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The White Moll

Room Number Eleven
Another five minutes, and in her own personality now, a slim, trim figure, neatly gloved,
the heavy veil affording ample protection to her features, Rhoda Gray emerged from the
shed and the lane, and started rapidly toward lower Sixth Avenue. And as she walked, her
mind, released for the moment from the consideration of her immediate venture, began
again, as it had so many times in the last three days, its striving and its searching after
some loophole of escape from her own desperate situation. But only, as it ever did,
confusion came - a chaos of things, contributory things and circumstances, and the
personalities of those with whom this impossible existence had thrown her into contact.
Little by little she was becoming acquainted with the personnel of the gang - in an
impersonal way, mostly. Apart from Danglar, there was Shluker, who must of necessity
be one of them; and Skeeny, the man who had been with Danglar in Shluker's room; and
the Cricket, whom she had never seen; and besides these, there were those who were
mentioned in the cipher message to-night, and detailed to the performance of the various
acts and scenes that were to lead up to the final climax - which, she supposed, was the
object and reason for the cipher message, in order that even those not actually employed
might be thoroughly conversant with the entire plan, and ready to act intelligently if
called upon. For there were others, of course, as witness herself, or, rather, Gypsy Nan,
whose personality she had so unwillingly usurped.
It was vital, necessary, that she should know them all, and more than in that impersonal
way, if she counted upon ever freeing herself of the guilt attributed to her. For she could
see no other way but one - that of exposing and proving the guilt of this vile clique who
now surrounded her, and who had actually instigated and planned the crime of which she
was accused. And it was not an easy task!
And then there were those outside this unholy circle who kept forcing their existence
upon her consciousness, because they, too, played an intimate part in the sordid drama
which revolved around her, and whose end she could not foresee. There was, for instance
- the Adventurer. She drew in her breath quickly. She felt the color creep slowly upward,
and tinge her throat and cheeks - and then the little chin, strong and firm, was lifted in a
sort of self-defiant challenge. True, the man had been a great deal in her thoughts, but
that was only because her curiosity was piqued, and because on two occasions now she
had had very real cause for gratitude to him. If it had not been for the Adventurer, she
would even now be behind prison bars. Why shouldn't she think of him? She was not an
ingrate! Why shouldn't she be interested? There was something piquantly mysterious
about the man - who called himself an adventurer. She would even have given a good
deal to know who he really was, and how he, too, came to be so conversant with
Danglar's plans as fast as they were matured, and why, on those two particular occasions,
he had not only gone out of his way to be of service to her, but had done so at very grave
risk to himself. Of course, she was interested in him - in that way. How could she help it?
But in any other way - the little chin was still tilted defiantly upward - even the
suggestion was absurd. The man might be chivalrous, courageous, yes, outwardly, even a
gentleman in both manner and appearance; he might be all those things, and, indeed, was
- but he was a thief, a professional thief and crook. It seemed very strange, of course; but
 
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