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- Green Fancy - 51/51 -


Half-an-hour later he was speeding down the avenue in a taxi. His blood was singing, his heart was bursting with joy,--his head was light, for the feel of her was still in his arms, the voice of her in his enraptured ears.

He was hurrying homeward to the "diggings" he was soon to desert forever. Poor, wretched, little old "diggings"! As he passed the Plaza, the St. Regis and the Gotham, he favoured the great hostelries with contemplative, calculating eyes; he even looked with speculative envy upon the mansions of the Astors, the Vanderbilts and the Huntingtons. She was born and reared in a house of vast dimensions. Even the Vanderbilt places were puny in comparison. His reflections carried him back to the Plaza. There, at least, was something comparable in size. At any rate, it would do until he could look around for something larger! He laughed at his conceit,--and pinched himself again.

He was to spend the night at his sister's apartment. When he issued forth from his "diggings" at half-past seven, he was attired in evening clothes, and there was not a woman in all New York, young or old, who would have denied him a second glance.

Later on in the evening three of the Countess's friends arrived at the Courtney home to pay their respects to their fair compatriot, and to discuss the crown jewels. They came and brought with them the consoling information that arrangements were practically completed for the delivery of the jewels into the custody of the French Embassy at Washington, through whose intervention they were to be allowed to leave the United States without the formalities usually observed in cases of suspected smuggling. Upon the arrival in America of trusted messengers from Paris, headed by no less a personage than the ambassador himself, the imperial treasure was to pass into hands that would carry it safely to France. Prince Sebastian, still in Halifax, had been apprised by telegraph of the recovery of the jewels, and was expected to sail for England by the earliest steamer.

And while the visitors at the Courtney house were lifting their glasses to toast the prince they loved, and, in turn, the beautiful cousin who had braved so much and fared so luckily, and the tall wayfarer who had come into her life, a small man was stooping over a rifled knapsack in a room far down-town, glumly regarding the result of an unusually hazardous undertaking, even for one who could perform, such miracles as he. Scratching his chin, he grinned,--for he was the kind who bears disappointment with a grin,--and sat himself down at the big library table in the centre of the room. Carefully selecting a pen-point, he wrote:

"It will be quite obvious to you that I called unexpectedly to-night. The week was up, you see. I take the liberty of leaving under the paperweight at my elbow a two dollar bill. It ought to be ample payment for the damage done to your faithful traveling companion. Have the necessary stitches taken in the gash, and you will find the kit as good as new. I was more or less certain not to find what I was after, but as I have done no irreparable injury, I am sure you will forgive my love of adventure and excitement. It was really quite difficult to get from the fire escape to your window, but it was a delightful experience. Try crawling along that ten inch ledge yourself some day, and see if it isn't productive of a pleasant thrill. I shall not forget your promise to return good for evil some day. God knows I hope I may never be in a position to test your sincerity. We may meet again, and I hope under agreeable circumstances. Kindly pay my deepest respects to the Countess Ted, and believe me to be, "Yours VERY respectfully,

"Sprouse.

"P.S.--I saw O'Dowd to-day. He left a message for you and the Countess. Tell them, said he, that I ask God's blessing for them forever. He is off to-morrow for Brazil. He was very much relieved when he heard that I did not get the jewels the first time I went after them, and immensely entertained by my jolly description of how I went after them the second. By the way, you will be interested to learn that he has cut loose from the crowd he was trailing with. Mostly nuts, he says. Dynamiting munition plants in Canada was a grand project, says he, and it would have come to something if the damned women had only left the damned men alone. The expletives are O'Dowd's."

Ten hours before Barnes found this illuminating message on his library table, he stood at the window of a lofty Park Avenue apartment building, his arm about the slender, yielding figure of the only other occupant of the room. Pointing out over the black house-tops, he directed her attention to the myriad lights in the upper floors of a great hostelry to the south and west, and said,

"THAT is where you are going to live, darling."

THE END


Green Fancy - 51/51

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