Suddenly every thought was driven from Jane's head. Her face went white, and with difficulty she managed to suppress an alarmed cry.
"What is it, daughter?" asked her mother, noting her perturbation. "Are you feeling ill?"
"A touch of neuralgia," she managed to answer.
"Too many late hours," warned Mrs. Starrett reprovingly.
"I'm afraid so," said Mrs. Strong. "As soon as I've paid my check we'll go."
"I'm perfectly all right now," said Jane, controlling herself with effort, though her face was still white.
The danger that she had feared had passed for the present at least.
Glancing toward the entrance a moment before she had been terrified to see entering the black-mustached man who had accosted her a few moments before. Her one thought now had been that he had followed her here, and in a panic she was wondering how she should make explanations if he came up to their table and spoke. To her great relief he gave no intimation of having seen her, but settled himself into a chair near the door where he was half hidden from her by a great palm. Furtively she watched him, trying to divine his intention in having followed her there. Respectable enough though he was in appearance and garb, he did not seem in the least like the sort of man likely to be found at tea-time in an exclusive hotel. As she studied him she soon saw that his attention seemed to be riveted on some one sitting at the other side of the room.
Wonderingly she let her eyes follow his, and once more it was with difficulty that she suppressed an excited gasp.
There, across the room, calmly sipping some coffee, was the handsome young man from the next apartment--the man whom she had felt sure, or at least almost sure, was a murderer, about whom she had been wondering all day long, picturing him as a hunted criminal fleeing from the law.
Chatting interestedly with him was another man, a young man in the uniform of a lieutenant in the navy.
What did it all mean? Why was the black-mustached man watching them so intently? Her eyes turned back to him. He was still sitting there, leaning forward a little, his brows in a pucker of concentration, his eyes still fixed on the pair opposite. It looked almost as if he was trying to read their lips and tell what they were talking about.
Jane thrilled with excitement. The black-mustached man, she decided, must be a detective. She recalled that he had said to her it was because she lived at the address she did that she was available for the mission for which he wanted her. Did he, she wondered, know about the mysterious death in the street outside their apartment house? Was that the reason he was spying on her neighbor? But what could be his motive in seeking to involve her in the matter?