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Title: The Yellow Phantom - A Judy Bolton Mystery
Author: Sutton, Margaret
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 Yellow Phantom - A Judy Bolton Mystery" ***

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               _The Famous_ JUDY BOLTON _Mystery Stories_

                           By MARGARET SUTTON

                       _In Order of Publication_

                  ------------------------------------

                          THE VANISHING SHADOW
                           THE HAUNTED ATTIC
                          THE INVISIBLE CHIMES
                          SEVEN STRANGE CLUES
                            THE GHOST PARADE
                           THE YELLOW PHANTOM
                            THE MYSTIC BALL
                       THE VOICE IN THE SUITCASE
                        THE MYSTERIOUS HALF CAT
                     THE RIDDLE OF THE DOUBLE RING
                          THE UNFINISHED HOUSE
                          THE MIDNIGHT VISITOR
                        THE NAME ON THE BRACELET
                    THE CLUE IN THE PATCHWORK QUILT
                         THE MARK ON THE MIRROR
                    THE SECRET OF THE BARRED WINDOW
                           THE RAINBOW RIDDLE
                          THE LIVING PORTRAIT
                     THE SECRET OF THE MUSICAL TREE
                       THE WARNING ON THE WINDOW
                     THE CLUE OF THE STONE LANTERN
                        THE SPIRIT OF FOG ISLAND
                          THE BLACK CAT’S CLUE
                          THE FORBIDDEN CHEST
                            THE HAUNTED ROAD
                     THE CLUE IN THE RUINED CASTLE
                      THE TRAIL OF THE GREEN DOLL

------------------------------------------------------------------------

          [Illustration: JUDY GLANCED AT JASPER CROSBY; HE WAS
                        WATCHING HER LIKE A CAT.
                         _The Yellow Phantom_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------


                        =A JUDY BOLTON MYSTERY=

                              THE YELLOW
                                 PHANTOM



                                   BY
                            MARGARET SUTTON



                            GROSSET & DUNLAP

                        PUBLISHERS      NEW YORK

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          COPYRIGHT, 1933, BY
                         GROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.

                         _All Rights Reserved_



               _Printed in the United States of America_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                       _To My Mother and Father._

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                CONTENTS

                CHAPTER                            PAGE

                      I A MYSTERIOUS TELEGRAM         1
                     II IRENE’S DISCOVERY            11
                    III A DARING SCHEME              22
                     IV HOW THE SCHEME WORKED        27
                      V THE TEST                     32
                     VI THE NEW YELLOW GOWN          40
                    VII EMILY GRIMSHAW SEES THINGS   46
                   VIII THE MISSING POEMS            53
                     IX SUSPICIONS                   61
                      X DEDUCTIONS                   67
                     XI WHILE THE ORCHESTRA PLAYED   72
                    XII IRENE’S BIRTHDAY             79
                   XIII WAITING                      87
                    XIV THE IMMORTAL JOY HOLIDAY     93
                     XV FALSE ASSURANCE              98
                    XVI OVER THE RADIO              107
                   XVII THE ONLY ANSWER             116
                  XVIII IN THE TOWER WINDOW         121
                    XIX LIKE A FAIRY TALE           127
                     XX THE SCENT OF ROSES          135
                    XXI ANOTHER JULIET              145
                   XXII TRAPPED                     154
                  XXIII TO THE RESCUE               163
                   XXIV PREMONITION                 171
                    XXV THE HAPPY ENDING            178
                   XXVI HER MAJESTY ARRIVES         187
                  XXVII WHO TOOK THE MANUSCRIPT?    198
                 XXVIII DALE’S HEROINE              202

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER I

                         A MYSTERIOUS TELEGRAM


“Goodbye, Judy! Goodbye, Irene! Don’t like New York so well that you
won’t want to come home!”

“Don’t keep them too long, Pauline! Farringdon will be as dead as so
many bricks without them. Even the cats will miss Blackberry. Make him
wave his paw, Judy!”

“Don’t forget to write!”

“Goodbye, Pauline! Goodbye, Judy! Goodbye, Irene!”

“Goodbye! Goodbye!”

And Peter’s car was off, bearing the last load of campers back to their
home town.

Judy Bolton watched them out of sight. They were taking the familiar
road, but she and Irene Lang would soon be traveling in the other
direction. Pauline Faulkner had invited them for a visit, including
Judy’s cat in the invitation, and they were going back with her to New
York.

A long blue bus hove into view, and all three girls hailed it, at first
expectantly, then frantically when they saw it was not stopping. It
slowed down a few feet ahead of them, but when they attempted to board
it the driver eyed Blackberry with disapproval.

“Can’t take the cat unless he’s in a crate.”

“He’s good,” Judy began. “He won’t be any trouble——”

“Can’t help it. Company’s rules.” And he was about to close the door
when Judy’s quick idea saved the situation.

“All right, he’s _in a crate_,” she declared with vigor as she thrust
the cat inside her own pretty hatbox. The hats she hastily removed and
bundled under one arm.

The driver had to give in. He even grinned a bit sheepishly as the
girls took their seats, Pauline and Irene together, “Because,” Judy
insisted as she took the seat just behind them, “I have Blackberry.”

The other passengers on the bus were regarding the newcomers with
amused interest. A ten-year-old boy brought forth a ball of twine and
rolled it playfully in Blackberry’s direction. An old lady made purring
noises through her lips. Everyone seemed to be nodding and smiling.
Everyone except the serious young man across the aisle. He never turned
his head.

Judy nudged the two friends in the seat ahead of her and confided a
desire to do something—anything to make him look up.

“Why, Judy,” Irene replied, shocked. “I’ve been watching that man
myself and he’s—he’s——”

“Well, what?”

“Almost my ideal.”

“Silly!” Judy laughed. “I’d like to bet he wouldn’t be so ideal if I
did something to disturb those precious papers that he’s reading.”

“I dare you!” Pauline said.

Sixteen or not, the dare tempted Judy. It was an easy matter to let
Blackberry out of the hatbox in her arms and down into the aisle. The
cat’s plumelike tail did the rest.

The man looked up. But, to Judy’s surprise, he looked up with a smile.
Irene, all contrition, hastened to apologize.

“No harm done,” he returned good-naturedly and began collecting his
scattered papers. Soon he had them rearranged and resumed his reading.
There were a great many typewritten sheets of paper, and he seemed to
be reading critically, scratching out something here and adding
something there.

“You were wrong,” Irene said, turning to Judy. “See how nice he was.”

“I should have known better than to dare a girl like you,” Pauline put
in.

“It was horrid of me,” Judy admitted, now almost as interested as Irene
in the strange young man. Not because he was Judy’s ideal—a man who
wouldn’t notice a cat until its tail bumped into him—but because the
papers on his lap might be important. And she had disturbed them.

The man, apparently unaware that the accident had been anybody’s fault,
continued reading and correcting. Judy watched her cat carefully until
the stack of papers was safely inside his portfolio again.

“That’s finished,” he announced as though speaking to himself. He
screwed the top on his fountain pen, placed it in his pocket and then
turned to the girls. “Nice scenery, wasn’t it?”

“It was,” Judy replied, laughing, “but you didn’t seem to be paying
much attention to it.”

“I’ve been over this road a great many times,” he explained, “and one
does tire of scenery, like anything else. Passengers in the bus are
different.”

“You mean different from scenery?”

“Yes, and from each other. For instance, you with your ridiculous cat
and your golden-haired friend who apologized for you and that small,
dark girl are three distinct types.”

Judy regarded him curiously. She had never thought of herself or either
of the other girls as “types.” Now she tried to analyze his meaning.

Their lives had certainly been different. Judy and Pauline, although of
independent natures, had always felt the security of dependence upon
their parents while Irene’s crippled father depended solely upon her.
This responsibility made her seem older than her years—older and
younger, too. She never could acquire Pauline’s poise or Judy’s
fearlessness.

In appearance, too, they were different. Her first vacation had done
wonders for Irene Lang. Now her usually pale cheeks glowed with healthy
color, and her eyes were a deeper, happier blue. Two weeks of sunshine
had tanned her skin and brought out all the gold in her hair.

Pauline, too, had acquired a becoming tan which made her hair look
darker than ever and contrasted strangely with her keen, light blue
eyes.

The sun had not been quite so kind to Judy. It had discovered a few
faint freckles on her nose and given her hair a decided reddish cast.
But Judy didn’t mind. Camp life had been exciting—boating, swimming
and, as a climax, a thrilling ride in Arthur Farringdon-Pett’s new
airplane.

The young man beside Judy was a little like Arthur in appearance—tall,
good-looking but altogether too grown-up and serious. Judy liked boys
to make jokes now and then, even tease the way her brother, Horace,
did. Peter teased her, too.

“Queer,” she thought, “to miss being teased.”

This stranger seemed to like serious-minded people and presently
changed the conversation to books and music, always favorite topics
with Irene. Then Judy spoke about the work that he was doing but
learned nothing except that “finished” in his case meant that he had
succeeded in putting his papers back in their original sequence.

“And if you girls were all of the same type,” he added, “I doubt if I
would have forgiven you your prank.”

“I guess he doesn’t care for my type,” Judy whispered to the other two
girls a little later.

“Mine either,” Pauline returned with a laugh. “At least he wouldn’t if
he knew I dared you.”

“Do you suppose,” Irene asked naïvely, “that he cares for my type?”

She looked very pathetic as she said that, and Judy, remembering
Irene’s misfortunes, slid into the seat beside her and put a loving arm
about her shoulder.

“I care for your type,” she said. “So why worry about what a stranger
thinks?”

“I’m not,” Irene said, belying her answer with a wistful look in the
stranger’s direction. He was still absorbed in the mountain of
typewritten pages that he held on his knee. It seemed that his work,
whatever it was, engrossed him completely. He was again making
corrections and additions with his pen. Judy noticed a yellow slip of
paper on the seat beside him and called the other girls’ attention to
it.

“It looks like a telegram,” she whispered, “and he keeps referring to
it.”

“Telegrams are usually bad news,” Irene replied.

The young man sat a little distance away from them and, to all
appearances, had forgotten their existence. Girl-like, they discussed
him, imagining him as everything from a politician to a cub reporter,
finally deciding that, since he lived in Greenwich Village, he must be
an artist. Irene said she liked to think of him as talented. A dreamer,
she would have called him, if it had not been for his practical
interest in the business at hand—those papers and that telegram.

It was dark by the time they reached New York. The passengers were
restless and eager to be out of the bus. The young man hastily crammed
his typewritten work into his portfolio and Judy noticed, just as the
bus stopped, that he had forgotten the telegram. She and Irene both
made a dive for it with the unfortunate result that when they stood up
again each of them held a torn half of the yellow slip.

“Just our luck!” exclaimed Irene. “Now we can’t return it to him.
Anyway, he’s gone.”

“We could piece it together,” Pauline suggested, promptly suiting her
actions to her words. When the two jagged edges were fitted against
each other, this is what the astonished girls read:


    DALE MEREDITH
    PLEASANT VALLEY PA
    CUT ART SHOP ROBBERY STOP FIFTY THOUSAND
    IS PLENTY STOP ONE MAN MURDERED INTERESTS
    RANDALL STOP DISCUSS TERMS MONDAY
                         EMILY GRIMSHAW

Irene was the first to finish reading.

“Good heavens! What would _he_ know about robbery and murder?” she
exclaimed, staring first at the telegram in Pauline’s hand and then at
the empty seat across the aisle.

“Why, nothing that I can think of. He didn’t seem like a crook. The
telegram may be in code,” Pauline mused as she handed the torn pieces
to Judy. “I like his name—Dale Meredith.”

“So do I. But Emily Grimshaw——”

“All out! Last stop!” the bus driver was calling. “Take care of that
cat,” he said with a chuckle as he helped the girls with their
suitcases.

They were still wondering about the strange telegram as they made their
way through the crowd on Thirty-fourth Street.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER II

                           IRENE’S DISCOVERY


A taxi soon brought the girls to the door of Dr. Faulkner’s nineteenth
century stone house. The stoop had been torn down and replaced by a
modern entrance hall, but the high ceilings and winding stairways were
as impressive as ever.

Drinking in the fascination of it, Judy and Irene followed the man,
Oliver, who carried their bags right up to the third floor where
Pauline had a sitting room and a smaller bedroom all to herself. The
former was furnished with a desk, sofa, easy chairs, numerous shaded
lamps, a piano and a radio.

Here the man left them with a curt, “’Ere you are.”

“And it’s good to have you, my dears,” the more sociable housekeeper
welcomed them. Soon she was bustling around the room setting their bags
in order. She offered to help unpack.

“Never mind that now, Mary,” Pauline told her. “We’re dead tired and I
can lend them some of my things for tonight.”

“Then I’ll fix up the double bed in the next room for your guests and
leave you to yourselves,” the kind old lady said.

As soon as she had closed the door Judy lifted her cat out of the
hatbox. With a grateful noise, halfway between a purr and a yowl,
Blackberry leaped to the floor and began, at once, to explore the rooms.

“His padded feet were made for soft carpets,” Judy said fondly.

“How do you suppose he’d like gravel?” Pauline asked.

“Oh, he’d love it!” Judy exclaimed. “You know our cellar floor is
covered with gravel, and he sleeps down there.”

“Is this gravel in the cellar?” Irene asked, beginning to get an attack
of shivers.

Pauline laughed. “Goodness, no! It’s on the roof garden.” She walked
across the room and flung open a door. “Nothing shivery about that, is
there?”

“Nothing except the thought of standing on the top of one of those tall
buildings,” Irene said, gazing upward as she followed Pauline.

The view fascinated Judy. Looking out across lower New York, she found
a new world of gray buildings and flickering lights. In the other
direction the Empire State Building loomed like a sentinel.

“I never dreamed New York was like this,” she breathed.

“It grows on a person,” Pauline declared. “I would never want to live
in any other city. No matter how bored or how annoyed I may be during
the day, at night I can always come up here and feel the thrill of
having all this for a home.”

“I wish I had a home I could feel that way about,” Irene sighed.

The garden was too alluring for the girls to want to leave it. Even
Blackberry had settled himself in a bed of geraniums. These and other
plants in enormous boxes bordered the complete inclosure. Inside were
wicker chairs, a table and a hammock hung between two posts.

“This is where I do all my studying,” Pauline said, “and you two girls
may come up here and read if you like while I’m at school.”

“At school?” Judy repeated, dazed until she thought of something that
she should have considered before accepting Pauline’s invitation. Of
course Pauline would be in school. She hadn’t been given a holiday as
the girls in Farringdon had when their school burned down. Judy and
Irene would be left to entertain themselves all day unless Dr. Faulkner
had some plans for them. Judy wondered where he was.

After they had gone inside again, that is, all of them except
Blackberry who seemed to have adopted the roof garden as a permanent
home, she became curious enough to ask.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Pauline said in surprise. “Father is away. A
medical conference in Europe. He’s always going somewhere like that,
but he’ll be home in two or three weeks.”

“Then we’ll be alone for three weeks?” Irene asked, dismayed.

“Why not?” Pauline returned indifferently. “There’s nothing to be
afraid of with servants in the house.”

But Irene was not used to servants. Ever since her father became
disabled she had waited on herself and kept their shabby little house
in apple-pie order. The house was closed now and their few good pieces
of furniture put in storage. All summer long there would not be any
rent problems or any cooking. Then, when fall came, she and her father
would find a new home. Where it would be or how they would pay for it
worried Irene when she thought about it. She tried not to think because
Dr. Bolton had told her she needed a rest. Her father, a patient of the
doctor’s, was undergoing treatments at the Farringdon Sanitarium. The
treatments were being given according to Dr. Bolton’s directions but
not by him as Judy’s home, too, was closed for the summer. Her parents
had not intended to stay away more than a week or two, but influenza
had swept the town where they were visiting. Naturally, the doctor
stayed and his wife with him. Judy’s brother, a reporter and student of
journalism, had gone to live in the college dormitory.

Thus it was that both girls knew they could not return to Farringdon no
matter how homesick they might be. They had the cat for comfort and
they had each other. Ever since Irene had come to work in Dr. Bolton’s
office these two had been like sisters. Lois, Lorraine, Betty, Marge,
Pauline—all of them were friends. But Irene and Honey, the other girl
who had shared Judy’s home, were closer than that. Judy felt with them.
She felt with Irene the longing of the other girl for something to hold
fast to—a substantial home that could not be taken away at every whim
of the landlord, just enough money so that she could afford to look her
best and the security of some strong person to depend upon.

“Will your school last long?” Irene was asking the dark-haired girl.

“Not long enough,” Pauline sighed, revealing the fact that she too had
troubles.

“Then you’ll be free?” Irene went on, unmindful of the sigh. “We can go
places together? You’ll have time to show us around.”

Pauline shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t talk about time to me. Time will
be my middle name after I graduate. There isn’t a single thing I really
want to do, least of all stay at home all day. College is a bore unless
you’re planning a career. What do you intend to do when you’re through
school?”

“I hadn’t planned,” Irene said, “except that I want time to read and go
ahead with my music. Of course I’ll keep house somewhere for Dad. It
will be so nice to have him well again, and I love keeping house.”

“What about your work for my father?” Judy asked.

Irene’s eyes became troubled. “He doesn’t really need me any more. I
know now, Judy, that you just made that position for me. It was lovely
of you, but I—I’d just as soon not go back where I’m not needed. Your
father trusts too many people ever to get rich and he could use that
money he’s been paying me.”

“Don’t feel that way about it,” Judy begged.

Irene’s feelings, however, could not easily be changed, and with both
girls having such grave worries the problem bid fair to be too great a
one for even Judy to solve. Solving problems, she hoped, would
eventually be her career for she planned to become a regular detective
with a star under her coat. Now she confided this ambition to the other
two girls.

“A detective!” Pauline gasped. “Why, Judy, only men are detectives. Can
you imagine anyone taking a mere girl on the police force?”

“Chief Kelly, back home, would take her this very minute if she
applied,” Irene declared.

Pauline nodded, easily convinced. This practical, black-haired,
blue-eyed girl had helped Judy solve two mysteries and knew that she
had talent. But Pauline didn’t want to meet crooks. She didn’t want to
be bothered with sick or feeble-minded people and often felt thankful
that her father, a brain specialist, had his offices elsewhere. Pauline
wanted to meet cultured people who were also interesting.

“People, like that man we met on the bus,” she said, “who read and can
discuss books intelligently. I’d hate to think of his being mixed up in
anything crooked.”

“You can’t _make_ me believe that he was,” Irene put in with a vigor
quite rare for her. “Couldn’t you just see in his eyes that he was
real?”

“I didn’t look in his eyes,” Judy returned with a laugh, “but you can
be sure I’ll never be satisfied until we find out what that mysterious
telegram meant.”

In the days that followed Judy learned that the mere mention of the
stranger’s name, Dale Meredith, would cause either girl to cease
worrying about a home or about a career, as the case might be.

“It’s almost magical,” she said to herself and had to admit that the
spell was also upon her. Perhaps a dozen times a day she would puzzle
over the torn papers in her pocketbook. But then, it was Judy’s nature
to puzzle over things. It was for that reason that she usually chose
detective stories whenever she sat down with a book. That hammock up
there on the roof garden was an invitation to read, and soon Judy and
Irene had finished all the suitable stories in Dr. Faulkner’s library.
They had seen a few shows, gazed at a great many tall buildings, and
found New York, generally, less thrilling from the street than it had
been from the roof garden.

Pauline sensed this and worried about entertaining her guests. “How
would you like to go and see Grant’s Tomb today?” she suggested.

“For Heaven’s sake, think of something a little more exciting than
that,” Judy exclaimed thoughtlessly. “I’d rather find a library
somewhere and then lie and read something in the hammock.”

“So would I,” agreed Irene, relieved that Judy hadn’t wanted to see the
tomb.

“Well, if a library’s all you want,” Pauline said, “why not walk along
with me and I’ll show you one on my way to school.”

“A big one?” Judy asked.

“No, just a small one. In fact, it’s only a bookshop with a circulating
library for its customers.”

Judy sighed. It would seem nice to see something small for a change.
She never recognized this library at all until they were almost inside
the door. Then her eyes shone.

What an interesting place it was! On the counters were quaint gifts and
novelties as well as books. The salesladies all wore smocks, like
artists, and had the courtesy to leave the girls alone. Pauline had to
hurry on to school but left Judy and Irene to browse. Before long they
had discovered a sign reading MYSTERY AND ADVENTURE. That was what Judy
liked. Rows and rows of new books, like soldiers, marched along the
shelves.

“What a lot of flying stories,” Irene said, absently removing one of
them from its place.

“And murder mysteries,” Judy added. “It’s always a temptation to read
them. _Murders in Castle Stein_....”

She started back as her eye caught the author’s name.

It was Dale Meredith!

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER III

                            A DARING SCHEME


Thrilled by her discovery, Judy removed the torn pieces of telegram
from her purse and began unraveling the mystery, bit by bit. Irene
looked on, trembling with excitement.

“‘CUT ART SHOP ROBBERY STOP FIFTY THOUSAND IS PLENTY STOP....’ _Art
Shop Robbery!_ That sounds like a title! And someone wanted him to cut
it to fifty thousand words—just a nice length for a book. That must
have been what he was doing on the bus, cutting down the number of
words on those typewritten pages.”

“Why, of course,” Irene agreed. “I always knew you were gifted, Judy,
but can you explain this?” She pointed.

“‘ONE MAN MURDERED INTERESTS RANDALL....’ Easy as pie! Another title
and a publisher.”

Judy tossed her head with a self-satisfied air of importance. Every one
of their questions might be answered in the classified directory.

They found a telephone booth near by and a directory on the shelf
beside it. Promptly turning to the list of publishing houses, Judy’s
finger traveled down one complete page and half of another, but no
Randall could she find. With a sigh of disappointment she turned to
look again at the telegram:

    “DISCUSS TERMS MONDAY”

                “EMILY GRIMSHAW”

What sort of person was she? A relative? No. Relatives didn’t discuss
terms with authors. Wives and sweethearts didn’t either. They might
discuss his books, but not terms. Anyway Irene hoped that Dale Meredith
had no wife or sweetheart, certainly not a sweetheart with a name like
Emily Grimshaw. That name sounded as harsh to the ears as Dale Meredith
sounded musical.

Flipping the pages of the directory, Judy came upon the answer to their
question:

“AUTHOR’S AGENTS (_See_ Literary Agents).”

“That might be it!”

She turned to the place and, beginning at the top of the page, both
girls searched eagerly through the G’s.

“Greenspan, Grier, Grimshaw....”

The name was Emily and the address was a number on Madison Square.
Irene was so excited that she declared she could feel her heart
thumping under her slip-on sweater.

“I’d give anything to meet him again, Judy! Anything!”

And suddenly Judy wanted to meet him too, not for her own sake but for
Irene’s. A bold plan began to take shape in her mind. If she and Irene
found positions in Emily Grimshaw’s office Dale Meredith would never
know that it had not been a simple coincidence. It would be such
fun—this scheming. It would give them something to do and if Judy’s
plan worked it might even solve the problem of Pauline’s career.

“Of course Emily Grimshaw may not hire us,” Judy said after she had
outlined the scheme and won Irene’s approval. “But, at any rate, it’s
worth trying. We won’t need to tell her it’s only for a few weeks when
Pauline will be there to step right into the position. I wonder how you
get to Madison Square.”

She stopped a policeman to ask him and found it to be within easy
walking distance.

“We might as well go now,” Irene agreed.

Perhaps if they thought about it too long they might lose heart and not
attempt it.

The literary agent’s office was located in an old hotel on the
northeast side of the square. The building looked as if it had been
unchanged for a century. In the lobby Judy and Irene paused, surveying
the quaint furniture and mural decorations before they mustered enough
courage to inquire at the desk for Emily Grimshaw.

“Who’s calling?” the clerk asked tartly.

“Tell her—” Judy hesitated. “Tell her it’s two girls to see her on
business.”

The message was relayed over the switchboard and presently the clerk
turned and said, “She will see one of you. First stairway to the left.
Fourth floor.”

“Only one—” Judy began.

“She always sees one client at a time. The other girl can wait.”

“That’s right. I—I’ll wait,” Irene stammered.

“But you wanted the position——”

“I don’t now. Suppose she asked about experience.”

“You’ve had a little. You stand a better chance than I do.”

“Not with your nerve, Judy,” Irene said. “This place gives me the
shivers. You’re welcome to go exploring dark halls if you like. I’d
rather sit here in the lobby and read Dale Meredith’s book.”

“Oh, so that’s it? Make yourself comfortable,” Judy advised with a
laugh. “I may be gone a long, long time.”

“Not if she finds out how old you are.”

“Hush!” Judy reproved. “Don’t I look dignified?”

She tilted her hat a little more to the left and dabbed a powder puff
on her nose. The puff happened not to have any powder on it but it gave
her a grown-up, courageous feeling. And she was to have a great need of
courage in the hour that followed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER IV

                         HOW THE SCHEME WORKED


The adventure lost some of its thrill with no one to share it. Judy
hadn’t an idea in the world how to find the fourth floor as she could
see no stairway and no elevator.

Taking a chance, she opened one of several doors. It opened into a
closet where cleaning supplies were kept. Judy glanced at the dusty
floor and wondered if anybody ever used them.

This was fun! She tried another door and found it locked. But the third
door opened into a long hall at the end of which was the stairway.

“A regular labyrinth, this place,” she thought as she climbed. “I
wonder if Emily Grimshaw will be as queer as her hotel.”

There were old-fashioned knockers on all the doors, and Judy noticed
that no two of them were alike. Emily Grimshaw had her name on the
glass door of her suite, and the knocker was in the shape of a witch
hunched over a steaming caldron. Judy lifted it and waited.

“Who’s there?” called a mannish voice from within.

“Judy Bolton. They told me at the desk that you would see me.”

“Come on in, then. Don’t stand there banging the knocker.”

“I beg your pardon,” Judy said meekly as she entered. “I didn’t quite
understand.”

“It’s all right. Who sent you?”

“Nobody. I came myself. I found your name in the classified directory.”

“Oh, I see. Another beginner.”

Emily Grimshaw sat back in her swivel chair and scrutinized Judy. She
was a large woman dressed in a severely plain brown cloth dress with
sensible brown shoes to match. Her iron-gray hair was knotted at the
back of her head. In fact, the only mark of distinction about her whole
person was the pair of glasses perched on the high bridge of her nose
and the wide, black ribbon suspended from them. Although an old woman,
her face was not wrinkled. What few lines she had were deep furrows
that looked as if they belonged there. Judy could imagine Emily
Grimshaw as a middle-aged woman but never as a girl.

The room was, by no means, a typical office. If it had not been for the
massive desk littered with papers and the swivel chair it would not
have looked like an office at all. Three of the four walls were lined
with bookshelves.

“Is this where you do all your work?” Judy asked.

“And why not? It’s a good enough place.”

“Of course,” Judy explained herself quickly. “But I supposed you would
have girls working for you. It must keep you busy doing all this
yourself.”

“Hmm! It does. I like to be busy.”

Judy took a deep breath. How, she wondered, was she to put her
proposition before this queer old woman without seeming impudent. It
was the first time in her life she had ever offered her services to
anyone except her father.

“You use a typewriter,” she began.

“Look here, young woman,” Emily Grimshaw turned on her suddenly, “if
you’re a writer, say so. And if you’ve come here looking for a
position——”

“That’s it exactly,” Judy interrupted. “I’m sure I could be of some
service to you.”

“What?”

“I might typewrite letters for you.”

“I do that myself. Haven’t the patience to dictate them.”

“Perhaps I could help you read and correct manuscripts,” Judy suggested
hopefully.

The agent seemed insulted. “Humph!” she grunted. “Much you know about
manuscripts!”

“I may know more than you think,” Judy came back at her. It was hard to
be patient with this irritable old lady. Certainly she would never have
chosen such an employer if it had not been for the possibility of
meeting Dale Meredith again. Irene had taken such a fancy to him.

“Lucky she doesn’t know that,” thought Judy as she watched her fumbling
through a stack of papers on her desk. Finally she produced a closely
written page of note paper and handed it to the puzzled girl.

“If you know so much about manuscripts,” she charged. “What would you
do with a page like that?”

Half hoping that the handwriting was Dale Meredith’s, Judy reached out
an eager hand. The agent was watching her like a cat and, as she read,
a hush settled over the room. Emily Grimshaw was putting Judy to a test.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER V

                                THE TEST


The paper that Judy held in her hand was a jumble of morbid poetry
written in what could have been a beautiful hand. Actually, it was an
almost unreadable scrawl. In some places the rhymes were in perfect
sequence, but in others the poet had wandered away from what must have
been the theme to play with words that apparently amused her. Finally
Judy made out this much:

    When Love turns thief, grief, sheaf, oh, disbelief
    ’Tis memories that sting, ring, cling like anything.
    When Joy departs, starts, smarts, makes broken hearts ...
    Too close I kept you, Joy.
    Should I have shared my toy?
    Tossed you to human tomcats to destroy?
    They say you’re dead. They lie!
    You cannot die!
    You drifted off in air
    To share
    Your hair
    Your fair white skin,
    The very dress you wear.
    IT’S MINE! YOU’RE MINE!
    I’ll find you if I choke
    In smoke ...
    My Joy my toy my Joy my toy my Joy JOY _JOY_
    My head’s on fire!
    ’Tis memories that burn.
    Better to crumble in a tower of flame
    Than sit with ghosts awaiting your return.

How could anyone crumble in a tower of flame, Judy wondered. Oh, well,
she supposed it was just a lot of melancholy words jumbled together to
give the reader the creeps. Certainly she was not going to give Emily
Grimshaw the satisfaction of knowing that it had impressed her.

“With the poet’s permission,” she looked up and said, “I would take out
a few lines and then type the poem on a clean sheet of paper.”

“I have the poet’s permission,” Emily Grimshaw replied shortly. And,
after a pause, “What lines would you take out?”

“Half of some of them and all of this one.” Judy pointed. “The words
‘Joy’ and ‘toy’ are repeated too many times.”

“That’s the first thing one notices,” the old lady replied, evidently
pleased with Judy’s suggestion. “How do you like that poetry?”

“I _don’t_ like it,” the girl replied frankly. “It sounds as if the
writer had a distorted idea of life. It depresses a person just to read
it.”

“There are people who like to be depressed.”

“I suppose so,” Judy answered wearily. She could see that the
conversation was getting them nowhere, and Irene must be dreadfully
tired of waiting. Besides, she did not care to stand and argue with as
queer a person as Emily Grimshaw seemed to be. Why, she was more
peculiar, even, than the matron at camp or the queer old lady who ran
the dog and cat hospital.

“Would you like me to sit down and type the poem for you now?” Judy
suggested. “Then you could see exactly what I mean.”

The old lady consented with a wave of her hand, and Judy set to work.
The task was not an easy one, and when she had finished cutting out all
the queer-sounding lines the poem was about half its original length.
Hardly knowing whether to expect praise or criticism, she handed the
revised poem to Emily Grimshaw and waited while she read:

    When Love turns thief ’tis memories that sting;
    When Joy departs ’tis memories that burn.
    Better to crumble in a tower of flame
    Than sit with ghosts awaiting your return.

“These are the four best lines,” Judy pointed out when she had finished
reading. “I took out parts of the first three lines and switched the
last three over toward the beginning. It’s more coherent that way if
anyone should ever try to figure it out. But the middle stanza must
either stay as it is or be taken out entirely. Which do you think, Miss
Grimshaw?”

“I’d take it out,” she declared. “There’s too much truth in it.”

Too much truth? A person who could not die! Who drifted off in air!
Judy would have said exactly the opposite. It was too impossible.

“Didn’t the poet explain what she meant when the manuscript was
delivered?” she asked.

“Explain it! Humph! Jasper Crosby expects me to explain it. He’s the
poet’s brother,” the agent pointed out. “He brings me the stuff in just
such a jumble as this.”

The pile before her on the desk eloquently illustrated the word
“jumble.” Old envelopes, bills, sales sheets, anything that happened to
be about, had been used for the poet’s snatches of verse.

“It must take a lot of time to rearrange them,” Judy ventured.

“Time! That’s just it. Time and patience, too. But Jasper Crosby cares
as much about the value of my time as a newborn baby. He never talks
except in terms of dollars and cents. ‘What can you make out of this?’
‘How much do we get out of that?’ And expects me to rewrite half of it!
It’s trying my patience to the limit, I can tell you. If I weren’t so
fond of the poet I would have given it up years ago. Her verses used to
be of quite a different type. You know _Golden Girl_?”

“You mean the popular song? Of course I do.”

“Well, she wrote that twenty years ago. It’s just recently been set to
music.”

Judy was becoming interested. As well as holding a promise of many new
and charming acquaintances for herself and the other two girls the work
was sure to be fascinating. Emily Grimshaw seemed pleased with the
changes she had made in the poem, but it was best not to hurry her
decision. Judy could see that she needed an assistant, but to make the
agent see it also would require tact and patience.

In the course of another half hour Emily Grimshaw had made up her mind.
Judy was to report at her office the following day. No mention had been
made of Irene as Judy knew her chances of holding the position were
slim enough without asking an additional favor. But she felt sure that
her new employer would not object to the presence of both girls in the
office after she had grown accustomed to the idea of being helped.

“And if she does object,” Irene said cheerfully, “I’ll apply for a
position with Dale Meredith’s publisher.”

Eager to tell Pauline of their adventure, they walked toward the subway
entrance and arrived just as the school girls were coming home.

“We found out who that man we met on the bus is,” Judy announced the
moment she saw Pauline. “He’s an author and has written stacks and
stacks of books. We bought one to read in our spare time.”

“Really?”

“It’s the honest truth,” Irene declared. “I read ten chapters today
while I was waiting for Judy. And what do you think? She has accepted a
position in Emily Grimshaw’s office.”

Pauline stared. “The woman who sent that telegram? Who on earth is she
and where did you find out?”

“In the classified telephone directory,” Judy confessed. “She’s Dale
Meredith’s literary agent, though why he should pick such a crotchety
old woman to sell his stories is beyond me. I thought, at first, she
was going to bite my head off. But she found out she couldn’t frighten
me so she decided to hire me. When she calms down a bit she’ll probably
let Irene help her, too.”

“Imagine!” Irene exclaimed, still bubbling with enthusiasm, “our own
spending money and an opportunity to meet the most interesting
people——”

“You mean Dale Meredith?”

Did Judy imagine it or was there the smallest trace of bitterness in
Pauline’s voice?

“Well, perhaps I do,” Irene replied.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER VI

                          THE NEW YELLOW GOWN


In spite of the opportunity presented, a whole week passed by without a
sign of the handsome young author. Judy’s suggestion that Irene might
help in the office had been flatly ignored, but she was still hoping
that Emily Grimshaw would change her mind. In the meantime Irene
occupied herself with Dale Meredith’s books and Pauline’s piano.

Little by little Judy became accustomed to her employer’s
eccentricities, and meeting unusual people was an everyday occurrence.
Jasper Crosby, of all the people she met, was the only one who seemed
to resent her presence in the office. He came in, bringing an old shoe
box stuffed with more poetry by the author of _Golden Girl_. The box
was poked full of tiny holes. Judy’s curiosity got the better of her
and she asked the reason.

“So the verses can breathe, simpleton,” he replied. Then he turned to
Emily Grimshaw, “What’s the idea of this upstart in your office?
Getting old, eh? Work too much for you?”

“If you bring in any more of this stuff,” the agent retorted, “it will
be too much for both of us. This girl is clever. She’s the only person
I ever met who can revise your sister’s poetry as well as I can.”

Now Jasper Crosby’s hawk eyes were fixed on Judy. He studied her for a
moment while she met his gaze unflinchingly.

“Huh!” he grunted. “Watch your step, now. It takes queer people to
revise queer poetry, and, mind you, this stuff has got to sell. Bring
it out in book form. Jazz it up! Make it popular, and the public will
eat it. That so, cutie?” He gave Judy’s cheek a playful pinch as he
turned to leave.

“The nerve of him!” she expostulated. “He’s the most repulsive person I
have ever seen.”

“Quite so,” the agent agreed. “Quite so and, strange to say, his sister
was once the most charming. You can see it yet in some of her verses. I
would be more enthusiastic about this book of her collected poems if I
had any assurance that the royalties would go to her.”

“Why won’t they?” Judy asked.

“Because he tells me that her health is failing. Years ago I was
witness to her will, and the entire estate goes to that scoundrel,
Jasper Crosby.”

As Judy busied herself typing and correcting the poetry this thought
kept recurring to her mind. Nevertheless, the work itself fascinated
her. She conceived the idea of grouping the verses with a sub-title for
each group. Miss Grimshaw beamed her pleasure.

“A fine idea, Miss Bolton, a really constructive idea. It will take
considerable time but don’t try to hurry. Better keep the manuscripts
on your own desk and have the thing done right.”

“Could I take them home?” Judy ventured the question and immediately
wished she had not asked it.

The agent’s eyes snapped. “Indeed not! Don’t you realize, young lady,
that original manuscripts are sometimes very valuable? This poet is
well known, and plenty of people would be glad to buy them or, what’s
worse, steal them.”

Judy had not considered this. It had simply occurred to her that Irene
might help arrange the poems. She liked to hear her read in her low,
musical voice. She would make the poems live and catch hidden meanings
between the lines. Judy tried to explain all this to her employer. She
felt that she must excuse her own thoughtlessness.

“Well, if you are so anxious to have your friend help you, bring her
here,” the old lady said with a sudden show of generosity.

Irene was thrilled when Judy told her.

“I feel as if this is a real occasion and I ought to dress up for it,”
she declared. “A package came this morning from Farringdon, and I’ve
been suspecting all the time that it’s a new dress. My birthday isn’t
for another week, but do you think Dad would mind if I opened my
present now?”

Without waiting for a reply, Irene ran to get the box her father had
labeled, _For My Little Girl’s Seventeenth Birthday_. When she pulled
off the wrappings the folds of a shimmering yellow satin dress fell
into her hands. She stood up, holding it for Judy and Pauline to admire.

“Gorgeous!” Judy exclaimed. “Look at the puffed sleeves and high
waistline! Why, it’s the very newest thing!”

“But it’s a party dress,” Pauline objected. “Really, it’s not at all
the thing to wear in Emily Grimshaw’s office.”

“For once,” Irene announced, “I’m going to wear exactly what I want to
wear whether it’s proper or not.”

Judy smiled at her independence. She had often felt that way herself.
After all, what difference did it make? And Irene was breathtakingly
lovely in the new dress. She stood before the long mirror in Pauline’s
room while Judy pinned her hair in soft, bright curls at the back of
her neck. Then she walked back a little distance, surveying the effect.

“You’re beautiful!” Judy exclaimed. “That dress fits in with your
complexion as though you were part of a picture. You’re prettier than
Lois or Honey or Lorraine. Don’t you think so, Pauline?”

She admitted it.

“Prettier than Lorraine?” Irene repeated wonderingly. Lorraine Lee had
always considered herself the prettiest girl in Farringdon and dressed
accordingly, while Irene’s faded blues and browns had never flattered
her. But in the new yellow dress she was transformed. There was a tiny
jacket to go with it, also of yellow but more delicately golden,
matching slippers and, in the very bottom of the box, a gold locket.
Irene, delighting in her own recklessness, wore them all the next
morning.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VII

                       EMILY GRIMSHAW SEES THINGS


Emily Grimshaw often came in late, but as Judy had her own key this
affected her work very little. In fact, she usually accomplished more
when alone. Thus she was not surprised to find the office vacant when
she and Irene arrived.

“It’s every bit as queer as you said it was,” Irene whispered as they
unlocked the door and she examined the brass knocker. “She must trust
you, Judy.” She smiled into her friend’s honest gray eyes. “And who
wouldn’t?”

The girls seated themselves at either end of the long sofa in Emily
Grimshaw’s office. With the pile of handwritten poetry between them it
was easier to help each other decide into which group certain verses
belonged.

“Some of them are rather horrible,” Judy remarked as she hunted through
the pile. “I’ll sort out the worst ones, and you can read the others.”

“Oh, no! Let me read the horrible ones,” Irene begged.

Judy laughed. “Everyone to his own notions. I don’t mind, if you feel
like giving yourself the shivers.”

There was a long table just back of the sofa, and it came in handy for
the completed groups of papers. Judy removed a vase of flowers and a
few books and made a clear place for the different piles.

“_Golden Girl_ goes at the top of the list,” she remarked, as she took
a yellowed slip of paper in her hand. “Miss Grimshaw says it’s
valuable.”

“Is it the song?”

“It is,” Judy replied. “This poet wrote it. Imagine! And then turns to
such morbid things as that one I fixed up; you remember, about the
tower of flame?”

She broke off suddenly as the telephone on Emily Grimshaw’s desk
jangled imperiously.

Both girls were buried in papers, and the telephone rang a second time
before Judy was free to answer it.

“The switchboard operator says it’s Dale Meredith!”

She turned away from the mouthpiece and gave out this information in an
excited whisper. Irene let a few of the papers slide to the floor.

“Oh, Judy,” she cried, “our scheme did work after all!”

Judy’s answer was a glance of triumph, but her voice over the wire
sounded very businesslike.

“Tell him to come up and wait. Miss Grimshaw will be in shortly.”

In the moment before he mounted the stairs Irene had time to smooth her
hair and powder her nose. Then she picked up the fallen papers and was
about to place them on the table.

“Never mind the work now. I’ll straighten things,” Judy told her. “You
just sit there and look pretty when Dale Meredith comes in.”

The handsome young author greeted them with a surprised whistle.
“Whoever expected to find you here!” he exclaimed, smiling first at
Judy who stood beside the open door and then at Irene. “Why, the place
looks like a palace with the princess enthroned on the sofa. What’s
happened to Her Royal Highness?”

“You mean Miss Grimshaw?” Judy asked, laughing. “She will be in
presently.”

“Not too ‘presently,’ I hope,” Dale replied, seating himself beside
Irene. “Before we talk business I want to hear what happened to you
girls. I’ve been scolding myself ever since for not finding out your
names. The truth of the matter is, I was so dog-goned interested in
that _Art Shop Robbery_——”

“The title of your new book?” Judy ventured, and his nod told her that
she had reasoned correctly.

“You see, it was a rush order,” he went on to explain. “There seems to
be a big demand for mystery stories. Most people like to imagine
themselves as sleuths or big time detectives. I do, myself. The trouble
is, there aren’t enough mysteries in real life to supply the demand for
plots, and what there are make tales too gruesome to be good reading.”

“You do write gruesome stories then?” Irene asked anxiously.

He studied her face for a moment before he answered. “That depends on
your definition of the word. I never make it a point to dwell on the
details of a murder. Suffice it to tell under what circumstances the
body was found——”

“Don’t talk about it, please! You sound so cold and matter-of-fact, as
if you didn’t feel it at all. Your flying stories are so different!”

“They were written from first-hand knowledge,” he explained. “I had a
pilot’s license and flew with a friend of mine across the continent.
There was story material and plenty of it!” He went on for fifteen
minutes discussing his experiences with the girls.

Dale Meredith had a knack of telling stories so that the listeners
lived his adventures with him. Judy and Irene sat enthralled. They were
both imagining themselves scrambling out of a wrecked plane in their
own Allegheny Mountains when the door opened, and in walked Emily
Grimshaw! Dale and Judy both greeted her, but when Irene looked up and
smiled the old lady started back as if she had seen a ghost. Judy,
thinking she must be ill, helped her into a chair.

“Is there anything I can do?” she asked solicitously.

“There’s a bottle.” Emily Grimshaw made a gesture with her hand. “Pour
me out a bit. I need a stimulant. I must be getting old. Good lord! I
must be seeing things!”

She took the glass that Judy held out to her and swallowed the contents
in three great gulps, then rubbed her eyes and looked at Irene again.

“Guess the stuff is too strong,” she muttered and slumped in her chair.

Irene clutched Dale’s arm. “She isn’t going to die?” she asked in a
panicky whisper.

More than a little bewildered, the young man reassured her and
suggested that she wait downstairs in the lobby.

“She seems to have affected Miss Grimshaw strangely,” he explained to
Judy later.

“Yes, and Irene can’t stand too much excitement,” she returned. “You
didn’t know, but for the past three years she’s been working almost day
and night, taking care of her crippled father. She’d be doing it yet if
my dad hadn’t arranged to have him cared for in a sanitarium. It’s
better for him and better for Irene. Her mother is dead.”

“Poor kid! No wonder she thought something dreadful had happened to Her
Majesty.”

Judy had gone for a pitcher of water and stood beside her employer’s
chair dampening her handkerchief and rubbing her forehead. That seemed
to have little effect, but when Dale attempted to move her to the sofa
the old lady promptly opened her eyes and protested violently. She
staggered back to her chair and sat there staring at the spot where
Irene had sat. Then she sighed heavily. “Old fool that I am—seeing
things.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VIII

                           THE MISSING POEMS


The agent’s collapse had unnerved Judy more than a little, and it was
some time before she settled herself to her work. Dale had left but not
before promising to see Irene safely home.

“She probably won’t want to come near the office again,” Judy thought.
“Poor Irene! I wonder what made Emily Grimshaw act up and scare her so.”

But this was no time for deductions, Judy knew, when so much work
remained to be done—twice as much now. And there was no use sitting in
comfort on the sofa, either. Alone, she could group the poems better at
her own desk.

She lowered the typewriter until a place was clear above it and then
went for the pile of manuscripts. She looked on the table back of the
sofa, but they were not there.

“That’s queer,” she thought. “I’m sure we left them right on the corner
of that table. I saw Irene when she put _Golden Girl_ back, and it was
right on top. But maybe she moved them afterwards.”

Next Judy looked on the sofa and under all three cushions. She felt
beneath the arms, then got down on her hands and knees and looked under
the sofa on the floor. She even lifted the rug and looked under that.

“What _are_ you doing?” Emily Grimshaw inquired, looking up with a
scowl.

“Hunting for something,” Judy answered vaguely. She was not ready to
tell her employer that the manuscripts were missing, not after having
been told how valuable they were. Perhaps, absent-mindedly she had
placed them in one of the drawers of her own desk.

After another ten minutes of Judy’s frantic searching the agent’s
patience was exhausted.

“Sit down, young lady, and tell me why you are turning my office upside
down in this ridiculous fashion. As if I hadn’t enough worries!”

“I’m sorry, Miss Grimshaw,” Judy replied contritely. “But the poems you
gave me—the originals, I mean—they seem to have—disappeared.”

“Disappeared! Stuff and nonsense!” the old lady snorted. “Like all
girls, you’ve been careless, and misplaced them.”

“I’ve looked everywhere except in your desk, and they couldn’t be
there.”

“They couldn’t, eh? We shall see.”

Soon the agent had her own desk in worse confusion than Judy’s, but no
papers could she find. She poured herself another drink from the bottle
and regarded Judy with a wild light in her eyes.

“Joy Holiday took them! That’s what happened! I knew that girl was here
for a reason.”

After that there was a long silence during which Emily Grimshaw sat
moving her lips but making no sound. It was uncanny! Judy longed for
five o’clock and freedom from her queer employer.

No one had entered the office; of that Judy felt sure. The sofa was
opposite the door. No one could have passed it and taken the pile of
papers from the table without being seen. And no one could enter
without a key. The door locked from the inside, and Judy never left the
catch off except when Emily Grimshaw was there. That had been her
employer’s instructions, and she had followed them to the letter.

What, then, could she mean by saying Joy Holiday took the poems? Why
had she collapsed the moment Irene looked up at her, and who or what
had taken the pile of manuscripts?

Judy shivered. Would it be stretching the truth to say that some
strange, invisible force had been at work in the office that day?
Irene, timid, lovable little girl that she was, couldn’t possibly
frighten a big capable woman like Emily Grimshaw. She must have seen
something else!

Without meaning to, Judy glanced over her shoulder. Then a thought came
to her that seemed all at once amusing. Dale Meredith had said there
weren’t enough mysteries in real life. Wait till she told him this one!
A writer of detective stories ought to be interested. He might even
have a theory, perhaps from his own novels, that would work out a
solution.

Or perhaps Dale knew what had happened to the poetry. He didn’t seem
dishonest, but if he refused to show an interest or showed too great an
interest.... How was it that people told the guilty party?

These questions ran through Judy’s mind as she sat before her
typewriter. Mysteries intrigued her. But no mystery on earth would be
worth the solving if it lessened her trust in people she loved.

“There has to be some way to get Irene out of this,” she said to
herself. “Whatever Emily Grimshaw saw, she mustn’t be allowed to accuse
Irene of taking the poetry.”

Then it occurred to Judy that, ordinarily, she would be under suspicion
as well. Instead, Emily Grimshaw suspected someone named Joy Holiday.
It sounded like an hallucination.

When closing time came, Judy walked in the direction of Gramercy Park
and arrived at Dr. Faulkner’s house just as Pauline was leaving through
a side door.

“Where are you going?” Judy asked in surprise. Usually Pauline would
not be going out just at dinner time.

“I told Mary I’d not be home,” Pauline replied, “and you had better not
be, either. Dale Meredith’s up on the roof garden with Irene, and we
would be intruding if we thrust ourselves upon them.”

“Why? What makes you think that?”

“Just what I overheard.”

“Perhaps you didn’t understand,” Judy attempted. “There’s a brand-new
mystery for us to solve. I’m sure Dale Meredith wants to hear about it.
Something happened in the office today, and Irene was dreadfully upset.
He may have been trying to comfort her.”

Pauline laughed bitterly. “A queer way of doing it—calling her a sweet
girl, holding her hand and saying something about ‘another roof garden
... peppy orchestra, floor as smooth as wax ... and you to dance
with....’ He said more, too, but that was all I heard. You see what a
mistake I almost made! Of course he wants Irene to himself. He won’t be
interested in your mystery now—only in Irene’s glorious eyes and her
bright hair. I guess she knew what she was doing when she wore that
party dress.”

“You wouldn’t feel that way if you knew how little pleasure Irene has
had in her life,” Judy said. “My brother is the only boy who ever paid
any attention to her, and he never took her out alone.”

“That doesn’t excuse her for dolling up on purpose to attract Dale
Meredith.”

“Why, she didn’t even know he was going to come into the office! She
dressed up only because it pleased her to look pretty. It pleased me,
too,” Judy added warmly. “Do you think they have really gone out
together, Pauline?”

“I’m sure of it. And she doesn’t deserve it after scheming to meet him.
I’ll never quite forgive her, and you’re a little bit to blame, too. It
wasn’t just the thing to go off and find yourself a position when you
are really my guest.”

“I suppose it wasn’t,” Judy admitted, feeling sorry for Pauline in
spite of the attitude she had taken. She couldn’t be blamed too much.
It promised to be another one of these eternal triangles. Judy thought
of Peter Dobbs and Arthur Farringdon-Pett at home. They both liked her
and were still good friends to each other. She thought of Horace and
Honey and Irene. One triangle made straight, only to be converted into
another and more puzzling one. Why couldn’t Dale Meredith take out both
Pauline and Irene, she wondered. She would even be willing to tag along
if it would help. But tonight she would tag along with Pauline and
sympathize.

They had hot chocolate and sandwiches in a drug store and called it
their dinner. After that they walked uptown as far as Central Park and
then back again in time to see the last show at a near-by movie.

“No need to hurry,” Judy said. “Irene is sure to be home late if she
and Dale Meredith went out to dance.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER IX

                               SUSPICIONS


It was twelve o’clock when Judy and Pauline, her head held high, walked
into the house. All the lights were on and the radio was going in
Pauline’s parlor room, but, as no one was there, they went on through
to the roof garden. Irene looked up from the hammock.

“Oh, there you are!” she exclaimed. “Dale and I have been so worried.
We couldn’t imagine where you were.”

Pauline noticed the familiar use of his first name and winced. The
young author had been sitting beside Irene, and now he rose and stood
smiling. Again Pauline felt as if she wanted to run away, but this time
it was impossible.

Judy excused their lateness as well as she could without telling them
she expected that they would be dancing. Irene soon explained that.

“You missed the most wonderful time,” she said. “Dale was going to take
us to a hotel roof garden to dance, but when you didn’t come in we had
to wait.”

“You could have left a note,” Pauline replied. “I’m sorry to have
spoiled your date.”

“It isn’t spoiled,” Dale returned. “With your consent, we are going
tomorrow night.”

“Why _with my consent_? Irene is old enough to take care of herself.”

“But can’t you see?” he protested. “I want all three of you to come.”

“You can leave me out.”

“Why, Pauline,” Irene exclaimed, “I thought——”

“Never mind what you thought,” Judy interrupted. She knew that Irene
had been about to say she thought Pauline wanted to meet interesting
people. Then Dale would know she thought him interesting, and that
wouldn’t be a very good thing to reveal right then. But Judy spoke more
sharply than she realized, and her tone held the smallest hint of
suspicion.

Irene’s expressive eyes were dark with reproach. “Judy!” she cried,
almost in tears, “Now what have I done to offend you?”

“Nothing, dear. Nothing at all. I’m just tired.”

“You must be tired,” Dale put in. “Who wouldn’t be, after such a hectic
day? But why take it out on Irene? She isn’t to blame if Her Majesty
makes a grouch of herself.”

“Of course not,” Judy agreed, not quite sure that she spoke the truth.
Certainly Irene _had_ had something to do with Emily Grimshaw’s grouch
for the old lady had not been herself since the moment she set eyes on
the dainty figure in yellow, curled on her sofa in the office that
morning.

“You don’t know the half of it,” she went on to explain. “Her Majesty,
as you call her, acted queer and talked to herself like a crazy person
all day. I didn’t dare speak to her for fear she’d go off in a fit
again. She thinks someone, or something, came into the office. Did you
ever hear of a person named Joy Holiday?”

“No, never,” Dale replied.

Then Judy turned to Irene. “Did you?”

“You know I didn’t,” she replied in surprise. “Why, Judy, you know
everyone I know at home, and I have no friends here except Pauline. Why
do you ask?”

“Because Emily Grimshaw thinks someone named Joy Holiday took those
poems that were lost.”

“What poems?” asked Pauline.

“The ones Irene and I were reading this morning. Something happened to
them. They aren’t anywhere. Of course someone took them, but the
strange part of it is, we were the only ones in the office.”

“And you missed them right after Emily Grimshaw had that queer spell
and collapsed?” Dale asked.

“Pretty soon afterwards.”

“I thought there was something fishy about that at the time,” he
declared, “and I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if the old lady made away
with them herself.”

“But why should she? What would be her object in taking poems she
expected to publish and then pretending not to know what happened to
them?”

“It’s beyond me! Maybe she didn’t. They might have been accidentally
brushed off the table when someone passed.”

“In that case they would have been on the floor,” Judy replied.

Dale Meredith was coming to some rapid conclusions, she thought—too
rapid to be sincere expressions of his opinion. But what use could a
successful young author make of faded manuscripts of melancholy poetry.
A plot for a story, perhaps. That was pure inspiration! Those queer old
poems might furnish plots for a great many mystery stories if anyone
had the patience to figure them out. Ghosts ... towers ... thrills ...
shivers ... creeps.... Dale Meredith could do it, too. All he needed
was a little time to study the originals. The revised poems with
corrections and omissions, Judy could see, wouldn’t do half so well.

But that would be cheating, stealing. No, there was another word for
it—plagiarizing. That was it. But Judy had hoped that Dale was too
fine a man to stoop to anything like that, even to further the
interests of his stories.

“Better to crumble in a tower of flame....”

A line from one of the missing poems, but it did ring true. It was far
better that Judy’s plans for both her friends should crumble before the
flame that was her passion for finding out the truth.

When she came into the room she had noticed Dale Meredith’s portfolio
on top of the radio. It was the same portfolio that he had carried on
the bus, the same portfolio that he had taken away with him when he
left Emily Grimshaw’s office. Now Judy remembered watching Dale and
Irene from the office window as they walked through Madison Square.
Irene had carried nothing except her brown hand bag. That was far too
small to hold the manuscript. But Dale’s portfolio——Why, even now it
bulged with papers that must be inside! Yes, Judy had to face it, Dale
Meredith might have taken the poems. They might be inside that very
portfolio!

Excusing herself, she went inside. Blackberry followed at her heels.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER X

                               DEDUCTIONS

Torn between a desire to find out what had actually happened and a fear
of throwing suspicion upon the man who was Irene’s ideal, Judy stood in
the center of the room staring at Dale Meredith’s portfolio. Blackberry
sat on the floor at her feet, and the thumping of his tail on the rug
played a drumlike march in time to her heartbeats. This was
nonsense—just standing there. It was her duty to find out the truth.

She took a quick step forward and reached for the portfolio,
accidentally stepping on the cat’s tail. He yowled! Judy almost dropped
the papers that she held, caught at them, told in one glance that she
had been wrong and was about to put them back when the door slowly
opened.

There was no way out. Dale and the two girls came into the room,
stopped and stood speechless. Blackberry looked up at them as though
expecting to be commended for sounding the warning.

“That cat’s as good as a watchdog,” Dale broke the silence by saying.

“I suppose I do look something like a burglar,” Judy retorted. “I’m not
going to apologize for anything either. I simply had to know.”

“Know what?” Pauline asked.

“She wanted to find out if I took the lost poetry,” Dale explained.
“That’s clear enough, and don’t think for a moment that I blame her.
Any good detective would have done the same thing. Being a comparative
stranger, I am the logical one to suspect. Irene, we all know, is above
suspicion.”

“Well then, who did take the papers?” Pauline asked.

Dale only shook his head, refusing to propound any more theories about
the affair. Judy turned to him gratefully.

“I felt sure you would be dreadfully mad at me for snooping in your
personal belongings,” she said. “It’s nice to have you uphold me in my
crude bit of detecting, and I do appreciate it. What puzzles me is
this: nobody left the room ahead of you except——”

“Except me,” Irene broke in, “and you may be sure I didn’t take those
papers.”

“We’re sure, aren’t we?”

Judy turned to the others and Dale nodded solemnly. It was Pauline who
looked a little doubtful.

“What! Don’t you believe in her too?” Judy asked in surprise.

Pauline shrugged. “I suppose so, if she says she didn’t take them.”

“Then we all believe in each other, and it seems that even Emily
Grimshaw believes in us,” Judy went on. “It appears that the next thing
to do is find out who Joy Holiday is and how she could have entered the
office without our knowing.”

“You’re pretty keen on solving this mystery, aren’t you?” Dale inquired.

“It’s just the way I am,” Judy replied. “I couldn’t bear not knowing.
And I suspect that this Joy Holiday, whoever she is, had something to
do with Miss Grimshaw’s collapse. Maybe tomorrow, if she’s in a
pleasant mood, I’ll ask her about it.”

“Go easy,” Dale warned. “I’m beginning to think there’s more to this
missing poetry business than may appear on the surface. What were
they—very valuable manuscripts?”

“Valuable?” Judy repeated thoughtfully. “Why, I believe they were.”

“There was _Golden Girl_,” Irene put in. “You said that was valuable.
It’s beautiful, too. I read it over and over and over——”

“You’re getting sleepy, Irene. And no wonder!” Pauline looked at her
wrist watch a second time to make sure. Then she turned to Dale. “One
o’clock! Oh, what a calling down I’ll get from Father if the
housekeeper catches sight of you leaving at this hour of the night.
Better tiptoe down the back stairs.”

“Okay! How about that roof garden tomorrow night?”

“Not tomorrow night,” Irene pleaded. “I’ll be too tired. Can’t we wait?”

“Saturday, then. How about it, Pauline?”

“I said I wasn’t going.”

“But you must go. We won’t go without her, will we, Irene?”

She shook her bright head and laughed, “Indeed we won’t. Don’t be a
goose!”

Did they want her, too, Judy wondered. Then she thought of Emily
Grimshaw, and her doubts vanished. She might have something interesting
to tell them about Joy Holiday.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER XI

                       WHILE THE ORCHESTRA PLAYED


Saturday night came, and when Dale Meredith called, three visions of
loveliness awaited him. Pauline wore peach-colored satin that trailed
nearly to the floor. Irene’s new yellow dress with matching slippers of
gold was truly appropriate for this occasion, and Judy looked like a
sea nymph in a pale shade of green that made people wonder about the
color of her eyes.

“It’s going to be a perfect evening,” Irene sighed ecstatically. “Even
the moon came out to shine on the roof garden.”

It was all that Dale had described—palms, cut flowers, waiters in
long-tailed coats who moved noiselessly between the tables, and a
circle of floor for dancing. Colored lights played on the dancers
tinting them with rainbows. To her surprise, Dale asked Judy for the
first dance.

“Oh, no,” she replied quickly. “Really, I’d rather you danced with the
other girls. You see, I can watch the lights while I’m sitting here.
When I’m home again I won’t be able to watch lights on a roof garden.
And I can always dance.”

Afterwards Judy felt almost sorry she had refused. The orchestra was
playing beautifully, magic to any young girl’s feet. Now and then a
soloist would sing the number as it was played. Judy listened, at first
watching Dale and Irene, then Dale and Pauline as they moved in and out
among the crowd of dancers. Finally, not watching anybody, she just sat
thinking.

It had been a queer day. Strangely enough, Emily Grimshaw had not once
mentioned the missing poetry. She seemed to take it for granted that
neither Dale nor Judy were responsible. But she had gone about her work
with a harassed expression and a droop to her shoulders that Judy had
never noticed before. An opportunity came, and she had asked about Joy
Holiday. She had found out something, too, and now as she sat alone at
the table she puzzled as how best to tell Dale Meredith. At first she
had planned to tell Irene but, on second thought, she had decided that
it might be better for Irene not to know some of the things Emily
Grimshaw had said.

“You must dance this one,” Dale urged her as the music began again.
“Pauline is dancing with a friend of mine who just came in——”

“And I haven’t had a chance to finish this ginger ale,” Irene added.

Dale was curious to hear what she had found out. Judy could tell that
as soon as he spoke to her alone.

“Her Majesty’s grouch gone?” he asked.

“A sort of depression has taken its place,” Judy explained as she swung
into step. The floor was like glass and shone with their reflections.
She could see Irene sitting next to the circle of light, sipping her
ginger ale. There was another girl reflected on the floor beside her.
Judy pointed it out to Dale—that golden reflection on the polished
floor.

Just then the orchestra struck up a new tune. Soon the soloist joined
in, singing the latest popular song:

    My own golden girl, there is one, only one,
    Who has eyes like the stars and hair like the sun.
    In your new yellow gown you’re a dream of delight.
    You have danced in my heart on bright slippers tonight ...

“It sounds as if he meant Irene,” Dale whispered. “She’s a ‘golden
girl’ tonight.” He glanced again at her reflection as the orchestra
played on:

    I’ll enthrone you my queen in a circular tower
    Where frost may not blight my most delicate flower.
    And from this hour on, you belong all to me
    Though you drown in my love as a bird in the sea.

Irene looked up just as the music stopped. She smiled, and Dale’s eyes
smiled back at her.

“Her hair is like the sun,” he said dreamily and half to himself.

“Yes,” Judy replied. “And her dress and slippers are golden. You’d
almost think the song was written for her. It must have been written
for someone very much like her, and whoever wrote it loved that someone
dearly.”

“What was the poet’s name?” Dale asked.

Judy thought a minute. “It was Sarah Glynn—or Glenn. I don’t quite
remember. I used to think the song was written by a man until Miss
Grimshaw showed me the original manuscript. It’s one of the missing
poems, you know.”

“And you didn’t find out a thing about it?”

“Yes, one thing.”

Dale’s face glowed with interest. “You did? What?”

“That Emily Grimshaw believes Irene’s name is Joy Holiday. I can’t
convince her otherwise. And she is sure Joy Holiday took the poems. You
know it’s ridiculous. Irene isn’t anybody but herself and wouldn’t have
any use in the world for the faded old poetry. Besides, she said she
didn’t take them, and I believe her.”

“Keep on believing her,” Dale advised as he ushered Judy back to the
table. “My own opinion is that your beloved employer has worked a screw
loose somewhere in her upper story.”

Judy giggled, partly from excitement. But the thought would be less
entertaining when she was catering to the old lady’s whims at the
office.

On the way home they discussed the mystery. When questioned, Irene
seemed glad to contribute scraps of the missing poetry for the others
to puzzle over. It was remarkable how much of it she remembered, and
Dale was charmed with the soft tones of her voice as she recited.

When the word “Joy” came up for the fifth time Judy stopped her to
exclaim, “That must mean Joy Holiday, the girl Emily Grimshaw thinks
took the poetry.”

“Then she must have been ‘Golden Girl,’” Irene said unexpectedly.

Dale turned to her in surprise. “That’s right! We never thought of
that. I’m glad to see you so interested in it; I thought at first you
weren’t keen on detecting.”

“I’m not,” Irene admitted. “It’s the poetry I like.”

Judy shuddered. “Those creepy poems! I’d rather read a good murder
mystery any day. At least there’s always a solution. What do you
suppose this poet means when she says ‘Better to crumble in a tower of
flame than sit with ghosts...’? Could the ghosts be memories, too?”

“They could be,” Irene said thoughtfully. “It’s queer, but _Golden
Girl_ mentions a tower.”

“So it does!” Dale exclaimed, growing excited. “It looks as though
there might be some connection. Do you know, girls, we may find the
solution to this whole mystery in that poetry!”

“I have some of the typewritten copies. I’ll hunt through them for
clues,” Judy promised.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XII

                            IRENE’S BIRTHDAY


Unexpectedly, the next day Jasper Crosby came into the office with
another lot of his sister’s poems. This time they were in a tin box
with padlock attached.

Judy listened in silence as the earlier manuscripts were discussed,
wondering how Emily Grimshaw would break the news of their
disappearance. Presently she realized that the poet’s brother was being
kept in ignorance of the whole affair. Worse than that, he was being
deceived. What did the agent mean by saying the publishers were
considering Sarah Glenn’s work?

Thinking there might be some mistake, Judy refrained from asking
questions until she and her employer were alone again. Then she
expressed herself frankly.

“It isn’t right,” she declared, “not to tell him the truth about those
poems. We can’t publish them when they’re lost.”

“Tut, tut, child,” Miss Grimshaw reproved in a patronizing tone that
always annoyed Judy. “You must never correct your elders. Haven’t you
heard that there are tricks to all trades?”

“Not dishonest tricks.” Judy’s scruples about deceit and treachery had
made her over-bold.

“Look here, Miss Bolton,” her employer cried. “If this position means
anything to you, learn to keep a civil tongue in your head. I have
evidence enough against you right now to place the blame on your
shoulders if I wanted to. The idea! Talking about dishonest tricks!
Wasn’t it a dishonest trick that somebody played on me?”

“Yes, Miss Grimshaw,” Judy answered penitently. “I shouldn’t have
spoken so hastily, and if you blame me....”

“But I don’t blame you, child. You’re as innocent as I am. That’s why I
hired you—because I knew I could trust you.”

This unexpected praise brought a flood of color to Judy’s cheeks. She
mumbled something intended for an acknowledgment. Not hearing the
interruption, her employer went on talking.

“I know we can’t keep putting Jasper Crosby off forever, but, don’t you
see, we must do it until the poems are found? I’m ruined if we don’t.”

“I suppose he would hold you responsible,” Judy ventured.

“He would exactly,” the agent declared. “He’d charge me with gross
negligence or something of the kind and sue me for more money than
Sarah Glenn’s royalties would bring in a lifetime. He’s just crooked
enough to get away with it. And,” she finished tragically, “all our
time and work will go for nothing. Oh, Miss Bolton, if you can help me,
won’t you do it? You’re clever. Perhaps you can figure it out. My mind
gets all befuddled of late—ever since Joy Holiday came back. Find her.
She’s got the papers.”

“I’ll do my best,” Judy promised, genuinely moved. She resolved to
tackle this new task her employer had given her with all the
seriousness it demanded. But whom was there to suspect? Joy Holiday, as
far as she could figure out, was a creature of Miss Grimshaw’s
imagination, a ghost. Judy refused to believe in ghosts or be
frightened by them. That angle of the mystery she dismissed as wholly
implausible. She had proved Dale Meredith’s innocence to her own
satisfaction, and Irene hadn’t taken the poetry. Judy felt sure of that.

She was still sure the following Thursday when she and Pauline planned
a birthday party for her. Dale happened to come in the office, and Judy
told him. Together they arranged a surprise dinner. At first he wanted
to take them to an exclusive restaurant but was soon won over when Judy
suggested a meal served out on the roof garden. Pauline liked the idea,
too, and found a great deal of pleasure in planning the menu. She
telephoned to the market and ordered a good-sized capon; nuts, celery
and raisins were to go into the dressing. There would be fruit cups and
salads, and ice cream for dessert and, of course, a cake with candles.
Judy came home early to make the cake. While Pauline helped Mary put on
the roast she continued fixing things, waiting for Dale who expected to
arrive ahead of Irene.

“It looks great!” he exclaimed as soon as he opened the door and saw
the table set in the center of the roof garden. It was decorated with
yellow candy cups and tall yellow candles. “And isn’t it lucky that I
brought yellow flowers?”

“You knew we’d be decorating in yellow,” Pauline charged as she took
the flowers and buried her face in their fragrance. Then, while Dale
stood admiring the tasteful arrangement of the table, she placed them
as an appropriate centerpiece. Everything was ready, and it was after
six o’clock.

“Irene ought to be here,” Judy said anxiously. “I wonder where she
went.”

Pauline had seen her go out early that morning, carrying a borrowed
book.

“She’d stop in on her way home to return it. Dale, why don’t you and
Judy go down to the bookstore and meet her?”

“Can’t you leave the dinner long enough to come with us?”

Pauline laughed. “I guess I could if you want me. There’s a chance of
missing her, though. She may come from another direction.”

Dale helped Judy and Pauline with their wraps, and together they walked
toward the bookstore. It was only a short distance, but the cool air
felt good to Judy after having spent all afternoon over the cake. As
they walked they watched for Irene. She would be wearing a brown suit
with a close-fitting brown hat to match, Pauline said. The outfit was
new and she wondered if, for that reason, they had missed her.

At the bookstore, however, the girl who took care of lending out books
from the circulating library told them that Miss Lang had not been in
since morning when she returned a book.

“What could have happened to her?” Judy exclaimed in real concern.

“Perhaps she went out shopping to celebrate. I’ve seen girls shop
before. They never leave the stores until closing time.”

“It’s closing time now.”

“And she’ll probably be waiting for us back at the house,” Dale
prophesied cheerfully.

“Oh,” exclaimed Judy, “I hope she doesn’t peek in the ice box and see
her cake. I do believe I forgot to put Blackberry out, and if he smells
that chicken....” She finished the sentence with a gesture of
hopelessness.

Blackberry was out—out on the roof garden—when they returned. Sensing
a party in the air, he had taken advantage of his mistress’ absence and
upset the vase of yellow flowers. There were bits of chewed flower
petals and ferns scattered all about.

“You bad cat!” cried Judy, shaking him. “Just look what he’s done. And
Irene isn’t here yet! Let’s hurry and put the place in order before she
comes. Collect the flowers, Dale, won’t you? I think I can save a few
of these ferns.”

She was on her knees, hunting for pieces of them as she spoke.

“And I’ll get Mary to wipe up the water and put on a clean cloth,”
Pauline offered.

Soon everything was in order again.

Oliver had hung a string of Japanese lanterns all the way across the
roof garden. They were a little too low, and for a few more minutes
Dale and the girls busied themselves with a pole, raising them to a
higher level.

Meanwhile it had grown dark, and Judy suggested lighting the candles on
the table so that Irene would see them the moment she opened the door.
Then they planned to call out, “Surprise!” all at once. Judy could
imagine the rest—Irene laughing, exclaiming, her two eyes like stars
as she enjoyed her very first birthday party.

In the kitchen below a sizzling noise called Mary to the oven. The
roast needed basting again. It was too brown already, but she couldn’t
take it off and let it get cold. The potatoes had cracked open and
their jackets were done to a crisp. She turned the flame as low as she
dared and faced about to see Dale and the girls standing in the doorway.

“Getting hungry?” she asked.

“A little. Irene ought to be here by now.”

“I know it,” the housekeeper replied, “and the dinner will be spoiled
if we let it wait much longer.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIII

                                WAITING


Eight o’clock came and still no Irene. By nine o’clock Judy was in
tears. She felt that something dreadful must have happened and
suggested calling up hospitals to see if there had been any accidents.
After the calls were completed Dale returned to the kitchen and stood
looking at the dinner.

“You might as well eat some of the chicken,” Mary suggested. She placed
it on a platter and carried it up to the roof garden, but they ate only
a little, cut from underneath where it wouldn’t show. Then they left
the table as it was, waiting for Irene.

The yellow candles burned lower and lower. Finally they flickered and
went out. Pauline gave a little start, but Judy sank back in her chair
shaking with sobs.

“I—I’m not superstitious,” she blurted out. “I’m trying to be sensible
about it, but do you think it’s sensible just to wait?”

“There isn’t anything else to do unless we notify the police, and then,
if she had just been to a movie, wouldn’t she have the laugh on us?”

“But, Pauline, she isn’t thoughtless.”

“I could tell that,” Dale put in seriously. “She’s a mighty fine little
girl. I know how you feel, Judy. I’ll stand by. Didn’t Irene and I wait
up that night for you—and nothing had happened except that you took a
walk?”

Dale was comforting. It was nice to have him there, especially when
Judy knew that he was as interested as she in Irene’s safe return. But
Judy could not help thinking of Farringdon and the enthusiasm with
which the boys there would help her if they only knew.

Pauline thought of Farringdon too.

“Maybe Irene didn’t like it here in New York and went home,” she
suggested.

“But the house is empty,” Judy objected. “There really isn’t any home
in Farringdon for her to go back to. She doesn’t even know where they
are going to live when her father is well again. He’s in a sanitarium
now, and I hate to notify him if there’s any other way. It really would
be better to notify the police.”

“I guess you’re right,” Dale agreed. “If she isn’t home by midnight we
might try it. Things do happen—and especially to pretty girls,” he
added gravely.

It was five minutes to twelve when footsteps were finally heard outside
the door. Dale started to his feet, and Judy rushed toward the door,
then halted with a cry of disappointment as she recognized the now
familiar, “Hit’s Oliver, Miss.”

Pauline opened the door and urged him to come in.

“Irene isn’t home yet, and Mr. Meredith was waiting,” she explained.
“Did you happen to see her?”

“Well, let me think a minute.” The English servant passed his fingers
through his thinning hair. “Indeed, yes, Miss Pauline, I did see her
when the post came this morning. She stood hin the vestibule reading a
letter.”

“Did she seem worried, as if it were bad news?”

The man shook his head. “Indeed, she seemed quite ’appy over hit. She
went out a bit later ’umming a tune, ‘De de-de da de. Da de da. Da de
dum’—like that.”

He had given a crude imitation of the first notes of _Golden Girl_.

“She was very fond of that song,” Dale remarked after Oliver had left.
He was helping the girls with their wraps preparatory to calling at the
police station.

Again Judy thought about the papers. Could their disappearance and
Irene’s, in some way, be connected? She mentioned the possibility to
Dale but he thought it unlikely.

“At any rate we know Irene didn’t take them, and when we make our
report to the police we had better leave the papers entirely out of it.”

“And the name ‘Joy Holiday’?” Pauline questioned.

“Yes, for the present. We want to do all we can to save her from
embarrassment until we have an explanation. I feel sure that, whatever
it is, it will be—like Irene—satisfactory.”

“I’m glad you believe in her, Dale,” Judy said. She hoped, with all her
heart, that Irene would prove herself worthy of his loyalty.

At the police station the sergeant on night duty at the desk did not
take their story very seriously. He had a great many such cases, he
explained, most of which solved themselves. His questions, however,
suggested terrifying possibilities. Did she have any enemies, any
rejected suitors, any hostile relatives? Was she wearing any valuable
jewels? How much money did she have in her purse?

Judy thought it was about ten dollars.

“Ten dollars could take that girl a long way,” the officer said
significantly. “What about publicity on the case? We broadcast a
general alarm for missing persons every evening over the radio.”

Undecided, the girls appealed to Dale. “What do you think?”

“That’s another day. If she’s not home by then, by all means, yes.
Anything to find her.”

“We’ll do our best for you. I’ll assign the case to the Detective
Bureau right away, but be sure and telephone at once when she comes
home. And take my word for it, she’ll show up before morning,” the
sergeant prophesied as they turned to go.

“He probably thinks she’s only out on a party,” Pauline said later.

“But he doesn’t know Irene,” Judy reminded her. “She’s not the kind of
girl police officers are used to dealing with.”

“You bet she isn’t,” Dale agreed fervently. He promised to be back as
soon as it was daylight and urged the girls to try and get a little
rest in the meantime. Judy surprised him a few hours later by
announcing that she intended to spend the day at the office.

“Emily Grimshaw may know something about this,” she explained. “At
least I intend to find out all there is to know about this Joy Holiday
person. If there really is someone who looks exactly like Irene it
might get her into a good deal of trouble.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIV

                        THE IMMORTAL JOY HOLIDAY


“That’s a good idea of yours,” Dale told Judy just before she left to
go to the office. “Have a nice long talk with Her Majesty and I’ll meet
you at noon to see what she says. In the meantime I’ll make some more
inquiries at the bookstore and of people in the neighborhood.”

“Oh, and you might tell them at the police station that we gave a wrong
description of Irene’s clothes,” Pauline called out to them. She had
just been to the closet for her hat and school books and had discovered
Irene’s brown suit hanging there. Only the yellow dress and jacket were
missing from her wardrobe.

“It was the same yellow dress that she wore to the dance,” Judy
explained.

“And she wore it that day I discovered you in the office,” Dale
remembered. “She certainly looked like the heroine of our popular song
then. Do you suppose there is a chance that _Golden Girl_ was written
for her?”

Both girls laughed. “Dale Meredith! How absurd! It was written twenty
years ago.”

But when Emily Grimshaw heard of Irene’s disappearance and made a
similar suggestion Judy took it more seriously. She strained her ears
to hear every word the agent said as she rocked back and forth in her
swivel chair. Apparently she was talking to herself—something about
the spirit world and Joy’s song over the radio.

“Yes,” she went on in a louder tone, “those poems were written for Joy,
every last one of them, and she sat right on that sofa while I read
_Golden Girl_ aloud. That was twenty years ago. Then all of a sudden I
see her again after I think she’s dead—same starry eyes, same golden
hair, everything the same, even to her dress. Then her mother’s poems
turn up missing——”

“So the poet was Joy Holiday’s mother!” Judy interrupted to exclaim.

“Bless you, yes,” her employer returned. “I thought you knew. She went
stark crazy. Set fire to her own house and tried to burn herself alive.”

“Who did? The poet? How terrible!” Judy cried, starting from her chair.
“Why, it seems impossible that I’ve been correcting a crazy woman’s
verses without even knowing it. Tower of flame, indeed! So that’s what
she meant!”

Emily Grimshaw laughed dryly. “Don’t ask me what she meant! I’m no
authority on crazy people. The asylum’s the place for them, and, if it
weren’t for that mercenary brother of hers, Sarah Glenn would be there
yet. He arranged for her release and managed to get himself appointed
as her guardian. Handles all of her finances, you see, and takes care
of the estate. The poet’s pretty much of a recluse. I haven’t seen her
for years.”

This was beginning to sound more like sense. Hopefully, Judy ventured,
“But you have seen her daughter?”

“Seen her! Seen her!” she cried. “That’s just it. I see her in my
dreams. Ordinarily people don’t see spirits and that’s why it gave me
such a turn the other day. And Joy did come back! Her mother said so in
the last poem she ever wrote. Jasper brought it in only this morning.”

“He did!” Judy exclaimed. “What did you tell him about the missing
poetry?”

“Nothing. And I intend to tell him nothing. If it becomes necessary to
tell anyone we’ll tell the poet herself. Her address is on this
envelope. Keep it, Miss Bolton, you may need it. The poem I mentioned
is on the other side.”

Judy turned it over and read:


        LINES TO ONE WHO HAS DRUNK
        FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

    Death cannot touch the halo of your hair
    Though, like a ghost, you disappear at will.
    I knew you’d come in answer to my prayer ...
    You, gentle sprite, whom love alone can kill ...

She shivered. “Spooky, isn’t it? And,” she added, “like all of her
poems, utterly impossible.”

“Hmmm, you think so—now. But you’ll see. You’ll see.” And the old lady
kept on nodding her head as if the gods had given her an uncanny
second-sight.

As far as Judy was concerned, the conversation closed right there. She
had learned nothing of importance. In fact, she had learned nothing at
all except that her employer believed in spirits. Someone, twenty years
ago, had probably looked like Irene. But that wouldn’t help find Irene
now.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER XV

                            FALSE ASSURANCE


At noon Judy gave Dale and Pauline what little information she had over
sandwiches and coffee in a near-by restaurant. Joy Holiday, she told
them, disappeared twenty years ago; and Emily Grimshaw’s only reason
for acting strangely was because she believed Irene to be her ghost.

“If that’s the case,” Dale declared, “we’re simply wasting time
questioning her. Irene’s father might know something real.”

Judy agreed. They telegraphed him at once:

    IRENE MISSING SINCE YESTERDAY STOP IS SHE
    WITH YOU
                                 JUDY

The answer came back early that same afternoon:

    DONT WORRY STOP IRENE WITH RELATIVES IN
    BROOKLYN STOP ADVISED HER IN LETTER TO
    LOOK THEM UP
                                TOM LANG

Relief flooded Judy’s face. She waved the telegram excitedly and was on
the point of telling the news to Emily Grimshaw. Then she decided that
she had better not—not yet, at any rate. The papers were still missing
even if Irene was safe. It would be better to clear her chum of all
suspicion as quickly as possible.

Freed of a measure of worry and suspense, Judy’s mind eagerly took up
the story of Joy Holiday’s strange disappearance. Now that she felt
sure it had nothing to do with Irene she could view the tale
dispassionately and take it for what it was worth. Still holding to
Dale Meredith’s theory that valuable clues might be found in the
poetry, she questioned Emily Grimshaw.

“Why do you call the girl Joy Holiday when her mother’s name was Glenn?”

“That’s only a pen name.” The agent explained. “Not any prettier than
Holiday, is it? But when she had her first poems published Sarah was so
anxious to please the publishers that she agreed to use a name that was
short enough to be printed across the back of that thin little book.
Humph! And now the publishers are just as anxious to please her!”

“What happened to her husband?” Judy asked after a pause.

“Dick Holiday? He left her shortly after their baby was born. Said he’d
married a wife, not a nursemaid, and she insisted upon giving all of
her time to Joy. When the child finally made a few friends among young
folks her own age her mother, in a fit of jealous rage, locked her in
the tower.”

“What tower?” Judy asked, growing more and more interested.

“It’s a circular tower built onto Sarah’s house. Joy’s room was on the
third floor and there’s where her mother locked her up. She wanted Joy
all to herself. That’s what I call mothering a girl to death. Though
how Joy died is still something of a puzzle to me.”

“Why? What happened to her?”

Emily Grimshaw’s expression changed. The lines in her forehead
deepened. “I told you she disappeared, vanished completely, just like
you say this friend of yours vanished. Some folks think she jumped from
a window. How ever it happened, Jasper Crosby identified a body in the
morgue as hers. They had a funeral over it and buried it, but her
mother declares to this day it wasn’t Joy. It didn’t look like her.
That girl was too beautiful to die and Sarah thinks she floats around
bodily, mind you. No doubt you gathered that much from reading the
poetry.”

“Oh,” Judy exclaimed. “That....”

“Yes, _that_. But I doubt it.” She shook her head gravely and regarded
Judy with a fixed stare. “Yes, I very much doubt it. Joy Holiday must
be dead. Otherwise her spirit wouldn’t be coming back to haunt the
earth. But what I’ve done that she should haunt me, the good Lord
knows!”

“Published the poetry, perhaps,” Judy suggested wickedly. If Irene’s
disappearance hadn’t been such a serious matter she would have laughed
at the old lady’s superstitions.

On the way home Judy tried to figure out why Irene had failed to get in
touch with her. That Blackberry had chewed up her note as well as the
yellow flower petals seemed likely until she talked it over with
Pauline.

“A cat chew up paper?” the other girl sniffed. “Why, Judy, only goats
do that.”

“I know, but Blackberry is an unusual cat. I thought he might——”

“Well, he wouldn’t,” Pauline interrupted. “You know, yourself, Irene is
sometimes thoughtless. She probably didn’t leave any note. She never
breathed a word about those relatives either, and I think she must have
had some reason for not wanting us to know where she was going.”

Judy nodded, unconvinced. Irene wasn’t that sort. The relatives in
Brooklyn might have been a surprise to her also. Judy remembered
distinctly Irene’s assertion that she didn’t know a soul in the city.
Her father must have revealed some family history in his letter. Oh,
why did telegrams need to be so brief?

Vaguely uneasy about the whole affair, Judy showed the telegram to Dale
when he called later in the evening. As he read it his face beamed.

“What more do you want?” he cried. “She’s safe! It’s all of Heaven to
know that much.”

In a little while everything would be explained. Irene hadn’t intended
to worry them. And Dale was right. They should forget everything else
and simply be thankful that she was safe.

For a week Judy went about the daily office routine cheered by the hope
that Irene would soon come back. After that doubts began to crowd in.
Dale had been calling regularly, helping Pauline entertain even if
there remained only one guest to pilot through the never-ending wonders
of the world’s greatest city. One evening when he called to take them
to dinner Judy confided her fears to him.

“I don’t trust that telegram,” she said in a low voice. “If Irene
really is safe why hasn’t she written to tell us where she is?”

“I’ve been wondering about that for a week,” Dale replied. “Suppose we
send another telegram.”

“And have it answered as briefly as the last one? No,” Judy declared
emphatically. “I’m going to find out what has happened if it costs my
week’s salary in nickels. Where’s the nearest phone booth?”

Dale pointed out a cigar store at the next corner and escorted her to
it. Together she and Pauline assembled quite a pile of coins and Judy
dropped her first nickel in the slot. It was a relief to hear a nurse’s
voice, finally, at the other end of the wire.

“Farringdon Sanitarium?” she asked. “Is Mr. Lang well enough to come to
the phone?”

“Oh, yes indeed,” the voice replied. “Just a moment and I will call
him. He is taking a walk around the grounds.”

“He’s taking a walk,” Judy turned and whispered. “Won’t Irene be glad
to hear he’s out of his wheeled chair?”

Then Mr. Lang’s voice, wonderfully clear, asked who was calling.

“It’s Judy. I called about Irene.”

“About Irene!” Instantly the voice changed. Judy could tell that her
fears were well founded.

“Yes, yes. About Irene. She’s still missing. Who are her relatives in
Brooklyn?”

“Why, I—I dunno,” the old man faltered.

“You don’t know! But you said not to worry. She was with relatives....”

“Didn’t I say as she might be?”

“Then you _didn’t_ know where she was?” Judy demanded.

“N-no, not for sure. She’d have a purty hard time findin’ abody from
jest the looks of their house. But she does have relatives—if they
ain’t dead.”

“Her mother’s relatives?”

“Yes, my poor Annie’s folks. I told her about them in a letter, but I
get all muddled up on the names. Can’t seem to remember. It’s queer how
anything like that slips a man’s mind. Can’t you help me, Judy?” he
begged. “Ain’t there anything you can do?”

“There’s _every_thing. Why, we would have turned New York inside out
looking for her if it hadn’t been for that telegram——”

Dale touched her arm. “Go easy, Judy. Her father’s upset, too. Better
hang up, and we’ll report it to the police again.”

At the same time Mr. Lang was saying, “I’ll manage it somehow. The
nurses ain’t strong enough to keep me here when my little girl is lost.”

Through tear-dimmed eyes, Judy fumbled for the pile of coins, put the
few that were left back in her pocketbook and stumbled out of the store
with Dale and Pauline.

“All this to go through again,” she moaned, “and after we believed she
was safe!”

Then she looked up and saw Dale’s sober face and resolved to be brave
herself.

“We’re going to the police station, aren’t we?” she asked. “We’ll tell
them it was a mistake—that report that she was with relatives—and
perhaps, if we hurry, there will still be time for a police broadcast
of Irene’s description over the radio tonight!”

“There must be time,” Dale said between set lips. “And then what?”

“And then,” Judy declared, “we’re going to take paper and pencil and
write down every possible thing that could have happened to Irene.
After that we’re going to begin with the most plausible and follow up
every clue. We’ll call in the police where necessary but we are the
ones to do the brain work. We are the ones who care.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XVI

                             OVER THE RADIO


Lieutenant Collins was a big man with a ruddy face and blue eyes that
smiled kindly over his massive desk. Like Chief Kelly at home he
inspired confidence, and Judy felt relieved to be talking with him
instead of the young sergeant they had found at the police station
before. With now and then an additional bit of information from Dale
and Pauline, she retold the story of Irene’s mysterious disappearance.
Then she explained Mr. Lang’s subsequent telegram leading them to
suppose Irene was safe and, finally, the discovery that Mr. Lang had
merely described a house in Brooklyn.

“You see, he lives in a small town. He didn’t realize that such a
description would be of no use to Irene here. And now,” Judy finished,
“we seem to be right back where we started from—without a clue.”

By this time quite a group of officers and young detectives had
gathered around the lieutenant’s desk.

“It’s beginning to look like an interesting case,” one of them remarked
with a smug satisfaction that caused Dale to glare at him. Irene was no
case! She was a flesh-and-blood girl—lost, alone. He did not think of
the many instances in his own stories where the detective had made
similar remarks. It never occurred to him that here was real experience
on which to build his imaginative tales. No one had told him that the
one thing his stories lacked was an intensity of feeling gained only by
living through an actual tragedy.

Judy thought of it. It seemed irrelevant, almost disloyal to Irene to
think of fiction and Dale’s future just then. But if they found Irene,
Dale’s future might be hers. How wonderful! And after those high-hat
girls in Farringdon had snubbed her so! It would be almost a triumph
for Judy, too—that is, if they could only find Irene and give this
Cinderella story a chance to come true.

The printed form Judy had previously filled in was still on file in the
police records. This was checked up and once more turned over to the
Detective Bureau. The description, Lieutenant Collins promised, would
be telephoned to the Bureau of Missing Persons and broadcast over the
radio at seven-thirty.

Dale looked at his watch. Only an hour and the whole country would be
hearing about Irene’s disappearance. Surely someone had seen her, and
whoever it was couldn’t forget the golden dress and slippers.

“Girls don’t vanish,” Judy declared as they turned to leave.

“Oh, but they do,” Pauline cried. “Joy Holiday vanished right out of a
locked room. And when they found her she was dead.”

None of them spoke after that. Automatically they went back to the
house and climbed up the three long flights of stairs. Blackberry
greeted them as they opened the door, but Judy had no heart for romping
with him.

“Go away!” she said, pushing him gently out of the way. “Cats can’t
understand human troubles.”

But instead of minding her, he rubbed his silky head against her
ankles. His soft, crackly purr seemed to say: “Cats do understand human
troubles. What you need is someone who loves you to sympathize.”

Tears came to Judy’s eyes. She thought of her father and mother
struggling with an epidemic of influenza when they had wanted a
vacation. She thought of her brother, Horace. She thought of Peter and
Honey and their two dear grandparents, of Arthur who had once helped
hunt for Lorraine Lee in his airplane. How she missed them all! How she
needed them! Oh, why had she and Irene ever left Farringdon at all? To
find adventure, she supposed. Now she felt sick to death of adventure
and only wanted all her friends together the way they used to be.
Irene, even the pale overworked Irene, would be better than this awful
uncertainty.

Walking over to the radio, Judy stood watching Dale as he fumbled with
the dials. In ten more minutes the police alarms would be on the air.

“A little more to the left if you want the city station,” Pauline
directed from her chair beside the desk. He turned the dials and, loud
and clear, a familiar dance tune broke upon their senses. It was
_Golden Girl_ and a well-known radio artist, Kate South, was singing in
an emotional, contralto voice:

    My own golden girl. There is one, only one
    Who has eyes like the stars and hair like the sun.
    In your new yellow gown you’re a dream of delight.
    You have danced in my heart on bright slippers tonight ...

Judy bowed her head and tears smarted in her eyes.

“Irene’s description,” Dale said fiercely. He shut off the radio and
did not turn it on again until the ten minutes were up.

Gongs sounded and then the announcer’s voice, very cold and
matter-of-fact, read through the list of missing persons. Irene’s name
came last:

    MISSING SINCE JUNE TWENTIETH: IRENE LANG
    OF FARRINGDON, PENNSYLVANIA; VISITING AT
    120 GRAMERCY PARK, NEW YORK CITY. SEVENTEEN
    YEARS OLD; HEIGHT: 5 FEET, 4 INCHES;
    WEIGHT: 110 POUNDS; BLUE EYES; FAIR HAIR;
    WEARING A YELLOW DRESS AND JACKET, NO
    HAT, HIGH HEELED GOLD PUMPS AND CARRYING
    A BROWN HAND BAG.

That was all. In a few seconds it was over and Judy was left with the
sick feeling that no one had heard.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the living room of their little apartment two hundred miles away,
Mrs. Dobbs settled herself in a comfortable rocker ready to relax and
listen to the radio. Mrs. Dobbs loved music. Usually she listened to
the old-time melodies but there was something especially appealing
about the popular song that Kate South was singing. She called to her
grandson.

“Come here, Peter, and listen.”

The tall youth entered the room and stretched himself in a chair.

“Gee, Grandma! It makes a fellow feel lonesome. Why the dickens do you
suppose Judy had to spend her vacation so far away from folks who care
about her?”

“She’s with Irene,” Mrs. Dobbs replied, “and from what I hear, Pauline
Faulkner has taken a great liking to both of them. Honey was saying
only this morning that she wished she’d been invited, too.”

“I’m glad she wasn’t,” Peter returned with vigor. “At least I have a
little to say about what my sister is and isn’t going to do. Where is
she now?”

“Out with Horace. He’s been taking her out alone since Irene went
away——”

But Mrs. Dobbs stopped speaking as Peter held up his hand. The music
had played out and neither of them had been paying much attention to
the announcements that followed until the name, Irene Lang, broke upon
their senses. Missing, was she?

Peter gave a low whistle of surprise and then jumped to his feet.

“Where are you going?” his grandmother cried.

“Going to get the car,” he flung over his shoulder. “Judy will be
needing me.”

In the hallway he bumped into Horace and Honey just returning from a
short walk through town.

“Where’s the fire?” Horace greeted him. “If there’s something exciting
going on I want to hear about it. The paper’s starving for news.”

“Irene Lang has disappeared!” Peter gave out the “news” so suddenly
that Horace was dumbfounded for a moment.

“And I’m going to New York to help Judy,” he added. “She’s apt to go
too far with her flare for detecting. You might as well come, too.
Maybe the paper will finance the trip if we bring back a big scoop——”

“Sa-ay!” Horace broke in. “Don’t forget it’s Irene Lang who is missing.
News or no news, nothing goes into the paper that isn’t on the level.”

“Don’t I know it!” Peter replied. “Irene wouldn’t do anything that
wasn’t on the level and there’s Judy to consider, too.”

“I want to help,” Honey spoke up. “Won’t you let me come with you?”

Horace looked at her and shook his head. The trip wouldn’t be a very
safe one with Peter in his present mood and his car capable of a speed
exceeding sixty.

“Then can’t we do something here?” she begged. “Can’t we go and see
Irene’s father? Maybe he knows where she went.”

“Gosh!” Horace exclaimed. “That’s a real idea, Honey. You’ll be as good
as Judy if you keep on using those little gray cells of yours. Goodbye,
Peter! We’re off for the sanitarium.”

“Backing out, eh?” Peter gibed him.

“Backing out, nothing! If we learn anything important,” Horace
declared, “we can beat your car in Arthur’s airplane.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XVII

                            THE ONLY ANSWER


And yet Judy felt that no one had heard, that it was all up to her.
Even Dale Meredith seemed not to be helping, and Pauline.... How much
did Pauline care? Neither of them had attempted to follow Judy’s
suggestion that they write down every possible clue. Instead they
talked—talked until midnight, almost—when she was trying so hard to
think.

Then Mary came in. Mary usually came in when Pauline stayed up too
late. The cocoa that she served was a signal for Dale to leave and the
girls to retire.

Pauline drank her cocoa quickly and walked with him to the door. When
it closed behind him she still stood there, her head pressed against
the panels.

“You’re tired,” Judy told her. “I’ll take this cocoa into my room and
let you sleep.”

“Aren’t you going to drink it?”

Judy shook her head. “Not with Irene gone. It would make me sleepy too,
and I’ve simply got to think.”

Alone in her room she tried to turn herself into an abstract thing, a
mental machine that could think without feeling. In her heart she could
not believe Irene had taken the poetry, but in her mind she knew that
it must be so.

Didn’t Irene want the poems because they described a house? Even the
address might have been among the conglomeration of papers. When her
father suggested that she visit relatives in Brooklyn he had described
a house also. Perhaps the two descriptions were the same. Perhaps the
relative she sought was Sarah Glenn! For surely it was more than
coincidence that Irene looked so much like the poet’s daughter, Joy
Holiday. Could she have been an aunt? No, because Sarah Glenn had only
the one child. A distant cousin? Hardly. Then there was only one
conclusion left: Joy Holiday might have been Irene’s own mother!

Could Irene have put two and two together, just as Judy was doing, and
gone to the poet’s house the day she disappeared? No doubt, if she did,
she planned to be back again before either Judy or Pauline returned.
Something had prevented her!

That something might have been Jasper Crosby, cruel, scheming,
mercenary creature that he was. Or it might have been poor, demented
Sarah Glenn. She might have locked Irene in the tower the way she had
once locked her own daughter away from her friends. There was no
telling what a crazy woman might do!

An hour later Judy still sat on her bed, trying to decide what to do.
Her cocoa, on a forgotten corner of the dresser, had crusted over like
cold paste. She rose, walked across the room, tasted the cold drink and
set down the cup. She must come to some decision! Irene might be living
through a nightmare of torture in that horrible house Sarah Glenn had
described in her poems.

In the next room Pauline was sleeping soundly. Judy could wake her, ask
her advice. Downstairs the telephone waited ready to help her. She
could call Lieutenant Collins at the police station and tell her
findings to him. She could telephone Mr. Lang again and ask him more
questions—worry him more. She could call the young author, Dale
Meredith.

Yes, she could call Dale and tell him that the insane poet might be
Irene’s grandmother; that the scheming miser, Jasper Crosby, might be
her uncle and that Irene, herself, had probably stolen the poetry to
help locate them. What a shock that would be to the young author who
had idolized Irene and called her his Golden Girl. Judy hadn’t the
heart to disillusion him although her own spirit was heavy with the
hurt of it all.

She wouldn’t notify the police either. Irene must not be subjected to
an unkind cross fire of questions when, or if, she did return. Judy
would find Irene herself and let her explain. Suppose she had stolen
the poetry? What did it matter? Judy was learning not to expect
perfection in people. She would love Irene all the more, forgiving her.
And if Irene had stolen the poetry she could give it back quietly, and
Judy could explain things to Emily Grimshaw. Dale need never be told.

Judy wouldn’t have done that much to shield herself. She could.... Oh,
now she knew she could stand shock, excitement, tragedy. But it
wouldn’t do to have people blaming Irene.

That night Judy buried her head in the pillows waiting, wide-eyed, for
morning. Morning would tell. She knew that work was slack at the office
and that Emily Grimshaw often did not come in until afternoon. She
would take the morning off and go ... she consulted the bit of paper
with the poet’s latest verse on one side and her address scribbled on
the other. She got up out of bed to take it from her pocketbook and
study it. The street apparently had no name.

_One blk. past Parkville, just off Gravesend Avenue._

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                          IN THE TOWER WINDOW


Morning dawned cold and misty. Judy fumbled through the closet hunting
for an umbrella, and her trembling fingers touched Irene’s clothes.
They lingered lovingly in the folds of each well remembered dress.

“Irene! Irene!” she thought. “I don’t care what you’ve done if only I
can bring you back.”

In the adjoining room Pauline was still asleep. How cruel of her to
sleep! No one was up except Blackberry, out there on the roof garden.
Feeling that she must say goodbye to somebody, Judy whispered it to him.

It was too early for the throng of office workers to be abroad when
Judy stepped out on the wet pavement and turned toward the subway
entrance. The tall buildings in lower New York were little more than
shadows, and the clock in the Metropolitan Tower was veiled in mist.
Ghostly halos were around all the street lamps, and dampness seemed to
have settled heavily over everything.

Judy felt it. The only comforting thing about the trip was the fact
that she would be riding on the subway alone for the first time. She
paid her fare, asked a few directions, and soon was seated in an
express train bound for Brooklyn.

She pressed her forehead against the window as the train came onto
Manhattan Bridge and started its trip over the East River. Freighters
steamed down toward the ocean and up again. Everything looked gray.

As she watched, Judy’s hopes sank lower and lower. She began to realize
that it was not the part of wisdom to go on her dangerous errand to the
poet’s house alone. What would she say if Jasper Crosby opened the
door? Would her experience with eccentric Emily Grimshaw help her to
cope with the insane hallucinations of Sarah Glenn? Would she dare
demand to know what had happened to Irene when a possibility existed
that they had never seen her? Suppose they asked for the missing
poetry. If she lied to defend Irene her nervousness might betray her.
Judy knew that her chances of finding her chum were slim, very slim.
Like the shining tracks behind her they seemed to lessen as the train
sped on.

At Ninth Avenue she changed to the Culver Line. Up came the train, out
of the tunnel, and the wet gray walls at the side of the tracks grew
lower and lower. Soon they were clear of the ground and Judy realized
that this was the elevated. Only four more stations! She looked around,
eager for her first glimpse of Brooklyn, but what she saw caused her to
shudder.

“Ugh! A graveyard.”

It stretched on and on, a grim sight on that dreary morning. Even after
the white stones were left behind vacant lots and empty buildings made
the scene look almost as cheerless.

At the fourth stop Judy got off and went down to the street. It was
silly, but the thought came to her that if ever spirits walked abroad
they would walk along Gravesend Avenue.

Consulting the slip of paper, she counted blocks as she passed them and
watched for Parkville Avenue. She knew the old-fashioned street at once
from the quaint houses that lined it. Then came the Long Island
Railroad cut with a long line of box cars passing under Gravesend
Avenue in a slow-moving procession.

She paused. Could the alley beyond be the street she sought? No wonder
they hadn’t named it anything. Why, it wasn’t even paved! It seemed
little more than a trail through vacant lots. She hesitated, looked
ahead and caught her breath in a quick, terrified gasp. Then she
stared, open-mouthed. There was something sinister about the huge, gray
frame building that loomed in her path. The gnarled old trees
surrounding it seemed almost alive, and the wind whistling through
their branches sounded like a warning. But it was the tower, not the
house itself, that caused Judy to gasp. The whole lower part of it was
burned away and in the tower window something thin and yellow moved
back and forth behind the curtains. It looked like an elongated ghost!

Judy rubbed her eyes and looked again. This time the tower was dark
with the even blackness of drawn shades behind closed windows.

An unreasonable fear took possession of the watching girl. She felt
that she had seen something not there in material substance. Stanza
after stanza of Sarah Glenn’s poetry forced itself upon her
consciousness, and it all fitted this house—the yellow ghost in the
window, the crumbling tower.

Suddenly Judy realized that she was standing stock-still in the middle
of the muddy unpaved street, moving her lips and making no sound. She
was doing the same thing that Emily Grimshaw had done when Dale
Meredith said she was crazy. Oh! She must get control of herself, take
herself in hand.

“If the house can frighten me like this,” she thought, “what wouldn’t
it do to Irene?”

Bracing her slim shoulders and mustering all her courage, Judy marched
up on the porch and felt for the bell. Finding none, she rapped with
her bare knuckles. The sound of her rap sent an echo reverberating
through the walls of the still house.

Judy waited. She waited a long time before she dared rap again. The
house seemed to be inhabited only by the echo she had heard and the
phantom that had vanished from the tower window.

Still nobody answered. Judy tried the door and found it locked. Then
she peered through the lower windows and saw at once that the house was
empty of furniture.

“Nobody lives here,” she told herself and then she told herself the
same thing all over again so that it would surely seem true. “Nobody
ever does live in empty houses.”

And yet she had the strangest feeling that she was being watched!

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIX

                           LIKE A FAIRY TALE


Her nerves taxed to the breaking point, Judy gave up searching for the
day and went to the office. Emily Grimshaw was not there but she had
left a message:

_Will be away for a time and leave you in charge._

“Me in charge!” Judy exclaimed. She couldn’t imagine herself conducting
Emily Grimshaw’s business sensibly. “I’ll just close up for the day,”
she decided in exasperation. Leaving a notice to that effect at the
hotel desk, she locked the office and started for Dr. Faulkner’s house.

In the entrance hall she was met by an anxious group of faces. Dale’s,
Pauline’s—and Peter’s.

“Judy!” he cried, and then when her only answer was a choked sob,
again, “Judy!”

“Oh, Peter! You’ll help?”

“That’s why I’m here. We telephoned _every_where. We thought you’d
never come.”

“Where on earth were you?” Dale asked.

“Hunting for Irene,” Judy explained brokenly. “I—I followed up a clue.
I thought I knew where Irene was and I went out there to get her to—to
bring her home and surprise you, but she wasn’t there.”

“Wasn’t _where_?”

“Where I thought she was ... the most awful place just off Gravesend
Avenue out in old Parkville. The—the house has a tower, just like the
tower in Sarah Glenn’s poems. It’s burned halfway up and—and—and——”

“And what, Judy? Don’t act so frightened.”

“There was something in the tower,” she blurted out, “something
yellow——”

“Probably a yellow dog or some such ordinary thing,” Pauline
interrupted.

“Oh, but it wasn’t! I saw it as plainly as anything, and it looked like
a woman in a yellow robe, only she was too tall and too thin to be
real. Then I looked again and she was gone but I could still feel her
watching me. It was awful! I didn’t think there could be a tower of
flame or a ghost, but there they were!” Judy leaned back against the
closed door and threw both hands outward in a gesture of bewilderment.

“And I always thought I was a practical person. I always trusted my own
head—and eyes.”

Impulsively, Peter caught her hands in his. His voice was husky. “I
still trust them, Judy. Tell me everything,” he pleaded. “I know you
must have had a good reason for thinking that Irene might be in this
queer old house. Why did you?”

“Because Irene looks so much like the poet’s daughter, Joy Holiday. I
thought they might be related. Mr. Lang spoke of Irene’s relatives. He
told her to look them up. But the poet is crazy! Anything might happen!”

“And yet you went there alone!” Peter exclaimed. “Don’t you realize
that whatever happened to Irene might have happened to you?”

“I did realize it—when I got there,” Judy faltered. “I—I guess I
wasn’t very brave to run away, but nobody seemed to live in the house.
It looked—empty.”

“Then, of course, Irene couldn’t be there,” Pauline concluded.

“Oh, but they might have moved—_and taken her with them_!” Judy turned
to Peter, a new fear in her eyes. “You know about law. Tell me, if
Irene is related to Sarah Glenn wouldn’t she inherit some of her
property?”

“That depends upon the will,” he replied. “If she made a will before
she went insane——”

“She did!” Judy interrupted. “She willed the property to her daughter
and, in the event of her death, it was to go to her brother, Jasper
Crosby. He’s a crook and a scoundrel,” she declared, “worse than
Slippery McQuirk or any of Vine Thompson’s gang, if I’m any judge of
character. You see, if Irene is related to the poet through Joy
Holiday, how convenient it would be for him to have her out of the way?”

“You mean that Joy Holiday might have been Irene’s mother?”

“She couldn’t have been,” Pauline spoke up. “Joy Holiday has been dead
for twenty years.”

“Supposedly! Her mother never did believe the body was hers, and even
Emily Grimshaw says it didn’t look like her.”

“Where’d they get the body?” Peter asked.

“Jasper Crosby went to the morgue and got it. He identified it as
Joy’s, and people paid no attention to his sister’s objections because
they knew she was insane.”

“Then this girl, Joy Holiday, is legally dead. But if we can prove that
there has been a fraud....”

“What fraud?” Dale questioned. “You don’t mean to tell us that this
Jasper Crosby may have falsely identified some unknown girl’s body in
order to inherit his sister’s property?”

“That’s exactly what I was trying to say. I don’t know anything about
Irene’s mother and neither does she. Mr. Lang only remembered the name,
Annie, and that, as well as Joy, may have been only a nickname.” Judy
turned to Peter. “I know how you felt when your parents were a mystery.
Well, wouldn’t Irene feel the same way? Her father gave away some
family history in his letter, and Irene was more impressed than we know
by Emily Grimshaw’s collapse. Remember, I wrote you about it, Peter?
She wanted to find out about her mother——”

“Then she did take the poetry,” Pauline put in.

“Yes,” Judy agreed. “I’m afraid she did. It’s a terrible thing not to
know the truth about one’s parents, and Irene must have taken the
poetry to help her find that horrible house that seems to have
swallowed her up.”

“She said she didn’t,” Dale maintained.

Judy felt suddenly ashamed that his trust in Irene should be greater
than hers. But if, distrusting her, Judy found her, then she could be
glad of her disbelief.

“There is another possibility,” she ventured and made her voice sound
more hopeful than she felt. “There is the possibility that Irene may be
safe in the poet’s house.”

“That sounds more plausible,” Dale agreed, “but you said the house was
empty.”

“I said it _looked_ empty, except for that unearthly thing in the
tower. But, now that I think of it, something alive must have been
there to pull the shades. Do you suppose,” Judy asked in a tremulous
whisper, “that somebody could be locked there like Joy Holiday was when
she vanished?”

“It sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? But not,” Peter added
gravely, “if Irene is in the tower. Judy, we must do something—and do
it quickly.”

It did not take him long to decide what that something would be. “We’ll
get a policeman to go with us,” he declared. “The police have a right
to force their way into a house if nobody answers.”

“Without a search warrant?” questioned Pauline.

“That’s the dickens of it,” Dale fumed. “There’s sure to be some red
tape attached to it and loss of time may mean—loss of Irene. We’ve got
to convince the police that this is a matter of life and death!”

A taxi was the quickest means of getting to the police station. It took
considerable explaining, however, to convince officials that the case
was urgent. The fact that the owner of the house was known to be insane
and that Irene might be held there against her will proved to be the
strongest argument in favor of the search warrant they requested. But
it could not be served until the following day.

“You have to go before a magistrate,” Lieutenant Collins explained,
“and night warrants are allowed only in cases where persons or property
are positively known to be in the place to be searched. However, there
are several ways of getting around that. If a felony has been
committed, as in the present case, we don’t need a warrant.”

“What felony?” Judy asked.

“Great guns!” he exclaimed. “Don’t you call kidnaping a felony? If the
girl’s held there against her will it’s a plain case of kidnaping!”

Judy hadn’t thought of that. Kidnapers and killers were almost
synonymous in her mind and the thought was terrifying.

Lieutenant Collins wasted no further time but called the Parkville
Precinct, and two policemen were detailed to meet Judy, Pauline, Dale
and Peter and accompany them to the house with the crumbling tower.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER XX

                           THE SCENT OF ROSES


Neither Peter nor Dale stopped to count the cost of taxicabs that
night. The driver hesitated only a moment. Their request that he make
the fastest possible time to the distant Brooklyn police station was
not a usual one. Knowing that it must be urgent, the driver made good
his promise and soon they were speeding across Manhattan Bridge,
through side streets in reckless haste and then down the long stretch
of boulevard. Judy leaned out of the window and searched the scene
ahead for a trace of anything familiar.

Ocean Parkway, lined with its modern dwelling houses and new apartment
buildings was as unlike Gravesend Avenue as anything could be. Still,
the two were only a few blocks apart. The driver turned his cab down a
side street, sure of his bearings; and Judy, watching, saw the sudden
change. The boulevard with its lights and stream of traffic, then queer
old Parkville, a village forgotten while Brooklyn grew up around it.

The police station looked all the more imposing in this setting. Two
young policemen were already there, waiting beside the high desk and
talking with the captain.

Sarah Glenn’s house was only a short distance away, and together they
walked it. Soon they were turning down the unpaved end of the street
that bordered the railroad cut.

“There it is!” Judy shivered a little and drew her coat closer as she
pointed.

The house was dark and silent. The windows were black—black with an
unfathomable blackness that must be within. Peter sensed Judy’s fear
for he took her arm and guided her as they came up the broken walk.

On the steps Dale stopped and picked up a white flower.

“What can it mean?” Pauline whispered. “How would a rose get here?”

He shook his head. “It’s beyond me. What’s this?” He fingered a
lavender ribbon that was still attached to the door.

“Looks as if there’d been a funeral here,” one of the police officers
observed.

Both girls stood trembling as he banged and pounded on the door and
then shouted a threat to the still house.

“Nobody home,” he turned and said. “Do you think it’s necessary to
force our way in?”

“More than ever,” Judy replied. “We _must_ see what’s in the tower!”

“Okay! Give me a hand, partner, and we’ll smash the door.”

Underneath the porch they found a beam which would serve their purpose.
Peter and Dale helped the policemen, and soon the heavy door gave way
and crashed into the empty house. A sickening, musty smell combined
with the heady odor of flowers greeted them as they stepped inside.

“A funeral all right!” the policeman reiterated. “Get the perfume,
don’t you? But everything’s cleared up—except....” He and Judy had
seen it at the same time but the policeman was the first to pick it up.
“... this card.”

“Let me see it.”

Obligingly he handed it to the girl. She turned it over in her hand and
passed it on to Dale. It read:

                        _With deepest sympathy_
                            _Emily Grimshaw_

“Do you know the party?” the other officer asked.

“My employer,” Judy replied simply.

The question in her mind, however, was less easily answered. Was Emily
Grimshaw’s absence from her office explainable by this death? Whose
death? If Emily Grimshaw had sent flowers certainly she must know.

The policemen were busy searching the house, and Judy and her three
companions followed them. The rooms upstairs, like those on the first
floor, were empty of furniture. But the tower room was found to open
from a third floor bedroom. To their surprise, this room was completely
furnished, even to bed coverings and pillows. A little kitchen adjoined
it and there were evidences that food had recently been cooked there.
An extra cot was made up in the hall.

So the poet and her brother had lived in their immense house and
occupied only two rooms! Or three? They had yet to explore the tower.
Peter Dobbs tried the door and found it locked.

“We’ll have to break this one, too,” the policemen said, and Dale
offered to get the beam.

Pauline’s hand kept him. “Wait a minute,” she pleaded. “It’s a shame to
spoil the door and maybe this key will fit.”

She took a queer brass key from her hand bag. Judy and Peter frankly
stared. The policemen, though obviously doubting its usefulness,
consented to try it. To their astonishment, it turned.

“Where did you find that key?” Dale questioned.

“In the pocket of Irene’s brown suit. I put it in my own hand bag for
safe-keeping.”

“Rather suspected it fitted something, didn’t you?” he said
sarcastically. “Well, to me it doesn’t prove a thing.”

“It does to me,” Judy put in, “although not what you think. This must
have been Joy Holiday’s room when she was a child! And if Irene had the
key surely Joy Holiday is related to her—perhaps her own mother!”

“It sounds like pretty sound figuring to me,”’ Peter agreed, flashing a
look of boyish admiration in Judy’s direction.

Then, as the door swung open, they followed the policemen into the
tower. Peter pushed a button and the light revealed a circular room
with a gay panorama of nursery rhyme characters frolicking across the
wall.

Upon closer inspection, however, the room was seen to be six-sided with
shelves built into two of its corners. On one of these dolls and
expensive toys were neatly arranged. Books and games for a somewhat
older girl adorned the other shelf.

A curtained wardrobe concealed another corner, while a white cot bed,
all freshly made, occupied the corner at the left of the door. The two
remaining corners were cleverly camouflaged by concave mirrors with
uneven distorting surfaces, such as are sometimes seen in amusement
park funny houses. In spite of Judy’s anxiety, she could not suppress a
smile when the two policemen walked by them.

So this was the room where the poet had locked Joy Holiday! Did she
think those silly mirrors and a roomful of books and toys could make up
for a lack of freedom? Judy, who had always been allowed to choose what
friends she liked, could easily see why the poet’s daughter had wanted
to run away—or vanish as people said she had done. How strange it all
was and how thrilling to be standing in the very room where Irene’s
mother had stood twenty years before!

“It’s so quiet and peaceful here,” Judy said. “Nothing very terrible
could have happened in this pretty room.”

She had momentarily forgotten that the whole lower structure of it had
been burned away, that she had seen a tall yellow specter peering out
of its window.

Peter, however, remembered the fantastic story Judy had told him. It
did not surprise the young law student that no one was in the tower. He
and the two policemen immediately set about looking for clues to
Irene’s whereabouts. But it was not until Dale drew back the wardrobe
curtain and they found her yellow dress and jacket hanging there that
they became truly alarmed. Now they knew, past any doubt, that Irene
had visited her grandmother’s house. There had been a funeral! Even if
it had been Sarah Glenn’s, Irene might have been with her when she
died. Alone with a crazy woman ... timid little Irene!

It was a sober moment for all of them.

“That girl’s been held captive all right,” one of the policemen said in
a voice more troubled than one would expect of an officer of the law.
“It looks as if we’ve found the evidence right here.”

He stood examining the folds of her yellow dress. It appeared to have
been hanging in the wardrobe for some time. Other clothes were there,
too, but the full skirts and puffed sleeves were in the style of twenty
years ago. On a shelf above them were two or three queer little hats,
all decked out with feathers and flowers. Irene would have laughed at
them. She would have tried them on and posed before the comical
mirrors. Judy wondered if she had done that.

Someone, apparently, had tried on one of the aprons. It was a simple
gingham affair such as girls used to wear to protect dainty dresses,
and it had been thrown carelessly over a chair. When Judy made a move
to hang it up she was warned to leave everything exactly as it was.

“If this turns out to be a murder case,” one of the policemen said,
“this bedroom may contain important evidence.” He turned to Dale who
still held the rose he had found on the steps. “That flower proves that
the funeral must have been held today. It’s still sweet,” he continued,
making a grimace as he sniffed it. “We’ll get together all the facts on
the case and have the place watched. If this man, Jasper Crosby,
returns tonight there’ll be a policeman here to nab him. A general
alarm will be dispatched to our radio cars, and we’ll find out whose
funeral it was, too, and let you know first thing in the morning.”

“Oh, if you only would,” Judy cried gratefully. “Perhaps you can find
out from my employer. She’s decided to take a vacation for some unknown
reason but you may be able to locate her here.”

She gave them Emily Grimshaw’s home address. Peter Dobbs, who had taken
a keen interest in the legal aspect of the case, jotted it down, too.
Much to Dale’s discomfiture, he kept talking about Irene.

“If we find her,” he declared, “this may be my big opportunity. She
would contest the will, of course, and I might be able to help her
then.”

“_If_ we find her,” Dale repeated doubtfully.

Later Peter gave Judy the address and telephone number of the hotel
where he was staying. He would be either there or at the police station
in case she needed him.

“If I do call you,” Judy promised, with an attempt at lightness, “you
may be sure that I’m in trouble because it’s really your place to call
me.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXI

                             ANOTHER JULIET


No matter what happens the trivialities of life must go on. Food must
be cooked and eaten, no matter how dry it tastes. Work must be done.
Judy knew that and dragged her tired body out of bed. She dressed and
went down into the kitchen where Mary made coffee and brought out the
toaster. Pauline had left for school, she said. Would Judy mind the
toast herself?

She nodded, staring at the coffeepot and wondering if Irene would ever
sit across the breakfast table and drink coffee with her again. She let
the toast burn and threw it away. Then she put on a second piece,
watched it until it turned golden brown and flipped it over.

The doorbell rang!

Always, when the doorbell rang, there came that sudden exaltation. It
might be news of Irene! Peter might have found her! With each new
disappointment Judy’s hopes for Irene’s safe return sank lower.

This time it was not Peter. It was Arthur Farringdon-Pett, the young
pilot-engineer, who owned his own airplane and had taken Judy for a
never-to-be-forgotten ride far above the beautiful St. Lawrence River.
Judy’s brother, Horace, stood in the doorway beside him, and both of
them looked as if they had not slept for a week. Horace’s usually sleek
hair was disordered and Arthur needed a shave. He was the first to
speak.

“Any news of Irene?”

“Didn’t you bring any?” she asked. And before they could answer she
went on saying how sure she was that they must have news or they
wouldn’t have flown all the way to New York. She could tell they had
been flying as they were still dressed for it.

“We were in too much of a hurry to bother changing these togs at the
hangar where I left the plane,” Arthur explained.

“That’s all right,” Judy murmured, trying to shake off the queer
feeling she had that he was some stranger.

“We do have news,” Horace told her finally, “but, I’m sorry to say,
it’s not news of Irene.”

“What is it then?”

“News of her mother. We thought it might help you find her. I mean
Irene. Her mother, of course, is dead.”

“I knew that,” Judy said. “But she has relatives. I’m sure your news
will help me.” Taking their things, she invited the boys to sit down
and share her breakfast while they told her. She poured out the extra
coffee Mary had made and pushed her brother into a chair. Arthur found
his own and soon all three were seated beside the table. The boys
explained their delay.

They had expected to arrive a day earlier but when Horace and Honey
called at the sanitarium they found that Mr. Lang was gone.
Immediately, Horace telephoned Arthur who agreed to help search for him
in his plane. It would have been easy to find him if, as they expected,
he had taken the straight road for New York. But his crippled legs gave
out and, toward evening, they found him helpless in the edge of a deep
wood. Here, while they were waiting for the ambulance to take him back
to the hospital, Mr. Lang told his story.

When Tom Lang was a young man, only eighteen or twenty, he had worked
as a chauffeur for a wealthy family in Brooklyn. The daughter of the
house gave parties, a great many of them, and after the parties Tom
would drive the whole crowd of young people home. He never paid much
attention to them until, one night, a new girl came to a party. She was
different from all the others. She had glamour, radiance, all the
qualities a man wants in a girl. But the young chauffeur dared not hope
that she would have any use for him. She only came to the one
party—like a princess in her golden dress and slippers. He took her
home and remembered the house. After that he would drive past it,
always hoping that she would see him.

And one day she did! She waved to him from the tower window. Finally he
understood, from the motion of her hand, that she wanted to come
down—and couldn’t. The door locked from the outside, and her tiny key
was of no use from within. Clutching it in her hand, she leaned farther
and farther out of the tower window.

Just like the princess in Tom’s old fairy book. He would be the brave
knight and rescue her. There was a rope in the car. It had been used as
a towing rope but would now serve a nobler purpose.

He swung one end of it up to the tower; he saw the slim white hand
reach out and grasp it, the lithe body throw itself over the window
sill and descend—slowly, slowly. She was almost to the ground when the
rope came loose from where she had fastened it.

She fell!

Quick as a flash, Tom Lang caught her in his strong young arms. That
same day he made her his bride. She lived just long enough to bear him
a little daughter, the image of herself. Heartbroken, Irene’s father
had never spoken of her. But he had saved her golden wedding dress and
on Irene’s seventeenth birthday sent it to her with a letter explaining
his gift and enclosing the key to her tower room. His Annie had been
just seventeen.

                  *       *       *       *       *

“Romantic, wasn’t it?” Arthur asked after Horace had told the story as
only a reporter could tell it.

Judy, who had listened to it all without making any comment, admitted
that it was the most romantic true story she had ever heard.

“But Mr. Lang didn’t give Irene the name or address,” Arthur said
thoughtfully. “He only sent the key to her mother’s room because he
wanted her to have it as a remembrance. In fact, he told so little in
his letter that it seems impossible—unthinkable—that she could have
found her grandmother——”

“Unless she found the same description somewhere else,” Judy
interrupted.

“Yes, but where?”

“In her grandmother’s poems. She and I read them together.”

Judy did not add that the manuscripts were now missing and that she
felt almost certain that Irene had taken them to help locate her
relatives. That knowledge was confined to four persons: Pauline, Dale
Meredith, Peter and herself.

The fact that Irene’s grandmother wrote poems surprised Arthur. He had
heard the popular song, _Golden Girl_, but had never connected it with
Irene, probably, because he had never seen her in her mother’s golden
dress.

“And you say the poet’s name is Glenn?”

“It’s really Holiday,” Judy explained. “She wrote under a nom de plume.”

But the boys couldn’t remember ever hearing the name Joy Holiday. Mr.
Lang had called his wife simply Annie.

When Judy had finished a complete account of the police search through
Sarah Glenn’s house they were more puzzled than ever. But they appeared
to be simply puzzled—not alarmed.

“We’ll find out all about it,” Horace promised, “when we find Irene.”

It was good to hear them saying “when.” It gave Judy new courage. She
would need courage to get through that day. She told them her plans.
First they were to get in touch with the police to learn what they
could of the funeral that had been held in Sarah Glenn’s house. Judy
then suggested that Horace and Arthur call on Dale Meredith and ask his
advice while she spent a few hours in Emily Grimshaw’s office.

“I’ll be of more use there than anywhere else,” she said. “Besides,
it’s my job and I’m being paid for it. Irene comes first, of course.
But the police are doing all they can, and if I could see Emily
Grimshaw and talk with her—well, I might find out some things that
even the police don’t know. We discovered a card on the floor when we
searched the poet’s house. It showed that my employer must have
attended the funeral.”

Both boys agreed that Emily Grimshaw’s office was the place for Judy.
Knowing that there must be stacks of papers for her to read and
correct, Judy even consented to their plan that she go to the office at
once and await news of Irene there. They would go on to the Parkville
police station and telephone her. Peter had gone there and they might
meet him.

After giving them explicit directions, Judy walked with them as far as
the subway station at Union Square. There they separated, Judy taking
the uptown train while the boys boarded an express for Brooklyn.

Horace turned to Arthur and spoke above the roar of the train.

“What puzzles me is how Irene found that house with nothing but a few
crazy verses to go by, and I think that Judy knows if only she would
tell.”

“She certainly knows something more,” he agreed, “but I’m not worrying.
Judy is on the square.”

“I believe she is,” Horace replied, “but what about Irene?”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXII

                                TRAPPED


Just as she had expected, Judy found plenty of work waiting for her.
The clerk at the hotel desk gave her a pile of manuscripts left by
hopeful young authors. She glanced through these, waiting for the
telephone to ring. All of them seemed inexcusably bad. Why, she
wondered, did so many people waste their time trying to write when they
had no idea of plot construction or character development?... Why
didn’t the telephone ring? Peter must have had time to reach the police
station.

One of Emily Grimshaw’s old clients came in and offered Judy another
book manuscript. This was better than the others. She promised to read
it.

“But where is Miss Grimshaw?” the author asked.

“Away,” Judy said briefly. “She left me in charge.”

Cautioning her to take care of the manuscript, the caller left. Judy’s
despondent mood returned. It all seemed such a futile undertaking,
helping struggling young authors who were trying to write about life
when life itself was so much more important—Irene’s life.

At last the telephone rang and Judy recognized Arthur’s voice.

“We just missed Peter. Did he call you?”

“Not yet,” Judy answered.

“Then he couldn’t have heard the latest police report! The man who lets
garage space to Jasper Crosby saw him driving out of the garage
yesterday, and a girl was with him. It might have been Irene? That was
in the morning, an hour or so after you called at the house. We haven’t
learned anything else.”

“Nothing about the funeral?”

“We haven’t learned anything else,” Arthur repeated. “Jasper Crosby’s
car is still out of the garage but the police have the license number.
They’ll be watching for him.”

“Do you think he took Irene—away?” Judy’s voice broke. She knew what
might have happened and so did he. It was impossible to talk.

Dale Meredith called up a little later and seemed very hopeful when he
learned that Irene had been seen only the day before.

“She’s alive then!” he cried.

“You mean she _was_ alive,” Judy amended gravely. “She must have been
in the tower, and I was too frightened to do anything then. Now it may
be too late. Jasper Crosby took her away in the car, and there was a
funeral since then.”

“I don’t think it was Irene’s funeral. Honestly, I don’t. So keep on
hoping and call me as soon as anything new develops.”

Judy promised him that she would and turned to see the door slowly
opening.

There stood Jasper Crosby himself!

“Where’s Emily Grimshaw?” he demanded.

It took courage of the highest order for Judy to answer him calmly, in
a businesslike voice. But she knew that she must. He must not know that
she had ever seen or heard of Irene. She must not reveal that she had
ever been near the house with the crumbling tower.

Assuming the manner of a disinterested clerk, she replied, “Miss
Grimshaw is away. She left me in charge. What can I do for you?”

“Plenty,” he cried. An angry flush spread over his face. “You can tell
me for one thing what happened to my sister’s poetry. The publishers
say that they have never seen it.”

Judy pretended surprise. She rose and stood beside the man, her back
against the door.

“There must have been some mistake,” she went on. “You can search Miss
Grimshaw’s desk yourself and see if the poems are there.”

“Thanks! I will.”

He made a dive for the desk and began turning over papers recklessly,
his hawk eyes searching every one.

Judy, with her back still against the door, turned the key in the lock,
slowly, cautiously, so that he would not hear. Now she had him
imprisoned in the room. He could not escape. But neither could she! For
a moment she felt completely at his mercy.

“The poems aren’t here,” he announced in a voice that boded no good for
Judy.

Quickly, then, she planned her course of action. She breathed a silent
prayer that she might not fail. Aloud she said, “I’ll call Emily
Grimshaw and ask her what happened to the manuscripts.”

He muttered something about making it snappy and Judy walked over to
the telephone. She began dialing a number. But it was not Emily
Grimshaw’s number. It was the number Peter Dobbs had given her!

“Hello!” his voice sounded over the wire.

Judy glanced at Jasper Crosby who stood near the desk. He was watching
her like a cat.

“Hello! Miss Grimshaw? This is Judy. Jasper Crosby is here.”

“Who? What?” Peter sputtered.

“Jasper Crosby. He’s here in the office. He wants to know what happened
to the poetry. Will you come right over?”

There followed a moment of silence. Jasper’s eyes seemed to be taking
an X-ray picture of Judy’s mind. She felt that he must know she had not
been talking to her employer. Then Peter’s voice, lowered and tense,
“You bet your life I’ll come right over. And I’ll have the whole police
force with me. Brave little Judy!”

She replaced the receiver and turned to Jasper Crosby.

“She’ll be right over. Will you wait?”

“Wait nothing,” he muttered. “Why should I wait? Say, who was that you
were talking to then?”

“Emily Grimshaw,” Judy lied gallantly.

“Mighty queer. She’s home sick and then you call her up and she
promises to get right up and come. Funny sickness, I call it.”

“Who said she’s sick?”

“Well, she took a fainting spell at the funeral yesterday.”

“Whose funeral?”

He detected the anxious note in her voice and became suspicious.

“Nobody’s business whose funeral it was. Emily Grimshaw can tell you.
She was there. I’ll be back later to see about the poetry.”

“You’re not going!” Judy cried in alarm as he turned toward the door.

“Why not? There’s nothing to keep me.”

Judy’s thoughts answered him in a whirl. “Oh, but there is, Mr. Crosby.
There’s a locked door to keep you, and if you find out that I locked it
you will know that I set a trap for you, that I must have known about
Irene’s disappearance. You’ll be furious! You may kill me before Peter
and the police get here.”

In reality she said, “Please, Mr. Crosby. Miss Grimshaw will be only a
minute and I would like to see this misunderstanding about the poetry
cleared up.”

“You would, eh? Interested, aren’t you? So damned interested that you
go prowling around our house like a thief.”

This startled Judy so much that she could only gasp.

“What’d you want of my sister?” he demanded.

“I wanted to tell her about the poetry,” Judy answered quickly. “You
see, it’s—it’s lost.”

“The deuce it is! Then how’s Emily Grimshaw going to help matters by
coming over?”

“She may know where it is. She was, well—intoxicated when it
disappeared.”

Jasper Crosby gave a dry chuckle. “Eh! heh! She can’t even stay sober
at a funeral. I’ll be going now. Got to see a lawyer and sue the old
lady for the loss of my sister’s manuscripts.”

“Oh, no! Wait a minute! Miss Grimshaw may have them. In fact, I’m
almost sure she has,” Judy cried in a panic. Anything to stall him,
keep him talking until help came.

“Then tell her to send ’em to the publishers and make it snappy! I’m
going.”

Judy laid her hand firmly on his arm. “You’re not going, Mr. Crosby.
You’re going to wait for Emily Grimshaw.”

“Who’s giving orders around here?” he snapped. “I tell you I’m going!”

Wrenching away from her, he bolted for the door.

Judy realized that she had held him off as long as she could. Now if
Peter would only come—and come quickly!

Jasper Crosby tried the door. Then he turned to Judy with an oath. “So
that’s your game, is it? Well, it won’t work. See? Better give me that
key right now, sister.”

“I will not give you the key.”

“Then I’ll take it from you!”

“You can’t!” Judy cried as he lurched toward her. “You don’t know where
it is.”

“Then you’ll tell me!” He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her
until she felt dizzy and faint. “You’ll tell me, do you hear?”

“I will—not,” she gasped. “Let me go!”

His grip on her shoulders tightened. It hurt. It hurt terribly and Judy
wanted to cry out for help. But if she screamed the hotel clerk would
force open the door and Jasper Crosby would be free.

“I’ll tell you wh-where the key is,” she managed to say. “It’s—it’s in
the small drawer of my desk under that pile of typewriter ribbon.”

He looked at Judy shrewdly. He knew better than that. Judy was not used
to deceiving people and her timidity betrayed her.

“You lie!” he shouted. “That key’s on you and I know it. But I don’t
need a key. I’ll break down the door!”

“And rouse the whole hotel?” Judy asked quietly.

His hands clutched her throat now. “Then give me the key!”

She could feel it, the cold little key that she had thrust down her
neck. It felt colder still when her breath was short. She tried to
scream but found she could make no sound. It was then that she thought
of his hands on Irene. His relentless hands....

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIII

                             TO THE RESCUE


“This way, officer. Here’s the suite. Judy!” Peter Dobbs shouted.

One of the policemen rattled the door.

“It’s locked,” he announced, “and nobody answers. Give me your night
stick, partner.”

The sound of splintering wood announced that the door was open. The
center panel, with Emily Grimshaw’s unique knocker, fell to the floor
and revealed the face of Jasper Crosby, white as a ghost. Judy lay limp
at his feet.

“He’s choked her!” Peter said between set teeth.

Before Jasper had time to turn his head he had him by the collar. One
of the policemen clapped handcuffs over his wrists. The other two
jerked him to a corner while Peter lifted Judy gently in his arms and
placed her on the sofa.

“Brave little girl,” he whispered and kissed her closed eyes.

She opened them, hardly believing that this was the same boy who had
shared so many adventures with her. She had imagined Arthur kissing
her—sometime when they grew older—but not Peter.

“I’m always needing someone to rescue me,” she said, trying to laugh.

“And doesn’t it make any difference who it is?” he asked.

“Yes, a little,” she returned lightly. “I called you, didn’t I?”

He studied her face, looking sorry about something, and after a few
minutes he rose and said gruffly, “Come, we must hear what Jasper
Crosby has to say for himself.”

She followed him to the corner where the prisoner sat sullenly on a
chair. At first he would say nothing, but later when Judy questioned
him about the funeral his attitude changed.

“There’s no secret about that,” he declared. “My sister is the one who
died. I’ll give you the names of the doctor and undertaker to verify
what I say.”

“Then the funeral was Sarah Glenn’s?”

Jasper nodded.

“But what became of Irene? We know she went to your sister’s house and
we know she never returned. Where is she?”

Jasper Crosby grinned. “I’ll tell you if you’re so anxious to know. I
thought she was a mite young to be traveling about New York. Yes, Miss,
a mite young and irresponsible. So I sent her back to her father. Even
paid her train fare and saw her off. Pretty decent of me, don’t you
think, seeing she’s a perfect stranger?”

“When did this happen?” Judy demanded.

Jasper Crosby let his eyes rove thoughtfully about the room before he
answered. He seemed content that the girl, not the policemen, was
questioning him. As Judy’s questions were pertinent they, too, seemed
content.

“I sent Irene to her father some time ago,” he said finally.

“You were seen with her yesterday morning,” said Judy.

“Ah, yes. Yesterday morning. That was it. I sent her home yesterday
morning.”

“Your two stories don’t jibe,” one of the policemen snapped.

“Yesterday morning is some time ago to me,” Jasper Crosby replied
suavely. “Much has happened since then. There has been a funeral,” he
chuckled, “quite a funeral, too. Miss Grimshaw had a gay time of it all
right, all right.”

“Did Irene attend the funeral?” Judy asked, ignoring his last statement.

He looked surprised. “Oh, no indeed. She did not attend.”

“You were pretty careful to keep her out of sight, weren’t you?”

“She was with my sister constantly,” he replied. “She had no desire to
leave the house as long as my sister needed her.”

Judy turned to Peter. “It doesn’t sound true, does it?”

“It’s the blackest lie I ever heard,” he declared vehemently. “He can’t
tell us that Irene stayed with a crazy woman of her own free will and
made no attempt to get in touch with her friends. There’s been crooked
work somewhere. If he sent Irene home, where is she now?” Peter
questioned.

“Perhaps she’s visiting someone else,” Judy suggested hopefully.

Peter shook his head. “I don’t believe it. In any case she would have
been in touch with you.”

The policemen agreed that Jasper’s story was not a very convincing one.
Dale Meredith came in while they were still questioning him. Horace and
Arthur were with him.

“I’ll get something out of this bird,” Horace declared. “Officer, have
I your permission to question him?”

“Fire away,” the policeman replied, “and more power to you!”

Horace turned to Jasper with flashing eyes.

“What did Irene say the day she came, and if, as you say, she is not
your niece how did she happen to enter your sister’s house?”

Jasper shrugged his shoulders and made a gesture indicating wheels
going around.

“They cast spells, you know. Crazy people do. My sister’s eyes took
possession of Irene. Hypnotized her completely. I never saw two people
so attached to each other. Crazy as loons, both of them.”

“Irene Lang’s mind was perfectly sound,” Horace denied.

“I tell you my sister hypnotized her,” Jasper maintained.

As Judy listened to the explanation that her brother drew from Jasper
Crosby, she found herself almost believing it. Sarah Glenn’s reaction
to Irene’s sudden appearance had been similar to Emily Grimshaw’s, only
more pronounced.

Jasper had been the one to open the door. Irene had inquired for her
grandmother, but before he could speak the poet herself had rushed
forward, almost smothering Irene in a tearful embrace.

“My Joy! My Joy! I _knew_ you would come back.”

Then she had turned to Jasper with accusing eyes. “I told you the child
wasn’t dead. Angels don’t die. My darling! Darling!”

Again Irene had submitted to her embrace.

No amount of reasoning could dissuade the old lady from her queer
conviction. She had seen her daughter’s dead body, Jasper declared, but
in spite of that she claimed this living girl as hers. Irene had
answered to the name of Joy, pretended to remember touching little
things out of the past, even fondled old playthings to please the poet.
Like Golden Girl in the song she, too, had been a princess enthroned in
her circular tower. There she had stayed. Jasper brought food,
clothing, all the little things that a girl might need. He even moved a
bed into the tower room so that she could sleep there. He called her
Joy, too, to please his sister and pretended to think that she was the
dead Joy Holiday returned.

“But the last few nights,” he continued his narrative, “she caused some
trouble. My sister died, very peacefully, with Irene at her bedside.
But after that the girl refused to go to her room. She had an obsession
that the tower wasn’t safe and refused to sleep there.”

“Well, is it safe?” Peter charged.

“It’s been propped up ever since my sister tried to kill herself and
set fire to the house. Sure, it’s safe!”

“As long as the props hold.”

Jasper Crosby gave a dry chuckle with no mirth in it. There was
something maniacal about it—something that frightened Judy. She spoke
to Peter in a low tone.

“He’s trying to prove that Irene is insane just as he tried to prove,
years ago, that her mother was dead. This time we won’t let him get
away with it.”

“You bet we won’t!” Peter, Arthur and Dale joined in agreement.

The policemen promised to make a check-up of train passengers to
determine if any part of Jasper Crosby’s story might be true.

“He’s a mighty slippery prisoner,” one of them said. “If he hadn’t
assaulted the girl there I doubt if we would be able to bring charges
against him.”

“Then I’m glad he did it,” Judy said unexpectedly.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXIV

                              PREMONITION


Judy had a threefold reason for being glad.

She had accomplished Jasper Crosby’s arrest, and except for a few
bruises had suffered no ill effects from his frenzied choking.

In spite of doubts and suspicions as to the veracity of the prisoner’s
story, part of it must be true. Judy even dared hope that they were
near the end of their search for Irene.

Also she was glad that Peter Dobbs had wanted to kiss her. It would be
a new confidence to tell Irene when she came home.

All of them were saying “when” now—Arthur and Horace were busy mapping
out plans for the day. They telephoned back to Farringdon to find out
if anyone had seen Irene. The telephone calls were expensive and
brought nothing but disappointment.

Even Pauline Faulkner seemed impressed when she heard of the terrifying
things that had happened.

“And here I was in school, not helping at all, but today,” she
declared, “I’ll make up for it. There isn’t any more school until
graduation and I’m free to help you. Emily Grimshaw’s work has waited
so long that there must be a deluge of unread manuscripts.”

“It has waited so long that it can easily wait a little longer,” Judy
said.

“But isn’t it important?”

“Not as important as finding Irene.”

“I know, but haven’t you done everything you can do? The boys can keep
in touch with the police while I stay here and help you.”

It really was best that way. And how kind of Pauline to offer to help!
Dale suggested that she and Judy both go home and rest as soon as the
work was done. But, unfortunately, it was Mary’s day off.

“We’ll bring in the dinner,” Horace promised. “Any of you fellows know
how to cook?”

Peter Dobbs volunteered.

“And just to make things even,” Arthur put in, “I’ll pay for it.”

Judy laughed and felt better. She tackled the work with some of her old
enthusiasm and succeeded in interesting Pauline in an unread manuscript.

After about an hour the telephone rang. It was Dale.

“Sorry,” he said, “but it’s beginning to look as if Jasper Crosby made
up his story. No tickets to Farringdon have been purchased for a month.”

“Are you at the police station?”

“Yes, and they’ve made a thorough check-up. The only answer is that
Jasper Crosby lied. And he probably lied about Irene, too. I’d like to
wring his neck!”

“So would I. But that’s probably better left to the state. I only hope
they make a good job of it. If they can prove that he lied it will make
some difference in their treatment of him.”

Undoubtedly it did make a difference as a detective called back later,
and Judy found herself telling him even more than she had told
Lieutenant Collins. The one thing she omitted was the fact that she
believed Irene had stolen her grandmother’s poetry. It was Jasper
Crosby she was trying to have convicted, not Irene.

The case was being expertly handled. The knowledge that Jasper Crosby
was in jail, charged with assaulting Judy and kidnaping Irene, was some
satisfaction. They would keep him right there, too, until Irene’s
whereabouts were known.

The day dragged on. Emily Grimshaw’s work seemed to take longer now
that Judy had lost heart again. It was good to have Pauline there
helping. She read. She typed and when everything else was done she
asked Judy if she might see her carbon copies of Sarah Glenn’s poetry.
“I wanted to read them myself,” she said in explanation. “It’s a slim
chance, I know, but it might help us in our search.”

“I’ve studied and studied this one myself,” Judy said as she handed her
a copy of that first poem Emily Grimshaw had given her as a test. No
wonder she had said there was too much truth in it! The tower of flame,
the ghosts—all, all of it might be true. Even the “human tomcat” that
the poet had mentioned they believed to mean Irene’s father, Tom Lang.

Now, through these very poems, Irene had found her mother’s people. It
would be such a thrilling, romantic thing to happen if only they could
talk it over with her. If only they knew where she was. If only she
hadn’t taken the manuscripts....

Judy showed Pauline the poem that Jasper Crosby had brought in after
Irene’s disappearance. Now that they knew where Irene must have been,
they both saw new significance in the lines:

    Death cannot touch the halo of your hair.
    Though, like a ghost, you disappear at will.
    I knew you’d come in answer to my prayer ...
    You, gentle sprite, whom love alone can kill ...

“Jasper Crosby never killed her with love,” Pauline said bitterly. “I
only hope——”

“Don’t say it, Pauline!”

She looked sorry. “I won’t say anything more. We’ll just keep on
hoping.”

Five o’clock came and Judy closed her desk with a sigh.

“We’ve worked hard,” she said to Pauline, “but I just feel as if
another day has been wasted. While we sit here who knows what may be
happening to Irene?”

“At least we know that beastly uncle of hers can’t be hurting her any
more.”

Judy thought of Pauline’s statement in connection with death—not to be
hurt any more. Old people wanted that kind of peace, that freedom from
pain and fear. Death could be kind to old people who were through with
romance and adventure. But Irene had so much to live for.

“The boys must be there ahead of us,” Judy remarked as she and Pauline
came in sight of the house. “See, someone has raised the window.”

“They probably burnt something,” Pauline said shortly.

Apparently she had misgivings concerning Peter’s ability as a cook. It
was early for them to be home. Why, it couldn’t have been an hour since
they left the police station in Parkville and there would be shopping
for them to do besides.

As they turned down the corridor that led to Pauline’s room Judy heard
a familiar yowl. Could it be Blackberry asking to be let out?

“But he wasn’t in,” Pauline said. “Don’t you remember? We left him on
the roof garden.”

“Maybe the boys let him in. But it’s queer they’re not making any
noise. You open the door, Pauline,” Judy whispered. “I have the
strangest feeling that something is about to happen.”

Pauline hesitated, glanced at Judy and caught her hand as the door
swung open. Neither of the girls had touched it!

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXV

                            THE HAPPY ENDING


Pauline stood transfixed while Judy gathered Irene in her arms. If
people fainted for joy she would have done it then. At first there were
no explanations. Neither Judy nor Pauline expected any. The supreme
realization that Irene was there—alive, safe—sufficed. Kisses were
mingled with tears as Pauline, too, pressed closer to the golden-haired
girl. If they had ever doubted Irene’s sincerity, suspected her of
anything, it was all forgotten at the moment.

“It’s so good to see you again,” Irene said at last. “There was nobody
but Blackberry here to welcome me when I came in. It was almost as
quiet as the house in Parkville after my grandmother died.”

“Poor you!” Judy cried. “We found out all about that wicked uncle of
yours and he’s in jail now. Believe me, Irene, he wanted to get your
grandmother’s property and would have done anything to be rid of you.
Oh, I’m so—glad—you’re safe——”

But Judy was sobbing again, clinging to Irene as if she might vanish if
she released her hand. Together she and Pauline led her to the sofa
where each of them found a seat close beside her.

It was growing dark and Judy lit the bridge lamp. It shone down on
Irene’s hair. Something brighter than lamplight glowed, suddenly, in
her eyes.

“Where’s Dale?” she asked. “Has he missed me?”

“He thinks of nothing but you,” Judy answered. “Horace and Peter and
Arthur are here, too. All of them were hunting for you.”

“How thrilling! Did they like Dale, too?”

“Everybody likes him,” Pauline put in. “Lucky girl! They say absence
makes the heart grow fonder, and I shouldn’t wonder if he fell in love
with you.”

“Really?”

“I’m almost sure of it,” Pauline replied. She spoke softly and only
Irene heard her. Judy ran to the window.

“They’re coming! I heard their voices. Dale!” she called down to the
street. “Arthur! Peter! Dale! Hurry!”

That was all she said. That was all she needed to say. The trembling
joy in her voice told them the rest. In less time than seemed possible
Dale burst through the half-open door.

“Irene!” he cried. “Am I dreaming or is this my lost princess, my
Golden Girl?”

“What’s he talking about?” Horace said gruffly to Judy. “Are they
engaged?”

Judy smiled, watching their embrace. “Not yet, but we can guess they
will be before long.”

Dale and Irene faced the others. Radiance was in their faces.

“It’s been quite a detective story,” Dale said, “and this is the happy
ending. Now, Irene, dear, suppose we go out on the roof garden—all of
us—and you explain everything. I’m perfectly sure you can.”

The others followed, eager to hear the story they had nearly given up
hope of hearing from Irene’s own lips. It proved to be almost identical
with Jasper Crosby’s story. Irene had not been forced to stay in her
grandmother’s house. She had stayed of her own free will because the
old lady was sick and needed her.

“At first it was fun, almost like playing princess,” Irene said. “I let
her call me Joy and I called her Mother. I pretended to remember things
my own mother must have done. I read aloud from her books and wore her
dresses. This is one.” She touched the simple white silk dress she was
wearing and explained that she had intended to wear it to her
grandmother’s funeral. “But then Uncle Jasper decided that I must not
go. He said that being with her when she died had affected my mind. I
believed him then but now that I’m home again I feel sure that it
wasn’t true. Still, there’s something like a magnet that just draws me
back to that dear old house.”

“Your grandmother’s house?”

“My house now, isn’t it, Peter?”

The young law student looked up with a start. He had forgotten all
about the will in the excitement of having Irene safe again. But she
had changed so! He couldn’t quite understand this new, beautiful
Irene—this Irene who was an heiress.

“Why, er—yes,” he said. “I believe everything is legally yours, even
the royalties from that new book Emily Grimshaw is publishing.”

Dale and Judy looked first at each other and then at Irene. Both of
them were wondering the same thing. How could Emily Grimshaw have the
book published if the manuscripts were missing? Dale was the first to
put the thought into words.

“They aren’t missing any more,” Irene replied and darted back inside
the door. When the others had joined her in Pauline’s sitting room she
opened a small suitcase that stood on the floor and gave the papers a
toss onto the table.

“There they are—every blessed one of them. I packed them with my
things so Uncle Jasper wouldn’t see me take them. Why don’t you give
them all back to Emily Grimshaw in the morning?”

“But what will I tell her?” gasped Judy. “I can’t tell her you stole
them. What will I say? Oh, why did you do it? Can’t you see all the
trouble it has caused? Really, Irene, you’re dreadfully hard-hearted.”

“Am I?” The golden-haired girl smiled wanly. “And all the time I
thought you were, not to come and see me.”

“How could we have come?”

“I told you in my letter. It explained everything but now, oh, now it’s
going to be harder to explain.”

“What letter? Did you get a letter?” Dale turned and demanded of Judy.

“Of course I didn’t.”

“Then how did you find out where I was?”

Peter explained this question to Irene. He told her about the radio
broadcast, the police activities and how earnestly all of them had
searched. It seemed that the tables had turned and they, not Irene,
were doing the explaining. But what could have happened to Irene’s
letter? She said she had written three.

“I gave them to Uncle Jasper to mail——”

Judy interrupted with a little cry. “There’s your explanation. He must
have destroyed them. The miserable old cheat! Was he mean to you,
Irene?”

She sighed. “This is the part I hardly dare tell. He made me think it
was an—an hallucination. You know, like crazy people get. But I was in
the tower lying on my bed. I’d been up all night and he told me to
rest. It was right after Grandma died. Well, he moved the bed across
the room—way across and I felt a little queer as if it weren’t quite
safe. I knew the tower was only propped up. Then he got ugly. He told
me I was going insane. He said if I didn’t lie in the bed he’d tie me
there. So I lay down. In a little while I heard some one rapping on the
door and I ran to the window. I saw you, Judy, but you didn’t hear me
call. You were almost out of sight. Then I looked down, and, as sure as
I’m alive, there was Uncle Jasper taking the props out from under the
tower. One of them fell and struck him across the chest. I think,” she
added, turning to Peter, “that there must be marks on his chest to
prove that what I say is true.”

“It’s a serious charge, Irene. He could do twenty years for that. But
he deserves it if what you say is true.”

“It’s true. And, oh, I was so frightened. I ran downstairs and I guess
I was screaming—or crying—or both. Anyway, he quit hammering at the
props. He had a sledge hammer and a long beam to work with. That was so
the tower wouldn’t fall on him.”

“You remember that long beam we used to break down the door?” Dale
interrupted her to ask.

Both Judy and Peter nodded. Their faces were grave. Blackberry, who
possessed a cat’s inborn capacity for sympathy, came forth from his
corner and looked up at Irene. She patted him as she went on talking.

“Uncle Jasper got scared then. He said he’d have to get me back to my
father in a hurry. He explained how he was really putting more props
under the tower and said it was because my mind wasn’t right that I had
been afraid he would kill me. He told me that if I didn’t want to go to
the insane asylum I’d keep still about the whole thing. I said I would
but it wasn’t true and I’m sure he didn’t believe me. Then he took me
riding in the car but he didn’t take the road for Farringdon. I don’t
know where he intended to take me but wherever it was, I didn’t want to
go. So, when he had to slow down for a railroad crossing, I jumped out
of the car. He was busy driving and didn’t miss me until afterwards. By
that time I had started hiking. So here I am and I guess that explains
everything.”

Irene sank back in her chair and looked, suddenly, tired. Judy realized
that she must be hungry too. She remembered the packages that the boys
had brought in, and all of them set about preparing food and something
for Irene to drink. She wanted coffee with plenty of cream. The same
Irene, dear child! Judy didn’t care if she never explained about the
poetry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXVI

                          HER MAJESTY ARRIVES


The meal that Peter Dobbs cooked and served was a merry one. Truly, it
was an occasion for rejoicing.

“A party after all,” Dale said. He told Irene about the other party and
how they waited and waited.

Judy sat between Arthur and Peter dividing her attention between them.
She rose, lifted her glass of water and gave a toast:

“Happiness for all of us! Here’s how!”

Her gayety was contagious. Everybody was laughing now. It was good to
be able to laugh with Irene again. She was just meant to be spoiled and
laughed with Dale declared.

Horace brought in dessert. Like children at a birthday party everybody
screamed, “Ice cream! Hurray for ice cream!”

“And cake,” he added. “It’s a little late, Irene, but we might call
this your birthday cake.”

He placed a foamy creation of walnuts and chocolate at her place. She
cut the first slice for Dale and the second slice for Horace.

“Now you, Judy,” she went on, flourishing the knife, “and a little
crumb for Blackberry.”

The cat caught it in his paws and played with it, like a mouse, before
he ate it.

“To think that I used to dislike him,” Dale said apologetically.

Everyone was served now. Judy remembered the two extra candles left
over from the party that hadn’t been a party. She brought them out and
Irene lit them. How golden everything looked in their light! Irene’s
eyes shone. Her hair was a halo around her head.

“You’re beautiful,” Dale said softly.

Judy heard him and smiled, sharing their happiness. She turned to the
others. “It’s worth waiting for—this kind of a party, isn’t it,
people?”

“We’ll dance afterwards,” Pauline suggested. She excused herself to
turn on the radio, hoping to tune in on Irene’s song. But before she
found anything worth while the doorbell rang.

“I’ll answer it,” Irene cried. “I feel like surprising somebody and I’m
sure, whoever it is, they’ll be terribly surprised.”

They were all watching Irene as she danced toward the door, quite
unprepared for the kind of surprise that awaited her on the other side.

She swung it open. There, framed in the doorway, stood Her Majesty,
Emily Grimshaw.

“I’ve come to settle with you, Joy Holiday,” she shouted and raised a
threatening finger at Irene.

The three boys stared in blank bewilderment. They had never seen this
strange old lady and imagined that she must be an escaped inmate from
some near-by asylum—except that she had used the now familiar name,
Joy Holiday.

Chairs were pushed back from the table. Dale Meredith rose and strode
over to the door, followed by Judy and Peter.

“What’s this?” the indignant young author demanded. “Miss Grimshaw,
what’s the big idea of storming in here and frightening Irene?”

“Who has a better right?” she retorted belligerently.

Taking her gently by the shoulders, Peter pushed her into a chair. “Sit
down quietly now while we finish dinner. No need to raise a row about
it. I’m sure Irene will be glad to listen to what you have to say.”

“Irene, nothing!” she fumed. “That girl’s Johanna Holiday, the wench
who made away with her mother’s poetry. I know you!” She pointed a
shaking finger at the trembling Irene.

Judy, standing near the old lady, caught a whiff of her breath and
guessed that she had taken an overdose from the bottle that she called
her tonic. She had noticed how frequently her employer resorted to the
stimulant. After a few drinks she always talked freely of spirits. But
Judy was in no mood for listening to ghost stories now.

“I know you!” the indomitable old lady repeated. “I saw you, Joy
Holiday, just before your mother’s funeral. Break her heart while she
lived and then come back to gloat over her when she’s dead. You’re a
devil, you are. Only devils are immune to death.”

Dale moved closer to Irene as if to ward off the blows that must come
to her senses with the old lady’s words.

“We’ve got to get her out of here,” Peter whispered hoarsely to Dale.

“No! No!” Judy protested. “We must be civil to her. There’s some black
coffee on the stove. That may sober her up a bit, and after all we did
want to see her.”

“Then let’s get Irene out of the room.”

“You take her out on the roof garden, Dale,” Judy begged. “I’m used to
being alone with Miss Grimshaw.”

He protested at first but when he saw that the black coffee was doing
its work he finally slipped quietly out of the door, an arm about
Irene’s waist.

“What’s the trouble?” Horace whispered. He and Arthur couldn’t
understand Emily Grimshaw’s grievance.

“Too much excitement,” Judy stated briefly. “She was at the poet’s
funeral and thinks Irene is her mother’s ghost. We’ll be able to reason
with her after a bit.”

“But what does she mean about the poetry?” Horace insisted.

Judy, however, would say nothing more. She turned her attention to the
old lady now, endeavoring to engage her in a sensible conversation. “So
you were at the funeral, Miss Grimshaw. I wondered why you hadn’t come
in to the office. When did Sarah Glenn die?”

“Lord knows!” Emily Grimshaw answered. “But I went out there to pay my
respects to the dead. Heard about it through friends. And there was
that—that—that——”

Her voice trailed off in a groan. She was pointing again but this time
not at Irene but at the vacant spot where the girl had stood.

“Good Lord! She’s gone again.”

“She went out quietly,” Judy explained. “Dale Meredith was with her.
They’ll be back.”

“They’d better be,” the irate woman answered. “Those poems had better
be back too or I’ll know the reason why. Ghost or no ghost, that girl
can’t get away with stealing——”

“Your poems are here,” Judy interrupted, her voice quiet but firm. She
lifted the stack of papers from the desk, and before Emily Grimshaw
could get her breath, she had deposited them in the startled old lady’s
lap. “Now,” she continued, “after you finish another cup of this nice
strong coffee, I’ll call Dale and the girl back into the room and all
of us can hear her story.”

“You mean Joy Holiday?”

“I mean the girl you call Joy Holiday. The real Joy Holiday is dead.
You see, she didn’t vanish as you thought she did. She climbed down
from the tower window and eloped with her lover. This girl is her
daughter and she was wearing her mother’s yellow dress the day you saw
her.”

Emily Grimshaw sat forward in her chair and passed her hand across her
eyes.

“Say that again. It didn’t—register.”

Judy laughed. She could see that her employer was coming back to her
senses.

“You tell her, Horace.” She motioned to her brother who had been
sitting beside the table with Pauline and Arthur, listening.

Joy Holiday’s story was a real romance, however badly told. But Horace
Bolton, the reporter, made the tale so vivid that the five who heard it
lived the adventure all over again. Whatever else it did, it cleared
Emily Grimshaw’s clouded brain and brought the old, practical look back
into her eyes.

Arthur wound up by telling of his search by air for Irene’s distracted
father. Now, if only Irene could explain about the poetry, they had
nothing to fear.

Opening the door quietly, Judy beckoned to the two figures who sat in
the hammock. As Dale stood up, outlined against the sky, it reminded
her of that first night that she and Pauline had found them there and
they had been invited to that never-to-be-forgotten dance on the hotel
roof garden. She caught Irene’s hand as she entered the door.
Impulsively she kissed her.

“Tell us about it now, dear,” she murmured. “The boys and I will
understand and I’m sure Pauline will too. And if Emily Grimshaw gets
another queer spell we’ll send her packing with her precious poetry. We
have what we want—you.”

The agent looked up as Irene entered the room. She stared for a moment
as if the girl’s golden beauty fascinated her. Then she passed one hand
across her forehead, smoothing out the furrows that twenty years had
left there. The light of understanding came into her eyes.

“You are ... you are the image of your mother,” she said at last.
“While you live Joy Holiday will never be dead.”

“‘Death cannot touch the halo of your hair,’” Judy quoted dreamily.
“After all, it is a beautiful thought, Irene. There’s nothing uncanny
about that kind of a spirit.”

“Don’t talk spirits to her,” the agent snapped.

Her seriousness brought to Judy’s mind the phantom shape she had seen
in the tower window. Disregarding her, she asked Irene to tell her
about it.

The girl laughed, that familiar silvery laugh.

“It frightened me too,” she admitted, “until Uncle Jasper told me it
was only a reflection. Then it seemed stupid of me not to have guessed
it. He said any sane person would have. But you’re sane, Judy, and you
didn’t.”

“That proves there’s no truth in what he said,” Horace assured her.

It was a great satisfaction to Irene, knowing that. She sighed and went
on explaining about the ghost in the tower.

“You know, the room is round and there are windows on all sides.
Between the windows are mirrors that make the oddest reflections. I
must have been standing in the room so that you could see the mirror
but not me. I should think you would have been scared to death.”

“And then you pulled the shades?” Judy anticipated.

“No, I didn’t. Uncle Jasper did, just before he went down and started
taking the props out from under the tower. That must have been after
you left.”

“We saw the mirrors afterwards, too—and your yellow dress. But that
was when we searched the house. You were gone by then.”

“Yes, and Grandma was gone, too. Poor soul! It really made me happy to
think she could die in peace, believing that her golden girl still
lived. That poem you just quoted, Judy, was written to me. She thought
I was immune to death.”

“Well, people never do die if you look at it that way,” Judy said
thoughtfully. “Your mother’s beauty was reborn in you, and you may pass
it on to your children and their children——”

“What about your children?” Arthur asked, smiling quizzically at Judy.

“Oh, me? I’m too young to be thinking about them. My career comes
first. Now I’m sure Chief Kelly will listen to me when I tell him I
want to be a detective.”

They all agreed. No one could doubt that solving mysteries was Judy’s
one great talent.

And yet—the missing poetry was still unexplained.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVII

                        WHO TOOK THE MANUSCRIPT?


All this time Emily Grimshaw had not taken her eyes away from Irene.
Now she turned to the others, contrition written in every line of her
face.

“I see it all now,” she murmured. “And I’ve been as big a fool as Sarah
Glenn for all she was supposed to be crazy.”

“Perhaps it was the fault of that tonic you’ve been taking,” Peter
suggested, his eyes twinkling wickedly.

“Piffle!” the old lady snorted. “That’s good stuff, bottled in bond. A
wee bit strong, though,” she added, shaking her head, “a
wee—bit—strong.”

Emily Grimshaw had her poetry and rose, a little unsteadily, preparing
to leave. It was then that she thought of the purpose of her visit.

“Young woman,” she demanded of Irene, “if you’re not Joy Holiday, why
did you take those manuscripts?”

“I didn’t take them,” the accused girl answered, regarding her steadily
with those starry eyes that had inspired the loveliest line of _Golden
Girl_.

Judy made an almost inaudible sound of protest. Irene couldn’t keep on
denying it. No one would believe her now. She touched her arm and
whispered, “Tell her, dear. It’s no good pretending. The rest of us
have forgiven you and I’m sure she will too.”

Irene’s eyes widened. “Forgiven me? For what, may I ask? Why, I didn’t
see that poetry from the moment it was taken until I found it lying on
my grandmother’s table.”

“You expect us to believe that, Irene?” This was Peter’s voice, the
voice he would some day use in the court room.

Dale turned on him. “Of course she does. And I do believe it. Sarah
Glenn may have taken her own poetry——”

“When she was too sick to move out of her house?”

“Or Jasper Crosby may have sneaked into the office,” Dale went on,
disregarding his question. “Irene says she didn’t take the poems and
that ends the matter once and forever. If the rest of you want to go on
distrusting her it’s none of my affair but I knew all along that Irene
was too fine, too wonderful——”

Irene herself stopped him. Her voice was almost a command. “Leave them
alone, Dale. Why shouldn’t they suspect me?”

“Because you didn’t do it.”

Irene was silent. She couldn’t say any more because the last she knew
of the poems they were in Judy’s hands. It was after all lights were
out and they were in bed that she told her.

“You said never to mind the work; you’d straighten things. And then
some one took the poetry out of my hands. Wasn’t it you?”

“It certainly wasn’t,” Judy declared. “I had just opened the door for
Dale Meredith but he wasn’t there yet.”

“Did you turn your back? Could anyone else have come in?”

“Why,” Judy exclaimed, “I believe they could have—if they had been
very quick.”

“Uncle Jasper is quick. But why would he take the poetry?”

Now Judy knew! It was like a heavy load falling from her shoulders. She
remembered what Emily Grimshaw had said about his suing her. He had
schemed to do it and stolen the poetry himself. Besides, he may have
suspected Irene’s identity and been afraid she would find out too much.

Irene’s eyes sought Judy’s and found in them understanding and
sympathy. She had told the truth, and, with Judy to explain, everyone
would believe her. But she couldn’t forget that it was Dale Meredith
who had believed her without an explanation.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVIII

                             DALE’S HEROINE


Two weeks later Dale Meredith came into Emily Grimshaw’s office and
under his arm he carried a new book manuscript. It was the day that
Pauline took over Judy’s position—with her father’s consent. Dr.
Faulkner was home now, as busy and professional as ever. But he had not
been too busy to listen to the smallest detail of Irene’s remarkable
story. She wanted his advice as a brain specialist. Was it fair with
insanity in the family——

Dr. Faulkner had not let her finish the sentence. Of course it was
fair. Sarah Glenn had once been a patient of his and he declared that
she was only slightly eccentric—not insane until her brother had
driven her to it.

“And don’t you know that this type of insanity cannot be inherited?” he
had asked Irene. “There’s no need to worry your pretty head about that.
Under the same conditions, perhaps. But those conditions cannot exist
with Jasper Crosby in prison. And do quit calling him Uncle Jasper.
He’s no blood relation, only a stepbrother, and Glenn was really your
grandmother’s maiden name.”

“Oh, Father, if you had only been home before!” Pauline had exclaimed.

The doctor had smiled that rare smile of his. “Dr. Bolton’s daughter
did wonders without me,” he had said.

Then Pauline knew that her father would not object to Judy’s plans for
her. He hadn’t wanted her to work before. Now it pleased him to know
she was filling Judy’s position.

                  *       *       *       *       *

“You’ve been working hard, Dale,” Pauline said, glancing up from the
manuscript he had just given her. She was seated at her new desk,
looking very professional.

Judy stood beside the table straightening out a few of her things as
she wanted to leave the office in perfect order.

But Dale Meredith expected these girls to show more than a professional
interest in his story. He had put his heart into it—and his experience.

Judy smiled. “Is it another detective story?”

“It’s the greatest detective story you’ll ever read. The detective is a
sixteen-year-old girl.”

“Sounds interesting. What does she look like?”

For answer Dale walked over to the little mirror where Judy usually
stood to arrange her hat. He took it down from the wall and held it so
that Judy’s bright hair and clear gray eyes were reflected in its
surface.

“There! That’s my detective. Irene is the heroine. She has the original
manuscript reading it now. Our whole future depends on what she thinks
of the ending.”

“Really, Dale? Is it as serious as that?”

“It was serious enough for me to invest in this. Do you think she’ll
like it?”

He took from his pocket a tiny square box. Opening it, he displayed a
ring that would, had Judy known it, play an important part in another
mystery that she was to solve. It was a beautiful thing. Beautiful
chiefly because it was so simple, just a solitaire set in a gold band
and decorated with almost invisible orange blossoms.

“I even had it engraved,” he said and then blushed, a thing Judy had
never known Dale Meredith to do before.

“I don’t know why I’m showing it to you girls,” he said. “Perhaps I
shouldn’t. She might rather show it herself.”

Snapping shut the lid, he put it hastily back in his pocket. He stood
as if waiting for something.

“I’ll be almost afraid to read your story if it’s all true, Dale,” Judy
said. “It will be so much like—like—” She floundered for a word.

“Like spying on me?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, it isn’t all true—only the important part. You’ll both read it,
won’t you?”

“Of course we’ll read it. That’s what we’re being paid for, isn’t it,
Pauline?”

The book was a revelation. Dale had made a murder mystery out of the
very thing that had happened to Irene. Jasper Crosby’s scheme to wreck
the tower had worked in the story, killing the grandmother instead of
Irene. The names were different. But for that Judy saw herself moving
through the pages of his story, playing the part of the clever girl
detective. She saw Pauline’s faults depicted. All the petty jealousies
she had felt were revealed, used to cast suspicion upon her and then
excused, baring the real girl underneath. The Golden Girl of Dale’s
story was Irene in her mother’s dress. Dale, himself, was the narrator
and the suspense, the worry and, finally, the romance of the story were
things he had felt and written with feeling. Judy found a new and
lovelier Irene in Dale’s description of her. She marveled that he
understood every one of them so well. The boys came, appropriately, at
the end and, through it all, the spark of humor was the literary agent.

When Emily Grimshaw came in neither Judy nor Pauline looked up. They
did not hear her enter the room. Finally she stood over them and spoke
in a sharp tone.

“What’s this you’re reading? Didn’t I tell you to get done with your
typewriting first? Letters are important but manuscripts can always
wait to be read.”

“This one can’t,” Judy replied, smiling up at her employer. “This is
Dale Meredith’s new detective story. Irene is the heroine, Pauline one
of the suspects and I am the detective.”

“So! And I suppose I am the criminal.”

Judy startled the old lady by kissing her.

“You are your own sweet self, Miss Grimshaw. It will surprise you what
a lovable person you are. Why don’t you read the book and get
acquainted?”

Turning pages broke the silence in the office all that day. Clients
that came in were hastily dismissed. Other work waited. Dale Meredith
had written life itself in the pages of a book that would make him
famous.

He called for the girls at five o’clock.

“What did you think of it?” He asked when they failed to mention his
work.

“Wonderful!” Pauline breathed.

“And you, Judy?”

“I’m still filled with it,” she replied, “too much to talk. Anyway, I’m
going home and there won’t be time to talk. Irene is going also.”

“Why on earth?”

“Because Peter has promised to take her in his car.”

“He’s been taking her out a good deal lately,” Dale said, his brow
darkening.

“Why shouldn’t he?” Pauline asked. “Peter is a nice boy and Irene needs
somebody to help her plan things.”

“She knows I’d be glad to help her.”

“I’m sure she does. But she needs Peter’s legal advice,” Judy
explained. “He says the chief thing they talk about is what to do with
Sarah Glenn’s house. Irene says she wants to live in it.”

“Alone?” Pauline asked.

“No, with her father. He’s still depending on her and she is so glad to
be able to take care of him the way she’s always wanted to. His room is
to be that big sunny one in the front of the house. There’s room for
Irene’s piano in it and he loves to hear her play. But the tower room
she wants kept just the way her mother had it. Oh, she’s talked of it
so much—even to selecting the kind of flowers she wants in the garden.”

“She told me,” Dale said, but his simple remark set Judy wondering how
much they had told each other. It seemed strange for little Irene to be
having a real romance. She was so young! Too young, Judy would have
thought if she had not realized how much Irene needed the love and
sense of security that a man like Dale Meredith could give her.

Bright-eyed and smiling, Irene looked the part of a heroine when she
met them at the door. Dale promptly took possession of her and, for an
hour, nothing more was heard from either of them except a low murmur of
voices on the roof garden.

In the meantime Arthur had arrived dressed in his flying gear and ready
to take Judy home. She and her cat were both to fly with him in his
open plane.

It was decided that Irene would ride with Horace in Peter’s car and
stay with the Dobbs family while she was in Farringdon. That short stay
was to be more eventful than she knew, for her fortune was to be told
in “The Mystic Ball.” But now she was content to plan for the future
without it. She and Dale fully expected to come back and live in Tower
House, for that was what they had named it.

“We named it that,” Irene said. “Dale and I.”

“It sounds romantic,” Judy answered. “May I come and visit?”

“You certainly may. And you must come for the celebration.”

“You mean the housewarming as soon as you and your father have Tower
House fixed up?”

Irene’s eyes danced. “Oh, no! Dale’s supervising that. I mean
celebrating the success of his new book. I read it today. And it will
be a success,” she said softly. “Thanks to you, Judy, it’s all true,
even the happy ending.”


                                THE END

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Transcriber's Notes

page 23 - added closing double quote "DISCUSS TERMS MONDAY"

page 44 - joined "breath" and "takingly" across line break
And Irene was breath
takingly lovely in the new dress.

page 88 - added a period at the end of the sentence
"It really would be better to notify the police"

page 117 - added a period at the end of the sentence
"Perhaps the two descriptions were the same"





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