The White Moll HTML version

The Reckoning
It was the Adventurer who spoke first.
"Both of you! What charming luck!" he murmured whimsically. "You'll forgive the
intrusion won't you? A friend of mine, the Sparrow by name - I think you are acquainted
with him, Danglar - was good enough to open the door for me, and lock it again on the
outside. You see, I didn't wish to cause you any alarm through a premature suspicion that
you might have a guest!" His voice hardened suddenly as he rose from the cot, and,
though he limped badly, stepped quickly toward them. "Don't move, Danglar - or you,
Mrs. Danglar!" he ordered sharply - and with a lightning movement of his hand felt for,
and whipped Danglar's revolver from the latter's pocket. "Pardon me!" he said - and his
hand was in and out of Rhoda Gray's pocket. He tossed the two weapons coolly over onto
the cot. "Well, Danglar," he smiled grimly, "there's quite a change in the last few hours,
isn't there?"
Danglar made no answer. His face was ashen; his little black eyes, like those of a
cornered rat, and as though searching for some avenue of escape, were darting hunted
glances all around the garret.
Rhoda Gray, the first shock of surprise gone, leaned back against the washstand with an
air of composure that she did not altogether feel. What was the Adventurer going to do?
True, she need have no fear of personal violence - she had only to disclose herself. But -
but there were other considerations. She saw that reckoning of her own with Danglar at
an end, though - yes! - perhaps the Adventurer would become her ally in that matter. But,
then, there was something else. The Adventurer was a thief, and she could not let him get
away with those packages of banknotes up there behind the trap-door in the ceiling, if she
could help it. That was perhaps what he had come for, and - and - Her mind seemed to
tumble into chaos. She did not know what to do. She stared at the Adventurer. He was
still dressed as the Pug, though the eye-patch was gone, and there was no longer any sign
of the artificial facial disfigurements.
The Adventurer spoke again.
"Won't you sit down - Mrs. Danglar?" He pushed the single chair the garret possessed
toward her - and shrugged his shoulders as she remained motionless. "You'll pardon me,
then, if I sit down myself." He appropriated the chair, and faced them, his revolver
dangling with ominous carelessness in his hand. "I've had a rather upsetting experience
this evening, and I am afraid I am still a little the worse for it - as perhaps you know,
"You damned traitor!" Danglar burst out wildly. "I - I -"
"Quite so!" said the Adventurer smoothly. "But we'll get to that in a minute. Do you mind
if I inflict a little story on you? I promise you it won't take long. It's a little personal
history which I think will be interesting to you both; but, in any case, as my hosts, I am