Josie O’Gorman’s appearance was one of her greatest assets. To the general run of young girls who look upon beauty as the one and only attribute necessary for success in life no doubt this statement would sound absurd. Certainly there was little in Josie’s appearance that to the casual observer would have passed muster as an asset. To be sure her sandy hair was abundant and well kept; her complexion, though subject to freckles, smooth and clear and milk-white where the sun could not reach it; her teeth even and pearly; her figure, small but erect with every muscle under the control of the alert mind of the girl; her feet—well, her feet the most scornful flapper might have envied. Even Josie, who was as free from vanity and self-consciousness as any girl living, had much satisfaction in her feet which were as smooth and guiltless of imperfections as those of a three-year-old child.
Those good points mentioned were not, however, Josie’s greatest assets. The features that gave Josie rank as one of the most astute female detectives were a pair of colorless, nondescript eyes, that could at the owner’s will take on an expression of absolute stupidity, even imbecility; and a nose that could be described best by the word “blobby.” No wrong-doer, attempting to evade detection, could have any fear of a person whose eyes resembled those of a codfish. As for the blobby nose, it was a nose that made a good foundation for any disguise. Not only did false noses fit on it with ludicrous exactness but Josie had the faculty of controlling that member and forcing it to do her bidding in a manner most surprising. From a mere blob she could wrinkle it into a turned-up nose, or by lifting one nostril and pulling down her upper lip she could change her countenance so that her best friends would have difficulty in recognizing her. This power of nose control was one that she had but recently acquired.
“I always could do things to my eyes,” she said to her dear friend Mary Louise, Mrs. Danny Dexter, “but I had always considered my nose a hopeless give-away. I was sure there was not another one like it in all the world, now that my dear father is dead.”
“How did you happen to discover your power over it?” asked Mary Louise, who could not help smiling at her friend’s mention of the father’s nose. The elder O’Gorman had been a famous detective and his shapeless nose had been almost as famous as its owner.
“It was this way: I blame myself and my sensitive vanity for not finding out about it long ago,” laughed Josie. “You see I never looked in a mirror, at least hardly ever. I never liked what I saw there and I saw no use in mortifying myself. Instead of facing the truth about my ugly mug I put it behind me.”