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** In San Francisco.

*** Betty's sister, who lives in a New York suburb.

"The boxes are in the game room, unpacked; and one of them, the yellow 

one, nobody wants. Joan had decided to send both back; and she was 
amazed at herself; and she didn't know what she was doing; and generally 
when she shops she knows what she is doing; and ever since she's been 

wondering why on earth she bought them, and what she was going to do 
with them.

"Tell Mill she will find the red one just as useful, to keep her furs in, 
as I found the tricky little leather dressing case that she gave me. Ask 
Joan if she will please give you four small gliders to put on the bottom. 

She has them in a small drawer. I think Joan is going to insist on--No, 
she isn't. [ paying for them perhaps?] The yellow one is to go back. The 
store got them from a Chinese ship in port, and bought the whole cargo, 

and that is why they were cheap. I wanted the BIRDS for Mill; there were 
others with flowers, but I wanted the BIRDS."

Now here was something! Three things we could verify at once, and did. 
The statement as to the reason for these boxes being on special sale was 

true. They were part of a cargo refused by the original importer and 
bought by this store to use as a "come-on" special: this fact, however, 
was already known to Joan. The reference to the furs might have 

significance in that I had recently given Millicent Betty's furs: a fact 
that was not known to Joan. The promise of the gliders we investigated at 
once. A search of the tool drawer, where such things would ordinarily be 

kept, disclosed none; but finally "in a small drawer" in the kitchen we 
turned up six of them. Two were large, and four were "small." But of 
course Joan's subconscious might have had recollection of them.

All interesting, but not conclusive. So at the earliest opportunity I 
went to see Millicent.

"Mill," said I, "what's your favorite color?"
"Well," she laughed, "you know I'm part Spanish, so I'll have to confess 

it's red."

"Any particular shade?"

She had a small box of Chinese lacquer, and instanced that. So far, 
exceedingly good.

"Have you had particularly in mind wanting anything like a Chinese 
camphorwood chest?"

"Yes," replied Millicent promptly. "When I was on the Coast with you in 

1936 Betty and I saw one in Chinatown. I was crazy about it, but it was 
much too expensive. But later I thought it over, and I wrote her asking 
where I could get one--I must have written her three or four times, but 

somehow she never answered my question."

"Well, she's got it for you now," said I, and explained. "But there's 

something else. She said, 'Tell Mill it is for the color and the birds,' 
and she emphasized that, and added something about watching birds when 
you were little girls. Anything special about that? I suppose all 

children watch birds."

Millicent stared at me, for a moment unable to speak.


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