Surely she could have convinced him that his was a hopeless mission. The plot would have been successfully thwarted, and he would not be lying there in shackles, but, even though forced to flee, who knew, perhaps some day after peace had come, he might have been able to return for her. A great sob rose from her heart, but she stifled it back. She would be brave and true. She must be glad for those of her people that had been saved.
But her parents! What would they say? Her father and mother soon now must learn that she had been deceiving them day after day. How horrified and amazed they would be to learn that the chauffeur she had brought into the household was in reality a government detective, and that she, their daughter, had been a witness of his tragic death. What would they think when they learned about her part in this gruesome drama that had just been enacted? They, serene in their trust in her, supposing she was at the home of one of her girl friends, were peacefully asleep in their quiet apartment. How horror-stricken her mother would be if she could have seen her daughter at this moment, alone at midnight in a mountain shack, one girl among a band of strange men--and two men stretched dead on the floor.
And Frederic! Always her perturbed imaginings led back to Frederic, to the terrible fate that lay in store for him, to the awfulness of war that had put between them an impassable gulf of blood and guilt and treachery that, in spite of their love for each other, kept them at cross purposes and made them enemies. Why, she vaguely wondered, must governments disagree and start wars and make men hate and kill each other? What was it all for?
In the midst of her mental wanderings she became conscious that Fleck was speaking to Carter.
"I'll stay here with Miss Strong and the prisoners," he was saying.
"While we are waiting for the men to return with the cars, you'd better make a search of the house."
"Why not wait until daylight for that?" suggested Carter.
"It is not safe," the chief objected. "To-night is the time to do it. A plot important enough to have the especial attention of the war office in Berlin must have many important persons involved in it. Somebody with money in New York, some influential German sympathizer, must have helped old Hoff set up these aeroplanes here and equip his shop. Some chemical plant supplied the material for those bombs. It must have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry the plan to completion. Men rich enough and powerful enough to have put through this plot are powerful enough to be still dangerous. The minute word reaches the city that the plan has miscarried there will be some one up here posthaste to destroy or remove any damaging evidence we may have overlooked. Now is the time to do our searching."