Not that it mattered when. It could have no possible bearing on the emergency. He really gave it little thought; the mental processes recounted were mostly subconscious, if none the less real. His objective attention was wholly preoccupied with the knowledge that Calendar's cab was drawing perilously near.
There was a quarrel afoot; as soon as he gave it heed, Kirkwood understood that Mulready, in the madness of his inflamed brain, was forcing the issue while Calendar sought vainly to calm and soothe him. The American arrived at the head of the companionway at a critical juncture. As he moved to descend some low, cool-toned retort of Calendar's seemed to enrage his confederate beyond reason.
Calendar's moon-like visage was momentarily divested of any trace of color. "What of her?" "You had better come in," advised Mrs. Hallam brusquely. The fat adventurer hopped hurriedly across the threshold, Kirkwood following. The woman shut the door, and turned with back to it, nodding significantly at Kirkwood as her eyes met Calendar's.
The girl had not stirred from hers since the first alarm; she sat as if transfixed with terror, leaning forward with her elbows on the table, her hands tightly clasped, her face, a little blanched, turned to the door. But her scarlet lips were set and firm with inflexible purpose, and her brown eyes met Calendar's with a look level and unflinching. Beyond this she gave no sign of recognition.
"I'll guarantee to get her aboard, or..." "Drop it, Dick!" Calendar advised quietly. "And go a bit easy with that bottle for five minutes, can't you?" "Well, then," Stryker resumed, apparently concurring in Calendar's attitude, "w'y don't one of you tyke the stuff, go off quiet and dispose of it to a proper fence, and come back to divide. I don't see w'y that "
Spurred onward by a storm of curses, Stryker's voice chanting infuriated cacophony with Calendar's, Kirkwood leapt up the companionway even as the second tremendous kick threatened to shatter the panels.
"Eight hours, I believe," he admitted gravely; "less than that, in fact." "Miss Calendar's interests will not suffer through anything you may tell me." "Whether they will or no, I see I must swing a looser tongue, or you'll be showing me the door." The woman shook her head, amused, "Not until," she told him significantly. "Very well, then."
He touched his side pocket; Calendar's revolver was still there.... Dorothy should win away clear, if if he swung for it. He bent forward with the traveling bag in his hands. "What are you going to do?" The girl's voice was very tremulous. "Stand a chance, take a losing hazard. Can you run? You're not too tired?" "I can run perhaps not far a little way, at least." "And will you do as I say?"
I have no intention whatever of going with this man." Calendar's features twitched nervously; he chewed a corner of his mustache, fixing the girl with a black stare. "I presume," he remarked after a moment, with slow deliberation, "you're aware that, as your father, I am in a position to compel you to accompany me." "I shall not go with you," iterated Dorothy in a level tone.
So forgetful of self was he, that it required a moment's thought to convince him that he was really responsible for the abrupt transformation. Incredulously he realized that he had drawn Calendar's revolver and pulled Stryker up short, in mid-stride, by the mute menace of it, as much as by his hoarse cry of warning: "Stryker not another foot "