The Filigree Ball
I have already mentioned the man whom I secretly looked upon as standing between me
and all preferment. He was a good-looking fellow, but he wore a natural sneer which for
some reason I felt to be always directed toward myself. This sneer grew pronounced
about this time, and that was the reason, no doubt, why I continued to work as long as I
did in secret. I dreaded the open laugh of this man, a laugh which always seemed
hovering on his lips and which was only held in restraint by the awe we all felt of the
Notwithstanding, I made one slight move. Encountering the deputy-coroner, I ventured to
ask if he was quite satisfied with the evidence collected in the Jeffrey case.
His surprise did not prevent him from asking my reasons for this question.
I replied to this effect:
"Because I have a little friend, winsome enough and subtle enough to worm the truth out
of the devil. I hear that the girl Loretta is suspected of knowing more about this
unfortunate tragedy than she is willing to impart. If you wish this little friend of mine to
talk to her, I will see that she does so and does so with effect."
The deputy-coroner looked interested.
"Whom do you mean by `little friend' and what is her name?"
"I will send her to you."
And I did.
The next day I was standing on the corner of Vermont Avenue when I saw Jinny
advancing from the house in K Street. She was chipper, and she was smiling in a way
which made me say to myself:
"It is fortunate that Durbin is not here."
For Jinny's one weakness is her lack of power to hide the satisfaction she takes in any
detective work that comes her way. I had told her of this and had more than once tried to
impress upon her that her smile was a complete give-away, but I noticed that if she kept it
from her lips, it forced its way out of her eyes, and if she kept it out of her eyes, it
beamed like an inner radiance from her whole face. So I gave up the task of making her
perfect and let her go on smiling, glad that she had such frequent cause for it.
This morning her smile had a touch of pride in it as well as of delight, and noting this, I