And in the shadow of the buildings, hardly ten feet away but half sheltered by a doorway, stood his sinister pursuer, motionless but alert.
For perhaps a quarter of an hour they held their positions. At last the man who was being followed shrugged his shoulders impatiently and set off again down the Drive, from time to time turning his head to watch the spot from which the signal had been flashed. Behind him, as doggedly as ever and now a little closer, crept the man with the hat over his eyes.
Regardless of the lateness of the hour, at a third-floor window of one of the great apartment houses lining the Drive sat a young girl in her nightrobe, with her two great black braids flung forward over her shoulders, about which she had placed for warmth's sake a quilted negligee. Jane Strong was far too excited to sleep. An hour before she had come in from a wonderful party. The music still was playing mad tunes in her ears. The excitement, the coffee, the spirited tilts at arms with her many dancing partners had set her brain on fire. Sleep seemed impossible as yet.
Looking out at the river--a favorite occupation of hers--the sight of the warships looming up through the darkness reminded her once more that nearly all of the men with whom she had been dancing had been in uniform, bringing into prominence in the jumble of ideas in her over-stimulated brain, almost as a new discovery, the fact that her country was really engaged in war, that the men, the very men whom she knew best, were most of them fighting, or soon going to fight in a foreign land. Suddenly she found herself vaguely wishing that there was something she might do, something for the war, something to help. Would it not be splendid, she thought, to go to France as a Red Cross nurse, to be over there in the middle of things, where something exciting was forever going on. Life--the only life she knew about, existence as the petted daughter of well-to-do parents in a big city--had, ever since the war had begun, seemed strangely flat and uninteresting. Parties, to be sure, were fun but hardly any one was giving parties this year. The Stantons had entertained only because their lieutenant son was going abroad soon, and they wished him to have a pleasant memory to carry with him. Most of the interesting men she knew already were gone, and now Jack Stanton was going. How she wished she could find some way of getting into the war herself.
The sound of approaching footsteps caught her ear. Wondering who was abroad at that hour of the night she pushed up the window softly and looked out. In the distance she saw a man approaching, striding briskly toward her. As she stood idly watching him and wondering about him, suddenly she caught her breath. She had sighted the other figure behind, the man creeping stealthily after him. Nearer and nearer they came. In tense expectation she waited, sensing some unusual development. They had reached her block now. Almost directly under her window the man in advance paused to light a cigarette. His shadow paused, too, but some incautious movement on his part must have betrayed him.