The Romance of Elaine HTML version
7. The Gray Friar
So confident was Elaine that Kennedy was still alive that she would not admit to herself
what to the rest of us seemed obvious.
She even refused to accept Aunt Josephine's hints and decided to give a masquerade ball
which she had planned as the last event of the season before she closed the Dodge town
house and opened her country house on the shore of Connecticut.
It was shortly after the strange appearance of the fussy old gentleman that I dropped in
one afternoon to find Elaine addressing invitations, while Aunt Josephine helped her. As
we chatted, I picked up one from the pile and mechanically contemplated the address:
"M. Del Mar, Hotel La Coste, New York City."
"I don't like that fellow," I remarked, shaking my head dubiously.
"Oh, you're--jealous, Walter," laughed Elaine, taking the envelope away from me and
piling it again with the others.
Thus it was that in the morning's mail, Del Mar, along with the rest of us, received a
neatly engraved little invitation:
Miss Elaine Dodge requests the pleasure of your presence at the masquerade ball to be
given at her residence on Friday evening June 1st.
"Good!" he exclaimed, reaching for the telephone, "I'll go."
In a restaurant in the white light district two of those who had been engaged in the
preliminary plot to steal Kennedy's wireless torpedo model, the young woman
stenographer who had betrayed her trust and the man to whom she had passed the model
out of the window in Washington, were seated at a table.
So secret had been the relations of all those in the plot that one group did not know the
other and the strangest methods of communication had been adopted.
The man removed a cover from a dish. Underneath, perhaps without even the waiter's
knowledge, was a note.
"Here are the orders at last," he whispered to the girl, unfolding and reading the note.
"Look. The model of the torpedo is somewhere in her house. Go to-night to the ball as a
masquerader and search for it."
"Oh, splendid!" exclaimed the girl. "I'm crazy for a little society after this grind. Pay the
check and let's get out and choose our costumes."