Part 1 out of 5
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Mary Meehan
and PG Distributed Proofreaders
BY NATALIE SUMNER LINCOLN
_To MRS. SARAH VAIL GOULD my grandmother to whose affection belongs many
joyous days of childhood at "Oaklands" this book is offered as a loving
tribute to her memory._
I. AT VICTORIA STATION
II. OUT OF THE VOID
III. POWERS THAT PREY
IV. "SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT?"
V. AN EVENTFUL EVENING
VI. AT THE CAPITOL
VII. PHANTOM WIRES
VIII. KAISER BLUMEN
IX. THE SPIDER AND THE FLY
X. SISTERS IN UNITY
XI. A MAN IN A HURRY
XII. A SINISTER DISCOVERY
XIII. HIDE AND SEEK
XIV. A QUESTION OF LOYALTY
XV. THE GAME, "I SPY"
XVI. AT THE MORGUE
XVII. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
XVIII. A PROPOSAL
XIX. THE YELLOW STREAK
XX. THE AWAKENING
XXI. THE FINGER PRINT
XXII. "TRENTON HURRY"
XXIII. IN FULL CRY
XXIV. RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
XXV. LOVE PARAMOUNT
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"He saw Kathleen quickly palm his place card"
"As Henry pushed back the door, she collapsed into her father's arms"
"'A flash, the rifle's recoil--and Mr. Whitney still standing just
where he was'"
"Whitney paused to snatch up a magnifying glass and by its aid examined
the finger prints"
AT VICTORIA STATION
The allied forces, English and French, had been bent backward day by day,
until it seemed as if Paris was fairly within the Germans' grasp. Bent
indeed, but never broken, and with the turning of the tide the Allied
line had rushed forward, and France breathed again.
Two men, seated in a room of the United Service Club in London one gloomy
afternoon in November, 1914, talked over the situation in tones too low
to reach other ears. The older man, Sir Percival Hargraves, had been
bemoaning the fact that England seemed honeycombed by the German Secret
Service, and his nephew, John Hargraves, an officer in uniform, was
attempting to reassure him. It was a farewell meeting, for the young
officer was returning to the front.
"Much good will all this espionage do the Germans," said the young man.
"We are easily holding our own, and with the spring will probably come
our opportunity." He clicked his teeth together. "What price then all
these suspected plots and futile intrigues?"
"Don't be so damned cocksure," rapped out his uncle, his exasperation
showing in heightened color and snapping eyes. "It's that same
cocksureness which has almost brought the British Empire to the very
brink of dissolution."
His nephew smiled tolerantly, and shifted his thickset figure to a more
"Now, now," he cautioned. "Remember what old Sawbones told you yesterday
about not exciting yourself. Said you weren't to read or talk about this
bally old war. Leave the worrying to Kitchener; he'll see we chaps do
"If everything were left to Kitchener!" Sir Percival thumped the arm of
his chair. "Some of us would sleep easier in our beds. And I know you
chaps at the front will do your part. Would to God I could be with you!"
glancing at his shrunken and useless left leg. "If I could only take a
pot at the beggars!"
"According to your belief the firing line will shortly be on English
soil," chaffed his nephew, avoiding looking at his companion. He knew the
tragic circumstances surrounding his uncle's maimed condition, and wished
to avoid anything touching upon sentiment.
"If the plans to undermine England's home government are perfected and
carried out, every man, woman and child will have to band together to
repel invasion." Sir Percival lowered his voice. "If there are any
able-bodied men left here."
"Don't be so pessimistic. Kitchener has built up a great army, and is
only waiting the proper moment to launch it in the field."
"The best of England has volunteered," agreed Sir Percival, "but what
about the slackers? What about the coal strikes--the trouble in our
munition factories? All are chargeable to the Kaiser's war machine which
overlooks nothing in its complete preparedness. Preparedness--England
doesn't yet know the meaning of the word."
"It's time for me to leave," said the young officer, consulting his
watch. "Take my word for it, Uncle, we're not going to the demnition
bowwows--count on England's bulldog grit. God help Germany when the
Allies get into that country!"
"When--ah, when?" echoed Sir Percival. "I hope that I live to see the
day. Tell me, boy," his voice softening, "how is it with you and Molly?"
His nephew reddened under his tan. "Molly doesn't care for a chap like
me," he muttered.
"Did she tell you so?"
"Well, no. You see, Uncle, it--eh--doesn't seem the thing to suggest
that a charming girl like Molly tie herself to a fellow who may get his
at any time."
"Piffle!" Sir Percival's shaggy eyebrows met in a frown. "Sentimental
nonsense! You and Molly were great chums a year ago. You told me yourself
that you hoped to marry her; I even spoke to her mother about the
suitability of the match."
"You had no right to," blazed his nephew. "It was damned impertinent
"You have not always thought so," retorted Sir Percival bitterly. "What
had that most impertinent American girl you met in Germany to do with
your change of front toward Molly?"
"I must insist that you speak more respectfully of Kathleen." John
Hargraves' expression altered. "If you must know, I asked Kathleen to
marry me and--she refused."
"I said she was impertinent. All Americans are; they don't know any
better," fumed his uncle. "Forget her, John; think of Molly. I tell you
the child loves you. Don't wreck her happiness for the sake of a
"Fleeting fancy?" John Hargraves shook his head sorrowfully. "When
Kathleen refused me I was hard hit; so hit I can't marry any other girl.
Don't let's talk of it." He smiled wistfully as he held out his hand.
"Time's up, Uncle; the train leaves in an hour, and I must get my kit.
Good-by, sir. Wish me luck." And before the older man could stop him he
was retreating down the hall.
Sir Percival stared vacantly about the room. "The last of his race," he
muttered. "God help England! The toll is heavy."
In spite of his haste John Hargraves was late in reaching Victoria
Station, and had barely time to take his place before the train pulled
slowly out. As he looked down the long trainshed, he encountered the
fixed stare of a tall, well-groomed man standing near one of the pillars.
Hargraves looked, and looked again; then his hand flew up, and leaning
far out of his compartment he shouted to a porter. But his message was
lost in the roar of the more rapidly moving train, and the porter,
shaking a bewildered head, turned back.
The crowd of women and children and a few men, which had gathered to
witness the troop train's departure, was silently dispersing when an
obsequious porter approached the tall stranger whose appearance had so
excited John Hargraves.
"Ye keb's out 'ere, sir," he said. "This way, sir," and as the stranger
made no move to follow him, he leaned forward and lifted the latter's top
coat from his arm. "Let me carry this 'ere for you, gov'ner," then in a
whisper that none could overhear, he said in German: "For your life,
"Go on," directed the stranger in English, pausing to adjust his cravat,
and made his leisurely way after the hurrying porter. The latter stopped
finally by the side of a somewhat battered-looking limousine.
"'Ere ye are, sir," announced the porter, not waiting for the
chauffeur to pull open the door. "I most amissed ye," he rattled on.
"Kotched the keb, sir, an' tucked yer boxes inside, then I looked for
ye at the bookin' office, 'cording to directions. Let me tuck this
'ere laprobe over ye."
As the stranger stepped into the limousine and seated himself the porter
clambered in after him.
"They're on," he whispered, his freckles showing plainly against his
white face. "The chauffeur is one of us, he'll take you straight to our
landing. This packet's for you. Good luck!" And pocketing the sovereign
offered, the porter, voicing loud thanks, backed from the limousine and
slammed the door shut.
The outskirts of London were reached before the man in the limousine
opened the slip of paper thrust into his hand by the porter. It was
wrapped about a small electric torch and a book of cigarette papers.
Slowly he read the German script in the note.
Be at the rendezvous by Thursday. Hans, the chauffeur, has full
directions. Do not miss the seventeenth.
After rereading the contents of the note the man tore it into tiny bits
and, not content with that, stuffed them among the tobacco in his pipe.
Striking a match he lighted his pipe and planting his feet on the bag he
gazed long and earnestly at his initials stamped on the much labeled
buckskin. The slowing up of the limousine aroused him from his
meditations, and he glanced out of the window to see which way they were
headed. London, the metropolis of the civilized world, lay behind him.
Catching his chauffeur's backward glance, he signaled him to continue
onward as, removing his pipe, he muttered:
"_Gott strafe England_!"
OUT OF THE VOID
Slowly, the sullen roar of artillery, the rattle of Maxims and rifles
sank fitfully away. A tall raw-boned major of artillery stretched his
cramped limbs in the observation station, paused to look with callous
eyes over the devastated fields before him, then sought the trench.
Earlier in the day the Allies had been shelled out of an advance position
by the enemy and had fallen back on the entrenchments.
"Devilish hot stuff, shrapnel," commented a brother officer as Major
Seymour stopped at his side.
The Major nodded absently, and without further reply advanced a few paces
to meet an ammunition corporal who was obviously seeking him. "Well?" he
demanded, as the non-commissioned officer saluted.
"Only twenty rounds left, Major." The Corporal lowered his voice.
"Captain Hargraves sent word to rush reinforcements here as soon as it is
Major Seymour glanced with unconcealed impatience at his wrist watch.
God! Would night never come!
"Can't we get our wounded to the base hospital, Major?" asked a
younger officer. He had only joined the unit thirty-six hours before
and while he had faced the baptism of fire gallantly, the ghastly
carnage about him shook his nerve. He was not fed up with horrors as
were his brother officers.
"The wounded would stand small chance of reaching safety if the German
gunners sighted them. They must wait for darkness," replied Seymour.
"Here, take a pull at my flask. Got potted yourself, didn't you?"
noticing a thin stream of blood trickling down his companion's sleeve.
"Only a flesh wound--of no moment," protested the young man, flushing at
the thought that his commanding officer might have misunderstood his
question. "I'm afraid Captain Hargraves is in a bad way."
"Hargraves!" The Major spun on his heel. "Where is he?"
"This way, sir," and the Lieutenant led him past groups of men and
officers. It was an appalling scene of desolation. The approach of night
had brought a slight drizzling rain, and the ground, pitted with shell
holes, was slimy with wet, greasy mud. Nearly all the trees in the
vicinity were blasted as if by lightning, and along the right hand side
of the road was a line of A.S.S. carts and limbers blown to pieces. One
horse, completely disemboweled, lay on his back, the inside arch of his
ribs plainly showing. His leader was a mass of entrails lying about, and
on the other side lay four or five more, one with a foreleg blown clear
off at the shoulder, one minus a head. A half-dozen motor cycles and over
a dozen push bikes lay in the mud with some unrecognizable shapes that
had been riding them. Between the advance trenches, in No Man's Land, the
ground was thickly strewn with corpses of Scotties killed in the charge.
"The Huns had us cold as to range," volunteered the Lieutenant, loss
of blood and reaction from excitement loosening his tongue. "They
outed five guns complete with detachments by direct hits. Here we are,
sir," and he paused near a demolished gun emplacement. The ground
about was a shambles.
Major Seymour stepped up to one of the figures lying upon the ground,
a mud-incrusted coat thrown over his legs. Several privates who had
been rendering what assistance they could, moved aside on the
approach of their superior officers. Hargraves opened his eyes as
Seymour knelt by him.
"My number's up," he whispered, and the game smile which twisted his
white lips was pitiful.
"Nonsense." Seymour's gruff tone concealed emotion. Hargraves' face
betrayed death's indelible sign. "You'll pull through, once you're back
at the hospital."
Hargraves shook his head; he realized the futility of argument.
"Have you pencil and paper?" he asked.
"Yes." Seymour drew out his despatch book and removed a page. "What is
it, John?" But some minutes passed before his question received an
answer, and Hargraves' voice was noticeably weaker, as he dictated:
I saw Karl in London at Victoria Station. I swear it was he ... warn
Uncle ... Kathleen ... Kathleen ...
There was a long silence; then Seymour laid aside the unneeded brandy
flask and slowly rose to his feet. He mechanically folded the scrap of
paper, but before slipping it inside his pocket, the blank side arrested
"Heavens! John never gave me her address or last name. Who is Kathleen?"
More shaken than he was willing to confess even to himself, by the loss
of his pal, he stared bitterly across the battlefield toward the enemy's
lines. How cheerily Hargraves had greeted him that morning on his return
from a week's furlough in England! How glad he had been to rejoin the
unit and be once again with his comrades on the firing line! A gallant
spirit had passed to the Great Beyond.
Back in his observation station Major Seymour an hour later viewed the
gathering darkness with satisfaction. Two hours more and it would be
difficult to see a hand before one's face. Undoubtedly the sorely needed
ammunition and reserves would reach the trenches in time, and the wounded
could be safely transferred to the base hospital. The Allies' line had
held, and in spite of their desperate assaults the Germans had been
unable to find a vulnerable spot.
Seymour passed his hand over his eyes. Against the darkness his fevered
imagination pictured advancing "gray phantoms." "They come like demons
from the hell they have created," he muttered. "I hope to God they
don't use 'starlights' over our trenches tonight. Flesh and blood can
stand no more."
The darkness grew denser and more dense. In the long battle front of the
Allies no sentinel saw a powerful Aviatik biplane glide over the trenches
and fly onward toward its goal. Several times the airman inspected his
phosphorescent compass and map, each time thereafter altering his course.
Finally, making a sign to his observer, he planed to a lower level and,
satisfied that he had reached the proper distance, a bomb was released.
Down through the black void the infernal machine sped. A sickening
pause--then a deafening detonation, followed by another and another, cut
the stillness, and the earth beneath was aflame with light as the high
explosives and shells stored in the concealed ammunition depot were set
off. Nothing escaped destruction; flesh and blood, mortar and brick went
skyward together, and a great gash in the earth was all that was left to
tell the story of the enemy's successful raid.
From a safe height the German airman and his observer watched their
handiwork. Suddenly the latter caught sight of an aeroplane winging its
way toward them.
"Bauerschreck!" he shouted, and the airman followed his pointed finger.
Instantly under his skillful manipulation their biplane climbed into the
air in long graceful spirals until they were six thousand feet above
ground. But as fast as they went, their heavier Aviatik was no match in
speed for the swift French aeroplane, and the bullets from the latter's
machine gun were soon uncomfortably near.
The German airman's face was set in grim lines as he maneuvered his
biplane close to his pursuer and, dodging and twisting in sharp dips and
curves, spoiled the aim of the Frenchman at the machine gun, while his
own revolver and that of his observer kept up a continuous fusillade.
For twenty minutes the unequal fight continued. It could not last much
longer. Despair pulled at the German's heartstrings as he saw his
observer topple for a moment in his seat, then pitch forward into space.
The biplane tipped dangerously, righted itself and sped like a homing
pigeon in the direction of the German lines. There was nothing left but
to fly for it. The German dared not look behind; only by the mercy of God
were the Frenchman's shots going wild. It could not last; he must get the
range. Surely, surely they were past the last of the Allies' trenches?
The German turned and fired his revolver desperately at his pursuers.
Glory to God! one of his bullets punctured the latter's gasoline tank. It
must be so--the French aeroplane was apparently making a forced landing.
The shout on the German's lips was checked by a stinging sensation in his
right side. The Frenchman had his range at last.
Almost simultaneously his machine turned completely over. With groping,
desperate fingers the German strove to gain control over the levels and
right himself. In vain--and as he started in the downward rush, the
hurrying wind carried the frenzied whisper:
"The cross, dear God, the cross!"
POWERS THAT PREY
Not far as the crow flies from the scene of the German airman's
catastrophe, but with its presence hidden from general knowledge, was
the Grosses Hauptquartier, the pulsing heart and brain of the Imperial
fighting forces. Vigilant sentries patrolled the park leading from the
chateau commandeered for the use of the War Lord and his entourage, to
the quarters of the Great General Staff. In a secluded room of the
latter building a dozen men sat in conference about a table littered
with papers; they had been there since early evening, but no man
permitted his glance to stray to the dial of a library clock whose hands
were gradually approaching two o'clock. Truly, the chiefs of the
divisions were tireless toilers.
The Herr Chief of the Great General Staff was emphasizing his remarks
with vigor unusual even for him, when the telephone, no respecter of
persons, sent out its tinkling call. Hitching his chair closer to the
table, the Herr Chief of the Aviation Corps removed the receiver from
the instrument. A courteous silence prevailed as he took the message.
Replacing the receiver, he turned and confronted his confrères.
"An outpost reports," he began formally, "that Captain von Eltz in his
Aviatik biplane was pursued and wrecked by a French airman who was
obliged to make a forced landing inside our lines. The French airmen were
shot in their attempt to escape. Owing to the Aviatik biplane catching in
the branches of a tree and thereby breaking his fall Captain von Eltz was
rescued alive, although desperately wounded. The observer who accompanied
him is dead. On regaining consciousness Captain von Eltz reported that
his mission was successful, the new ammunition depot having been
completely destroyed by his bomb."
A low hum of approval greeted his words. "Well done, gallant von Eltz!"
exclaimed one of the hearers. "He deserves the Iron Cross."
"He will receive it," declared another officer enthusiastically.
"The information as to the location of this new ammunition depot, which
von Eltz has just destroyed, came from the man of whom I have been
telling you tonight," broke in the Herr Chief of the Secret Service. "He
has been our eyes and ears in England. Gentlemen, is it your wish that he
be intrusted with the delicate mission of which we have just been
The eyes of the Herr Chief of the Great General Staff swept his
companions. "Is it that I speak for all?" A quick affirmative answered
him. "Then, we leave the matter entirely in your hands." The Herr Chief
of the Secret Service bowed. "You know your agents; the selection is left
to you, but see there is no unnecessary delay."
"There will be no delay," responded the Herr Chief of the Secret Service.
"My agent is not far from here. With your permission, I take my leave,"
and saluting he hastened from the room.
The sun was halfway in the heavens when a limousine drew up before a
wayside inn near a semi-demolished city. Before the orderly sitting by
the chauffeur could swing himself to the ground, a tall man had stepped
to the side of the car and opened the door. For a second the Herr Chief
of the Secret Service and the stranger contemplated each other without
speaking, then the former motioned to the vacant seat by his side.
"We can talk as we ride," he announced brusquely. "Your luggage--"
"Is here," thrusting a much labeled suitcase inside the limousine and
jumping in after it.
At a low-toned word from the Herr Chief of the Secret Service the orderly
saluted and quickly resumed his seat by the chauffeur. There was a short
silence inside the limousine as the powerful car continued up the road.
They were stopped at the first railroad crossing by a trainload of
"Your pardon," and before the Herr Chief of the Secret Service could stop
him, the stranger pulled down the sash curtains of all the windows. "You
are well known; being recognized is the penalty of greatness. It is to my
interest to escape such a distinction."
"I approve your caution, Herr Captain," observed the older man. "Will you
smoke?" producing his cigarette case, and as the other smilingly helped
himself and accepted a lighted match, he surveyed him critically. Paying
no attention to his chief's scrutiny, the Secret Service agent
contemplated the luxurious appointments of the limousine with
satisfaction and puffed contentedly at his cigarette. His air of breeding
was unmistakable, but the devil-may-care sparkle in his gray-blue eyes
redeemed an otherwise expressionless face from being considered heavy.
The spirits of the Herr Chief of the Secret Service rose. His
recollection and judgment was still good; his agent, by men and women,
would be deemed extremely handsome.
"The new ammunition depot was destroyed last night by our airmen," he
said, with some abruptness. "Your information was reliable."
"Pardon, is not my information always reliable?" interpolated the Secret
"So it has proved," acknowledged his chief cordially, but a mark was
mentally registered against the Herr Captain. German bureaucracy does not
tolerate presumption from a subordinate. "And owing to your excellent
record, you have been selected for a most delicate mission."
"Under the same conditions?"
"The Imperial Government cannot be questioned," retorted his chief, his
"I am different from other operatives." A puff of cigarette smoke
wreathed upward from the speaker's lips. "A free-lance."
"And you have been given a free hand. We have not inquired into your
methods of procuring information, being content with the result."
"And does not the result justify not only your confidence but promotion?"
The Herr Chief of the Secret Service considered before replying; then he
answered with a question.
"Have you been to Ireland?"
The Secret Service agent smiled grimly as he took from his pocket a book
of cigarette papers. Counting them over, he selected the seventeenth
paper, and passed it to his companion, who examined the small blank sheet
with interest. "Just a moment," and the young man again slipped his hand
into a vest pocket, this time bringing out a nickel flashlight. Pressing
his thumb on the switch he held the glass bulb against the rice paper. In
a few minutes a faint tracing appeared on the blank page, which grew
brighter as the rays of light generated more heat.
"Hold it a moment," said the Herr Chief of the Secret Service. "Keep it
over the bulb," and taking out his notebook he made several entries, then
closed it with a snap.
"Finished?" As he asked the question, the Secret Service agent replaced
his pocket flashlight, drew out his tobacco pouch, poured a little in the
rice paper, and proceeded to roll the cigarette with practiced fingers.
"About Sheerness?" questioned the Herr Chief of the Secret Service.
"All is arranged."
"Good." The Herr Chief of the Secret Service permitted himself to settle
back more comfortably on the roomy seat so that he faced his companion.
In the closed and semi-darkened limousine there was no danger of their
conversation being overheard.
"I reserved for myself, Herr Captain," said the Herr Chief slowly, "the
pleasure of informing you that your valuable services to the Kaiser and
the Fatherland"--the Secret Service agent raised his hat--"are
recognized. The Cross may yet be yours."
"How can I express my gratitude?" stammered the Secret Service agent.
"By not jumping to hasty conclusions," smiled his chief. "Never again
question your orders."
"Be just," protested the Secret Service agent warmly. "I have risked my
life daily for the Kaiser and the Fatherland in a hostile country. There
have been hours which I do not care to remember." The speaker's tone grew
husky. "Some day--a short shift; and I must make provision for another."
"I understood you were not married?"
There was a barely perceptible pause. "Spies do not marry, sir."
"And if a Secret Service agent has a healthy regard for his own safety,
he is careful of serious entanglements," cautioned his chief. "However,
judging by your past work, I believe you are quite able to take care of
yourself. Thanks to the warnings and information of your organization we
have been able to meet some of the Allies' contemplated concerted
attacks, and your information as to the sailing of transports and the
movements of ammunition trains has been of inestimable service."
"Do you still wish me to keep up this particular work?"
"No." The Herr Chief of the Secret Service leaned forward in his
earnestness. "This war has demonstrated again and again that victory goes
with the heaviest artillery."
"True! Antwerp, one of the strongest fortified cities on the Continent,
crumpled up before our siege guns," broke in his companion.
The older man paid no attention to the interruption, but continued
gravely: "Hand to hand conflict and cavalry charges are a thing of the
past. We shell out the enemies' trenches from batteries six to twelve
miles away. All this you already know; I repeat it now to explain what I
am about to say. We are in possession of the mining district of France,
they are getting hard pushed for ammunition; England's supply is not
inexhaustible; Russia cannot half arm her fighting forces. They one and
all are appealing to the manufacturing capitalists of the United States
to furnish them with arms and ammunition."
"And with success," dryly.
The Herr Chief of the Secret Police frowned. "It must be stopped. You are
to go to America--"
"Yes, at once. You have a genius for organization; your work in England
proved that. Let us know what merchant vessels and passenger steamers are
carrying munitions of war. Be sure, doubly sure, that your information is
correct, for we shall act upon it. Our Government stands ready to take
most drastic measures to stop such traffic."
"I see." The Secret Service agent stroked his clean-shaven chin in
meditative silence. "In England I went hand in hand with death; in the
United States I am likely to outlive my usefulness."
"Perhaps," with dry significance. "But recollect our Government is ready
to adopt _any_ expedient to stop the exporting of arms and ammunition to
"As for instance--?"
"Leave our methods to us; you have your work. You will make your
headquarters at Washington City. There you will be able to place your
hand on the pulse of the nation, and there you will find--idle women."
"Have we not already representatives at the United States capital?"
The Herr Chief of the Secret Service eyed him keenly. "Our embassy is
concerned only with the diplomatic world. You are to send us word whether
the United States Government arsenals are working under a full complement
of men; of the orders placed by the Navy Department for submarines, and
the activities obtaining in private munition plants. Be certain and study
the undercurrent of sentiment for or against us. Report as you have
"How am I to get in touch with the private shipyards and munition
"I will give you letters to residents loyal to their Fatherland. A number
of the owners of powder companies and munition plants usually winter in
Washington. I am also told that Mexican juntas still make Washington
their headquarters." The eyes of the Secret Service agent were boring
into him, but the older man's countenance remained a mask. "You must bear
in mind that if the American capitalists persist in selling assistance to
our enemies the attention of the United States must be diverted to other
"Such a plan could only be carried out by creating a necessity of
home consumption for war munitions," supplemented the Secret Service
Without replying the Herr Chief of the Secret Service pulled forward a
small despatch-box from a cleverly concealed pocket in the upholstery of
"We are motoring to your nearest destination," he said soberly,
opening the box. "Here are your letters of credit, your passport, and
introductions to our friends across the water," handing him a leather
wallet. "They will see that you are properly introduced to Washington
hostesses. Go out in society; I am told it is most delightful at the
Capital. Make friends with influential public men and prominent
Washingtonians. Above all," with emphasis, "cultivate the gentler
sex; remember, idle women make excellent pawns, my dear Herr Captain
"SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT?"
Mrs. Winslow Whitney, gathering her wraps together, stepped from the
"I shall not need you again tonight, Henry," she said, as the chauffeur
sprang to the sidewalk to assist her.
"Very good, ma'am," and touching his cap respectfully, he took from the
limousine the heavy fur laprobe and hastened to ring the doorbell for
Halfway to her front door Mrs. Whitney paused to scan the outward
appearance of her home. The large, Colonial, brick double house, with
lights partly showing behind handsomely curtained windows, looked the
embodiment of comfort, but Mrs. Whitney heaved a sharp sigh of
discontent. The surroundings were not pleasing to her. Again and again
she had pleaded with her husband to give up the old house and move into a
more fashionable neighborhood. But with the tenacity which easy-going men
sometimes exhibit, Winslow Whitney clung to the home of his ancestors. It
had descended from father to son for generations, and finally to him, the
last of the direct male line. Although business had encroached and noisy
electric cars passed his door, and even government buildings dwarfed the
impressive size of the old mansion, he declined to give up his home,
stating that he had been born there and there he would die.
"Very well, you and Providence can settle the point between you, Dad,"
answered Kathleen, his only child, who had been brought in to use her
persuasive powers upon her irate parent. "But as long as mother and I
have to inhabit this old shell you must, simply must, put new works
And Whitney, with the generosity which marked his every action to those
he loved, rehabilitated and remodeled the mansion until it finally
rivaled in up-to-date completeness the more ornate homes of the newly
rich in the fashionable Northwest.
"Has Miss Kathleen returned?" asked Mrs. Whitney, handing her wraps to
the breathless Vincent, who had hurried to answer the chauffeur's
"When she does return, tell her that I wish to see her."
"Is Mr. Whitney in his studio?"
"Yes, ma'am. Shall I send Julie to you?"
"Tell her to go to my room and wait for me." As she spoke Mrs. Whitney
crossed the broad hall and, passing the Colonial staircase, entered the
elevator. The automatic car carried her to the first bedroom floor but,
changing her mind, she did not open the door; instead she pressed the
electric button marked "Attic." Her slight feeling of irritation aroused
by not being met downstairs by any member of her family was increased by
stepping from the elevator into a dark hall.
"Winslow!" she called. Meeting with no response she walked over to the
opposite wall and by the aid of the light in the elevator found the
electric switch and turned it on. Not pausing to look about her, she went
to the back of the large high-roofed attic and tried the handle of a
closed door. Finding that it would not open to her touch, she rapped
sharply on the panel. She waited several seconds before she heard a chair
pushed back and the sound of advancing footsteps. The inside bolt was
shot back with distinct force.
"Well, what is it?" demanded Whitney, jerking open the door. "Oh, my
dear," his tone changing at sight of his wife, "I had no idea you were
returning so soon."
"Do you call half-past six o'clock soon?" asked Mrs. Whitney following
him into the room. "Winslow, Winslow, I warn you not to become too
absorbed in your work."
Whitney laughed somewhat ruefully. "Does the kettle call the pot black?
What do you do but give up your time to the Sisters in Unity? I'm a
secondary consideration. There, there," noting his wife's expression.
"Don't let us dispute over trifles. I'm making headway, Minna--headway."
"I congratulate you, dear." Mrs. Whitney laid a caressing hand on his
touseled gray hair. "I never doubted that you would. But, Winslow, such
complete absorption in your work is not healthy. The doctor has warned
you not to shut yourself up in this room for hours, and particularly that
you are not to lock your door on the inside. Remember your recent attacks
"McLane's an ass. The vertigo sprang from indigestion; hereafter, I'll be
more careful what I eat," he protested. "There's nothing the matter with
this room; it's well ventilated and heated. And I will lock my door--I
won't be interrupted by any jackass servant wanting to feed me
pap"--pointing scornfully toward the hall where a tray laden with a
teapot and tempting dishes stood on a table near the door. "Do you not
yet realize, Minna, that this is my life work?" With a sweeping gesture
he indicated the models, brass, wood, and wax, which filled every cranny
of the sparsely furnished room.
Mrs. Whitney sighed. The room was her bugbear. She had dignified it with
the name of "studio," but it looked what it was--a workshop. Winslow
Whitney, considered in clubdom as a dilettante and known to scientists as
an inventor of ability, frowned impatiently as he observed his wife's air
"My dear, we must agree to disagree," he said, lowering his voice. "My
brain is carrying too much just now; I cannot be confused by side issues.
Everything must wait until my invention is completed."
"Is your daughter's welfare of secondary importance?"
"What?" Whitney surveyed his wife in startled surprise, and her handsome
face flushed under his scrutiny. "What is the matter with Kathleen's
welfare? Do I illtreat her? Is she refused money? Do I make her spend
hours here helping me in this"--sarcastically--"sweatshop? Four years ago
she took up this fad of painting; you encouraged her at it--you know you
did," shaking an accusing finger at his wife. "You persuaded me to let
her study in Germany, and she hasn't been worth a button since--as far
as home comfort goes."
"It's true," doggedly. "Formerly she was willing and glad to help me with
my modeling, help me in making calculations, tracings--now she spends her
"All young girls flirt, Winslow."
"But Kathleen was always so shy," Whitney shook his head. "Now I'm asked
at the club if she isn't engaged to this man and that."
"Will you never realize that Kathleen is exceptionally pretty, with the
gift of fascination?"
"A dangerous power," said Whitney gravely. "I do not entirely approve of
the men whose attentions Kathleen encourages."
"As for instance...."
"Young Potter, and this Baron Frederic von Fincke--you know, Minna, I do
not approve of international marriages, and I am very glad that Kathleen
refused that Englishman, John Hargraves, whom she met in Germany...."
"I sometimes wonder if she regrets," said Mrs. Whitney musingly.
"Kathleen hears from him occasionally--and at times she is so very odd in
"Humph! I hope not. I don't want her to be a war bride," retorted
Whitney. "And all Englishmen of family are at the front these days. You
don't think, Minna," with quickly suppressed nervousness, "that Kathleen
can be fond of Sinclair Spencer."
"Sinclair Spencer?" echoed Mrs. Whitney. "Why he is double her age, and
besides, Winslow, his habits are not...."
"I know," gloomily, as his wife paused. "I would certainly never give my
consent to such a marriage. But, Minna, he is forever hanging around
Kathleen and haunts this house."
"So much so that Kathleen is heartily sick of him," said Mrs. Whitney
comfortingly. "She is not the girl to really care for a man of his
caliber. After all, Winslow," unable to restrain the dig, "you are
responsible for Sinclair Spencer's intimate footing in this house...."
"Intimate footing? Nothing of the sort. Just because I employed him as my
patent attorney, you and Kathleen did not have to throw yourselves at
his head and have him sitting in your pockets."
Mrs. Whitney laughed outright. "My dear Winslow, neither Kathleen nor I
encouraged him to come here. If you are afraid," her eyes twinkling,
"that Kathleen considers his attentions seriously, I will sound her on
the subject. And this brings me back to what I was going to say
originally; you must inquire about the men Kathleen meets. She is at the
impressionable age and as apt as not to pick up an undesirable _parti_."
"Why didn't Kathleen remain a schoolgirl?" fumed Whitney. "Then we only
had to engage competent nurses and look up their references and our
"Your responsibility is just beginning," said Mrs. Whitney cheerfully.
"By the way, the days are short, and Kathleen should be at home by five
o'clock at least; this is a rough neighborhood for a beautiful girl to
walk through unattended."
"My forefathers found no fault with this neighborhood," replied Whitney
stiffly. "Then it was fashionable, now it is a good respectable business
section; and if dividends continue to dwindle you may thank your stars we
are in a business section--for convenience' sake. I will not give up this
house, Minna, even to please you."
"Dear Winslow, don't excite yourself." Mrs. Whitney laid an affectionate
hand on his arm. "Remember Dr. McLane's advice ... and dinner will be
served in an hour. Please come down and get it while it is hot," and not
waiting to hear his halfhearted promise she walked from the room and
closed the door. It was some seconds before Whitney resumed his
"Only a little while now," he muttered--"only a little while."
Before proceeding to her bedroom Mrs. Whitney sought the suite of rooms
which had been given to Kathleen on her coming of age two months before.
Finding the prettily decorated and furnished sitting-room empty she
walked into the adjoining bedroom and saw Kathleen sitting at her
"What detained you?" she asked kindly, as the girl turned on her
"The symphony concert was not over until twenty-five minutes ago. Won't
you sit down, dear?" pulling forward a chair. "I must go on with my
dressing. My pink satin, Julie, thank you," as the French maid appeared.
"Are you dining out tonight?" in surprise. "I thought you told me you had
no engagement for this evening."
"I hadn't, mother. This invitation was quite unexpected," explained
Kathleen, arranging her hair with care. "On my return from the concert I
found this note from Miss Kiametia Grey asking me to fill a place and
prevent thirteen at her dinner tonight."
"I see." Mrs. Whitney inspected the dainty note-paper and forceful
handwriting through her gold lorgnette. The word of Miss Kiametia Grey
was as the law of the Medes and Persians to her many friends, and Mrs.
Whitney had a high regard for the wealthy spinster who cloaked her
warm-hearted impulsiveness under an erratic and often brusque manner.
"You cannot very well refuse. Who sent you those orchids?" pointing to a
handsome bouquet lying half out of its box on the bed.
"Sinclair Spencer," briefly. "Be careful, Julie, don't muss my hair,"
and discussing unimportant matters Kathleen hurried her dressing as much
"Not knowing you were going out I told Henry he would not be needed
tonight," said Mrs. Whitney, suddenly waking up to the fact that Kathleen
was ready to go. "You had better order a herdic."
"Oh!" Kathleen gazed at her blankly. "And the dinner is at the Chevy
"Pardon, madame," Julie, the maid, spoke in rapid French. "Mademoiselle
Grey telephoned to ask if mademoiselle had returned and said that she
hoped she could dine with her. Knowing madame had no engagement this
evening, I took the great liberty of telling Henry to be here with the
"Quite right, Julie," Mrs. Whitney rose. "Don't forget your orchids,
"I am not going to wear them; they"--not meeting Mrs. Whitney's
eyes--"they would stain my dress. Good night, mother. I am likely to be
late; don't either you or Dad wait up for me."
An hour later, her naturally rosy cheeks a deeper tint from the
consciousness that she was late, Kathleen made a charming picture as she
stood just within the entrance to the assembly room of the Chevy Chase
Club, waiting to greet her hostess who was at that moment marshalling her
guests out to the private dining-room. It was several minutes before Miss
Kiametia Grey discovered Kathleen's presence.
"So very glad you could come," she said, squeezing her hand warmly. "Not
only did I want to be helped over the thirteen bugaboo, but I have such a
nice dinner partner for you. Captain Miller. Yes, Judge, you are to take
me out. Kathleen, introduce yourself to the Captain."
"Am I to find him by the process of elimination?" laughed Kathleen, as
Miss Kiametia laid her hand on the Judge's arm.
"He is just back of you," she called, and Kathleen turned around. Every
vestige of color left her cheeks as she encountered the steadfast gaze of
a tall, broad-shouldered man in immaculate evening dress.
"You?" she blurted out, her white lips barely forming the word. "_You_?"
There was an agonizing pause, then Captain Miller stepped toward her.
"Suppose we go out to dinner," he suggested suavely.
AN EVENTFUL EVENING
While keeping up an animated conversation with Judge Powers, Miss
Kiametia Grey saw with inward perturbation that her vis-à-vis, Captain
Miller, was spending much of his time between courses making bread
pellets. What possessed Kathleen Whitney? She was usually the soul of
courtesy, and yet her hostess had not seen her address one word to her
dinner partner. Possibly Kathleen had taken offense at her off-hand
introduction to the handsome officer. But that was not like the
warmhearted, charming girl she had come to love and admire, and Miss
Kiametia ate her dinner with less and less relish as she tried to keep
up her end of the conversation and forget about the pair seated
Captain Charles Miller had just finished helping himself to an ice when,
from the tail of his eye, he saw Kathleen quickly palm his place card.
"Let us make it an exchange," he said, and reaching across her plate,
picked up the pretty hand-painted Japanese card bearing her name, and
slipped it inside the pocket of his white vest.
For the first time that evening there was color in Kathleen's cheeks.
"You have not lost your--"
"Effrontery," she finished. "I cannot see that the years have brought
"To you, most certainly not," and there was no mistaking the admiration
in his eyes.
"I object to personalities." She paused. "And particularly on slight
Miller bowed. "It is my loss that we have not met before," and he did not
miss the look of relief that lighted her eyes for the fraction of a
second. Swiftly he changed the subject. "Who is the man glaring at us
from the end of the table?"
"Baron Frederic von Fincke." Her manner was barely civil and that was
all. Under his heavy eyebrows Miller's eyes snapped. She should talk to
him, and he squared his broad shoulders.
"I have already met the young girl sitting next him," he said, "and who
is her dinner partner?"
"Captain Edwin Sayre, United States Army."
"Of what branch of the service?"
"Is it true, Miss Kathleen," broke in the man seated on her right, "that
Captain Sayre has resigned from the army to take a position in the Du
Pont Powder Works?"
"I believe so."
"Is that not establishing a bad precedent, Mr. Spencer?" inquired Miller.
He had met the lawyer on his arrival before dinner. "Suppose other
officers follow his example, what will the army do in case of hostilities
"Probably the officers will apply for active service." Sinclair Spencer,
glad of the pretext that talking to Miller gave him of bending nearer
Kathleen, turned his back on his dinner partner. That Kathleen had given
him her full attention throughout the dinner had partly compensated for
the fact that she was not wearing his orchids. It had been weeks since he
had enjoyed so uninterrupted a talk with her. That her manner was
distrait and her replies somewhat haphazard escaped him utterly. The
drive to Chevy Chase was both long and cold, and while waiting for Miss
Kiametia's other guests to assemble before he presented himself, he had
enjoyed more than one cocktail. That stimulant, combined with Miss
Kiametia's excellent champagne, had dulled his perceptions. "The officers
will be given their old rank," continued Spencer. "In the meantime they
will have gained most valuable experience."
"There is really no prospect now of a war with Mexico." As she spoke
Kathleen looked anxiously across at Miss Kiametia, but her hostess showed
no disposition to give the signal for rising. Kathleen was aware by his
thick speech and flushed features that Spencer had taken more wine than
was good for him. She desired to ignore Captain Miller, but she was
equally desirous not to encourage Spencer's attentions. She moved her
chair back as far as she could from the table to avoid the latter's near
presence as he bent toward her. Deliberately she turned and continued her
remarks to Miller. "As soon as a fair election is held and a president
elected, he will be recognized by our Government."
Miller laughed. "A fair election and Mexico are a contradiction of terms.
Trouble there is by no means over. I hope that you are not a
"Indeed I am not," and Kathleen's eyes sparkled. "I am for peace
with a punch."
Again Spencer cut into the conversation, but his condition was so
apparent that Kathleen shrank from him. "Miss Kathleen, give me firs'
dance," he demanded, as Miss Kiametia laid aside her napkin and pushed
back her chair.
In a second Baron Frederic von Fincke was by her side, and with a sigh of
thankfulness Kathleen accepted his eager demand for a dance, and they
hastened into the assembly room, which, stripped of its furniture, was
already filled with dancers. It was the regular Wednesday night dance at
the club and the room was crowded. Kathleen had no difficulty in avoiding
Captain Miller. Since her début she had reigned an acknowledged belle in
society, and she was quickly importuned by men eager for a dance. But as
she laughed and jested with her partners, she was conscious of lagging
time and numbing brain. Could she keep up the farce much longer?
From one of the doorways Sinclair Spencer watched the gay scene with
surly discontent. An attempt to dance, while its result had no effect
upon his understanding, had caused his partner hastily to seek her
chaperon. His only ray of consolation was that she had not been Kathleen
Whitney. Come to think of it, she had never thanked him for his orchids.
The oversight worried him, and he was about to attempt to dodge the
dancers and cross the room in search of Kathleen when Baron von Fincke
stopped and addressed him.
"She is very beautiful, your Miss Whitney," he said slowly. His English
was not fluent "But she has not the tact of her pretty mother. _She_
would never have shown her avoidance of Captain Miller quite so plainly
as did Miss Whitney during dinner."
"'Twasn't 'voidance," protested Spencer. "I cut him out."
"Then why postpone your wooing?" The foreigner permitted no hint of his
secret amusement to creep into his voice as he glanced from Spencer to
where Kathleen was dancing.
"Go-going to ask Kathleen tonight," replied Spencer, with drunken
dignity. "I'm no la-laggard. Speak to Whitney, too; though that isn't
important--he won't refuse." He cogitated darkly for a moment. "If he
does ... I'll make things hot for him...."
"Hush!" Von Fincke laid a heavy hand on Spencer's shoulder as he looked
carefully about them; apparently no one was within earshot. "Collect your
wits. The time is not ripe for threats, Spencer. The invention is not yet
completed; until it is--no threats. We must not kill the goose before the
golden egg is laid."
"Washn't makin' threats," stammered Spencer, startled by the angry gleam
in his companion's eyes. "Now, don't get mad, von Fincke, think of all
I've done in that Mex--"
"Come this way," and with no gentle hand the foreigner propelled Spencer
down the hall out of sight of the guests and out of doors.
Miss Kiametia Grey, enjoying watching the dancing as much as her guests
enjoyed participating in it, was interrupted in her desultory
conversation with two chaperons by one of the club attendants. Upon
receiving his message she made her way to where Kathleen and her partner
had just paused after a breathless extra.
"Having a good time, dearie?" she questioned. "It is a shame to interrupt
your pleasure, but your father has telephoned that you must be at home by
"And your car waits, Cinderella," put in Spencer who, suddenly returning,
had overheard Miss Kiametia's remark. He had a particularly hard time
with the pronunciation of "Cinderella."
The spinster favored him with a frown, and the back view of a sharp
shoulder blade. To her mid-Victorian mind Sinclair Spencer was not
conducting himself as a gentleman should, and her half-considered resolve
to drop him from her visiting list became adamantine as she observed his
appearance. Slipping her hand inside Kathleen's arm she led her to the
"Catch me asking fourteen to dinner again!" she exclaimed. "It always
dwindles to thirteen at the last moment, and I have a nervous chill until
the number is completed."
"Whose place did I fill?" asked Kathleen, presenting her cloak check
to the maid.
"Nobody's, to be quite candid," Miss Kiametia smiled ruefully. "My dinner
was originally twelve, but Captain Miller was so charming this afternoon
that I asked him on impulse, and then sent for you to pair off with him."
"Thank you." The dryness of her tone was not lost on the spinster. There
were times when she wished to box Kathleen's ears. She was a born
matchmaker, and Kathleen's indifference to matrimonial opportunities was
a constant source of vexation to her.
"Never saw two people look so ideally suited to each other," she snapped.
Kathleen started as if stung. "And I'm told mutual aversion is often a
good beginning for a romance. I never saw you discourteous before,
Kathleen; you simply ignored Captain Miller until dessert."
"Possibly I had good reason." Kathleen's color rose. "Where, pray, did
you pick him up?"
"Tut, tut! Don't forget you are talking to a woman nearly old enough to
be your mother." But Miss Kiametia's kind heart softened as she saw
Kathleen felt her words. "There, dearie, don't mind an old crosspatch.
Captain Miller was introduced to me by Senator Foster. You can see with
half an eye that Captain Miller is a gentleman born and bred. All ready?
Then I'll run back to my other guests. Come and see me Sunday," and with
a friendly wave of her hand, Miss Kiametia returned to the dining-room
where the dancers had adjourned for supper.
Kathleen found her limousine waiting at the entrance, and bidding the
club attendant good-night she stepped inside the car, but as her
chauffeur started to close the door he was pushed to one side.
"Fa-sher tele-telephoned I was to shee you home," announced Spencer,
striving to enunciate clearly. His haste and unsteady gait precipitated
him almost on top of the girl as he endeavored to seat himself by her
side. "D-don't get scared," placing a moist hand on her wrist. "Fa-sher's
orders. Ask H-Henry."
The chauffeur touched his cap. "Mr. Whitney did telephone me to bring
Mr. Spencer back with you, Miss Kathleen," he volunteered, and
without waiting for further orders he banged to the door and climbed
into his seat.
With an indignant exclamation Kathleen leaned over, seized the
speaking-tube and whistled through it. But apparently the roar of the
open throttle drowned the whistle, for Henry did not pick up his end of
the tube. As the car started down the drive a man jumped to the
running-board, jerked open the car door, and without ceremony pushed
Spencer into a corner and seated himself between the latter and Kathleen.
"Hope I didn't keep you waiting, Miss Whitney," he apologized. "Sorry to
have been late."
Kathleen shrank back. She did not need the light from the lamp at the
entrance of the club grounds to tell her the intruder was Captain Miller.
She was too well acquainted with his voice. A voice she had hoped never
to hear again.
Spencer, considerably shaken by the force Miller had used in thrusting
him back against the side of the car, muttered a string of curses, which
ended abruptly as Miller's elbow came in sharp contact with his ribs.
Too bewildered for speech, Kathleen rested her head against the
upholstered back of the limousine. Neither of the men seemed inclined to
break the silence as the car sped swiftly toward Washington, and
gradually Kathleen's reasoning power returned to her. She was furiously
angry with herself, with the world, with Fate. Ah, she _would_ be
mistress of her own fate. Kathleen compressed her lips in mute
determination. Captain Miller must be made to understand that she would
not tolerate his further acquaintance. How dared he thrust his presence
upon her? Kathleen's hot anger cooled for a second; if Miller had not
thrust himself into the limousine she would in all probability have
either had to order Henry forcibly to eject Spencer, which might have
given rise to unpleasant gossip, or have endured alone the intoxicated
man's society for the five-mile drive into town.
High-power arc lights were strung along the roadway, and under their
white glare Kathleen stole a glance at Miller. Handsome still, she
admitted to herself, and the same broad-shouldered, athletic figure. He
was the type of man which appeals to both men and women. She caught her
breath sharply as bitter memories crowded upon her, and slipping down her
hand, drew her skirts surreptitiously away from touching Miller. If he
noted the movement he gave no sign.
As the lights of Washington appeared, the chauffeur reduced the
limousine's speed to that required by law. They were in the heart of the
resident section when a snore from Spencer explained his long silence.
The warmth and motion of the limousine, combined with his overindulgence
in wine, had lulled him to sleep. With an effort Kathleen roused herself
from her dismal reflections.
"Can I leave you anywhere, Captain--Miller?" she inquired frigidly.
"No thanks, I will walk to my hotel after I have seen you safely home."
Kathleen fumbled with the clasp of her evening wrap and stared down the
empty streets. She waited until they were approaching Lafayette Square,
then broke her silence for the second time.
"I desire that you leave me here," she stated calmly. "I am now within a
few blocks of my home." Without waiting for comment she leaned forward,
tapped upon the front window, and signaled Henry to stop.
Miller rose as the limousine drew up to the curb. "As you wish," he said
courteously. "But I do not think this man a suitable companion for you,"
and collaring Spencer, he opened the door and, thrusting the still
sleeping man out on the pavement, sprang out after him.
Henry's eyes bulged as he saw the two men, but Miller's manner stopped
the ejaculation upon his lips.
"Take Miss Whitney home," directed Miller, and lifting his hat to
Kathleen he watched the limousine turn a corner and disappear. Then he
glanced down at Spencer sprawling on the pavement. A queer smile lighted
his face as he stared at the lawyer.
"What's your little game, Spencer?" he asked softly, and a hearty kick
punctuated the question.
AT THE CAPITOL
Mrs. Whitney's usually placid disposition was decidedly ruffled, and she
took no pains to conceal her displeasure.
"Really, Kathleen, you are greatly at fault," she said, as the girl
joined her in the vestibule. "The idea of keeping Henry at the Club until
after midnight! No wonder he is late now. No chauffeur can work both day
"I'm sorry, mother," but Kathleen did not look particularly penitent; she
considered that the faithful Henry had a soft berth. That he worked
occasionally would not prove harmful. She had hoped to avoid going to the
Capitol that morning, and when told that Henry had not appeared either at
the house for orders or at the garage, she had supposed the trip would be
given up. But Mrs. Whitney was of the persevering kind, and with her to
plan was to accomplish. Decidedly upset by Henry's non-appearance in her
well conducted household, she had ordered the garage to fill his place
temporarily, and her limousine was at last at the door.
Mrs. Whitney was giving her final direction to the new chauffeur as to
which she considered the best and safest route to the Capitol and the
speed she wished maintained, when her husband joined them.
"I've decided to take a morning off and go with you," he announced,
entering the limousine. "Room for me on the back seat?"
"Surely," and his wife patted the wide cushion. "We do not possess a
superabundance of flesh in this family."
"Except Dad," interpolated Kathleen mischievously. She knew her father
disliked the idea of getting fat, while lacking the initiative of keeping
thin. "What you need, Dad, is a cold plunge and a ten-mile walk before
Whitney shuddered. "Nice comfortable ideas you have, Kathleen, for a
winter day. It strikes me you should take a dose of your own medicine."
Inspecting her keenly. "Late hours do not improve your appearance,
"Thanks," but her usually sunny smile was strained. "And I suppose you
still work all night, Dad, disobeying Dr. McLane's orders."
"I don't take orders from McLane," shortly. "And I didn't work very late
last night. Your mother came up and tried some of her Sisters in Unity
persuasion upon me, and I capitulated."
Mrs. Whitney did not take the jest in good part. While she reveled in
society, she was essentially a clubwoman, and nothing delighted her so
much as debating and delivering addresses. She was a capital
extemporaneous speaker, and had held prominent offices in different
clubs. Possessing no sense of humor, which her husband and Kathleen had
in abundance, she seriously objected to their poking fun at her beloved
organization, the Sisters in Unity, of which she was a charter member.
Any allusion to it in fun she considered an offense in good taste.
Therefore withdrawing into dignified silence she permitted Whitney and
Kathleen to keep up the conversation. In fact, Whitney did most of the
talking, and neither he nor his wife perceived Kathleen's inattention.
"I'm on the high road to solving the last problem," he exulted. "The
invention is simple, so very simple, but, Minna, it will revolutionize
many things in warfare. You won't be ashamed of your old Dad, Kathleen,
when the world acknowledges what I've done."
"I'm proud of you now, and always have been," affirmed Kathleen, and
leaning over she placed a spray of lilies-of-the-valley from her bouquet
in his buttonhole.
"Who sent you the flowers, Kathleen?" inquired Mrs. Whitney.
"I don't know; I could find no card or note with them."
"Perhaps Sinclair Spencer has decided to send them anonymously." With a
look of repugnance, Kathleen pulled the flowers off and before her father
could interfere, opened the door and tossed the bouquet into the street.
"Good gracious, Kathleen, don't take everything that I say literally!"
exclaimed Mrs. Whitney. "I am sorry I suggested...."
"I am not, mother. After last night, nothing would induce me to wear
his flowers again," declared Kathleen with spirit. "Father, what made
"Here we are," broke in Whitney, apparently not hearing Kathleen's
remark, as the limousine drew up at the entrance to the Senate side of
the Capitol. "Jump out, Kathleen. Careful, Minna." But without assistance
Mrs. Whitney sprang lightly to the ground, a worried look on her face.
"I do believe, Winslow," she said, "that I have left my admission card to
the private gallery at home. It isn't in my bag."
"Don't mind, I'll look up Randall Foster; he'll see we get in. Come
They found the corridors of the huge building filled with hurrying men
and women, and Whitney spent fully twenty minutes before he succeeded in
obtaining the coveted card to the private gallery from his friend,
Senator Foster. To Mrs. Whitney's dismay they found the gallery filled;
but fortune favored them, for just after their entrance three women
seated in the front row rose and made their way out. With a quickness
which showed her familiarity with conventions Mrs. Whitney pounced upon
the seats, and sank into hers with a sigh of thankfulness. She had
overcome a number of obstacles that morning to get there, and though it
was a small matter she hated to be thwarted in anything she undertook.
Kathleen, like many another Washingtonian, confined her visits to the
Capitol to sightseeing trips with out-of-town friends, and she had come
there that morning only because she could think of no good reason for
staying away. To her inward surprise she soon found her attention
absorbed by the debate going on in the Senate, and when one of the
distinguished lawmakers commenced a characteristic speech she became
unconscious of the flight of time. As the Senator ended his fiery
peroration, she raised her head and, glancing toward the Diplomats'
Gallery, recognized Captain Charles Miller sitting in the front row
"Have you seen Medusa's head?" asked Whitney, tugging at her elbow. "Wake
up, Kathleen, unless you've been turned into marble. Your mother's told
you three times that Senator Foster has invited us to lunch with him. She
is waiting for us in the corridor. Come along."
As they joined Mrs. Whitney, a young man hurried up to them. "I am
Senator Foster's secretary," he explained. "The Senator has gone direct
to the dining-room on the ground floor. This way, please," and he piloted
them to an elevator. On reaching the private dining-room of the Senate
they found not only Foster but Miss Kiametia Grey awaiting them.
"This is my lucky day," exclaimed Foster, heartily. "First, you tell me
your wife and Miss Kathleen are here, Whitney; then I meet Kiametia on
the way to the gallery." Mrs. Whitney smiled covertly. The Senator's
courtship of the wealthy spinster was one of the most discussed topics in
smart society. "Couldn't resist the temptation to have you all lunch with
me," added Foster. "Won't you sit here, Mrs. Whitney," pulling out a
chair on his right, "and Kiametia," indicating the chair on his left,
"and Whitney next to you. Miss Kathleen, it's not etiquette to place
father and daughter together, but I have a stranger for your other hand.
Ah, here he comes...."
Kathleen's back was to the entrance of the dining-room, but a sixth sense
warned her who the newcomer was, and her face was expressionless when
Foster introduced his friend, Captain Miller, to Mrs. Whitney and her
husband. After greeting Miss Kiametia, Miller stepped to Kathleen's side.
"Good morning," he said quietly, and held out his hand. Kathleen drew
back, then good breeding mastered her indignation. A second later her
hand was laid in his and instantly withdrawn, but her fingers tingled
from his strong clasp.
"Jolly party you must have had last night, Kiametia." Foster's cheery
voice enabled Kathleen to control her somewhat shaken nerves. "Telephoned
Sinclair Spencer to stop and see me this morning, but his servant said he
never showed up until noon today."
"Kathleen pleaded guilty to a sleepless night," volunteered Mrs. Whitney,
to the girl's secret indignation.
"It was the lobster," answered Miss Kiametia. "I tried to warn you not
to eat it, Kathleen."
"Well, your lobster won't account for the non-appearance of Henry,"
mourned Mrs. Whitney, her mind harking back to her own grievance. "How
d'ye do, Mrs. Sunderland," as an elaborately gowned woman swept by their
table, barely returning their greeting.
"It is the regret of my life," announced Miss Kiametia, her eyes
twinkling, "that I never kept a photograph of Mrs. Sunderland taken when
she first came to Washington ten years ago. It would provide a study in
expression and expansion in social snobbery."
Mrs. Whitney, conscious that she was perhaps rude by her silence, turned
to Captain Miller who had taken no part in the conversation.
"Is this your first visit to Washington, Captain?" she inquired.
"Yes, and I find its residents so delightful that I hope to
prolong my stay."
"What did you think of the speech today?" broke in Foster.
"Capital! The Senator is right; if this government ship purchase bill
goes through, the country will indeed be buying a quarrel."
"Quite right," agreed Whitney, laying down his fork. "The only people
who fail to see it in that light are those advocating the bill's passage.
Every nation thinks the same."
"Except possibly Germany," argued Foster. "She would probably try and
sell us the hundreds of interned ships in our seaports."
"Well, why shouldn't she?" Miss Kiametia, with recollections of her
misgivings the night before, declined the lobster croquettes. "With the
German steamships and freighters interned here we should have a merchant
marine ready to our hand."
"And thereby provide instant use for our navy," retorted Whitney.
"Uncle Sam had better think twice before taking issue with the German
submarines," grumbled Miss Kiametia.
Whitney's eyes lit with an angry sparkle, and he opened his mouth to
speak, but his wife gave him no opportunity.
"Are you pro-German, Kiametia?" she asked in astonishment.
"Well, I lean that way," admitted the spinster. "You know I'm named for
the sister of Pocahontas, and my drop of Indian blood gives me a good
memory. It strikes me that this nation is overlooking the American
Revolution, not to mention 1812, and I also recollect that England did
not show us particular friendship during the Civil War."
"The idea of waving the bloody shirt of '76!" exclaimed Kathleen. "For
shame, Miss Kiametia! We Anglo-Saxons must stand together. And another
thing: Germany may have wiped the Belgians off the map, but she's lodged
them in every American heart."
"And we'll wake up some day and find the Germans sitting in Canada,"
retorted Miss Kiametia. "Looking at U. S."
"'Over the garden wall,'" quoted Whitney laughing. "No, no, Kiametia.
Wave the bloody shirt, but don't try to scare us with a straw man."
"Straw or not, the Kaiser is the world's bogy man. He has taught us a
lesson in preparedness which this country will be slow to imitate."
"Uncle Sam is a good disciplinarian but a poor student," acknowledged
Whitney, fingering the table ornaments nervously. "Well, Foster, I've
enjoyed myself immensely, but there's work awaiting me at home, and I
really must run along."
Mrs. Whitney, talking placidly with Captain Miller, looked considerably
taken aback by her husband's precipitancy. Hastily draining the last drop
of her demi-tasse, she added her thanks and good-byes, and followed her
husband and Kathleen from the room.
"I'll walk home," announced Kathleen, as Whitney signaled to their
chauffeur. "It will do me good, I need a constitutional."
"But--but it's over a mile," protested Mrs. Whitney.
"All the better," and waving her muff in farewell, Kathleen hastened off
through the grounds in the direction of Pennsylvania Avenue. She found
the cold invigorating air a bracing tonic after the steam-heated
atmosphere of the Capitol, and was thoroughly enjoying her walk when she
became conscious that a figure was keeping pace with her. Looking up, she
recognized Captain Miller. Kathleen stopped.
"Which way are you going?" she demanded, totally unconscious of the
pretty tableau she made, her dark beauty enhanced by a becoming hat and
silver fox furs. Not anticipating her abrupt halt, Miller was forced to
retrace his footsteps.
"I spoke to you twice, Miss Whitney, but you apparently did not hear me,"
he answered, lifting his hat. "I asked if I might accompany you, and took
silence for consent. My way lies your way."
Kathleen's fingers clenched tightly together inside her muff. "Are you
dead to all sense of decency?" she asked. "Can you not see that your
presence is an offense?"
Miller's color rose, and there was an ominous flash in his blue-gray
eyes, but she met his look undauntedly. "I think you take an exaggerated
view of the matter," he said quietly. "I desire your friendship."
"You dare ask that after...."
With a quiet masterful gesture Miller stopped her. "We are living in the
present," he said. "I repent the past. Come"--with deepening earnestness,
"you are warm-hearted, impulsive, generous--be generous to me--give me a
chance to make good. Before God, I will not fail you."
Kathleen scanned him keenly. Could she place faith in his sincerity?
As she met the penetrating glance she knew of old, now softened by the
fascination of his winning smile, she came again under the old
"I cannot be friends with a man whom I do not respect," she stammered.
"But you shall respect me," with dogged determination, "and then...."
A bevy of girls, coming out of Galt's, paused to greet Kathleen, and
Miller, not waiting to complete his sentence, bowed to her and continued
up the Avenue. He paid no attention to the streets he traversed, but on
turning into F Street sought shelter near a shop to light his cigarette.
As he threw the burnt match to the pavement he was attracted by a large
photograph of Kathleen Whitney in the window. It was an excellent
likeness, and Miller, studying the clear-cut features, the lovely eyes,
and soft rippling hair, felt his heart throb. He glanced at the sign
above the window and found he was standing before Edmonston's
Photographic Studio. On impulse he entered the building.
Miller's absorption in Kathleen's photograph had not gone unnoticed, and
when he emerged from the studio, the observer accosted him.
"Beg pardon, sir, I'm Henry, Mr. Whitney's chauffeur," he said. "Mr.
Spencer, sir, was much put out to wake up this morning, sir, and find
himself in a strange hotel."
"Better that than being registered 'drunk and disorderly,'" smiled
"Yes, Captain Miller. I told him, sir, that you had done him a service."
"Ah, indeed? May I ask how you know who I am?"
"I made out you'd have trouble with Mr. Spencer, sir, and as soon as I'd
left Miss Kathleen at home, sir, I ran the car back down by the park,
sir, just in time to see you leading Mr. Spencer into the hotel. The
doorman there gave me your name, sir."
"I see," replied Miller thoughtfully. "I lunched with Mr. Whitney today,
and it was mentioned that you had not shown up," and his eyes were guilty
of a peculiar glint as he scrutinized the intelligent face and finely
proportioned figure of the chauffeur.
Henry reddened. "I wasn't feeling very well in the night, sir, and
overslept," he explained. "Eh, Captain," as Miller turned away. "I saw
you looking, sir, at Miss Kathleen's picture. Did you get a copy in
"I thought not, sir. They never part with their photographs in there,
sir. But there's an extra one in Mr. Whitney's library, sir, which I
could ... could...." he stopped abruptly as he met Miller's gaze.
After a pause Miller slipped his hand into his pocket and on pulling it
out disclosed a gold coin lying in his bare palm. "I see you are
amenable to reason, Henry," he said serenely, and the chauffeur
stammered his thanks.
Sinclair Spencer walked up and down the Whitney drawing-room examining
the costly bric-a-brac, totally blind to the merits of each piece and in
several instances replacing them with entire disregard as to whether they
rested on the edge, or on firm foundation. His occupation was interrupted
by the return of Vincent, the butler.
"Miss Kathleen is not at home, sir," he announced.
"Quite certain, Vincent?" holding out a treasury bill with a
"Quite, sir." Vincent looked offended, but slipped the large tip in his
pocket with inward satisfaction. He saw Spencer's crestfallen appearance
and thawed. "Julie, the maid, says Miss Kathleen hasn't returned from the
Red Cross meeting, sir, but that she's liable to come in 'most any time."
"Well, perhaps--is Mr. Whitney at home?"
"Yes, sir; but I dassent interrupt him, sir. He's working in his studio."
"Then I'll wait here for a time, at least. Don't wait, Vincent"
"Very good, sir." But Vincent paused irresolutely. His conscience was
reproaching him. Miss Kathleen's orders had been very explicit; if Mr.
Spencer called to see her father, well and good; if he came to see _her_,
he was not to be admitted.
For six weeks the seesaw had kept up, and Vincent had grown weary of
answering the door for Spencer. He had been an almost daily caller,
occasionally admitted when Winslow Whitney was downstairs, and always a
visitor on Mrs. Winslow's weekly day at home. But these latter visits had
profited him nothing. Kathleen never gave him an opportunity to see her
alone, and it was the same at dinners and dances to which they were both
invited. Spencer had come there that morning fully determined to see
Kathleen and, as he expressed it to himself, "have an understanding with
her." Having for once gotten by Vincent's relaxed guard, wild horses
would not have dragged him away.
Vincent's harassed expression altered to one of relief as he heard the
front doorbell sound, but his feelings underwent a change when he saw
Kathleen standing in the vestibule instead of Mrs. Whitney, who had
announced that she would return early as she was walking and not using
"Any mail for me in the noon delivery?" asked Kathleen, and her smile
faded at the butler's negative reply. Why did her letters to England
remain unanswered? John Hargraves was the promptest of correspondents,
and the question she had asked him required an answer. Preoccupied with
her own thoughts, she was about to enter the elevator totally oblivious
to Vincent's agitated manner. As she placed her hand on the elevator
door, Sinclair Spencer walked into the hall.
"How are you?" he said, his off-hand salutation concealing much
tribulation of spirit. Vincent caught one glimpse of Kathleen's face and
"Do you wish to see my father, Mr. Spencer?" asked Kathleen, utterly
ignoring his outstretched hand.
"No. I came expressly to see you," and his air of dogged determination
was not to be mistaken. Kathleen came to a sudden decision.
"Suppose we go into the drawing-room," she suggested. "I can spare you a
few minutes." But once in the room she did not sit down. "Why do you wish
to see me, Mr. Spencer?"
"To ask you to marry me." Sinclair's usually florid face was white, and
his customary self-assurance had departed.
"I thank you for the compliment," with icy politeness, "but I must
decline your proposal."
"You--you refuse?" Spencer spoke as in a dream.
"Yes. Surely, Mr. Spencer, you cannot have expected any other
answer--cannot have deluded yourself into thinking that I could possibly
accept you? I have tried in every means within my power to discourage
"But why?" Spencer's air castles were tumbling about his ears, but he
stuck to his guns. His affection for Kathleen, fanned by her
indifference, had become all-absorbing. Courted and flattered by mothers
with marriageable daughters, he had come to believe that he had but to
speak to win Kathleen.
"Why discuss the matter further?" asked Kathleen. She heartily wished the
scene over; it had not been of her seeking. To wantonly hurt another's
feelings was alien to her nature, and that Spencer was suffering his
"I must." Spencer came a step nearer. "Tell me why you refuse me."
"Your habits ..."
"I haven't touched a drop of wine since that dinner at Chevy Chase,"
triumphantly. "And if you don't approve, I'll not take another drink as
long as I live."
"I certainly think it would be better for you to stick to that
resolution." Kathleen moved toward the hall door. "I really do not see
any object in prolonging this discussion."
"But I do," following her. "I have perhaps startled you by my abrupt
manner. I do love you, Kathleen"--his voice shook--"love you better than
anybody. I know that I can make you care for me. I have money ..."
"That makes no difference."
"With you, perhaps not," but Spencer looked dubious. "I swear never to
touch wine again. I will gratify your every wish"--Kathleen shook her
head, and he added heatedly, "What is there about me you don't like?"
"I--I cannot tell--" Kathleen edged toward the door. "It's a case of
"Fell?" Spencer turned red, his self-esteem pricked at last. "Is that
another name for Captain Miller?" with insolent significance.
Kathleen stepped back as if struck. "I think it time to end this
conversation," she said, but her remark received no attention.
"I see it all now," muttered Spencer. "Captain Miller has won your
"He has not." The contradiction slipped from Kathleen with more vehemence
than she intended. Spencer brightened. In endeavoring to convince
herself, she had thoroughly convinced him.
"You are not engaged to him?" he asked eagerly.
"Certainly not." Kathleen crimsoned with indignation. How dared Sinclair
Spencer catechise her! "I must insist that you leave. And, Mr. Spencer,
please remember, I desire that you never again allude to your proposal of
"But I shall," doggedly.
"Then our acquaintance will cease." Her manner even more than her words
roused Spencer to sudden wrath.
"No, it won't," he retorted. "And I will make you--understand--make you
reconsider your refusal to marry me. Good morning," and without a
backward look he departed.
Kathleen drew a long breath of relief as the front door closed behind
him. "Thank God, he's gone," she said aloud, unconscious that her words
were overheard. "He is insufferable. I cannot understand why father ever
encouraged him to come to the house."
Rapid walking soon brought Spencer to the corner of Seventeenth and H
Streets, and hailing a taxicab he gave the chauffeur an address on
Nineteenth Street. Fifteen minutes later he was ushered into the presence
of Baron Frederic von Fincke.
"And how is the excellent Mr. Spencer this morning?" asked von Fincke
genially, offering his guest a chair.
Spencer, however, remained standing and disregarded the question as well
as the chair.
"Who is this fellow, Charles Miller?" he asked in his turn.
Von Fincke laughed softly. "Consult your 'Who's Who,' my dear friend; do
not come to me, an outsider."
"You know why I come to you," with pointed accentuation. "I am determined
to find out Miller's antecedents, and I am convinced you can tell me if
Von Fincke shook his head. "You overrate my powers," he insisted suavely.
"I have met Captain Miller as one meets any visitor to this cosmopolitan
city. My acquaintance extends no further than our meeting at Miss Grey's
dinner at the Chevy Chase Club six weeks ago."
Spencer paused in indecision; for the moment, the foreigner's candid
manner disarmed his doubts. "Quite sure you can't find out about Miller?"
"I can but question my few friends in Washington; their information of
Captain Miller may be of the vaguest. Why do you not apply to Senator
Randall Foster? He and the Captain are what you call--inseparable."
"So they are, but I'm not going to Foster for anything."
"_No!_" The repetition was almost a roar. Spencer's temper, always
uncertain, had been severely tried that morning, and was rapidly giving
way under the strain of bitter disappointment. "I ran up against Foster
in those Senate lobby charges, and of all the cantankerous--" He paused
expressively, then added, "I used to have a high regard for his sagacity
and business judgment until he lost his head over that Grey woman.
Because she don't choose to be decently civil, he's turned surly. You
wait! I'll bring them to time, and Kathleen Whitney also."
"You may 'Ah!' all you wish, but I am going to marry that girl, in spite
of her refusal."
"And how is that to be accomplished if you have not the young
Spencer thrust his hands deep into his pockets and faced von Fincke
resolutely. "She idolizes her father; his word is law to her."
"And you have his consent to the match?"
"Not yet, but I mean to get it; if necessary, by moral suasion."
"Gently, my dear Spencer, gently." Von Fincke held up a warning hand.
"Whitney must not be annoyed."
"Indeed?" Spencer eyed his companion suspiciously. "And why not?"
Spencer's laugh was not pleasant. "How do you know it isn't completed and
patent applied for?"
"Is that so?" Von Fincke walked over to his desk and seated himself.
"Suppose we sit and talk...."
"No," defiantly. "The time for talking has gone by. You know, I'll bet my
last cent that Whitney has patents pending in the United States Patent
Office for his invention. All this waiting for him to finish his work is
poppy-cock. Why are you protecting Whitney, unless he's your tool?"
Von Fincke laughed. "You have strange ideas. Do sit and let us change
the topic of conversation."
"I won't." Spencer strode to the door. "I've done with your dirty
"Tut! tut!" Von Fincke, who had been leaning back in his revolving chair,
straightened up. "Your language, my dear friend, can be improved ..."
"And so can my knowledge," significantly. "I'm going to investigate
Whitney's affairs and his house before I'm much older. Don't bother to
ring for a servant," he added, seeing his host's hand hovering over the
electric desk bell, and not waiting for an answer, bolted from the room.
Von Fincke's hand descended on the electric bell button with imperative
force, and rising he hastened into the hall. He paused at sight of his
breathless valet ushering Spencer down the staircase. Not until he was
thoroughly convinced that Spencer had left the house did he turn back
from the head of the stairs.
"He grows troublesome, that Spencer," he mused as he made his way to his
own suite of rooms.
An hour later Captain Charles Miller turned in at the main entrance of
his hotel and went directly to his room on the eighth floor. Humming
softly to himself he hung up his overcoat and hat in the closet, and
removing his coat placed that also on a hanger. Back once more in his
bedroom, he carefully arranged the heavy draperies over his window so
that his movements were completely screened, and taking a black silk
muffler fastened it securely over the knob of the hall door. The window
and door of his private bathroom were likewise draped. Finally satisfied
that he was secure from observation and all sound deadened, Miller took
from his overcoat pocket four porcelain castors, and dropping on his
knees by the side of his brass bed, he deftly inserted them in place of
the bed's regular steel castors.
Pausing long enough to clear the toilet articles from his bureau, he
lifted from a box-shaped leather bag marked "Underwood" a Massie
Rosonophone and deftly installed it on the bureau top. Taking a slight
copper wire he attached it to one of the posts of the bed and connected
it with the apparatus, making sure that the wire was suspended clear of
the ground and surrounding objects. With another suspended wire he
grounded the apparatus on the radiator.
At last convinced that all was adjusted properly, Miller moved over to
his desk and gazed intently at a large photograph of Kathleen Whitney. It
was an occupation of which he never tired. The faint buzz of the alarm
bell sent him back to the wireless apparatus, and slipping on his
headpiece telephone he picked up his pencil. Listening intently to the
dots and dashes, Miller took down the message passing through space.
As he jotted down the last letter and the wireless apparatus ceased to
receive, Miller regarded the written coded message before him on his
writing pad with deep satisfaction. He was at last in tune with the
transmitting station. The code only remained to be solved.
Miss Kiametia Grey was having her last Tuesday at home before Holy Week,
and the drawing-room of her apartment was hardly large enough to hold all
her callers comfortably. She was assisted in receiving by several of her
friends, and Kathleen Whitney presided over the tea-table.
Kathleen, chatting gayly with first one visitor and then another, was
unaware that with the passing of time her eyes strayed more and more
frequently to the hall doorway, nor was she conscious that they gained an
added brightness on perceiving Captain Charles Miller enter the room.
Owing to the departure of other guests Miss Kiametia contented herself
with shaking Miller's hand warmly. "Come and talk to me later," she
called, and turned her attention to those waiting to say good-bye. But
she was not so absorbed as not to note Miller's progress down the
room. From the corner of her eye she saw him stop and speak to
Kathleen, accept a cup of tea, and walk over and seat himself on the
sofa by Mrs. Whitney. That Mrs. Whitney was pleased by the attention
was plain to be seen.
"Hum!" chuckled the astute spinster to herself. "'Always kiss the blossom
when making love to the bud'--Captain Miller is nobody's fool."
"Stop looking at Miller," admonished Senator Foster, standing by her
elbow. "Pay attention to me."
"I will, if you will inform me who Miller is," she retorted.
Foster looked at her oddly. "The Pied Piper, judging from the way you
women run after him," he grumbled. "Can't a good-looking man come to
Washington without being swamped with invitations?"
"Sour grapes!" Miss Kiametia's kind smile took the sting from her words,
and Foster, whose looks were his sensitive point, laughed. "You haven't
answered my question."
"He brought me letters from the president of a big munitions factory in
Pennsylvania," he answered readily. "I gather--mind you I know nothing
positively and must not be quoted...."
"Quite so. Well, I'm no parrot." The spinster nodded her head
vigorously. "You're safe; go on."
Again Foster hesitated. He knew Miss Kiametia dearly loved a morsel of
gossip, but he also knew that she could be trusted not to divulge matters
of real importance. He, as well as the other members of the set in which
the Whitneys and Miss Grey belonged, had observed Captain Miller's
attention to Kathleen, had noted the gradual thawing of her stiff manner
to him as the weeks went on, and he believed that Miss Kiametia's
questions were prompted by the affection she bore Kathleen. He also was
aware that the spinster cordially detested Sinclair Spencer and was
secretly elated at Kathleen's indifference to the lawyer's attentions.
"I imagine Miller is here in the interests of the Allies," he said,
lowering his voice. "I know that he has entered into negotiations for the
purchase of war munitions, and that he is hoping to put through a deal
for certain cavalry horses. I am so positive that he is what he
represents himself to be that I have given him letters to influential men
in my State."
"That possibly explains his many abrupt absences from the city,"
commented Miss Kiametia sagely. "He has the habit of backing out of
dinner engagements at the eleventh hour. But tell me, do you know
nothing about the man's family--his character?"
"Not a word. His letter of introduction was good, his business references
excellent, and so"--the Senator's gesture was expressive. "I had no idea
he would prove such a Beau Brummel when I introduced him to my Washington
friends." Foster turned and looked across the room at Miller. "I should
judge that he has seen service, his carriage is military."
"He appears to be an American, but he has certain mannerisms"--Miss
Kiametia paused and, not completing her sentence, turned her attention
to other guests. After their departure she beckoned Foster to join her
by the door.
"Captain Miller piques my curiosity," she whispered. "You say you
know nothing about his family--I am going to find out about his
"How?" Foster looked mystified. "Where are you going?" as she moved
forward. "Remember, what I told you was confidential."