Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
    “Very well, I accept,” Daniel said.
    Finally, we reached Patchin Place.
    When I unlocked my front door, I found a letter lying on the mat. It was in a woman’s flowery hand, one that looked strangely familiar. I picked it up.
    “Now who would have written to me?” I said out loud.
    “Maybe it’s another assignment?”
    “No. Letters to the agency are held at the post office,” I said. “I don’t want my clients knowing my home address.”
    Never having been known for my patience, I ripped the envelope open. The stationery smelled of perfume. I glanced at the letter.

    My Dear Miss Murphy:
    I can only hope you are safely returned to New York by now. I have just received a long letter from Grania Hyde-Borne in Dublin, apprising me of the amazing events that took place. My dear Molly, I had no idea that I would involve you in such danger. I never intended to place you in harm’s way and I beg your forgiveness.
    Please come to visit me at your earliest convenience. I would dearly love to apologize to you in person, and also to hear the truth about my poor Rose and about Cullen. And there is the little matter of extra money that I owe you, although now I fear I can never pay you enough for what you went through.
    Oona Sheehan

    I stood there with the letter in my hand.
    “Who is it from?” Daniel asked.
    “It’s from Oona Sheehan,” I said angrily.
    “The actress?”
    “The very same. The one who put my life in jeopardy on the trip to Ireland with her dirty schemes.”
    “So what does she want now?”
    “She’s writing to apologize in person, so she says. But I think the truth is that she wants to hear about what happened to Cullen Quinlan. She was in love with him, you know.” I didn’t add that I had fallen in love with him just a little myself.
    “Cullen Quinlan?”
    I felt myself turning red. “The leader of the republican brotherhood. A very great man.”
    “Ah,” he said. “So are you going to go and pay her a call?”
    “I don’t see why I should. It will only open up old wounds, talking about it again.”
    Daniel peered over my shoulder. “She says she wants to pay you the money she owes you,” he said. “At least you should collect that. You earned it.”
    “I definitely did that,” I retorted bitterly. “Very well, I shall pay her that visit, if only to let her know how thoughtless and cruel her actions were.”
    “I don’t envy Miss Sheehan,” Daniel commented with a dry laugh. “Why did you not go to collect your fee as soon as you got home?”
    “I just wanted to forget the whole business,” I said. “Too many painful memories.” But even as I was speaking I was toying with Daniel’s words. He had said “home.” I could never go back to Ireland and it gave me a thrill of delight to realize that New York really was my home now.
    “I’ll go to her rooms right away, and get it over with,” I said.
    “Not right away, I hope. Were we not going to eat first?”
    “Trust a man to think of his stomach in times of stress,” I said. “Very well, let me put the soup pot on the stove and you shall have your meal.”

    A fter the meal had been cleared away, I changed into my business costume and attempted to put up my hair into a neat bun. As I was doing this I remembered that I still had the striped black-and-white two-piece that Miss Sheehan had lent me to wear. I found it in my closet, looking in definite need of cleaning and pressing. For a second I wondered if she’d be angry at the state I was returning it in. Then I reminded myself that she owed me far more than she could ever repay.
    I shoved the garment into a carpet bag, said farewell to Daniel, and off I went.
    Miss Sheehan’s address was Hoffman House on West Twenty-fifth Street. I was expecting some kind of apartment building and was surprised to find instead that not only was it on Madison Square, but that it was an elegant hotel. Madison Square is a leafy oasis in the summer, but the sky had

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