Dangerous Days HTML version
Anna Klein had gone home, at three o'clock that terrible morning, a trembling,
white-faced girl. She had done her best, and she had failed. Unlike Graham, she
had no feeling of personal responsibility, but she felt she could never again face
her father, with the thing that she knew between them. There were other
reasons, too. Herman would be arrested, and she would be called to testify. She
had known. She had warned Mr. Spencer. The gang, Rudolph's gang, would get
her for that.
She knew where they were now. They would be at Gus's, in the back room,
drinking to the success of their scheme, and Gus, who was a German too, would
be with them, offering a round of drinks on the house now and then as his share
of the night's rejoicing. Gus, who was already arranging to help draft-dodgers by
sending them over the Mexican border.
She would have to go back, to get in and out again if she could, before Herman
came back. She had no clothes, except what she stood up in, and those in her
haste that night were, only her print house-dress with a long coat. She would
have to find a new position, and she would have to have her clothing to get about
in. She dragged along, singularly unmolested. Once or twice a man eyed her, but
her white face and vacant eyes were unattractive, almost sodden.
She was barely able to climb the hill, and as she neared the house her
trepidation increased. What if Herman had come back? If he suspected her he
would kill her. He must have been half mad to have done the thing, anyhow. He
would surely be half mad now. And because she was young and strong, and life
was still a mystery to be solved, she did not want to die. Strangely enough, face
to face with danger there was still, in the back of her head, an exultant thrill in her
very determination to live. She would start over again, and she would work hard
and make good.
"You bet I'll make good," she resolved. "Just give me a chance and I'll work my
fool head off."
Which was by way of being a prayer.
It was the darkest hour before the dawn when she reached the cottage. It was
black and very still, and outside the gate she stooped and slipped off her shoes.
The window into the shed by which she had escaped was still open, and she
crouched outside, listening. When the stillness remained unbroken she climbed
in, tense for a movement or a blow.
Once inside, however, she drew a long breath. The doors were still locked, and
the keys gone. So Herman had not returned. But as she stood there, hurried
stealthy footsteps came along the street and turned in at the gate. In a panic she
flew up the stairs and into her room, where the door still hung crazily on its
hinges. She stood there, listening, her heart pounding in her ears, and below she