The Man in Lower Ten
13. Faded Roses
I was in the house for a week. Much of that time I spent in composing and destroying
letters of thanks to Miss West, and in growling at the doctor. McKnight dropped in daily,
but he was less cheerful than usual. Now and then I caught him eying me as if he had
something to say, but whatever it was he kept it to himself. Once during the week he
went to Baltimore and saw the woman in the hospital there. From the description I had
little difficulty in recognizing the young woman who had been with the murdered man in
Pittsburg. But she was still unconscious. An elderly aunt had appeared, a gaunt person in
black, who sat around like a buzzard on a fence, according to McKnight, and wept, in a
mixed figure, into a damp handkerchief.
On the last day of my imprisonment he stopped in to thrash out a case that was coming up
in court the next day, and to play a game of double solitaire with me.
"Who won the ball game?" I asked.
"We were licked. Ask me something pleasant. Oh, by the way, Bronson's out to-day."
"I'm glad I'm not on his bond," I said pessimistically. "He'll clear out."
Not he." McKnight pounced on my ace. "He's no fool. Don't you suppose he knows you
took those notes to Pittsburg? The papers were full of it. And he knows you escaped with
your life and a broken arm from the wreck. What do we do next? The Commonwealth
continues the case. A deaf man on a dark night would know those notes are missing."
"Don't play so fast," I remonstrated. "I have only one arm to your two. Who is trailing
Bronson? Did you try to get Johnson?"
"I asked for him, but he had some work on hand."
"The murder's evidently a dead issue," I reflected. "No, I'm not joking. The wreck
destroyed all the evidence. But I'm firmly convinced those notes will be offered, either to
us or to Bronson very soon. Johnson's a blackguard, but he's a good detective. He could
make his fortune as a game dog. What's he doing?"
McKnight put down his cards, and rising, went to the window. As he held the curtain
back his customary grin looked a little forced.
"To tell you the truth, Lollie," he said, "for the last two days he has been watching a well-
known Washington attorney named Lawrence Blakeley. He's across the street now."
It took a moment for me to grasp what he meant.