The Golden Slipper HTML version

Problem 6. The House Of Clocks
Miss Strange was not in a responsive mood. This her employer had observed on first
entering; yet he showed no hesitation in laying on the table behind which she had
ensconced herself in the attitude of one besieged, an envelope thick with enclosed papers.
"There," said he. "Telephone me when you have read them."
"I shall not read them."
"No?" he smiled; and, repossessing himself of the envelope, he tore off one end, extracted
the sheets with which it was filled, and laid them down still unfolded, in their former
place on the table-top.
The suggestiveness of the action caused the corners of Miss Srange's delicate lips to
twitch wistfully, before settling into an ironic smile.
Calmly the other watched her.
"I am on a vacation," she loftily explained, as she finally met his studiously non-quizzical
glance. "Oh, I know that I am in my own home!" she petulantly acknowledged, as his
gaze took in the room; "and that the automobile is at the door; and that I'm dressed for
shopping. But for all that I'm on a vacation--a mental one," she emphasized; "and
business must wait. I haven't got over the last affair," she protested, as he maintained a
discreet silence, "and the season is so gay just now--so many balls, so many--But that
isn't the worst. Father is beginning to wake up--and if he ever suspects--" A significant
gesture ended this appeal.
The personage knew her father--everyone did--and the wonder had always been that she
dared run the risk of displeasing one so implacable. Though she was his favourite child,
Peter Strange was known to be quite capable of cutting her off with a shilling, once his
close, prejudiced mind conceived it to be his duty. And that he would so interpret the
situation, if he ever came to learn the secret of his daughter's fits of abstraction and the
sly bank account she was slowly accumulating, the personage holding out this dangerous
lure had no doubt at all. Yet he only smiled at her words and remarked in casual
"It's out of town this time--'way out. Your health certainly demands a change of air."
"My health is good. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as one may choose to look at it, it
furnishes me with no excuse for an outing," she steadily retorted, turning her back on the
"Ah, excuse me!" the insidious voice apologized, "your paleness misled me. Surely a
night or two's change might be beneficial."