If Evelyn Rogers, amply clad as to
fur around the neck but somewhat under-dressed as
to lace stockings about the legs, had desired to create
a sensation among her friends, she more than succeeded.
She preceded Carroll into the place, her eyes glowing
pridefully, skirted the table at which her friends
sat, then stopped abruptly, forcing Carroll to do
“Mr. Carroll,” she said
sweetly, “I want to introduce you to my friends.”
She called them by name. “Girls, this is
Mr. Carroll, the famous detective!”
Carroll bowed in his most courtly
manner, and assured them that he was delighted to
make their acquaintance. He insisted that it was
always a pleasure to meet any friends of his very
dear friend, Miss Rogers. The girls at the table
giggled with embarrassment, and one or two of them
made rather pallid attempts at repartee. Then
Carroll and the seventeen-year-old found a table in
the very center of the floor, even as a boy, recognizing
Carroll, appeared at their elbow.
The detective studied the list intently.
Apparently there was no subject in the world more
vital at that moment than the selection of just the
proper concoction. Finally he looked up and shook
“I can’t decide,”
he announced gravely. “They all sound so
good! Walnut banana sundae; strawberry glory;
peach Melba; chocolate parfait, with whipped cream
and cracked walnuts; elegantine fizz Help
me out, please.”
She, too, plunged into the labyrinth
of toothsome titles. Finally she emerged smiling.
“Have you ever tasted a chocolate fudge-sundae?”
“No-o, I’m afraid not.”
“Well, it’s just the elegantest
thing vanilla ice-cream with hot fudge
poured over it, and as soon as they pour the fudge it’s
steaming hot, you know simply scalding it
forms into a sort of candy, and then when they serve
“I fancy you want one, too, don’t you?”
“Oh, goodness me, yes!
I always eat chocolate fudge sundaes. They’re
simply scrumptious but they do take the
edge off one’s dinner appetite. Personally,
I don’t care so very much. I believe we
eat too much anyway, don’t you, Mr. Carroll?
I read in a book once that after you reach a certain
point in eating that is, after you’ve
swallowed just the right number of calories the
rest don’t do you a single particle of good.
And besides, ice-cream is healthy, and certainly there’s
nothing with more nourishment in it than chocolate unless
it is raisins. I like raisins well enough ”
Carroll turned to the boy.
“Two chocolate fudge sundaes,”
he ordered; “and put a few raisins on one of
He found the large eyes of the girl turned upon him
“Do you know,” she said,
“that when I said the other day that you were
the most wonderful, the most marvelous man in the world,
I didn’t even know half how wonderful or marvelous
you really were?”
“Thanks! And what caused the discovery?”
“The way you acted just now.
Why, I’m sure those girls think that you’ve
known me all your life or that we’re
engaged, or something!”
Carroll was a trifle startled.
“Why not? You don’t look like
an old man.”
The detective chuckled.
“Nor do I feel like one when
I’m with you. You’re deliciously
“And you are are exquisite!
Do you know, when I’m with you, I feel inspired
to great deeds to noble er attainments.”
“Uh-huh! Honest to goodness.
And did I really help you by what I told you the other
“You certainly did, Miss Rogers. There
isn’t a doubt of it.”
She lowered her voice and leaned confidentially across
“Will you tell me something?”
“Who really killed Mr. Warren?”
“Who really did kill him?”
“Why, I’m sure I don’t know.
I’m trying to find out.”
“Oh, pshaw! You can’t
pull the wool over my eyes! You couldn’t
have been working on the case this long and not have
discovered the the malefactor.”
“But that’s exactly what
I have done. Also it’s why I rather hoped
that you might have a little more information for
“Me? Information for you?
How wonderful! As if you’d be interested
in anything I might know! Although I’m
not an absolute fool. Gerald says I am, of course he’s
my brother-in-law but then Gerald isn’t
anything but an old crab, anyway. Hateful thing!
But you don’t think I am, do you?”
“No, indeed. Ah, here we are!”
The chocolate fudge sundaes were served,
and for a few moments they gave themselves over to
the task of enjoying them. It was Evelyn who
“What do you want me to tell you?”
“Almost anything. For instance you
knew Roland Warren pretty well, didn’t you?”
“Oh, yes, indeed! I’ve
known him forever and ever. He was an awfully
nice boy, and crazy about me simply wild!
That is, he was before he died.”
“H-m! And you saw a good deal of him?”
“Oceans! He used to call
at the house all the time. It was funny,
too. Gerald used to think he was the one Roland
was coming to see, and Naomi she’s
my sister used to think that he was coming
to see her; and all the time I knew that I was the
person he was calling on. It’s funny, isn’t
it, how old folks will get those queer ideas?”
“Your sister is so very old?”
“Terribly. She was thirty on her last birthday.”
“Horrors! She is ancient, isn’t
“Awfully! Although Naomi isn’t so
bad looking ”
“Your sister couldn’t be.”
“Aw, quit kidding! But
she isn’t bad-looking, really. Lord knows
she deserves a better husband than she drew.
Honestly, when the divine providence was handing out
shrubbery, they planted a lemon-tree in his yard just
before he was born.”
“Probably your sister doesn’t agree with
“Oh, yes, she does! Of
course, she doesn’t talk to me about it, but
I know she ain’t wild about Gerald. How
could she be? He’s old enough to be her
father forty-two, if he’s a minute.
Don’t think of anything but business and making
money. And he’s terribly jealous!”
“A very complimentary picture you draw of him.”
“If I wrote what I thought about
him, I could be arrested for sending it through the
mails. Goodness knows, no husband at all is a
hundred per cent better than a man like that.
Not that he beats Naomi. Fact is, I’d think
he was more human if he did. Only time I ever
like him is when he flies up in a rage. He swears
“I love it. And I don’t
think it’s wicked to love swearing, do you?
I was reading in a book once something about swearing
being a perfectly natural mental reaction, or something like
a safety-valve on a steam-engine. If the engine
didn’t have the safety-valve, it would blow up.
So if it’s true that swearing is like that,
then there can’t be any harm in it; because
anything that keeps a person from blowing up must be
pretty good, don’t you think?”
“It does sound reasonable.”
“Not that I swear myself not
out loud, anyway, but sometimes, when I’m right
peeved at Gerald or Naomi or somebody, I get in my
room and say swear-words right out loud. And
I feel ever so much better for it!”
The conversation languished while
she again attacked the sundae. Carroll spoke:
“Have you seen your friend, Miss Gresham, lately?”
“Hazel? I’ll say
I have although she’s horribly weepy
since poor Roland was killed. Of course, I’m
not heartless or anything like that; but what’s
the use of crying all the time when there are just
as good fish in the sea as ever were caught?
I told her that, but it don’t seem to do a single
bit of good. She just keeps saying, ‘Poor
Roland is dead,’ just as if I didn’t know
it as well as she does him having been crazy
about me even before he was about her. I’m
sort of afraid it’s gone to the poor girl’s
head. She’s simply horribly upset!”
“That’s not unnatural, is it?”
“No-o, I suppose not; but it’s terribly
“Does she discuss the affair much?”
“All the time.”
“What does she think about the woman in the
“You mean the woman who killed him?”
“If I was that woman, I’d hate to meet
Hazel Gresham if Hazel knew it!”
“But she has no suspicion of any certain person?”
“Goodness, no! How could
she have? Of course, we agreed that it was some
vampire; but we can’t decide which one.
Most of the women we know don’t go in for killing
men; and a heap of them are married, anyway.”
“Yes. You wouldn’t
expect a nice chap like Roland to be eloping with a
married woman, would you? Not in real life?”
Carroll with difficulty concealed
a smile. The girl was a refreshing mixture of
world-old wisdom and almost childish innocence.
She was a type new to him, and, as such, absorbingly
“How about Miss Gresham’s
brother?” he inquired idly. “How does
he take it?”
“Oh, Garry seems all upset,
too; but then the more I talk to people, the more
I think I’m the only level-headed one in the
world. I haven’t got a bit excited over
it, have I?”
“Not a bit. And now” Carroll
rose and reached for the check “suppose
“Where?” she asked naively.
The opening was too obvious.
“Where do you usually go with
young gentlemen who meet you down-town in the afternoons?”
“Picture show,” she answered
frankly. “Wouldn’t you just adore
to see that picture at the Trianon to-day? They
say it’s stupendous!”
They walked up the street together.
On the way they passed Eric Leverage. That gentleman
bowed heavily and stood aside in surprise, while an
exclamation, rather profane, issued from his lips.
David Carroll and a seventeen-year-old girl headed
for a picture show! The thing was unbelievable.
Leverage shook his head sadly and passed on as Carroll
and Evelyn disappeared behind the din of an orchestrion.
The picture proved not at all bad,
although Evelyn excited adverse comment from spectators
unfortunate enough to be sitting within range of her
constant chatter. Apparently there was no stopping
her. She talked and talked and talked.
The picture ended eventually, and
they left the theater. Night had descended upon
the city, and the busy thoroughfare was studded with
thousands of lights, which glared coldly through the
December chill. Principally because he did not
know what else to do, Carroll requested permission
to take her home in his car. She accepted with
rather disarming alacrity.
Carroll had about run out of conversation,
and his ears were tired by the incessant din of the
girl’s talk. He followed her directions
mechanically, and eventually they rounded a corner
in the heart of the city’s best residential
district. Evelyn designated a white house which
stood back in a large yard.
“That’s it,” said
she. “You’d better turn first, so
you can park against the curb.”
Carroll slowed down and swung around.
He was tired of the loquacious girl, and anxious to
be rid of her; but as he swung his car across the
street on the turn, something happened which riveted
The door of Evelyn’s home opened.
A man and woman stood framed in the doorway.
Then the door closed, and the man descended the steps,
moved down the walk to the street, and strode swiftly
away. For perhaps three seconds he had been held
clearly in the glare of Carroll’s headlights.
When the detective spoke, it was with
an effort to control his tone, to make his question
“Did you see that man, Miss Rogers?”
“Do you know him?”
“Goodness me, no! He’s been here
Carroll stopped his car at the curb.
He assisted Evelyn to the ground. Then he made
a strange request.
“I wonder, Miss Rogers, whether
you’d allow me to call on you some evening?”
Evelyn’s eyes popped open with the marvel of
“You mean you want to come and call on me?
“If you will allow me.”
“Allow you? Why, David
Carroll I think you’re simply simply grandiloquent!
When will you come?”
“If your sister will permit ”
“Bother Sis! To-morrow night?”
“Yes, to-morrow night.”
She executed a few exuberant dance steps.
“Oh, what’ll the girls say when I tell
Carroll climbed thoughtfully back
into his car. He saw Evelyn enter the house,
but his thoughts were not with her. He was thinking
of the man who had just left.
Carroll never forgot faces, and he had recognized
The man was William Barker, former valet to Roland