a strong hand to perform it.  The
overseeing brain and the performing hand--or hands--might belong to one
person, or to two, or more.  How many there were I cannot now
determine, since people were allowed to get off the train.  The
conductor and Avery--"

"Father!"

"Yes, Harriet; but I expected better of Avery.  Mr. Eaton, as you are
plainly withholding the truth as to your reason for taking this train,
and as I have suffered injury, I am obliged--from the limited
information I now have--to assume that you knew an attack was to be
made by some one, upon that train.  In addition to the telegram,
addressed to you under your name of Eaton and informing of my presence
on the train, I have also been informed, of course, of the code message
received by you addressed to Hillward.  You refused, I understand, to
favor Mr. Avery with an explanation of it; do you wish to give one now?"

"No," said Eaton.

"It has, of course, been deciphered," the blind man went on calmly.
"The fact that it was based upon your pocket English-Chinese dictionary
as a word-book was early suggested; the deciphering from that was
simply a trial of some score of ordinary enigma plans, until the
meaning appeared."

Eaton made no comment.  Santoine went on:

"And that very interesting meaning presented another possible
explanation--not as to your taking the train, for as to that there can
be only the four I mentioned--but as to the attack itself, which would
exonerate you from participation in it.  It is because of this that I
am treating you with the consideration I do.  If that explanation were
correct, you would--"

"What?"

"You would have had nothing to do with the attack, and yet you would
know who made it."

At this, Eaton stared at the blind man and wet his lips.

"What do you mean?" he said.

Santoine did not reply to the question.  "What have you been doing
yesterday and to-day?" he asked.

"Waiting," Eaton answered.

"For what?"

"For the railroad people to turn me over to the police."

"So I understood.  That is why I asked you.  I don't believe in
cat-and-mouse methods, Mr. Eaton; so I am willing to tell you that
there is no likelihood of your being turned over to the police
immediately.  I have taken this matter out of the hands of the railroad
people.  We live in a complex world, Mr. Eaton, and I am in the most
complex current of it.  I certainly shall not allow the publicity of a
police examination of you to publish the fact that I have been attacked
so soon after the successful attack upon Mr. Warden--and in a similar
manner--until I know more about both attacks and about you--why you
came to see Warden that night and how, after failing to see him alive,
you followed me, and whether that fact led to the attempt at my life."

Eaton started to speak, and then stopped.

"What were you going to say?" Santoine urged.

"I will not say it," Eaton refused.

"However, I think I understand your impulse.  You were about to remind
me that there has been nothing to implicate you in any guilty
connection with the murder of Mr. Warden.  I do not now charge that."

He hesitated; then, suddenly lost in thought, as some new suggestion
seemed to come to him which he desired to explain alone, he motioned
with a hand in dismissal.  "That is all."  Then, almost immediately:
"No; wait! ...  Harriet, has he made any sign while I have been
talking?"

"Not much, if any," Harriet answered.  "When you said he might not have
had anything to do with the attack upon you, but in that case he must
know who it was that struck you, he shut his eyes and wet his lips."

"That is all, Mr. Eaton," Santoine repeated.

Eaton started back to his compartment.  As he turned, Harriet Santoine
looked up at him and their eyes met; and her look confirmed to him what
he had felt before--that her father, now taking control of the
investigation of the attack upon himself, was not continuing it with
prejudice or predisposed desire to damage Eaton, except as the evidence
accused him.  And her manner now told, even more plainly than
Santoine's, that the blind man had viewed the evidence as far from
conclusive against Eaton; and as Harriet showed that she was glad of
that, Eaton realized how she must have taken his side against Avery in
reporting to her father.

For Santoine must have depended entirely upon circumstances presented
to him by Avery and Connery and her; and Eaton was very certain that
Avery and Connery had accused him; so Harriet Santoine--it could only
be she--had opposed them in his defense.  The warmth of his gratitude
to her for this suffused him as he bowed to her; she returned a frank,
friendly little nod which brought back to him their brief companionship
on the first day on the train.

And as Eaton went back to his compartment through the open car, Dr.
Sinclair looked up at him, but Avery, studying his cribbage hand,
pretended not to notice he was passing.  So Avery admitted too that
affairs were turning toward the better, just now at least, for Eaton.
When he was again in his compartment, no one came to lock him in.  The
porter who brought his breakfast a few minutes later, apologized for
its lateness, saying it had had to be brought from a club car on the
next track, whither the others in the car, except Santoine, had gone.

Eaton had barely finished with this tardy breakfast when a bumping
against the car told him that it was being coupled to a train.  The new
train started, and now the track followed the Mississippi River.
Eaton, looking forward from his window as the train rounded curves, saw
that the Santoine car was now the last one of a train--presumably bound
from Minneapolis to Chicago.

South they went, through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the weather grew
warmer and the spring further advanced.  The snow was quite cleared
from the ground, and the willows beside the ditches in the fields were
beginning to show green sprouts.  At nine o'clock in the evening, some
minutes after crossing the state line into Illinois, the train stopped
at a station where the last car was cut off.

A motor-ambulance and other limousine motor-cars were waiting in the
light from the station.  Eaton, seated at the window, saw Santoine
carried out on a stretcher and put into the ambulance.  Harriet
Santoine, after giving a direction to a man who apparently was a
chauffeur, got into the ambulance with her father.  The surgeon and the
nurses rode with them.  They drove off.  Avery entered another
automobile, which swiftly disappeared.  Conductor Connery came for the
last time to Eaton's door.

"Miss Santoine says you're to go with the man she's left here for you.
Here's the things I took from you.  The money's all there.  Mr.
Santoine says you've been his guest on this car."

Eaton received back his purse and bill-fold.  He put them in his pocket
without examining their contents.  The porter appeared with his
overcoat and hat.  Eaton put them on and stepped out of the car.  The
conductor escorted him to a limousine car.  "This is the gentleman,"
Connery said to the chauffeur to whom Harriet Santoine had spoken.  The
man opened the door of the limousine; another man, whom Eaton had not
before seen, was seated in the car; Eaton stepped in.  Connery extended
his hand--"Good-by, sir."

"Good-by."

The motor-car drove down a wide, winding road with tall, spreading
trees on both sides.  Lights shone, at intervals, from windows of what
must be large and handsome homes.  The man in the car with Eaton, whose
duty plainly was only that of a guard, did not speak to Eaton nor Eaton
to him.  The motor passed other limousines occasionally; then, though
the road was still wide and smooth and still bounded by great trees, it
was lonelier; no houses appeared for half a mile; then lights glowed
directly ahead; the car ran under the porte-cochère of a great stone
country mansion; a servant sprang to the door of the limousine and
opened it; another man seized Eaton's hand-baggage from beside the
chauffeur.  Eaton entered a large, beamed and paneled hallway with an
immense fireplace with logs burning in it; there was a wide stairway
which the servant, who had appointed himself Eaton's guide, ascended.
Eaton followed him and found another great hall upstairs.  The servant
led him to one of the doors opening off this and into a large room,
fitted for a man's occupancy, with dark furniture, cases containing
books on hunting, sports and adventure, and smoking things; off this
was a dressing room with the bath next; beyond was a bedroom.

"These are to be your rooms, sir," the servant said.  A valet appeared
and unpacked Eaton's traveling bag.

"Anything else, sir?"  The man, who had finished unpacking his clothes
and laying them out, approached respectfully.  "I've drawn your bath
tepid, sir; is that correct?"

"Quite," Eaton said.  "There's nothing else."

"Very good.  Good night, sir.  If there's anything else, the second
button beside the bed will bring me, sir."

When the man had withdrawn noiselessly and closed the door, Eaton stood
staring about the rooms dazedly; then he went over and tried the door.
It opened; it was not locked.  He turned about and went into the
dressing room and began taking off his clothes; he stepped into the
bathroom and felt the tepid bath.  In a moment he was in the bath;
fifteen minutes later he was in bed with the window open beside him,
letting in the crisp, cool breeze.  But he had not the slightest idea
of sleep; he had undressed, bathed, and gone to bed to convince himself
that what he was doing was real, that he was not acting in a dream.

He got up and went to the window and looked out, but the night was
cloudy and dark, and he could see nothing except some lighted windows.
As he watched, the light was switched out.  Eaton went back to bed, but
amazement would not let him sleep.

He was in Santoine's house; he knew it could be no other than
Santoine's house.  It was to get into Santoine's house that he had come
from Asia; he had thought and planned and schemed all through the long
voyage on the steamer how it was to be done.  He would have been
willing to cross the Continent on foot to accomplish it; no labor that
he could imagine would have seemed too great to him if this had been
its end; and here it had been done without effort on his part,
naturally, inevitably!  Chance and circumstance had done it!  And as he
realized this, his mind was full of what he had to do in Santoine's
house.  For many days he had not thought about that; it had seemed
impossible that he could have any opportunity to act for himself.  And
the return to his thoughts of possibility of carrying out his original
plan brought before him thoughts of his friends--those friends who,
through his exile, had been faithful to him but whose identity or
existence he had been obliged to deny, when questioned, to protect them
as well as himself.

As he lay on his bed in the dark, he stared upward to the ceiling, wide
awake, thinking of those friends whose devotion to him might be
justified at last; and he went over again and tested and reviewed the
plan he had formed.  But it never had presumed a position for him--even
if it was the position of a semi-prisoner--inside Santoine's house.
And he required more information of the structure of the house than he
as yet had, to correct his plan further.  But he could not, without too
great risk of losing everything, discover more that night; he turned
over and set himself to go to sleep.



CHAPTER XII

THE ALLY IN THE HOUSE

The first gray of dawn roused Eaton, and drawing on trousers and coat
over his pajamas, he seated himself by the open window to see the house
by daylight.  The glow, growing in the east, showed him first that the
house stood on the shore of the lake; the light came to him across
water, and from the lake had come the crisp, fresh-smelling breeze that
had blown into his windows through the night.  As it grew lighter, he
could see the house; it was an immense structure of smooth gray stone.
Eaton was in its central part, his windows looking to the south.  To
the north of him was a wing he could not see--the wing which had
contained the porte-cochère under which the motor-car had stopped the
night before; and the upper part of this wing, he had been able to
tell, contained the servants' quarters.  To the south, in front of him,
was another wing composed, apparently in part at least, of family
bedrooms.

Between the house and the lake was a terrace, part flagged, part
gravel, part lawn not yet green but with green shoots showing among the
last year's grass.  A stone parapet walled in this terrace along the
top of the bluff which pitched precipitously down to the lake fifty
feet below, and the narrow beach of sand and shingle.  As Eaton
watched, one of the two nurses who had been on the train came to a
window of the farthest room on the second floor of the south wing and
stood looking out; that, then, must be Santoine's room; and Eaton drew
back from his window as he noted this.

The sun had risen, and its beams, reflected up from the lake, danced on
his ceiling.  Eaton, chilled by the sharp air off the water--and
knowing now the locality where he must be--pulled off his coat and
trousers and jumped back into bed.  The motor driveway which stretches
north from Chicago far into Wisconsin leaves between it and the lake a
broad wooded strip for spacious grounds and dwellings; Santoine's house
was one of these.

Eaton felt that its location was well suited for his plans; and he
realized, too, that circumstances had given him time for anything he
might wish to do; for the night's stop at Minneapolis and Santoine's
unexpected taking him into his own charge must have made Eaton's
disappearance complete; for the present he was lost to "them" who had
been "following" him, and to his friends alike.  His task, then, was to
let his friends know where he was without letting "them" learn it; and
thinking of how this was to be done, he fell asleep again.

At nine he awoke with a start; then, recollecting everything, he jumped
up and shut his windows.  There was a respectful, apologetic knock at
the door; evidently a servant had been waiting in the hall for some
sound within the room.

"May I come in, sir?"

"Come in."

The man who had attended him the evening before entered.

"Your bath, sir; hot or cold in the morning, sir?"

"Hot," Eaton answered.

"Of course, sir; I'd forgotten you'd just come from the Orient, sir.
Do you wish anything first, sir?"

"Anything?"

"Anything to drink, sir."

"Oh, no."

The man again prepared the bath.  When Eaton returned to his
dressing-room, he found the servant awaiting him with shaving mug,
razor and apron.  The man shaved him and trimmed his hair.

"I shall tell them to bring breakfast up, sir; or will you go down?"
the man asked then.

Eaton considered.  The manners of servants are modeled on the feelings
of their masters, and the man's deference told plainly that, although
Eaton might be a prisoner, he was not to be treated openly as such.

"I think I can go down," Eaton replied, when the man had finished
dressing him.  He found the hall and the rooms below bright and open
but unoccupied; a servant showed him to a blue Delft breakfast room to
the east, where a fire was burning in an old-fashioned Dutch fireplace.
A cloth was spread on the table, but no places were set; a number of
covered dishes, steaming above electric discs, were on the sideboard.
The servant in attendance there took covers off these dishes as Eaton
approached; he chose his breakfast and sat down, the man laying one
place for him.  This manner of serving gave Eaton no hint as to how
many others were in the house or might be expected to breakfast.  He
had half finished his bacon and greens before any one else appeared.

This was a tall, carefully dressed man of more than fifty, with
handsome, well-bred features--plainly a man of position and wealth but
without experience in affairs, and without power.  He was dark haired
and wore a mustache which, like his hair, was beginning to gray.  As he
appeared in the hall without hat or overcoat, Eaton understood that he
lived in the house; he came directly into the breakfast room and
evidently had not breakfasted.  He observed Eaton and gave him the
impersonal nod of a man meeting another whom he may have met but has
forgotten.

"Good morning, Stiles," he greeted the servant.

"Good morning, sir," the man returned.

The newcomer sat down at the table opposite Eaton, and the servant,
without inquiring his tastes, brought pineapple, rolls and coffee.

"I am Wallace Blatchford," the stranger volunteered as Eaton looked up.
He gave the name in a manner which seemed to assume that he now must be
recalled; Eaton therefore feigned recognition as he gave him his name
in return.

"Basil Santoine is better this morning," Blatchford announced.

"I understood he was very comfortable last evening," Eaton said.  "I
have not seen either Miss Santoine or Mr. Avery this morning."

"I saw Basil Santoine the last thing last night," the other boasted.
"He was very tired; but when he was home, of course he wished me to be
beside him for a time."

"Of course," Eaton replied, as the other halted.  There was a humility
in the boast of this man's friendship for Santoine which stirred
sympathy, almost pity.

"I believe with the doctors that Basil Santoine is to be spared," the
tall man continued.  "The nation is to be congratulated.  He is
certainly one of the most useful men in America.  The President--much
as he is to be admired for unusual qualities--cannot compare in
service.  Suppose the President were assassinated; instantly the Vice
President would take his place; the visible government of the country
would go on; there would be no chaos, scarcely any confusion.  But
suppose Basil Santoine had died--particularly at this juncture!"

Eaton finished his breakfast but remained at the table while
Blatchford, who scarcely touched his food, continued to boast, in his
queer humility, of the blind man and of the blind man's friendship for
him.  He checked himself only when Harriet Santoine appeared in the
doorway.  He and Eaton at once were on their feet.

"My dear!  He wants to see me now?" the tall man almost pleaded.  "He
wants me to be with him this morning?"

"Of course, Cousin Wallace," the girl said gently, almost with
compassion.

"You will excuse me then, sir," Blatchford said hastily to Eaton and
hurried off.  The girl gazed after him, and when she turned the next
instant to Eaton her eyes were wet.

"Good morning!"

"Good morning, Miss Santoine.  You are coming to breakfast?"

"Oh, no; I've had my breakfast; I was going out to see that things
outside the house have been going on well since we have been away."

"May I go with you while you do that?" Eaton tried to ask casually.
Important to him as was the plan of the house, it was scarcely less
essential for him to know the grounds.

She hesitated.

"I understand it's my duty at present to stay wherever I may be put;
but I'd hardly run away from you while inside your own grounds."

This did not seem to be the question troubling her.  "Very well," she
said at last.  The renewed friendliness--or the reservation of judgment
of him--which she had let him see again after the interview with her
father in the car the morning before, was not absent; it seemed only
covered over with responsibilities which came upon her now that she was
at home.  She was abstracted as they passed through the hall and a man
brought Eaton's overcoat and hat and a maid her coat.  Harriet led the
way out to the terrace.  The day was crisp, but the breeze had lost the
chill it had had earlier in the morning; the lake was free from ice;
only along the little projecting breakwaters which guarded the bluff
against the washing of the waves, some ice still clung, and this was
rapidly melting.  A graveled path led them around the south end of the
house.

"Your father is still better this morning?" Eaton asked.

"What did you say?" she asked.

He repeated his question.  Was her constraint, he wondered, due to her
feeling, somehow, that for the first time in their short acquaintance
he was consciously "using" her, if only for the purpose of gaining an
immediate view of the grounds?  He felt that; but he told himself he
was not doing the sort of thing he had refused to do when, on the
train, he had avoided her invitation to present him to her father.
Circumstances now were entirely different.  And as he shook off the
reproach to himself, she also came from her abstraction.

"Yes; Father's improving steadily and--Dr. Sinclair says--much more
rapidly than it would have been right to expect.  Dr. Sinclair is going
to remain only to-day; then he is to turn Father over to the village
doctor, who is very good.  We will keep the same nurses at present."

"Mr. Blatchford told me that might be the arrangement."

"Oh, you had some talk with Mr. Blatchford, then?"

"We introduced ourselves."

Harriet was silent for a moment, evidently expecting some comment from
him; when he offered none, she said, "Father would not like you to
accept the estimate of him which Mr. Blatchford must have given you."

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't Mr. Blatchford argue with you that Father must be the greatest
man living?"

"He certainly expressed great admiration for your father," Eaton said.
"He is your cousin?"

"I call him that; he's Father's cousin.  They were very close friends
when they were boys, though Cousin Wallace is a few years older.  They
entered preparatory school together and were together all through
college and ever since.  I suppose Cousin Wallace told you that it was
he--  Those are the garages and stables over there to the north, Mr.
Eaton.  This road leads to them.  And over there are the toolhouses and
gardeners' quarters; you can only just see them through the trees."

She had interrupted herself suddenly, as though she realized that his
attention had not been upon what she was saying but given to the plan
of the grounds.  He recalled himself quickly.

"Yes; what was it you were saying about Mr. Blatchford?"

She glanced at him keenly, then colored and went on.  "I was saying
that Father and he went through college together.  They both were
looked upon as young men of very unusual promise--Mr. Blatchford
especially; I suppose because Father, being younger, had not shown so
plainly what he might become.  Then Father was blinded--he was just
sixteen; and--and Cousin Wallace never fulfilled the promise he had
given."

"I don't quite see the connection," Eaton offered.

"Oh, I thought Cousin Wallace must have told you; he tells almost every
one as soon as he meets them.  It was he who blinded Father.  It was a
hunting accident, and Father was made totally blind.  Father always
said it wasn't Cousin Wallace's fault; but Mr. Blatchford was almost
beside himself because he believed he had ruined Father's life.  But
Father went on and did all that he has done, while it stopped poor
Cousin Wallace.  It's queer how things work out!  Cousin Wallace
thought it was Father's, but it was his own life that he destroyed.
He's happy only when Father wants him with him; and to himself--and to
most people--he's only the man that blinded Basil Santoine."

"I think I shall understand him now," Eaton said quietly.

"I like the way you said that....  Here, Mr. Eaton, is the best place
to see the grounds."

Their path had topped a little rise; they stopped; and Eaton, as she
pointed out the different objects, watched carefully and printed the
particulars and the general arrangement of the surroundings on his
memory.

As he looked about, he could see that further ahead the path they were
on paralleled a private drive which two hundred yards away entered what
must be the public pike; for he could see motor-cars passing along it.
He noted the direction of this and of the other paths, so that he could
follow them in the dark, if necessary.  The grounds were broken by
ravines at right angles to the shore, which were crossed by little
bridges; other bridges carried the public pike across them, for he
could hear them rumble as the motor-cars crossed them; a man could
travel along the bottom of one of those ravines for quite a distance
without being seen.  To north and south outside of the cared-for
grounds there were clumps of rank, wild-growing thicket.  To the east,
the great house which the trees could not hide stood out against the
lake, and beyond and below it, was the beach; but a man could not
travel along the beach by daylight without being visible for miles from
the top of the bluff, and even at night, one traveling along the beach
would be easily intercepted.

Could Harriet Santoine divine these thoughts in his mind?  He turned to
her as he felt her watching him; but if she had been observing him as
he looked about, she was not regarding him now.  He followed her
direction and saw at a little distance a powerful, strapping man,
half-concealed--though he did not seem to be hiding--behind some
bushes.  The man might have passed for an undergardener; but he was not
working; and once before during their walk Eaton had seen another man,
powerfully built as this one, who had looked keenly at him and then
away quickly.  Harriet flushed slightly as she saw that Eaton observed
the man; Eaton understood then that the man was a guard, one of
several, probably, who had been put about the house to keep watch of
him.

Had Harriet Santoine understood his interest in the grounds as
preparatory to a plan to escape, and had she therefore taken him out to
show him the guards who would prevent him?  He did not speak of the
men, and neither did she; with her, he went on, silently, to the
gardeners' cottages, where she gave directions concerning the spring
work being done on the grounds.  Then they went back to the house,
exchanging--for the first time between them--ordinary inanities.

She left him in the hall, saying she was going to visit her father; but
part way up the stairs, she paused.

"You'll find books in the library of every conceivable sort, Mr.
Eaton," she called down to him.

"Thank you," he answered; and he went into the library, but he did not
look for a book.  Left alone, he stood listening.

As her footsteps on the stairs died away, no other sound came to him.
The lower part of the house seemed deserted.  He went out again into
the hall and looked about quickly and waited and listened; then he
stepped swiftly and silently to a closet where, earlier, he had noticed
a telephone.  He shut himself in and took up the receiver of the
instrument.  As he placed it to his ear, he heard the almost
imperceptible sound of another receiver on the line being lifted; then
the girl at the suburban central said, "Number, please."

Eaton held the receiver to his ear without making reply.  The other
person on the line--evidently it was an extension in the house--also
remained silent.  The girl at central repeated the request; neither
Eaton nor the other person replied.  Eaton hung up the receiver and
stepped from the closet.  He encountered Donald Avery in the hall.

"You have been telephoning?" Avery asked.

"No."

"Oh; you could not get your number?"

"I did not ask for it."

Eaton gazed coolly at Avery, knowing now that Avery had been at the
other telephone on the line or had had report from the person who had
been prepared to overhear.

"So you have had yourself appointed my--warden?"

Avery took a case from his pocket and lighted a cigar without offering
Eaton one.  Eaton glanced past him; Harriet Santoine was descending the
stair.  Avery turned and saw her, and again taking out his cigar-case,
now offered it to Eaton, who ignored it.

"I found Father asleep," Harriet said to Eaton.

"May I see you alone for a moment?" he asked.

"Of course," she said; and as Avery made no motion, she turned toward
the door of the large room in the further end of the south wing.  Eaton
started to follow.

"Where are you taking him, Harriet?" Avery demanded of her sharply.

She had seemed to Eaton to have been herself about to reconsider her
action; but Avery decided her.

"In here," she replied; and proceeded to open the door which exposed
another door just within, which she opened and closed after she had
entered and Eaton had followed her in.  Her manner was like that of
half an hour before, when she showed him the grounds beyond the house.
And Eaton, feeling his muscles tighten, strove to control himself and
examine the room with only casual curiosity.  It would well excuse any
one's interest.

It was very large, perhaps forty feet long and certainly thirty in
width.  There was a huge stone fireplace on the west wall where the
wing connected with the main part of the house; and all about the other
wall, and particularly to the east, were high and wide windows; and
through those to the south, the sunlight now was flooding in.
Bookcases were built between the windows up to the ceiling, and
bookcases covered the west wall on both sides of the fireplace.  And
every case was filled with books; upon a table at one side lay a pile
of volumes evidently recently received and awaiting reading and
classification.  There was a great rack where periodicals of every
description--popular, financial, foreign and American--were kept; and
there were great presses preserving current newspapers.

At the center of the room was a large table-desk with a chair and a
lounge beside it; there were two other lounges in the room, one at the
south in the sun and another at the end toward the lake.  There were
two smaller table-desks on the north side of the room, subordinate to
the large desk.  There were two "business phonograph" machines with
cabinets for records; there was a telephone on the large desk and
others on the two smaller tables.  A safe, with a combination lock, was
built into a wall.  The most extraordinary feature of the room was a
steep, winding staircase, in the corner beyond the fireplace, evidently
connecting with the room above.

The room in which they were was so plainly Basil Santoine's work-room
that the girl did not comment upon that; but as Eaton glanced at the
stairs, she volunteered:

"They go to Father's room; that has the same space above."

"I see.  This is a rather surprising room."

"You mean the windows?" she asked.  "That surprises most people--so
very much light.  Father can't see even sunlight, but he says he feels
it.  He likes light, anyway; and it is true that he can tell, without
his eyes, whether the day is bright or cloudy, and whether the light is
turned on at night.  The rooms in this wing, too, are nearly
sound-proof.  There is not much noise from outside here, of course,
except the waves; but there are noises from other parts of the house.
Noise does not irritate Father, but his hearing has become very acute
because of his blindness, and noises sometimes distract him when he is
working....  Now, what was it you wished to say to me, Mr. Eaton?"

Eaton, with a start, recollected himself.  His gaining a view of that
room was of so much more importance than what he had to say that, for a
moment, he had forgotten.  Then:

"I wanted to ask you exactly what my position here is to be."

"Oh," she said.  "I thought that was plain to you from what Father
said."

"You mean that I am to be kept here?"

"Yes."

"Indefinitely?"

"Until--as Father indicated to you on the train--he has satisfied
himself as to the source of the attack upon him."

"I understand.  In the meantime, I am not to be allowed to communicate
at all with any one outside?"

"That might depend upon the circumstances."

He gazed at the telephone instrument on the desk.  "Miss Santoine, a
moment ago I tried to telephone, when I--"  He described the incident
to her.  The color on her cheeks heightened.  "Some one was appointed
to listen on the wire?" he challenged.

"Yes."  She hesitated, and then she added, in the manner in which she
had directed him to the guard outside the house: "And besides, I
believe there are--or will be--the new phonographic devices on every
line, which record both sides of a conversation.  Subject to that, you
may use the telephone."

"Thank you," said Eaton grimly.  "I suppose if I were to write a
letter, it would be taken from me and opened and read."

She colored ruddier and made no comment.

"And if I wished to go to the city, I would be prevented or followed?"

"Prevented, for the present," she replied.

"Thank you."

"That is all?"

The interview had become more difficult for her; he saw that she was
anxious to have it over.

"Just one moment more, Miss Santoine.  Suppose I resist this?"

"Yes?"

"Your father is having me held here in what I might describe as a free
sort of confinement, but still in confinement, without any legal charge
against me.  Suppose I refuse to submit to that--suppose I demand right
to consult, to communicate with some one in order, let us say, to
defend myself against the charge of having attacked your father.  What
then?"

"I can only answer as before, Mr. Eaton."

"That I will be prevented?"

"For the present.  I don't know all that Father has ordered done about
you; but he is awaiting the result of several investigations.  The
telegrams you received doubtless are being traced to their sources;
other inquiries are being made.  As you have only lately come back to
America, they may extend far and take some time."

"Thank you," he acknowledged.  He went to the door, opened it and went
out; he closed it after him and left her alone.

Harriet stood an instant vacantly staring after him; then she went to
the door and fastened it with a catch.  She came back to the great
table-desk--her blind father's desk--and seated herself in the great
chair, his chair, and buried her face in her hands.  She had
seemed--and she knew that she had seemed--quite composed as she talked
to Eaton; now she was not composed.  Her face was burning hot; her
hands, against her cheeks, were cold; tremors of feeling shook her as
she thought of the man who just had left her.  Why, she asked herself,
was she not able to make herself treat this man in the way that her
mind told her she should have treated him?  That he might be the one
who had dealt the blow intended to kill her father--her being could not
and would not accept that.  Yet, the only reason she had to deny it,
was her feeling.

That Eaton must have been involved in the attack or, at least, must
have known and now knew something about it which he was keeping from
them, seemed certain.  Yet she did not, she could not, abominate and
hate this man.  Instead, she found herself impelled, against all
natural reason, more and more to trust him.  Moreover, was it fair to
her father for her to do this?

Since childhood, since babyhood, even, no one had ever meant anything
to her in comparison with her father.  Her mother had died when she was
young; she had never had, in her play as a child, the careless abandon
of other children, because in spite of play she had been thinking of
her father; the greatest joy of childhood she could remember was
walking hand in hand with her father and telling him the things she
saw; it had been their "game"; and as she grew older and it had ceased
to be merely a game--as she had grown more and more useful to the blind
man, and he had learned more fully to use and trust her--she had found
it only more interesting, a greater pleasure.  She had never had any
other ambition--and she had no other now--except to serve her father;
her joy was to be his eyes; her triumph had been when she had found
that, though he searched the world and paid fortunes to find others to
"see" for him, no one could serve him as she could; she had never
thought of herself apart from him.

Now her father had been attacked and injured--attacked foully, while he
slept; he had come close to death, had suffered; he was still
suffering.  Certainly she ought to hate, at least be aloof from any
one, every one, against whom the faintest suspicion breathed of having
been concerned in that dastardly attack upon her father; and that she
found herself without aversion to Eaton, when he was with her, now
filled her with shame and remorse.

She crouched lower against this desk which so represented her father in
his power; she felt tears of shame at herself hot on her cold hands.
Then she got up and recollected herself.  Her father, when he would
awake, would wish to work; there were certain, important matters he
must decide at once.

Harriet went to the end of the room and to the right of the entrance
door.  She looked about, with a habit of caution, and then removed a
number of books from a shelf about shoulder high; she thus exposed a
panel at the back of the bookcase, which she slid back.  Behind it
appeared the steel door of a combination wall-safe.  She opened it and
took out two large, thick envelopes with tape about them, sealed and
addressed to Basil Santoine; but they were not stamped, for they had
not been through the mail; they had been delivered by a messenger.
Harriet reclosed the safe, concealed it and took the envelopes back to
her father's desk and opened them to examine their contents preparatory
to taking them to him.  But even now her mind was not on her work; she
was thinking of Eaton, where he had gone and what he was doing and--was
he thinking of her?

Eaton had left the room, thinking of her.  The puzzle of his position
in relation to her, and hers to him, filled his mind too.  That she had
been constrained by circumstances and the opinions of those around her
to assume a distrust of him which she did not truly feel, was plain to
him; but it was clear that, whatever she felt, she would obey her
father's directions in regard to him.  And she had told that Basil
Santoine, if he was to hold his prisoner as almost a guest in his house
pending developments, was to keep that guest strictly from
communication with any one outside.  Santoine, of course, was aware
from the telegram that others had been acting with Eaton; the incident
at the telephone had shown that Santoine had anticipated that Eaton's
first necessity would be to get in touch with his friends.  And this,
now, indeed was a necessity.  The gaining of Santoine's house, under
conditions which he would not have dared to dream of, would be
worthless now unless immediately--before Santoine could get any further
trace of him--he could get word to and receive word from his friends.

He had stopped, after leaving Santoine's study, in the alcove of the
hall in front of the double doors which he had closed behind him; he
heard Harriet fasten the inner one.  As he stood now, undecided where
to go, a young woman crossed the main part of the hall, coming
evidently from outside the house--she had on hat and jacket and was
gloved; she was approaching the doors of the room he just had left, and
so must pass him.  He stared at sight of her and choked; then, he
controlled himself rigidly, waiting until she should see him.

She halted suddenly as she saw him and grew very pale, and her gloved
hands went swiftly to her breast and pressed against it; she caught
herself together and looked swiftly and fearfully about her and out
into the hall.  Seeing no one but himself, she came a step nearer,
"Hugh!" she breathed.  Her surprise was plainly greater than his own
had been at sight of her; but she checked herself again quickly and
looked warningly back at the hall; then she fixed on him her blue
eyes--which were very like Eaton's, though she did not resemble him
closely in any other particular--as though waiting his instructions.

He passed her and looked about the hall.  There was no one in sight in
the hall or on the stairs or within the other rooms which opened into
the hall.  The door Eaton had just come from stayed shut.  He held his
breath while he listened; but there was no sound anywhere in the house
which told him they were likely to be seen; so he came back to the spot
where he had been standing.

"Stay where you are, Edith," he whispered.  "If we hear any one coming,
we are just passing each other in the hall."

"I understand; of course, Hugh!  But you--you're here!  In his house!"

"Even lower, Edith; remember I'm Eaton--Philip Eaton."

"Of course; I know; and I'm Miss Davis here--Mildred Davis."

"They let you come in and out like this--as you want, with no one
watching you?"

"No, no; I do stenography for Mr. Avery sometimes, as I wrote you.
That is all.  When he works here, I do his typing; and some even for
Mr. Santoine himself.  But I am not confidential yet; they send for me
when they want me."

"Then they sent for you to-day?"

"No; but they have just got back, and I thought I would come to see if
anything was wanted.  But never mind about me; you--how did you get
here?  What are you doing here?"

Eaton drew further back into the alcove as some one passed through the
hall above.  The girl turned swiftly to the tall pier mirror near to
which she stood; she faced it, slowly drawing off her gloves, trembling
and not looking toward him.  The foot-steps ceased overhead; Eaton,
assured no one was coming down the stairs, spoke swiftly to tell her as
much as he might in their moment.  "He--Santoine--wasn't taken ill on
the train, Edith; he was attacked."

"Attacked!"  Her lips barely moved.

"He was almost killed; but they concealed it, Edith--pretended he was
only ill.  I was on the train--you know, of course; I got your
wire--and they suspected me of the attack."

"You?  But they didn't find out about you, Hugh?"

"No; they are investigating.  Santoine would not let them make anything
public.  He brought me here while he is trying to find out about me.
So I'm here, Edith--here!  Is it here too?"

Again steps sounded in the hall above.  The girl swiftly busied herself
with gloves and hat; Eaton stood stark in suspense.  The servant
above--it was a servant they had heard before, he recognized
now--merely crossed from one room to another overhead.  Now the girl's
lips moved again.

"It?"  She formed the question noiselessly.

"The draft of the new agreement."

"It either has been sent to him, or it will be sent to him very
soon--here."

"Here in this house with me!"

"Mr. Santoine has to be a party to it--he's to draft it, I think.
Anyway, he hasn't seen it yet--I know that.  It is either here now,
Hugh, or it will be here before long."

"You can't find out about that?"

"Whether it is here, or when it will be?  I think I can."

"Where will it be when it is here?"

"Where?  Oh!"  The girl's eyes went to the wall close to where Eaton
stood; she seemed to measure with them a definite distance from the
door and a point shoulder high, and to resist the impulse to come over
and put her hand upon the spot.  As Eaton followed her look, he heard a
slight and muffled click as if from the study; but no sound could reach
them through the study doors and what he heard came from the wall
itself.

"A safe?" he whispered.

"Yes; Miss Santoine--she's in there, isn't she?--closed it just now.
There are two of them hidden behind the books one on each side of the
door."

Eaton tapped gently on the wall; the wall was brick; the safe
undoubtedly was backed with steel.

"The best way is from inside the room," he concluded.

She nodded.  "Yes.  If you--"

"Look out!"

Some one now was coming downstairs.  The girl had time only to whisper
swiftly, "If we don't get a chance to speak again, watch that vase."
She pointed to a bronze antique which stood on a table near them.
"When I'm sure the agreement is in the house, I'll drop a glove-button
in that--a black one, if I think it'll be in the safe on the right,
white on the left.  Now go."

Eaton moved quietly on and into the drawing-room.  Avery's voice
immediately afterwards was heard; he was speaking to Miss Davis, whom
he had found in the hallway.  Eaton was certain there was no suspicion
that he had talked with her there; indeed, Avery seemed to suppose that
Eaton was still in the study with Harriet Santoine.  It was her lapse,
then, which had let him out and had given him that chance; but it was a
lapse, he discovered, which was not likely to favor him again.  From
that time, while never held strictly in restraint, he found himself
always in the sight of some one.  Blatchford, in default of any one
else, now appeared to assume the oversight of him as his duty.  Eaton
lunched with Blatchford, dined with Blatchford and Avery--Blatchford's
presence as a buffer against Avery's studied offense to him alone
making the meal endurable.  Eaton went to his room early, where at last
he was left alone.

The day, beginning with his discovery of the fact that he was in
Santoine's house and continuing through the walk outside, which first
had shown him the lay of the grounds, and then the chance at the sight
of Santoine's study followed by the meeting just outside the study
door--all this had been more than satisfactory to him.  He sat at his
window thinking it over.  The weather had been clear and there was a
moon; as he watched the light upon the water and gazed now and again at
the south wing where Santoine had his study, suddenly several windows
on the first floor blazed out simultaneously; some one had entered
Santoine's work-room and turned on the light.  Almost at once the light
went out; then, a minute or so later, the same windows glowed dully.
The lights in the room had been turned on again, but heavy, opaque
curtains had been drawn over the windows before the room was relighted.
These curtains were so close over the windows that, unless Eaton had
been attracted by the first flash of light, he scarcely would have
noticed that the lights were burning within the room.

He had observed, during the day, that Avery or Harriet had been at work
in that room--one of them or both--almost all day; and besides the girl
he had met in the hall, there had been at least one other stenographer.
Must work in this house go on so continuously that it was necessary for
some one to work at night, even when Santoine lay ill and unable to
make other than the briefest and most important dispositions?  And who
was working in that room now, Avery or Harriet?  He let himself think,
idly, about the girl--how strange her life had been--that part of it at
least which was spent, as he had gathered most of her waking hours of
recent years had been spent, with her father.  Strange, almost, as his
own life!  And what a wonderful girl it had made of her--clever, sweet,
lovable, with more than a woman's ordinary capacity for devotion and
self-sacrifice.

But, if she were the one working there, was she the sort of girl she
had seemed to be?  If her service to her father was not only on his
personal side but if also she was intimate in his business affairs,
must she not therefore have shared the cruel code which had terrorized
Eaton for the last four years and kept him an exile in Asia and which,
at any hour yet, threatened to take his life?  A grim set came to
Eaton's lips; his mind went again to his own affairs.



CHAPTER XIII

THE MAN FROM THE TRAIN

In the supposition that he was to have less liberty, Eaton proved
correct.  Harriet Santoine, to whose impulses had been due his first
privileges, showed toward him a more constrained attitude the following
morning.  She did not suggest hostility, as Avery constantly did; nor,
indeed, was there any evidence of retrogression in her attitude toward
him; she seemed merely to be maintaining the same position; and since
this seemed difficult if they were often together, she avoided him.
Eaton found his life in the house after that first day more strictly
ordered into a routine which he was obliged to keep.  He understood
that Santoine, steadily improving but not yet able to leave his bed,
had taken up his work again, propped up by pillows; one of the nurses
had been dismissed; the other was only upon day duty.  But Eaton did
not see Santoine at all; and though he learned that Miss Davis or
another stenographer, whose name was West, came daily to the house, he
never was in a position again to encounter any outsider either coming
or going.  Besides the servants of the house, he met Blatchford, with
whom Eaton usually breakfasted; he also lunched with Blatchford, and
Harriet sometimes--sometimes with Avery; he dined with Blatchford and
Avery or with all three.

At other times, except that he was confined to the house or to a small
space of the grounds about it and was kept under constant surveillance,
he was left largely to his own devices; and these at least sufficed to
let him examine morning and night, the vase in which he was to find the
signal that was to be left for him; these permitted examination of
window-locks in other rooms, if not in Santoine's study; these
permitted the examination of many other items also and let him follow
at least the outline of the method of Santoine's work.

There was no longer room for Eaton to doubt that Harriet had the
confidence of her father to almost a complete extent.  Now that
Santoine was ill, she worked with him daily for hours; and Eaton
learned that she did the same when he was well.  But Avery worked with
the blind man too; he too was certainly in a confidential capacity.
Was it not probable then that Avery, and not Harriet, was entrusted
with the secrets of dangerous and ugly matters; or was it possible that
this girl, worshiping her father as she did, could know and be sure
that, because her father approved these matters, they were right?

A hundred times a day, as Eaton saw or spoke with the girl or thought
of her presence near by, this obsessed him.  A score of times during
their casual talk upon meeting at meals or elsewhere, he found himself
turned toward some question which would aid him in determining what
must be the fact; but each time he checked himself, until one
morning--it was the fifth after his arrival at Santoine's
house--Harriet was taking him for his walk in the garden before the
house.

It was a bright, sunshiny morning and warm--a true spring day.  As they
paced back and forth in the sunshine--she bare-haired and he holding
his cap in his hand--he looked back at the room in the wing where
Santoine still lay; then Eaton looked to the daughter, clear-eyed,
clear-skinned, smiling and joyous with the day.  She had just told him,
at his inquiry, that her father was very much stronger that morning,
and her manner more than ever evidenced her pride in him.

"I have been intending to ask you, Miss Santoine," Eaton said to her
suddenly then, "if your belief in the superiority of business over
war--as we were discussing it ten days ago---hasn't suffered a shock
since then?"

"You mean because of--Father?"

"Yes; you can hardly go back far enough in the history of war to find a
time when the soldier's creed was not against killing--or trying to
kill--a sleeping enemy."

She looked at him quickly and keenly.  "I can't think of Father as
being any one's enemy, though I know of course no man can do big things
without making some people hate him.  Even if what he does is wholly
good, bad people hate him for it."  She was silent for a few steps.  "I
like your saying what you did, Mr. Eaton."

"Why?"

"It implies your own creed would be against such a thing.  But aren't
we rather mixing things up?  There is nothing to show yet that the
attack on Father sprang out of business relations; and even if it did,
it would have to be regarded as an--an atrocity outside the rules of
business, just as in war, atrocities occur which are outside the rules
of war.  Wait!  I know what you are going to say; you are going to say
the atrocities are a part of war even if they are outside its
recognized rules."

"Yes; I was going to say that."

"And that atrocities due to business are a part of business, even if
they are outside the rules."

"Yes; as business is at present conducted."

"But the rules are a part of the game, Mr. Eaton."

"Do you belong among the apologists for war, Miss Santoine?"

"I?"

"Yes; what you say is exactly what the apologists for war say, isn't
it?  They say that war, in spite of its open savagery and inevitable
atrocities, is not a different sort of combat from the combat between
men in time of peace.  That is, the acts of war differ only in
appearance or in degree from the acts of peace.  Is that what you
believe, Miss Santoine?"

"That men in times of peace perform acts upon each other which differ
only in degree from the acts of war?"

"Yes."

"Do you believe that, Mr. Eaton?"

He hesitated.  "Do you want me to answer that question from my own
experience or from what I would like to believe life to be?"

"From your own experience, of course."

"Then I must answer that I believe the apologists to be right as to
that fact."

He saw her clear eyes darken.  "But you don't believe that argument
itself, do you, Mr. Eaton?" she appealed.  "It is only the old, old
argument, 'Whatever is, is right.'  You don't excuse those acts--those
atrocities in time of peace?  Or was I mistaken in thinking such things
were against your creed?  Life is part right, part wrong, isn't it?"

"I am not in a good position to judge, I'm afraid; for what I have seen
of it has been all wrong--both business and life."

He had tried to speak lightly; but a sudden bitterness, a sharp
hardness in his tone, seemed to assail her; it struck through her and
brought her shoulders together in a shudder; but, instead of alienating
her, she turned with a deeper impulse of feeling toward him.

"You--you do not want to tell more--to tell how it has been wrong; you
don't want to tell that--"  She hesitated, and then in an intimate way
which surprised and frightened him, she added, "to me?"

After she had said it, she herself was surprised, and frightened; she
looked away from him with face flushed, and he did not dare answer, and
she did not speak again.

They had come to the end of the gardens where he was accustomed to turn
and retrace his steps toward the house; but now she went on, and he
went on with her.  They were upon the wide pike which ran northward
following, but back from, the shore of the lake.  He saw that now, as a
motor passed them on the road, she recalled that she was taking him
past the previously appointed bounds; but in the intimacy of the
moment, she could not bring herself to speak of that.  It was Eaton who
halted and asked, "Shall we go on?"

"Wouldn't you like to?"

They walked on slowly.  "I wish you could tell me more about yourself,
Mr. Eaton."

"I wish so too," he said.

"Then why can you not?"  She turned to him frankly; he gazed at her a
moment and then looked away and shook his head.  How had she answered,
in what she already had said, the question which lay below what he had
asked her?  In her defense of business, did she know all the cruelties
of business and defend the wrong she knew, together with the right, as
inevitable?  Or did she not know all of what was known even under her
father's roof; and if she knew all, would she then loathe or defend it?
Another motor sped near, halted and then speeded on again; Eaton,
looking up, saw it was a runabout with Avery alone in it; evidently,
seeing them in the road, Avery had halted to protest, then thought
better of it and gone on.  But other motors passed now with people who
spoke to Harriet and who stopped to inquire for her father and wish him
well.

"Your father does not seem to be one of the great men without honor in
his own neighborhood," Eaton said to her after one of these had halted
and gone on.

"Every one who knows Father likes and admires him!" she rejoiced.

"I don't mean exactly that," Eaton went on.  "They must trust him too,
in an extraordinary way.  His associates must place most complete
confidence in him when they leave to him the adjustment of matters such
as I understand they do.  There is no way, as I comprehend it, that any
of the powerful men who ask his advice could hold him accountable if he
were unfair to them; yet men of the most opposite types, the most
inimical and hostile, place their affairs in his hands.  He tells them
what is just, and they abide by his decision."

Harriet shook her head.  "No; it isn't quite that," she said.

"What, then?"

"You are correct in saying that men of the most opposite sorts--and
most irreconcilable to each other--constantly place their fate in
Father's hand; and when he tells them what they must do, they abide by
his decision.  But he doesn't decide for them what is just."

"I don't understand."

"Father cannot tell them which side is just because, if he did that,
they wouldn't consider his decision; and they wouldn't ask him to make
any more; he would lose all influence for better relations.  So he
doesn't tell them what is just."

"What does he tell them, then?"

"He tells them what would be the outcome if they fought, who would win
and who would lose and by how much.  And they believe him and abide by
his decision without fighting; for he knows; and they know that he
knows and is absolutely honest."

Eaton was silent for a moment as they walked along.  "How can he come
to his decision?" he asked at last.

"How?"

"I mean, much of the material presented to him must be documentary."

"Much of it is."

"You will pardon me," Eaton prefaced, "but of course I am immensely
interested.  How are these written out for him--in Braille characters
or other letters for the blind?"

"No; that would not be practicable for all documents, and so it is done
with none of them."

"Then some one must read them to him."

"Of course."

Eaton started to speak--then refrained.

"What were you going to say?" she questioned.

"That the person--or persons--who reads the documents to him must
occupy an extremely delicate position."

"He does.  In fact, I think that position is Father's one nightmare."

"Nightmare?"

"The person he trusts must not only be absolutely discreet but
absolutely honest."

"I should think so.  If any one in that position wanted to use the
information brought to your father, he could make himself millions
overnight, undoubtedly, and ruin other men."

"And kill Father too," the girl added quietly.  "Yes," she said as
Eaton looked at her.  "Father puts nothing above his trust.  If that
trust were betrayed--whether or not Father were in any way to blame for
it--I think it would kill him."

"So you are the one who is in that position."

"Yes; that is, I have been."

"You mean there is another now; that is, of course, Mr. Avery?"

"Yes; here at this house Mr. Avery and I, and Mr. Avery at the office.
There are some others at the office whom Father trusts, but not
completely; and it is not necessary to trust them wholly, for all
Father's really important decisions are made at the house, and the most
important records are kept here.  Before Mr. Avery came, I was the only
one who helped here at the house."

"When was that?"

"When Mr. Avery came?  About five years ago.  Father had an immense
amount of work at that time.  Business conditions were very much
unsettled.  There was trouble at that time between some of the big
Eastern and the big Western men, and at the same time the Government
was prosecuting the Trusts.  Nobody knew what the outcome of it all
would be; many of the biggest men who consulted Father were like men
groping in the dark.  I don't suppose you would remember the time by
what I say; but you would remember it, as nearly everybody else does by
this: it was the time of the murder of Mr. Latron."

"Yes; I remember that," said Eaton; "and Mr. Avery came to you at that
time?"

"Yes; just at that time I was thrown from my horse, and could not do as
much as I had been doing, so Mr. Avery was sent to Father."

"Then Mr. Avery was reading to him at the time you speak of--the time
of the Latron murder?"

"No; Mr. Avery came just afterward.  I was reading to him at that time."

"No one but you?"

"No one.  Before that he had had Mr. Blatchford read to him sometimes,
but--poor Cousin Wallace!--he made a terrible mistake in reading to
Father once.  Father discovered it before it was too late; and he never
let Cousin Wallace know.  He pretends to trust Cousin Wallace now with
reading some things; but he always has Mr. Avery or me go over them
with him afterward."

"The papers must have been a good deal for a girl of eighteen."

"At that time, you mean?  They were; but Father dared trust no one
else."

"Mr. Avery handles those matters now for your father?"

"The continuation of what was going on then?  Yes; he took them up at
the time I was hurt and so has kept on looking after them; for there
has been plenty for me to do without that; and those things have all
been more or less settled now.  They have worked themselves out as
things do, though they seemed almost unsolvable at the time.  One thing
that helped in their solution was that Father was able, that time, to
urge what was just, as well as what was advisable."

"You mean that in the final settlement of them no one suffered?"

"No one, I think--except, of course, poor Mr. Latron; and that was a
private matter not connected in any direct way with the questions at
issue.  Why do you ask all this, Mr. Eaton?"

"I was merely interested in you--in what your work has been with your
father, and what it is," he answered quietly.

His step had slowed, and she, unconsciously, had delayed with him.  Now
she realized that his manner toward her had changed from what it had
been a few minutes before; he had been strongly moved and drawn toward
her then, ready to confide in her; now he showed only his usual quiet
reserve--polite, casual, unreadable.  She halted and faced him,
abruptly, chilled with disappointment.

"Mr. Eaton," she demanded, "a few minutes ago you were going to tell me
something about yourself; you seemed almost ready to speak; now--"

"Now I am not, you mean?"

"Yes; what has changed you?  Is it something I have said?"

He seemed to reflect.  "Are you sure that anything has changed me?  I
think you were mistaken.  You asked if I could not tell you more about
myself; I said I wished I could, and that perhaps I might.  I meant
some time in the future; and I still hope I may--some time."

His look and tone convinced her; for she could recall nothing he had
asked about herself or that she had replied to, which could have made
any change in him.  She studied him an instant more, fighting her
disappointment and the feeling of having been rebuffed.

They had been following the edge of the road, she along a path worn in
the turf, he on the edge of the road itself and nearer to the tracks of
the motors.  As she faced him, she was slightly above him, her face
level with his.  Suddenly she cried out and clutched at him.  As they
had stopped, she had heard the sound of a motor approaching them
rapidly from behind.  Except that this car seemed speeding faster than
the others, she had paid no attention and had not turned.
Instantaneously, as she had cried and pulled upon him, she had realized
that this car was not passing; it was directly behind and almost upon
him.  She felt him spring to the side as quickly as he could; but her
cry and pull upon him were almost too late; as he leaped, the car
struck.  The blow was glancing, not direct, and he was off his feet and
in motion when the wheel struck; but the car hurled him aside and
rolled him over and over.

As she rushed to Eaton, the two men in the rear seat of the car turned
their heads and looked back.

"Are you all right?" one called to Eaton; but without checking its
speed or swerving, the car dashed on and disappeared down the roadway.

She bent over Eaton and took hold of him.  He struggled to his feet
and, dazed, tottered so that she supported him.  As she realized that
he was not greatly hurt, she stared with horror at the turn in the road
where the car had disappeared.

"Why, he tried to run you down!  He meant to!  He tried to hurt you!"
she cried.

"No," Eaton denied.  "Oh, no; I don't think so."

"But they went on without stopping; they didn't wait an instant.  He
didn't care; he meant to do it!"

"No!" Eaton unsteadily denied again.  "It must have been--an accident.
He was--frightened when he saw what he had done."

"It wasn't at all like an accident!" she persisted.  "It couldn't have
been an accident there and coming up from behind the way he did!  No;
he meant to do it!  Did you see who was in the car--who was driving?"

He turned to her quickly.  "Who?" he demanded.

"One of the people who was on the train!  That man--the morning we--the
morning Father was hurt--do you remember, when you came into the dining
car for breakfast and the conductor wanted to seat you opposite a young
man who had just spilled coffee?  You sat down at our table instead.
Don't you remember--a little man, nervous, but very strong; a man
almost like an ape?"

He shuddered and then controlled himself.  "Nothing!" he answered her
clasp of concern on his arm.  "Quite steady again; thanks.  Just dizzy;
I guess I was jarred more than I knew.  Yes, I remember a fellow the
conductor tried to seat me opposite."

"This was the same man!"

Eaton shook his head.  "That could hardly be; I think you must be
mistaken."

"I am not mistaken; it was that man!"

"Still, I think you must be," he again denied.

She stared, studying him.  "Perhaps I was," she agreed; but she knew
she had not been.  "I am glad, whoever it was, he didn't injure you.
You are all right, aren't you?"

"Quite," he assured.  "Please don't trouble about it, Miss Santoine."

He dusted himself off with her help and tried to limp as little as
possible; and when she insisted upon returning to the house, he made no
objection, but he refused to wait while she went back for a car to take
him.  They walked back rather silently, she appreciating how
passionately she had expressed herself for him, and he quiet because of
this and other thoughts too.

They found Donald Avery in front of the house looking for them as they
came up.  Eaton succeeded in walking without limping; but he could not
conceal the marks on his clothes.

"Harriet, I've just come from your father; he wants you to go to him at
once," Avery directed.  "Good morning, Eaton.  What's happened?"

"Carelessness," Eaton deprecated.  "Got rather in the way of a motor
and was knocked over for it."

Harriet did not correct this to Avery.  She went up to her father; she
was still trembling, still sick with horror at what she had seen--an
attempt to kill one walking at her side.  She stopped outside her
father's door to compose herself; then she went in.

The blind man was propped up on his bed with pillows into almost a
sitting position; the nurse was with him.

"What did you want, Father?" Harriet asked.

He had recognized her step and had been about to speak to her; but at
the sound of her voice he stopped the words on his lips and changed
them into a direction for the nurse to leave the room.

He waited until the nurse had left and closed the door behind her.
Harriet saw that, in his familiarity with her tones and every
inflection of her voice, he had sensed already that something unusual
had occurred; she repeated, however, her question as to what he wanted.

"That does not matter now, Harriet.  Where have you been?"

"I have been walking with Mr. Eaton."

"What happened?"

She hesitated.  "Mr. Eaton was almost run down by a motor-car."

"Ah!  An accident?"

She hesitated again.  She had seen on her father's face the slight
heightening of his color which, with him, was the only outward sign
that marked some triumph of his own mind; his blind eyes, abstracted
and almost always motionless, never showed anything at all.

"Mr. Eaton said it was an accident," she answered.

"But you?"

"It did not look to me like an accident, Father.  It--it showed
intention."

"You mean it was an attack?"

"Yes; it was an attack.  The man in the car meant to run Mr. Eaton
down; he meant to kill him or to hurt him terribly.  Mr. Eaton wasn't
hurt.  I called to him and pulled him--he jumped away in time."

"To kill him, Harriet?  How do you know?"

She caught herself.  "I--I don't know, Father.  He certainly meant to
injure Mr. Eaton.  When I said kill him, I was telling only what I
thought."

"That is better.  I think so too."

"That he meant to kill Mr. Eaton?"

"Yes."

She watched her father's face; often when relating things to him, she
was aware from his expression that she was telling him only something
he already had figured out and expected or even knew; she felt that now.

"Father, did you expect Mr. Eaton to be attacked?"

"Expect?  Not that exactly; it was possible; I suspected something like
this might occur."

"And you did not warn him?"

The blind man's hands sought each other on the coverlet and clasped
together.  "It was not necessary to warn him, Harriet; Mr. Eaton
already knew.  Who was in the car?"

"Three men."

"Had you seen any of them before?"

"Yes, one--the man who drove."

"Where?"

"On the train."

The color on Santoine's face grew brighter.  "Did you know who he was?"

"No, Father."

"Describe him, dear," Santoine directed.

He waited while she called together her recollections of the man.

"I can't describe him very fully, Father," she said.  "He was one of
the people who had berths in the forward sleeping-car.  I can recall
seeing him only when I passed through the car--I recall him only twice
in that car and once in the diner."

"That is interesting," said Santoine.

"What, Father?"

"That in five days upon the train you saw the man only three times."

"You mean he must have kept out of sight as much as possible?"

"Have you forgotten that I asked you to describe him, Harriet?"

She checked herself.  "Height about five feet, five," she said,
"broad-shouldered, very heavily set; I remember he impressed me as
being unusually muscular.  His hair was black; I can't recall the color
of his eyes; his cheeks were blue with a heavy beard closely shaved.  I
remember his face was prognathous, and his clothes were spotted with
dropped food.  I--it seems hard for me to recall him, and I can't
describe him very well."

"But you are sure it was the same man in the motor?"

"Yes."

"Did he seem a capable person?"

"Exactly what do you mean?"

"Would he be likely to execute a purpose well, Harriet--either a
purpose of his own, or one in which he had been instructed?"

"He seemed an animal sort of person, small, strong, and not
particularly intelligent.  It seems hard for me to remember more about
him than that."

"That is interesting."

"What?"

"That it is hard for you to remember him very well."

"Why, Father?"

Her father did not answer.  "The other men in the motor?" he asked.

"I can't describe them.  I--I was excited about Mr. Eaton."

"The motor itself, Harriet?"

"It was a black touring car."

"Make and number?"

"I don't know either of those.  I don't remember that I saw a number;
it--it may have been taken off or covered up."

"Thank you, dear."

"You mean that is all, then?"

"No; bring Eaton to me."

"He has gone to his room to fix himself up."

"I'll send for him, then."  Santoine pressed one of the buttons beside
his bed to call a servant; but before the bell could be answered,
Harriet got up.

"I'll go myself," she said.

She went out into the hall and closed the door behind her; she waited
until she heard the approaching steps of the man summoned by Santoine's
bell; then, going to meet him, she sent him to call Eaton in his rooms,
and she still waited until the man came back and told her Eaton had
already left his rooms and gone downstairs.  She dismissed the man and
went to the head of the stairs, but her steps slowed there and stopped.
She was strained and nervous; often in acting as her father's "eye" and
reporting to him what she saw, she felt that he found many
insignificant things in her reports which were hidden from herself; and
she never had had that feeling more strongly than just now as she was
telling him about the attack made on Eaton.  So she knew that the blind
man's thought in regard to Eaton had taken some immense stride; but she
did not know what that stride had been, or what was coming now when her
father saw Eaton.

She went on slowly down the stairs, and when halfway down, she saw
Eaton in the hall below her.  He was standing beside the table which
held the bronze antique vase; he seemed to have taken something from
the vase and to be examining it.  She halted again to watch him; then
she went on, and he turned at the sound of her footsteps.  She could
see, as she approached him, what he had taken from the vase, but she
attached no importance to it; it was only a black button from a woman's
glove--one of her own, perhaps, which she had dropped without noticing.
He tossed it indifferently toward the open fireplace as he came toward
her.

"Father wants to see you, Mr. Eaton," she said.

He looked at her intently for an instant and seemed to detect some
strangeness in her manner and to draw himself together; then he
followed her up the stairs.



CHAPTER XIV

IT GROWS PLAINER

Basil Santoine's bedroom, like the study below it, was so nearly
sound-proof that anything going on in the room could not be heard in
the hall outside it, even close to the double doors.  Eaton, as they
approached these doors, listened vainly, trying to determine whether
any one was in the room with Santoine; then he quickened his step to
bring him beside Harriet.

"One moment, please, Miss Santoine," he urged.

She stopped.  "What is it you want?"

"Your father has received some answer to the inquiries he has been
having made about me?"

"I don't know, Mr. Eaton."

"Is he alone?"

"Yes."

Eaton thought a minute.  "That is all I wanted to know, then," he said.

Harriet opened the outer door and knocked on the inner one.  Eaton
heard Santoine's voice at once calling them to come in, and as Harriet
opened the second door, he followed her into the room.  The blind man
turned his sightless eyes toward them, and, plainly
aware--somehow--that it was Eaton and Harriet who had come in, and that
no one else was with them, he motioned Harriet to close the door and
set a chair for Eaton beside the bed.  Eaton, understanding this
gesture, took the chair from her and set it as Santoine's motion had
directed; then he waited for her to seat herself in one of the other
chairs.

"Am I to remain, Father?" she asked.

"Yes," Santoine commanded.

Eaton waited while she went to a chair at the foot of the bed and
seated herself--her clasped hands resting on the footboard and her chin
upon her hands--in a position to watch both Eaton and her father while
they talked; then Eaton sat down.

"Good morning, Eaton," the blind man greeted him.

"Good morning, Mr. Santoine," Eaton answered; he understood by now that
Santoine never began a conversation until the one he was going to
address himself to had spoken, and that Santoine was able to tell, by
the sound of the voice, almost as much of what was going on in the mind
of one he talked with as a man with eyes is able to tell by studying
the face.  He continued to wait quietly, therefore, glancing up once to
Harriet Santoine, whose eyes for an instant met his; then both regarded
again the face of the blind man on the bed.

Santoine was lying quietly upon his back, his head raised on the
pillows, his arms above the bed-covers, his finger-tips touching with
the fingers spread.

"You recall, of course, Eaton, our conversation on the train," Santoine
said evenly.

"Yes."

"And so you remember that I gave you at that time four possible
reasons--as the only possible ones--why you had taken the train I was
on.  I said you must have taken it to attack me, or to protect me from
attack; to learn something from me, or to inform me of something; and I
eliminated as incompatible with the facts, the second of these--I said
you could not have taken it to protect me."

"Yes."

"Very well; the reason I have sent for you now is that, having
eliminated to-day still another of those possibilities,--leaving only
two,--I want to call your attention in a certain order to some of the
details of what happened on the train."

"You say that to-day you have eliminated another of the possibilities?"
Eaton asked uneasily.

"To-day, yes; of course.  You had rather a close call this morning, did
you not?"

"Rather, I was careless."

"You were careless?" Santoine smiled derisively.  "Perhaps you were--in
one sense.  In another, however, you have been very careful, Eaton.
You have been careful to act as though the attempt to run you down
could not have been a deliberate attack; you were careful to call it an
accident; you were careful not to recognize any of the three men in the
motor."

"I had no chance to recognize any of them, Mr. Santoine," Eaton replied
easily.  "I did not see the car coming; I was thrown from my feet; when
I got up, it was too far away for me to recognize any one."

"Perhaps so; but were you surprised when my daughter recognized one of
them as having been on the train with us?"

Eaton hesitated, but answered almost immediately:

"Your question doesn't exactly fit the case.  I thought Miss Santoine
had made a mistake."

"But you were not surprised; no.  What would have been a surprise to
you, Eaton, would have been--if you had had a chance to observe the
men--to have found that none of them--none of them had been on the
train!"

Eaton started and felt that he had colored.  How much did Santoine
know?  Had the blind man received, as Eaton feared, some answer to his
inquiries which had revealed, or nearly revealed, Eaton's identity?  Or
was it merely that the attack made on Eaton that morning had given
Santoine new light on the events that had happened on the train and
particularly--Eaton guessed--on the cipher telegram which Santoine
claimed to have translated?  Whatever the case might be, Eaton knew
that he must conceal from Harriet the effect the blind man's words
produced on him.  Santoine, of course, could not see these effects; and
he had kept his daughter in the room to watch for just such things.
Eaton glanced at her; she was watching him and, quite evidently, had
seen his discomposure, but she made no comment.  As he regained
possession of himself, her gaze went back intently to her father.
Eaton looked from her back to the blind man, and saw that Santoine was
waiting for him to speak.

"You assume that, Mr. Santoine," he asserted, "because--"  He checked
himself and altered his sentence.  "Will you tell me why you assume
that?"

"That that would have surprised you?  Yes; that is what I called you in
here to tell you."

As Santoine waited a moment before going on, Eaton watched him
anxiously.  The blind man turned himself on his pillows so as to face
Eaton more directly; his sightless, motionless eyes told nothing of
what was going on in his mind.

"Just ten days ago," Santoine said evenly and dispassionately, "I was
found unconscious in my berth--Section Three of the rearmost
sleeper--on the transcontinental train, which I had taken with my
daughter and Avery at Seattle.  I had been attacked,--assailed during
my sleep some time in that first night that I spent on the train,--and
my condition was serious enough so that for three days afterward I was
not allowed to receive any of the particulars of what had happened to
me.  When I did finally learn them, I naturally attempted to make
certain deductions as to who it was that had attempted to murder me,
and why; and ever since, I have continued to occupy myself with those
questions.  I am going to tell you a few of my deductions.  You need
not interrupt me unless you discover me to be in error, and then in
error only in fact or observation which, obviously, had to be reported
to me.  If you fancy I am at fault in my conclusions, wait until you
discover your error."

Santoine waited an instant; Eaton thought it was to allow him to speak
if he wanted to, but Eaton merely waited.

"The first thing I learned," the blind man went on, "was the similarity
of the attack on me to the more successful attack on Warden, twelve
days previous, which had caused his death.  The method of the two
attacks was the same; the conditions surrounding them were very
similar.  Warden was attacked in his motor, in a public street; his
murderer took a desperate chance of being detected by the chauffeur or
by some one on the street, both when he made the attack and afterward
when he escaped unobserved, as it happened, from the automobile.  The
attack upon me was made in the same way, perhaps even with the same
instrument; my assailant took equally desperate chances.  The attack on
me was made on a public conveyance where the likelihood of the murderer
being seen was even greater, for the train was stopped, and under
conditions which made his escape almost impossible.  The desperate
nature of the two attacks, and their almost identical method, made it
practically certain that they originated at the same source and were
carried out--probably--by the same hand and for the same purpose.

"Mrs. Warden's statement to me of her interview with her husband a
half-hour before his murder, made it certain that the object of the
attack on him was to 'remove' him.  It seemed almost inevitable,
therefore, that the attack on me must have been for the same purpose.
There have been a number of times in my life, Eaton, when I have known
that it would be to the advantage of some one if I were 'removed'; that
I do not know now any definite reason for such an act does not decrease
its probability; for I do not know why Warden was 'removed.'

"I found that a young man--yourself--had acted so suspiciously both
before and after the attack on me that both Avery and the conductor in
charge of the train had become convinced that he was my assailant, and
had segregated him from the rest of the passengers.  Not only this,
but--and this seemed quite conclusive to them--you admitted that you
were the one who had called upon Warden the evening of his murder.
Warden's statement to his wife that you were some one he was about to
befriend--which had been regarded as exculpating you from share in his
murder--ceased to be so conclusive now that you had been present at a
second precisely similar attack; and it certainly was no proof that you
had not attacked me.  It seemed likely, too, that you were the only
person on the train aside from my daughter and Avery who knew who I
was; for I had had reason to believe from the time when I first heard
you speak when you boarded the train, that you were some one with whom
I had, previously, very briefly come in contact; and I had asked my
daughter to find out who you were, and she had tried to do so, but
without success."

Eaton wet his lips.

"Also," the blind man continued, "there was a telegram which definitely
showed that there was some connection, unknown to me, between you and
me, as well as a second--or rather a previous--suspicious telegram in
cipher, which we were able to translate."

Eaton leaned forward, impelled to speak; but as Santoine clearly
detected this impulse and waited to hear what he was going to say,
Eaton reconsidered and kept silent.

"You were going to say something about that telegram in cipher?"
Santoine asked.

"No," Eaton denied.

"I think you were; and I think that a few minutes ago when I said you
were not surprised by the attempt made to-day to run you down, you were
also going to speak of it; for that attempt makes clear the meaning of
the telegram.  Its meaning was not clear to me before, you understand.
It said only that you were known and followed.  It did not say why you
were followed.  I could not be certain of that; there were several
possible reasons why you might be followed--even that the 'one' who
'was following' might be some one secretly interested in preventing you
from an attack on me.  Now, however, I know that the reason you feared
the man who was following was because you expected him to attack you.
Knowing that, Eaton--knowing that, I want to call your attention to the
peculiarity of our mutual positions on the train.  You had asked for
and were occupying Section Three in the third sleeper, in order--I
assume and, I believe, correctly--to avoid being put in the same car
with me.  In the night, the second sleeper--the car next in front of
yours--was cut off from the train and left behind.  That made me occupy
in relation to the forward part of the train exactly the same position
as you had occupied before the car ahead of you had been cut out.  I
was in Section Three in the third sleeper from the front."

Eaton stared at Santoine, fascinated; what had been only vague, half
felt, half formed with himself, was becoming definite, tangible, under
the blind man's reasoning.  He was aware that Harriet Santoine was
looking alternately from him to her father, herself startled by the
revelation thus passionlessly recited.  What her father was saying was
new to her; he had not taken his daughter into his confidence to this
extent.

Eaton's hands closed instinctively, in his emotion.  "What do you mean?"

"You understand already," Santoine asserted.  "The attack made on me
was meant for you.  Some one stealing through the cars from the front
to the rear of the train and carrying in his mind the location Section
Three in the third car, struck through the curtains by mistake at me
instead of you.  Who was that, Eaton?"

Eaton sat unanswering, staring.

"You did not realize before, that the man on the train meant to murder
you?" Santoine demanded.

"No," said Eaton.

"I see you understand it now; and that it was the same man--or some one
accompanying the man--who tried to run you down this morning.  Who is
that man?"

"I don't know," Eaton answered.

"You mean you prefer to shield him?"

"Shield him?"

"That is what you are doing, is it not?  For, even if you don't know
the man directly, you know in whose cause and under whose direction he
murdered Warden--and why and for whom he is attempting to murder you."

Eaton remained silent.

In his intensity, Santoine had lifted himself from his pillows.  "Who
is that man?" he challenged.  "And what is that connection between you
and me which, when the attack found and disabled me instead of you,
told him that--in spite of his mistake--his result had been
accomplished? told him that, if I was dying, a repetition of the attack
against you was unnecessary?"

Eaton knew that he had grown very pale; Harriet must be aware of the
effect Santoine's words had on him, but he did not dare look at her now
to see how much she was comprehending.  All his attention was needed to
defend himself against Santoine.

"I don't understand."  He fought to compose himself.

"It is perfectly plain," Santoine said patiently.  "It was believed at
first that I had been fatally hurt; it was even reported at one time--I
understand--that I was dead; only intimate friends have been informed
of my actual condition.  Yesterday, for the first time, the newspapers
announced the certainty of my recovery; and to-day an attack is made on
you."

"There has been no opportunity for an attack on me before, if this was
an attack.  On the train I was locked up under charge of the conductor."

"You have been off the train nearly a week."

"But I have been kept here in your house."

"You have been allowed to walk about the grounds."

"But I've been watched all the time; no one could have attacked me
without being seen by your guards."

"They did not hesitate to attack you in sight of my daughter."

"But--"

"You are merely challenging my deductions!  Will you reply to my
questions?--tell me the connection between us?--who you are?"

"No."

"Come here!"

"What?" said Eaton.

"Come here--close to me, beside the bed."

Eaton hesitated, and then obeyed.

"Bend over!"

Eaton stooped, and the blind man's hands seized him.  Instantly Eaton
withdrew.

"Wait!" Santoine warned.  "If you do not stay, I shall call help."  One
hand went to the bell beside his bed.

Harriet had risen; she met Eaton's gaze warningly and nodded to him to
comply.  He bent again over the bed.  He felt the blind man's sensitive
fingers searching his features, his head, his throat.  Eaton gazed at
Santoine's face while the fingers were examining him; he could see that
Santoine was merely finding confirmation of an impression already
gained from what had been told him about Eaton.  Santoine showed
nothing more than this confirmation; certainly he did not recognize
Eaton.  More than this, Eaton could not tell.

"Now your hands," Santoine ordered.

Eaton extended one hand and then the other; the blind man felt over
them from wrists to the tips of the fingers; then he let himself sink
back against the pillows, absorbed in thought.

Eaton straightened and looked to Harriet where she was standing at the
foot of the bed; she, however, was intently watching her father and did
not look Eaton's way.

"You may go," Santoine said at last.

"Go?" Eaton asked.

"You may leave the room.  Blatchford will meet you downstairs."

Santoine reached for the house telephone beside his bed--receiver and
transmitter on one light band--and gave directions to have Blatchford
await Eaton in the hall below.

Eaton stood an instant longer, studying Santoine and trying fruitlessly
to make out what was passing in the blind man's mind.  He was
distinctly frightened by the revelation he just had had of Santoine's
clear, implacable reasoning regarding him; for none of the blind man's
deductions about him had been wrong--all had been the exact, though
incomplete, truth.  It was clear to him that Santoine was close--much
closer even than Santoine himself yet appreciated--to knowing Eaton's
identity; it was even probable that one single additional fact--the
discovery, for instance, that Miss Davis was the source of the second
telegram received by Eaton on the train--would reveal everything to
Santoine.  And Eaton was not certain that Santoine, even without any
new information, would not reach the truth unaided at any moment.  So
Eaton knew that he himself must act before this happened.  But so long
as the safe in Santoine's study was kept locked or was left open only
while some one was in the room with it, he could not act until he had
received help from outside; and he had not yet received that help; he
could not hurry it or even tell how soon it was likely to come.  He had
seen Miss Davis several times as she passed through the halls going or
coming for her work with Avery; but Blatchford had always been with
him, and he had been unable to speak with her or to receive any signal
from her.

As his mind reviewed, almost instantaneously, these considerations, he
glanced again at Harriet; her eyes, this time, met his, but she looked
away immediately.  He could not tell what effect Santoine's revelations
had had on her, except that she seemed to be in complete accord with
her father.  As he went toward the door, she made no move to accompany
him.  He went out without speaking and closed the inner and the outer
doors behind him; then he went down to Blatchford.

For several minutes after Eaton had left the room, Santoine thought in
silence.  Harriet stayed motionless, watching him; the extent to which
he had been shaken and disturbed by the series of events which had
started with Warden's murder, came home strongly to her now that she
saw him alone and now that his talk with Eaton had shown partly what
was passing in his mind.

"Where are you, Harriet?" he asked at last.

She knew it was not necessary to answer him, but merely to move so that
he could tell her position; she moved slightly, and his sightless eyes
shifted at once to where she stood.

"How did he act?" Santoine asked.

She reviewed swiftly the conversation, supplementing his blind
apperceptions of Eaton's manner with what she herself had seen.

"What have been your impressions of Eaton's previous social condition,
Daughter?" he asked.

She hesitated; she knew that her father would not permit the vague
generality that Eaton was "a gentleman."  "Exactly what do you mean,
Father?"

"I don't mean, certainly, to ask whether he knows which fork to use at
table or enough to keep his napkin on his knee; but you have talked
with him, been with him--both on the train and here: have you been able
to determine what sort of people he has been accustomed to mix with?
Have his friends been business men?  Professional men?  Society people?"

The deep and unconcealed note of trouble in her father's voice startled
her, in her familiarity with every tone and every expression.  She
answered his question: "I don't know, Father."

"I want you to find out."

"In what way?"

"You must find a way.  I shall tell Avery to help."  He thought for
several moments, while she stood waiting.  "We must have that motor and
the men in it traced, of course.  Harriet, there are certain
matters--correspondence--which Avery has been looking after for me; do
you know what correspondence I mean?"

"Yes, Father."

"I would rather not have Avery bothered with it just now; I want him to
give his whole attention to this present inquiry.  You yourself will
assume charge of the correspondence of which I speak, Daughter."

"Yes, Father.  Do you want anything else now?"

"Not of you; send Avery to me."

She moved toward the door which led to the circular stair.  Her father,
she knew, seldom spoke all that was in his mind to any one, even
herself; she was accustomed, therefore, to looking for meanings
underneath the directions which he gave her, and his present
order--that she should take charge of a part of their work which
ordinarily had been looked after by Avery--startled and surprised her
by its implication that her father might not trust Avery fully.  But
now, as she halted and looked back at him from the door and saw his
troubled face and his fingers nervously pressing together, she
recognized that it was not any definite distrust of Avery that had
moved him, but only his deeper trust in herself.  Blind and obliged to
rely on others always in respect of sight, and now still more obliged
to rely upon them because he was confined helpless to his bed, Santoine
had felt ever since the attack on him some unknown menace over himself
and his affairs, some hidden agency threatening him and, through him,
the men who trusted him.  So, with instinctive caution, she saw now, he
had been withdrawing more and more his reliance upon those less closely
bound to him--even Avery--and depending more and more on the one he
felt he could implicitly trust--herself.  As realization of this came
to her, she was stirred deeply by the impulse to rush back to him and
throw herself down beside him and assure him of her love and fealty;
but seeing him again deep in thought, she controlled herself and went
out.



CHAPTER XV

DONALD AVERY IS MOODY

Harriet went down the stair into the study; she passed through the
study into the main part of the house and found Donald and sent him to
her father; then she returned to the study.  She closed and fastened
the doors, and after glancing about the room, she removed the books in
front of the wall-safe to the right of the door, slid back the movable
panel, opened the safe and took out a bundle of correspondence.  She
closed safe and panel and put back the books; and carrying the
correspondence to her father's desk, she began to look over it.

This correspondence--a considerable bundle of letters held together
with wire clips and the two envelopes bound with tape which she had put
into the safe the day before--made up the papers of which her father
had spoken to her.  These letters represented the contentions of
willful, powerful and sometimes ruthless and violent men.  Ruin of one
man by another--ruin financial, social or moral, or all three
together--was the intention of the principals concerned in this
correspondence; too often, she knew, one man or one group had carried
out a fierce intent upon another; and sometimes, she was aware, these
bitter feuds had carried certain of her father's clients further even
than personal or family ruin: fraud, violence and--twice now--even
murder were represented by this correspondence; for the papers relating
to the Warden and the Latron murders were here.  There were in this
connection the documents concerning the Warden and the Latron
properties which her father had brought back with him from the Coast;
there were letters, now more than five years old, which concerned the
Government's promised prosecution of Latron; and, lastly, there were
the two envelopes which had just been sent to her father concerning the
present organization of the Latron properties.

She glanced through these and the others with them.  She had felt
always the horror of this violent and ruthless side of the men with
whom her father dealt; but now she knew that actual appreciation of the
crimes that passed as business had been far from her.  And, strangely,
she now realized that it was not the attacks on Mr. Warden and her
father--overwhelming with horror as these had been--which were bringing
that appreciation home to her.  It was her understanding now that the
attack was not meant for her father but for Eaton.

For when she had believed that some one had meant to murder her father,
as Mr. Warden had been murdered, the deed had come within the class of
crimes comprehensible to her.  She was accustomed to recognize that, at
certain times and under special circumstances, her father might be an
obstacle to some one who would become desperate enough to attack; but
she had supposed that, if such an attack were delivered, it must be
made by a man roused to hate his victim, and the deed would be
palliated, as far as such a crime could be, by an overwhelming impulse
of terror or antipathy at the moment of striking the blow.  But she had
never contemplated a condition in which a man might murder--or attempt
to murder--without hate of his victim.  Yet now her father had made it
clear that this was such a case.  Some one on that train in
Montana--acting for himself or for another--had found this stranger,
Eaton, an obstacle in his way.  And merely as removing an obstacle,
that man had tried to murder Eaton.  And when, instead, he had injured
Basil Santoine, apparently fatally, he had been satisfied so that his
animus against Eaton had lapsed until the injured man began to recover;
and then, when Eaton was out on the open road beside her, that
pitiless, passionless enemy had tried again to kill.  She had seen the
face of the man who drove the motor down upon Eaton, and it had been
only calm, determined, businesslike--though the business with which the
man had been engaged was murder.

Though Harriet had never believed that Eaton had been concerned in the
attack upon her father, her denial of it had been checked and stilled
because he would not even defend himself.  She had not known what to
think; she had seemed to herself to be waiting with her thoughts in
abeyance; until he should be cleared, she had tried not to let herself
think more about Eaton than was necessary.  Now that her father himself
had cleared Eaton of that suspicion, her feelings had altered from mere
disbelief that he had injured her father to recollection that Mr.
Warden had spoken of him only as one who himself had been greatly
injured.  Eaton was involved with her father in some way; she refused
to believe he was against her father, but clearly he was not with him.
How could he be involved, then, unless the injury he had suffered was
some such act of man against man as these letters and statements
represented?  She looked carefully through all the contents of the
envelopes, but she could not find anything which helped her.

She pushed the letters away, then, and sat thinking.  Mr. Warden, who
appeared to have known more about Eaton than any one else, had taken
Eaton's side; it was because he had been going to help Eaton that Mr.
Warden had been killed.  Would not her father be ready to help Eaton,
then, if he knew as much about him as Mr. Warden had known?  But Mr.
Warden, apparently, had kept what he knew even from his own wife; and
Eaton was now keeping it from every one--her father included.  She felt
that her father had understood and appreciated all this long before
herself--that it was the reason for his attitude toward Eaton on the
train and, in part, the cause of his considerate treatment of him all
through.  She sensed for the first time how great her father's
perplexity must be; but she felt, too, how terrible the injustice must
have been that Eaton had suffered, since he himself did not dare to
tell it even to her father and since, to hide it, other men did not
stop short of double murder.

So, instead of being estranged by Eaton's manner to her father, she
felt an impulse of feeling toward him flooding her, a feeling which she
tried to explain to herself as sympathy.  But it was not just sympathy;
she would not say even to herself what it was.

She got up suddenly and went to the door and looked into the hall; a
servant came to her.

"Is Mr. Avery still with Mr. Santoine?" she asked.

"No, Miss Santoine; he has gone out."

"How long ago?"

"About ten minutes."

"Thank you."

She went back, and bundling the correspondence together as it had been
before, she removed the books from a shelf to the left of the door,
slid back another panel and revealed the second wall-safe corresponding
to the one to the right of the door from which she had taken the
papers.  The combination of this second safe was known only to her
father and herself.  She put the envelopes into it, closed it, and
replaced the books.  Then she went to her father's desk, took from a
drawer a long typewritten report of which he had asked her to prepare a
digest, and read it through; consciously concentrating, she began her
work.  The servant came at one to tell her luncheon was served,
but--immersed now--she ordered her luncheon brought to the study.  At
three she heard Avery's motor, and went to the study door and looked
out as he entered the hall.

"What have you found out, Don?" she inquired.

"Nothing yet, Harry."

"You got no trace of them?"

"No; too many motors pass on that road for the car to be recalled
particularly.  I've started what inquiries are possible and arranged to
have the road watched in case they come back this way."

He went past her and up to her father.  She returned to the study and
put away her work; she called the stables on the house telephone and
ordered her saddle-horse; and going to her rooms and changing to her
riding-habit, she rode till five.  Returning, she dressed for dinner,
and going down at seven, she found Eaton, Avery and Blatchford awaiting
her.

The meal was served in the great Jacobean dining room, with walls
paneled to the high ceiling, logs blazing in the big stone fireplace.
As they seated themselves, she noted that Avery seemed moody and
uncommunicative; something, clearly, had irritated and disturbed him;
and as the meal progressed, he vented his irritation upon Eaton by
affronting him more openly by word and look than he had ever done
before in her presence.  She was the more surprised at his doing this
now, because she knew that Donald must have received from her father
the same instructions as had been given herself to learn whatever was
possible of Eaton's former position in life.  Eaton, with his customary
self-control, met Avery's offensiveness with an equability which almost
disarmed it.  Instinctively she tried to help him in this.  But now she
found that he met and put aside her assistance in the same way.

The change in his attitude toward her which she had noted first during
their walk that morning had not diminished since his talk with her
father but, plainly, had increased.  He was almost openly now including
her among those who opposed him.  As that feeling which she called
sympathy had come to her when she realized that what he himself had
suffered must be the reason for his attitude toward her father, so now
it only came more strongly when she saw him take the same attitude
toward herself; and as she felt it, she found she was feeling more and
more away from Donald Avery.  Donald's manner toward Eaton was forcing
her to invoice exactly the materials of her companionship with Donald.

Before Eaton's entrance into her life she had supposed that some time,
as a matter of course, she was going to marry Donald.  In spite of
this, she had never thought of herself as apart from her father; when
she thought of marrying, it had been always with the idea that her duty
to her husband must be secondary to that to her father; she knew now
that she had accepted Donald Avery not because he had become necessary
to her but because he had seemed essential to her father and her
marrying Donald would permit her life to go on much as it was.  Till
recently, Avery's complaisance, his certainty that it must be only a
matter of time before he would win her, had been the most
definite--almost the only definable--fault she had found with her
father's confidential agent; now her sense of many other faults in him
only marked the distance she had drawn away from him.  If Harriet
Santoine could define her own present estimate of Avery, it was that he
did not differ in any essential particular from those men whose
correspondence had so horrified her that afternoon.

Donald had social position and a certain amount of wealth and power;
now suddenly she was feeling that he had nothing but those things, that
his own unconscious admission was that to be worth while he must have
them, that to retain and increase them was his only object in life.
She had the feeling that these were the only things he would fight for;
but that for these he would fight--fairly, perhaps, if he could--but,
if he must, unfairly, despicably.

She had finished dinner, but she hesitated to rise and leave the men
alone; after-dinner cigars and the fiction of a masculine conversation
about the table were insisted on by Blatchford.  As she delayed,
looking across the table at Eaton, his eyes met hers; reassured, she
rose at once; the three rose with her and stood while she went out.
She went upstairs and looked in upon her father; he wanted nothing, and
after a conversation with him as short as she could make it, she came
down again.  No further disagreement between the two men, apparently,
had happened after she left the table.  Avery now was not visible.
Eaton and Blatchford were in the music-room; as she went to them, she
saw that Eaton had some sheets of music in his hand.  So now, with a
repugnance against her father's orders which she had never felt before,
she began to carry out the instructions her father had given her.

"You play, Mr. Eaton?" she asked.

"I'm afraid not," he smiled.

"Really don't you?"

"Only drum a little sometimes, Miss Santoine.  Won't you play?  Please
do."

She saw that they were songs which he had been examining.  "Oh, you
sing!"

He could not effectively deny it.  She sat down at her piano and ran
over the songs and selections from the new opera.  He followed her with
the delight of a music-lover long away from an instrument.  He sang
with her a couple of the songs; he had a good, unassuming tone.  And as
she went through the music, she noticed that he was familiar with
almost everything she had liked which had been written or was current
up to five years before; all later music was strange to him.  To this
extent he had been of her world, plainly, up to five years before; then
he had gone out of it.

She realized this only as something which she was to report to her
father; yet she felt a keener, more personal interest in it than that.
Harriet Santoine knew enough of the world to know that few men break
completely all social connections without some link of either fact or
memory still holding them, and that this link most often is a woman.
So now, instinctively, she found, she was selecting among the music on
the racks arias of lost, disappointed or unhappy love.  But she saw
that Eaton's interest in these songs appeared no different from his
interest in others; it was, so far as she could tell, for their music
he cared for them--not because they recalled to him any personal
recollection.  So far as her music could assure her, then, there
was--and had been--no woman in Eaton's life whose memory made poignant
his break with his world.

Presently she desisted and turned to other sorts of music.  Toward ten
o'clock, after she had stopped playing, he excused himself and went to
his rooms.  She sat for a time, idly talking with Blatchford; then, as
a servant passed through the hall and she mistook momentarily his
footsteps for those of Avery, she got up suddenly and went upstairs.
It was only after reaching her own rooms that she appreciated that the
meaning of this action was that she shrank from seeing Avery again that
night.  But she had been in her rooms only a few minutes when her house
telephone buzzed, and answering it, she found that it was Donald
speaking to her.

"Will you come down for a few minutes, please, Harry?"

She withheld her answer momentarily.  Before Eaton had come into her
life, Donald sometimes had called her like this,--especially on those
nights when he had worked late with her father,--and she had gone down
to visit with him for a few minutes as an ending for the day.  She had
never allowed these meetings to pass beyond mere companionship; but
to-night she thought of that companionship without pleasure.

"Please, Harry!" he repeated.

Some strangeness in his tone perplexed her.

"Where are you?" she asked.

"In the study."

She went down at once.  As he came to the study door to meet her, she
saw that what had perplexed her in his tone was apparently only the
remnant of that irritation he had showed at dinner.  He took her hand
and drew her into the study.  The lights in the room turned full on and
the opaque curtains drawn closely over the windows told that he had
been working,--or that he wished to appear to have been working,--and
papers scattered on one of the desks, and the wall safe to the right of
the door standing open, confirmed this.  But now he led her to the big
chair, and guided her as she seated herself; then he lounged on the
flat-topped desk in front of and close to her and bending over her.

"You don't mind my calling you down, Harry; it is so long since we had
even a few minutes alone together," he pleaded.

"What is it you want, Don?" she asked.

"Only to see you, dea--Harry."  He took her hand again; she resisted
and withdrew it.  "I can't do any more work to-night, Harry.  I find
the correspondence I expected to go over this evening isn't here; your
father has it, I suppose."

"No; I have it, Don."

"You?"

"Yes; Father didn't want you bothered by that work just now.  Didn't he
tell you?"

"He told me that, of course, Harry, and that he had asked you to
relieve me as much as you could; he didn't say he had told you to take
charge of the papers.  Did he do that?"

"I thought that was implied.  If you need them, I'll get them for you,
Don.  Do you want them?"

She got up and went toward the safe where she had put them; suddenly
she stopped.  What it was that she had felt under his tone and manner,
she could not tell; it was probably only irritation at having important
work taken out of his hands.  But whatever it was, he was not openly
expressing it--he was even being careful that it should not be
expressed.  And now suddenly, as he followed and came close behind her
and her mind went swiftly to her father lying helpless upstairs, and
her father's trust in her, she halted.

"We must ask Father first," she said.

"Ask him!" he ejaculated.  "Why?"

She faced him uncertainly, not answering.

"That's rather ridiculous, Harry, especially as it is too late to ask
him to-night."  His voice was suddenly rough in his irritation.  "I
have had charge of those very things for years; they concern the
matters in which your father particularly confides in me.  It is
impossible that he meant you to take them out of my hands like this.
He must have meant only that you were to give me what help you could
with them!"

She could not refute what he said; still, she hesitated.

"When did you find out those matters weren't in your safe, Don?" she
asked.

"Just now."

"Didn't you find out this afternoon--before dinner?"

"That's what I said--just now this afternoon, when I came back to the
house before dinner, as you say."  Suddenly he seized both her hands,
drawing her to him and holding her in front of him.  "Harry, don't you
see that you are putting me in a false position--wronging me?  You are
acting as though you did not trust me!"

She drew away her hands.  "I do trust you, Don; at least I have no
reason to distrust you.  I only say we must ask Father."

"They're in your little safe?"

She nodded.  "Yes."

"And you'll not give them to me?"

"No."

He stared angrily; then he shrugged and laughed and went back to his
desk and began gathering up his scattered papers.  She stood
indecisively watching him.  Suddenly he looked up, and she saw that he
had quite conquered his irritation, or at least had concealed it; his
concern now seemed to be only over his relations with herself.

"We've not quarreled, Harry?" he asked.

"Quarreled?  Not at all, Don," she replied.

She moved toward the door; he followed and let her out, and she went
back to her own rooms.



CHAPTER XVI

SANTOINE'S "EYES" FAIL HIM

Eaton, coming down rather late the next morning, found the breakfast
room empty.  He chose his breakfast from the dishes on the sideboard,
and while the servant set them before him and waited on him, he
inquired after the members of the household.  Miss Santoine, the
servant said, had breakfasted some time before and was now with her
father; Mr. Avery also had breakfasted; Mr. Blatchford was not yet
down.  As Eaton lingered over his breakfast, Miss Davis passed through
the hall, accompanied by a maid.  The maid admitted her into the study
and closed the door; afterward, the maid remained in the hall busy with
some morning duty, and her presence and that of the servant in the
breakfast room made it impossible for Eaton to attempt to go to the
study or to risk speaking to Miss Davis.  A few minutes later, he heard
Harriet Santoine descending the stairs; rising, he went out into the
hall to meet her.

"I don't ask you to commit yourself for longer than to-day, Miss
Santoine," he said, when they had exchanged greetings, "but--for
to-day--what are the limits of my leash?"

"Mr. Avery is going to the country-club for lunch; I believe he intends
to ask you if you care to go with him."

He started and looked at her in surprise.  "That's rather longer
extension of the leash than I expected," he replied.

He stood an instant thoughtful.  Did the invitation imply merely that
he was to have greater freedom now?

"Do you wish me to go?" he asked.

Her glance wavered and did not meet his.  "You may go if you please."

"And if I do not?"

"Mr. Blatchford will lunch with you here."

"And you?"

"Yes, I shall lunch here too, probably.  This morning I am going to be
busy with Miss Davis on some work for my father; what I do depends on
how I get along with that."

"Thank you," Eaton acknowledged.

She turned away and went into the study, closing the door behind her.
Eaton, although he had finished his breakfast, went back into the
breakfast room.  He did not know whether he would refuse or accept
Avery's invitation; suddenly he decided.  After waiting for some five
minutes there over a second cup of coffee, he got up and crossed to the
study door and knocked.  The door was opened by Miss Davis; looking
past her, he could see Harriet Santoine seated at one of the desks.

"I beg pardon, Miss Santoine," he explained his interruption, "but you
did not tell me what time Mr. Avery is likely to want me to be ready to
go to the country club."

"About half-past twelve, I think."

"And what time shall we be coming back?"

"Probably about five."

He thanked her and withdrew.  As Miss Davis stood holding open the
door, he had not looked to her, and he did not look back now as she
closed the door behind him; their eyes had not met; but he understood
that she had comprehended him fully.  To-day he would be away from the
Santoine house, and away from the guards who watched him, for at least
four hours, under no closer espionage than that of Avery; this offered
opportunity--the first opportunity he had had--for communication
between him and his friends outside the house.

He went to his room and made some slight changes in his dress; he came
down then to the library, found a book and settled himself to read.
Toward noon Avery looked in on him there and rather constrainedly
proffered his invitation; Eaton accepted, and after Avery had gone to
get ready, Eaton put away his book.  Fifteen minutes later, hearing
Avery's motor purring outside, Eaton went into the hall; a servant
brought his coat and hat, and taking them, he went out to the motor.
Avery appeared a moment later, with Harriet Santoine.

She stood looking after them as they spun down the curving drive and
onto the pike outside the grounds; then she went back to the study.
The digest Harriet had been working on that morning and the afternoon
before was finished; Miss Davis, she found, was typewriting its last
page.  She dismissed Miss Davis for the day, and taking the typewritten
sheets and some other papers her father had asked to have read to him,
she went up to her father.

Basil Santoine was alone and awake; he was lying motionless, with the
cord and electric button in his hand which served to start and stop the
phonograph, with its recording cylinder, beside his bed.  His mind,
even in his present physical weakness, was always working, and he kept
this apparatus beside him to record his directions as they occurred to
him.  As she entered the room, he pressed the button and started the
phonograph, speaking into it; then, as he recognized his daughter's
presence, the cylinder halted; he put down the cord and motioned her to
seat herself beside the bed.

"What have you, Harriet?" he asked.

She sat down and glancing through the papers in her hand, gave him the
subject of each; then at his direction she began to read them aloud.
She read slowly, careful not to demand straining of his attention; and
this slowness leaving her own mind free in part to follow other things,
her thoughts followed Eaton and Avery.  As she finished the third page,
he interrupted her.

"Where is it you want to go, Harriet?"

"Go?  Why, nowhere, Father!"

"Has Avery taken Eaton to the country-club as I ordered?"

"Yes."

"I shall want you to go out there later in the afternoon; I would trust
your observation more than Avery's to determine whether Eaton has been
used to such surroundings.  They are probably at luncheon now; will you
lunch with me here, dear?"

"I'll be very glad to, Father."

He reached for the house telephone and gave directions for the luncheon
in his room.

"Go on until they bring it," he directed.

She read another page, then broke off suddenly.

"Has Donald asked you anything to-day, Father?"

"In regard to what?"

"I thought last night he seemed disturbed about my relieving him of
part of his work."

"Disturbed?  In what way?"

She hesitated, unable to define even to herself the impression Avery's
manner had made on her.  "I understood he was going to ask you to leave
it still in his hands."

"He has not done so yet."

"Then probably I was mistaken."

She began to read again, and she continued now until the luncheon was
served.  At meal-time Basil Santoine made it a rule never to discuss
topics relating to his occupation in working hours, and in his present
weakness, the rule was rigidly enforced; father and daughter talked of
gardening and the new developments in aviation.  She read again for
half an hour after luncheon, finishing the pages she had brought.

"Now you'd better go to the club," the blind man directed.

She put the reports and letters away in the safe in the room below, and
going to her own apartments, she dressed carefully for the afternoon.
The day was a warm, sunny, early spring day, with the ground fairly
firm.  She ordered her horse and trap, and leaving the groom, she drove
to the country-club beyond the rise of ground back from the lake.  Her
pleasure in the drive and the day was diminished by her errand.  It
made her grow uncomfortable and flush warmly as she recollected
that--if Eaton's secrecy regarding himself was accounted for by the
unknown injury he had suffered--she was the one sent to "spy" upon him.

As she drove down the road, she passed the scene of the attempt by the
men in the motor to run Eaton down.  The indefiniteness of her
knowledge by whom or why the attack had been made only made it seem
more terrible to her.  Unquestionably, he was in constant danger of its
repetition, and especially when--as to-day--he was outside her father's
grounds.  Instinctively she hurried her horse.  The great white
club-house stood above the gentle slope of the valley to the west;
beyond it, the golf-course was spotted by a few figures of men and
girls out for early-season play.  And further off and to one side of
the course, she saw mounted men scurrying up and down the polo field in
practice.  A number of people were standing watching, and a few motors
and traps were halted beside the barriers.  Harriet stopped at the
club-house only to make certain that Mr. Avery and his guest were not
there; then she drove on to the polo field.

As she approached, she recognized Avery's lithe, alert figure on one of
the ponies; with a deft, quick stroke he cleared the ball from before
the feet of an opponent's pony, then he looked up and nodded to her.
Harriet drove up and stopped beside the barrier; people hailed her from
all sides, and for a moment the practice was stopped as the players
trotted over to speak to her.  Then play began again, and she had
opportunity to look for Eaton.  Her father, she knew, had instructed
Avery that Eaton was to be introduced as his guest; but Avery evidently
had either carried out these instructions in a purely mechanical manner
or had not wished Eaton to be with others unless he himself was by; for
Harriet discovered Eaton standing off by himself.  She waited till he
looked toward her, then signaled him to come over.  She got down, and
they stood together following the play.

"You know polo?" she questioned him, as she saw the expression of
appreciation in his face as a player daringly "rode-off" an antagonist
and saved a "cross."  She put the question without thought before she
recognized that she was obeying her father's instructions.

"I understand the game somewhat," Eaton replied.

"Have you ever played?"

"It seems to deserve its reputation as the summit of sport," he replied.

He answered so easily that she could not decide whether he was evading
or not; and somehow, just then, she found it impossible to put the
simple question direct again.

"Good!  Good, Don!" she cried enthusiastically and clapped her hands as
Avery suddenly raced before them, caught the ball with a swinging,
back-handed stroke and drove it directly toward his opponent's goal.
Instantly whirling his mount, Avery raced away after the ball, and with
another clean stroke scored a goal.  Every one about cried out in
approbation.

"He's very quick and clever, isn't he?" Harriet said to Eaton.

Eaton nodded.  "Yes; he's by all odds the most skillful man on the
field, I should say."

The generosity of the praise impelled the girl, somehow, to qualify it.
"But only two others really have played much--that man and that."

"Yes, I picked them as the experienced ones," Eaton said quietly.

"The others--two of them, at least--are out for the first time, I
think."

They watched the rapid course of the ball up and down the field, the
scurry and scamper of the ponies after it, then the clash of a mêlée
again.

Two ponies went down, and their riders were flung.  When they arose,
one of the least experienced boys limped apologetically from the field.
Avery rode to the barrier.

"I say, any of you fellows, don't you want to try it?  We're just
getting warmed up."

Harriet glanced at the group Avery had addressed; she knew nearly all
of them--she knew too that none of them were likely to accept the
invitation, and that Avery must be as well aware of that as she was.
Avery, indeed, scarcely glanced at them, but looked over to Eaton and
gave the challenge direct.

"Care to take a chance?"

Harriet Santoine watched her companion; a sudden flush had come to his
face which vanished, as she turned, and left him almost pale; but his
eyes glowed.  Avery's manner in challenging him, as though he must
refuse from fear of such a fall as he just had witnessed, was not
enough to explain Eaton's start.

"How can I?" he returned.

"If you want to play, you can," Avery dared him.  "Furden"--that was
the boy who had just been hurt--"will lend you some things; his'll just
about fit you; and you can have his mounts."

Harriet continued to watch Eaton; the challenge had been put so as to
give him no ground for refusal but timidity.

"You don't care to?" Avery taunted him deftly.

"Why don't you try it?" Harriet found herself saying to him.

He hesitated.  She realized it was not timidity he was feeling; it was
something deeper and stronger than that.  It was fear; but so plainly
it was not fear of bodily hurt that she moved instinctively toward him
in sympathy.  He looked swiftly at Avery, then at her, then away.  He
seemed to fear alike accepting or refusing to play; suddenly he made
his decision.

"I'll play."

He started instantly away to the dressing-rooms; a few minutes later,
when he rode onto the field, Harriet was conscious that, in some way,
Eaton was playing a part as he listened to Avery's directions.  Then
the ball was thrown in for a scrimmage, and she felt her pulses quicken
as Avery and Eaton raced side by side for the ball.  Eaton might not
have played polo before, but he was at home on horseback; he beat Avery
to the ball but, clumsy with his mallet, he missed and overrode; Avery
stroked the ball smartly, and cleverly followed through.  But the next
instant, as Eaton passed her, shifting his mallet in his hand, Harriet
watched him more wonderingly.

"He could have hit that ball if he'd wanted to," she declared almost
audibly to herself; and the impression that Eaton was pretending to a
clumsiness which was not real grew on her.  Donald Avery appointed
himself to oppose Eaton wherever possible, besting him in every contest
for the ball; but she saw that Donald now, though he took it upon
himself to show all the other players where they made their mistakes,
did not offer any more instruction to Eaton.  One of the players drove
the ball close to the barrier directly before Harriet; Eaton and Avery
raced for it, neck by neck.  As before, Eaton by better riding gained a
little; as they came up, she saw Donald's attention was not upon the
ball or the play; instead, he was watching Eaton closely.  And she
realized suddenly that Donald had appreciated as fully as herself that
Eaton's clumsiness was a pretense.  It was no longer merely polo the
two were playing; Donald, suspecting or perhaps even certain that Eaton
knew the game, was trying to make him show it, and Eaton was watchfully
avoiding this.  Just in front of her, Donald, leaning forward, swept
the ball from in front of Eaton's pony's feet.

For a few moments the play was all at the further edge of the field;
then once more the ball crossed with a long curving shot and came
hopping and rolling along the ground close to where she stood.  Again
Donald and Eaton raced for it.

"Stedman!" Avery called to a teammate to prepare to receive the ball
after he had struck it; and he lifted his mallet to drive the ball away
from in front of Eaton.  But as Avery's club was coming down, Eaton,
like a flash and apparently without lifting his mallet at all, caught
the ball a sharp, smacking stroke.  It leaped like a bullet, straight
and true, toward the goal, and before Avery could turn, Eaton was after
it and upon it, but he did not have to strike again; it bounded on and
on between the goal-posts, while together with the applause for the
stranger arose a laugh at the expense of Avery.  But as Donald halted
before her, Harriet saw that he was not angry or discomfited, but was
smiling triumphantly to himself; and as she called in praise to Eaton
when he came close again, she discovered in him only dismay at what he
had done.

The practice ended, and the players rode away.  She waited in the
clubhouse till Avery and Eaton came up from the dressing-rooms.
Donald's triumphant satisfaction seemed to have increased; Eaton was
silent and preoccupied.  Avery, hailed by a group of men, started away;
as he did so, he saluted Eaton almost derisively.  Eaton's return of
the salute was openly hostile.  She looked up at him keenly, trying
unavailingly to determine whether more had taken place between the two
men than she herself had witnessed.

"You had played polo before--and played it well," she charged.  "Why
did you want to pretend you hadn't?"

He made no reply.  As she began to talk of other things, she discovered
with surprise that his manner toward her had taken on even greater
formality and constraint than it had had since his talk with her father
the day before.

The afternoon was not warm enough to sit outside; in the club-house
were gathered groups of men and girls who had come in from the
golf-course or from watching the polo practice.  She found herself now
facing one of these groups composed of some of her own friends, who
were taking tea and wafers in the recess before some windows.  They
motioned to her to join them, and she could not well refuse, especially
as this had been a part of her father's instructions.  The men rose, as
she moved toward them, Eaton with her; she introduced Eaton; a chair
was pushed forward for her, and two of the girls made a place for Eaton
on the window-seat between them.

As they seated themselves and were served, Eaton's participation in the
polo practice was the subject of conversation.  She found, as she tried
to talk with her nearer neighbors, that she was listening instead to
this more general conversation which Eaton had joined.  She saw that
these people had accepted him as one of their own sort to the point of
jesting with him about his "lucky" polo stroke for a beginner; his
manner toward them was very different from what it had been just now to
herself; he seemed at ease and unembarrassed with them.  One or two of
the girls appeared to have been eager--even anxious--to meet him; and
she found herself oddly resenting the attitude of these girls.  Her
feeling was indefinite, vague; it made her flush and grow uncomfortable
to recognize dimly that there was in it some sense of a proprietorship
of her own in him which took alarm at seeing other girls attracted by
him; but underneath it was her uneasiness at his new manner to herself,
which hurt because she could not explain it.  As the party finished
their tea, she looked across to him.

"Are you ready to go, Mr. Eaton?" she asked.

"Whenever Mr. Avery is ready."

"You needn't wait for him unless you wish; I'll drive you back," she
offered.

"Of course I'd prefer that, Miss Santoine."

They went out to her trap, leaving Donald to motor back alone.  As soon
as she had driven out of the club grounds, she let the horse take its
own gait, and she turned and faced him.

"Will you tell me," she demanded, "what I have done this afternoon to
make you class me among those who oppose you?"

"What have you done?  Nothing, Miss Santoine."

"But you are classing me so now."

"Oh, no," he denied so unconvincingly that she felt he was only putting
her off.

Harriet Santoine knew that what had attracted her friends to Eaton was
their recognition of his likeness to themselves; but what had impressed
her in seeing him with them was his difference.  Was it some memory of
his former life that seeing these people had recalled to him, which had
affected his manner toward her?

Again she looked at him.

"Were you sorry to leave the club?" she asked.

"I was quite ready to leave," he answered inattentively.

"It must have been pleasant to you, though, to--to be among the sort of
people again that you--you used to know.  Miss Furden"--she mentioned
one of the girls who had seemed most interested in him, the sister of
the boy whose place he had taken in the polo practice--"is considered a
very attractive person, Mr. Eaton.  I have heard it said that a
man--any man--not to be attracted by her must be forearmed against her
by thought--or memory of some other woman whom he holds dear."

"She seemed very pleasant," he answered automatically.

"Only pleasant?  You were forearmed, then," she said.

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand."

The mechanicalness of his answer reassured her.  "I mean, Mr.
Eaton,"--she forced her tone to be light,--"Miss Furden was not as
attractive to you as she might have been, because there has been some
other woman in your life--whose memory--or--or the expectation of
seeing whom again--protected you."

"Has been?  Oh, you mean before."

"Yes; of course," she answered hastily.

"No--none," he replied simply.  "It's rather ungallant, Miss Santoine,
but I'm afraid I wasn't thinking much about Miss Furden."

She felt that his denial was the truth, for his words confirmed the
impression she had had when singing with him the night before.  She
drove on--or rather let the horse take them on--for a few moments
during which neither spoke.  They had come about a bend in the road,
and the great house of her father loomed ahead.  A motor whizzed past
them, coming from behind.  It was only Avery's car on the way home; but
Harriet had jumped a little in memory of the day before, and her
companion's head had turned quickly toward the car.  She looked up at
him swiftly; his lips were set and his eyes gazed steadily ahead after
Avery, and he drew a little away from her.  A catch in her
breath--almost an audible gasp--surprised her, and she fought a warm
impulse which had all but placed her hand on his.

"Will you tell me something, Miss Santoine?" he asked suddenly.

"What?"

"I suppose, when I was with Mr. Avery this afternoon, that if I had
attempted to escape, he and the chauffeur would have combined to detain
me.  But on the way back here--did you assume that when you took me in
charge you had my parole not to try to depart?"

"No," she said.  "I don't believe Father depended entirely on that."

"You mean that he has made arrangements so that if I--exceeded the
directions given me, I would be picked up?"

"I don't know exactly what they are, but you may be sure that they are
made if they are necessary."

"Thank you," Eaton acknowledged.

She was silent for a moment, thoughtful.  "Do you mean that you have
been considering this afternoon the possibilities of escape?"

"It would be only natural for me to do that, would it not?" he parried.

"No."

"Why not?"

"I don't mean that you might not try to exceed the limits Father has
set for you; you might try that, and of course you would be prevented.
But you will not" (she hesitated, and when she went on she was quoting
her father) "--sacrifice your position here."

"Why not?"

"Because you tried to gain it--or--or if not exactly that, at least you
had some object in wanting to be near Father which you have not yet
gained."  She hesitated once more, not looking at him.  Her words were
unconvincing to herself; that morning, when her father had spoken them,
they had been quite convincing, but since this afternoon she was no
longer sure of their truth.  What it was that had happened during the
afternoon she could not make out; instinctively, however, she felt that
it had so altered Eaton's relations with them that now he might attempt
to escape.

They had reached the front of the house, and a groom sprang to take the
horse.  She let Eaton help her down; as they entered the house,
Avery--who had reached the house only a few moments before them--was
still in the hall.  And again she was startled in the meeting of the
two men by Avery's triumph and the swift flare of defiance on Eaton's
face.

As she went up to her apartments, her maid met her at the door.

"Mr. Santoine wishes you to dine with him, Miss Santoine," the maid
announced.

"Very well," she answered.

She changed from her afternoon dress slowly.  As she did so, she
brought swiftly in review the events of the day.  Chiefly it was to the
polo practice and to Eaton's dismay at his one remarkable stroke that
her mind went.  Had Donald Avery seen something in that which was not
plain to herself?

Harriet Santoine knew polo from watching many games, but she was aware
that--as with any one who knows a game merely as a spectator--she was
unacquainted with many of the finer points of play.  Donald had played
almost since a boy, he was a good, steady, though not a brilliant
player.  Had Donald recognized in Eaton something more than merely a
good player trying to pretend ignorance of the game?  The thought
suddenly checked and startled her.  For how many great polo players
were there in America?  Were there a hundred?  Fifty?  Twenty-five?
She did not know; but she did know that there were so few of them that
their names and many of the particulars of their lives were known to
every follower of the sport.

She halted suddenly in her dressing, perplexed and troubled.  Her
father had sent Eaton to the country club with Avery; there Avery,
plainly, had forced Eaton into the polo game.  By her father's
instructions?  Clearly there seemed to have been purpose in what had
been done, and purpose which had not been confided to herself either by
her father or Avery.  For how could they have suspected that Eaton
would betray himself in the game unless they had also suspected that he
had played polo before?  To suspect that, they must at least have some
theory as to who Eaton was.  But her father had no such theory; he had
been expending unavailingly, so far, every effort to ascertain Eaton's
connections.  So her thoughts led her only into deeper and greater
perplexity, but with them came sudden--and unaccountable--resentment
against Avery.

"Will you see what Mr. Avery is doing?" she said to the maid.

The girl went out and returned in a few moments.  "He is with Mr.
Santoine."

"Thank you."

At seven Harriet went in to dinner with her father.  The blind man was
now alone; he had been awaiting her, and they were served at once.  All
through the dinner she was nervous and moody; for she knew she was
going to do something she had never done before: she was going to
conceal something from her father.  She told herself it was not really
concealment, for Donald must have already told him.  It was no more,
then, than that she herself would not inform upon Eaton, but would
leave that to Avery.  So she told of Eaton's reception at the country
club, and of his taking part in the polo practice and playing badly;
but of her own impression that Eaton knew the game and her present
conviction that Donald Avery had seen even more than that, she said
nothing.  She watched her father's face, but she could see there no
consciousness that she was omitting anything in her account.

An hour later, when after reading aloud to him for a time, he dismissed
her, she hesitated before going.

"You've seen Donald?" she asked.

"Yes."

"What did he tell you?"

"The same as you have told, though not quite so fully."

She was outside the door and in the hall before realization came to her
that her father's reply could mean only that Donald, like herself, had
concealed his discovery of Eaton's ability to play polo.  She turned
back suddenly to return to her father; then again she hesitated,
stopped with her hand upon the blind man's door by her recollection of
Donald's enmity to Eaton.  Why Donald had not told, she could not
imagine; the only conclusion she could reach was that Donald's silence
in some way menaced Eaton; for--suddenly now--it came to her what this
must mean to Eaton.  All that Eaton had been so careful to hide
regarding himself and his connections must be obtainable by Avery now.
Why Eaton had played at all; why he had been afraid to refuse the
invitation to play, she could not know; but sympathy and fear for him
swept over her, as she comprehended that it was to Avery the betrayal
had been made and that Avery, for some purpose of his own, was
withholding this betrayal to make use of it as he saw fit.

She moved once more to return to her father; again she stopped; then,
swiftly, she turned and went downstairs.

As she descended, she saw in the lower hall the stenographer, Miss
Davis, sitting waiting.  There was no adequate reason for the girl's
being there at that hour; she had come--she said, as she rose to greet
Harriet--to learn whether she would be wanted the next day; she had
already seen Mr. Avery, and he would not want her.  Harriet, telling
her she would not need her, offered to send a servant home with her, as
the roads were dark.  Miss Davis refused this and went out at once.
Harriet, as the door was closed behind the girl, looked hurriedly about
for Avery.  She did not find him, nor at first did she find Eaton
either.  She discovered him presently in the music-room with
Blatchford.  Blatchford at once excused himself, tired evidently of his
task of watching over Eaton.

Harriet caught herself together and controlled herself to her usual
manner.

"What shall it be this evening, Mr. Eaton?" she asked.  "Music?
Billiards?"

"Billiards, if you like," he responded.

They went up to the billiard room, and for an hour played steadily; but
her mind was not upon the game--nor, she saw, was his.  Several times
he looked at his watch; he seemed to her to be waiting.  Finally, as
they ended a game, he put his cue back in the rack and faced her.

"Miss Santoine," he said, "I want to ask a favor."

"What is it?"

"I want to go out--unaccompanied."

"Why?"

"I wish to speak to a friend who will be waiting for me."

"How do you know?"

"He got word to me at the country club to-day.  Excuse me--I did not
mean to inform on Mr. Avery; he was really most vigilant.  I believe he
only made one slip."

"He was not the only one observing you."

"I suppose not.  In fact, I was certain of it.  However, I received a
message which was undoubtedly authentic and had not been overseen."

"But you were not able to make reply."

"I was not able to receive all that was necessary."

She considered for a moment.  "What do you want me to do?"

"Either because of my presence or because of what has happened--or
perhaps normally--you have at least four men about the grounds, two of
whom seem to be constantly on duty to observe any one who may approach."

"Or try to leave."

"Precisely."

"There are more than two."

"I was stating the minimum."

"Well?"

"I wish you to order them to let me pass and go to a place perhaps ten
minutes' walk from here.  If you do so, I will return at the latest
within half an hour" (he glanced at his watch) "--to be definite,
before a quarter of eleven."

"Why should I do this?"

He came close to her and faced her.  "What do you think of me now, Miss
Santoine?"

"Why--"

"You are quite certain now, are you not, that I had nothing to do with
the attack on your father--that is, in any other connection than that
the attack might be meant for me.  I denied yesterday that the men in
the automobile meant to run me down; you did not accept that denial.  I
may as well admit to you that I know perfectly well they meant to kill
me; the man on the train also meant to kill me.  They are likely to try
again to kill me."

"We recognize that too," she answered.  "The men on watch about the
house are warned to protect you as well as watch you."

"I appreciate that."

"But are they all you have to fear, Mr. Eaton?"  She was thinking of
Donald Avery.

He seemed to recognize what was in her mind; his eyes, as he gazed
intently at her, clouded, then darkened still more with some succeeding
thought.  "No, not all."

"And it will aid you to--to protect yourself if you see your friend
to-night?"

"Yes."

"But why should not one of Father's men be with you?"

"Unless I were alone, my friend would not appear."

"I see."

He moved away from her, then came back; the importance to him of what
he was asking was very plain to her--he was shaking nervously with it.
"Miss Santoine," he said intently, "you do not think badly of me now.
I do not have to doubt that; I can see it; you have wanted me to see
it.  I ask you to trust me for a few minutes to-night.  I cannot tell
you whom I wish to see or why, except that the man comes to do me a
service and to endanger no one--except those trying to injure me."

She herself was trembling with her desire to help him, but recollection
of her father held her back; then swiftly there came to her the thought
of Gabriel Warden; because Warden had tried to help him--in some way
and for some reason which she did not know--Warden had been killed.
And feeling that in helping him there might be danger to herself, she
suddenly and eagerly welcomed that danger, and made her decision.
"You'll promise, Mr. Eaton, not to try to--leave?"

"Yes."

"Let us go out," she said.

She led the way downstairs and, in the hall, picked up a cape; he threw
it over her shoulders and brought his overcoat and cap.  But in his
absorption he forgot to put them on until, as they went out into the
garden together, she reminded him; then he put on the cap.  The night
was clear and cool, and no one but themselves seemed to be about the
house.

"Which way do you want to go?" she asked.

He turned toward the forested acres of the grounds which ran down to a
ravine at the bottom of which a little stream trickled toward the lake.
As they approached the side of this ravine, a man appeared and
investigated them.  He recognized the girl's figure and halted.

"It's all right, Willis," she said quietly.

"Yes, ma'am."

They passed the man and went down the path into the ravine and up the
tiny valley.  Eaton halted.

"Your man's just above there?" he asked her.

"Yes."

"He'll stay there?"

"Yes; or close by."

"Then you don't mind waiting here a few moments for me?"

"No," she said.  "You will return here?"

"Yes," he said; and with that permission, he left her.

Both had spoken so that the man above could not have heard; and Harriet
now noticed that, as her companion hurried ahead, he went almost
noiselessly.  As he disappeared, the impulse to call him back almost
controlled her; then she started to follow him; but she did not.  She
stood still, shivering a little now in the cold; and as she listened,
she no longer heard his footsteps.  What she had done was done; then
just as she was telling herself that it must be many moments before she
would know whether he was coming back, she heard him returning; at some
little distance, he spoke her name so as not to frighten her.  She knew
at once it was he, but a change in the tone surprised her.  She stepped
forward to meet him.

"You found your friend?"

"Yes."

"What did he tell you?"  Her hand caught his sleeve in an impulse of
concern, but she tried to make it seem as though she grasped him to
guide her through the trees of the ravine.  "I mean what is wrong that
you did not expect?"

She heard his breath come fast.

"Nothing," he denied.

"No; you must tell me!"  Her hand was still on his arm.

"I cannot."

"Why can you not?"

"Why?"

"Can't you trust me?"

"Trust you!" he cried.  He turned to her and seized her hands.  "You
ask me to--trust you!"

"Yes; I've trusted you.  Can't you believe as much in me?"

"Believe in you, Miss Santoine!"  He crushed her fingers in his grasp.
"Oh, my God, I wish I could!"

"You wish you could?" she echoed.  The tone of it struck her like a
blow, and she tore her hands away.  "What do you mean by that?"

He made no reply but stood staring at her through the dark.  "We must
go back," he said queerly.  "You're cold."

She did not answer but started back up the path to the house.  He
seemed to have caught himself together against some impulse that
stirred him strongly.  "The man out there who saw us?  He will report
to your father, Miss Santoine?" he asked unsteadily.

"Reports for Father are first made to me."

"I see."  He did not ask her what she was going to do; if he was
assuming that her permission to exceed his set limits bound her not to
report to her father, she did not accept that assumption, though she
would not report to the blind man to-night, for she knew he must now be
asleep.  But she felt that Eaton was no longer thinking of this.  As
they entered the house and he helped her lay off her cape, he suddenly
faced her.

"We are in a strange relation to each other, Miss Santoine--stranger
than you know," he said unevenly.

She waited for him to go on.

"We have talked sometimes of the likeness of the everyday life to war,"
he continued.  "In war men and women sometimes do or countenance things
they know to be evil because they believe that by means of them there
is accomplished some greater good; in peace, in life, men--and
women--sometimes do the same.  When the time comes that you comprehend
what our actual relation is, I--I want you to know that I understand
that whatever you have done was done because you believed it might
bring about the greater good.  I--I have seen in you--in your
father--only kindness, high honor, sympathy.  If I did not know--"

She started, gazing at him; what he said had absolutely no meaning for
her.  "What is it that you know?" she demanded.

He did not reply; his hand went out to hers, seized it, crushed it, and
he started away.  As he went up the stair--still, in his absorption,
carrying cap and overcoat--she stood staring after him in perplexity.



CHAPTER XVII

THE FIGHT IN THE STUDY

Eaton dismissed the man who had been waiting in his rooms for him; he
locked the door and carefully drew down all the window-shades.  Then he
put his overcoat, folded as he had been carrying it under his arm, on
the writing table in the center of the room, and from its folds and
pockets took a "breast-drill" such as iron workers use in drilling
steel, an automatic pistol with three clips of cartridges, an electric
flashlight and a little bottle of nitroglycerine.  He loaded the pistol
and put it in his pocket; then he carefully inspected the other things.

The room he was in, the largest of his suite, resembled Santoine's
study on the floor below in the arrangement of its windows, though it
was smaller than the study.  The writing-desk in its center occupied
much the position of Santoine's large desk; he moved it slightly to
make the relative positions coincide.  The couch against the end wall
represented the position of the study's double doors.  Eaton switched
out the lights, and starting at the windows, he crossed the room in the
darkness, avoiding the desk, and stopping a few feet to the right of
the couch; here he flashed his light upon the wall at the height of the
little wall-safe to the right of the doors in the study below.  A dozen
times he did this, passing from the windows to the position of the
wall-safe and only momentarily flashing his light.

He assured himself thus of being able to pass in the dark from the
windows of Santoine's study to the wall-safe.  As the study was larger
than this room, he computed that he must add two steps to what he took
here in each direction.  He paid no attention to the position of the
safe to the left of the doors, for he had kept watch of the vase on the
table in the lower hall, and the only sign he had found there had told
him that what he wanted was in the safe to the right.

He raised a shade and window, then, and sat in the dark.  The night was
cloudy and very dark; and the lake was smooth with barely a ripple.
Near at hand a steamer passed, blazing with lights, and further out he
saw the mast-head light of some other steamer.  The lake was still
ice-locked at its northern end, and so the farther of these steamers,
he knew, was bound to some southern Michigan port; the nearer was one
of the Chicago-Milwaukee boats.  For some moments after it had passed,
the waves of its wake washed in and sounded on the shore at the foot of
the bluff.  Next Eaton made out the hum of a motor-car approaching the
house.  It was Avery, who evidently had been out and was now returning;
the chauffeur spoke the name in his reply to some question as the car
swung away to the garage.  Eaton still sat in the dark.  By degrees all
noises ceased in the house, even in the servants' quarters.  Twice
Eaton leaned forward looking out of the window and found all quiet; but
both times he settled back in his chair and waited.

The wash of waves, as from a passing boat, sounded again on the shore.
Eaton leaned nearer the window and stared out.  There was no light in
sight showing any boat; but the waves on the shore were distinct;
indeed, they had been more distinct than those from the steamer.  They
must have been made by a large vessel or from a small ship close in and
moving fast.  The waves came in first on the north and swept south;
Eaton strained his eyes and now saw a vague blur off to the south and
within half a mile of shore--a boat without lights.  If it had passed
at high speed, it had stopped now.  He watched this for some time; but
he could make out no more, and soon he could not be sure even that the
blur was there.

He gazed at the south wing of the house; it was absolutely dark and
quiet; the windows of the first floor were closed and the curtains
drawn; but to-night there was no light in the room.  The windows of the
room on the second floor were open; Basil Santoine was undoubtedly
asleep.  Eaton gazed again at the lower room.  Then in the dark he
moved to the table where he had left his overcoat, and distributed in
his pockets and within his clothing the articles he had brought; and
now he felt again in the overcoat and brought out a short, strong bar
of steel curved and flattened at one end--a "jimmy" for forcing the
windows.

Eaton slipped off his shoes and went to his room door; he opened the
door and found the hall dark and quiet.  He stepped out, closing his
door carefully behind him, and with great caution he descended the
stairs.  Below, all was quiet; the red embers and glowing charcoal of
wood fires which had blazed on the hearths gave the only light.  Eaton
crept to the doors of the blind man's study and softly tried them.
They were, as he had expected, locked.  He went to a window in the
drawing-room which was set in a recess and so placed that it was not
visible from other windows in the house.  He opened this window and let
himself down upon the lawn.

There he stood still for a moment, listening.  There was no alarm of
any sort.  He crept along beside the house till he came to the first
windows of the south wing.  He tried these carefully and then went on.
He gained the south corner of the wing, unobserved or at least without
sign that he had been seen, and went on around it.

He stopped at the first high French window on the south.  It was partly
hidden from view from south and west by a column of the portico, and
was the one he had selected for his operations; as he tried to slip his
jimmy under the bottom of the sash, the window, to his amazement,
opened silently upon its hinges; it had not been locked.  The heavy
curtains within hung just in front of him; he put out his hand and
parted them.  Then he started back in astonishment and crouched close
to the ground; inside the room was a man moving about, flashing an
electric torch before him and then exploring an instant in darkness and
flashing his torch again.

The unexpectedness of this sight took for an instant Eaton's breath and
power of moving; he had not been at all prepared for this; now he knew
suddenly that he ought to have been prepared for it.  If the man within
the room was not the one who had attacked him with the motor, he was
closely allied with that man, and what he was after now was the same
thing Eaton was after.  Eaton looked about behind him; no one
apparently had been left on watch outside.  He drew his pistol, and
loosing the safety, he made it ready to fire; with his left hand, he
clung to the short, heavy jimmy.  He stepped into the great room
through the curtains, taking care they did not jingle the rings from
which they hung; he carefully let the curtains fall together behind
him, and treading noiselessly in his stocking feet, he advanced upon
the man, moving forward in each period of darkness between the flashes
of the electric torch.

The man, continuing to flash his light about, plainly had heard
nothing, and the curtains had prevented him from being warned by the
chill of the night air that the window was open; but now, at the
further side of the room, another electric torch flashed out.  Another
man had been in the room; he neither alarmed nor was alarmed by the man
flashing the first light; each had known the other's presence before.
There were at least two men in the room, working together--or rather,
one was working, the other supervising; for Eaton heard now a steady,
almost inaudible grinding noise as the second man worked.  Eaton halted
again and waited; if there were two, there might be others.

The discovery of the second man had not made Eaton afraid; his pulses
were beating faster and hotter, and he felt the blood rushing to his
head and his hands growing cold with his excitement; but he was
conscious of no fear.  He crouched and crept forward noiselessly again.
No other light appeared in the room, and there was no sound elsewhere
from the darkness; but the man who supervised had moved closer to the
other.  The grinding noise had stopped; it was followed by a sharp
click; the men, side by side, were bending over something; and the
light of the man who had been working, for a fraction of a second shot
into the face of the other.  It did not delay at all; it was a purely
accidental flash and could not have been said to show the features at
all--only a posture, an expression, a personality of a strong and cruel
man.  He muttered some short, hoarse imprecation at the other; but
before Eaton heard the voice, he had stopped as if struck, and his
breath had gone from him.

His instant's glimpse of that face astounded, stunned, stupefied him.
He could not have seen that man!  The fact was impossible!  He must
have been mad; his mind must have become unreliable to let him even
imagine it.  Then came the sound of the voice--the voice of the man
whose face he had seen!  It was he!  And, in place of the paralysis of
the first instant, now a wild, savage throe of passion seized Eaton;
his pulses leaped so it seemed they must burst his veins, and he gulped
and choked.  He had not filled in with insane fancy the features of the
man whom he had seen; the voice witnessed too that the man in the dark
by the wall was he whom Eaton--if he could have dreamed such a fact as
now had been disclosed--would have circled the world to catch and
destroy; yet now with the destruction of that man in his power--for he
had but to aim and empty his automatic pistol at five paces--such
destruction at this moment could not suffice; mere shooting that man
would be petty, ineffectual.  Eaton's fingers tightened on the handle
of his pistol, but he held it now not as a weapon to fire but as a dull
weight with which to strike.  The grip of his left hand clamped onto
the short steel bar, and with lips parted--breathing once, it seemed,
for each heartbeat and yet choking, suffocating--he leaped forward.

At the same instant--so that he could not have been alarmed by Eaton's
leap--the man who had been working moved his torch, and the light fell
upon Eaton.

"Look out!" the man cried in alarm to his companion; with the word the
light of the torch vanished.

The man toward whom Eaton rushed did not have time to switch off his
light; he dropped it instead; and as Eaton sprang for him, he crouched.
Eaton, as he struck forward, found nothing; but below his knees, Eaton
felt a man's powerful arms tackling him; as he struggled to free
himself, a swift, savage lunge lifted him from his feet; he was thrown
and hurled backwards.

Eaton ducked his head forward and struggled to turn, as he went down,
so that a shoulder and not his head or back would strike the floor
first.  He succeeded in this, though in his effort he dropped the
jimmy.  He clung with his right hand to the pistol, and as he struck
the floor, the pistol shot off; the flash of flame spurted toward the
ceiling.  Instantly the grip below his knees was loosed; the man who
had tackled him and hurled him back had recoiled in the darkness.
Eaton got to his feet but crouched and crept about behind a table,
aiming his pistol over it in the direction in which he supposed the
other men must be.  The sound of the shot had ceased to roar through
the room; the gases from the powder only made the air heavier.  The
other two men in the room also waited, invisible and silent.  The only
light, in the great curtained room, came from the single electric torch
lying on the floor.  This lighted the legs of a chair, a corner of a
desk and a circle of books in the cases on the wall.  As Eaton's eyes
became more accustomed to the darkness, he could see vague shapes of
furniture.  If a man moved, he might be made out; but if he stayed
still, probably he would remain indistinguishable.

The other men seemed also to have recognized this; no one moved in the
room, and there was complete silence.

Eaton knelt on one knee behind his table; now he was wildly, exultantly
excited; his blood leaped hotly to his hand pointing his pistol; he
panted, almost audibly, for breath, but though his pulse throbbed
through his head too, his mind was clear and cool as he reckoned his
situation and his chances.  He had crossed the Pacific, the Continent,
he had schemed and risked everything with the mere hope of getting into
this room to discover evidence with which to demand from the world
righting of the wrong which had driven him as a fugitive for five
years; and here he found the man who was the cause of it all, before
him in the same room a few paces away in the dark!

For it was impossible that this was not that man; and Eaton knew now
that this was he who must have been behind and arranging and directing
the attacks upon him, Eaton had not only seen him and heard his voice,
but he had felt his grasp; that sudden, instinctive crouch before a
charge, and the savage lunge and tackle were the instant, natural acts
of an old linesman on a championship team in the game of football as it
was played twenty years before.  That lift of the opponent off his feet
and the heavy lunge hurling him back to fall on his head was what one
man--in the rougher, more cruel days of the college game--had been
famous for.  On the football field that throw sufficed to knock a
helmeted opponent unconscious; here it was meant, beyond doubt, to do
more.

Upon so much, at least, Eaton's mind at once was clear; here was his
enemy whom he must destroy if he himself were not first destroyed.
Other thoughts, recasting of other relations altered or overturned in
their bearing by the discovery of this man here--everything else could
and must wait upon the mighty demand of that moment upon Eaton to
destroy this enemy now or be himself destroyed.

Eaton shook in his passion; yet coolly he now realized that his left
shoulder, which had taken the shock of his fall, was numb.  He shifted
his pistol to cover a vague form which had seemed to move; but, if it
had stirred, it was still again now.  Eaton strained to listen.

It seemed certain that the noise of the shot, if not the sound of the
struggle which preceded it, must have raised an alarm, though the room
was in a wing and shut off by double doors from the main part of the
house; it was possible that the noise had not gone far; but it must
have been heard in the room directly above and connected with the study
by a staircase at the head of which was a door.  Basil Santoine, as
Eaton knew, slept above; a nurse must be waiting on duty somewhere
near.  Eaton had seen the row of buttons which the blind man had within
arm's-length with which he must be able to summon every servant in the
house.  So it could not last much longer now--this deadlock in the
dark--the two facing one, and none of them daring to move.  And one of
the two, at least, seemed to have recognized that.

Eaton had moved, warily and carefully, but he had moved; a revolver
flashed before him.  Instantly and without consciousness that his
finger pulled the trigger, Eaton's pistol flashed back.  In front of
him, the flame flashed again, and another spurt of fire spat at one
side.

Eaton fired back at this--he was prostrate on the floor now, and
whether he had been hit or not he did not yet know, or whether the
blood flowing down his face was only from a splinter sprayed from the
table behind which he had hid.  He fired again, holding his pistol far
out to one side to confuse the aim of the others; he thought that they
too were doing the same and allowed for it in his aim.  He pulled his
trigger a ninth time--he had not counted his shots, but he knew he had
had seven cartridges in the magazine and one in the barrel--and the
pistol clicked without discharging.  He rolled over further away from
the spot where he had last fired and pulled an extra clip of cartridges
from his pocket.

The blood was flowing hot over his face.  He made no effort to staunch
it or even to feel with his fingers to find exactly where or how badly
he had been hit.  He jerked the empty cartridge clip from his pistol
butt and snapped in the other.  He swept his sleeve over his face to
clear the blood from his brows and eyes and stared through the dark
with pistol at arm's-length loaded and ready.  Blood spurted over his
face again; another sweep of his sleeve cleared it; and he moved his
pistol-point back and forth in the dark.  The flash of the firing from
the other two revolvers had stopped; the roar of the shots had ceased
to deafen.  Eaton had not counted the shots at him any better than he
had kept track of his own firing; but he knew now that the other two
must have emptied their magazines as well as he.  It was possible, of
course, that he had killed one of them or wounded one mortally; but he
had no way to know that.  He could hear the click as one of the men
snapped his revolver shut again after reloading; then another click
came.  Both the others had reloaded.

"All right?" the voice which Eaton knew questioned the other.

"All right," came the reply.

But, if they were all right, they made no offer to fire first again.
Nor yet did they dare to move.  Eaton knew they lay on the floor like
himself.  They lay with fingers on trigger, as he also lay, waiting
again for him to move so they could shoot at him.  But surely now the
sound of the firing in that room must have reached the man in the room
above; surely he must be summoning his servants!

Eaton listened; there was still no sound from the rest of the house.
But overhead now, he heard an almost imperceptible pattering--the sound
of a bare-footed man crossing the floor; and he knew that the blind man
in the bedroom above was getting up.



CHAPTER XVIII

UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS

Basil Santoine was oversensitive to sound, as are most of the blind; in
the world of darkness in which he lived, sounds were by far the most
significant--and almost the only--means he had of telling what went on
around him; he passed his life in listening for or determining the
nature of sounds.  So the struggle which ended in Eaton's crash to the
floor would have waked him without the pistol-shot immediately
following.  That roused him wide-awake immediately and brought him
sitting up in bed, forgetful of his own condition.

Santoine at once recognized the sound as a shot; but in the instant of
waking, he had not been able to place it more definitely than to know
that it was close.  His hand went at once to the bellboard, and he rang
at the same time for the nurse outside his door and for the steward.
But for a few moments after that first shot, nothing followed; there
was silence.  Santoine was not one of those who doubt their hearing;
that was the sense in which the circumstances of his life made him
implicitly trust; he had heard a shot near by; the fact that nothing
more followed did not make him doubt it; it made him think to explain
it.

It was plain that no one else in the house had been stirred by it; for
his windows were open and other windows in bedrooms in the main part of
the house were open; no one had raised any cry of alarm.  So the shot
was where he alone had heard it; that meant indoors, in the room below.

Santoine pressed the bells quickly again and sat up straighter and more
strained; no one breaking into the house for plate or jewelry would
enter through that room; he would have to break through double doors to
reach any other part of the house; Santoine did not consider the
possibility of robbery of that sort long enough to have been said to
consider it at all; what he felt was that the threat which had been
hanging vaguely over himself ever since Warden's murder was being
fulfilled.  But it was not Santoine himself that was being attacked; it
was something Santoine possessed.  There was only one sort of valuable
article for which one might enter that room below.  And those articles--

The blind man clenched his jaw and pressed the bells to call all the
men-servants in the house and Avery also.  But still he got no response.

A shot in the room below meant, of course, that in addition to the
intruder there must be a defender; the defender might have been the one
who fired or the one who was killed.  For it seemed likely, in the
complete silence now, that whoever had fired had disposed of his
adversary and was undisturbed.  At that moment the second shot--the
first fired at Eaton--rang out below; Eaton's return fire followed
nearly simultaneously, and then the shot of the third man.  These
explosions and the next three the blind man in bed above was able to
distinguish; there were three men, at least, in the room below firing
at each other; then, as the automatic revolvers roared on, he no longer
could separate attack and reply; there might be three men, there might
be half a dozen; the fusillade of the automatics overlapped; it was
incessant.  Then all at once the firing stopped; there was no sound or
movement of any sort; everything seemed absolutely still below.

The blind man pressed and pressed the buttons on his bellboard.  Any
further alarm, after the firing below, seemed superfluous.  But his
wing of the house had been built for him proof against sound in the
main portion of the building; the house, therefore, was deadened to
noise within the wing.  Santoine, accustomed to considering the manner
in which sounds came to himself, knew how these sounds would come to
others.  Coming from the open windows of the wing and entering the open
windows of the other parts of the house, they would not appear to the
household to come from within the house at all; they would appear to
come from some part of the grounds or from the beach.

Yet some one or more than one from his house must be below or have been
there.  Santoine pressed all the bells again and then got up.  He had
heard absolutely no sound outside, as must be made by any one escaping
from the room below; but the battle seemed over.  One side must have
destroyed the other.  From the character of the fighting, it was most
probable that some one had secretly entered the room--Santoine thought
of that one definitely now as the man he was entertaining as Eaton; a
servant, or some one else from the house, had surprised him in the room
and was shot; other servants, roused by the alarm, rushed in and were
shot.  Santoine counted that, if his servants had survived, one of them
must be coming to tell him what had happened.  But there was no noise
now nor any movement at all below.  His side had been beaten, or both
sides had ceased to exist.  Those alternatives alone occurred to the
blind man; the number of shots fired within the confines of the room
below precluded any other explanation.  He did not imagine the fact
that the battle had been fought in the dark; himself perpetually in the
dark, he thought of others always in the light.

The blind man stood barefooted on the floor, his hands clasping in one
of the bitterest moments of his rebellion against, and defiance of, his
helplessness of blindness.  Below him--as he believed--his servants had
been sacrificing life for him; there in that room he held in trust that
which affected the security, the faith, the honor of others; his
guarding that trust involved his honor no less.  And particularly, now,
he knew he was bound, at whatever cost, to act; for he did not doubt
now but that his half-prisoned guest, whom Santoine had not
sufficiently guarded, was at the bottom of the attack.  The blind man
believed, therefore, that it was because of his own retention here of
Eaton that the attack had been made, his servants had been killed, the
private secrets of his associates were in danger.  Santoine crossed to
the door of the hall and opened it and called.  No one answered
immediately; he started to call again; then he checked himself and shut
the door, and opened that to the top of the stairs descending to his
study below.

The smoke and fumes of the firing rushed into his face; it half choked
him; but it decided him.  He was going to go down.  Undoubtedly there
was danger below; but that was why he did not call again at the other
door for some one else to run a risk for him.  Basil Santoine, always
held back and always watched and obliged to submit to guard even of
women in petty matters because of his blindness, held one thing dearer
far than life--and that thing was the trust which other men reposed in
him.  Since it was that trust which was threatened, the impulse now, in
that danger, to act for himself and not be protected and pushed back by
any one who merely could see, controlled him.

He put his hand on the rail and started to descend the stairs.  He was
almost steady in step and he had firm grasp on the rail; he noticed
that now to wonder at it.  When he had aroused at the sound of firing,
his blindness, as always when something was happening about him, was
obtruded upon him.  He felt helpless because he was blind, not because
he had been injured.  He had forgotten entirely that for almost two
weeks he had not stirred from bed; he had risen and stood and walked,
without staggering, to the door and to the top of the stairs before,
now, he remembered.  So what he already had done showed him that he had
merely again to put his injury from his mind and he could go on.  He
went down the stairs almost steadily.

There was still no sound or any evidence of any one below.  The gases
of the firing were clearing away; the blind man could feel the slight
breeze which came in through the windows of his bedroom and went with
him down the stairs; and now, as he reached the lower steps, there was
no other sound in the room but the tread of the blind man's bare feet
on the stairs.  This sound was slight, but enough to attract attention
in the silence there.  Santoine halted on the next to the last
step--the blind count stairs, and he had gone down twenty-one--and
realized fully his futility; but now he would not retreat or merely
call for help.

"Who is here?" he asked distinctly.  "Is any one here?  Who is here?"

No one answered.  And now Santoine knew by the sense which let him feel
whether it was night or day, that the room was really dark--dark for
others as well as for himself; the lights were not burning.  So an
exaltation, a sense of physical capability, came to Santoine; in the
dark he was as fit, as capable as any other man--not more capable, for,
though he was familiar with the room, the furniture had been moved in
the struggle; he had heard the overturning of the chairs.

Santoine stepped down on the floor, and in his uncertainty as to the
position of the furniture, felt along the wall.  There were bookcases
there, but he felt and passed along them swiftly, until he came to the
case which concealed the safe at the left side of the doors.  The books
were gone from that case; his bare toes struck against them where they
had been thrown down on the floor.  The blind man, his pulse beating
tumultuously, put his hand through the case and felt the panel behind.
That was slid back exposing the safe; and the door of the safe stood
open.  Santoine's hands felt within the safe swiftly.  The safe was
empty.

He recoiled from it, choking back an ejaculation.  The entry to this
room had been made for the purpose which he supposed; and the thieves
must have succeeded in their errand.  The blind man, in his uselessness
for pursuit, could delay calling others to act for him no longer.  He
started toward the bell, when some scrape on the floor--not of the sort
to be accounted for by an object moved by the wind--sounded behind him.
Santoine swung toward the sound and stood listening again; and then,
groping with his hands stretched out before him, he left the wall and
stepped toward the center of the room.  He took two steps--three,
four--with no result; then his foot trod into some fluid, thick and
sticky and not cold.

Santoine stooped and put a finger-tip into the fluid and brought it
near his nose.  It was what he supposed it must be--blood.  He raised
his foot and with his great toe traced the course of the blood; it led
to one side, and then the blind man's toe touched some hard, metal
object which was warm.  He stooped and picked it up and felt over it
with his fingers.  It was an electric torch with the light turned on.
Santoine stood holding it with the warm end--the lighted end--turned
away from him; he swiftly switched it off; what put Santoine at a
disadvantage with other men was light.  But since there had been this
light, there might be others; there had been at least three men,
perhaps, therefore, three lights.  Santoine's senses could not perceive
light so dim and soft; he stood trying fruitlessly to determine whether
there were other lights.

He could hear now some one breathing--more than one person.  From the
house, still shut off by its double, sound-proof doors, he could hear
nothing; but some one outside the house was hurrying up to the open
window at the south end of the room.

That one came to, or just inside the window, parting the curtains.  He
was breathing hard from exertion or from excitement.

"Who is it?" Santoine challenged clearly.

"Basil!"  Blatchford's voice exclaimed his recognition in amazement.
"Basil; that is you!  What are you doing down here?"  Blatchford
started forward.

"Wait!" Santoine ordered sharply.  "Don't come any further; stand
there!"

Blatchford protested but obeyed.  "What is it?  What are you doing down
here, Basil?  What is the matter here?  What has happened?"

"What brought you here?" Santoine demanded instead of reply.  "You were
running outside; why?  What was out there?  What did you see?"

"See?  I didn't see anything--except the window here open when I came
up.  But I heard shots, Basil.  I thought they were toward the road.  I
went out there; but I found nothing.  I was coming back when I saw the
window open.  I'm sure I heard shots."

"They were here," Santoine said.  "But you can see; and you just heard
the shots.  You didn't see anything!" the blind man accused.  "You
didn't see any one going away from here!"

"Basil, what has happened here?"

Santoine felt again the stickiness at his feet.  "Three or four persons
fought in this room, Wallace.  Some--or one was hurt.  There's blood on
the floor.  There are two here I can hear breathing; I suppose they're
hurt.  Probably the rest are gone.  The room's all dark, isn't it?
That is you moving about now, Wallace?"

"Yes."

"What are you doing?"

"Looking for the light."

"Don't."

"Why, Basil?"

"Get help first.  I think those who aren't hurt are gone.  They must be
gone.  But--get help first, Wallace."

"And leave you here?" Blatchford rejoined.  He had not halted again;
the blind man heard his cousin still moving along the wall.  The
electric switch clicked, and Santoine knew that the room was flooded
with light.  Santoine straightened, strained, turning his head a little
to better listen.  With the flashing on of the light, he had heard the
sharp, involuntary start of Blatchford as he saw the room; and, besides
that, Santoine heard movement now elsewhere in the room.  Then the
blind man heard his friend's cry.  "Good God!"

It was not, Santoine instantly sensed, from mere surprise or fright at
finding some intruder in the room; that must have been expected.  This
was from something more astounding, from something incredible.

"What is it?" Santoine cried.

"Good God!  Basil!"

"Who is it, Wallace?" the blind man knew now that his friend's
incoherence came from recognition of some one, not alone from some
sight of horror.  "Who is it, Wallace?" he repeated, curbing himself.

"Basil!  It is---it must be--I know him!  It is--"

A shot roared in front of Santoine.  The blind man, starting back at
the shock of it, drew in the powder-gas with his breath; but the bullet
was not for him.  Instead, he heard his friend scream and choke and
half call, half cough.

"Wallace!" Santoine cried out; but his voice was lost in the roar of
another shot.  This was not fired by the same one who had just fired;
at least, it was not from the same part of the room; and instantly,
from another side, a third shot came.  Then, in the midst of rush and
confusion, another shot roared; the light was out again; then all was
gone; the noise was outside; the room was still except for a cough and
choke as Blatchford--somewhere on the floor in front of the blind
man--tried again to speak.

Basil Santoine, groping with his hands, found him.  The blind man knelt
and with his fingers went over his cousin's face; he found the wound on
the neck where Blatchford's life was running away.  He was still
conscious.  Santoine knew that he was trying his best to speak, to say
just one word--a name--to tell whom he had seen and who had shot him;
but he could not.

Santoine put his hand over a hand of his cousin.  "That's all right,
Wally; that's all right," he assured him.  And now he knew that
Blatchford's consciousness was going forever.  Santoine knew what must
be most on his friend's mind at that last moment as it had been most on
his mind during more than thirty years.  "And about my blindness,
Wallace, that was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I'd never
have done what I have if I hadn't been blind."

Blatchford's fingers closed tightly on Santoine's; they did not relax
but now remained closed, though without strength.  The blind man bowed
and then lifted his head.  His friend was dead, and others were rushing
into the room--the butler, one of the chauffeurs, Avery, more
menservants; the light was on again, and amid the tumult and alarms of
the discoveries shown by the light, some rushed to the windows to the
south in pursuit of those who had escaped from the room.  Avery and one
or two others rushed up to Santoine; now the blind man heard, above
their cries and alarms, the voice of his daughter.  She was beside him,
where he knelt next the body of Blatchford, and she put back others who
crowded about.

"Father!  What has happened?  Why are you here?  Oh, Father, Cousin
Wallace!"

"He is dead," Santoine said.  "They shot him!"

"Father; how was it?  You--"

"There are none of them in the room?" he asked her in reply.

"None of them?"

Her failure to understand answered him.  If any of the men who fought
there had not got away, she would have understood.  "They were not all
together," he said.  "They were three, at least.  One was not with the
others.  They fired at each other, I believe, after one shot him."
Santoine's hand was still in Blatchford's.  "I heard them below."  He
told shortly how he had gone down, how Blatchford had entered and been
shot.

The blind man, still kneeling, heard the ordering and organizing of
others for the pursuit; now women servants from the other part of the
house were taking charge of affairs in the room.  He heard Avery
questioning them; none of the servants had had part in the fight in the
room; there had been no signal heard, Santoine was told, upon any of
the bells which he had tried to ring from his room.  Eaton was the only
person from the house who was missing.  Harriet had gone for a moment;
the blind man called her back and demanded that she stay beside him; he
had not yet moved from Blatchford's body.  His daughter returned; her
hand on his shoulder was trembling and cold--he could feel it cold
through the linen of his pajama jacket.

"Father, you must go back to bed!" she commanded uselessly.  He would
not stir yet.  A servant, at her call, brought a robe which she put
over him, and she drew slippers on his feet.

"They came, at least some of them came,"--Santoine had risen, fighting
down his grief over his cousin's death; he stood holding the robe about
him--"for what was in your safe, Harriet."

"I know; I saw it open."

"What is gone?" Santoine demanded.

He heard her picking up the contents of the safe from the floor and
carrying them to the table and examining them; he was conscious that,
having done this, she stood staring about the room as though to see
whether anything had escaped her search.

"What is gone?" Santoine repeated.

"Why--nearly all the formal papers seem to be gone; lists and
agreements relating to a dozen different things."

"None of the correspondence?"

"No; that all seems to be here."

Santoine was breathing quickly; the trust for which he had been ready
to die--for which Blatchford had died--seemed safe; but recognition of
this only emphasized and deepened his perplexity as to what the meaning
had been of the struggle which an instant before had been going on
around him.

"We don't know whether he got it, then, or not!"  It was Avery's voice
which broke in upon him; Santoine merely listened.

"He?  Who?"  He heard his daughter's challenge.

"Why, Eaton.  It is plain enough what happened here, isn't it?" Avery
answered.  "He came here to this room for what he was after--for what
he has been after from the first--whatever that may have been!  He came
prepared to force the safe and get it!  But he was surprised--"

"By whom?" the blind man asked.

"By whomever it is that has been following him.  I don't attempt to
explain who they were, Mr. Santoine; for I don't know.  But--whoever
they were--in doing this, he laid himself open to attack by them.  They
were watching--saw him enter here.  They attacked him here.  Wallace
switched on the light and recognized him; so he shot Wallace and ran
with whatever he could grab up of the contents of the safe, hoping that
by luck he'd get what he was after."

"It isn't so--it isn't so!" Harriet denied.

Her father checked her; he stood an instant thoughtful.  "Who is
directing the pursuit, Donald?" he asked.

Avery went out at once.  The window to the south, which stood open, was
closed.  The blind man turned to his daughter.

"Now, Harriet," he commanded.  He put a hand out and touched Harriet's
clothing; he found she had on a heavy robe.  She understood that her
father would not move till she had seen the room for him.  She gazed
about again, therefore, and told him what she saw.

"There was some sort of a struggle near my safe," she said.
"Chairs--everything there is knocked about."

"Yes."

"There is also blood there--a big spot of it on the floor."

"I found that," said Santoine.

"There is blood behind the table near the middle of the room."

"Ah!  A man fired from near there, too!"

"There are cartridges on the floor--"

"Cartridges?"

"Cartridge shells, I mean, empty, near both those spots of blood.
There are cartridge shells near the fireplace; but no blood there."

"Yes; the bullets?"

"There are marks everywhere--above the mantel, all about."

"Yes."

"There is a bar of iron with a bent end near the table--between it and
the window; there are two flashlights, both extinguished."

"How was the safe opened?"

"The combination has been cut completely away; there is an--an
instrument connected with the electric-light fixture which seems to
have done the cutting.  There is a hand-drill, too--I think it is a
hand-drill.  The inner door has been drilled through, and the catches
drawn back."

"Who is this?"

The valet, who had been sent to Eaton's room, had returned with his
report.  "Mr. Eaton went from his room fully dressed, sir," he said to
Santoine, "except for his shoes.  I found all his shoes in his room."

During the report, the blind man felt his daughter's grasp on his arm
become tense and relax and tighten again.  Then, as though she realized
she was adding to his comprehension of what she had already betrayed,
she suddenly took her hand from her father's arm.  Santoine turned his
face toward his daughter.  Another twinge racked the tumult of his
emotions.  He groped and groped again, trying to catch his daughter's
hand; but she avoided him.  She directed servants to lift Blatchford's
body and told them where to bear it.  After that, Santoine resisted no
longer.  He let the servants, at his daughter's direction, help him to
his room.  His daughter went with him and saw that he was safe in bed;
she stood beside him while the nurse washed the blood-splotches from
his hands and feet.  When the nurse had finished, he still felt his
daughter's presence; she drew nearer to him.

"Father?" she questioned.

"Yes."

"You don't agree with Donald, do you?--that Mr. Eaton went to the study
to--to get something, and that whoever has been following him found him
there and--and interrupted him and he killed Cousin Wallace?"

Santoine was silent an instant.  "That seems the correct explanation,
Harriet," he evaded.  "It does not fully explain; but it seems correct
as far as it goes.  If Donald asks you what my opinion is, tell him it
is that."

He felt his daughter shrink away from him.

The blind man made no move to draw her back to him; he lay perfectly
still; his head rested flat upon the pillows; his hands were clasped
tightly together above the coverlet.  He had accused himself, in the
room below, because, by the manner he had chosen to treat Eaton, he had
slain the man he loved best and had forced a friendship with Eaton on
his daughter which, he saw, had gone further than mere friendship; it
had gone, he knew now, even to the irretrievable between man and
woman--had brought her, that is, to the state where, no matter what
Eaton was or did, she must suffer with him!  But Santoine was not
accusing himself now; he was feeling only the fulfillment of that
threat against those who had trusted him with their secrets, which he
had felt vaguely after the murder of Gabriel Warden and, more plainly
with the events of each succeeding day, ever since.  For that threat,
just now, had culminated in his presence in purposeful, violent action;
but Santoine in his blindness had been unable--and was still
unable---to tell what that action meant.

Of the three men who had fought in his presence in the room below--one
before the safe, one at the fireplace, one behind the table--which had
been Eaton?  What had he been doing there?  Who were the others?  What
had any of them--or all of them--wanted?  For Santoine, the answer to
these questions transcended now every personal interest.  So, in his
uncertainty, Santoine had drawn into himself--withdrawn confidence in
his thoughts from all around, from Donald Avery, even from his
daughter--until the answer should be found.  His blind eyes were turned
toward the ceiling, and his long, well-shaped fingers trembled with the
intensity of his thought.  But he realized, even in his absorption,
that his daughter had drawn away from him.  So, presently, he stirred.

"Harriet," he said.

It was the nurse who answered him.  "Miss Santoine has gone downstairs.
What is it you want of her, Mr. Santoine?"

The blind man hesitated, and checked the impulse he had had.
"Nothing," he replied.



CHAPTER XIX

PURSUIT

Harriet Santoine, still clad only in the heavy robe over her nightdress
and in slippers, went from her father's bedroom swiftly down into the
study again; what she was going to do there she did not definitely
know.  She heard, as she descended the stairs, the steward in the hall
outside the study calling up the police stations of the neighboring
villages and giving news of what had happened and instructions to watch
the roads; but as she reached the foot of the stairs, a servant closed
the study doors.  The great, curtained room in its terrifying disorder
was brightly lighted, empty, absolutely still.  She had given
directions that, except for the removal of Blatchford's body, all must
be left as it was in the room till the arrival of the police.  She
stood an instant with hands pressed against her breast, staring down at
the spots upon the floor.

There were three of these spots now--one where Blatchford's body had
lain.  They were soaking brownly into the rugs but standing still red
and thick upon the polished floor.  Was one of them Eaton's?

Something within her told her that it was, and the fierce desire to go
to him, to help him, was all she felt just now.  It was Donald Avery's
and her father's accusation of Eaton that had made her feel like this.
She had been feeling, the moment before Donald had spoken, that Philip
Eaton had played upon her that evening in making her take him to his
confederate in the ravine in order to plan and consummate something
here.  Above her grief and horror at the killing of her cousin and the
danger to her father, had risen the anguish of her guilt with Eaton,
the agony of her betrayal.  But their accusation that Eaton had killed
Wallace Blatchford, seeing him, knowing him--in the light--had swept
all that away; all there was of her seemed to have risen in denial of
that.  Before her eyes, half shut, she saw again the body of her cousin
Wallace lying in its blood on the floor, with her father kneeling
beside it, his blind eyes raised in helplessness to the light; but she
saw now another body too--Eaton's--not here---lying somewhere in the
bare, wind-swept woods, shot down by those pursuing him.

She looked at the face of the clock and then down to the pendulum to
see whether it had stopped; but the pendulum was swinging.  The hands
stood at half past one o'clock; now she recalled that, in her first
wild gaze about the room when she rushed in with the others, she had
seen the hands showing a minute or so short of twenty minutes past one.
Not quite a quarter of an hour had passed since the alarm!  The pursuit
could not have moved far away.  She reopened the window through which
the pursuers had passed and stepped out onto the dark lawn.  She stood
drawing the robe about her against the chill night air, dazed, stunned.
The house behind her, the stables, the chauffeurs' quarters above the
garages, the gardeners' cottages, all blazed now with light, but she
saw no one about.  The menservants--except the steward--had joined the
pursuit; she heard them to the south beating the naked woods and
shrubbery and calling to each other.  A half mile down the beach she
heard shouts and a shot; she saw dimly through the night in that
direction a boat without lights moving swiftly out upon the lake.

Her hands clenched and pressed against her breast; she stood straining
at the sounds of the man-hunt.  It had turned west, it seemed; it was
coming back her way, but to the west of the house.  She staggered a
little and could not stand; she stepped away from the house in the
direction of the pursuit; following the way it seemed to be going, she
crossed the lawn toward the garage.  A light suddenly shone out there,
and she went on.

The wide door at the car driveway was pushed open, and some one was
within working over a car.  His back was toward her, and he was bent
over the engine, but, at the glance, she knew him and recoiled,
gasping.  It was Eaton.  He turned at the same instant and saw her.

"Oh; it's you!" he cried to her.

Her heart, which almost had ceased to beat, raced her pulses again.  At
the sound she had made on the driveway, he had turned to her as a
hunted thing, cornered, desperate, certain that whoever came must be
against him.  His cry to her had recognized her as the only one who
could come and not be against him; it had hailed her with relief as
bringing him help.  He could not have cried out so at that instant at
sight of her if he had been guilty of what they had accused.  Now she
saw too, as he faced her, blood flowing over his face; blood soaked a
shoulder of his coat, and his left arm dangling at his side; but now,
as he threw back his head and straightened in his relief at finding it
was she who had surprised him, she saw in him an exultation and
excitement she had never seen before--something which her presence
alone could not have caused.  To-night, she sensed vaguely, something
had happened to him which had changed his attitude toward her and
everything else.

"Yes; it's I!" she cried quickly and rushed to him.  "It's I!  It's I!"
wildly she reassured him.  "You're hurt!"  She touched his shoulder.
"You're hurt!  I knew you were!"

He pushed her back with his right hand and held her away from him.
"Did they hurt your father?"

"Hurt Father?  No."

"But Mr. Blatchford--"

"Dead," she answered dully.

"They killed him, then!"

"Yes; they--"  She iterated.  He was telling her
now--unnecessarily--that he had had nothing to do with it; it was the
others who had done that.

He released her and wiped the blood from his eyes with the heel of his
hand.  "The poor old man," he said, "--the poor old man!"

She drew toward him in the realization that he could find sympathy for
others even in such a time as this.

"Where's the key?" he demanded of her.  He stared over her again but
without surprise even in his eyes, at her state; if she was there at
all at that time, that was the only way she could have come.

"The key?"

"The key for the battery and magneto--the key you start the car with."

She ran to a shelf and brought it to him; he used it and pressed the
starting lever.  The engine started and he sprang to the seat.  His
left arm still hanging useless at his side; he tried to throw in the
gears with his right hand; but the mechanism of the car was strange to
him.  She leaped up beside him.

"Move over!" she commanded.  "It's this way!"

He slipped to the side and she took the driving seat, threw in the
gears expertly, and the car shot from the garage.  She switched on the
electric headlights as they dashed down the driveway and threw a bright
white glare upon the roadway a hundred yards ahead to the gates.
Beyond the gates the public pike ran north and south.

"Which way?" she demanded of him, slowing the car.

"Stop!" he cried to her.  "Stop and get out!  You mustn't do this!"

"You could not pass alone," she said.  "Father's men would close the
gates upon you."

"The men?  There are no men there now--they went to the beach--before!
They must have heard something there!  It was their being there that
turned him--the others back.  They tried for the lake and were turned
back and got away in a machine; I followed--back up here!"

Harriet Santoine glanced at the face of the man beside her.  She could
see his features only vaguely; she could see no expression; only the
position of his head.  But now she knew that she was not helping him to
run away; he was no longer hunted--at least he was not only hunted; he
was hunting others too.  As the car rolled down upon the open gates and
she strained forward in the seat beside her, she knew that what he was
feeling was a wild eagerness in this pursuit.

"Right or left--quick!" she demanded of him.  "I'll take one or the
other."

"Right," he shot out; but already, remembering the direction of the
pursuit, she had chosen the road to the right and raced on.  He caught
the driving wheel with his good hand and tried to take it from her; she
resisted and warned him:

"I'm going to drive this car; if you try to take it, it'll throw us
both into the ditch."

"If we catch up with them, they'll shoot; give me the car," he begged.

"We'll catch up with them first."

"Then you'll do what I say?"

"Yes," she made the bargain.

"There are their tracks!" he pointed for her.

The road was soft with the rains that precede spring, and she saw in
the bright flare of the headlights, where some heavy car, fast driven,
had gouged deep into the earth at the roadside; she noted the pattern
of the tires.

"How do you know those are their tracks?" she asked him.

"I told you, I followed them to where they got their machine."

"Who are they?"

"The men who shot Mr. Blatchford."

"Who are they?" she put to him directly again.

He waited, and she knew that he was not going to answer her directly.
She was running the car now at very high speed; the tiny electric light
above the speedometer showed they were running at forty-five miles an
hour and the strip was still turning to higher figures.

Suddenly he caught her arm.  The road had forked, and he pointed to the
left; she swung the car that way, again seeing as they made the turn,
the tire-tracks they were following.  She was not able now to watch
these tracks; she could watch only the road and car; but she was aware
that the way they were following had led them into and out of private
grounds.  Plainly the men they were following knew the neighborhood
well and had chosen this road in advance as avoiding the more public
roads which might be watched.  She noted they were turning always to
the left; now she understood that they were making a great circle to
west and north and returning toward, but well west of, her father's
house; thus she knew that those they were following had made this
circuit to confuse pursuit and that their objective was the great city
to the south.

They were racing now over a little used road which bisected a forested
section still held as acreage; old, rickety wooden bridges spanned the
ravines.  One of these appeared in the radiance of the headlight a
hundred yards ahead; the next instant the car was dashing upon it.
Harriet could feel the shake and tremble of the loosely nailed boards
as the driving wheels struck; there was a crash as some strut, below,
gave way; the old bridge bent but recoiled; the car bounded across it,
the rear wheels skidding in the moist earth as they swung off the
boards.

Harriet felt Eaton grab her arm.

"You mustn't do that again!"

"Why?"

"You mustn't do that again!" he repeated the order; it was too obvious
to tell her it was not safe.

She laughed.  Less than five minutes before, as she stood outside the
room where her father's cousin had just been murdered, it had seemed
she could never laugh again.  The car raced up a little hill and now
again was descending; the headlights showed another bridge over a
ravine.

"Slow!  Stop!" her companion commanded.

She paid no attention and raced the car on; he put his hand on the
wheel and with his foot tried to push hers from the accelerator; but
she fought him; the car swayed and all but ran away as they approached
the bridge.  "Give it to me!" she screamed to him and wrenched the car
about.  It was upon the bridge and across it; as they skidded upon the
mud of the road again, they could hear the bridge cracking behind.

"Harriet!" he pleaded with her.

She steered the car on, recklessly, her heart thumping with more than
the thrill of the chase.  "They're the men who tried to kill you,
aren't they?" she rejoined.  The speed at which they were going did not
permit her to look about; she had to keep her eyes on the road at that
moment when she knew within herself and was telling the man beside her
that she from that moment must be at one with him.  For already she had
said it; as she risked herself in the pursuit, she thought of the men
they were after not chiefly as those who had killed her cousin but as
those who had threatened Eaton.  "What do I care what happens to me, if
we catch them?" she cried.

"Harriet!" he repeated her name again.

"Philip!"

She felt him shrink and change as she called the name.  It had been
clear to her, of course, that, since she had known him, the name he had
been using was not his own.  Often she had wondered what his name was;
now she had to know.  "What should I call you?" she demanded of him.

"My name," he said, "is Hugh."

"Hugh!" she called it.

"Yes."

"Hugh--"  She waited for the rest; but he told no more.  "Hugh!" she
whispered to herself again his name now.  "Hugh!"

Her eyes, which had watched the road for the guiding of the car, had
followed his gesture from time to time pointing out the tracks made by
the machine they were pursuing.  These tracks still ran on ahead; as
she gazed down the road, a red glow beyond the bare trees was lighting
the sky.  A glance at Hugh told that he also had seen it.

"A fire?" she referred to him.

"Looks like it."

They said no more as they rushed on; but the red glow was spreading,
and yellow flames soon were in sight shooting higher and higher; these
were clouded off for an instant only to appear flaring higher again,
and the breeze brought the smell of seasoned wood burning.

"It's right across the road!" Hugh announced as they neared it.

"It's the bridge over the next ravine," Harriet said.  Her foot already
was bearing upon the brake, and the power was shut off; the car coasted
on slowly.  For both could see now that the wooden span was blazing
from end to end; it was old wood, swift to burn and going like tinder.
There was no possible chance for the car to cross it.  The girl brought
the machine to a stop fifty feet from the edge of the ravine; the fire
was so hot that the gasoline tank would not be safe nearer.  She gazed
down at the tire-marks on the road.

"They crossed with their machine," she said to Hugh.

"And fired the bridge behind.  They must have poured gasoline over it
and lighted it at both ends."

She sat with one hand still straining at the driving wheel, the other
playing with the gear lever.

"There's no other way across that ravine, I suppose," Hugh questioned
her.

"The other road's back more than a mile, and two miles about."  She
threw in the reverse and started to turn.  Hugh shook his head.
"That's no use."

"No," she agreed, and stopped the car again.  Hugh stepped down on the
ground.  A man appeared on the other side of the ravine.  He stood and
stared at the burning span and, seeing the machine on the other side,
he scrambled down the slope of the ravine.  Eaton met him as he came up
to the road again.  The man was one of the artisans--a carpenter or
jack-of-all-work--who had little cottages, with patches for garden,
through the undivided acreage beyond the big estates.  He had hastily
and only partly dressed; he stared at Eaton's hurt with astonishment
which increased as he gazed at the girl in the driving seat of the car.
He did not recognize her except as one of the class to whom he owed
employment; he pulled off his cap and stared back to Eaton with wonder.

"What's happened, sir?  What's the matter?"

Eaton did not answer, but Harriet now recognized the man.  "Mr.
Blatchford was shot to-night at Father's house, Dibley," she said.

"Miss Santoine!" Dibley cried.

"We think the men went this way," she continued.

"Did you see any one pass?" Eaton challenged the man.

"In a motor, sir?"

"Yes; down this road in a motor."

"Yes, sir."

"When?"

"Just now, sir."

"Just now?"

"Not five minutes ago.  Just before I saw the bridge on fire here."

"How was that?"

"I live there just beyond, near the road.  I heard my pump going."

"Your pump?"

"Yes, sir.  I've a pump in my front yard.  There's no water piped
through here, sir."

"Of course.  Go on, Dibley."

"I looked out and saw a machine stopped out in the road.  One man was
pumping water into a bucket for another."

"Then what did you do?"

"Nothing, sir.  I just watched them.  Motor people often stop at my
pump for water."

"I see.  Go on."

"That's all about them, sir.  I thought nothing about it--they wouldn't
wake me to ask for water; they'd just take it.  Then I saw the fire
over there--"

"No; go back," Eaton interrupted.  "First, how many men were there in
the car?"

"How many?  Three, sir."

Eaton started.  "Only three; you're sure?"

"Yes, sir; I could see them plain.  There was the two at the pump; one
more stayed in the car."

Eaton seized the man in his intentness.  "You're sure there weren't any
more, Dibley?  Think; be sure!  There weren't three more or even one
more person hidden in the tonneau of the car?"

"The tonneau, sir?"

"The back seats, I mean."

"No, sir; I could see into the car.  It was almost right below me, sir.
My house has a room above; that's where I was sleeping."

"Then did you watch the men with the water?"

"Watch them, sir?"

"What they did with it; you're sure they didn't take it to the rear
seat to give it to some one there.  You see, we think one of the men
was hurt," Eaton explained.

"No, sir.  I'd noticed if they did that."

"Then did they put it into the radiator--here in front where motorists
use water?"

Dibley stared.  "No, sir; I didn't think of it then, but they didn't.
They didn't put it into the car.  They took it in their bucket with
them.  It was one of those folding buckets motor people have."

Eaton gazed at the man.  "Only three, you are sure!" he repeated.  "And
none of them seemed to be hurt!"

"No, sir."

"Then they went off in the other direction from the bridge?"

"Yes, sir.  I didn't notice the bridge burning till after they went.
So I came down here."

Eaton let the man go.  Dibley looked again at the girl and moved away a
little.  She turned to Eaton.

"What does that mean?" she called to him.  "How many should there have
been in the machine?  What did they want with the water?"

"Six!" Eaton told her.  "There should have been six in the machine, and
one, at least, badly hurt!"

Dibley stood dully apart, staring at one and then at the other and next
to the flaming bridge.  He looked down the road.  "There's another car
coming," he announced.  "Two cars!"

The double glare from the headlights of a motor shone through the
tree-trunks as the car topped and came swiftly down a rise three
quarters of a mile away and around the last turn back on the road;
another pair of blinding lights followed.  There was no doubt that this
must be the pursuit from Santoine's house.  Eaton stood beside Harriet,
who had stayed in the driving-seat of the car.

"You know Dibley well, Harriet?" he asked.

"He's worked on our place.  He's dependable," she answered.

Eaton put his hand over hers which still clung to the driving wheel.
"I'm going just beside the road here," he said to her, quietly.  "I'm
armed, of course.  If those are your people, you'd better go back with
them.  I'm sure they are; but I'll wait and see."

She caught at his hand.  "No; no!" she cried.  "You must get as far
away as you can before they come!  I'm going back to meet and hold
them."  She threw the car into the reverse, backed and turned it and
brought it again onto the road.  He came beside her again, putting out
his hand; she seized it.  Her hands for an instant clung to it, his to
hers.

"You must go--quick!" she urged; "but how am I to know what becomes of
you--where you are?  Shall I hear from you--shall I ever see you?"

"No news will be good news," he said, "until--"

"Until what?"

"Until--"  And again that unknown something which a thousand times--it
seemed to her--had checked his word and action toward her made him
pause; but nothing could completely bar them from one another now.
"Until they catch and destroy me, or--until I come to you as--as you
have never known me yet!"

An instant more she clung to him.  The double headlights flared into
sight again upon the road, much nearer now and coming fast.  She
released him; he plunged into the bushes beside the road, and the damp,
bare twigs lashed against one another at his passage; then she shot her
car forward.  But she had made only a few hundred yards when the first
of the two cars met her.  It turned to its right to pass, she turned
the same way; the approaching car twisted to the left, she swung hers
to oppose it.  The two cars did not strike; they stopped, radiator to
radiator, with rear wheels locked.  The second car drew up behind the
first.  The glare of her headlights showed her both were full of armed
men.  Their headlights, revealing her to them, hushed suddenly their
angry ejaculations.  She recognized Avery in the first car; he leaped
out and ran up to her.

"Harriet!  In God's name, what are you doing here?"

She sat unmoved in her seat, gazing at him.  Men leaping from the cars,
ran past her down the road toward the ravine and the burning bridge.
She longed to look once more in the direction in which Eaton had
disappeared, but she did not.  Avery reached up and over the side of
the car and caught her arm, repeating his demand for an explanation.
She could see, turning in her seat, the men who had run past
surrounding Dibley on the road and questioning him.  Avery, gaining no
satisfaction from her, let go her arm; his hand dropped to the back of
the seat and he drew it up quickly.

"Harriet, there's blood here!"

She did not reply.  He stared at her and seemed to comprehend.

He shouted to the men around Dibley and ran toward them.  They called
in answer to his shout, and she could see Dibley pointing out to them
the way Eaton had gone.  The men, scattering themselves at intervals
along the edge of the wood and, under Avery's direction, posting others
in each direction to watch the road, began to beat through the bushes
after Eaton.  She sat watching; she put her cold hands to her face;
then, recalling how just now Eaton's hand had clung to hers, she
pressed them to her lips.  Avery came running back to her.

"You drove him out here, Harriet!" he charged.  "Dibley says so."

"Him?  Who?" she asked coolly.

"Eaton.  Dibley did not know him, but describes him.  It can have been
no one else.  He was hurt!"  The triumph in the ejaculation made her
recoil.  "He was hurt and could not drive, and you drove him out"--his
tone changed suddenly--"like this!"

For the first time since she had left the garage she was suddenly
conscious that she was in her night-dress with only a robe and
slippers.  She drew the robe quickly about her, shrinking and staring
at him.  In all the miles she had driven that night with Eaton at her
side, she never a moment had shrunk from her companion or thought how
she was dressed.  It was not the exaltation and excitement of what she
was doing that had prevented her; it went deeper than that; it was the
attitude of her companion toward her.  But Avery had thought of it, and
made her think of it, at once, even in the excitement under which he
was laboring.

He left her again, running after the men into the woods.  She sat in
the car, listening to the sounds of the hunt.  She could see, back of
her, in the light of the burning bridge, one of the armed men standing
to watch the road; ahead of her, but almost indistinguishable in the
darkness, was another.  The noise of the hunt had moved further into
the woods; she had no immediate fear that they would find Eaton; her
present anxiety was over his condition from his hurts and what might
happen if he encountered those he had been pursuing.  In that
neighborhood, with its woods and bushes and ravines to furnish cover,
the darkness made discovery of him by Avery and his men impossible if
Eaton wished to hide himself.  Avery appeared to have realized this;
for now the voices in the woods ceased and the men began to straggle
back toward the cars.  A party was sent on foot across the ravine,
evidently to guard the road beyond.  The rest began to clamber into the
cars.  She backed her car away from the one in front of it and started
home.

She had gone only a short distance when the cars again passed her,
traveling at high speed.  She began then to pass individual men left by
those in the cars to watch the road.  At the first large house she saw
one of the cars again, standing empty.  She passed it without stopping.
A mile farther, a little group of men carrying guns stopped her,
recognized her and let her pass.  They had been called out, they told
her, by Mr. Avery over the telephone to watch the roads for Eaton; they
had Eaton's description; members of the local police were to take
charge of them and direct them.  She comprehended that Avery was
surrounding the vacant acreage where Eaton had taken refuge to be
certain that Eaton did not get away until daylight came and a search
for him was possible.

Lights gleamed at her across the broad lawns of the houses near her
father's great house as she approached it; at the sound of her car,
people came to the windows and looked out.  She understood that news of
the murder at Basil Santoine's had aroused the neighbors and brought
them from their beds.

As she left her motor on the drive beside the house--for to-night no
one came from the garages to take it--the little clock upon its dash
marked half past two.



CHAPTER XX

WAITING

Harriet went into the house and toward her own rooms; a maid met and
stopped her on the stairs.

"Mr. Santoine sent word that he wishes to see you as soon as you came
in, Miss Santoine."

Harriet went on toward her father's room, without stopping at her
own--wet with the drive through the damp night and shivering now with
its chill.  Her father's voice answered her knock with a summons to
come in.  As she obeyed, pushing the doors open, he dismissed the
nurse; the girl, passing Harriet as she went out, returned Harriet's
questioning look with a reassuring nod; Basil Santoine had endured the
shock and excitement of the night better than could have been expected;
he was quite himself.

As Harriet went toward the bed, her father's blind eyes turned toward
her; he put out his hand and touched her, seeming startled to find her
still in the robe she had worn an hour before and to feel that the robe
was wet.

"Where have you been, Daughter?" he asked.

She hesitated, drawing the robe out of his hand.  "I--I have been
driving Mr. Eaton in a motor," she said.

"Helping him to escape?"  A spasm crossed the blind man's face.

"He said not; he--he was following the men who shot Cousin Wallace."

The blind man lay for an instant still.  "Tell me," he commanded
finally.

She told him, beginning with her discovery of Eaton in the garage and
ending with his leaving her and with Donald Avery's finding her in the
motor; and now she held back one word only--his name which he had told
her, Hugh.  Her father listened intently; when she had finished, he
made no move, no comment, no reproach.  She had seated herself on the
chair beside his bed; she looked away, then back to him.

"That is not all," she said; and she told him of her expedition with
Eaton to the ravine before the attack in the house.

Again she waited.

"You and Mr. Eaton appear to have become rather well acquainted,
Harriet," he said.  "Has he told you nothing about himself which you
have not told me?  You have seen nothing concerning him, which you have
not told?"

Her mind went quickly back to the polo game; she felt a flush, which
his blind eyes could not see, dyeing her cheeks and forehead.

"No," she answered.  She was aware that he did not accept the denial,
that he knew she was concealing something.

"Nothing?" he asked again.

She put her hands to her face; then she drew them quickly away.
"Nothing," she said steadily.

The blind man waited for a moment; he put out his hand and pressed the
bell which called the steward.  Neither spoke until the steward had
come.

"Fairley," Santoine said then, quietly, "Miss Santoine and I have just
agreed that for the present all reports regarding the pursuit of the
men who entered the study last night are to be made direct to me, not
through Miss Santoine or Mr. Avery."

"Very well, sir."

She still sat silent after the steward had gone; she thought for an
instant her father had forgotten her presence; then he moved slightly.

"That is all, dear," he said quietly.

She got up and left him, and went to her own rooms; she did not pretend
to herself that she could rest.  She bathed and dressed and went
downstairs.  The library had windows facing to the west; she went in
there and stood looking out.  Somewhere to the west was Eaton, alone,
wounded; she knew she need not think of him yet as actively hunted,
only watched; with daylight the hunt would begin.  Would he be able to
avoid the watchers and escape before the actual hunt for him began?

She went out into the hall to the telephone.  She could not get the use
of the 'phone at once; the steward was posted there; the calls upon the
'phone were continual--from neighbors who, awakened to learn the news
of Blatchford's death and the hunt for his murderer, called to offer
what help they could, and from the newspapers, which somehow had been
notified.  The telephones in the bedrooms all were on this wire.  There
was a private telephone in the library; somehow she could not bring
herself to enter that room, closed and to be left with everything in
its disorder until the arrival of the police.  The only other telephone
was in her father's bedroom.

She took advantage of a momentary interruption in the calls to call up
the local police station.  Hearing her name, the man at the other end
became deferential at once; he told her what was being done, confirming
what she already knew; the roads were being watched and men had been
posted at all near-by railway stations and at the stopping points of
the interurban line to prevent Eaton from escaping that way.  The man
spoke only of Eaton; he showed the conviction--gathered, she felt sure,
by telephone conversation with Donald Avery--that Eaton was the
murderer.

"He ain't likely to get away, Miss Santoine," he assured her.  "He's
got no shoes, I understand, and he has one or maybe two shots through
him."

She shrunk back and nearly dropped the 'phone at the vision which his
words called up; yet there was nothing new to her in that vision--it
was continually before her eyes; it was the only thing of which she
could think.

"You'll call me as soon as you know anything more," she requested;
"will you call me every hour?"

She hung up, on receiving assurance of this.

A servant brought a written paper.  She took it before she recognized
that it was not for her but for the steward.  It was a short statement
of the obvious physical circumstances of the murder, evidently dictated
by her father and intended for the newspapers.  She gave it to Fairley,
who began reading it over the telephone to the newspapers.  She
wandered again to the west windows.  She was not consciously listening
to the telephone conversation in the hall; yet enough reached her to
make her know that reporters were rushing from the city by train and
automobile.  The last city editions of the morning papers would have at
least the fact of the murder; there would be later extras; the
afternoon papers would have it all.  There was a long list of relatives
and friends to whom it was due that telegraphic announcement of Wallace
Blatchford's death reach them before they read it as a sensation
publicly printed.  Recollection of these people at least gave her
something to do.

She went up to her own room, listed the names and prepared the
telegrams for them; she came down again and gave the telegrams to
Fairley to transmit by telephone.  As she descended the stairs, the
great clock in the lower hall struck once; it was a quarter past three.

There was a stir in these lower rooms now; the officers of the local
police had arrived.  She went with them to the study, where they
assumed charge nervously and uncertainly.  She could not bear to be in
that room; nevertheless she remained and answered their questions.  She
took them to Eaton's rooms on the floor above, where they searched
through and took charge of all his things.  She left them and came down
again and went out to the front of the house.

The night was sharp with the chill preceding the day; it had cleared;
the stars were shining.  As she stood looking to the west, the lights
of a motor turned into the grounds.  She ran toward it, thinking it
must be bringing word of some sort; but the men who leaped from it were
strangers to her--they were the first of the reporters to arrive.  They
tried to question her, but she ran from them into the house.  She
watched from the windows and saw other reporters arriving.  To Harriet
there seemed to be scores of them.  Every morning paper in Chicago,
immediately upon receipt of the first flash, had sent at least three
men; every evening paper seemed to have aroused half its staff from
their beds and sent them racing to the blind millionaire's home on the
north shore.  Even men from Milwaukee papers arrived at four o'clock.
Forbidden the house, they surrounded it and captured servants.  They
took flashlights till, driven from the lawn, they went away--many of
them--to see and take part in the search through the woods for
Blatchford's murderer.  The murder of Santoine's cousin--the man,
moreover, who had blinded Santoine--in the presence of the blind man
was enough of itself to furnish a newspaper sensation; but, following
so closely Santoine's visit to the Coast because of the murder of
Gabriel Warden, the newspaper men sensed instantly in it the
possibility of some greater sensation not yet bared.

Harriet was again summoned.  A man--a stranger--was awaiting her in the
hall; he was the precursor of those who would sit that day upon Wallace
Blatchford's death and try to determine, formally, whose was the hand
that had done it--the coroner's man.  He too, she saw, was already
convinced what hand it had been--Eaton's.  She took him to the study,
then to the room above where Wallace Blatchford lay dead.  She stood by
while he made his brief, conventional examination.  She looked down at
the dead man's face.  Poor Cousin Wallace! he had destroyed his own
life long before, when he had destroyed her father's sight; from that
time on he had lived only to recompense her father for his blindness.
Cousin Wallace's life had been a pitiable, hopeless, loving
perpetuation of his penance; he had let himself hold nothing of his own
in life; he had died, as she knew he would have wished to die, giving
his life in service to his cousin; she was not unduly grieving over him.

She answered the man's questions, calmly and collectedly; but her mind
was not upon what she was saying.  Her mind was upon only one
thing--even of that she could not think connectedly.  Some years ago,
something--she did not know what--had happened to Hugh; to-night, in
some strange way unknown to her, it had culminated in her father's
study.  He had fought some one; he had rushed away to follow some one.
Whom?  Had he heard that some one in the study and gone down?  Had he
been fighting their battle--her father's and hers?  She knew that was
not so.  Hugh had been fully dressed.  What did it mean that he had
said to her that these events would either destroy him or would send
him back to her as--as something different?  Her thought supplied no
answer.

But whatever he had done, whatever he might be, she knew his fate was
hers now; for she had given herself to him utterly.  She had told that
to herself as she fled and pursued with him that night; she had told it
to him; she later had told it--though she had not meant to yet--to her
father.  She could only pray now that out of the events of this night
might not come a grief to her too great for her to bear.

She went to the rooms that had been Eaton's.  The police, in stripping
them of his possessions, had overlooked his cap; she found the bit of
gray cloth and hugged it to her.  She whispered his name to
herself--Hugh--that secret of his name which she had kept; she gloried
that she had that secret with him which she could keep from them all.
What wouldn't they give just to share that with her--his name, Hugh!

She started suddenly, looking through the window.  The east, above the
lake, was beginning to grow gray.  The dawn was coming!  It was
beginning to be day!

She hurried to the other side of the house, looking toward the west.
How could she have left him, hurt and bleeding and alone in the night!
She could not have done that but that his asking her to go had told
that it was for his safety as well as hers; she could not help him any
more then; she would only have been in the way.  But now--  She started
to rush out, but controlled herself; she had to stay in the house; that
was where the first word would come if they caught him; and then he
would need her, how much more!  The reporters on the lawn below her,
seeing her at the window, called up to her to know further particulars
of what had happened and what the murder meant; she could see them
plainly in the increasing light.  She could see the lawn and the road
before the house.

Day had come.

And with the coming of day, the uncertainty and disorder within and
about the house seemed to increase....  But in the south wing, with its
sound-proof doors and its windows closed against the noises from the
lawn, there was silence; and in this silence, an exact, compelling,
methodic machine was working; the mind of Basil Santoine was striving,
vainly as yet, but with growing chances of success, to fit together
into the order in which they belonged and make clear the events of the
night and all that had gone before--arranging, ordering, testing,
discarding, picking up again and reordering all that had happened since
that other murder, of Gabriel Warden.



CHAPTER XXI

WHAT ONE CAN DO WITHOUT EYES

The blind man, lying on his bed in that darkness in which he had lived
since his sixteenth year and which no daylight could lessen, felt the
light and knew that day had come; he stirred impatiently.  The nurse,
the only other occupant of the room, moved expectantly; then she sank
back; Santoine had moved but had not roused from that absorption in
which he had been ever since returning to his bed.  He had not slept.
The connections of the electric bells had been repaired,--the wires had
been found pulled from their batteries,--but Santoine had not moved a
hand to touch a button.  He had disregarded the warning of the doctor
who had been summoned at once after the murder and had come to his room
again just before dawn to warn him that after his recklessness of the
night he must expect a reaction.  He had given such injunctions in
regard to any new development that he was certain that, even if his
servants believed him asleep, they would report to him.  But there had
been no report; and Santoine expected none immediately.  He had not
lain awake awaiting anything; he felt that so much had happened, so
many facts were at his command, that somewhere among them must be the
key to what they meant.

The blind man knew that his daughter was concealing something from him.
He could not tell what the importance of the thing she was concealing
might be; but he knew his daughter was enough like himself for it to be
useless for him to try to force from her something she did not mean to
tell.  The new intimacy of the relation between his daughter and Eaton
was perfectly plain to Santoine; but it did not cause him to try to
explain anything in Eaton's favor; nor did it prejudice him against
him.  He had appeared to accept Avery's theory of what had happened in
the study because by doing so he concealed what was going on in his own
mind; he actually accepted it only to the point of agreeing that Eaton
must have met in the study those enemies--or some one representing the
enemies--who had attacked him with the motor-car and had before
attempted to attack him on the train.

Three men--at least three men--had fought in the study in Santoine's
presence.  Eaton, it was certain, had been the only one from the house
present when the first shots were fired.  Had Eaton been alone against
the other two?  Had Eaton been with one of the other two against the
third?  It appeared probable to Santoine that Eaton had been alone, or
had come alone, to the study and had met his enemies there.  Had these
enemies surprised Eaton in the study or had he surprised them?
Santoine was inclined to believe that Eaton had surprised them.  The
contents taken from the safe had certainly been carried away, and these
would have made rather a bulky bundle.  Eaton could not have carried it
without Harriet knowing it.  Santoine believed that, whatever knowledge
his daughter might be concealing from him, she would not have concealed
this.  It was certain that some time had been necessary for opening the
safe, before those opening it suffered interruption.

Santoine felt, therefore, that the probabilities were that Eaton's
enemies had opened the safe and had been surprised by Eaton.  But if
they had opened the safe, they were not only Eaton's enemies; they were
also Santoine's; they were the men who threatened Santoine's trust.

Those whom Eaton had fought in the room had had perfect opportunity for
killing Santoine, if they wished.  He had stood first in the dark with
the electric torch in his hand; then he had been before them in the
light after Blatchford had entered.  But Santoine felt certain no one
had made any attack upon him at any moment in the room; he had had no
feeling, at any instant, that any of the shots fired had been directed
at him.  Blatchford, too, had been unattacked until he had made it
plain that he had recognized one of the intruders; then, before
Blatchford could call the name, he had been shot down.

It was clear, then, that what had protected Santoine was his blindness;
he had no doubt that, if he had been able to see and recognize the men
in the room after the lights were turned on, he would have been shot
down also.  But Santoine recognized that this did not fully account for
his immunity.  Two weeks before, an attack which had been meant for
Eaton had struck down Santoine instead; and no further attempt against
Eaton had been made until it had become publicly known that Santoine
was not going to die.  If Santoine's death would have served for
Eaton's death two weeks before, why was Santoine immune now?  Did
possession of the contents of Santoine's safe accomplish the same thing
as Santoine's death?  Or more than his death for these men?  For what
men?

It was not, Santoine was certain, Eaton's presence in the study which
had so astounded Blatchford; Wallace and Eaton had passed days
together, and Blatchford was accustomed to Eaton's presence in the
house.  Some one whom Blatchford knew and whose name Santoine also
would know and whose presence in the room was so strange and
astonishing that Blatchford had tried to prepare Santoine for the
announcement, had been there.  The man whose name was on Blatchford's
tongue, or the companion of that man, had shot Blatchford rather than
let Santoine hear the name.

The blind man stirred upon his bed.

"Do you want something, Mr. Santoine?" the nurse asked.  The blind man
did not answer.  He was beginning to find these events fit themselves
together; but they fitted imperfectly as yet.

Santoine knew that he lacked the key.  Many men could profit by
possessing the contents of Santoine's safe and might have shot
Blatchford rather than let Santoine know their presence there; it was
impossible for Santoine to tell which among these many the man who had
been in the study might be.  Who Eaton's enemies were was equally
unknown to Santoine.  But there could be but one man--or at most one
small group of men--who could be at the same time Eaton's enemy and
Santoine's.  To have known who Eaton was would have pointed this man to
Santoine.

The blind man lay upon his back, his open, sightless eyes unwinking in
the intensity of his thought.

Gabriel Warden had had an appointment with a young man who had come
from Asia and who--Warden had told his wife--he had discovered lately
had been greatly wronged.  Eaton, under Conductor Connery's
questioning, had admitted himself to be that young man; Santoine had
verified this and had learned that Eaton was, at least, the young man
who had gone to Warden's house that night.  But Gabriel Warden had not
been allowed to help Eaton; so far from that, he had not even been
allowed to meet and talk with Eaton; he had been called out, plainly,
to prevent his meeting Eaton, and killed.

Eaton disappeared and concealed himself at once after Warden's murder,
apparently fearing that he would also be attacked.  But Eaton was not a
man whom this personal fear would have restrained from coming forward
later to tell why Warden had been killed.  He had been urged to come
forward and promised that others would give him help in Warden's place;
still, he had concealed himself.  This must mean that others than
Warden could not help Eaton; Eaton evidently did not know, or else
could not hope to prove, what Warden had discovered.

Santoine held this thought in abeyance; he would see later how it
checked with the facts.

Eaton had remained in Seattle--or near Seattle--eleven days; apparently
he had been able to conceal himself and to escape attack during that
time.  He had been obliged, however, to reveal himself when he took the
train; and as soon as possible a desperate attempt had been made
against him, which, through mistake, had struck down Santoine instead
of Eaton.  This attack had been made under circumstances which, if it
had been successful, would have made it improbable that Eaton's
murderer could escape.  It had not been enough, then, to watch Eaton
and await opportunity to attack him; it had been necessary to attack
him at once, at any cost.

The attack having reached Santoine instead of Eaton, the necessity for
immediate attack upon Eaton, apparently, had ceased to exist; those who
followed Eaton had thought it enough to watch him and wait for more
favorable opportunity.  But as soon as it was publicly known that
Santoine had not been killed but was getting well, then Eaton had again
been openly and daringly attacked.  The reason for the desperate
chances taken to attack Eaton, then, was that he was near Santoine.

Santoine's hands clenched as he recognized this.  Eaton had taken the
train at Seattle because Santoine was on it; he had done this at great
risk to himself.  Santoine had told Eaton that there were but four
possible reasons why he could have taken the train in the manner he
did, and two of those reasons later had been eliminated.  The two
possibilities which remained were that Eaton had taken the train to
inform Santoine of something or to learn something from him.  But Eaton
had had ample opportunity since to inform Santoine of anything he
wished; and he had not only not informed him of anything, but had
refused consistently and determinedly to answer any of Santoine's
questions.  It was to learn something from Santoine, then, that Eaton
had taken the train.

The blind man turned upon his bed; he was finding that these events
fitted together perfectly.  He felt certain now that Eaton had gone to
Gabriel Warden expecting to get from Warden some information that he
needed, and that to prevent Warden's giving him this, Warden had been
killed.  Then Warden's death had caused Santoine to go to Seattle and
take charge of many of Warden's affairs; Eaton had thought that the
information which had been in Warden's possession might now be in
Santoine's; Eaton, therefore, had followed Santoine onto the train.

Santoine had not had the information Eaton required, and he could not
even imagine yet what the nature of that information could be.  This
was not because he was not familiar enough with Warden's affairs; it
was because he was too familiar with them.  Warden had been concerned
in a hundred enterprises; Santoine had no way of telling which of this
hundred had concerned Eaton.  He certainly could recall no case in
which a man of Eaton's age and class had been so terribly wronged that
double murder would have been resorted to for the concealment of the
facts.  But he understood that, in his familiarity with Warden's
affairs, he had probably been in a position to get the information, if
he had known what specific matters it concerned.  That, then, had been
the reason why his own death would have served for the time being in
place of Eaton's.

Those who had followed Eaton had known that Santoine could get this
information; that accounted for all that had taken place on the train.
It accounted for the subsequent attack on Eaton when it became known
that Santoine was getting well.  It accounted also--Santoine was
breathing quickly as he recognized this--for the invasion of his study
and the forcing of the safe last night.

The inference was plain that something which would have given Santoine
the information Warden had had and which Eaton now required had been
brought into Santoine's house and put in Santoine's safe.  It was to
get possession of this "something" before it had reached Santoine that
the safe had been forced.

Santoine put out his hand and pressed a bell.  A servant came to the
door.

"Will you find Miss Santoine," the blind man directed, "and ask her to
come here?"

The servant withdrew.

Santoine waited.  Presently the door again opened, and he heard his
daughter's step.

"Have you listed what was taken from the safe, Harriet?" Santoine asked.

"Not yet, Father."

The blind man thought an instant.  "Day before yesterday, when I asked
you to take charge for the present of the correspondence Avery has
looked after for me, what did you do?"

"I put it in my own safe--the one that was broken into last night.  But
none of it was taken; the bundles of letters were pulled out of the
safe, but they had not been opened or even disturbed."

"I know.  It was not that I meant."  Santoine thought again.  "Harriet,
something has been brought into the house--or the manner of keeping
something in the house had been changed--within a very few days--since
the time, I think, when the attempt to run Eaton down with the
motor-car was made.  What was that 'something'?"

His daughter reflected.  "The draft of the new agreement about the
Latron properties and the lists of stockholders in the properties which
came through Mr. Warden's office," she replied.

"Those were in the safe?"

"Yes; you had not given me any instructions about them, so I had put
them in the other safe; but when I went to get the correspondence I saw
them there and put them with the correspondence in my own safe."

Santoine lay still.

"Who besides Donald knew that you did that, daughter?" he asked.

"No one."

"Thank you."

Harriet recognized this as dismissal and went out.  The blind man felt
the blood beating fiercely in his temples and at his finger-tips.  It
amazed, astounded him to realize that Warden's murder and all that had
followed it had sprung from the Latron case.  The coupling of Warden's
name with Latron's in the newspapers after Warden's death had seemed to
him only flagrant sensationalism.  He himself had known--or had thought
he had known--more about the Latron case than almost any other man; he
had been a witness at the trial; he had seen--or had thought he had
seen--even-handed justice done there.  Now, by Warden's evidence, but
more still by the manner of Warden's death, he was forced to believe
that there had been something unknown to him and terrible in what had
been done then.

And as realization of this came to him, he recollected that he had been
vaguely conscious ever since Latron's murder of something strained,
something not wholly open, in his relations with those men whose
interests had been most closely allied with Latron's.  It had been
nothing open, nothing palpable; it was only that he had felt at times
in them a knowledge of some general condition governing them which was
not wholly known to himself.  As he pressed his hands upon his blind
eyes, trying to define this feeling to himself, his thought went
swiftly back to the events on the train and in the study.

He had had investigated the accounts of themselves given by the
passengers to Conductor Connery; two of these accounts had proved to be
false.  The man who under the name of Lawrence Hillward had claimed the
cipher telegram from Eaton had been one of these; it had proved
impossible to trace this man and it was now certain that Hillward was
not his real name; the other, Santoine had had no doubt, was the
heavy-set muscular man who had tried to run Eaton down with the motor.
These men, Santoine was sure, had been acting for some principal not
present.  One or both of these men might have been in the study last
night; but the sight of neither of these could have so startled, so
astounded Blatchford.  Whomever Blatchford had seen was some one well
known to him, whose presence had been so amazing that speech had failed
Blatchford for the moment and he had feared the effect of the
announcement on Santoine.  This could have been only the principal
himself.

Some circumstance which Santoine comprehended only imperfectly as yet
had forced this man to come out from behind his agents and to act even
at the risk of revealing himself.  It was probably he who, finding
Blatchford's presence made revealment inevitable, had killed
Blatchford.  But these circumstances gave Santoine no clew as to who
the man might be.  The blind man tried vainly to guess.  The rebellion
against his blindness, which had seized him the night before, again
stirred him.  The man had been in the light just before his face; a
second of sight then and everything would have been clear; or another
word from Blatchford, and he would have known.  But Santoine recalled
that if he had had that second of sight, and the other man had known
it, or if Blatchford had spoken that next word, Santoine too would
probably be dead.

The only circumstance regarding the man of which Santoine now felt sure
was that he was one of the many concerned in the Latron case or with
the Latron properties.  Had the blood in which Santoine had stepped
upon the study floor been his, or that of one of the others?

"What time is it?" the blind man suddenly asked the nurse.

"It is nearly noon, Mr. Santoine, and you have eaten nothing."

The blind man did not answer.  He recalled vaguely that, several hours
before, breakfast had been brought for him and that he had impatiently
waved it away.  In his absorption he had felt no need then for food,
and he felt none now.

"Will you leave me alone for a few moments?" he directed.

He listened till he heard the door close behind the nurse; then he
seized the private 'phone beside his bed and called his broker.
Instinctively, in his uncertainty, Santoine had turned to that
barometer which reflects day by day, even from hour to hour, the most
obscure events and the most secret knowledge.

"How is the market?" he inquired.

There was something approaching to a panic on the stock-exchange, it
appeared.  Some movement, arising from causes not yet clear, had
dropped the bottom out of a score of important stocks.  The broker was
only able to relate that about an hour after the opening of the
exchange, selling had developed in certain issues and prices were going
down in complete lack of support.

"How is Pacific Midlands?" Santoine asked.

"It led the decline."

Santoine felt the blood in his temples.  "M. and N. Smelters?" he asked.

"Down seven points."

"S. F. and D.?"

"Eight points off."

Santoine's hand, holding the telephone, shook in its agitation; his
head was hot from the blood rushing through it, his body was chilled.
An idea so strange, so astounding, so incredible as it first had come
to him that his feelings refused it though his reason told him it was
the only possible condition which could account for all the facts, now
was being made all but certain.  He named stock after stock; all were
down--seriously depressed or had been supported only by a desperate
effort of their chief holders.

"A. L. & M. is down too," the broker volunteered.

"That is only sympathetic," Santoine replied.

He hung up.  His hand, straining to control its agitation, reached for
the bell; he rang; a servant came.

"Get me note-paper," Santoine commanded.

The servant went out and returned with paper.  The nurse had followed
him in; she turned the leaf of the bed-table for Santoine to write.
The blind man could write as well as any other by following the
position of the lines with the fingers of his left hand.  He wrote a
short note swiftly now, folded, sealed and addressed it and handed it
to the servant.

"Have that delivered by a messenger at once," he directed.  "There will
be no written answer, I think; only something sent back--a photograph.
See that it is brought to me at once."

He heard the servant's footsteps going rapidly away.  He was shaking
with anger, horror, resentment; he was almost--not quite--sure now of
all that had taken place; of why Warden had been murdered, of what
vague shape had moved behind and guided all that had happened since.
He recalled Eaton's voice as he had heard it first on the train at
Seattle; and now he was almost sure--not quite--that he could place
that voice, that he knew where he had heard it before.

He lay with clenched hands, shaking with rage; then by effort of his
will he put these thoughts away.  The nurse reminded him again of his
need for food.

"I want nothing now," he said.  "Have it ready when I wake up.  When
the doctor comes, tell him I am going to get up to-day and dress."

He turned and stretched himself upon his bed; so, finally, he slept.



CHAPTER XXII

THE MAN HUNT

The rolling, ravine-gullied land where Harriet had left Eaton was
wooded thickly with oaks, maples and ash; the ground between these
trees was clear of undergrowth upon the higher parts of the land, but
its lower stretches and the ravines themselves were shrouded with
closely growing bushes rising higher than a man's waist, and, where
they grew rankest, higher than a man's head.  In summer, when trees and
bushes were covered with leaves, this underbrush offered cover where a
man could conceal himself perfectly; now, in the early spring before
the trees had even budded, that man would be visible for some distance
by day and nearly as clearly visible by night if the headlights of the
motor-cars chanced to shine into the woods.

Eaton, fully realizing this chance as he left Harriet, had plunged
through the bushes to conceal himself in the ravine.  The glare from
the burning bridge lighted the ravine for only a little way; Eaton had
gained the bottom of the ravine beyond the point where this light would
have made him visible and had made the best speed he could along it
away from the lights and voices on the road.  This speed was not very
great; his stockinged feet sank to their ankles in the soft mud of the
ravine; and when, realizing that he was leaving a trace easily followed
even by lantern-light, he clambered to the steep side and tried to
travel along its slope, he found his progress slower still.  In the
darkness he crashed sometimes full against the tree-trunks; bushes
which he could not see seized and held him, ripping and tearing at his
clothes; invisible, fallen saplings tripped him, and he stepped into
unseen holes which threw him headlong, so that twice he rolled clear to
the bottom of the ravine with fierce, hot pains which nearly deprived
him of his senses shooting through his wounded shoulder.

When he had made, as he thought, fully three quarters of a mile in this
way and must be, allowing for the winding of the ravine, at least half
a mile from his pursuers, he climbed to the brink of the bank and
looked back.  He was not, as he had thought, half a mile from the road;
he was not a quarter of a mile; he could still see plainly the lights
of the three motor-cars upon the road and men moving in the flare of
these lights.  He was certain that he had recognized the figure of
Avery among these men.  Pursuit of him, however, appeared to have been
checked for the moment; he heard neither voices nor any movement in the
woods.  Eaton, panting, threw himself down to recover breath and
strength to think.

There was no question in Eaton's mind what his fate would be if he
surrendered to, or was captured by, his pursuers.  What he had seen in
Santoine's study an hour before was so unbelievable, so completely
undemonstrable unless he himself could prove his story that he felt
that he would receive no credence.  Blatchford, who had seen it in the
light in the study, was dead; Santoine, who would have seen it if he
had had eyes, was blind.  Eaton, still almost stunned and yet wildly
excited by that sight, felt only, in the mad confusion of his senses,
the futility of telling what he had seen unless he were in a position
to prove it.  Those opposed to him would put his statement aside with
the mere answer that he was lying; the most charitably inclined would
think only that what he had been through had driven him insane.

Besides, Eaton was not at all sure that even if he had attempted to
tell what he had seen he would be allowed to tell it, or, if he
attempted to surrender to the men now pursuing him, he would be allowed
to surrender.  Donald Avery was clearly in command of those men and was
directing the pursuit; in Avery, Eaton had recognized an instinctive
enemy from the first; and now, since the polo game, he sensed vaguely
in Avery something more than that.  What Avery's exact position was in
regard to himself Eaton was not at all sure; but of Avery's active
hostility he had received full evidence; and he knew now--though how he
knew it was not plain even to himself--that Avery would not allow him
to surrender but that, if he tried to give himself up, the men under
Avery's orders would shoot him down.

As Eaton watched, the motor, which from its position on the road he
knew must be Harriet's, backed out from the others and went away.  The
other motors immediately afterward were turned and followed it.  But
Eaton could see that they left behind them a man standing armed near to
the bridge, and that other men, also armed, passed through the light as
they scrambled across the ravine and gained the road on its opposite
side.  The motors, too, stopped at intervals and then went on; he
understood that they were posting men to watch the road.  He traced the
motor headlights a long way through the dark; one stopped, the other
went on.  He remembered vaguely a house near the place where the car he
watched had stopped, and understanding that where there was a house
there was a telephone, he knew that the alarm must be given still more
widely now; men on all sides of him must be turning out to watch the
roads.  He knew they did turn out like that when the occasion demanded.

These waste places bordering upon the lake to north and south of
Chicago, and within easy car-ride of the great city, had been the scene
of many such man-hunts.  Hobos, gypsies, broken men thrown off by the
seething city, wandered through them and camped there; startling crimes
took place sometimes in these tiny wildernesses; fugitives from the
city police took refuge there and were hunted down by the local police,
by armed details of the city police, by soldiers from Fort Sheridan.
These fugitives might much better have stayed in the concealment of the
human jungle of the city; these rolling, wooded, sandy vacant lands
which seemed to offer refuge, in reality betrayed only into certain
capture.  The local police had learned the method of hunting, they had
learned to watch the roads and railways to prevent escape.

Eaton understood, therefore, that his own possibility of escape was
very small, even if escape had been his only object; but Eaton's
problem was not one of escape--it was to find those he pursued and make
certain that they were captured at the same time he was; and, as he
crouched panting on the damp earth, he was thinking only of that.

The man at the bridge--Dibley--had told enough to let Eaton know that
those whom Eaton pursued were no longer in the machine he had followed
with Harriet.  As Eaton had rushed out of Santoine's study after the
two that he had fought there, he had seen that one of these men was
supporting and helping the other; he had gained on them because of
that.  Then other men had appeared suddenly, to give their help, and he
had no longer been able to gain; but he had been close enough to see
that the one they dragged along and helped into the car was that enemy
whose presence in the study had so amazed him.  Mad exultation had
seized Eaton to know that he had seriously wounded his adversary.  He
knew now that the man could not have got out of the car by himself--he
was too badly wounded for that; he had been taken out of the car, and
the other men who were missing had him in charge.  The three men who
had gone on in the machine had done so for their own escape, but with
the added object of misleading the pursuit; the water they had got at
Dibley's had been to wash the blood from the car.

And now, as Eaton recalled and realized all this, he knew where the
others had left the machine.  Vaguely, during the pursuit, he had
sensed that Harriet was swinging their motor-car in a great circle,
first to the north, then west, then to the south.  Two or three miles
back upon the road, before they had made their turn to the south, Eaton
had lost for a few moments the track of the car they had been
following.  He had picked it up again at once and before he could speak
of it to Harriet; but now he knew that at that point the car they were
following had left the road, turning off onto the turf at the side and
coming back onto the road a hundred yards beyond.

This place must be nearly due north of him.  The road where he had left
Harriet ran north and south; to go north he must parallel this road,
but it was dangerous to move too near to it because it was guarded.
The sky was covered with clouds hiding the stars; the night in the
woods was intensely black except where it was lighted by the fire at
the bridge.  To the opposite side, a faint gray glow against the
clouds, which could not be the dawn but must be the reflection of the
electric lights along the public pike which followed the shore of the
lake, gave Eaton inspiration.  If he kept this grayness of the clouds
always upon his right, he would be going north.

The wound in Eaton's shoulder still welled blood each time he moved; he
tore strips from the front of his shirt, knotted them together and
bound his useless left arm tightly to his side.  He felt in the
darkness to be sure that there was a fresh clip of cartridges in his
automatic pistol; then he started forward.

For the first time now he comprehended the almost impossibility of
traveling in the woods on a dark night.  To try to walk swiftly was to
be checked after only two or three steps by sharp collision with some
tree-trunk which he could not see before he felt it, or brought to a
full stop by clumps of tangled, thorny bushes which enmeshed him, or to
be tripped or thrown by some inequality of the ground.  When he went
round any of these obstacles he lost his sense of direction and wasted
minutes before he could find again the dim light against the eastern
sky which gave him the compass-points.

As he struggled forward, impatient at these delays, he came several
times upon narrow, unguarded roads and crossed them; at other times the
little wilderness which protected him changed suddenly to a well-kept
lawn where some great house with its garages and out-buildings loomed
ahead, and afraid to cross these open places, he was obliged to retrace
his steps and find a way round.  The distance from the bridge to the
place where the three men he was following had got out of their motor,
he had thought to be about two miles; but when he had been traveling
more than an hour, he had not yet reached it.  Then, suddenly he came
upon the road for which he was looking; somewhere to the east along it
was the place he sought.  He crouched as near to the road as he dared
and where he could look up and down it.  This being a main road, was
guarded.  A motor-car with armed men in it passed him, and presently
repassed, evidently patroling the road; its lights showed him a man
with a gun standing at the first bend of the road to the east.  Eaton
drew further back and moved parallel to the road but far enough away
from it to be hidden.  A quarter of a mile further he found a second
man.  The motor-car, evidently, was patroling only to this point;
another car was on duty beyond this.  As Eaton halted, this second car
approached, and was halted, backed and turned.

Its headlights, as it turned, swept through the woods and revealed
Eaton.  The man standing in the road cried out the alarm and fired at
Eaton point blank; he fired a second and third time.  Eaton fled madly
back into the shadow; as he did so, he heard the men crying to one
another and leaping from the car and following him.  He found low
ground less thickly wooded, and plunged along it.  It was not difficult
to avoid the men in the blackness of the woods; he made a wide circuit
and came back again to the road further on.  He could still hear for a
time the sounds of the hunt on the turf.  Apparently he had not yet
reached the right spot; he retreated to the woods, went further along
and came back to the road, lying flat upon his face again and waiting
till some other car in passing should give him light to see.

Eaton, weak and dizzy from his wounds and confused by darkness and his
struggle through the woods, had no exact idea how long it had taken him
to get to this place; but he knew that it could have been hardly less
than two hours since he had left Harriet.  The men he was following,
therefore, had that much start of him, and this made him wild with
impatience but did not discourage him.  His own wounds, Eaton
understood, made his escape practically impossible, because any one who
saw him would at once challenge and detain him; and the other man was
still more seriously wounded.  It was not his escape that Eaton feared;
it was concealment of him.  The man had been taken from the car because
his condition was so serious that there was no hope of hiding it; Eaton
thought he must be dead.  He expected to find the body concealed under
dead leaves, hurriedly hidden.

The night had cleared a little; to the north, Eaton could see stars.
Suddenly the road and the leafless bushes at its sides flashed out in
the bright light of a motor-car passing.  Eaton strained forward.  He
had found the place; there was no doubt a car had turned off the road
some time before and stopped there.  The passing of many cars had so
tracked the road that none of the men in the motors seemed to have
noticed anything of significance there; but Eaton saw plainly in the
soft ground at the edge of the woods the footmarks of two men walking
one behind the other.  When the car had passed, he crept forward in the
dark and I fingered the distinct heel and toe marks in the soft soil.
For a little distance he could follow them by feeling; then as they led
him into the edge of the woods the ground grew harder and he could no
longer follow them in that way.

It was plain to him what had occurred; two men had got out of the car
here and had lifted out and carried away a third.  He knelt where he
could feel the last footsteps he could detect and looked around.  The
gray of the electric lights to the east seemed growing, spreading;
against this lightness in the sky he could see plainly the branches of
the trees; he recognized then that the grayness was the coming of the
dawn.  It would be only a few minutes before he could see plainly
enough to follow the tracks.  He drew aside into the deeper cover of
some bushes to wait.

The wound in his shoulder no longer bled, but the pain of it twinged
him through and through; his head throbbed with the hurt there; his
feet were raw and bleeding where sharp roots and branches had cut
through his socks and torn the flesh; his skin was hot and dry with
fever, and his head swam.  He followed impatiently the slow whitening
of the east; as soon as he could make out the ground in front of him,
he crept forward again to the tracks.

There was not yet light enough to see any distance, but Eaton,
accustomed to the darkness and bending close to the ground, could
discern the footmarks even on the harder soil.  They led away from the
road into the woods.  On the rotted leaves and twigs was a dark stain;
a few steps beyond there was another.  The stains had sunk into the
damp ground but were plainer on the leaves; Eaton picking up a leaf and
fingering it, knew that they were blood.  So the man was not dead when
he had been lifted from the car.  But he had been hurt desperately, was
unable to help himself, was probably dying; if there had been any hope
for him, his companions would not be carrying him in this way away from
any chance of surgical attention.

Eaton followed, as the tracks led through the woods.  The men had gone
very slowly, carrying this heavy weight; they had been traveling, as he
himself had traveled, in the dark, afraid to show a light and avoiding
chance of being seen by any one on the roads.  They had been as
uncertain of their road as he had been of his, but the general trend of
their travel was toward the east, and this evidently was the direction
in which they wished to go.  They had stopped frequently to rest and
had laid their burden down.  Then suddenly he came to a place where
plainly a longer halt had been made.

The ground was trampled around this spot; when the tracks went on they
were changed in character.  The two men were still carrying the
third--a heavy man whose weight strained them and made their feet sink
in deeply where the ground was soft.  But now they were not careful how
they carried him, but went forward merely as though bearing a dead
weight.  Now, too, no more stains appeared on the brown leaves where
they had passed; their burden no longer bled.  Eaton, realizing what
this meant, felt neither exultation nor surprise.  He had known that
the man they carried, though evidently alive when taken from the car,
was dying.  But now he watched the tracks more closely even than
before, looking for them to show him where the men had got rid of their
burden.

It had grown easier to follow the tracks with the increase of the
light, but the danger that he would be seen had also grown greater.  He
was obliged to keep to the hollows; twice, when he ventured onto the
higher ground, he saw motor-cars passing at a distance, but near enough
so that those in them could have seen him if they had been looking his
way.  Once he saw at the edge of the woods a little group of armed men.
His dizziness and weakness from the loss of blood was increasing; he
became confused at times and lost the tracks.  He went forward slowly
then, examining each clump of bushes, each heap of dead leaves, to see
whether the men had hidden in them that of which he was in search; but
always when he found the tracks again their character showed him that
the men were still carrying their burden.  The tracks seemed fresher
now; in spite of his weakness he was advancing much faster than the
others had been able to do in the darkness and heavily laden.  As near
as he could tell, the men had passed just before dawn.  Suddenly he
came upon the pike which ran parallel to the line of the lake, some
hundred yards back from the shore.

He shrank back, throwing himself upon his face in the bushes; the men
evidently had crossed this pike.  Full day had come, and as Eaton
peered out and up and down the road, he saw no one; this road appeared
unguarded.  Eaton, assured no one was in sight, leaped up and crossed
the road.  As he reached its further side, a boy carrying a fishpole
appeared suddenly from behind some bushes.  He stared at Eaton; then,
terrified by Eaton's appearance, he dropped the fishpole and fled
screaming up the road.  Eaton stared dazedly after him for a fraction
of an instant, then plunged into the cover.  He found the tracks again,
and followed them dizzily.

But the boy had given the alarm.  Eaton heard the whirring of motors on
the road and men shouting to one another; then he heard them beating
through the bushes.  The noise was at some distance; evidently the boy
in his fright and confusion had not directed the men to the exact spot
where Eaton had entered the woods or they in their excitement had
failed to understand him.  But the sounds were drawing nearer.  Eaton,
exhausted and dizzy, followed feverishly the footmarks on the ground.
It could not be far now--the men could not have carried their burden
much further than this.  They must have hidden it somewhere near here.
He would find it near by--must find it before these others found him.
But now he could see men moving among the tree-trunks.  He threw
himself down among some bushes, burrowing into the dead leaves.  The
men passed him, one so close that Eaton could have thrown a twig and
hit him.  Eaton could not understand why the man did not see him, but
he did not; the man stopped an instant studying the footmarks imprinted
in the earth; evidently they had no significance for him, for he went
on.

When the searchers had passed out of sight, Eaton sprang up and
followed the tracks again.  They were distinct here, plainly printed,
and he followed easily.  He could hear men all about him, out of sight
but calling to one another in the woods.  All at once he recoiled,
throwing himself down again upon the ground.  The clump of bushes
hiding him ended abruptly only a few yards away; through their bare
twigs, but far below him, the sunlight twinkled, mockingly, at him from
the surface of water.  It was the lake!

Eaton crept forward to the edge of the steep bluff, following the
tracks.  He peered over the edge.  The tracks did not stop at the edge
of the bluff; they went on down it.  The steep sandy precipice was
scarred where the men, still bearing their burden, had slipped and
scrambled down it.  The marks crossed the shingle sixty feet below;
they were deeply printed in the wet sand down to the water's very edge.
There they stopped.

Eaton had not expected this.  He stared, worn out and with his senses
in confusion, and overcome by his physical weakness.  The sunlit water
only seemed to mock and laugh at him--blue, rippling under the breeze
and bearing no trail.  It was quite plain what had occurred; the wet
sand below was trampled by the feet of three or four men and cut by a
boat's bow.  They had taken the body away with them in the boat.  To
sink it somewhere weighted with heavy stones in the deep water?  Or had
it been carried away on that small, swift vessel Eaton had seen from
Santoine's lawn?  In either case, Eaton's search was hopeless now.

But it could not be so; it must not be so!  Eaton's eyes searched
feverishly the shore and the lake.  But there was nothing in sight upon
either.  He crept back from the edge of the bluff, hiding beside a
fallen log banked with dead leaves.  What was it he had said to
Harriet?  "I will come back to you--as you have never known me before!"
He rehearsed the words in mockery.  How would he return to her now?  As
he moved, a fierce, hot pain from the clotted wound in his shoulder
shot him through and through with agony and the silence and darkness of
unconsciousness overwhelmed him.



CHAPTER XXIII

NOT EATON--OVERTON

Santoine awoke at five o'clock.  The messenger whom he had despatched a
few hours earlier had not yet returned.  The blind man felt strong and
steady; he had food brought him; while he was eating it, his messenger
returned.  Santoine saw the man alone and, when he had dismissed him,
he sent for his daughter.

Harriet had waited helplessly at the house all day.  All day the house
had been besieged.  The newspaper men--or most of them--and the crowds
of the curious could be kept off; but others--neighbors, friends of her
father's or their wives or other members of their families--claimed
their prerogative of intrusion and question in time of trouble.  Many
of those who thus gained admittance were unused to the flattery of
reporter's questions; and from their interviews, sensations continued
to grow.

The stranger in Santoine's house--the man whom no one knew and who had
given his name as Philip Eaton--in all the reports was proclaimed the
murderer.  The first reports in the papers had assailed him; the
stories of the afternoon papers became a public clamour for his quick
capture, trial and execution.  The newspapers had sent the idle and the
sensation seekers, with the price of carfare to the country place, to
join the pack roaming the woods for Eaton.  Harriet, standing at a
window, could see them beating through the trees beyond the house; and
as she watched them, wild, hot anger against them seized her.  She
longed to rush out and strike them and shame them and drive them away.

The village police station called her frequently on the telephone to
inform her of the progress of the hunt.  Twice, they told her, Eaton
had been seen, but both times he had avoided capture; they made no
mention of his having been fired upon.  Avery, in charge of the pursuit
in the field, was away all day; he came in only for a few moments at
lunch time and then Harriet avoided him.  As the day progressed, the
pursuit had been systematized; the wooded spots which were the only
ones that Eaton could have reached unobserved from the places where he
had been seen, had been surrounded.  They were being searched carefully
one by one.  Through the afternoon, Harriet kept herself informed of
this search; there was no report that Eaton had been seen again, but
the places where he could be grew steadily fewer.

The day had grown toward dusk, when a servant brought her word that her
father wished to see her.  Harriet went up to him fearfully.  The blind
man seemed calm and quiet; a thin, square packet lay on the bed beside
him; he held it out to her without speaking.

She snatched it in dread; the shape of the packet and the manner in
which it was fastened told her it must be a photograph.  "Open it," her
father directed.

She snapped the string and tore off the paper.

She stared at it, and her breath left her; she held it and stared and
stared, sobbing now as she breathed.  The photograph was of Hugh, but
it showed him as she had never seen or known him; the even, direct
eyes, the good brow, the little lift of the head were his; he was
younger in the picture--she was seeing him when he was hardly more than
a boy.  But it was a boy to whom something startling, amazing, horrible
had happened, numbing and dazing him so that he could only stare out
from the picture in frightened, helpless defiance.  That oppression
which she had felt in him had just come upon him; he was not yet used
to bearing what had happened; it seemed incredible and unbearable to
him; she felt instinctively that he had been facing, when this picture
was taken, that injustice which had changed him into the
self-controlled, watchful man that she had known.

So, as she contrasted this man with the boy that he had been, her love
and sympathy for him nearly overpowered her.  She clutched the picture
to her, pressed it against her cheek; then suddenly conscious that her
emotion might be audible to her father, she quickly controlled herself.

"What is it you want to know, Father?" she asked.

"You have answered me already what I was going to ask, my dear," he
said to her quietly.

"What, Father?"

"That is the picture of Eaton?"

"Yes."

"I thought so."

She tried to assure herself of the shade of the meaning in her father's
tone; but she could not.  She understood that her recognition of the
picture had satisfied him in regard to something over which he had been
in doubt; but whether this was to work in favor of Hugh and
herself--she thought of herself now inseparably with Hugh--or whether
it threatened them, she could not tell.

"Father, what does this mean?" she cried to him.

"What, dear?"

"Your having the picture.  Where did you get it?"

Her father made no reply; she repeated it till he granted, "I knew
where it might be.  I sent for it."

"But--but, Father--"  It came to her now that her father must know who
Hugh was.  "Who--"

"I know who he is now," her father said calmly.  "I will tell you when
I can."

"When you can?"

"Yes," he said.  He was still an instant; she waited.  "Where is
Avery?" he asked her, as though his mind had gone to another subject
instantly.

"He has not been in, I believe, since noon."

"He is overseeing the search for Eaton?"

"Yes."

"Send for him.  Tell him I wish to see him here at the house; he is to
remain within the house until I have seen him."

Something in her father's tone startled and perplexed her; she thought
of Donald now only as the most eager and most vindictive of Eaton's
pursuers.  Was her father removing Donald from among those seeking
Eaton?  Was he sending for him because what he had just learned was
something which would make more rigorous and desperate the search?  The
blind man's look and manner told her nothing.

"You mean Donald is to wait here until you send for him, Father?"

"That is it."

It was the blind man's tone of dismissal.  He seemed to have forgotten
the picture; at least, as his daughter moved toward the door, he gave
no direction concerning it.  She halted, looking back at him.  She
would not carry the picture away, secretly, like this.  She was not
ashamed of her love for Eaton; whatever might be said or thought of
him, she trusted him; she was proud of her love for him.

"May I take the picture?" she asked steadily.

"Do whatever you want with it," her father answered quietly.

And so she took it with her.  She found a servant of whom she inquired
for Avery; he had not returned so she sent for him.  She went down to
the deserted library and waited there with the picture of Hugh in her
hand.  The day had drawn to dusk.  She could no longer see the picture
in the fading light; she could only recall it; and now, as she recalled
it, the picture itself---not her memory of her father's manner in
relation to it--gave her vague discomfort.  She got up suddenly,
switched on the light and, holding the picture close to it, studied it.
What it was in the picture that gave her this strange uneasiness quite
separate and distinct from all that she had felt when she first looked
at it, she could not tell; but the more she studied it, the more
troubled and frightened she grew.

The picture was a plain, unretouched print pasted upon common square
cardboard without photographer's emboss or signature; and printed with
the picture, were four plain, distinct numerals--8253.  She did not
know what they meant or if they had any real significance, but somehow
now she was more afraid for Hugh than she had been.  She trembled as
she held the picture again to her cheek and then to her lips.

She turned; some one had come in from the hall; it was Donald.  He was
in riding clothes and was disheveled and dusty from leading the men on
horseback through the woods.  She saw at her first glance at him that
his search had not yet succeeded and she threw her head back in relief.
Donald seemed to have returned without meeting the servant sent for him
and, seeing the light, he had looked into the library idly; but when he
saw her, he approached her quickly.

"What have you there?" he demanded of her.

She flushed at the tone.  "What right have you to ask?"  Her instant
impulse had been to conceal the picture, but that would make it seem
she was ashamed of it; she held it so Donald could see it if he looked.
He did look and suddenly seized the picture from her.

"Don!" she cried at him.

He stared at the picture and then up at her.  "Where did you get this,
Harriet?"

"Don!"

"Where did you get it?" he repeated.  "Are you ashamed to say?"

"Ashamed?  Father gave it to me!"

"Your father!"  Avery started; but if anything had caused him
apprehension, it instantly disappeared.  "Then didn't he tell you who
this man Eaton is?"

His tone terrified her, made her confused; she snatched for the picture
but he held it from her.  "Didn't he tell you what this picture is?"

"What?" she repeated.

"What did he say to you?"

"He got the picture and had me see it; he asked me if it was--Mr.
Eaton.  I told him yes."

"And then didn't he tell you who Eaton was?" Avery iterated.

"What do you mean, Don?"

He put the picture down on the table beside him and, as she rushed for
it, he seized both her hands and held her before him.  "Harry, dear!"
he said to her.  "Harry, dear--"

"Don't call me that!  Don't speak to me that way!"

"Why not?"

"I don't want you to."

"Why not?"

She struggled to free herself from him.

"I know, of course," he said.  "It's because of him."  He jerked his
head toward the picture on the table; the manner made her furious.

"Let me go, Don!"

"I'm sorry, dear."  He drew her to him, held her only closer.

"Don; Father wants to see you!  He wanted to know when he came in; he
will let you know when you can go to him."

"When did he tell you that?"

"Just now."

"When he gave you the picture?"

"Yes."

Avery had almost let her go; now he held her hard again.  "Then he
wanted me to tell you about this Eaton."

"Why should he have you tell me about--Mr. Eaton?"

"You know!" he said to her.

She shrank and turned her head away and shut her eyes not to see him.
And he was the man whom, until some strange moment a few days ago, she
had supposed she was some time to marry.  Amazement burned through her
now at the thought; because this man had been well looking, fairly
interesting and amusing and got on well both with her father and
herself and because he cared for her, she had supposed she could marry
him.  His assertion of his right to intimacy with her revolted her, and
his confidence that he had ability, by something he might reveal, to
take her from Eaton and bring her back within reach of himself.

Or wasn't it merely that?  She twisted in his arms until she could see
his face and stared at him.  His look and manner were full of purpose;
he was using terms of endearment toward her more freely than he ever
had dared to use them before; and it was not because of love for her,
it was for some purpose or through some necessity of his own that he
was asserting himself like this.

So she ceased to struggle against him, only drawing away from him as
far as she could and staring at him, prepared, before she asked her
question, to deny and reject his answer, no matter what it was.

"What have you to say about him, Donald?"

"Harry, you haven't come to really care for him; it was just madness,
dear, only a fancy, wasn't it?"

"What have you to say about him?"

"You must never think of him again, dear; you must forget him forever!"

"Why?"

"Harry--"

"Donald, I am not a child.  If you have something to say which you
consider hard for me to hear, tell it to me at once."

"Very well.  Perhaps that is best.  Dear, either this man whom you have
known as Eaton will never be found or, if he is found, he cannot be let
to live.  You understand?"

"Why?  For the shooting of Cousin Wallace?  He never did that!  I don't
believe that; I don't think Father believes that; you'll never make any
jury believe that.  So if that's all you have to tell me, let me go!"

She struggled again but Avery held her.  "I was not talking about that;
that's not necessary--to bring that against him."

"Necessary?"

"No; nor is it necessary, if he is caught, even to bring him before a
jury.  That's been done already, you see."

"Done already?"

Avery nodded again toward the photograph on the table.  "Yes, Harry,
have you never seen a picture with the numbers printed in below like
that?  Can't you guess yet where your father must have sent for that
picture?  Don't you know what those numbers mean?"

"What do they mean?"

"They are the figures of his number in what is called 'The Rogue's
Gallery'; now have you heard of it?"

"Go on."

"And they mean he has committed a crime and been tried and convicted of
it; they mean in this case that he has committed a murder!"

"A murder!"

"For which he was convicted and sentenced."

"Sentenced!"

"Yes; and is alive now only because before the sentence could be
carried out, he escaped.  That man, Philip Eaton, is Hugh--"

"Hugh!"

"Hugh Overton, Harry!"

"Hugh Overton!"

"Yes; I found it out to-day.  The police have just learned it, too.  I
was coming to tell your father.  He's Hugh Overton, the murderer of
Matthew Latron!"

Harriet fought herself free.  Denial, revolt stormed in her.  "It isn't
so!" she cried.  "He is not that man!  Hugh--his name is Hugh; but he
is not Hugh Overton.  Mr. Warden said Hugh--this Hugh had been greatly
wronged--terribly wronged.  Mr. Warden tried to help Hugh even at the
risk of his own life.  He would not--nobody would have tried to help
Hugh Overton!"

"Mr. Warden probably had been deceived."

"No; no!"

"Yes, Harry; for this man is certainly Hugh Overton."

"It isn't so!  I know it isn't so!"

"You mean he told you he was--some one else, Harry?"

"No; I mean--"  She faced him defiantly.  "Father let me keep the
photograph!  I asked him, and he said, 'Do whatever you wish with it.'
He knew I meant to keep it!  He knows who Hugh is, so he would not have
said that, if--if--"

She heard a sound behind her and turned.  Her father had come into the
room.  And as she saw his manner and his face she knew that what Avery
had just told her was the truth.  She shrank away from them.  Her hands
went to her face and hid it.

So this was that unknown thing which had stood between herself and
Hugh--that something which she had seen a hundred times check the
speech upon his lips and chill his manner toward her!  Hadn't Hugh
himself told her--or almost told her it was something of that sort?  He
had said to her on the train, when she urged him to defend himself
against the charge of having attacked her father, "If I told them who I
am, that would make them only more certain their charge is true; it
would condemn me without a hearing!"  And his being Hugh Overton
explained everything.

She knew now why it was that her father, on hearing Hugh's voice, had
become curious about him, had tried to place the voice in his
recollection--the voice of a prisoner on trial for his life, heard only
for an instant but fixed upon his mind by the circumstances attending
it, though those circumstances afterward had been forgotten.  She knew
why she, when she had gazed at the picture a few minutes before, had
been disturbed and frightened at feeling it to be a kind of picture
unfamiliar to her and threatening her with something unknown and
terrible.  She knew the reason now for a score of things Hugh had said
to her, for the way he had looked many times when she had spoken to
him.  It explained all that!  It seemed to her, in the moment, to
explain everything--except one thing.  It did not explain Hugh himself;
the kind of man he was, the kind of man she knew him to be--the man she
loved--he could not be a murderer!

Her hands dropped from her face; she threw her head back proudly and
triumphantly, as she faced now both Avery and her father.

"He, the murderer of Mr. Latron!" she cried quietly.  "It isn't so!"

The blind man was very pale; he was fully dressed.  A servant had
supported him and helped him down the stairs and still stood beside him
sustaining him.  But the will which had conquered his disability of
blindness was holding him firmly now against the disability of his
hurts; he seemed composed and steady.  She saw compassion for her in
his look; and compassion--under the present circumstances--terrified
her.  Stronger, far more in control of him than his compassion for her,
she saw purpose.  She recognized that her father had come to a decision
upon which he now was going to act; she knew that nothing she or any
one else could say would alter that decision and that he would employ
his every power in acting upon it.

The blind man seemed to check himself an instant in the carrying out of
his purpose; he turned his sightless eyes toward her.  There was
emotion in his look; but, except that this emotion was in part pity for
her, she could not tell exactly what his look expressed.

"Will you wait for me outside, Harriet?" he said to her.  "I shall not
be long."

She hesitated; then she felt suddenly the futility of opposing him and
she passed him and went out into the hall.  The servant followed her,
closing the door behind him.  She stood just outside the door
listening.  She heard her father--she could catch the tone; she could
not make out the words--asking a question; she heard the sound of
Avery's response.  She started back nearer the door and put her hand on
it to open it; inside they were still talking.  She caught Avery's tone
more clearly now, and it suddenly terrified her.  She drew back from
the door and shrank away.  There had been no opposition to Avery in her
father's tone; she was certain now that he was only discussing with
Avery what they were to do.

She had waited nearly half an hour, but the library door had not been
opened again.  The closeness of the hall seemed choking her; she went
to the front door and threw it open.  The evening was clear and cool;
but it was not from the chill of the air that she shivered as she gazed
out at the woods through which she had driven with Hugh the night
before.  There the hunt for him had been going on all day; there she
pictured him now, in darkness, in suffering, alone, hurt, hunted and
with all the world but her against him!

She ran down the steps and stood on the lawn.  The vague noises of the
house now no longer were audible.  She stood in the silence of the
evening strained and fearfully listening.  At first there seemed to be
no sound outdoors other than the gentle rush of the waves on the beach
at the foot of the bluff behind her; then, in the opposite direction,
she defined the undertone of some faraway confusion.  Sometimes it
seemed to be shouting, next only a murmur of movement and noise.  She
ran up the road a hundred yards in its direction and halted again.  The
noise was nearer and clearer--a confusion of motor explosions and
voices; and now one sound clattered louder and louder and leaped nearer
rapidly and rose above the rest, the roar of a powerful motor car
racing with "cut-out" open.  The rising racket of it terrified Harriet
with its recklessness and triumph.  Yes; that was it; triumph!  The
far-off tumult was the noise of shouts and cries of triumph; the racing
car, blaring its way through the night, was the bearer of news of
success of the search.

Harriet went colder as she knew this; then she ran up the road to meet
the car coming.  She saw the glare of its headlights through the trees
past a bend in the road; she ran on and the beams of the car's
headlight straightened and glared down the road directly upon her.  The
car leaped at her; she ran on toward it, arms in the air.  The clatter
of the car became deafening and the machine was nearly upon her when
the driver recognized that the girl in the road was heedless and might
throw herself before him unless he stopped.  He brought his car up
short and skidding.  "What is it?" he cried, as he muffled the engine.

"What is it?  What is it?" she cried in return.

The man recognized her.  "Miss Santoine!"

"What is it?"

"We've got him!" the man cried.  "We've got him!"

"Him?"

"Him!  Hugh Overton!  Eaton, Miss Santoine.  He's Hugh Overton; hadn't
you heard?  And we've got him!"

"Got him!"

She seemed to the man not to understand; and he had not time to explain
further even to her.  "Where is Mr. Avery?" he demanded.  "I've got to
tell Mr. Avery."

She made no response but threw herself in front of the car and clasped
a wheel as the man started to throw in his gear.  He cried to her and
tried to get her off; but she was deaf to him.  He looked in the
direction of the house, shut off his power and leaped down.  He left
the machine and ran on the road toward the house.  Harriet waited until
he was away, then she sprang to the seat; she started the car and
turned it back in the direction from which it had come.  She speeded
and soon other headlights flared at hers--a number of them; four or
five cars, at least, were in file up the road and men were crowding and
horsemen were riding beside them.

The captors of Hugh were approaching in triumphal procession.  Harriet
felt the wild, savage impulse to hurl her racing car headlong and at
full speed among them.  She rushed on so close that she saw she alarmed
them; they cried a warning; the horsemen and the men on foot jumped
from beside the road and the leading car swung to one side; but Harriet
caught her car on the brakes and swung it straight across the road and
stopped it; she closed the throttle and pulled the key from the
starting mechanism and flung it into the woods.  So she sat in the car,
waiting for the captors of Hugh to come up.

These appreciated the hostility of her action without yet recognizing
her.  The motors stopped; the men on foot closed around.  One of them
cried her name and men descended from the leading car.  Harriet got
down from her machine and met them.  The madness of the moments past
was gone; as the men addressed her with astonishment but with respect,
she gazed at them coolly.

"Where is he?" she asked them.  "Where is he?"

They did not tell her; but reply was unnecessary.  Others' eyes pointed
hers to Hugh.  He was in the back seat of the second machine with two
men, one on each side of him.  The lights from the car following and
the refractions from the other lights showed him to her.  He was
sitting, or was being held, up straight; his arms were down at his
sides.  She could not see whether they were tied or not.  The light did
not shine so as to let her see his face clearly; but his bearing was
calm, he held his head up.  She looked for his hurts; there seemed to
be bandages on his head but some one had given him a large cap which
was pulled down so as to conceal the bandages.  Plainly there had been
no other capture; excitement was all centered upon him.  Harriet heard
people telling her name to others; and the newspaper men, who seemed to
be all about, pushed back those who would interfere with her reaching
the second machine.

She disregarded them and every one else but Hugh, who had seen her and
had kept his gaze steadily upon her as she approached.  She stopped at
the side of the car where he was and she put her hand on the edge of
the tonneau.

"You have been hurt again, Hugh?" she managed steadily.

"Hurt?  No," he said as constrainedly.  "No."

A blinding flare and an explosion startled her about.  It was only a
flashlight fired by one of the newspaper photographers who had placed
his camera during the halt.  Harriet opened the door to the tonneau.
Two men occupied the seats in the middle of the car; it was a large,
seven passenger machine.  "I will take this seat, please," she said to
the man nearer.  He got out and she sat down.  Those who had been
trying to start the car which she had driven across the road, had given
up the task and were pushing it away to one side.  Harriet sat down in
front of Eaton--it was still by that name she thought of him; her
feelings refused the other name, though she knew now it was his real
one.  She understood now her impulse which had driven her to try to
block the road to her father's house if only for a moment; they were
taking him there to deliver him up to Avery--to her father--who were
consulting there over what his fate was to be.

She put her hand on his; his fingers closed upon it, but after his
first response to her grasp he made no other; and now, as the lights
showed him to her more clearly, she was terrified to see how unable he
was to defend himself against anything that might be done to him.  His
calmness was the calmness of exhaustion; his left arm was bound tightly
to his side; his eyes, dim and blank with pain and weariness, stared
only dully, dazedly at all around.

The car started, and she sat silent, with her hand still upon his, as
they went on to her father's house.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE FLAW IN THE LEFT EYE

Santoine, after Harriet had left the library, stood waiting until he
heard the servant go out and close the door; he had instructed the man
and another with him to remain in the hall.  The blind man felt no
physical weakness; he was wholly absorbed in the purpose for which he
had dressed and come downstairs; now, as he heard Avery start forward
to help him, he motioned him back.  It was the rule in Santoine's house
that the furniture in the rooms he frequented should be kept always in
the same positions; the blind man could move about freely, therefore,
in these rooms.

He walked slowly now to a large chair beside the table in the center of
the room and sat down, resting his arm on the table; when he felt the
familiar smoothness of the table under his finger-tips he knew he was
facing the part of the room where the sound he had just heard had told
him Avery must be.

"When did you learn that Eaton was Hugh Overton, Avery?" he asked.

"To-day."

"How did you discover it?"

He heard Avery, who had been standing, come forward and seat himself on
the arm of the chair across the table from him; the blind man turned to
face this place directly.

"It was plain from the first there was something wrong with the man,"
Avery replied; "but I had, of course, no way of placing him until he
gave himself away at polo the other day."

"At polo?  Then you knew about it the other day?"

"Oh, no," Avery denied.  "I saw that he was pretending not to know a
game which he did know; when he put over one particular stroke I was
sure he knew the game very well.  The number of men in this country
who've played polo at all isn't very large and those who can play great
polo are very few.  So I sent for the polo annuals for a few years
back; the ones I wanted came to the club to-day.  His picture is in the
group of the Spring Meadows Club; he played 'back' for them five years
ago.  His name was under the picture, of course."

"You didn't tell me, however, that he could play polo when you first
found it out."

"No; I wanted to be sure of him before I spoke; besides, Harriet had
seen it as well as I; I supposed she had told you."

"I understand.  I am glad to know how it was.  One less certain of your
fidelity than I am might have put another construction on your silence;
one less certain, Avery, might have thought that, already knowing
Eaton's identity, you preferred instead of telling it to me to have me
discover it for myself and so, for that reason, you trapped him into a
polo game in Harriet's presence.  I, myself, do not think that.  The
other possibility which might occur to one not certain of your fidelity
we will not now discuss."

For a moment Santoine paused; the man across from him did not speak,
but--Santoine's intuition told him--drew himself suddenly together
against some shock; the blind man felt that Avery was watching him now
with tense questioning.

"Of course," said Santoine, "knowing who Eaton is, gives us no aid in
determining who the men were that fought with him in my study last
night?"

"It gives none to me, Mr. Santoine," Avery said steadily.

"It gives none to you," Santoine repeated; "and the very peculiar
behavior of the stock exchange to-day, I suppose that gives you no help
either.  All day they have been going down, Avery--the securities, the
stocks and bonds of the properties still known as the Latron
properties; the very securities which five years ago stood staunch
against even the shock of the death of the man whose coarse but
powerful personality had built them up into the great properties they
are to-day--of Matthew Latron's death.  To-day, without apparent
reason, they have been going down, and that gives you no help either,
Avery?"

"I'm afraid I don't follow you, sir."

"Yet you are a very clever man, Avery; there is no question about that.
Your friend and my friend who sent you to me five years ago was quite
correct in calling you clever; I have found you so; I have been willing
to pay you a good salary--a very good salary--because you are clever."

"I'm glad if you have found my work satisfactory, Mr. Santoine."

"I have even found it worth while at times to talk over with you
matters--problems--which were troubling me; to consult with you.  Have
I not?"

"Yes."

"Very well; I am going to consult with you now.  I have an infirmity,
as you know, Avery; I am blind.  I have just found out that for several
years--for about five years, to be exact; that is, for about the same
length of time that you have been with me--my blindness has been used
by a certain group of men to make me the agent of a monstrous and
terrible injustice to an innocent man.  Except for my blindness--except
for that, Avery, this injustice never could have been carried on.  If
you find a certain amount of bitterness in my tone, it is due to that;
a man who has an infirmity, Avery, cannot well help being a little
sensitive in regard to it.  You are willing I should consult with you
in regard to this?"

"Of course I am at your service, Mr. Santoine."  Avery's voice was
harsh and dry.

The blind man was silent for an instant.  He could feel the uneasiness
and anxiety of the man across from him mounting swiftly, and he gave it
every opportunity to increase.  He had told Eaton once that he did not
use "cat and mouse" methods; he was using them now because that was the
only way his purpose could be achieved.

"We must go back, then, Avery, to the quite serious emergency to which
I am indebted for your faithful service.  It is fairly difficult now
for one contemplating the reverence and regard in which 'big' men are
held by the public in these days of business reconstruction to recall
the attitude of only a few years ago.  However, it is certainly true
that five years ago the American people appeared perfectly convinced
that the only way to win true happiness and perpetuate prosperity was
to accuse, condemn and jail for life--if execution were not legal--the
heads of the important groups of industrial properties.  Just at that
time, one of these men--one of the most efficient but also, perhaps,
the one personally most obnoxious or unpopular--committed one of his
gravest indiscretions.  It concerned the private use of deposits in
national banks; it was a federal offense of the most patent and
provable kind.  He was indicted.  Considering the temper of any
possible jury at that time, there was absolutely no alternative but to
believe that the man under indictment must spend many succeeding years,
if not the rest of his life, in the Federal penitentiary at Atlanta or
Leavenworth.

"Now, not only the man himself but his closest associates contemplated
this certainty with dismay.  The man was in complete control of a group
of the most valuable and prosperous properties in America.  Before his
gaining control, the properties had been almost ruined by differences
between the minor men who tried to run them; only the calling of
Matthew Latron into control saved those men from themselves; they
required him to govern them; his taking away would bring chaos and ruin
among them again.  They knew that.  There were a number of important
people, therefore, who held hope against hope that Latron would not be
confined in a prison cell.  Just before he must go to trial, Latron
himself became convinced that he faced confinement for the rest of his
life; then fate effectively intervened to end all his troubles.  His
body, charred and almost consumed by flames--but nevertheless the
identified body of Matthew Latron--was found in the smoking ruins of
his shooting lodge which burned to the ground two days before his
trial.  I have stated correctly these particulars, have I not, Avery?"

"Yes."  Avery was no longer sitting on the arm of the chair; he had
slipped into the seat--he was hunched in the seat watching the blind
man with growing conviction and fear.

"There were, of course," Santoine went on, "many of the violent and
passion-inflamed who carped at this timely intervention of fate and
criticised the accident which delivered Latron at this time.  But these
were silenced when Latron's death was shown to have been, not accident,
but murder.  A young man was shown to have followed Latron to the
shooting lodge; a witness appeared who had seen this young man shoot
Latron; a second witness had seen him set fire to the lodge.  The young
man--Hugh Overton--was put on trial for his life.  I, myself, as a
witness at the trial, supplied the motive for the crime; for, though I
had never met Overton, I knew that he had lost the whole of a large
fortune through investments recommended to him by Latron.  Overton was
convicted, sentenced to death; he escaped before the sentence was
carried out--became a fugitive without a name, who if he ever
reappeared would be handed over for execution.  For the evidence had
been perfect--complete; he had shot Latron purely for revenge, killed
him in the most despicable manner.  For there was no doubt Latron was
dead, was there, Avery?"

Santoine waited for reply.

"What?" Avery said huskily.

"I say there was no doubt Latron was dead?"

"None."

"That was the time you came into my employ, Avery, recommended to me by
one of the men who had been closest to Latron.  I was not connected
with the Latron properties except as an adviser; but many papers
relating to them must go inevitably through my hands.  I was rather on
the inside in all that concerned those properties.  But I could not
myself see the papers; I was blind; therefore, I had to have others
serve as eyes for me.  And from the first, Avery, you served as my eyes
in connection with all papers relating to the Latron properties.  If
anything ever appeared in those papers which might have led me to
suspect that any injustice had been done in the punishment of Latron's
murderer, it could reach me only through you.  Nothing of that sort
ever did reach me, Avery.  You must have made quite a good thing out of
it."

"What?"

"I say, your position here must have been rather profitable to you,
Avery; I have not treated you badly myself, recognizing that you must
often be tempted by gaining information here from which you might make
money; and your other employers must have overbid me."

"I don't understand; I beg your pardon, Mr. Santoine, but I do not
follow what you are talking about."

"No?  Then we must go a little further.  This last year a minor
reorganization became necessary in some of the Latron properties.  My
friend, Gabriel Warden--who was an honest man, Avery--had recently
greatly increased his interest in those properties; it was inevitable
the reorganization should be largely in his hands.  I remember now
there was opposition to his share in it; the fact made no impression on
me at the time; opposition is common in all things.  During his work
with the Latron properties, Warden--the honest man, Avery--discovered
the terrible injustice of which I speak.

"I suspect there were discrepancies in the lists of stockholders,
showing a concealed ownership of considerable blocks of stock, which
first excited his suspicions.  Whatever it may have been Warden
certainly investigated further; his investigation revealed to him the
full particulars of the injustice done to the nameless fugitive who had
been convicted as the murderer of Matthew Latron.  Evidently this
helpless, hopeless man had been thought worth watching by some one, for
Warden's discoveries gave him also Overton's address.  Warden risked
and lost his life trying to help Overton.

"I do not need to draw your attention, Avery, to the very peculiar
condition which followed Warden's death.  Warden had certainly had
communication with Overton of some sort; Overton's enemies, therefore,
were unable to rid themselves of him by delivering him up to the police
because they did not know how much Overton knew.  When I found that
Warden had made me his executor and I went west and took charge of his
affairs, their difficulties were intensified, for they did not dare to
let suspicion of what had been done reach me.  There was no course open
to them, therefore, but to remove Overton before my suspicions were
aroused, even if it could be done only at desperate risk to themselves.

"What I am leading up to, Avery, is your own connection with these
events.  You looked after your own interests rather carefully, I think,
up to a certain point.  When--knowing who Eaton was--you got him into a
polo game, it was so that, if your interests were best served by
exposing him, you could do so without revealing the real source of your
knowledge of him.  But an unforeseen event arose.  The drafts and lists
relating to the reorganization of the Latron properties--containing the
very facts, no doubt, which first had aroused Warden's suspicions--were
sent me through Warden's office.  At first there was nothing
threatening to you in this, because their contents could reach me only
through you.  But in the uncertainty I felt, I had my daughter take
these matters out of your hands; you did not dare then even to ask me
to give them back, for fear that would draw my attention to them and to
you.

"That night, Avery, you sent an unsigned telegram from the office in
the village; almost within twenty-four hours my study was entered, the
safe inaccessible to you was broken open, the contents were carried
away.  The study window had not been forced; it had been left open from
within.  Do you suppose I do not know that one of the two men in the
study last night was the principal whose agents had failed in two
attempts to get rid of Overton for him, whose other agent--yourself,
Avery--had failed to intercept the evidence which would have revealed
the truth to me, so that, no longer trusting to agents, he himself had
come in desperation to prevent my learning the facts?  I realize fully,
Avery, that by means of you my blindness and my reputation have been
used for five years to conceal from the public the fact that Matthew
Latron had not been murdered, but was still alive!"

The blind man halted; he had not gone through this long conversation,
with all the strain that it entailed upon himself, without a definite
object; and now, as he listened to Avery's quick breathing and the
nervous tapping of his fingers against the arm of his chair, he
realized that this object was accomplished.  Avery not only realized
that the end of deception and concealment had come; he recognized
thoroughly that Santoine would not have spoken until he had certain
proof to back his words.  Avery might believe that, as yet, the blind
man had not all the proof in his possession; but Avery knew--as he was
aware that Santoine also knew--that exposure threatened so many men
that some one of them now was certain to come forward to save himself
at the expense of the others.  And Avery knew that only one--and the
first one so to come forward--could be saved.

So Santoine heard Avery now get up; he stood an instant and tried to
speak, but his breath caught nervously; he made another effort.

"I don't think you have much against me, Mr. Santoine," he managed; it
was--as the blind man had expected--only of himself that Avery was
thinking.

"No?" Santoine asked quietly.

"I didn't have anything to do with convicting Overton, or know anything
about it until that part was all over; I never saw him till I saw him
on the train.  I didn't know Warden was going to be killed."

"But you were accessory to the robbery of my house last night and,
therefore, accessory to the murder of Wallace Blatchford.  Last night,
too, knowing Overton was innocent of everything charged against him,
you gave orders to fire upon him at sight and he was fired upon.  And
what were you telling Harriet when I came in?  You have told the police
that Overton is the murderer of Latron.  Isn't that so the police will
refuse to believe anything he may say and return him to the death cell
for the sentence to be executed upon him?  The law will call these
things attempted murder, Avery."

The blind man heard Avery pacing the floor, and then heard him stop in
front of him.

"What is it you want of me, Mr. Santoine?"

"The little information I still require."

"You mean you want me to sell the crowd out?"

"Not that; because I offer you nothing.  A number of men are going to
the gallows or the penitentiary for this, Avery, and you--I
suspect--among them; though I also suspect--from what I have learned
about your character in the last few days--that you'll take any means
open to you to avoid sharing their fate."

"I suppose you mean by that that I'll turn State's evidence if I get a
chance, and that I might as well begin now."

"That, I should say, is entirely up to you.  The charge of what I
know--with the simultaneous arrest of a certain number of men in
different places whom I know must be implicated--will be made
to-morrow.  You, perhaps, are a better judge than I of the cohesion of
your group in the contingencies which it will face to-morrow morning.
I offer you nothing now, Avery--no recommendation of clemency--nothing.
If you prefer to have me learn the full facts from the first of another
who breaks, very well."

Santoine waited.  He heard Avery take a few more steps up and down;
then he halted; now he walked again; they were uneven steps as Santoine
heard them; then Avery stopped once more.

"What is it you want to know, sir?"

"Who killed Warden?"

"John Yarrow is his name; he was a sort of hanger-on of Latron's.  I
don't know where Latron picked him up."

"Was it he who also made the attack on the train?"

"Yes."

"Who was the other man on the train--the one that claimed the telegram
addressed to Lawrence Hillward?"

"His name's Hollock.  He's the titular owner of the place on the
Michigan shore where Latron has been living.  The telegram I sent night
before last was addressed to his place, you know.  He's been a sort of
go-between for Latron and the men--those who knew--who were managing
the properties.  I'd never met him, though, Mr. Santoine, and I didn't
know either him or Hollock on the train.  As I said, I wasn't in the
know about killing Warden."

"When did you learn who Eaton was, Avery?"

"The day after we got back here from the West I got word from Latron;
they didn't tell me till they needed to use me."  Avery hesitated; then
he went on--he was eager now to tell all he knew in his belief that by
doing so he was helping his own case.  "You understand, sir, about
Latron's pretended death--a guide at the shooting lodge had been killed
by a chance shot in the woods; purely accidental; some one of the party
had fired at a deer, missed, and never knew he'd killed a man with the
waste shot.  When the guide didn't come back to camp, they looked for
him and found his body.  He was a man who never would be missed or
inquired for and was very nearly Latron's size; and that gave Latron
the idea.

"At first there was no idea of pretending he had been murdered; it was
the coroner who first suggested that.  Things looked ugly for a while,
under the circumstances, as they were made public.  Either the scheme
might come out or some one else be charged as the murderer.  That put
it up to Overton.  He'd actually been up there to see Latron and had
had a scene with him which had been witnessed.  That part--all but the
evidence which showed that he shot Latron afterwards--was perfectly
true.  He thought that Latron, as he was about to go to trial, might be
willing to give him information which would let him save something from
the fortune he'd lost through Latron's manipulations.  The
circumstances, motive, everything was ready to convict Overton; it
needed very little more to complete the case against him."

"So it was completed."

"But after Overton was convicted, he was not allowed to be punished,
sir."

Santoine's lips straightened in contempt.  "He was not allowed to be
punished?"

"Overton didn't actually escape, you know, Mr. Santoine--that is, he
couldn't have escaped without help; Latron was thoroughly frightened
and he wanted it carried through and Overton executed; but some of the
others rebelled against this and saw that Overton got away; but he
never knew he'd been helped.  I understand it was evidence of Latron's
insistence on the sentence being carried out that Warden found, after
his first suspicions had been aroused, and that put Warden in a
position to have Latron tried for his life, and made it necessary to
kill Warden."

"Latron is dead, of course, Avery, or fatally wounded?"

"He's dead.  Over--Eaton, that is, sir--hit him last night with three
shots."

"As a housebreaker engaged in rifling my safe, Avery."

"Yes, sir.  Latron was dying when they took him out of the car last
night.  They got him away, though; put him on the boat he'd come on.  I
saw them in the woods last night.  They'll not destroy the body or make
away with it, sir, at present."

"In other words, you instructed them not to do so until you had found
out whether Overton could be handed over for execution and the facts
regarding Latron kept secret, or whether some other course was
necessary."

The blind man did not wait for any answer to this; he straightened
suddenly, gripping the arms of his chair, and got up.  There was more
he wished to ask; in the bitterness he felt at his blindness having
been used to make him an unconscious agent in these things of which
Avery spoke so calmly, he was resolved that no one who had shared
knowingly in them should go unpunished.  But now he heard the noise
made by approach of Eaton's captors.  He had noted it a minute or more
earlier; he was sure now that it was definitely nearing the house.  He
crossed to the window, opened it and stood there listening; the people
outside were coming up the driveway.  Santoine went into the hall.

"Where is Miss Santoine?" he inquired.

The servant who waited in the hall told him she had gone out.  As
Santoine stood listening, the sounds without became coherent to him.

"They have taken Overton, Avery," he commented.  "Of course they have
taken no one else.  I shall tell those in charge of him that he is not
the one they are to hold prisoner but that I have another for them
here."

The blind man heard no answer from Avery.  Those having Overton in
charge seemed to be coming into the house; the door opened and there
were confused sounds.  Santoine stood separating the voices.

"What is it?" he asked the servant.

"Mr. Eaton--Mr. Overton, sir--fainted as they were taking him out of
the motor-car, sir.  He seems much done up, sir."

Santoine recognized that four or five men, holding or carrying their
prisoner between them, had come in and halted in surprise at sight of
him.

"We have him!" he heard one of them cry importantly to him.  "We have
him, sir! and he's Hugh Overton, who killed Latron!"

Then Santoine heard his daughter's voice in a half cry, half sob of
hopeless appeal to him; Harriet ran to him; he felt her cold, trembling
fingers clasping him and beseeching him.  "Father!  Father!  They
say--they say--they will--"

He put his hands over hers, clasping hers and patting it, "My dear," he
said, "I thought you would wait for me; I told you to wait."

He heard others coming into the house now; and he held his daughter
beside him as he faced them.

"Who is in charge here?" he demanded.

The voice of one of those who had just come in answered him.  "I,
sir--I am the chief of police."

"I wish to speak to you; I will not keep you long.  May I ask you to
have your prisoner taken to the room he occupied here in my house and
given attention by a doctor?  You can have my word that it is not
necessary to guard him.  Wait!  Wait!" he directed, as he heard
exclamations and ejaculations to correct him.  "I do not mean that you
have mistaken who he is.  He is Hugh Overton, I know; it is because he
is Hugh Overton that I say what I do."

Santoine abandoned effort to separate and comprehend or to try to
answer the confusion of charge and questioning around him.  He
concerned himself, at the moment, only with his daughter; he drew her
to him, held her and said gently, "There, dear; there!  Everything is
right.  I have not been able to explain to you, and I cannot take time
now; but you, at least, will take my word that you have nothing to fear
for him--nothing!"

He heard her gasp with incredulity and surprise; then, as she drew back
from him, staring at him, she breathed deep with relief and clasped
him, sobbing.  He still held her, as the hall was cleared and the
footsteps of those carrying Overton went up the stairs; then, knowing
that she wished to follow them, he released her.  She drew away, then
clasped his hand and kissed it; as she did so, she suddenly stiffened
and her hand tightened on his spasmodically.

Some one else had come into the hall and he heard another voice--a
woman's, which he recognized as that of the stenographer, Miss Davis.

"Where is he?  Hugh!  Hugh!  What have you done to him?  Mr. Santoine!
Mr. Santoine! where is he?"

The blind man straightened, holding his daughter to him; there was
anxiety, horror, love in the voice he heard; Harriet's perplexity was
great as his own.  "Is that you, Miss Davis?" he inquired.

"Yes; yes," the girl repeated.  "Where is--Hugh, Mr. Santoine?"

"You do not understand," the voice of a young man--anxious and strained
now, but of pleasing timbre--broke in on them.

"I'm afraid I don't," Santoine said quietly.

"She is Hugh's sister, Mr. Santoine--she is Edith Overton."

"Edith Overton?  And who are you?"

"You do not know me.  My name is Lawrence Hillward."

Santoine asked nothing more for the moment.  His daughter had left his
side.  He stood an instant listening to the confusion of question and
answer in the hall; then he opened the door into the library and held
it for the police chief to enter.



CHAPTER XXV

"IT'S ALL RIGHT, HUGH"--AT LAST

Eaton--he still, with the habit of five years of concealment, even
thought of himself by that name--awoke to full consciousness at eight
o'clock the next morning.  He was in the room he had occupied before in
Santoine's house; the sunlight, reflected from the lake, was playing on
the ceiling.  His wounds had been dressed; his body was comfortable and
without fever.  He had indistinct memories of being carried, of people
bending over him, of being cared for; but of all else that had happened
since his capture he knew nothing.

He saw and recognized, against the lighted square of the window, a man
standing looking out at the lake.

"Lawrence," he said.

The man turned and came toward the bed.  "Yes, Hugh."

Eaton raised himself excitedly upon his pillows.  "Lawrence, that was
he--last night--in the study.  It was Latron!  I saw him!  You'll
believe me, Lawrence--you at least will.  They got away on a boat--they
must be followed--"  With the first return of consciousness he had
taken up again that battle against circumstances which had been his
only thought for five years.

But now, suddenly he was aware that his sister was also in the room,
sitting upon the opposite side of the bed.  Her hand came forward and
clasped his; she bent over him, holding him and fondling him.

"It is all right, Hugh," she whispered--"Oh, Hugh! it is all right now."

"All right?" he questioned dazedly.

"Yes; Mr. Santoine knows; he--he was not what we thought him.  He
believed all the while that you were justly sentenced.  Now he knows
otherwise--"

"He--Santoine--believed that?" Eaton asked incredulously.

"Yes; he says his blindness was used by them to make him think so.  So
now he is very angry; he says no one who had anything to do with it
shall escape.  He figured it all out--most wonderfully--that it must
have been Latron in the study.  He has been working all night--they
have already made several arrests and every port on the lake is being
watched for the boat they got away on."

"Is that true, Edith?  Lawrence, is it true?"

"Yes; quite true, Hugh!"  Hillward choked and turned away.

Eaton sank back against his pillows; his eyes--dry, bright and filled
still with questioning for a time, as, he tried to appreciate what he
just had heard and all that it meant to him--dampened suddenly as he
realized that it was over now, that long struggle to clear his name
from the charge of murder--the fight which had seemed so hopeless.  He
could not realize it to the full as yet; concealment, fear, the sense
of monstrous injustice done him had marked so deeply all his thoughts
and feelings that he could not sense the fact that they were gone for
good.  So what came to him most strongly now was only realization that
he had been set right with Santoine--Santoine, whom he himself had
misjudged and mistrusted.  And Harriet?  He had not needed to be set
right with her; she had believed and trusted him from the first, in
spite of all that had seemed against him.  Gratitude warmed him as he
thought of her--and that other feeling, deeper, stronger far than
gratitude, or than anything else he ever had felt toward any one but
her, surged up in him and set his pulses wildly beating, as his thought
strained toward the future.

"Where is--Miss Santoine?" he asked.

His sister answered.  "She has been helping her father.  They left word
they were to be sent for as soon as you woke up, and I've just sent for
them."

Eaton lay silent till he heard them coming.  The blind man was
unfamiliar with this room; his daughter led him in.  Her eyes were very
bright, her cheeks which had been pale flushed as she met Eaton's look,
but she did not look away.  He kept his gaze upon her.

Santoine, under her guidance, took the chair Hillward set beside the
bed for him.  The blind man was very quiet; he felt for and found
Eaton's hand and pressed it.  Eaton choked, as he returned the
pressure.  Then Santoine released him.

"Who else is here?" the blind man asked his daughter.

"Miss Overton and Mr. Hillward," she answered.

Santoine found with his blind eyes their positions in the room and
acknowledged their presence; afterward he turned back to Eaton.

"I understand, I think, everything now, except some few particulars
regarding yourself," he said.  "Will you tell me those?"

"You mean---"  Eaton spoke to Santoine, but he looked at Harriet.  "Oh,
I understand, I think.  When I--escaped, Mr. Santoine of course, my
picture had appeared in all the newspapers and I was not safe from
recognition anywhere in this country.  I got into Canada and, from
Vancouver, went to China.  We I had very little money left, Mr.
Santoine; what had not been--lost through Latron had been spent in my
defense.  I got a position in a mercantile house over there.  It was a
good country for me; people over there don't ask questions for fear
some one will ask questions about them.  We had no near relatives for
Edith to go to and she had to take up stenography to support herself
and--and change her name, Mr. Santoine, because of me."

Eaton's hand went out and clasped his sister's.

"Oh, Hugh; it didn't matter--about me, I mean!" she whispered.

"Hillward met her and asked her to marry him and she--wouldn't consent
without telling him who she was.  He--Lawrence--believed her when she
said I hadn't killed Latron; and he suggested that she come out here
and try to get employed by you.  We didn't suspect, of course, that
Latron was still alive.  We thought he had been killed by some of his
own crowd--in some quarrel or because his trial was likely to involve
some one else so seriously that they killed him to prevent it; and that
it was put upon me to--to protect that person and that you--"

Eaton hesitated.

"Go on," said Santoine.  "You thought I knew who Latron's murderer was
and morally, though not technically, perjured myself at your trial to
convict you in his place.  What next?"

"That was it," Eaton assented.  "We thought you knew that and that some
of those around you who served as your eyes must know it, too."

Harriet gasped.  Eaton looking at her, knew that she understood now
what had come between them when she had told him that she herself had
served as her father's eyes all through the Latron trial.  He felt
himself flushing as he looked at her; he could not understand now how
he could have believed that she had aided in concealing an injustice
against him, no matter what influence had been exerted upon her.  She
was all good; all true!

"At first," Eaton went on, "Edith did not find out anything.  Then,
this year, she learned that there was to be a reorganization of some of
the Latron properties.  We hoped that, during that, something would
come out which might help us.  I had been away almost five years; my
face was forgotten, and we thought I could take the chance of coming
back to be near at hand so I could act if anything did come out.
Lawrence met me at Vancouver.  We were about to start East when I
received a message from Mr. Warden.  I did not know Warden and I don't
know now how he knew who I was or where he could reach me.  His message
merely said he knew I needed help and he was prepared to give it and
made an appointment for me to see him at his house.  He was one of the
Latron crowd but, I found out, one of those least likely to have had a
hand in my conviction.  I thought possibly Warden was going to tell me
the name of Latron's murderer and I decided to take the risk of seeing
him.  You know what happened when I tried to keep the appointment.

"Then you came to Seattle and took charge of Warden's affairs.  I felt
certain that if there was any evidence among Warden's effects as to who
had killed Latron, you would take it back with you with the other
matters relating to the Latron reorganization.  You could not recognize
me from your having been at my trial because you were blind; I decided
to take the train with you and try to get possession of the draft of
the reorganization agreement and the other documents with it which
Warden had been working on.  I had suspected that I was being watched
by agents of the men protecting Latron's murderer while I was in
Seattle.  I had changed my lodgings there because of that, but Lawrence
had remained at the old lodgings to find out for me.  He found there
was a man following me who disappeared after I had taken the train, and
Lawrence, after questioning the gateman at Seattle decided the man had
taken the same train I did.  He wired me in the cipher we had sometimes
used in communicating with each other, but not knowing what name I was
using on the train he addressed it to himself, confident that if a
telegram reached the train addressed to 'Lawrence Hillward' I would
understand and claim it.

"Of course, I could not follow his instructions and leave the train; we
were snowed in.  Besides, I could not imagine how anybody could have
followed me onto the train, as I had taken pains to prevent that very
thing by being the last passenger to get aboard it."

"The man whom the gateman saw did not follow you; he merely watched you
get on the train and notified two others, who took the train at
Spokane.  They had planned to get rid of you after you left Seattle so
as to run less risk of your death being connected with that of Warden.
It was my presence which made it necessary for them to make the
desperate attempt to kill you on the train."

"Then I understand.  The other telegram was sent me, of course, by
Edith from Chicago, when she learned here that you were using the name
of Dorne on your way home.  I learned from her when I got here that the
documents relating to the Latron properties, which I had decided you
did not have with you, were being sent you through Warden's office.
Through Edith I learned that they had reached you and had been put in
the safe.  I managed to communicate with Hillward at the country club,
and that night he brought me the means of forcing the safe."

Eaton felt himself flushing again, as he looked at Harriet.  Did she
resent his having used her in that way?  He saw only sympathy in her
face.

"My daughter told me that she helped you to that extent," Santoine
offered, "and I understood later what must have been your reason for
asking her to take you out that night."

"When I reached the study," Eaton continued, "I found others already
there.  The light of an electric torch flashed on the face of one of
them and I recognized the man as Latron--the man for whose murder I had
been convicted and sentenced!  Edith tells me that you know the rest."

There was silence in the room for several minutes.  Santoine again felt
for Eaton's hand and pressed it.  "We've tired you out," he said.  "You
must rest."

"You must sleep, Hugh, if you can," Edith urged.

Eaton obediently closed his eyes, but opened them at once to look for
Harriet.  She had moved out of his line of vision.

Santoine rose; he stood an instant waiting for his daughter, then
suddenly he comprehended that she was no longer in the room.  "Mr.
Hillward, I must ask your help," he said, and he went out with Hillward
guiding him.

Eaton, turning anxiously on his pillow and looking about the room, saw
no one but his sister.  He had known when Harriet moved away from
beside the bed; but he had not suspected that she was leaving the room.
Now suddenly a great fear filled him.

"Why did Miss Santoine go away?  Why did she go, Edith?" he questioned.

"You must sleep, Hugh," his sister answered only.

Harriet, when she slipped out of the room, had gone downstairs.  She
could not have forced herself to leave before she had heard Hugh's
story, and she could not define definitely even to herself what the
feeling had been that had made her leave as soon as he had finished;
but she sensed the reason vaguely.  Hugh had told her two days before,
"I will come back to you as you have never known me yet"--and it had
proved true.  She had known him as a man in fear, constrained,
carefully guarding himself against others and against betrayal by
himself; a man to whom all the world seemed opposed; so that her
sympathy--and afterward something more than her sympathy--had gone out
to him.  To that repressed and threatened man, she had told all she
felt toward him, revealing her feelings with a frankness that would
have been impossible except that she wanted him to know that she was
ready to stand against the world with him.

Now the world was no longer against him; he had friends, a place in
life was ready to receive him; he would be sought after, and his name
would be among those of the people of her own sort.  She had no shame
that she had let him--and others--know all that she felt toward him;
she gloried still in it; only now--now, if he wished her, he must make
that plain; she could not, of herself, return to him.

So unrest possessed her and the suspense of something hoped for but
unfulfilled.  She went from room to room, trying to absorb herself on
her daily duties; but the house--her father's house--spoke to her now
only of Hugh and she could think of nothing but him.  Was he awake?
Was he sleeping?  Was he thinking of her?  Or, now that the danger was
over through which she had served him, were his thoughts of some one
else?

Her heart halted at each recurrence of that thought; and again and
again she repeated his words to her at parting from her the night
before.  "I will come back to you as you have never known me yet!"  To
her he would come back, he said; to her, not to any one else.  But his
danger was not over then; in his great extremity and in his need of
her, he might have felt what he did not feel now.  If he wanted her,
why did he not send for her?

She stood trembling as she saw Edith Overton in the hall.

"Hugh has been asking for you continually, Miss Santoine.  If you can
find time, please go in and see him."

Harriet did not know what answer she made.  She went upstairs: she ran,
as soon as she was out of sight of Hugh's sister; then, at Hugh's door,
she had to halt to catch her breath and compose herself before she
opened the door and looked in upon him.  He was alone and seemed
asleep; at least his eyes were closed.  Harriet stood an instant gazing
at him.

His face was peaceful now but worn and his paleness was more evident
than when he had been talking to her father.  As she stood watching
him, she felt her blood coursing through her as never before and
warming her face and her fingertips; and fear--fear of him or of
herself, fear of anything at all in the world--fled from her; and
love--love which she knew that she need no longer try to
deny--possessed her.

"Harriet!"  She heard her name from his lips and she saw, as he opened
his eyes and turned to her, there was no surprise in his look; if he
had been sleeping, he had been dreaming she was there; if awake, he had
been thinking of her.

"What is it, Hugh?"  She was beside him and he was looking up into her
eyes.

"You meant it, then?"

"Meant it, Hugh?"

"All you said and--and all you did when we--you and I--were alone
against them all!  It's so, Harriet!  You meant it!"

"And you did too!  Dear, it was only to me that you could come
back--only to me?"

"Only to you!"  He closed his eyes in his exaltation.  "Oh, my dear, I
never dreamed--Harriet in all the days and nights I've had to plan and
wonder what might be for me if everything could come all right, I've
never dreamed I could win a reward like this."

"Like this?"

He opened his eyes again and drew her down toward him.  "Like you!"

She bent until her cheek touched his and his arms were about her.  He
felt her tears upon his face.

"Not that; not that--you mustn't cry, dear," he begged.  "Oh, Harriet,
aren't you happy now?"

"That's why.  Happy!  I didn't know before there could be anything like
this."

"Nor I....  So it's all right, Harriet; everything is all right now?"

"All right?  Oh, it's all right now, if I can make it so for you," she
answered.



THE END



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  Speckled Bird, A.  By Augusta Evans Wilson.
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  Spirit of the Border, The. (New Edition.)  By Zane Grey.
  Spoilers, The.  By Rex Beach.
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  Still Jim.  By Honoré Willsie.
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  Strange Case of Cavendish, The.  By Randall Parrish.
  Strawberry Acres.  By Grace S. Richmond.
  Sudden Jim.  By Clarence B. Kelland.

  Tales of Sherlock Holmes.  By A. Conan Doyle.
  Tarzan of the Apes.  By Edgar R. Burroughs.
  Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.  By Edgar Rice Burroughs.





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can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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