Overcome with the lassitude which follows emotional crises, trembling in every limb, weak as from a long illness, the girl sank back into a chair, still clutching in her hand the sealed packet Hoff had entrusted to her. Minute after minute she sat there with staring eyes, with heart beating madly, with her whole body racked with the torment of her thoughts.
Slowly she lifted the packet and turned it over and over, wondering what it could possibly contain, questioning herself as to what could have been Frederic Hoff's motive in entrusting it to her. Was there, she wondered, under those seals, some evidence of his guilt and treachery that he had not dared to leave behind him? He must have known that she suspected him and was seeking to entrap him. Had he, knowing all this, but sensing the love for him that he had kindled in her, taken advantage of it and extorted from her her promise to keep it safe?
Wherein lay her duty now? More than ever she was certain that Frederic Hoff was on some hazardous mission for the enemy. He had all but admitted his nationality to her. Her own country's welfare demanded that the Hoffs' plans should be discovered and thwarted. Should she, or should she not open the package? Possibly it contained some secret code, some clue to the dastardly activities in which he and his uncle were engaged.
But her heart rebelled. She recalled what he had said, that she must take him on trust. The memory of his burning kiss, of that last earnest look he had given her, refused to be forgotten. Whatever he was, however base the work in which he was engaged, she knew down deep in her heart that Frederic Hoff had been earnestly sincere when he had said that he loved her.
As she debated with herself what she ought to do, the telephone rang again. It was Chief Fleck.
"Can you meet me at the 110th Street subway station in half an hour?" he asked. "I'll be waiting in my car. Arrange it, if you can without arousing your family's suspicion, to be away all night."
"I will be there," she answered.
As she turned away from the telephone with sudden resolve she thrust the sealed packet, still unopened, into the bosom of her gown.
"I promised him," she said almost fiercely. "I'll keep my promise. That much at least I owe our love."