Hearts and Masks (Chapter 6, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 6

I stood with folded arms, awaiting his approach. Nonchalance is always
respected by the police. I must have presented a likely picture,
however--my face blackened with coal-dust, cobwebs stringing down over
my eyes, my Capuchin gown soiled and rent. The girl quietly took her
place beside me.

"So you took a chance at the cellars, eh?" inquired the detective
urbanely. "Well, you look it. Will you go with us quietly, or shall
we have to use force?"

"In the first place, what do you and your police want of me?" I
returned coolly.

He exhibited his star of authority.

"I am Haggerty of the Central Office. I want you for several things."

Several things? I stared at him stupidly. Several things? Then it
came to me, with a jar like an earthquake. The story in the newspaper
returned to my vision. Oh, this was too much, altogether too much! He
took me to be the fashionable thief for whom half the New York police
force were hunting. My sight swam for a moment in a blur.

"What is it you think I have done?" I demanded.

"You have, or have had, several thousand dollars' worth of gems on your
person to-night."

I shrugged. The accusation was so impossible that my confidence
returned.

"Mr. Haggerty, you are making a stupid mistake. You are losing time,
besides. I am not the man for whom you are hunting. My name is
Richard Comstalk."

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