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Mary Roberts Rinehart
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As for the local police--her independence revolted at summoning them. They would bombard her with ponderous questions and undoubtedly think she was merely a nervous old spinster. If it was just me, she thought, I swear I wouldn't say a word to anybody--and if the Bat flew in he mightn't find it so easy to fly out again, if I am sixty-five and never shot a burglar in my life! But there's Dale--and Lizzie. I've got to be fair to them.
For a moment she felt very helpless, very much alone. Then her courage returned.
"Pshaw, Cornelia, if you have got to get help--get the help you want and hang the consequences!" she adjured herself. "You've always hankered to see a first-class detective do his detecting--well, get one--or decide to do the job yourself. I'll bet you could at that."
She tiptoed to the main door of the living-room and closed it cautiously, smiling as she did so. Lizzie might be about and Lizzie would promptly go into hysterics if she got an inkling of her mistress's present intentions. Then she went to the city telephone and asked for long distance.
When she had finished her telephoning, she looked at once relieved and a little naughty--like a demure child who has carried out some piece of innocent mischief unobserved. "My stars!" she muttered to herself. "You never can tell what you can do till you try." Then she sat down again and tried to think of other measures of defense.