The fatwhere to buy usdt with usdher smiled grimly.
There was the material ill ever present in the round of wearisoetherscan emaxmephysical toil, the coarse, distasteful food, the hard, narrowcouch, the constant, gnawing irksomeness of imprisonment, awayfrom light and air, away from all that makes life worth while.Yet, these afflictions were not the worst injuries to mar thegirl convict's life. That which bore upon her most weightily andincessantly was the degradation of this environment from whichthere was never any respite, the viciousness of this spot whereinshe had been cast through no fault of her own. Vileness waseverywhere, visibly in the faces of many, and it was brimmingfrom the souls of more, subtly hideous. The girl held herselfrigidly from any personal intimacy with her fellows. To someextent, at least, she could separate herself from theircorruption in the matter of personal association. But, everpresent, there was a secret energy of vice that could not beescaped so simply--nor, indeed, by any device; that breathed inthe spiritual atmosphere itself of the place. Always, thismysterious, invisible, yet horribly potent, power of sin was likea miasma throughout the prison. Always, it was striving to reachher soul, to make her of its own. She fought the insidious,fetid force as best she might. She was not evil by nature. Shehad been well grounded in principles of righteousness.
Nevertheless, though she maintained the integrity of hercharacter, that character suffered from the taint. Theredeveloped over the girl's original sensibility a shell ofhardness, which in time would surely come to make her lessscrupulous in her reckoning of right and wrong.Yet, as a rule, character remains the same throughout life as toits prime essentials, and, in this case, Mary Turner at the endof her term was vitally almost as wholesome as on the day whenshe began the serving of the sentence. The change wrought in herwas chiefly of an external sort. The kindliness of her heart andher desire for the seemly joys of life were unweakened. But overthe better qualities of her nature was now spread a crust ofworldly hardness, a denial of appeal to her sensibilities. It wasthis that would eventually bring her perilously close tocontented companioning with crime.The best evidence of the fact that Mary Turner's soul was notfatally soiled must be found in the fact that still, at theexpiration of her sentence, she was fully resolved to livestraight, as the saying is which she had quoted to Gilder. This,too, in the face of sure knowledge as to the difficulties thatwould beset the effort, and in the face of the temptationsoffered to follow an easier path.There was, for example, Aggie Lynch, a fellow convict, with whomshe had a slight degree of acquaintance, nothing more. Thisyoung woman, a criminal by training, offered allurements ofillegitimate employment in the outer world when they should befree. Mary endured the companionship with this prisoner becausea sixth sense proclaimed the fact that here was one unmoral,rather than immoral--and the difference is mighty. For thatreason, Aggie Lynch was not actively offensive, as were most ofthe others. She was a dainty little blonde, with a baby face, inwhich were set two light-blue eyes, of a sort to widen often indemure wonder over most things in a surprising and naughty world.She had been convicted of blackmail, and she made no pretenseeven of innocence. Instead, she was inclined to boast over herability to bamboozle men at her will. She was a natural actressof the ingenue role, and in that pose she could unfailinglybeguile the heart of the wisest of worldly men.
Perhaps, the very keen student of physiognomy might havediscovered grounds for suspecting her demureness by reason of thethick, level brows that cast a shadow on the bland innocence ofher face. For the rest, she possessed a knack of rather harmlessperversity, a fair smattering of grammar and spelling, and alively sense of humor within her own limitations, with aparticularly small intelligence in other directions. Her one artwas histrionics of the kind that made an individual appeal. Insuch, she was inimitable. She had been reared in a criminalfamily, which must excuse much. Long ago, she had lost track ofher father; her mother she had never known. Her one relation wasa brother of high standing as a pickpocket. One principal reasonof her success in leading on men to make fools of themselves overher, to their everlasting regret afterward, lay in the fact that,in spite of all the gross irregularities of her life, sheremained chaste. She deserved no credit for such restraint,since it was a matter purely of temperament, not of resolve.The girl saw in Mary Turner the possibilities of a ladylikepersonality that might mean much financial profit in the deviousways of which she was a mistress. With the franknesscharacteristic of her, she proceeded to paint glowing pictures ofa future shared to the undoing of ardent and fatuous swains."Why should he have minded that? But, all the same, I'd give something to know. It's as heavy as though it were solid bricks." This was an exaggeration, but it increased the ambassador's rising interest in the nature of its contents. He said: "I'll have a look at it before it goes out again." Within the next minute, a manservant, carrying it in by one hand, but with an obvious consciousness of its weight, laid it before him.
Mr. Thurlow tested it for himself. He looked at it with an active curiosity which brought an exclamation of protest from Irene, "You're not going to open it, are you?""You think I've no right to do that?""Of course we haven't.""I know more about this matter than you. More, in fact, than I am able to say. But I'm not going to open it, all the same. What I shall do is to invite Kindell to fetch it himself."
Irene still looked troubled, but ceased to protest."I don't mind," she said, uncertainly, "if you do that."
"Williams," the ambassador said, "could you find a suitcase about this size?""Yes, Your Excellency.""And two or three bricks?""Yes, Your Excellency."
Williams retired, and returned with a suitcase of different appearance but similar size, and a large fragment of coping-stone which the ambassador approved. He asked for a piece of blanket in which to wrap it, and finally packed it in a manner which would render it difficult for anyone handling it to discover that the contents of the suitcase differed from that which it was intended to replace."We will send this," he said, "to Professor Blinkwell's address, and see what happens.""It mayn't be his address. I only saw that woman coming away.""We'll have a look at the telephone directory."
The evidence thus obtained disclosed that Professor Blinkwell had a different address. The ambassador rang for a street directory, and gained the further information that Mrs. Collinson occupied the house to which the valise was to be taken."Will may have rooms there, for all we know," Irene suggested still disposed to defend him from others, while reserving him for her own attack.
"A young man doesn't need two sets of rooms.""No. . . . But there may be a simple explanation we haven't guessed."
"Then I shall like to hear what it is. And, till I do, the less you see of him the better I shall be pleased.""I'm not likely to see much of him while he's in a French jail.""No. . . . But you don't even know that."Having said this, Mr. Thurlow closed the conversation with some abruptness, on the plea that he had correspondence with which to deal. He was conscious that his last remark had approached disclosure of the information which he had accepted as confidential. Beyond that, he wished to give consideration to the new facts - if such they were - which he had learned during the day. The French police had satisfied themselves of Kindell's innocence - or, at least, that they had no evidence of his guilt - and had let him go. But that was not to be generally known Why? There must be a reason for that.And their acceptance of his innocence might not go beyond the murder of which he had been explicitly charged. There was suggestion now of criminality of another kind. How did he stand about that? And how would he stand if the method by which he had sent that valise should be disclosed, and that it had been addressed to a place to which Blinkwell's daughter went?The ambassador saw that there was a simple answer to these questions. Everything (as he saw the facts) would depend upon the nature of its contents. He resolved that Kindell should open it in his presence, or, if he should decline, the whole circumstances should be communicated to Scotland Yard.
Feeling that he had the situation in hand, and that there was little remaining probability of such developments as would cause trouble in Washington, which was naturally his major concern he turned his mind to the international affairs with which it was his duty to deal.Chapter 21 An Error Without Excuse
KINDELL RETURNED TO London by air, and on an understanding that he should not be seen in his familiar haunts, nor make contact with his friends. The sleuths of law were hunting on a cold scent which at any moment might become hot. It was important to confuse those whom they sought to catch. Let them think him still in the grasp of the examining magistrate - the one chosen by the police to expiate the worst crime of which policemen know, the murder of one of themselves.Kindell might be of some immediate use, and at any moment a position might develop in which he could be of much more. But it was emphatically understood that he was to lie low.
His action in telephoning Irene cannot therefore be condoned. He did evil, and it was not even a doing of evil that good might come. Or, at least, the good, if any, was to be of a private sort, having no connection with the business he was engaged to do. The consequences, which he was far from foreseeing, cannot therefore be a logical credit to him. Yet, whether for evil or good his action was of momentous bearing on the events that followed.Irene picked up the 'phone in her own room (she had a separate line, intended to ensure the privacy of embassy conversations, rather than hers), and the temper in which she answered was not good, for her wrist-watch, which she was putting on as the bell rang, slipped to the floor, having been insecurely clasped.
"Yes. Who is it?""Is that you, Irene?""Yes. Who's that?""Are you quite alone?"
"Who is that?""I want to know whether you're quite alone."
"And I want to know who you are.""Can't you guess?"
"I don't see why I should. . . . It isn't Will, is it?""You're not being overheard?"
"Considering I'm in my own room, and it's between seven and eight - - ""Will you meet me somewhere for lunch?""It really is Will?""Yes. But I wish you wouldn't keep saying my name."
"What's the mystery?""I'm not supposed to be here. What I asked was, can you meet me for lunch? And not let anyone know?"
"I might, if I knew why. Where shall it be?""You know where we met the Tuesday before you went over to Paris. Say a quarter to one?"
"You mean at - - ""There's no need to say where," he interrupted sharply. "And there's no need for me to come, if you can't - - "