The Mayor's Wife HTML version
1. A Spy's Duty
I am not without self-control, yet when Miss Davies entered the room with that air
of importance she invariably assumes when she has an unusually fine position to
offer, I could not hide all traces of my anxiety.
I needed a position, needed it badly, while the others--
But her eyes are on our faces, she is scanning us all with that close and
calculating gaze which lets nothing escape. She has passed me by--my heart
goes down, down--when suddenly her look returns and she singles me out.
"Miss Saunders." Then, "I have a word to say to you"
There is a rustle about me; five disappointed girls sink back into their seats as I
quickly rise and follow Miss Davies out.
In the hall she faced me with these words:
"You are discreet, and you evidently desire a position. You will find a gentleman
in my sitting-room. If you come to terms with him, well and good. If not, I shall
expect you to forget all about him and his errand the moment you leave his
presence. You understand me?"
"I think so," I replied, meeting her steady look with one equally composed. Part of
my strength--and I think I have some strength --lies in the fact that I am quietest
when most deeply roused. "I am not to talk whatever the outcome."
"Not even to me," she emphasized.
Stirred still further and therefore outwardly even more calm than before, I
stopped her as she was moving on and ventured a single query.
"This position--involving secrecy--is it one you would advise me to take, even if I
did not stand in need of it so badly?"
"Yes. The difficulties will not be great to a discreet person. It is a first-class
opportunity for a young woman as experienced as yourself."
"Thank you," was my abrupt but grateful rejoinder; and, obeying her silent
gesture, I opened the door of the sitting-room and passed in. A gentleman
standing at one of the windows turned quickly at the sound of my step and came
forward. Instantly whatever doubt I may have felt concerning the nature of the