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   Chapter 19 OH, MR. KENT, SAVE ME!

Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels By Stephen Leacock Characters: 3376

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


In another moment an absolutely noiseless step was heard upon the stair.

A young girl entered, a girl, tall, willowy and beautiful, in the first burst, or just about the first burst, of womanhood.

It was Alice Delary.

She was dressed with extreme taste, but Kent's quick eye noted at once that she wore no hat.

"Mr. Kent," she cried, "you are Mr. Kent, are you not? They told me that you were here. Oh, Mr. Kent, help me, save me!"

She seemed to shudder into herself a moment. Her breath came and went quickly.

She reached out her two hands.

"Calm yourself, my dear young lady," said Kent, taking them. "Don't let your breath come and go so much. Trust me. Tell me all."

"Mr. Kent," said Delary, regaining her control, but still trembling, "I want my hat."

Kent let go the beautiful girl's hands. "Sit down," he said. Then he went across the room and fetched the hat, the light gossamer hat, with flowers in it, that still hung on a peg.

"Oh, I am so glad to get it back," cried the girl. "I can never thank you enough. I was afraid to come for it."

"It is all right," said the Inspector. "The police theory was that it was the housekeeper's hat. You are welcome to it."

Kent had been looking closely at the girl before him.

"You have more to say than that," he said. "Tell me all."

"Oh, I will, I will, Mr. Kent. That dreadful night! I was here. I saw, at least I heard it all."

She shuddered.

"Oh, Mr. Kent, it was dreadful! I had come back that evening to the library to finish some work. I knew that Mr. Kelly was to dine out and that I would be alone. I had been working quietly for some time when I became aware of voices in the billi

ard-room. I tried not to listen, but they seemed to be quarrelling, and I couldn't help hearing. Oh, Mr. Kent, was I wrong?"

"No," said Kent, taking her hand a moment, "you were not."

"I heard one say, 'Get your foot off the table, you've no right to put your foot on the table.' Then the other said, 'Well, you keep your stomach off the cushion then.'" The girl shivered. "Then presently one said, quite fiercely, 'Get back into balk there, get back fifteen inches,' and the other voice said, 'By God! I'll shoot from here.' Then there was a dead stillness, and then a voice almost screamed, 'You've potted me. You've potted me. That ends it.' And then I heard the other say in a low tone, 'Forgive me, I didn't mean it. I never meant it to end that way.'

"I was so frightened, Mr. Kent, I couldn't stay any longer. I rushed downstairs and ran all the way home. Then next day I read what had happened, and I knew that I had left my hat there, and was afraid. Oh, Mr. Kent, save me!"

"Miss Delary," said the Investigator, taking again the girl's hands and looking into her eyes, "you are safe. Tell me only one thing. The man who played against Kivas Kelly-did you see him?"

"Only for one moment"-the girl paused-"through the keyhole."

"What was he like?" asked Kent. "Had he an impenetrable face?"

"He had."

"Was there anything massive about his face?"

"Oh, yes, yes, it was all massive."

"Miss Delary," said Kent, "this mystery is now on the brink of solution. When I have joined the last links of the chain, may I come and tell you all?"

She looked full in his face.

"At any hour of the day or night," she said, "you may come."

Then she was gone.

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