Part 4 out of 4
on this occasion included the Stantons and their aunt, but he made no
attempt to approach the corner where they were seated.
Maud, however, as soon as she saw Le Drieux, asked Arthur Weldon to
interview the man and endeavor to obtain from him the exact date when
Jack Andrews landed in New York. Uncle John had already wired to Major
Doyle, Patsy's father, to get the steamship lists and find which boat
Andrews had come on and the date of its arrival, but no answer had as yet
Arthur made a pretext of buying a cigar at the counter and then
strolled aimlessly about until he came, as if by chance, near to where
Le Drieux was sitting. Making a pretense of suddenly observing the man,
he remarked casually:
"Ah, good evening."
"Good evening, Mr. Weldon," replied Le Drieux, a note of ill-suppressed
triumph in his voice.
"I suppose you are now content to rest on your laurels, pending the
formal examination?" said Arthur.
"I am, sir. But the examination is a mere form, you know. I have already
cabled the commissioner of police at Vienna and received a reply stating
that the Austrian ambassador would make a prompt demand for extradition
and the papers would be forwarded from Washington to the Austrian consul
located in this city. The consul has also been instructed to render me
aid in transporting the prisoner to Vienna. All this will require several
days' time, so you see we are in no hurry to conclude the examination."
"I see." said Arthur. "Is it, then, your intention to accompany the
prisoner to Vienna?"
"Of course. I have not mentioned the fact to you before, but I hold a
commission from the Chief of Police of Vienna authorizing me to arrest
Jack Andrews wherever I may find him, and deliver him up for trial. My
firm procured for me this commission, as they are very anxious to recover
the lost pearls."
"Well, to be frank, sir, the countess still owes our firm a large sum for
purchases. She had almost her entire fortune tied up in that collection,
and unless it is recovered--."
"I can well appreciate the anxiety of your firm. But aside from that, Mr.
Le Drieux, I suppose a big reward has been offered?"
"Not big; just a fair amount. It will repay me, quite handsomely, for my
trouble in this affair; but, of course, my firm gets half of the reward."
"They are not too generous. You deserve it all."
"Thank you. It has been an interesting episode, Mr. Weldon."
"It has been more than that. I consider this escapade of Andrews quite a
romance; or is it more of a tragedy, in your opinion?"
"It will be a tragedy for Andrews, before he's through with it," replied
Le Drieux grimly. "They're pretty severe on the long-fingered gentry,
over there in Europe, and you must remember that if the fellow lives
through the sentence they will undoubtedly impose upon him in Vienna, he
has still to answer for the Paris robbery and the London murder. It's all
up with Andrews, I guess; and it's a good thing, too, for he is too
clever to remain at large."
"I do not consider him so clever as his captor," said Arthur smoothly.
"It did not take you long to discover where he had hidden. Why, he has
only returned to America about fifteen months ago."
"Eleven months ago--even less than that, I think," retorted Le Drieux,
with much pride. "Let me see," taking out a notebook, "Andrews landed
from the _Princess Irene_ on the twenty-seventh of January last."
"Oh, the twenty-seventh? Are you sure of that?" said Arthur.
"I was under the impression he landed on the twenty-fifth."
"No; you are wrong. Why, I met the boat myself, but missed him, although
he was on the passenger list. He disembarked very slyly, I afterward
learned, being doubtless afraid he would be arrested. But at that time I
had no positive evidence against him."
Arthur asked a few more questions of no importance and then bade Le
Drieux good night and rejoined the girls.
"You win, Maud," he remarked as he sat down. "That clew of yours was an
inspiration. Andrews arrived in America on January twenty-seventh, just
one day after Jones had a motion picture of himself taken at the
stockholders' meeting of the Continental Film Company."
"Then we needn't worry over Ajo any longer!" asserted Patsy joyfully.
"With this evidence and the testimony of Captain Carg and his pearls, the
most stupid judge on earth would declare the boy innocent. Why, Beth, we
shall get our theatres built, after all!"
PICTURE NUMBER NINETEEN
"Well, where have you been?" demanded Goldstein gruffly, as Maud Stanton
entered his office the next morning in response to a summons from the
Continental manager. "What made you run away yesterday? Don't you know
such things make us lots of trouble and cost us money?"
"I'm not worrying about that," replied Maud, as she composedly sat down
opposite the manager.
Goldstein glared at her, but he was cautious.
"You're a fine actress, Miss Stanton, and you're popular on the films,"
he said, "but if you cannot attend to business we are paying you too
"No other firm could afford to give you so much, you know that; and the
only reason we are so extravagant is because you are one of our
"Am I to take this as a dismissal?" she asked carelessly.
"Dismissal!" he cried, holding up his hands. "Of course not. Who is
talking of dismissal? But I owe a duty to my firm. Such actions as yours,
in running away from rehearsals, must have a--a--reprimand. Not severe; I
am not so angry as grieved; but a reprimand is your due--and that
fly-away sister of yours is just as bad."
"We went to assist your president--Mr. Jones--to establish his innocence
of the awful charge made against him," she explained.
"Bah. You can't do that. No one can save him," he replied, with triumph
and satisfaction mingled in his tone.
She looked at him thoughtfully.
"You seem pleased with the idea that he is guilty, Mr. Goldstein."
"I am glad he is caught. What is Jones to me? An interloper! A boy who
gets money, buys stock, and then interferes with a business he knows
nothing about. You are a professional, Miss Stanton. You know how we, who
are in the game, have won our knowledge of it by long experience, by
careful study, by keeping the thousand threads of the rope of success
twisted tightly together. Any fool could buy this business, but only an
expert could run it successfully. You know that. So I am glad this
interfering boy is wiped off the slate forever."
"But he isn't!" she protested. "You still have this boy to reckon with,
Goldstein. When he is examined by the judge he will be set free, for all
the evidence is in his favor and there is ample proof that he is not the
man they are after. And that reminds me. There is a negative here that
was made at the directors' meeting in January, a year ago, which shows
Mr. Jones taking control of the Continental."
"I have never seen it," he said, shaking his head.
"It is here, though, and I want a positive printed at once, and mounted
on a reel, so it can be exhibited before the judge. Have Alfred get it
out of the vault."
"Why should I do that?" he inquired, frowning.
"Because, if you refuse, Mr. Jones is quite likely to find another
manager. No other firm would pay you so much as you are getting here. You
He grinned with delight at the thrust, then grew solemn.
"You are sure he will go free?"
"Positive," returned Maud. "He doesn't really need that film, but it
would be good policy--excellent policy--for you to produce it."
"Alfred!" called the manager. "Bring me the stock book."
He ran his finger down the pages.
"January twenty-sixth," she said.
"Here it is: 'Special of Annual Meeting, C.F.M. Co.--280 feet.--No. 19,'
Get number nineteen out of the vault, Alfred."
While the young man was gone he relapsed into thought. Maud waited
"You see," resumed the manager abruptly, "I am making more money for the
Continental than I get paid for. That is because I know how. It is not
good business to cut down the profits; therefore I should be paid a
bigger salary. Miss Stanton, you're a friend of young Jones, who controls
this company. Yon might talk to him about me."
"I will," she said.
"You might say I know every trick of the trade. Tell Jones how all the
other film makers are crazy to get me. But say how I refuse more money
because I believe our directors will wake up to my value and raise my
salary. That sounds pretty good, eh?"
"It sounds remarkable."
"And it's no dream. Ah, here comes Alfred."
The clerk laid upon the table a round box coated with paraffin to exclude
the air. A tag was attached to the box, describing its contents.
"Number nineteen. Quite right. Take it to the printing room and tell
McDonald to make me a copy as quickly as possible. Tell him to let me
know when it's dry and ready to run."
As the clerk disappeared Maud said:
"I needn't wait, I suppose?"
"No. Werner wants you at the rehearsal of 'The Love of a Princess.'
Before you go home to-night I'll call you in to see the run of number
nineteen. Then you may take the film to Jones--with my compliments."
At five o'clock, when she was dressing to go home, Maud was summoned to
the little "dark room" where all films are exhibited, trimmed and tested
before being sent out. She took Aunt Jane and Flo with her and they found
Goldstein already waiting and the operator standing by his machine.
The scene was short and not very exciting, although of interest in the
present crisis. It showed the interior of the hall where the
stock-holders' meeting was held, and began with the assembling of the
members. Two or three pompous individuals then seated themselves facing
the others, and the proceedings began. A slim boy on a back bench arose
and said something. Panic was at once written on the faces of the former
officers. They gesticulated; their lips moved rapidly. The boy, easily
recognized as A. Jones, advanced and displayed a lot of papers, which
were carefully examined. He then took the president's chair, the former
officers fled in disgust and the throng of stockholders wildly applauded.
Then the light went out, the machine stopped, and Goldstein opened the
door to let in light and air.
"It was the same kid, all right," he remarked. "I had never seen this
film run before, but it shows how Jones called the turn on the old
officers in great shape. I wonder where he got all the money?"
Maud secured his promise to send an operator to town, to exhibit the film
before the judge, whenever he might be required. Then she went to her
hotel fully satisfied that she had done all in her power to assist A.
Jones of Sangoa.
A telegram from Major Doyle corroborated Le Drieux's assertion that Jack
Andrews had arrived at the port of New York via the _Princess Irene_ on
January twenty-seventh. A report from Lawyer Colby stated that he was now
so thoroughly posted on everything pertaining to pearls that he could
easily confound the expert, Mr. Isidore Le Drieux. There the matter
rested for three days, during which the Stanton girls continued their
work at the studio and Uncle John's nieces busied themselves enjoying the
charms of the ideal Hollywood climate. Then came the news that the judge
would call Jones for examination at nine o'clock on Friday morning, the
"Friday, the thirteenth!" said Patsy with a grimace. "I hope Ajo isn't
"That combination proves lucky for some people," replied Arthur,
laughing. "Let us hope that Jones is one of them."
"Of course we shall all go to see what happens," said Beth, and to this
there was no dissenting voice.
Maud obtained a letter from Jones to Captain Carg, asking him to be on
hand, and this she dispatched by a safe messenger to the yacht
_Arabella_. She also told Goldstein to have his operator in attendance
with the film. Finally, a conference was called that evening with Mr.
Colby, at which the complete program of defense was carefully rehearsed.
"Really," said the lawyer, "there's nothing to this case. It's a regular
walkaway, believe me! I'm almost ashamed to take Mr. Jones' money for
conducting a case that Miss Stanton has all cut and dried for me. I'll
not receive one half the credit I should had the thing been complicated,
or difficult. However, I've learned so much about pearls that I'm almost
tempted to go into the jewelry business."
Friday morning was bright and cool--one of those perfect days for which
Southern California is famous. Judge Wilton appeared in court with a
tranquil expression upon his face that proved he was in a contented mood.
All conditions augured well for the prisoner.
The prosecution was represented by two well known attorneys who had
brought a dozen witnesses to support their charge, among them being the
Austrian consul. The case opened with the statement that the prisoner,
Jackson Dowd Andrews, alias A. Jones, while a guest at the villa of the
Countess Ahmberg, near Vienna, had stolen from his hostess a valuable
collection of pearls, which he had secretly brought to America. Some of
the stolen booty the prisoner had disposed of, it was asserted; a part
had been found in his possession at the time of his arrest; some of the
pearls had been mounted by Brock & Co., the Los Angeles jewelers, at his
request, and by him presented to several acquaintances he had recently
made but who were innocent of any knowledge of his past history or his
misdeeds. Therefore the prosecution demanded that the prisoner be kept in
custody until the arrival of extradition papers, which were already on
the way, and that on the arrival of these papers Andrews should be
turned over to Le Drieux, a representative of the Vienna police, and by
him taken to Austria, the scene of his crime, for trial and punishment.
The judge followed the charge of the prosecution rather indifferently,
being already familiar with it. Then he asked if there was any defense.
Colby took the floor. He denied that the prisoner was Jackson Dowd
Andrews, or that he had ever been in Vienna. It was a case of mistaken
identity. His client's liberty had been outraged by the stupid blunders
of the prosecution. He demanded the immediate release of the prisoner.
"Have you evidence to support this plea?" inquired Judge Wilton.
"We have, your honor. But the prosecution must first prove its charge."
The prosecution promptly responded to the challenge. The photograph of
Andrews, taken abroad, was shown. Two recognized experts in physiognomy
declared, after comparison, that it was undoubtedly the photograph of the
prisoner. Then Le Drieux took the stand. He read a newspaper account of
the robbery. He produced a list of the pearls, attested by the countess
herself. Each individual pearl was described and its color, weight and
value given. Then Le Drieux exhibited the pearls taken from Jones and,
except for the small ones in the brooch which had been presented to Mrs.
Montrose, he checked off every pearl against his list, weighing them
before the judge and describing their color.
During this, Judge Wilton continually nodded approval. Such evidence was
concise and indisputable, it seemed. Moreover, the defense readily
admitted that the pearls exhibited had all been in Jones' possession.
Then Colby got up to refute the evidence.
"Mr. Jones," he began, "has--"
"Give the prisoner's full name," said the judge.
"His full name is A. Jones."
"What does the 'A' stand for?"
"It is only an initial, your honor. Mr. Jones has no other name."
"Puh! He ought to have taken some other name. Names are cheap," sneered
Colby ignored the point.
"Mr. Jones is a resident of Sangoa, where he was born. Until he landed at
San Francisco, fifteen months ago, he had never set foot on any land but
that of his native island."
"Where is Sangoa?" demanded the judge.
"It is an island of the South Seas."
"It is independent. It was purchased from Uruguay by Mr. Jones' father
many years ago, and now belongs exclusively to his son."
"Your information is indefinite," snapped the judge.
"I realize that, your honor; but my client deems it wise to keep the
location of his island a secret, because he has valuable pearl
fisheries on its shores. The pearls exhibited by the prosecution were
all found at Sangoa."
"How do you account, then, for their checking so accurately against the
list of stolen pearls?"
"I can make almost any pearls check with that list, which represents a
huge collection of almost every size, weight and color," replied Colby.
"To prove this, I will introduce in evidence Captain Carg of Sangoa, who
recently arrived at Santa Monica Bay with the last proceeds of the pearl
fisheries of the island."
Captain Carg was on hand, with his two sailors guarding the chest. He now
produced the trays of pearls and spread them on the desk before the
amazed eyes of the judge. Le Drieux was astounded, and showed it plainly
on his face.
Colby now borrowed the list, and picking up a pearl from the tray weighed
it on Le Drieux's scales and then found a parallel to it on the list.
This he did with several of the pearls, chosen at random, until one of Le
Drieux's attorneys took the expert aside and whispered to him. Then Le
Drieux's expression changed from chagrin to joy and coming forward he
"Your honor, this is the collection--the balance of it--which was stolen
from the Countess Ahmberg!"
The judge looked at him a moment, leaned back in his chair and nodded his
"What nonsense!" protested Colby. "These trays contain twice the number
of pearls included in that entire list, as your honor may plainly see."
"Of course," retorted Le Drieux eagerly; "here are also the pearls from
the necklace of Princess Lemoine, and the London collection of Lady
Grandison. Your honor, in his audacity the defense has furnished us proof
positive that this prisoner can be none other than the adventurer and
clever thief, Jack Andrews."
It was in vain that Colby declared these pearls had just come from
Sangoa, where they were found. The judge cut him short and asked if he
had any other evidence to advance.
"These pearls," he added, indicating the trays, "I shall take possession
of. They must remain in my custody until their owners claim them, or
Captain Carg can prove they are the lawful property of the prisoner."
Consternation now pervaded the ranks of the defense. The girls were
absolutely dismayed, while Uncle John and Arthur Weldon wore bewildered
looks. Only Jones remained composed, an amused smile curling the corners
of his delicate mouth as he eyed the judge who was to decide his fate.
On the side of the prosecution were looks of triumph. Le Drieux already
regarded his case as won.
Colby now played his trump card, which Maud Stanton's logic and energy
had supplied the defense.
"The prosecution," said he, "has stated that the alleged robbery was
committed at Vienna on the evening of September fifteenth, and that
Jack Andrews arrived in America on the steamship _Princess Irene_ on
the afternoon of the January twenty-seventh following. Am I correct in
The judge consulted his stenographer.
"The dates mentioned are correct," he said pompously.
"Here are the papers issued by the Commander of the Port of San
Francisco, proving that the yacht _Arabella_ of Sangoa anchored in that
harbor on October twelfth, and disembarked one passenger, namely: A.
Jones of Sangoa."
"That might, or might not, have been the prisoner," declared the
"True," said the judge. "The name 'A. Jones' is neither distinguished nor
"On the evening of January twenty-sixth, twenty-four hours before Jack
Andrews landed in America," continued Colby, "the prisoner, Mr. A. Jones,
appeared at the annual meeting of the stockholders of the Continental
Film Manufacturing Company, in New York, and was formally elected
president of that organization."
"What is your proof?" inquired the judge, stifling a yawn.
"I beg to submit the minutes of the meeting, attested by its secretary."
The judge glanced at the minutes.
"We object to this evidence," said the opposing attorney. "There is no
proof that the A. Jones referred to is the prisoner."
"The minutes," said Colby, "state that a motion picture was taken of the
meeting. I have the film here, in this room, and beg permission to
exhibit it before your honor as evidence."
The judge was a bit startled at so novel a suggestion but assented with
a nod. In a twinkling the operator had suspended a roller-screen from the
chandelier dependent from the ceiling, pulled down the window shades and
attached his projecting machine to an electric-light socket.
Then the picture flashed upon the screen. It was not entirely distinct,
because the room could not be fully darkened and the current was not
strong, yet every face in the gathering of stockholders could be plainly
recognized. Jones, especially, as the central figure, could not be
mistaken and no one who looked upon the picture could doubt his identity.
When the exhibition was concluded and the room again lightened, Le
Drieux's face was visibly perturbed and anxious, while his attorneys sat
glum and disconcerted.
Colby now put Goldstein on the stand, who testified that he recognized
Jones as president of his company and the owner of the majority of
stock. The young man had come to him with unimpeachable credentials to
The girls were now smiling and cheerful. To them the defense was
absolutely convincing. But Le Drieux's attorneys were skillful fighters
and did not relish defeat. They advanced the theory that the motion
picture, just shown, had been made at a later dale and substituted for
the one mentioned in the minutes of the meeting. They questioned
Goldstein, who admitted that he had never seen Jones until a few days
previous. The manager denied, however, any substitution of the picture.
He was not a very satisfactory witness for the defense and Colby was
sorry he had summoned him.
As for the judge, he seemed to accept the idea of the substitution with
alacrity. He had practically decided against Jones in the matter of the
pearls. Now he listened carefully to the arguments of the prosecution and
cut Colby short when he raised objections to their sophistry.
Finally Judge Wilton rose to state his decision.
"The evidence submitted in proof of the alleged fact that the prisoner is
Jack Andrews, and that Jack Andrews may have robbed the Countess Ahmberg,
of Vienna, of her valuable collection of pearls, is in the judgment of
this court clear and convincing," he said. "The lawyer for the defense
has further succeeded in entangling his client by exhibiting an
additional assortment of pearls, which may likewise be stolen property.
The attempt to impose upon this court a mythical island called Sangoa
is--eh--distinctly reprehensible. This court is not so easily hoodwinked.
Therefore, in consideration of the evidence advanced, I declare that the
prisoner is Jack Andrews, otherwise Jackson Dowd Andrews, otherwise
parading under the alias of 'A. Jones,' and I recognize the claim of the
Austrian police to his person, that he may be legally tried for his
alleged crimes in the territory where it is alleged he committed them.
Therefore I order that the prisoner be held for requisition and turned
over to the proper authorities when the papers arrive. The court is
SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN
Of course not one of our friends agreed with the judge. Indignation and
resentment were written on every face--except that of Goldstein. The
manager rubbed his hands softly together and, approaching Maud, he
"You needn't speak to Jones about me. It's all right. I guess he won't be
interfering with me any more, eh? And come _early_ to-morrow morning.
We've got a lot of rehearsing to do. To-day I will call a holiday for
you. And, believe me, Miss Stanton, this is nothing to worry any of us.
The judge settles it, right or wrong, for the law defies us all."
As the manager hurried away Uncle John looked after him and said:
"I wonder if he realizes how true his words are? 'The law defies us all.'
How helpless we are to oppose injustice and oppression when one man,
with a man's limitations and prejudices, is clothed with authority to
Colby stood silent. The poor fellow's eyes were full of unshed tears.
"This is my first case, and my last," said he. "I won it honestly. It was
the judge, not the evidence, that defeated me. I'm going to rent my
office and apply for a job as a chauffeur."
Jones was the least affected of the group. "Never mind, friends," he said
to them, "it will all come right in the end. If you will stand by me,
Colby, I'll retain you to plead my case in the Austrian court, or at
least advise my Austrian lawyers. I've an idea they will treat me fairly,
over there in Vienna."
"It's outrageous!" quoth indignant Patsy Doyle. "I'd like to give that
judge a piece of my mind."
"If you did," replied Arthur, "he'd fine you for contempt."
"It would be a just line, in that case," said Patsy; "so I'm sure he
wouldn't do it."
The jailer had come to take the prisoner back to his cell. He smiled
whimsically at Miss Doyle's speech and remarked:
"There's always one side to kick, Miss, whichever way the judge decides.
It was only Solomon who could satisfy everybody."
"Clear the room!" shouted the bailiff.
Captain Carg's men took the empty chest back to the launch. The captain
followed them, after pressing the hand of his young master, who said:
"Wait for orders, Captain." Uncle John took his flock back to the hotel,
where they gathered in his room and held an indignation meeting. Here it
was safe to give full vent to their chagrin and disappointment.
"Every bit of honest evidence was on our side," declared Maud. "I shall
never be able to understand why we lost."
"Bribery and corruption," said Flo. "I'll bet a cookie Le Drieux divided
the reward with the judge."
"I suppose it's all up with Ajo now," sighed Beth, regretfully.
"Yes," replied Colby, who had accompanied them; "there is nothing more to
be done for him at present. From the judge's order there is no appeal,
in such a case. Mr. Jones must go to Vienna for trial; but there he may
secure an acquittal."
"He is very brave, I think," said Patsy. "This affair must have hurt his
pride, but he smiles through it all. In his condition of health, the
confinement and humiliation may well shorten his life, yet he has made
"He's good stuff, that boy," commented Uncle John. "Perhaps it is due to
that John Paul blood his father was so proud of."
When Arthur went into the lobby a little later he found Le Drieux seated
comfortably and smoking a long cigar. The pearl expert nodded to the
young ranchman with so much evident satisfaction that Arthur could not
resist engaging him in conversation.
"Well, you won," he remarked, taking a vacant chair beside Le Drieux.
"Yes, of course," was the reply; "but I'll admit that fellow Andrews is a
smooth one. Why, at one time he had even me puzzled with his alibis and
his evidence. That flash of the pearls was the cleverest trick I ever
heard of; but it didn't go, I'd warned the judge to look out for a scoop.
He knew he was dealing with one of the most slippery rogues in
"See here, Le Drieux," said Arthur; "let us be honest with one another,
now that the thing is settled and diplomacy is uncalled for. Do you
really believe that Jones is Jack Andrews?"
"Me? I know it, Mr. Weldon. I don't pose as a detective, but I'm
considered to have a shrewd insight into human character, and from the
first moment I set eyes on him I was positive that Jones was the famous
Jack Andrews. I can understand how you people, generous and trusting,
have been deceived in the fellow; I admire the grit you've all shown in
standing by him to the last. I haven't a particle of malice toward any
one of you, I assure you--not even toward Andrews himself."
"Then why have you bounded him so persistently?"
"For two reasons." said Le Drieux. "As a noted pearl expert, I wanted
to prove my ability to run down the thief; and, as a man in modest
circumstances, I wanted the reward."
"How much will you get?"
"All together, the rewards aggregate twenty thousand dollars. I'll get
half, and my firm will get half."
"I think," said Arthur, to test the man, "that Jones would have paid you
double that amount to let him alone."
Le Drieux shook his head; then he smiled.
"I don't mind telling you, Mr. Weldon--in strict confidence, of
course--that I approached Jones on that very subject, the day he was
placed in jail. He must have been sure his tricks would clear him, for he
refused to give me a single penny. I imagine he is very sorry, right now;
don't you, sir?"
"No," said Arthur, "I don't. I still believe in his innocence."
Le Drieux stared at him incredulously.
"What, after that examination of to-day?" he demanded.
"Before and after. There was no justice in the decision of Judge Wilton;
he was unduly prejudiced."
"Be careful, sir!"
"We are talking confidentially."
"To be sure. But you astonish me. I understand the character of Andrews
so thoroughly that I fail to comprehend how any sensible person can
believe in him. Talk about prejudice!"
"I suppose you are to remain at this hotel?" said Arthur, evading
"Yes, until the papers arrive. They ought to be here by Monday. Then
I shall take Andrews to New York and we will board the first steamer
Arthur left him. Le Drieux puzzled him more than he puzzled Le Drieux.
The expert seemed sincere in the belief that he had trapped, in Jones, a
noted criminal. Weldon could not help wondering, as he walked away, if
possibly he and his friends had been deceived in A. Jones of Sangoa. The
doubt was but momentary, yet it had forced itself into his mind.
On Saturday afternoon they all made a visit to the prisoner and tried to
cheer him. Again on Sunday they called--the Stantons and Merricks and
Weldons and all. Young Jones received them with composure and begged them
not to worry on his account.
"I am quite comfortable in this jail, I assure you," said he. "On my
journey to Vienna I shall be able to bribe Le Drieux to let me have such
comforts as I desire. There is but one experience I shrink from: the
passage across the Atlantic. If it brings a return of my former malady I
shall suffer terribly."
"It may not be so bad as you fear," Patsy assured him, although in her
heart she realized it might be the death of the boy. "Often those who are
distressed by a voyage on the Pacific endure the Atlantic very well."
"That is encouraging," said he. "It is my dread of the water that has
prevented me from returning to Sangoa, or even visiting my yacht. And
this reminds me of a favor I wish to ask."
"You may rely upon our friendship," said Maud.
"I believe that. Here is a letter to Captain Carg, putting the _Arabella_
at your disposal until my return from Vienna. I have named Mr. Merrick
as the commander of the yacht, in my absence, and if you feel inclined to
make the trip and can spare the time I would like you all to make a
voyage to Sangoa."
"To Sangoa!" they cried in chorus.
"Yes. I am ambitious to prove to you, who have been my staunch friends,
that the island is indeed there. Incidentally you will become acquainted
with the prettiest place in all the world. My house will be at your
disposal while you remain and I am sure you will find it fairly
They were so amazed at this proposition that at first no one found
words to answer the boy. It was Flo, naturally, who first collected
"It will be awfully jolly!" she cried, clapping her hands with delight.
"I'm sure Maud and I need a vacation. Let's stick up our noses at
Goldstein and sail away to the mysterious isle. What do you say, girls?
And you, Mr. Merrick?"
"I believe, my boy," said Uncle John, laying a kindly hand on the youth's
shoulder, "that all of us are inclined to take advantage of your offer.
That is, if you are sure we can be of no further use to you in your
"I am taking Colby abroad with me and he can do all that may be done
until after my trial. Then I hope to rejoin you here and am looking
forward to a jolly reunion."
Uncle John took the letters which Ajo had written to Captain Carg, to his
superintendent in Sangoa and to his housekeeper. Then they all pressed
the boy's hand and went away.
* * * * *
Monday morning the extradition papers arrived. Le Drieux exhibited them
proudly to young Weldon, to Mr. Merrick, and even to the girls, who
regarded the documents with shuddering awe.
"We'll take the night train," said the man. "That will get us to New York
on Friday, in time to catch the Saturday steamer for Calais."
As he spoke a boy approached and handed Le Drieux a telegram.
"Excuse me," said he, and opened it with an important flourish. The next
moment his face fell. He staggered and sank half fainting into a chair
which Mr. Merrick pushed toward him.
Patsy ran for some water. Maud Stanton fanned the man with a folded
newspaper. Arthur Weldon picked up the telegram which had _fluttered_
from Le Drieux's grasp and deliberately read it. Then he, too, sank
gasping into a chair.
"Listen, girls!" he cried, his voice shrill with emotion. "What do you
think of this?
"'Jack Andrews arrested here in New York to-day by Burns detectives.
Countess Ahmberg's collection of pearls was found in his possession,
intact. Return here first train.'
"Signed: 'Eckstrom & Co.'"
There was a moment of tense silence.
Flo clapped her hands.
"Come on," she shouted in glee, "let's go and tell Ajo!"