The Man in Lower Ten HTML version

6. The Girl In Blue
I was growing more and more irritable. The thought of what the loss of the notes meant
was fast crowding the murder to the back of my mind. The forced inaction was
The porter had reported no bag answering the description of mine on the train, but I was
disposed to make my own investigation. I made a tour of the cars, scrutinizing every
variety of hand luggage, ranging from luxurious English bags with gold mountings to the
wicker nondescripts of the day coach at the rear. I was not alone in my quest, for the girl
in blue was just ahead of me. Car by car she preceded me through the train, unconscious
that I was behind her, looking at each passenger as she passed. I fancied the proceeding
was distasteful, but that she had determined on a course and was carrying it through. We
reached the end of the train almost together - empty-handed, both of us.
The girl went out to the platform. When she saw me she moved aside, and I stepped out
beside her. Behind us the track curved sharply; the early sunshine threw the train, in long
black shadow, over the hot earth. Forward somewhere they were hammering. The girl
said nothing, but her profile was strained and anxious.
"I - if you have lost anything," I began, "I wish you would let me try to help. Not that my
own success is anything to boast of."
She hardly glanced at me. It was not flattering. "I have not been robbed, if that is what
you mean," she replied quietly. "I am - perplexed. That is all."
There was nothing to say to that. I lifted my hat - the other fellow's hat - and turned to go
back to my car. Two or three members of the train crew, including the conductor, were
standing in the shadow talking. And at that moment, from a farm-house near came the
swift clang of the breakfast bell, calling in the hands from barn and pasture. I turned back
to the girl.
"We may be here for an hour," I said, "and there is no buffet car on. If I remember my
youth, that bell means ham and eggs and country butter and coffee. If you care to run the
risk - "
"I am not hungry," she said, "but perhaps a cup of coffee - dear me, I believe I am
hungry," she finished. "Only - " She glanced back of her.
"I can bring your companion," I suggested, without enthusiasm. But the young woman
shook her head.
"She is not hungry," she objected, "and she is very - well, I know she wouldn't come. Do
you suppose we could make it if we run?"