The Breath of Scandal/Chapter 4
MARJORIE already had obtained her cloak and had put it on and also had her carriage boots over her slippers when Billy found her at the end of the empty room where Gregg had left her. Billy had put on his overcoat and was carrying his hat, which he thrust on his head as he came to Marjorie, so he could give her both his hands.
"Gregg's told you," Marjorie said quietly, but her hands were quivering as he seized them and attempted vainly to reassure her.
"Yes." Billy released her hands and suddenly enfolded her in his big arms, drawing her against him. "Oh, Marjorie!" he whispered.
"Father will be all right, Billy!" she gasped, tears blurring her eyes. "We'll not lose him. Did Gregg tell you the telephone number?"
"No. He's gone to get his car. He'll take us right there, Marjorie."
"That's best, of course," Marjorie accepted, releasing herself from him. "Gregg must be ready now, Billy."
She started abruptly for the door and he followed, confused a little as people now were pouring down the stairs and seeing them. But Marjorie paid no attention to them, and Billy overtook her just as a boy drew back the door to the carriage steps, outside which Gregg's car stood.
Marjorie looked about, saw Billy behind her and, remembering her argument with Gregg, she leaned forward toward the car and asked Gregg directly, "You'll take me to father?"
"Yes," Gregg said; and she got in beside him; Billy pushed in next her and closed the door.
"I suppose it was an automobile accident," Marjorie said a few minutes after they had started.
"Yes," said Billy. "The roads are all ice tonight."
"Maybe," Gregg objected. "But likely enough a hold-up, I'm afraid. They're at it every night in the city; and your father's not a man just to put his hands up."
"No," said Marjorie with pitiful pride, shuddering.
Billy put his arms about her; he was instantly angry at Gregg for describing a more serious event when she might have been satisfied with imagining some minor injury from a skidding car.
Gregg suggested nothing more; he had felt that this was a good moment to prepare Marjorie to innocently explain to herself the sort of injury to her father which he expected they would find; but he did not dare go beyond that.
Marjorie soon relaxed and let herself lie against Billy and she tried not to think and fear; she needed the feeling of strength and protection about her—Gregg knew—since that voice over the telephone had told her that the strength and love, which had guarded her all her life, was in danger of slipping away. Gregg ached to offer her his strength; he gripped, tense and tight, to the steering wheel to keep his hands from her; he dared not even touch her now that Billy had his arm about her; Gregg feared, if he did anything at all, he would thrust Bill from her and take her for himself.
"It's the first time anything's happened to father," Marjorie said. "I've never known him to be even sick before."
"He'll come through this, dear little girl," Billy encouraged her. But for a while she only became more frightened.
Gregg, keeping to himself and trying not to think too much about her, heard her whispering, "Spare father!" It was a sort of a prayer.
Then Billy gathered her hands within his own and, bending, kissed hers tenderly. "Dear, dear little Marjorie," he said again, "I'll see that everything possible is done." It seemed to him that somehow, with his size and strength, he could stand between her and anything.
But Gregg was letting himself lapse to no illusions of what might come up to him in a few minutes now; and, as he thought of it, the idea that Marjorie's father might be dead seemed to him a simple event to deal with—provided the fact of his death was all that Marjorie must learn. But he knew that the chances were that, by this time, Charles Hale's private affairs had become public property and that when Marjorie and Billy and he arrived at Clearedge Street, they would find a crowd of curious, babbling people about the building where Mrs. Russell lived; they would find a police ambulance and officers; reporters and flashlight photographers. In that case—well, there was nothing that he could do; nothing that any one could do.
But if it were not yet known, he might be of some use; and the fact that the woman who had sent for the doctor for Mr. Hale had not called a local surgeon, but had summoned Doctor Grantham from far away, gave Gregg ground for hoping that she might have concealed what had happened.
Gregg lit a cigarette and, without looking about, he extended his case toward Marjorie and Bill.
Marjorie ignored it; in a moment she released herself from Billy and sat up in a reaction from her deepest fears; she spoke almost with confidence that they would find her father in no real danger. "He's always been so strong," she said; and she busied herself with the small consequences of their flight from the dance.
"Billy, did you make any explanation to Mrs. Lovell?"
"No; sorry. I didn't see her."
"There's such a mob to-night she'll never miss us. I'll call her and explain, after we've found that father's going to be all right."
They were reaching the gay, garishly lit area of refreshment places, resplendent drug stores and motion-picture palaces from which people were pouring from the last show; they passed the tall new apartment hotels and flat buildings converted into hotels and turned into a transverse street of similar character; then Gregg turned again and drove up a darker, more quiet and respectable looking street with a big block of small apartments on the corner and with six flat structures beyond. Gregg stared ahead down the street. It was all quiet, thank God! No lights but the ordinary street lamps; no cars but a single one, with red tail light, at the curb; nobody about but a man or two walking along in an ordinary way.
Gregg took a long breath and went on more slowly, almost to the end of the block, where he saw 4689 in the transom over the door of a good-looking, three-apartment building which stood separated by eight or ten feet from the flats on both sides. The first floor was lighted; the second dark; the third lighted. The car with red tail-light was standing before this number and a chauffeur in uniform paced up and down, striking his hands together in the cold. Gregg drew up behind the waiting car and Billy got out, helped Marjorie out and clasped her arm as she turned toward the building. The chauffeur approached them; and Marjorie said:
"You're Doctor Grantham's driver?"
"I'm Miss Hale; do you know how my father is?"
"How long has the doctor been here?"
"About fifteen minutes."
"Which flat are they in?"
"The third floor, miss."
Marjorie made for the building. "You coming?" she called nervously to Gregg, who was still in the car, leaning forward.
"Lost my wheel key," Gregg said; and Billy impatiently left Marjorie and stepped back to him.
"You take her in that front door, Bill; ring there and wait," Gregg directed. "Don't disturb anybody else if they don't let you in at once. Maybe they're operating on him now."
"What're you going to do?"
"I'm going around the back and try to find out what's happened and how he is. Maybe, if it's bad, I'd better try to prepare——"
Billy's big frame was shaking visibly. "Maybe, Gregg," he agreed. "I understand. All right." He hurried toward the building to catch Marjorie who, unable to wait, was opening the entrance door.
Gregg jumped down and took the narrow walk to the rear of the building; finding there the usual, outside stair to a tier of three back porches, he ran up to the third and found himself outside an ordinary back door of deal, with a glass pane in the upper half. A light was burning on the other side but a yellow blind had been pulled down over the glass. He heard a buzzer, undoubtedly rung by Marjorie and Billy at the front entrance. No one seemed to make reply; indeed, there was no other sound from the apartment and when Gregg pressed the button beside the door, he merely set going another buzzer without rousing response; so he tried the knob and found, as he expected, that the door was locked. A window a few feet off at the end of the porch also was locked and its shade was down. Gregg returned to the door and pounded upon it, still receiving no response and hearing only the continued signal from the vestibule bell. So he picked up an empty milk bottle from the porch and struck it through the pane above the knob and reached in, unbolted the door, opened it and stepped into the kitchen. He had closed the door behind him and advanced half-way across the room before a swinging door on the other side was pushed open and a young woman appeared.
She was quivering with fright and her eyes were red from crying; but Gregg hardly thought of her state. For the instant, indeed, he was not chiefly anxious as to whether Charles Hale was living or dead. What was above everything else to him at that moment was the type of woman he found here; and his pulse leaped with relief at what he saw. He had not been simple enough to suppose that all women, who lived like Mrs. Russell, showed themselves for what they were; of course he knew some did, but this girl did not.
At his first glance at her, there seemed absolutely nothing about her to suggest any irregularity or abnormality in her code of conduct; she was a decidedly good-looking woman, probably less than thirty, with regular, definite features, with brown eyes and attractive brown hair, which was evidently all her own; and its color was its own, Gregg estimated; and she was without rouge or even lip dye. There was, indeed, no suggestion of the blondining or artificial make-up about her which, in the minds of innocents, marks the jade; there was not even noticeable weakness or pliability of nature orof figure. She had a good figure but Gregg would not have immediately commented it, if he were not so consciously valuing her; for she had nothing of the habit of obtruding physical charms. "There is an independent and competent girl," one would have first thought, casually meeting her. She looked like one preferring and accustomed to live by her brain rather than by her body.
She was dressed more than decently—more than modestly, in fact; for she was wearing a brown, woolen gown, high in the neck; a dress of the sort that Marjorie and her friends wore about their own homes in afternoons when nothing in particular was going on. While Gregg was making this survey of her, she was looking over him and now, clenching her hands, "Who are you?" she demanded. "What do you mean by breaking in here?"
"I'm a friend of Mr. Hale's. My name's Mowbry. How is he?"
"How?" she repeated, retreating a little as Gregg boldly advanced. Whether or not she might have heard his name and now recognized him, Gregg could not tell; but something about his reply partially reassured her.
"Is he living?" Gregg demanded of her, definitely. "Or is he dead?"
"He's living," she replied, her mind now able to go back from the inspection of this stranger to the man she was trying to protect.
"But badly hurt?"
"Very badly," she said in such a whisper that Gregg's voice, too, went lower.
"I see," he said, quietly. "Who are you, please?"
"I?" Her mind had not come back to herself and Gregg again.
"I mean are you Sybil Russell?"
"Yes; I am."
"Who else is here?"
"Doctor Grantham and his assistant."
"Yes; another man."
"No. They're in there together," she jerked her head vaguely behind her.
Gregg stepped closer to her; she started again to retreat but did not and stood holding the door open and half supporting herself by it. Behind her was a dining room with a heavy, handsome rug and a walnut table,—Sheraton, though Gregg recognized only that it was of good design; over it was a light shaded by a Tiffany bowl and showing a sideboard and chairs of the same pleasing design as the table; a Japanese bird cage with a canary hung before a window. No one was in the room; and no voice was audible from elsewhere in the apartment. But the buzzer in the kitchen rang again and again.
"What's happened here?" Gregg demanded of Mrs. Russell.
"He shot him!"
"You mean George Russell who was your husband?"
She nodded, her hand tightening convulsively in her grip of the door.
"Then what did he do?"
"He got out! I don't know anything more than that!"
"Where did he shoot him?"
She put a hand to her breast.
"Where were they?" Gregg pressed on.
"No; in the living room. He'd just come——"
"Mr. Hale, you mean?"
"Yes; George was waiting for him here."
"You knew that?"
"Yes; he'd come in with me, George had. I thought I'd better bring him in. I thought I could do something with him in here. I was trying to; I think I could have but just at the wrong minute, Charles came."
Gregg winced and she saw it and stopped.
"Go on," he commanded.
"He tried to interfere for me, Charles did. He thought George would hurt me. I could look out for myself. I had; but Charles——"
The buzzer was sounding almost continuously and Gregg's thought jumped to Marjorie, pressing the bell and listening for response.
"Never mind! Did they hear the shot downstairs?"
"Those people are away."
"Did any one else?"
"Nobody seemed to."
"All right." Gregg stepped forward and passed her and went through the dining room to the hall, where he found a bedroom door open; he glanced in and saw two men in shirt sleeves working over Mr. Hale, who was lying in bed with the upper part of his body bared. Neither the man whom Gregg recognized as Doctor Grantham nor the other looked up and Gregg immediately went on to the living room.
This was a large room with a hardwood floor almost completely covered by Oriental rugs of quiet patterns and furnished with a pretty table in dark mahogany, a lounge and chairs and a woman's writing desk, closed; with a graceful, small grand piano and bench. The lighting was from large, shaded lamps in soft colors; and there were a few—and only a few—good etchings on the walls; altogether it was an agreeable, pleasant room in good, quiet taste, Gregg observed, while he searched for signs of the attack which had been made there. Mrs. Russell followed him and aided him by staring with a shudder at stains on one of the rugs near the piano. Gregg pulled up this rug, pushed others about to cover the place and carried the stained rug to a closet off the hall and thrust it in.
"Do you see anything else to be got out?" he demanded of Mrs. Russell.
"No," she said, staring at him; then, dully, she asked, "Why?"
"Mr. Hale's daughter is below at the front; that is she ringing."
"She has to come up. There is no way to stop her, without making things worse than they are. But she must not know what has happened here. You can understand that."
"Yes," Mrs. Russell said.
Doctor Grantham appeared behind her; he had put on his coat and it was evident that he had done for his patient all that he could do.
"How is he, doctor?" Gregg asked.
"He is unconscious. We have a chance to keep life in him," Grantham jerked in his abrupt, practical way. "But we must get him to an operating room. I've sent for an ambulance. Who do you say is downstairs? Marjorie?"
Grantham looked Gregg over; the doctor had no doubt of what he had to do; he questioned only the discretion of Gregg, whom he challenged:
"I've seen you at the Hales'; what's your name?"
"Mowbry; I'm the one who talked from Evanston to your girl. I happened to know Mr. Hale was here," Gregg explained himself. "Marjorie, of course, didn't. Whittaker, who's engaged to her, is with her. He doesn't know anything about this. Does your assistant know Marjorie?"
"Carson?" said the doctor. "No."
"Would she know him?"
"I don't think so. Why?"
"Then can't he be Russell for a few minutes? You see what I mean, doctor. They've got to come up, or they'll surely find out. Doctor, Mr. Hale told them he was going down to meet a man on business; that must be Russell. Your assistant, Carson, is he. He and his wife were out; they'd been out for dinner; they were just coming back when they met Mr. Hale outside and Russell—that's Carson—brought him up here to talk business. They all came up together. The flat here was empty; there was a man in it; they surprised him when they came in with their key. He tried to get out the rear and Mr. Hale and Russell—that's Carson—chased him; he had to shoot to get away and he shot Mr. Hale. Oh, it's full of holes, doctor; I know it. But something like that's got to do! You'll try it, sir! Marjorie won't be able to think much; maybe we can put it over together! Anyway, I've got to go down and let them in now, or no one knows what they'll do."
Gregg opened the front door and ran down the two flights of stairs to the vestibule. Billy had begun to pound upon the door to the stairway; he had succeeded, indeed, in rousing the people in the first-floor apartment; for their door opened as Gregg came by, but it closed again at once. Billy, seeing Gregg, stopped knocking; he stepped back a little and put his arm about Marjorie. Gregg opened the door.
"He's alive, Marjorie," he said to her, almost steadily. "Everybody up there was busy. Doctor Grantham and Russell and his wife. That's why nobody could answer till I got in the back way."
"What was it, Gregg?" she demanded of him.
They were all on the stairs now. Of course Marjorie could think of nothing else but the injury to her father; now she could not question anything he should say; but he realized that everything he said would stick in her mind, however completely she might ignore impressions at this moment.
"A bullet wound, Marjorie. A man fired at him; a man who was in the apartment up there."
So far he was safe; or, at least, if this were not safe to tell her, there was no way for him to do better. For those were facts which, in an instant, she must learn. And he could not think again whether the rest of his story for her would hold with her later; he had to give some explanation immediately and, having nothing better, he gave it as they all ran up the stairs.
"Your father'd come down here to see Mr. Russell, Marjorie, you see. He was stopping in here to see him on business before taking the train. Mr. and Mrs. Russell had been out. He met them just as they were coming back; they all came in together. They found a man in the flat; your father and Russell went for him and he fired."
Gregg saved his breath; they were at the door of the third apartment which Gregg had left unlatched be hind him. They went in and Marjorie was grasping Doctor Grantham; in a moment she was in the room with her father. Billy went with her; but Gregg did not. He dropped back into the living room and stood there, intending not to hear; but he did hear Marjorie trying to speak to her father. Her father, of course, was still unconscious; he could not hear. Best for him, Gregg thought; for Gregg, himself, went weak and sick. He had not known, until this moment, how much Marjorie loved her father; likely enough, he thought, she had not realized it herself until now. She would not have. Nothing had ever happened to him before, she had said; she had never known him even sick; and now to find him dying, probably! That fine, big, happy, strong man who was her father! Faith in him and unsuspicion; why they were so absolute and natural to her that she could not even be aware of them. For her to think of herself trusting her father was to hold an idea of the possibility of the opposite which never could have occurred to her.
"Father!" Gregg had to hear again her sweet, steady voice. She made it steady when speaking to her father; she would! And the sweetness of it seemed to halt Gregg's heart. "It's Marjorie, father, dear; I'm here now, father—father——" Then, "I know he doesn't hear me, doctor. I know; but——" her voice almost broke; and no one else spoke. She was kissing her father, Gregg knew, for a sob broke from Billy; and Grantham had to clear his throat.
"Come now; come now," Billy managed in a minute.
Billy brought her out of the bedroom and Gregg jerked himself together. "Doctor Grantham's sent for an ambulance to take him to a hospital," he said cheerfully. "It ought to be here any minute now."
"What hospital? "Marjorie asked.
"St. Luke's, I suppose," Gregg replied, watching her. She was gazing about the room but not critically or even wonderingly. He felt sure she was not thinking about the apartment at all; or about Mr. and Mrs. Russell who, she supposed, inhabited it; her eyes merely wandered absently. She still was thinking wholly of her father and now, after the shock of seeing him, she was shaking so violently that she was scarcely able to stand.
"Sit down here, Marjorie; or lie down," Billy begged her, emotionally; and he cleared the silk cushions from the lounge.
She stared at him and suddenly started up straight.
"Mother! I've got to tell her now! Mother—she's not weak. She'll never forgive me, if I don't let her know in time to reach the hospital—soon."
"That's right, dear Marjorie! That's right!" Billy approved, sympathetically, patting her. "You ought to have your mother now!"
"I'd no idea father was hurt anything like this," Marjorie continued, staring up at Billy and then at Gregg, "when the call came as it did. Just to Doctor Grantham, I mean. You see, if father was hurt anything like this, I'd have thought anybody would have called home, too; right away."
"Probably it didn't seem so serious, at first," Gregg suggested.
"No; probably not. I didn't ask Mr. Russell. I didn't ask him at all." She turned about.
"Where is Mr. Russell?" Billy demanded.
Gregg moved nearer Marjorie; he could feel the flimsy defense, which he had tried to build about her, beginning already to fall to pieces. He had not thought of Billy knowing Grantham's assistant; now it was plain that Billy did.
"I don't know," Gregg said, as evenly as he could.
"Where's Mrs. Russell?" Billy demanded.
Yet he suspected nothing; Billy merely meant to take upon himself the direction of affairs here which, he felt, Gregg had been bungling.
"In her room, I suppose," Gregg said; for she had disappeared; and Gregg was thankful for that. "It was a frightful shock to her, of course, to have this happen here; she's done up. Probably her husband is with her—if he hasn't gone out for something."
For now Gregg considered that, though he had said that Russell had been in the flat, he had not said that the man with Grantham was Russell; Grantham had made no introductions when Marjorie came in to look upon her father; and Marjorie was accepting everything she found without question. Billy was not yet suspicious; but his determination to take matters into his own hands was sure to uncover everything.
"Bill," Gregg said quickly, as Marjorie went back into the hall, "come here a minute!"
"Why? I want to talk to Russell or his wife."
Gregg did not argue; he jerked Billy back into the living room. There was a sun parlor with glass doors in front and Gregg opened one of these and pulled Billy into the little room with him. As he shut the glass door, he saw through it that Marjorie apparently had forgotten the question for Mr. Russell; apparently, she had not noticed that Billy and Gregg had left her; he could see her standing outside the door of the room where her father lay; she was looking in. No wonder she forgot everything else.
"Gregg," said Billy, "what in the devil——"
"Bill," said Gregg, turning about. "There isn't any Mr. Russell to this flat! Do you get it now? Do you see?"
There was no light in the sun parlor but that which came through the glass from the living room lamps and a little which streaked up from the street; even if Marjorie had turned about, she could not see Billy's face. And she did not turn. So Gregg was able to appeal:
"For God's sake, Bill, keep your voice down; and keep yourself together! Mr. Hale paid the rent on this place; there was no one here but Mrs. Russell. I mean, Bill, usually there wasn't. To-night Russell—he used to be her husband, but they got divorced—came here and shot Mr. Hale! That's what's happened, Bill! Grantham knows it all, of course; and Carson—oh, for God's sake! Bill! Bill, if you care a damn for Marjorie, pull up! Oh, old fellow, I tried not to hand it to you like this! But you had to get it or she would! Don't you see? We've all got to pull together on this or——" But Bill no longer was hearing.
"You're a liar!" he said, his big powerful hands clenched on Gregg's shoulders. "You admit to me now you're a liar."
"I got up that burglar story to keep it from Marjorie, Bill! Don't you see? I tried to pass Carson off as Russell; but I couldn't pass him off on you."
Yet Billy still held his grip and could not believe.
"Bill, get Grantham out of that room—and away from Marjorie," Gregg suggested then. "Ask him what happened."
That forced Billy to believe or go to Grantham; and, faced this way, Billy had to concede to himself his belief. He tore his hands away.
"Oh, Gregg; Gregg!"
"All right, Bill! It had to hit you that way! Wouldn't give a damn for you if it didn't!"
"It's not me, Gregg. It's Marjorie! Oh, Gregg, the poor little girl. Let me go to her! Let me by!"
"No, Bill; not now! Go outdoors; you walk around outside for a while."
"You let me out of here now!"
"It's for Marjorie, Bill; we have to stick together; keep it from her; get her out of here before she suspects. So don't you go to her now; don't try to say a word to her. Go outdoors only till the ambulance comes; then we'll all be out of here."
"I'm all right now."
"Not yet, Bill."
But Bill was able to take Gregg's hand from the door; and Gregg was unable to oppose him too violently for Marjorie returned to the living room.
"Billy!" she cried, looking about confusedly.
He opened the door and stepped to her, and Gregg gazed into the street and prayed for the ambulance. No moving car was in sight either way on the street, but he stood with his back to the lighted room where Billy now had Marjorie in his arms, kissing her and reassuring her.
When Gregg heard some one else come, he turned about and saw Mrs. Russell, and he stepped quickly into the living room. Evidently she had been bathing her eyes and otherwise composing herself and now had appeared to try to play the part before Marjorie Hale which Gregg had assigned to her. Why hadn't she stayed in her room? Gregg agonized when he saw her. Yet she appeared decent enough as she came forward calmly; too decent. That was the trouble. She made no move of her own to go to Marjorie but Marjorie, desperately needing another woman just then, started to go to her; and Gregg, realizing it, jerked forward. Probably—as he afterwards thought—he would have had to do something but he would not have done what Billy did. For Bill reached forward as though catching Marjorie back from the furnace of hell itself. "Don't touch her!" he blurted.
"What?" Marjorie cried, more frightened. "Why? What's she done?" Marjorie stared from Billy to Sybil Russell and back to Billy again. He then could give no explanation and it was just as well that he tried none, if it were any better for Marjorie to remain in ignorance for an extra minute or so. For Marjorie thought that what Billy meant was that Mrs. Russell had neglected some care or made some mistake which had diminished her father's chance of recovery. Idea of the truth could not seize Marjorie yet, though this now further excited and roused her.
The woman's writing desk stood at the wall on Marjorie's right; the top was closed and nothing was upon it. Marjorie rested her hand on it when Billy released her and she looked again at Mrs. Russell. Then Gregg, watching, saw Mrs. Russell's eyes following Marjorie's hand; almost instantly Mrs. Russell lifted her glance but Marjorie seemed to have realized Mrs. Russell's dread. Marjorie stared about and looked down and suddenly flung open the desk, gazed down and saw in a silver frame a picture of her father. She snatched it up; dropped it. A letter lay on one side; letters in handwriting she instantly recognized. She snatched up a letter; held it; crumpled it; dropped it and looked up.
Mrs. Russell was gone.
"Oh, Marjorie! Marjorie!" Billy cried and tried again to gather her in his arms. But she caught his big wrists in her little hands and with a strength that amazed him, she thrust him back from her; so he soon understood and made no more attempt.
"Gregg!" she faced about then, head up and calm. "Who shot father here? Why?"
"Russell," said Gregg. "He tried to blackmail, I think, Marjorie. He wasn't Mrs. Russell's husband. He only used to be." Gregg did not try to make it plainer; and there was no use trying to make it less cruel. Marjorie had it, whatever he said.
Once her hands clenched. "Where is he now? Not—not here?"
"No," said Gregg.
She did not follow thought of Russell for more than that flash. Her hands relaxed; slowly she swung her back to Gregg and Billy and stared at the hallway down which was the room where her father lay. Once she shrank shorter in a spasm; her tension had broken at her knees; but she caught up and regained herself, and not even Billy this time tried to grasp her.
She made not a move, not a quiver, not a gasp for pity; but Gregg, watching her, was sorrier for her than he had ever been for any one in all his life; and prouder for her. He could not know then how he loved her; love—it was hardly a thing to think about then. But he seemed to feel something, fluid before, take form hard and unyielding with him; and he knew that he and his life were that girl's. Then he looked up and saw Bill; but Bill did not see him.
Marjorie was turning about to them.
"Billy," she said, and then she looked by him to Gregg and though she did not say his name, yet it was to him she spoke, "I don't know what's coming over me. I'm all right now. Don't either of you worry. You see, I don't feel at all; I don't feel anything at all. Why, a minute ago I thought the worst thing in the world would be that my father would die. And now, I can't care!"
Billy breathed out, then caught his breath with a sob.
"Don't, Billy," she begged. "I want to think; I have to think! The police for one thing; I was wondering a minute ago when they would come; I was going to ask if any one had sent for them. Of course nobody did. We can't send for them now; we never can. Mother, and father himself; his mother—everybody, we've got to think of them! Why, wasn't it funny! I almost telephoned mother a minute ago, from here. I see that won't do now; but we have to send some word home, Gregg; what am I going to say?"