Most of his time, in fact, was spent out of the apartment. He frequently went out early in the morning, not returning until the early hours of the next morning. The old man, on the contrary, always stayed at home until eleven o'clock. At that hour his telephone would ring. The telephone was located near the dining room, so Jane could easily hear his conversations. Invariably some brief message was given to him, a name, which he repeated aloud as if for verification.
As Jane overheard them she had set them down: Thursday--"Jones."
As she sat by the hour listening Jane kept pondering over these names.
What could they mean? Were they, too, a code of some sort? Always, as soon as this word had come to him, old Hoff went out. Could they be, she wondered, passwords by which he gained access somewhere to government buildings or places where munitions were being made or shipped?
Meanwhile her acquaintance with Frederic Hoff had been progressing rapidly. As she had suggested he had called on her and had been presented to her father, and on the next Saturday they had gone to a matinee together. She had been eager to see what her father thought of him, for Mr. Strong, she knew, was regarded as a shrewd judge of men.
"What does that young Hoff do who was here last night?" her father had asked at the breakfast table.
"He's in the importing business with his uncle, I think," she had answered.
"Where'd you meet him?"
"He lives in the apartment next door. Lieutenant Kramer introduced him."
"He's German, isn't he?"
"Oh, no," said Jane, almost unconsciously rallying to defend him, "he was born in this country."
"Well, it's a German name."
"Don't you like him?"
"He talks well," her father said, "and seems to be well-bred."
It was with reluctance, too, that Jane admitted to herself that the better acquainted she became with Frederic Hoff the more fascinating she found his society. She was always expecting that by some word or action he would reveal to her his true character. At the matinee she had waited anxiously to see what he would do when the orchestra played the national anthem. To her amazement he was on his feet almost among the first and remained standing in an attitude of the utmost respect until the last bar was completed. If he were only pretending the role of a good American, he certainly was a wonderful actor. As her admiration for him increased and her interest in him grew she found that almost her only antidote was to try to keep thinking of his face as she had seen it the night that K-19--the other K-19--had been so mysteriously murdered.