The Drums of Jeopardy (Chapter 5, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 5

Kitty gasped, but she did not cry out. The five days' growth of blondish
stubble, the discoloured eye--for all the orb itself was brilliant--and
the hawky nose combined to send through her the first great thrill of
danger she had ever known.

Slowly she backed away from the window. The man outside immediately
extended his hands with a gesture that a child would have understood.
Supplication. Kitty paused, naturally. But did the man mean it? Might it
not be some trick to lure her into opening the window? And what was he
doing outside there anyhow? Her mind, freed from the initial hypnosis
of the encounter, began to work quickly. If she ran from the kitchen to
call for help he might be gone when she returned, only to come back when
she was again alone.

Once more the man executed that gesture, his palms upward. It was Latin;
she was aware of that, for she was always encountering it in the halls.
Another gesture. She understood this also. The tips of the fingers
bunched and dabbed at the lips. She had seen Italian children make the
gesture and cry: "Ho fame!" Hungry. But she could not let him into the
kitchen. Still, if he were honestly hungry--She had it!

In the kitchen-table drawer was an imitation revolver--press the
trigger, and a fluted fan was revealed--a dance favour she had received
during the winter.

She plucked it out of the drawer and walked bravely to the window, which
she threw up.

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