rs. Hastings and said her present address wasn't important."So Gertie wrote down the name and went back to her magazine reading. The woman sat down in that big chair by the window."After a few minutes the woman got up and started pacing the floor. Thenshe said, 'I'll be back in a minute or two,' opened the door and stepped out inthe corridor.""And then?" Mason asked."That's all," Della Street said. "She never came back.""Oh well," Mason said, "she'll be showing up any minute now. What did she look like, Della?""Gertie was a little vague. She said that she had an aristocratic bearing, a good figure, a well-modulated voice and slender, tapering fingers. She thinks she was about thirty-two or thirty-three years old, but the woman was wearinghuge dark glasses and Gertie couldn't tell very much about her features."Gertie told me that she was wearing the dark glasses because she had been crying. I asked her how she knew and she said, well, she thought the tone ofthe woman's voice indicated that she'd been crying. It had a sort of rasp to it.""Leave it to Gertie," Mason said. "Aristocratic bearing, slender, tapering fingers, well-modulated voice-- Do you suppose, Della, that by any chance Gertie has transposed the description of the heroine in the love story she was reading, to our client?""I wouldn't put it past her," Della said. "Gertie's usually pretty observing but during the noon hour when she's reading one of those love stories she'sgot her head way up in the pink clouds.""Well," Mason said, looking at his watch, "we'll have time to do a little more work on these proposed instructions for the jury which I want to submit to the judge in the case that's coming up next week.""There are a couple of very important letters which have been hanging fire," Della Street suggested. "They _should_ go out today.""All right." Mason sighed. "Get the letters. I know what that means, however. You'll bring in a stack of mail eighteen inches high, get the two urgent letters off the top and then tell me I really should run through the rest of thecorrespondence."Della Street smiled, left the office, and a few moments later was back,carrying a woman's black handbag."What's this?" Mason asked."This," she said, "is _something_.""Shoot," Mason said."I went to the mail file back in the stenographic office, and in comingback through the reception room noticed this bag in back of the big chair by thedoor. I asked Gertie if it was hers and she said no, she hadn't seen it before.I asked her who had been in the office carrying a handbag and after a few moments she decided it must have been this mysterious woman who called during the noon hour. The bag was right by the chair she had been occupying."Mason extended his hand and Della Street gave him the purse."Well," Mason said thoughtfully, "that's rather odd. She said she was going out for a few minutes, that she felt she was in some danger, then she didn'tcome back and it turns out she left her handbag. Of course, we don't know it'shers.""Think we should look in it?" Della Street asked. "It's heavy enough, itcould be full of gold coin."Mason regarded the exterior of the bag thoughtfully, then said, "I thinkI'll open it and see if there's a name and address, Della."The lawyer opened the bag, started to reach in, then jerked his hand back."What is it?" Della Street asked.Mason hesitated a moment, then taking a handkerchief from his pocket wrapped it over his fingers, reached in the handbag and pulled out a blued steel .38-caliber revolver.