She must manage to meet Frederic Hoff in some proper way, but how? She thought of such flimsy tricks as dropping a handkerchief or a purse in the elevator some time when he happened to be in it, but rejected the plan as disadvantageous. "Nice" girls did not do that sort of thing, and even though she was seeking to entrap her neighbor she did not for a moment wish him to consider her as belonging to the other sort. It rather annoyed her to find that she cared what kind of an impression she made on him. What difference did it make what a German spy thought of her, especially a murderer? Yet, she argued with herself, the better the impression she made at first the more likely she would be to gain his confidence, and that she knew would delight Mr. Fleck. Was Frederic Hoff, too, really, she wondered, a spy? Her face colored as she recalled the mental picture she last had had of him, gallantly and admiringly raising his cup to her as she left the Ritz, not obtrusively or impudently, but so subtly that she was sure that no one had observed it but herself. It seemed preposterous to associate the thought of murder with a man like him.
As she entered the apartment house she was arguing still with herself about him. Her intuition told her that Frederic Hoff was a gentleman, and how could a gentleman be what Mr. Fleck seemed to think he was? As the door swung to behind her she gave a little quick breath of delight, for she had caught sight of a uniformed figure standing by the switchboard. She had recognized him at once. It was the naval lieutenant who had been at the Ritz. She heard him saying to the girl at the switchboard: "Tell Mr. Hoff, young Mr. Hoff, that Lieutenant Kramer is here. I'll wait for him down-stairs."
Quick as a flash a course of action came into her mind. She saw an opportunity too good to be neglected. She hurried forward to where the lieutenant was standing, her hand outstretched, with a smile of recognition--feigned, but well-feigned--on her lips.
"Why, Lieutenant Kramer," she cried, "how delightful. Have you really kept your promise at last and come to see the Strongs?"
She could hardly restrain her amusement as she watched the embarrassed young officer strive in vain to recall where it was that he had met her.
She had relied on the fact that the men in the navy meet so many girls at social functions that it is impossible for any of them to remember all they had met.