Dangerous Days HTML version
Rudolph Klein had not for a moment believed Anna's story about the watch, and
on the day after he discovered it on her wrist he verified his suspicions. During
his noon hour he went up-town and, with the confident swagger of a certain type
of man who feels himself out of place, entered the jeweler's shop in question.
He had to wait for some little time, and he spent it in surveying contemptuously
the contents of the show-cases. That even his wildest estimate fell far short of
their value he did not suspect, but his lips curled. This was where the money
earned by honest workmen was spent, that women might gleam with such
gewgaws. Wall Street bought them, Wall Street which was forcing this country
into the war to protect its loans to the Allies. America was to pull England's
chestnuts out of the fire that women, and yet more women, might wear those
strings of pearls, those glittering diamond baubles.
Into his crooked mind there flashed a line from a speech at the hird Street hall
the night before: "War is hell. Let those who want to, go to hell."
So - Wall Street bought pearls for its women, and the dissolute sons of the rich
bought gold wrist-watches for girls they wanted to seduce. The expression on his
face was so terrible that the clerk behind the counter, waiting to find what he
wanted, was startled.
"I want to look at gold wrist-watches," he said. And eyed the clerk for a trace of
He finally found one that was a duplicate of Anna's, and examined it carefully.
Yes, it was the same, the maker's name on the dial, the space for the monogram
on the back, everything.
"How much is this one?"
"One hundred dollars."
He almost dropped it. A hundred dollars! Then he remembered Anna's story.
"Have you any gold-filled ones that look like this?"
"We do not handle gold-filled cases."
He put it down, and turned to go. Then he stopped.
"Don't sell on the installment plan, either, I suppose?" The sneer in his voice was
clearer than his anxiety. In his mind, he already knew the answer.
He went out. So he had been right. That young skunk had paid a hundred dollars
for a watch for Anna. To Rudolph it meant but one thing.
That had been early in January. For some days he kept his own counsel,
thinking, planning, watching. He was jealous of Graham, but with a calculating
jealousy that set him wondering how to turn his knowledge to his own advantage.
And Anna's lack of liberty comforted him somewhat. He couldn't meet her outside
the mill, at least not without his knowing it.
He established a system of espionage over her that drove her almost to