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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

XVII Sweetwater In A New Role

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Of this he was made absolutely certain a little later. As they were leaving the depot with the rest of the arrivals, Mr. Grey said:

"I want you to get me a room at a very quiet hotel. This done, you are to hunt up the man whose name you will find written in this paper, and when you have found him, make up your mind how it will be possible for me to get a good look at him without his getting any sort of a look at me. Do this and you will earn a week's salary in one day."

Sweetwater, with his head in air and his heart on fire--for matters were looking very promising indeed--took the paper and put it in his pocket; then he began to hunt for a hotel. Not till he bad found what he wished, and installed the Englishman in his room, did he venture to open the precious memorandum and read the name he had been speculating over for an hour. It was not the one he had anticipated, but it came near to it. It was that of James Wellgood.

Satisfied now that he had a ticklish matter to handle, he prepared for it, with his usual enthusiasm and circumspection.

Sauntering out into the street, he strolled first toward the post-office. The train on which he had just come had been a mail-train, and he calculated that he would find half the town there.

His calculation was a correct one. The store was crowded with people. Taking his place in the line drawn up before the post-office window, he awaited his turn, and when it came shouted out the name which was his one talisman--James Wellgood.

The man behind the boxes was used to the name and reached out a hand toward a box unusually well stacked, but stopped half-way there and gave Sweetwater a sharp look.

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"Who are you?" he asked.

"A stranger," that young man put in volubly, "looking for James Wellgood. I thought, perhaps, you could tell me where to find him. I see that his letters pass through this office."

"You're taking up another man's time," complained the postmaster. He probably alluded to the man whose elbow Sweetwater felt boring into his back. "Ask Dick over there; he knows him."

The detective was glad enough to escape and ask Dick. But he was better pleased yet when Dick--a fellow with a squint whose hand was always in the sugar--told him that Mr. Wellgood would probably be in for his mail in a few moments. "That is his buggy standing before the drug-store on the opposite side of the way."

So! he had netted Jones' quondam waiter at the first cast! "Lucky!" was what he said to himself, "still lucky!"

Sauntering to the door, he watched for the owner of that buggy. He had learned, as such fellows do, that there was a secret hue and cry after this very man by the New York police; that he was supposed by some to be Sears himself. In this way he would soon be looking upon the very man whose steps he had followed through the Fairbrother house a few nights before, and through whose resolute action he had very nearly run the risk of a lingering death from starvation.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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