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THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



> 



THE 
SECRET ADVERSARY. 



BY 



AGATHA £HRISTI£ 

AOIHOR or "TBB KTRKMba AVfAIB AT ffrTUn" 




NEW YORK 

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 

1922 



^ A 



H- 


.'D> 


( ; 


tY 


1 ■ 


y 


<Ul 





bt dobd, meaj) and COMF^NT, Iko* 




TO ALL TH06X WHO LEAD 

MONOTONOUS UVB8 

m THB HOPS THAT THIT MAT XXPXRUMCni 

AT 8100ND HAND 

THE DXUGHT8 AND DANG1B8 OF 

ADYSNTUBS 



CONTENTS 



PAOI 





Peoloous 


1 


I 


The Yodno Adtxmtvbxbs, Ltd. 


4 


II 


Mk. WHtrriKOTON's Ornu 


18 


III 


A Set Back 


27 


IV 


"Who 18 Jane FiN»?" . . 


86 


V 


Me. Jcuus p. Heeshbimmee 


48 


VI 


A Tuis OF Campaign 


56 


VII 


The House in Soho . 


65 


VIII 


The Adventuees of Tommy 


73 


IX 


Tuppence Enteks Domestic Seevici 


B 86 


X 


Entee Sib James Peel Edoeeton 


98 


XI 


Jcuus Tells a Stoet 


. 108 


XII 


A Feiend in Need 


. 121 


XIII 


The Vigil 


. 148 


XIV 


A Consultation 


. 156 


XV 


Tuppence Receives a Pboposal 


. 165 


XVI 


FuRTHEE Adventuees of Tommy 


. 175 


XVII 


Annette 


. 187 


xvni 


The Teleoeam .... 


. 207 


XIX 


Jane Finn 


. 225 


XX 


Too Late 


. 239 


XXI 


ToMMT Makes a Discoveet 
Tii 


. 247 



i 



viii 


CONTENTS 




coApm 




n 


XXII 


In Downing Stkeet . 


. 2 


XXIU 


A Kace Agaixst Tihb 


. 2 


XXIV 


Julius Takes a Hako 


. 2 


XXV 


Jake's Sto»t .... 


. 2 


XXVI 


Mr. Beowm 


. 3 


XXVII 


A SuppEE Pa«tt at thb "Savot*' 


. 8 


xxvm 


And ArrsK ....... 


. 8 




THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

PROLOGUE 

IT wa8 2 p.iii. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. 
The Ltuitania had been struck by two torpedoes 
in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the 
boats were being launched with all possible speed. The 
women and children were being lined up awaiting their 
turn. Some still clung desperately to husbands and 
fathers; others clutched their children closely to their 
breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart from the 
TtBt, She was quite young, not more than eighteen. 
She did not seem afraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes 
looked straight ahead. 

**I beg your pardon.'^ 

A man's voice beside her made her start and turn. 
She had noticed the speaker more than once amongst 
the first-class passengers. There had been a hint of 
mystery about him which had appealed to her imagina- 
tion* He spoke to no one. If anyone spoke to him he 
was quick to rebuff the overture. Also he had a ner- 
vous way of looking over his shoulder with a swift, 
sotpicious glance. 

She noticed now that he was greatly agitated. There 
, were beads of perspiration on his brow. He was evi- 
dently in a state of overmastering fear. And yet he 



a THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

did not strike her as the kiml of man who would 
afraid to meet death! 

"Yes?" Her grave eyes met hii mquiriiigly. 

He stood looking at her with a kind of desperate 
resolution. 

**It must be!" he muttered to himself. "Yes— it 
the only way." Then aloud he said abruptly: **Y 
are an American?" 

**Yes," 

"A patriotic one?** 

The girl flushed, 

**I guesa you've no right to ask such a thing! ( 
course I am !** 

"Don*t be offended. You wouldn't be if you kni 
how much there was at stake. But IVe got to tn: 




PROLOGUE 8 

proad to be chosen! What am I to do with them 
afterwards?*' 

** Watch the newspapers! Ill advertise in the per- 
sonal column of the Timei, beginning 'Shipmate.' At 
the end of three days if there's nothing — well, youTl 
know I'm down and oat. Then take the packet to the 
American Embassy, and deliver it into the Ambassa- 
dor's own hands. Is that dear?'* 

•HJuite clear." 

**Then be ready — ^Pm going to say good-bye.** He 
took her hand in his. ^'Groodrbye. Good luck to you," 
he said in a louder tone. 

Her hand closed on the oilskin packet that had lain 
in his palm. 

The Lutitama settled with a more decided list to 
starboard. In answer to a quick command, the girl 
went forward to take her place in the boat. 



CHAPTER I 



THK TOtmC ADVENTUEKas, XTD. 



**rflOMMY, old thing!" 
I "Tuppence, old beac i'* 

The two young people greeted each other af- 
fectiooatelyj and momentarilj blocked the Dover Street 
Tube exit in doing so. The adjective "old" was mis- 
leading. Their united ages would certainly not have 
totalled forty-five, 

"Not seen you for simply centuries,'* continued the 



THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD, 6 

but forgotten to write it on the chart. Do yon re- 
member?'' 

Tommy chuckled. 

<'I should think I did! Wasn't the old cat in a rage 
when she found out? Not that she was a bad sort 
really, old Mother Greenbank! Good old hospital — 
demobbed like everything else, I suppose?** 

Tuppence sighed. 

•*Ye /ou too?" 

Tommy nodded. 

•TVoJuonths ago." 

•^Gratuity?" hinted Tuppence. 

«*Spent." 

"Oh, Tommy!" 

"No, old thing, not in riotous dissipation. No such 
lack! The cost of living— ordinary plain, or garden 
living nowadays is, I assure you, if you do not know 

w 

"My dear child," interrupted Tuppence, "there is 
nothing I do not know about the cost of living. Here 
* c are at Lyons', and we will each of us pay for our 
own. That's that!" And Tuppence led the way up- 
stairs. 

The place was full, and they wandered about looking 
for a table, catching odds and ends of conversation as 
they did so. 

"And — do you know, she sat down and cried when 
I told her she couldn't have the flat after all." "It 
was simply a bargain, my dear! Just like the one 
Mabel Lewis brought from Paris ^" 

"Funny scraps one does overhear," murmured 



6 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Tommy. "I passed two Johnnjes in the street to-day 
talking about some one called Jane Finn, Did yon 
ever hear such a name?" 

But at that moment two elderly ladies rose and 
collected parcels, and Tuppence deftly ensconced her^ 
self in one of the vacant seats. 

Tommy ordered tea and buns. Tuppence ordered 
tea and buttered toasL 

"And mind the tea comes in separate teapot*,'^ she 
added severely. 

Tommy sat down opposite her. His bared head 
revealed a shock of exquisitely slicked-back red hair. 
His face was pleasantly ugly — nondescript, yet un- 
mistakably the face of a gentleman and a sportsman. 
His brown suit was well cut, but perilously near the 
end of its tether. 



' THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD. 7 

•*Vcry wdl.** Tuppence helped herself liberally to 
battered toast. ^Abridged biography of Miss Pru- 
dence Cowley, fifth daughter of Archdeacon Cowley of 
Little Missendell, Suffolk. Miss Cowley left the de- 
lights (and drudgeries) of her home life early in the 
war and came up to London, where she entered an offi- 
cers' hospital. First month: Washed up six hundred 
imd forty-eight plates every day. Second month : Pro- 
moted to drying aforesaid plates. Third month: Pro- 
moted to peeling potatoes. Fourth month: Promoted 
to cutting bread and butter. Fifth month: Promoted 
one floor up to duties of wardmaid with mop and pail. 
Sixth month: Promoted to waiting at table. Seventh 
month: Pleasing appearance and nice manners so 
striking that am promoted to waiting on the Sisters! 
Eighth month: Slight check in career. Sister Bond 
ate Sister Westhaven's eggl Grand row! Wardmaid 
dearly to blame! Inattention in such important mat- 
ters cannot be too highly censured. Mop and pail 
again! How are the mighty fallen! Ninth month: 
Promoted to sweeping out wards, where I found a 
friend of my childhood in Lieutenant Thomas Bcresford 
(bow, Tonmiy!), whom I had not seen for five long 
years. The meeting was affecting! Tenth month: Re- 
proved by matron for visiting the pictures in company 
with one of the patients, namely: the aforementioned 
Lieutenant Thomas Beresford. Eleventh and twelfth 
Bicmttibs: Parlourmaid duties resumed with entire suc- 
eess. ^ At the end of the year left hospital in a blaze of 
iforjj. After that, the talented Miss Cowley drove suc- 
ecMi)eIy a trade delivery van, a motor-lorry and a gen- 



) 



8 THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

eraL The last was the pleasat^test. He was quite a 
joung general !" 

**What blighter was that?" inquired Tommy. "Per- 
fectly sickening the way those brass hats drove from 
the War Office to the Savo^ft and from the Sar^oi^ to 
the War Office!" 

*'IVe forgotten his name now," confessed Tuppence. 
*'To resume, that was in a way the apex of my career. 
I next entered a Government office. We had several 
very enjoyable tea parties, I had intended to become 
a land girl, a postwoman, and a bus conductress by 
way of rounding off my career — but the Armistice in- 
tervened! I clung to the office with the true limpet 
touch for many long months, but, alas, I was combed 
out at last- Since then I've been looking for a job* 




THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD. 9 

*T,. ihouldn't like the colonies — and Fm perfecUj 
certain thej wouldn't like me!^ 

«Rich relations?'' 

Again Tommy shook his head. 

•*0h. Tommy, not even a gi^at^auntP' 

^Tve got an old ancle who's more or less roUingf 
bat he's no good.*^ 

•*Why not?" 

*^anted to adopt me once. I xefased." 

**! think I remember hearing' about it," said 
Tuppence slowly. ^You refused because of your 
mother-. — ^ 

Tommy flushed. 

^Yes; it would have been a bit rough on the mater. 
As you know, I was all she had. Old boy hated her — 
wanted to get me away from her. Just a bit of spite." 

'^our mother's dead, isn't she?" said Tuppence 
gently. 

Tommy nodded. 

Tuppence's large grey eyes looked misty. 

••You're a good sort. Tommy. I always knew it." 

•TRot!" said Tommy hastily. ''Well, that's my 
position. I'm just about desperate." 

••So am I! I've hung out as long as I could. I've 
touted round. I've answered advertisements. I've tried 
every mortal blessed thing. I've screwed and saved 
and pinched! But it's no good. I shall have to go 
homeP' 

*T)on't you want to?'* 

••Of course I don't want to! What's the good of 



10 



THE SECRET ADVERSARX 



beiBg sentimental? Father's a dear — I'm awfuUjr fond 
of him — but you Ve no idea how I worry him I He has 
that delightful early Victorian view that short skirts 
and smoking are immoraL You can imagine what a 
ibom in the flesh I am to him! He just heaved a sigh 
of relief when the war took me off. You see, there are 
B^rcn of us at home. It*s awful! All housework and 
mothers* meetings! I have always been the change- 
ling. I don't want to go back, but — oh> Tommy, what 
else is there to do?*' 

Tommy shook his head sadly. There was a silence^ 
and then Tuppence burst out : 

**Manej, money, money ! I thijak about money 
morning, noon and night! I dare say it^fl mercenary 
of me, but there it ial" 



THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD, 11 

•entimental, you know." She paused. **Come now, you 
can't say I'm sentimental,'' she added sharply. 

"Certainly not," agreed Tommy hastily. "No one 
would ever think of sentiment in connection with you." 

"That's not very polite," replied Tuppence. "But 
I dare say you mean it all right. Well, there it is! 
Pm ready and willing^— but I never meet any rich men ! 
AU the boys I know are about as hard up as I 
am." 

"What about the general?" inquired Tommy. 

"I fancy he keeps a bicycle shop in time of peace," 
explained Tuppence. **No, there it is ! Now you could 
marry a rich girl." 

"I'm like you. I don't know any." 

"That doesn't matter. You can always get to know 
one. Now, if I see a man in a fur coat come out of the 
jRt^x I can't rush up to him and say: *Look here, 
you're rich. I'd like to know you.' " 

"Do you suggest that I should do that to a similarly 
garbed female?" 

"Don't be silly. You tread on her foot, or pick up 
her handkerchief, or something like that. If she thinks 
you want to know her she's flattered, and will manage 
it for you somehow." 

"You overrate my manly charms," murmured 
Tommy. 

"On the other hand," proceeded Tuppence, **my mil- 
lionaire would probably run for his life! No— mar- 
riage is fraught with difficulties. Remains — to make 
money!" 



12 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**WeVe tried that^ and failed," Tommy reminded her. 

**WeVe tried all the orthodox wajs, jes. But sup- 
pose we trj the unorthodox* Tommy, let's be adven- 
turers I** 

**Certainlj,'* replied Tommy cheerfully. **How do 
we begin?" 

"That's the difficulty. If we could make ourselves 
ItnowB, people might hire us to commit crimes for 
them." I 

'*Ddjghtful," commented Tommy, "Especially com- 
ing from a clergjoian's daughter T* 

"The moral guUt/' Tuppence pointed out, "would 
be theirs — not mine. You must admit that there's m 
{iifTerence between stealing a diamond necklace for 
yourself and being hired to steal it/* 
woulda'l 



THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD. 18 

me m» tach a romantic phrase to come across in the 
middle of musty old figures. It's got an Elizabethan 
flmTour aboat it — makes one think of galleons and dou- 
bloons. A joint venture !" 

''Trading under the name of the Young AdyenturerSy 
Ltd.? Is that your idea. Tuppence?'' 

''It's all very well to laugh, but I fed there might 
be scmiething in it/' 

"How do you propose to get in touch with your 
would-be employers?" 

"Advertisement," replied Tuppence promptly. 
"Have you got a bit of paper and a pencil? Men 
usually seem to have. Just like we have hairpins and 
powder-puffs." 

Tommy handed over a rather shabby green notebook, 
and Tuppence began writing busily. 

"Shall we begin: 'Young officer, twice wounded in 
the war ' " 

"Certainly not." 

"(Ml, very well, my dear boy. But I can assure you 
that that sort of thing might touch the heart of an 
elderly spinster, and she might adopt you, and then 
there would be no need for you to be a young adven- 
turer at all." 

"I don't want to be adopted." 

"I forgot you had a prejudice against it. I was 
only ragging you ! The papers are full up to the brim 
with that type of thing. Now listen — ^how's this? 'Two 
young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, 
go anywhere. Pay must be good.' (We might as well 
make that clear from the start.) Then we might add: 



1« 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



I 



*No reasonable offer refused' — ^like fiats and furniture,'* 

**I should think any offer we get in answer to that 
would be a prettj tin reasonable one!*' 

"Tommy I You're a genius! That's ever so much 
more chic. *No unreasonable offer refused — if pay is 
good,' How's that?*' 

**I shouldn't mention pay again. It looks rather 
eager-" 

•*It eouldn't look as eager as I feell But perhaps 
you are right. Now I'll read it straight through. *Two 
young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, 
go anywhere. Pay must he good. No unreasonable 
offer refused** How would that strike you if jou read 
it?" 

"It would strike me as either being a hoax^ or else 



THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD. 16 

Tliey put down the cups and laughed rather uncer^ 
tainly. Tuppence rose. 

^I must return to my palatial suite at the hostel.** 

'^eriiaps it is time I stroUed round to the Atfx/' 
•greed Tommy with a grin. *' Where shall we meet? 
And when?" 

TTwelve o'clock to-morrow. Piccadilly Tube station. 
Will that suit you?** 

^My time is my own,** replied Mr. Beresford mag- 
nificently. 

•*8o long, then." 

"HSood-bye, old thing." 

The two young people went off in opposite directions. 
Tuppence's hostel was situated in what was charitably 
called Southern Belgravia. For reasons of economy 
the did not take a bus. 

She was half-way across St. James's Park, when a 
man's voice behind her made her start. 

^Excuse me," it said. ^But may I speak to you for 
a moment?" 



CHAPTER n 



vs. WBtTTtNeTOK S OFTEft 



m 



T 



I UPPENCE tunied sharply, but the words hover* 
ing OD the tip of her tongue remained umpoken, 
for the unan'g appearanee and manner did not 
bear out her first and most natural assumption. She 
hesitated. Ai if be read her thoughts, the man said 
quickly ; 

'*! can assure you I mean no disrespect*" 

Tuppence beHeved him. A lthough she disliked and 



I 



MR. WHITTINGTON'S OFFER 17 

•«I took that Uberty.'' 

^And in what way do you think you could be of use 
to me?" 

The man took a card from his pocket and handed 
it to her with a bow. 

Tuppence took it and scrutinized it carefully. It 
bore the inscription, *'Mr. Edward Whittington." Be- 
low the name were the words **Esthonia Glassware Co.,** 
and the address of a city office. Mr. Whittington spoke 
again: 

''If you will call upon me to-morrow morning at 
deren o'clock, I will lay the details of my proposition 
before you.'* 

**At eleven o'clock?" said Tuppence doubtfully. 

**At eleven o'clock." 

Tuppence made up her mind. 

•Tery well. I'U be there." 

*Tliank you. Good evening." 

He raised his hat with a flourish, and walked away. 
Tuppence remained for some minutes gazing after him. 
Then she gave a curious movement of her shoulders, 
rather as a terrier shakes himself. 

**The adventures have begun," she murmured to her- 
self. •'What does he want me to do, I wonder? There's 
something about you, Mr. Whittington, that I don't 
like at all. But, on the other hand, I'm not the least 
bit afraid of you. And as I've said before, and shall 
doubtless say again, little Tuppence can look after 
bersdf, thank you!" 

Aud with a short, sharp nod of her head she walked 
briskly onward. As a result of further meditations. 



18 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



however, ehe turned aside from the direct route and 
entered a post office, Thert ehe pondered for some 
moments, a telegraph form in her hand. The thought 
of a possible 6ve shillings spent onnecessarilj spurred 
her to action^ and she decided to risk the waste of 
ninepence. 

Disdaining the spikj pen and thick, black treacle 
which a beneficent Government had provided^ Tuppence 
drew out Tommy's pencil which she had retained and 
wrote rapidlj; **Don*t put in advertisement. Will 
explain to-morrow »" She addressed it to Tommy at 
his club, from which in one short month he would have 
to resign, unless a kindlj fortune permitted him to 
renew his subscription. 

"It may catch him," she murmured- *'Anyway, il'« 



MR. WHTTTINGTON'S OFFER 19 

It wanted some five minutes to eleven when Tuppence 
reached the block of buildings in which the offices 
<Kf the Esthonia Glassware Co. were situated. To ar- 
rive before the time would look over-eager. So Tup- 
pence decided to walk to the end of the street and back 
again* She did so. On the stroke of eleven she plunged 
into the recesses of the building. The Esthonia Glass- 
ware Co. was on the top floor. There was a lift, but 
Tuppence chose to walk up. 

Slij^tly out of breath, she came to a halt outside 
the ground glass door with the legend painted across 
it ^'Esthonia Glassware Co.*^ 

Tappence knocked. In response to a voice from 
within, she turned the handle and walked into a small 
rather dirty outer office. 

A middle-aged clerk got down from a high stool at 
a desk near the window and came towards her in- 
quiringly. 

**I have an appointment with Mr. Whittington," 
aaid Tuppence. 

•*WiU you come this way, please.'* He crossed to a- 
partition door with ^Private" on it, knocked, then 
opened the door and stood aside to let her pass in. 

Mr. Whittington was seated behind a large desk 
covered with papers. Tuppence felt her previous judg- 
ment confirmed. There was something wrong about 
Mr. Whittington. The combination of his sleek pros- 
perity and his shifty eye was not attractive. 

He looked up and nodded. 

''So you've turned up aU right? That's good. Sit 
down, will you?" 



20 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Tuppence sat down on the chair facing him. She 
looked particularly small and demure this morning. 
She sat there meekly with downcast eyes whilst Mr, 
Whittington sorted and rustled amongst his papers. 
Finally he pushed them away, and leaned over the 
desk. 

*^Nowj my dear young lady, let us come to huslness,** 
His large face broadened into a smile. *'You want 
work? Well, I have work to offer you- \^Tiat should 
you say now to £100 down, and all expenses paid?'* Mr, 
Whittington leaned back in his chair, and thrust his 
thumbs into the arm-holes of his waistcoat- 
Tuppence eyed him warily. 
**And the nature of the work?" she demanded, 
"Nominal^ — purely nominal, A pleasant trip, that is 



MR. WHITTINGTON'S OFFER 21 

''Exactly. Madame Colombier's in the Avenue de 
Neuaiy.'* 

Toppence knew the name well. Nothing could have 
been more select. She had had several American 
friends there. She was more than ever puzzled. 

''You want me to go to Madame Colombier's? For 
how long?*' 

'fThat depends. Possibly three months.** 

"And that is all? There are no other conditions?** 

"None whatever. You would, of course, go in the 
character of my ward, and you would hold no commu- 
nication with your friends. I should have to request 
absolute secrecy for the time being. By the way, you 
are English, are you not?" 

"Yes.** 

"Yet you speak with a slight American accent?*' 

"My great pal in hospital was a little American girl. 
I dare say I picked it up from her. I can soon get out 
of it again.** 

"On the contrary, it might be simpler for you to 
pass as an American. Details about your past life in 
England might be more difficult to sustain. Yes, I 
think that would be decidedly better. Then ** 

"One moment, Mr. Whittington! You seem to be 
taking my consent for granted.** 

Whittington looked surprised. 

"Surely you are not thinking of refusing? I can 
assure you that Madame Colombier's is a most high- 
class and orthodox establishment. And the terms are 
most liberal.** 



22 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"Exactly," said Tuppence. ''That's just it The 
terms are ahnost too liberal, Mr, Whittiugton. I can- 
not see anj wa^ in which I can be worth that amount 
of money to you," 

"No?" said Whittington softly. **WelI, I will tdl 
you, I could doubtless obtain some one else for very 
much less* What I am willing to pay for is a young 
lady with sufficient intelligence and presence of mind 
to sustain her part well, aod also one who will have 
sufGcietit discretion not to ask too many questions," 

Tuppence smiled a little. She felt that Whittington 
had scored. 

"There's another thing. So far there has been no 
mention of Mr. Beresford. Where does he come in?" 

"Mr, Beresford?" 



MR. WHITTINGTON'S OFFER 23 

face. It was purple with rage, and the Teins stood 
out on the forehead. And behind it all there lurked 
a sort of incredulous dismay. He leaned forward and 
hissed savagely: 

•*So that's your little game, is it?'* 

Tuppence, though utterly taken aback, nevertheless 
kept her head. She had not the faintest comprehension 
of his meaning, but she was naturally quick-witted, and 
felt it imperative to *^keep her end up" as she phrased it. 

Whittington went on: 

''Been playing with me, have you, all the time, like 
a cat and mouse? Knew all the time what I wanted 
you for, but kept up the comedy. Is that it, eh?" He 
was cooling down. The red colour was ebbing out of 
his face. He eyed her keenly. "Who's been blabbing? 
Rita?" 

Tuppence shook her head. She was doubtful as to 
how long she could sustain this iUusion, but she realized 
the importance of not dragging an unknown Rita into 
it. 

•'No,'* she replied with perfect truth. "Rita knows 
nothing about me." 

His eyes still bored into her like gimlets. 

••How much do you know?" he shot out. 

•Tery little indeed," answered Tuppence, and was 
pleased to note that Whittington's uneasiness was 
•qgmented instead of allayed. To have boasted that 
•be knew a lot might have raised doubts in his mind. 

"Anyway," snarled Whittington, "you knew enough 
to come in here and plump out that name." 

It mi^t be my own name," Tuppence pointed out. 



24 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"It*s lUcdy, isn't it, that there would be two girl 
with a name like that?" ' 

"Or I might just have hit upon it bj chance," cot 
tiBued Tuppence, intoxicated with the success of trutl 
fulness. 

Mr, Whittington brought his fist down upon the des 
vith a bang. 

**Quit fooling! How much do you know? And h© 
much do jou want?" 

The last five words took Tuppence's fancy migfatilj 
especially after a meagre breakfast and a supper c 
buns the night before. Her present part was of tl 
adventuress rather than the adventurous order, bu 
she did not deny its possibilities. She sat up and smile 
with the air of one who has the situation thoroughl 




MR. WHITTINGTON'S OFFER 26 

Tuppence paused a moment to admire her own in- 
genuity, and then aaid softly: 

^ shouldn't like to contradict you, Mr. Whittin^ 
ton.^ 

^So we come to the usual question — how much?'' 

Tuppence was in a dilemma. So far she had fooled 
Whittington with complete success, but to mention a 
palpably impossible simi might awaken his suspicions. 
An idea flashed across her brain. 

^Suppose we say a little something down, and a fuUer 
discussion of the matter later?" 

Whittington gave her an ugly glance. 

""Blackmail, eh?*" 

Tuppence smiled sweetly. 

•^h no! Shall we say payment of services in ad- 
vance?" 

Whittington grunted. 

"TTou see," explain Tuppence still sweetly, 'Tm so 
very fond of money !" 

•TTou're about the limit, that's what you are," 
growled Whittington, with a sort of unwilling admira- 
tion, "^ou took me in all right. Thought you were 
quite a meek little kid with just enough brains for my 
purpose." 

•Ufe," moralized Tuppence, **i8 full of surprises." 

^All the same," continued Whittington, ''some one's 
beenUlking. You say it isn't Rita. Was it ? Oh, 



The clerk followed his discreet knock into the room, 
and laid a paper at his master's elbow. 



26 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



1 



''Telephone message just come for yoa, air,** 

Wliittington snatclied it up and read it. A frown 
gathered on lua brow, 

*'T]iAt'n do, Brown. You can go.'* 

The clerk withdrew, closing the door behmd him- 
Whittington turned to Tuppence* 

*'Conie to-morrow at the same time. I*m busy &ow« 
Here's fifty to go on with." 

He rapidly sorted out some notes, and pushed them 
across the table to Tuppence, then stood up, obviously 
impatient for her to go* 

The girl counted the notes in a business-like manner, 
secured them in her handbags and rose. 

*'Good morning, Mr, Wliittington*" she said po- 
litely, *'At least, au revoir, I should say>" 

'^Exactly. Au revoirl" Whittington looked alroos 



CHAPTER in 



A SET BACK 



THE moment was not quite so triumphant as it 
ought to have been. To begin with, the re- 
sources of Tommy's pockets were somewhat lim- 
ited. In the end the fare was managed, the lady recol- 
lecting a plebeian twopence, and the driver, still holding 
the varied assortment of coins in his hand, was pre- 
vailed upon to move on, which he did after one last 
hoarse demand as to what the gentleman thought he 
was giving him? 

**I think you've given him too much. Tommy,'* said 
Tuppence innocently. '^I fancy he wants to give some 
of it back.'* 

It was possibly this remark which induced the driver 
to move away. 

••Well,** said Mr. Beresford, at length able to relieve 
hia feelings, 'Srhat the — dickens, did you want to take 
a Uxi for?'' 

^I was afraid I might be late and keep you waiting,** 
•aid Tuppence gently. 

"Afraid — you — might — ^be — late! Oh, Lord, I give 
it up!** said Mr. Beresford. 

•*And really and truly," continued Tuppence, open- 

2ii|g her eyes very wide, ^^I haven't got anything smaller 

than a five-pound note." 

27 



28 



THE SECRET AD\T:RSARY 



"Yqu did that part of it very well, old bean, but afl 
the same the fellow wasn*t takf^n in — ^not for a moment f* 

**No," said Tuppence thoughtfully, **he didn't be- 
lieve it. That's the curious part about epeakJug the 
truth. No one does believe it. I found that out this 
moming- Now let's go to lunch* How about the 
Savot^r 

Tommy grinned, 

"How about the fiifzf" 

*'On second thoughts, I prefer the FiccadSly. It's 
nearer- We shanH have to take another taxi> Come 
along," 

"Is this a new brand of humour? Or ia your brain 
really unhinged?" inquired Tommy, 

"Your last supposition is the correct one, I have 



:i 



A SET BACK 29 

of fiTe-poond notes being waved about in a dangerous 
fstahion?^ 

^Even so, O King! Nam^ will you come and have 
lunch ?^ 

•*ril come anywhere. But what have you been do- 
ing? Holding up a bank?'' 

^All in good time. What an awful place Piccadilly 
Circus is. There's a huge bus bearing down on us. It 
would be too terrible if they killed the five-pound 
notes !^ 

'HSrill room?'' inquired Tommy , as they reached the 
opposite pavement in safety. 

•*The other's more expensive," demurred Tuppence. 

•^That's mere wicked wanton extravagance. Come 
on below.** 

^Are you sure I can get all the things I want 
there?'* 

''That extremely unwholesome menu you were out- 
lining just now? Of course you can — or as much as 
ia good for you, anyway." 

''And now tell me," said Tommy, unable to restrain 
his pent-up curiosity any longer, as they sat in state 
surrounded by the many hor$ JCauvre of Tuppence's 
dreams. 

Miss Cowley told him. 

"And the curious part of it is^" she ended, "that I 
reaUy did invent the name of Jane Finn! I didn't 
want to give my own because of poor father — in case I 
should get mixed up in anything shady." 

"Perhaps that's so," said Tommy slowly. "But you 
didi^ invent it" 



30 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



^ 



"What?" 

"No. I told it to jou, Doii*t jou remembeF, I bbH 
yesterday I'd overheard two people talking about * 
female called Jane Finn? That's what brought the 
name into your mind so pat." 

"So 3*00 did« I remember now. How extraordi- 
nary^ " Tuppence tailed off into silence. SuddeDly 

she aroused herself, "Tommj!'* 

*'Yes?" 

**\\Tiat were they Iikc> the two men you passed?" 

Tommy frowned in an effort at remembrance. 

*'One was a bi^ fat sort of chap. Clean shaTen, I 
think — and dark,'* 

"That^s him,'* cried Tuppence, in an ungramiDaticsI 
squeal. ^'That's nTiittington ! What was the other 




A SET BACK 81 

Yoa're sore to slip up sooner or later. And, anyway, 
nn not at all sure that it isn't actionable — blackmail, 
you know.** 

^^onsense. Blackmail is saying you'll tell unless 
you are given money. Now, there's nothing I could 
tell, because I don't really know anything." 

«*Hm," said Tommy doubtfully. "Well, anyway, 
what are we going to do? Whittington was in a hurry 
to get rid of you this morning, but next time he'll want 
to know something more before he parts with his money. 
He^ want to know how much you know, and where you 
got your information from, and a lot of other things 
that you can't cope with. What are you going to do 
about it?" 

Tuppence frowned severely. 

•*We must think. Order some Turkish coffee. Tommy. 
Stimulating to the brain. Oh, dear, what a lot I have 
eaten r' 

^You have made rather a hog of yourself ! So have 
I for that matter, but I flatter myself that my choice 
of dishes was more judicious than yours. Two coffees." 
(This was to the waiter.) "One Turkish, one French.'* 

Tuppence sipped her coffee with a deeply reflective 
air, and snubbed Tommy when he spoke to her. 

"Be quiet. I'm thinking." 

"Shades of Pelmanism!" said Tommy, and relapsed 
into silence. 

"There!" said Tuppence at last. "I've got a plan. 
Obviously what we've got to do is to find out more 
about it all." 

Tommy applauded. 



32 



THE SECRET ADVEBSARY 



"DonH jeer. We can only find out through Whit- 
tlngton. We must discover where he Hvc5, what be 
doe^— sleuth him, in fact! Now I can't do it, because 
he knows me, but he onlj saw you for a minute or twft 
in Lyons'. He*s not likely to recognize you. After all, 
one young man is much like another," 

**I repudiate that remark utterly. I'm sure my pleas- 
ing features and distinguished appearance would single 
me out from any crowd,*' 

*'My plan is this/* Tuppence went on calmly, *TI1 
go alone to-morrow. 1*11 put him off again like I did 
to-day* It doesn't matter if I don't get any more 
money at once. Fifty pounds ought to last us a few 
days." 

'*0r even longer!" 

^You'll hang about outside. When I come out I 



A SET BACK 83 

remark. Never mind, I forgive you. Anyway, it wiU 
be rather a lark. What are you doing this after* 
noon?^ 

••WeU,** said Tuppence meditatively. "I had thought 
of hats ! Or perhaps silk stockings ! Or perhaps ^^ 

''Hold bard," admonished Tommy. '^There*s a limit 
to fifty pounds! But let's do dinner and a show to- 
night at all events." 

^TUtber." 

The day passed pleasantly. The evening even more 
so. Two of the five-pound notes were now irretrievably 
dead. 

They met by arrangement the following morning and 
proceeded citywards. Tommy remained on the oppo- 
site side of the road while Tupi>ence plunged into the 
building. 

Tommy strolled slowly down to the end of the street, 
then back again. Just as he came abreast of the build- 
ings^ Tuppence darted across the road. 

•TTommy !" 

"Yes. What's up?" 

"The place is shut. I can't make any one hear." 

"That's odd." 

"Isn't it? Come up with me, and let's try again." 

Tommy followed her. As they passed the third 
fioor landing a young clerk came out of an office. He 
^lesitated a moment, then addressed himself to Tup- 
pence. 

"Were you wanting the Esthonia Glassware?" 

"Yes, please." 



3% 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"It's closed dowD. Since yesterday af ternooiu Com- 
pany bein^ wound up, they iaj. Not that IVe erer 
heard of it myself. But anyway the office is to let.** 
"Th — thank you,** filtered Tuppence, "I suppose 
you don't know Mr. Whittington's address?" 
"Afraid I don't. They left rather suddenly." 
"Thank you very much/' said Tommy. "Come on, 
Tuppence." 

They descended to the €lreet again where they gased 
at one another hlankly, 

"That's torn it," said Tommy at length. 
"And I never suspected it," wailed Tuppence, 
"Cheer up, old thing, it can*t be helped.** 
**Can*t it, though!*' Tuppence's little chin shot out 
defiantly, "Do you think this h the end? If so, you're 



A SET BACK 



85 



'You're not going to put that thing in after all?" 

^No, it's a diO'erent one.'* She handed him the dip 
of paper. 

Tommy read the words on it aloud : 

^^Waktei), any information respecting Jane Finn* 
Apply Y. a:' 



^ > 



CHAPTER IV 

WHO IS JANB FINN? 

THE next daj passed slowly. It was Deeessarj to 
curtail expenditure, Carefullj? husbanded, forty 
pounds will last a long time. Loekily the weather 
was fine> and *'walking is cheap," dictated Tuppcnce. 
An outlying picture house provided thcjn with recre- 
ation for the evenini^. 

The day of disillusionmeiit had been a Wednesday* 
On Thursday the advertisement had duly appeared* 



WHO IS JANE FINN? 87 

^I didn't want to disappoint you, old thing, by tell- 
ing you right off. It's too bad. Good money wasted." 
He signed. **Still, there it is. The advertisement has 
appeared, and — there are only two answers P' 

•Tommy, you devil P* almost screamed Tuppence. 
•*Give them to me. How could you be so meanP' 

'TTour language. Tuppence, your language ! They're 
very particular at the National Gallery. Government 
show, you know. And do remember, as I have pointed 
out to you before, that as a clergyman's daughter " 

^ ought to be on the stage !" finished Tuppence with 
a snap. 

^fThat is not what I intended to say. But if you 
are sure that you have enjoyed to the full the reaction 
of joy after despair with which I have kindly provided 
you free of charge, let us get down to our mail, as the 
saying goes.** 

Tuppence snatched the two precious envelopes from 
him unceremoniously, and scrutinized them carefully. 

**Thick paper, this one. It looks rich. We'll keep 
it to the last and open the other first." 

••Right you are. One, two, three, go !" 

Tuppence's little thumb ripped open the envelope, 
and she extracted the contents. 

•a>EAm Snt, 

••Referring to your advertisement in this morn- 
ing's paper, I may be able to be of some use to you. 
Perhaps you could call and see me at the above address 
at eleven o'clock to-morrow morning. 

••Yours truly, 

••A. CAmTEE." 



38 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"27 Carshalton Gardens,'* laid Tuppence, referring 
to the address. "That's Gloucester Road way. Plenty 
of time to get there if we tube*" 

"The following," said Tommy, "is the plan of cam- 
paign. It is my turn to assume the offensive. Ushered 
into the presence of Mr, Carter, he and I wish eadi 
other good morning as is customary. He then says: 
'Please take a scat, Mr, — er?' To which I reply 
promptly and significantly: *Edward WhittingtonP 
whereupon Mr, Carter turns purple in the face and 
gasps out: 'How much?' Pocketing the usual fee of 
fifty pounds, I rejoin you m the road outside, and we 
proceed to the next address and repeat the per- 
formance," 

"Don't be absurd, Tommy. Now for the other let- 



WHO IS JANE FINN? 89 

Carshalton Terrace proved to be an unimpeachable 
row of what Tuppence called ladylike looking houses.^ 
They rang the bell at No. 27» and a neat maid an- 
swered the door. She looked so respectable that Tup- 
pence's heart sank. Upon Tommy's request for Mr. 
Carter, she showed them into a small study on the 
ground floor where she left them. Hardly a minute 
elapsed, however, before the door opened, and a tall 
man with a lean hawklike face and a tired manner en- 
tered the room. 

^Mr. Y. A.?" he said, and smiled. His smile was 
distinctly attractive. **Do sit down, both of you." 

They obeyed. He himself took a chair opposite to 
Tuppence and smiled at her encouragingly. There was 
something in the quality of his smile^that made the girl's 
usual readiness desert her. 

As he did not seem inclined to open the conversation. 
Tuppence was forced to begin. 

^'We wanted to know — that is, would you be so kind 
AS to tell us anything you know about Jane Finn?" 

"Jane Finn? Ah!" Mr. Carter appeared to reflect* 
•^Well, the question is, what do you know about her?'* 

Tuppence drew herself up. 

''I don't see that that's got anything to do with it.** 

**No?" But it has, you know, really it has." He 
smiled again in his tired way, and continued reflec- 
tivdy. "So that brings us down to it again. What do 
yo» know about Jane Finn?" 

"Come now," he continued, as Tuppence remained 
aflent. "You must know something to have advertised 
aa joa did?" He leaned forward a little, his weary 



40 



THE SECRET AD^^RSARY 



voice htld a hint of persuasiTeness. "Suppose you tefl 
me, , - ,'* 

There was sometluiig very tnagtietie about Mr- Car- 
ter*a personality^ Tuppence fieemed to shake hersdf 
free of it with an effort, as she said: 

"We couldn't do that, could we, Tommj?** 

But to her surprise, her companion did not back her 
up. His ejes were fixed on Mr, Carter, and his tone 
when he spoke held an unusual note of deference, 

'*I dare sa? the little we know won't be any good to 
you, sir. But such as it is, you're welcome to it,'* 

"Tommy!'* cried out Tuppence in surprise, 

Mr, Carter slewed round in his chair. His ejes asked 
a questian. 

Tommv nodded. 



WHO IS JANE FINN? 41 

his tired maimer. Now and then he passed his hand 
across his lips as though to hide a smile. When she had 
finished he nodded gravel j. 

^Not much. But suggestive. Quite suggestive. If 
you'll excuse mj saying so, you're a curious young 
couple. I don't know — ^you might succeed where others 
have failed. • • • I believe in luck, you know — always 
have. . . ." 

He paused a moment, and then went on. 

•*WelI, how about it? You're out for adventure. 
How would you like to work for me? All quite un- 
official, yoa know. Expenses paid^ and a moderate 
•crew?" 

Tuppence gazed at him, her lips parted, her eyes 
growing wider and wider. 

^What should we have to do?" she breathed. 

Mr. Carter smiled. 

^Just go on with what you're doing now. Find Jane 
Jrwnm* 

**Yes, but — ^who is Jane Finn?" 

Mr. Carter nodded gravely. 

•*Yes, you're entitled to know that, I think." 

He leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs, brought 
the tips of his fingers together, and began in a low 
monotone : 

**Secret diplomacy (which, by the way, is nearly al- 
ways bad policy!) does not concern you. It will be 
sufficient to say that in the early days of 1915 a certain 
docmneiit came into being. It was the draft of a secret 
agreement — treaty— call it what you like. It was 
drawn up ready for signature by the various repre- 



48 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



seotatives, and drawn up in America — at that time a 
neutral country. It was dispatched to England bj m 
speckil messenger selected for that purpose, a jouog 
fellow called Danvers. It was hoped that the whole af- 
fair had been kept so secret that nothing would hmre 
leaked out. That kind of hope m usually disappointed. 
Somebody always talks f 

^'Danvers sailed for England on the LuHtania* He 
carried the precious papers in an oilskin packet which 
he wore next his skim J tt was on that particular 
voyage that the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk. 
DaDvers was among the list of those missing. Even- 
tually his body was washed ashore^ and identified be- 
yond any possible doubt. But the oilskin packet 
missing ! 



WHO IS JANE FINN? 48 

either tricked or forced into handing oyer the precious 
packet? 

^^Ye set to work to trace her out. It proved unex- 
pectedly difficult. Her name was Jane Finn, and it 
duly api>eared among the list of the survivors, but the 
giri herself seemed to have vanished completely. In- 
quiries into her antecedents did little to help us. She 
was an orphan, and had been what we should call over 
here a pupil teacher in a small school out West. Her 
passport had been made out for Paris, where she was go- 
ing to join the staff of a hospital. She had offered her 
services voluntarily, and after some correspondence 
they had been accepted. Having seen her name in the 
list of the saved from the Lusitaniat the staff of the 
hospital were naturally very surprised at her not ar- 
riving to take up her billet, and at not hearing from 
her in any way. 

**Well, every effort was made to trace the young 
lady — but all in vain. We tracked her across Ireland, 
but nothing could be heard of her after she set foot 
in England. No use was made of the draft treaty — 
as might very easily have been done — and we therefore 
came to the conclusion that Danvers had, after all, 
destroyed it. The war entered on another phase, the 
diplomatic aspect changed accordingly, and the treaty 
was never redrafted. Rumours as to its existence were 
emphatically denied. The disappearance of Jane Finn 
was forgotten and the whole affair was lost in ob- 
livion." 

Mr. Carter paused, and Tuppence broke in impa- 
tioitiy: 



41 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"But whj has it all cropped up again? The wax*! 
over/' 

A hint of alertness came into Mn Carter's maimer* 

"Because it seems that the papers were not destrojed 
after alU and that thej might be resurrected to-daj 
with a new and deadly significance/* 

Tuppeace stared. Mr- Carter nodded. 

"Yes, five years ago, that draft treaty was a weapon 
in our hands ; to-day it is a weapon against us. It was 
a gigantic blunder. If its terms were made public, it 
would mean disaster. - . , It might possibly bring 
about another war — not with Germany this time 1 That 
is an extreme possibility^ and I do not believe in its 
likelihood myself, but that document undoubtedly int* 
pLIcates a number of our statesmen whom we cannot 
afi'ord to have discredited in any way at the present 



WHO IS JANE FINN? 45 

Who 18 he? We do not know. He is always spoken of 
by the unassuming title of *Mr. Brown.' But one thing 
is certain, he is the master criminal of this age. He 
controls a marvellous organization. Most of the Peace 
propaganda during the war was originated and financed 
by him. His spies are everywhere." 

^A naturalized German?" asked Tommy. 

**0n the contrary, I have every reason to believe 
he is an Englishman. He was pro-German, as he would 
have been pro-Boer. What he seeks to attain we do 
not know — ^probably supreme power for himself, of a 
kind unique in history. We have no clue as to his real 
personality. It is reported that even his own followers 
are ignorant of it. Where we have come across his 
tracks, he has always played a secondary part. Some- 
body else assumes the chief role. But afterwards we 
always find that there has been some nonentity, a se]> 
vant or a clerk, who has remained in the background 
unnoticed, and that the elusive Mr. Brown has escaped 
us once more." 

**(MiP* Tuppence jumped. "I wonder ^** 

«*Yes?" 

^I remember in Mr. Whittington's office. The clerk 
— he called him Brown. You don't think ** 

Carter nodded thoughtfully. 

^ery likely. A curious point is that the name is 
usually mentioned. An idiosyncrasy of genius. Can 
joo descr9)e him at all?" 

^I really didn't notice. He was quite ordinary— « 
juit like any one else." 

Mr. Carter sighed in his tired manner. 



46 THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

**That is the invariable description of Mr, Brown 
Brought a telephone message to the inan Whittingtoi 
did he? Notice & telephone in the outer officeF* 

Tuppence thought- 

^'No, I don't think I did « 

**Exactlj. That 'message' was Mr. Brown's waj o 
giving an order to his subordinate. He overheard th 
whole conversation of course. Was it after tliat tha 
Whittington handed jou over the money, and told joi 
ta come the foUowing dayF" 

Tuppence ncidded, 

"Yes, undoubtedly the hand of Mr, Brown T 
Mr. Carter paused, "Well, there it is, you see wha 
you are pitting yourselves against? Possibly th 
finest criminal brain of the age, I don^t quite like i1 




WHO IS JANE FINN? « 

to the policy of absolute denial. I'm not so sore. 
There have been hints, indiscreet allusions, that seem 
to indicate that the menace is a real one. The position 
is much as though thej had got hold of an incriminating 
document, but couldn't read it because it was in cipher 
— but we know that the draft treaty wasn't in cipher 
—couldn't be in the nature of things — so that won't 
wash. But there's something. Of course, Jane Finn 
may be dead for all we know — but I don't think so. The 
curious thing is that theyWe trying to get information 
about the girl from us.** 

••What?" 

*^es. One or two little things have cropped up. 
And your story, little lady, confirms my idea. They 
know we're looking for Jane Finn. Well, they'll pro- 
duce a Jane Finn of their own — say at a pensionnat in 
Paris." Tuppence gasped, and Mr. Carter smiled. ^*No 
one knows in the least what she looks like, so that's all 
right. She's primed with a trumped-up tale, and her 
real business is to get as much information as possible 
out of us. See the idea?" 

*frhen you think" — Tuppence paused to grasp the 
supposition fully — ^^'that it was as Jane Finn that they 
wanted me to go to Paris?" 

Mr. Carter smiled more wearily than ever. 

^ believe in coincidences, you know," he said« 



^ 



CHAPTER V 



*'lt TK TELLj" said Tuppence, recovering herself » 
y y **it really seems as though it were meaiit 

to be,** 
Carter nodded* 

"I know what jou mean. I*m superstitious inTself* 
Luck, and all that sort of thing. Fate seems to hare 
chosen you out to be mixed up in this." 
Tommy indulged in a chuckle. 



MR. JULTOS P. HERSHEIMMER 4» 

They'll get wind of it soon, if they haven't already, 
and it*8 possible that that may bring things to a head. 
I hope it will myself. The less time they have to 
mature their plans the better. I*m jast warning you 
that you haven't much time before 'you, and that you 
needn't be cast down if you fail. It's not an easy 
proposition anyway. That's all." 

Tuppence rose. 

^I think we ought to be business-like. What exactly 
can we count upon you for, Mr. Carter?" 

Mr. Carter's lips twitched slightly, but he replied 
succinctly: 

**Fund8 within reason, detailed information on any 
point, and no offlcidl recognition. I mean that if 
you get yourselves into trouble with the police, I 
can't officially help you out of it. You're on your 
own." 

Tuppence nodded sagely. 

^ quite understand that. Ill write out a list of 
the things I want to know when I've had time to think. 
Now — about money ^" 

'^es. Miss Tuppence. Do you want to say how 
much?" 

**Not exactly. We've got plenty to go with for 
the present, but when we want more ** 

**It will be waiting for you." 

^^es, but — Tm sure I don't want to be rude about 
the Government if you've got anything to do with it, 
but you know one really has the devil of a time getting 
anything out of it! And if we have to fill up a blue 
form and send it in, and then, after three montoa. 



50 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



thej send us a green one, and so on — ^irell, that won't 
be touch use* will it?" 

Mr* Carter laughed outright. 

"Don't worry. Miss Tuppence. You will send a 
personal demand to me here, and the money, in notes, 
shall be sent by return of post. As to salary, shaB 
we say at the rate of three hundred a year? And an 
equal sum for Mr. Beresford, of course," 

Tuppence beamed upon him, 

**How lovely. You are kind. I do lore money t TO 
teep beautiful accounts of our expenses — all debit and 
credit, and the balance on the right side, and a i^ 
line drawn sideways with the totals the same at tha 
bottom. I really know how to do it when 1 think.** 

"I'm sure you do. Well, good-bye, and good luck 



BOL JULIUS P. HERSHEIMMEB 51 

^Ow! That's enouj^l YeS) we're not dreaming. 
WeVe got a jobP 

^And what a jobl The joint Tentnre has reaUy 
begun.^ 

'^It's more respectable than I thouj^t it would be^** 
•aid Tuppence thoughtfully. 

**Luckily I haven't got your craving for crime ! What 
time is it? Let's have lunch— oh P* 

The same thought sprang to the minds of each. 
Tommy voiced it first. 

^Julius P. HersheimmerP 

^We never told Mr. Carter about hearing from 
hhn.^ 

**Well, there wasn't much to tell — not till we've 
seen him. Come on, we'd better take a taxL'' 

**Now who's being extravagant?" 

**A11 expenses paid, remember. Hop in.^ 

^At any rate, we shall make a better effect arriving 
this way," said Tuppence, leaning back luxuriously. 
••Pm sure blackmailers never arrive in buses!" 

•*We've ceased being blackmailers," Tommy pointed 
out. 

**Pm not sure I have," said Tuppence darkly. 

On inquiring for Mr. Hersheimmer, they were at once 
taken up to his suite. An impatient voice cried ''Come 
in" in answer to the page-boy's knock, and the lad 
stood aside to let them pass in. 

Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer was a great deal younger 
than either Tommy or Tuppence had pictured him. 
The giri put him down as thirty-five. He was of 



52 



THE SECRET AD^^RSARY 



middle height, and equarely buUt to match his jaw. 
His face was pugnacious but pleasanL No one could 
have tnistakeD him for anything bttt an American, 
though he spoke with verj little accent. 

"Get my note? Sit down and tell me right avajr 
all TOO know about my cousin,'* 

"Your cousin?'' 

*'Sure thing. Jane Finn.** 

*'I8 she your cousin?" 

"My father and her mother were brother and sif- 
ter,*' explained Mr. Hersheimmer meticulously. 

"Oh !" cried Tuppence, "Then you know where she 

is?" 

**No !" Mr, Hersheinmier brought down his fist with 
a bang on the table. "I'm darned if I do! Don't 



MR. JULIUS P. HERSHEIMMER 58 

*^e havenH kidnapped your cousin. On the con- 
trary, we're trying to find her. We^re employed to 
do so." 

Mr. Hersheimmer leant back in his chair^ 

**Put me wise,'* he said succinctly. 

Tommy fell in with this demand in so far as he gave 
him a guarded version of the disappearance of Jane 
Finn, and of the possibility of her having been mixed 
up imawares in ^some political show." He alluded 
to Tuppence and himself as 'private inquiry agents" 
commissioned to find her, and added that they would 
therefore be glad of any details Mr. Hersheimmer 
could give them. 

That gentleman nodded approval. 

^I guess that's all right. I was just a mite hasty. 
But London gets my goat ! I only know little old New 
York. Just trot out your questions and I'll answer." 

For the moment this paralysed the Young Adven- 
turers, but Tuppence, recovering herself, plunged 
boldly into the breach with a reminiscence culled from 
detective fiction. 

^M^en did you last see the dece — ^your cousin, I 
mean?" 

•*Never seen her," responded Mr. Hersheimmer. 

**What?" demanded Tommy astonished. 

Hersheimmer turned to him. 

^o, sir. As I said before, my father and her mother 
were brother and sister, just as you might be" — ^Tommy 
did not correct this view of their relationship — **but 
they didn't always get on together. And when my aunt 
made up her mind to marry Amos Finn, who was a 



54 



THE SECRET AD\T:RSARY 



poor school teacher out West> my father was just mad ! 
Said if he made his pile, as he seemed in a fair way 
to do, sheM never see a cetit of it. Well, the apshoi 
was that Aunt Jane went out West and we never 
heard from her again* 

"The old man did pile it up. He went into oH, and 
he went into steel, and he played a bit with raOroads^ 
and I can tell you he made Wall Street sit up!" H« 
paused. **Then he died — last fall — and I got the dol- 
lara. Well, would you believe it, my conscience got 
busy! Kept knocking me up and saying: What about 
your Aunt Jane, way out West? It worried me some. 
You see, I figured it out that Amos Finn would never 
make good. He wasn't the sort* End of it was, I hired 
a man to hunt her down. Result^ she was dead, and 
Amos Finn was 



MR. JULroS p. HERSHEIMMER 66 

A proad-spirited young American girl might find your 
rules and regulations in war time rather irksome, and 
get up against it. If that's the case, and there's such 
a thing as graft in this country, Fll buy her off." 

Tuppence reassured him. 

**That's good. Then we can work together. What 
about some limch? Shall we have it up here, or go 
down to the restaurant?" 

Tuppence expressed a preference for the latter, and 
Julius bowed to her decision. 

Oysters had just given place to Sole Colbert when 
a card was brought to Hersheimmer. 

'^Inspector Japp, C.I.D. Scotland Yard again. 
Another man this time. What does he expect I can 
tell him that I didn't tell the first chap? I hope they 
haven't lost that photograph. That Western pho- 
tographer's place was burned down and all his nega- 
tives destroyed — this is the only copy in existence. 
I got it from the principal of the college there." 

An unformulated dread swept over Tuppence. 

**You — ^you don't know the name of the man who 
came this morning?" 

^Yes, I do. No, I don't. Half a second. It was 
on his card. Oh, I know! Inspector Brown. Quiet, 
unassuming sort of chap." 



CHAPTER VI 



A, FLAK or CA3CPAI01f 



A VEIL might witli profit be drawn over the events 
of the next half-hour. Suffice it to s&y that no 
such person as **Inspector Brown" was known to 
Scotland Yard- The photograph ol Jane Finn, which 
would have been of the utmost value to the police in 
tracing her, was lost bejond recovery. Once again 
*'Mr, Brown" had triumphed. 

The immediate result of this set-back was to effect 



A PLAN OP CAMPAIGN 67 

touch with Jane Finn's only living rdation. **And put 
like tbat,^ she added confidentially to Tommy, No- 
body could boggle at the expense!*' 

Nobody did, which was the great thing. 

^And now/' said the young lady on the morning 
after their installation, "to workP' 

Mr. Beresford put down the DaUy MaU^ which he 
was reading, and applauded with somewhat unnecessary 
▼igour. He was politely requested by his colleague not 
to be an ass. 

"Dash it all. Tommy, we've got to do something for 
our money." 

Tommy sighed. 

"Yes, I fear even the dear old Government will not 
support us at the Ritz in idleness for ever." 

"Therefore, as I said before, we must do some- 
thing." 

«*Well," said Tommy, picking up the DaUy MaU 
again, **do it. I shan't stop you." 

"You see," continued Tuppence, "Pve been think- 
ing 

She was interrupted by a fresh bout of applause. 

"It's all very well for you to sit there being funny^ 
Tommy. It would do you no harm to do a little brain 
work too." 

"My union, Tuppence, my union! It does not 
permit me to work before 11 a.m." 

"Tommy, do you want something thrown at you? 
It is absolutely essential that we should without delay 
map out a plan of campaign." 

"Hear, hearP* 



58 



THE SECRET ADVERSAHY 



«*Wdl, let's do it." 

Tommy laid his paper finallj aside. "There's some- 
thiog of the simplicity of the truly great mind about 
you. Tuppence* Fire ahead, I'm listening,*' 

**To begin with," said Tuppence^ *Vhat have we to 

go UpOD?^' 

"Absolutely nothing,*' said Tommy cheerily. 

**Wrong!" Tuppence wagged an energetic finger, 
"We have two distinct clues." 

**What are they?" 

'*First clue, we know one of the gang." 

"Whittington?*' 

•*Yes, I'd recognize him anywhere." 

"Hum/* said Tommy doubtfully, "I don*t call that 
much of a clue. You don't know where to look for him. 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 59 

ing good breakfast. No one's got a better appetite 
than you have, Tuppence, and by tea-time you*d be 
eating the flags, pins and all. But, honestly, I don't 
think much of the idea. Whittington mayn't be in 
London at alL" 

'^That's true. Anyway, I think clue No. 2 is more 
promising." 

*T^t's hear it." 

^It's nothing much. Only a Christian name — ^Rita. 
Whittington mentioned it that day." 

^Are you proposing a third advertisement : Wanted, 
female crook, answering to the name of Rita?" 

^I am not. I propose to reason in a logical manner. 
That man, Danvers, was shadowed on the way over, 
wasn't he? And it's more likely to have been a woman 
than a man ^" 

**I don't see that at all." 

''I am absolutely certain that it would be a woman, 
and a good-looking one," replied Tuppence calmly. 

^n these technical points I bow to your decision," 
murmured Mr. Beresford. 

^Now, obviously this woman, whoever she was, was 
saved." 

•*How do you make that out?" 

**!£ she wasn't, how would they have known Jane 
Finn had got the papers?" 

**Conrcct. Proceed, O Sherlock!" 

•*Now there's just a chance, I admit it's only a 
chance, that this woman may have been ^ita.' " 

••And if so?" 



m 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"If so, weVc got to hunt through the surviTors of 
the Lusitafda till we find her/* 

"Then the first thing is to get a list of the sur- 
vivors.'* 

"I've got it, I wrote a long list of things I wanted 
to know, and sent it to Mr, Carter, I got his replj 
this morning, and among other things it encloses the 
official statement of those saved from the Lumiafda, 
How's that for clever little Tuppence?" 

"FuH marks for industry^ zero for modestj. But 
the great point is, is there a *Rita' on the hst?" 

"That's just what I don't know," confessed Tup- 
pence* 

"Don't know?*^ 

"It'^es* Look here." Together thej hent over the 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 61 

from the road with a few grimy bushes to support the 
fiction of a front garden. Tommy paid off the taxi, 
and accompanied Tuppence to the front door beU. As 
she was about to ring it, he arrested her hand* 

**What are you going to say?*' 

•*What am I going to say? Why, I shall say — Oh 
dear, I don*t know. It's very awkward." 

^I thought as much,*' said Tommy with satisfaction. 
'^ow like a woman! No foresight! Now just stand 
aside, and see how easily the mere male deals with the 
situation." He pressed the belL Tuppence withdrew 
to a suitable spot. 

A slatternly-looking servant, with an extremely dirty 
face and a pair of eyes that did not match, answered 
the door. 

Tommy had produced a note-book and pencil. 

**Good morning," he said briskly and cheerfully. 
^Trom the Hampstead Borough Council. The new 
Voting Register. Mrs. Edgar Keith lives here, does 
ahe not?" 

*^aas^" said the servant. 

^Christian name?** asked Tommy, his pencil poised. 

^Missus's? Eleanor Jane." 

'^eanor,*' spelt Tommy. ^Any sons or daughters 
over twenty-one?" 

••Naow." 

^^TTiank you." Tommy closed the notebook with a 
brisk snap. ^HSood morning.*' 

The servant volunteered her first remark: 

^I thouj^ perhaps as you'd come about the gas," 
she observed cryptically, and shut the door. 



62 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Tonmij rejoined his accomplice, 

'*You see. Tuppence," he observed, **CHld'8 play 
to the masculine mind." 

"I don't mind admitting that for once jouVe scored 
handsomely, I should never have thought Off that," 

"Good wheeze, wasn*t it? And we can repeat it 

ad m:* 

Lunch*iime found the young couple attacking a 
steak and chipa in an obscure hostelry with avidity. 
They had collected a Gladys Mary and a Marjorie, 
been baffled by one change of address^ and had been 
forced to listen to a long lecture on universal suffrage 
from a vivacious American lady whose Christian name 
had proved to be Sadie* 

"Ah !" said Tommy, imbibing a long draught of beer^ 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 63 

things to happen quickly. So far, adventure has suc- 
ceeded adventure, but this morning has been dull as 
duU.'* 

^You must stifle this longing for vulgar sensation, 
Tuppence. Remember that if Mr. Brown is all he 
is reported to be, it's a wonder that he has not ere now 
done us to death. That's a good sentence, quite a 
literary flavour about it." 

^You're really more conceited than I am — with less 
excuse! Ahem! But it certainly is queer that Mr. 
Brown has not yet wreaked vengeance upon us. (You 
see, I can do it too.) We pass on our way unscathed." 

^Perhaps he doesn't think us worth bothering about," 
suggested the young man simply. 

Tuppence received the remark with great disfavour. 

''How horrid you are. Tommy. Just as though we 
didn't count." 

**Sorry, Tuppence. "What I meant was that we 
work like moles in the dark, and that he has no sus- 
picion of our nefarious schemes. Ha ha!" 

"Ha ha !" echoed Tuppence approvingly, as she rose. 

South Audley Mansions was an imposing looking 
block of flats just off Park Lane. No. 20 was on the 
second floor. 

Tommy had by this time the glibness bom of prac- 
tice. He rattled off the formula to the elderly woman, 
looking more like a housekeeper than a servant, who 
opened the door to him. 

•^Christian name?" 

••Margaret." 

Tommy spelt it, but the other interrupted him* 



64 



THE SECRET AD\TIRSARY 



"Ohj Marguerite; French way, I see*** He paused^ 
then plunged boldly* **We had her down as Rita Van- 
demeyer, but I suppose that's incorrect?" 

"She's mostly called that, sir, but Marguerite'a her 
name.'* 

**Thank jou. That's alL Good morning**' 

Hardly able to contain his excitement, Tommy 
hurried down the stairs. Tuppence was widting at 
the angle of the turn, 

*'You heard?" 

"Yes. Oh, Tommtfr 

Tommy squeezed her arm sympathetically. 

"I know, old thing. I feel the same.** 

**It*s — it's so lovely to think of things — and then 



CHAPTER Vn 



THX HOUSE IK BOHO 



WHITTINGTON and his companion were walk- 
ing at a good pace. Tommy started in pur- 
suit at once^ and was in time to see them turn 
the corner of the street. His vigorous strides soon 
enabled him to gain upon them, and by the time he, 
in his turn, reached the corner the distance between 
them was sensibly lessened. The small Mayfair streets 
were comparatively deserted, and he judged it wise to 
content himself with keeping them in sight. 

The sport was a new one to him. Though familiar 
with the technicalities from a course of novel reading, 
he had never before attempted to ^follow** anyone, and 
it appeared to him at once that, in actual practice, the 
proceeding was fraught with difficulties. Supposing, 
for instance, that they should suddenly hail a taxi? 
In books, you simply leapt into another, promised the 
driver a sovereign — or its modem equivalent — and there 
you were. In actual fact. Tommy foresaw that it was 
extremely likely there would be no second taxi. There- 
fore be would have to run. What happened in actual 
fact to a young man who ran incessantly and per- 
sistently through the London streets? In a main road 
he might hope to create the illusion that he was merely 

mnmng for a bus. But in these obscure aristocratic 

66 



06 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



byways he could not but feel that an officious policeman 
might stop him to explain mattere. 

At this juncture in his thoughts a taxi with flag 
erect turned the corner of the street ahead* Tommj 
held his breath* Would thej hail it? 

He drew a sigh of relief as they allowed it to pass 
unchallenged. Their course was a zigzag one designed 
to bring them as quickljf as possible to Oxford Street. 
When at length they turned into it> proceed tng in an 
easterly direction. Tommy slightly increased his pace* 
Little by little he gained upon them. On the crowded 
pavement there was little chance of his attracting their 
notice, and he was anxious if possible to catch a word 
or two of their conversatioap In this he was completely 
foiled ; they spoke low and the din of the traffic drowned 



THE HOUSE IN SOHO 87 

himaelf with ordering a Welsh rarebit and a cop of 
coflTee. Whittington ordered a substantial lunch for 
himself and his companion ; then, as the waitress with- 
drew, he moved his chair a little closer to the table 
and began to talk earnestly in a low voice. The other 
man joined in. Listen as he would. Tommy could only 
catch a word here and there; but the gist of it seemed 
to be some directions or orders which the big man was 
impressing on his companion, and with which the latter 
seemed from time to time to disagree. Whittington 
addressed the other as Boris. 

Tommy caught the word ^^Ireland^ several times, also 
^propaganda,'* but of Jane Finn there was no mention. 
Suddenly, in a lull in the clatter of the room, he got 
one phrase entire. Whittington was speaking. *'Ah, 
but you don't know Flossie. She's a marvel. An arch- 
bishop would swear she was his own mother. She gets 
the voice right every time, and that's really the prin- 
cipal thing." 

Tommy did not hear Boris's reply, but in response to 
it Whittington said something that sounded like: *'0f 
course — only in an emergency. . . ." 

Then he lost the thread again. But presently the 
phrases became distinct again whether because the 
other two had insensibly raised their voices, or because 
Tommy's ears were getting more attuned, he could not 
tell. But two words certainly had a most stimulating 
effect upon the listener. They were uttered by Boris 
and they were: •'Mr. Brown." 

Whittington seemed to remonstrate with him, but he 
merdy laughed 




THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

**Why not, my friend? It is a name most respectable 
— ^most common. Did he not choose it for that reason? 
Ah, I should like to meet him~Mr. Brown," 

There was a atedy ring in Whittin|fton*8 voice as 
he replied; 

"Who knows? You may have met him already •" 

**Bah!" retorted the other. «That is children's talk 
— a fable for the police. Do you know what I say to 
myself sometinies? That he is a fable invented by the 
Inner Ring, a bogy to frighten ns with. It might be 
so." 

"And it might not," 

"I wonder . * , or is it indeed true that he is with 
us and amongst us, unknown to all but a chosen few? 
If so, he keeps his secret well. And the idea is & good 
one, yes. We never know. We look at each other — 
one of us is Mr. Broitfi — which? He commands — but 
also he serves- Among us — in the midst of us. And 
no one knows which he is, . . ." 



THE HOUSE IN SOHO 69 

*7onow that other taxi," directed the young man* 
•*Don*t lose it." 

The elderly chauffeur showed no interest. He merely 
grunted and jerked down his flag. The drive was un- 
eventful. Tommy's taxi came to rest at the departure 
platfonn just after Whittington's. Tommy was behind 
him at the booking-office. He took a first-class single 
ticket to Bournemouth, Tommy did the same. As he 
emerged, Boris remarked, glancing up at the clock: 
**You are early. You have nearly half an hour." 

Boris's words had aroused a new train of thought 
in Tommy's mind. Clearly Whittington was making 
the journey alone, while the other remained in London. 
Therefore he was left with a choice as to which he 
would foUow. Obviously, he could not follow both of 

them unless Like Boris, he glanced up at the clock, 

and then to the announcement board of the trains. The 
Bournemouth train left at 3 :80. It was now ten past. 
Whittington and Boris were walking up and down by 
the bookstall. He gave one doubtful look at them, then 
hurried into an adjacent telephone box. He dared not 
waste time in trying to get hold of Tuppence. In all 
probabflity she was still in the neighbourhood of South 
Audley Mansions. But there remained another ally. 
He rang up the Ritz and asked for Julius Hersheim- 
mer. There was a click and a buzz. Oh, if only the 
young American was in his room ! There was another 
dick, and then ^^ello" in unmistakable accents came 
oirer the wire. 

**That you, Hersheimmer? Beresford speaking. I'm 



7a 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



at Waterloo, I've followed WHttingtoa and another 
man here. No time to explain. Whittin^on's off to 
Botimemouth by the 3,30* Can joq get there bj 
then?" 

The replj was reassuring, 

''Sum hi hustle," 

The telephone r&ng off. Tommy put hack the re- 
ceiver with a sigh of relief. His opinion of Juliuses 
power of hustling was high. He felt instinctively that 
the American would arrive in time. 

Whittington and Boris were still where he had left 
them. If Boris remained to see his friend off, all was 
wdL Then Tommy fingered his pocket thoughtfully. 
In spite of the carte hlanchc assured to hrm, he had 
not yet acquired the habit of going about with any con- 



THE HOUSE IN SOHO 

**6ot any money with you?** 

Julius shook his head, and Tommy's face fell. 

'^ guess I haTenH more than three or four hundred 
dollars with me at the moment/* explained the Ameri- 
can. 

Tommy gave a faint whoop of rdief. 

^Oh, Lord, you millionaires! You don't talk the 
same language! Climb aboard the lugger. Here's 
your ticket. Whittington's your man." 

•*Me for Whittington!" said Julius darkly. The 
train was just starting as he swung himself aboard. 
^So long, Tommy." The train slid out of the station. 

Tommy drew a deep breath. The man Boris was 
coming along the platform towards him. Tommy al- 
lowed him to pass and then took up the chajse once 
more. 

From Waterloo Boris took the tube as far as Picca- 
dilly Circus. Then he walked up Shaftesbury Avenue, 
finally turning off into the maze of mean streets round 
Soho. Tommy followed him at a judicious distance. 

They reached at length a small dilapidated square. 
The houses there had a sinister air in the midst of their 
dirt and decay. Boris looked round, and Tommy drew 
back into the shelter of a friendly porch. The place 
was almost deserted. It was a cul-de-sac, and conse- 
quently no traffic passed that way. The stealthy way 
the other had looked round stimulated Tommy's im- 
agination. From the shelter of the doorway he watched 
him go up the steps of a particularly evil-looking house 
and rap sharply, with a peculiar rhythm, on the door. 
It was opened promptly, he said a word or two to the 



TO 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



doorkeeper, then passed inside. The door was s*ani to 
agam. 

It was at this juncture that Toimnj lost his head. 
What he ought to have done, what any sane man would 
have done, was to remain patiently where he was and 
wait for his man to come out again. What he did do was 
entirely foreign to the sober common sense which was, 
as a rulet his leading characteristic. Something, as 
he expressed it, seemed to snap in his brain. Withont 
a moment's pause for reflection he, too, went up the 
steps, and reproduced as far as he was able the pecu- 
liar knock. 

The door swung open with the same promptness as 
before. A villainous-faced man with close-croppai hair 
stood in the doorway. 



CHAPTER Vni 

THX ADYXNTUEXS OF TOMirr 

TAKEN aback thoagh he was bj the man's words, 
Tommy did not hesitate. If audacity had 
successfully carried him so far, it was to be 
hoped it would carry him yet farther. He quietly 
passed into the house and mounted the ramshackle 
staircase. ETerjrthing in the house was filthy beyond 
words. The grimy paper, of a pattern now indistin- 
guishable, hung in loose festoons from the wall. In 
cTery angle was a grey mass of cobweb. 

Tommy proceeded leisurely. By the time he reached 
the bend of the staircase, he had heard the man below 
disappear into a back room. Clearly no suspicion at- 
tached to him as yet. To come to the house and ask 
for '^r. Brown** appeared indeed to be a reasonable 
and natural proceeding. 

At the top of the stairs Tommy halted to consider 
his next more. In front of him ran a narrow passage, 
with doors opening on either side of it. From the one 
nearest him on the left came a low murmur of Toices. 
It was this room which he had been directed to enter. 
But what held his glance fascinated was a small recess 
immediately on his right, half concealed by a torn vd- 
▼et cortam. It was directly opposite the left-handed 
door andt owing to its angle, it also commanded a good 

73 



7* 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



view of the upper part of the staircase* As a hidings 
place for oDe or> at a pinch, two inea> it was Ideal, being 
about two feet deep and three feet wide. It attracted 
Tommj mightily. He thought things over in his usual 
slow and steady way, deciding that the mention of "ilr. 
Brown" was not a request for an individual, but in all 
probability a password used by the gang. His lucky 
use of it had gained him admifisioa. So far he had 
aroused no suspicion. But he must decide quickly tm 
his next step. 

Suppose he were boldly to enter the room on the left 
of the passage. Would the mere fact of his having 
been admitted to the bouse be sufficient? Perhaps a 
further password would be required, or, at any rate, 
some proof of identity. The doorkeeper clearly did not 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 76 

assembly, modelling his behayiour on that of the new 
arriral. 

The man who came up the staircase with a furtive, 
soft-footed tread was quite unknown to Tonmiy. He 
was obTiously of the very dregs of society. The low 
beetling brows, and the criminal jaw, the bestiality of 
the whole countenance were new to the young man, 
thouj^ he was a type that Scotland Yard would have 
recognized at a glance. 

The man passed the recess, breathing heavily as he 
went. He stopped at the door opposite, and gave a 
repetition of the signal knock. A voice inside called 
out something, and the man opened the door and 
passed in, affording Tommy a momentary glimpse of 
the room inside. He thought there must be about four 
or five people seated round a long table that took up 
most of the space, but his attention was caught and 
held by a tall man with close-cropped hair and a short, 
pointed, naval-looking beard, who sat at the head of 
the table with papers in front of him. As the new- 
comer entered he glanced up, and with a correct, but 
curiously precise enunciation, which attracted Tommy's 
notice, he asked : 

**Your number, comrade?'* 

•^Fourteen, guv'nor," replied the other hoarsely. 

••Correct." 

The door shut again. 

••If that isn't a Hur, I'm a Dutchman P* said Tommy 
to himself. ••And running the show darned syste- 
matically too — ^as they always do. Lucky I didn't roll 
in. I'd have given the wrong number, and there would 



76 



THE SECKET AD\^RSAIIY 



have been the deuce to pay- No, this is the place for iiie- 
Hullo, here's another knock-" 

This visitor proved to be of an entirely different type 
to the last. Tommy recognized in him an Irish Sinn 
Feiner, Certainly Mr. Brown's organisation wag a fai^ 
reaching concern. The common criminal, the well-bred 
Irish gentleman, the pale Russian, and the efficient Ger- 
man master of the ceremonies ! Traly a strange and sin- 
ister gathering! Who was this man who held in his 
finger these curiously variegated lints of an unknown 
chain? 

In this case* the procedure was exactly the same. The 
signal knock, the demand for a number, and the reply 
**Correct." 

Two knocks followed in quick succession on the door 



V 
THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 77 

was almost abreast of Tommy before the young man 
had realized his presence. 

He was a small man, very pale, with a gentle almost 
womanish air. The angle of the cheek-bones hinted 
at his Slavonic ancestry, otherwise there was nothing 
to indicate his nationality. As he passed the recess, 
he turned his head slowly. The strange light eyes 
seemed to bum through the curtain; Tommy could 
hardly believe that the man did not know he was there 
and in spite of himself he shivered. He was no more 
fanciful than the majority of young Englishmen, but 
he could not rid himself of the impression that some 
unusually potent force emanated from the man. The 
creature reminded him of a venomous snake. 

A moment later his impression was proved corrects 
The new-comer knocked on the door as all had done, 
but his reception was very different. The bearded 
man rose to his feet, and all the others followed suit. 
The German came forward and shook hands. His heels 
clicked together. 

**We are honoured," he said. "We are greatly hon- 
oured. I much feared that it would be impossible.'' 

The other answered in a low voice that had a kind of 
hiss in it: 

'niiere were diflBculties. It will not be possible again, 
I fear. But one meeting is essential — to define my pol- 
icy. I can do nothing without — Mr. Brown. He is 

The change in the Grerman's voice was audible as he 
replied with slight hesitation: 

^nVe have received a message. It is impossible for 



\ X 



78 



THE SECRET ADVERSAHY 



him to be present in persoc." He slapped, giving a 
curious impression of Having left the sentence onfiit- 
isbed. 

A very slow smile overBpread the face of the other. 
He looked round at a circle of uneasy faces, 

"Ah 1 1 understand, I have read of his methods. He 
w^orks in the dark and trusts no one* But, all the 
same, it is possible that he is among us now* . , .*' He 
looked round him again, and again that expression of 
fear swept over the group. Each man seemed eyeing 
his neighbour doubtfully-, 

Tbe Russian tapped his cheek. 

"So be it. Let us proceed." 

The German seemed to pull himself together. He 
indicated the place he had been occupying at the head 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 79 

bdand the curtain, he walked gingerly out on his stock- 
inged feet, and kneeling down by the closed door he 
laid his ear cautiously to the crack. To his intense 
annoyance he could distinguish little more; just a 
chance word here and there if a voice was raised, which 
merdy served to whet his curiosity stiU farther. 

He eyed the handle of the door tentatively. Could 
he turn it by degrees so gently and imperceptibly that 
those in the room would notice nothing? He decided 
that with great care it could be done. Very slowly, a 
fraction of an inch at a time, he moved it round, hold- 
ing his breath in his excessive care. A little more — ^a 
little more still — would it never be finished? Ah! at 
last it would turn no farther. 

He stayed so for a minute or two, then drew a deep 
breath, and pressed it ever so slightly inward. The 
door did not budge. Tommy was annoyed. If he had 
to use too much force, it would almost certainly creak. 
He waited until the voices rose a little, then he tried 
again. Still nothing happened. He increased the pres- 
sure. Had the beastly thing stuck? Finally, in des- 
peration, he pushed with all his might. But the door 
remained firm, and at last the truth dawned upon him. 
It was locked or bolted on the inside. 

For a moment or two Tommy's indignation got the 
better of him. 

••Wen, I'm damned !'» he said. "What a dirty trick r 

As his indignation cooled, he prepared to face the 
situation. Clearly the first thing to be done was to 
restore the handle to its original position. If he let 
it go suddenly, the men inside would be almost certain 



80 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



to notice it, so, with the same infinite pains, he reversed 
his foTtoer tactics, AH went well, and with a sigh of 
rehef the joung man rose to his feet. There was a cer- 
tain bulldog tenacity about Tommy that made him 
slow to admit defeat* Checkmated for the moment, he 
was far from abandoning the conflict. He still iar 
tended to hear what was going on in the locked roonL 
As one plan had failed, he must hunt about for another. 

He looked round him* A little farther along the pas- 
sage on the left was a second door. He slipped silently 
along to it. He listened for a moment or two, then tried 
the handle. It yielded, and he slipped inside. 

The room, which was untenanted, was furnished as a 
bedroom. Like everything else in the house, the furni- 
ture was faUing to pieces, and the dirt was, if anything, 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 81 

Tlie Sinn Feiner was speaking. His rich Irish voice 
was unmistakable: 

'fThat's all very well. But more money is essentiaL 
No money — ^no results P* 

Another voice which Tommy rather thought was 
that of Boris replied : 

'^Will you guarantee that there are results?" 

^In a month from now — sooner or later as you wish 
— ^I will guarantee you such a reign of terror in Ire- 
land as shall shake the British Empire to its founda- 
tions,'* 

There was a pause, and then came the soft, sibilant 
accents of Number One: 

^Good ! You shall have the money. Boris, you will 
see to that.** 

Boris asked a question: 

•*Via the Irish Americans, and Mr. Potter as usual?" 

••I guess that'll be all right P* said a new voice, with 
a transatlantic intonation, ^though I'd like to point 
oat, here and now, that things are getting a mite difB- 
cult* There's not the sympathy there was, and a 
growing disposition to let the Irish settle their own 
affairs without interference from America." 

Tmnmy felt that Boris had shrugged his shoulders 
aa he answered: 

*^Does that matter, since the money only nominally 
comet from the States?" 

'fThe chief difficulty is the landing of the ammuni- 
tion,'* said the Sinn Feiner. '^The money is conveyed 
in catfly enoug^i — thanks to our colleague here." 

Another voice, which Tommy fancied was that of the 



82 



THE SECRET AD\TRSARY 



tall, commanding-looking man whose face bad $e€med 
familiar to him, said: 

"Think of the feelings of Belfast if tbej could hear 
youT' 

**That is settled, then," said the stbilant tones. 
"Now, in the matter of the loan to an English newt- 
paper, jou have arranged the details satisfactoriljy 
Boris?'*' 

*a think so.*' 

*'That is good* An official denial from Sfoscow will 
be forthcoming if necessary." 

There was a pause, and then the clear voiee of the 
German broke the silence: 

*'I am directed by — Mr. Brown, to place the smn- 
maries of the reports from the different unions before 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 88 

ha^e no inkling that we are using tliem for our own 
ends. Tbey are honest men — and that is their value 
to us. It is curious — but you cannot make a revolu- 
tion without honest men* The instinct of the populace 
is infallible.^ He paused, and then repeated, as though 
the phrase pleased him: ^^Every revolution has had its 
honest men. They are soon disposed of afterwards.'' 

There was a sinister note in his voice. 

The German resumed: 

^Clymes must go. He is too far-seeing. Number 
Fourteen will see to that.** 

There was a hoarse murmur. 

**That*« all right, guv'nor.** And then after a mo- 
ment or two: '^Suppose I'm nabbed.'* 

^You will have the best legal talent to defend you,'' 
replied the German quietly. ^^But in any case you will 
wear gloves fitted with the finger-prints of a notorious 
housebreaker. You have little to fear." 

"Oh, I ain't afraid, guv'nor. All for the good of 
the cause. The streets is going to run with blood, so 
they say." He spoke with a grim relish. '^Dreams of 
it, sometimes, I docs. And diamonds and pearls rolling 
about in the gutter for anyone to pick up !" 

Tommy heard a chair shifted. Then Number One 
•poke: 

''Then all is arranged. We are assured of success?" 

''I — think so." But the German spoke with less than 
his usual confidence. 

Number One's voice held suddenly a dangerous 
quality: 

•'What has gone wrong?" 



84 



THE SECRET ADVERSAKY 



"Nothing; but ^ 

"But what?" 

*'The Labour leaders. Without thein^ as jou «fty» 
we can do nothing. If they do not declare a general 
strike on the 29th " 

•*Whj should they not?'* 

*'As jouVe said, they're honest. And, in spite of 
everything we've done to discredit the Government in 
their eyes, I'm not sure that they havenH got a snea]^- 
ing faith and belief in it." 

"But '' 

"I know* They abuse it unceasingly. But, on the 
whole, public opinion swings to the side of the Govem- 
menL They will not go against it" 

Again the Russian's fingers drummed on the table. 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 86 

*K)iie person — perhaps. And we are not sure of that 
even.** 

**Who IS this person?*' 

«A girl/' 

Tommy held his breath. 

**A girl?** The Russian's voice rose contemptuously. 
^And you have not made her speak? In Russia we 
have ways of making a girl talk." 

^^This case is different," said the German sullenly. 

••How — different?" He paused a moment, then went 
on: ••Where is the girl now?" 

••The girl?" 

••Yes." 

«She is ^" 

But Tommy heard no more. A crashing blow 
descended on his head, and all was darkness. 



CHAPTER IX 



TtJPFKXCE ESTEMM BOUESTIC BEET1CE 



WHEN Tommy set forth on tlie trail of the two 
men, it took alt Tuppence's self-command to 
refrain from accompanying him* HoweTer, 
she contained herself as beat she might, consoled bj the 
reflection that her reasoning had been justified by 
events. The two men had undoubtedly come from 
the second floor flat^ and that one slender thread of the 
name '*Rita" had set the Young Adventurers once more 



TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE 87 

approved hospital-early-momiiig style, ^getting a good 
shine up?^ 

The boy grinned responsiTdy. 

** Albert, miss/' he corrected* 

^Albert be it/' said Tuppence. She glanced myste- 
riously round the hall. The effect was purposely a 
broad one in case Albert should miss it. She leaned 
towards the boy and dropped her voice: **I want a 
word with you, Albert." 

Albert ceased operations on the fittings and opened 
his mouth slightly. 

**Look ! Do you know what this is?" With a drama- 
tic gesture she flung back the left side of her coat and 
exposed a small enamelled badge. It was extremely 
unlikely that Albert would have any knowledge of it — 
indeed, it would have been fatal for Tuppence's plans, 
since the badge in question was the device of a local 
training corps originated by the archdeacon in the 
early days of the war. Its presence in Tuppence's coat 
was due to the fact that she had used it for pinning 
in some flowers a day or two before. But Tuppence 
had sharp eyes, and had noted the corner of a three- 
penny detective novel protruding from Albert's pocket, 
and the immediate enlargement of his eyes told her 
that her tactics were good, and that the fish would rise 
to the bait. 

^American Detective Force !" she hissed. 

Albert fell for it. 

**LordP* he murmured ecstatically. 

Tuppence nodded at him with the air of one who 
hat established a thorough understanding. 



88 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"Know who I'm after?" she inquired geniallj. 

Albert, still round-ejed, demanded breathlessly: 

**ODe of the flats?'' 

Tuppence nodded End jerked a thumb up the stairs. 

*'No. 20. Calls herself Vandemeyer. Vandemeyer! 
Ha! ha!" 

Albert*s hand stole to his pocket, 

*'A crook?" he queried eagerly, 

**A crook? I should say so. Ready Rita they call 
her in the States,*' 

"Ready Rita," repeated Albert deliriously, **0h, 
ain't it just like the pictures!" 

It was. Tuppence was a great frequenter of the 
kinema. 

"Annie always said as how she was a bad lot," con* 



TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE 89 

^t seems sort of familiar to me.** 

*^Tbe sparklers belonged to him. Finest collection 
of emeralds in the world. Worth a million dollars f 

•TLummeP* came ecstatically from Albert. ••It 
sounds more like the pictures every minute.'' 

Tuppence smiled, gratified at the success of her 
efforts. 

•*We haven't exactly proved it yet. But we're after 
her. And" — she produced a long^rawn-out wink — ^••I 
guess she won't get away with the goods this time." 

Albert uttered another ejaculation indicative of de- 
light. 

••Mind you9 sonny, not a word of this," said Tup- 
pence suddenly. ••I guess I oughtn't to have put you 
wise, but in the States we know a real smart lad when 
we see one." 

••Ill not breathe a word," protested Albert eagerly. 
^Ain't there anything I could do? A bit of shadowing, 
maybe, or such like?" 

Tuppence affected to consider, then shook her head. 

••Not at the moment, but 111 bear you in mind, son. 
What's this about the girl you say is leaving?" 

••Annie? Regular turn up, they 'ad. As Annie said, 
servants is some one nowadays, and to be treated ac- 
cordingly, and, what with her passing the word round, 
she won't find it so easy to get another." 

•nVon't she?" said Tuppence thoughtfully. *•! won- 
der " 

An idea was dawning in her brain. She thought a 
minute or two, then tapped Albert on the shoulder. 

^•Sce here, son, my brain's got busy. How would it 



90 



THE SECRET AD\*EBSARY 



be if jou meDtioned that you'd got a young cousin, or 
a friend of yours had, that might suit the place. You 
get me?" 

*'I*in there," said Albert instantly. **You leave it to 
me, miss, and I'll fix the whole thing up in two ticks," 

"Some ladT' commented Tuppence^ with a nod of 
approval, "You might say that the young woman 
could come in right away. You let me know, and if it'a 
0< K, 1*11 be round to-raorrow at eleven o'clock,'* 

"Where am I to let you know to?" 

"Eitx/'^ replied Tuppence laconically. "Name of 
Cowley," 

Albert eyed her enviously, 

"It must be a good job, this tec business.** 

*^It sure is>" drawled Tuppence, "especially whea 



TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE 91 

day at a well-known hairdresser's. Now, in the seclu- 
sion of her bedroom, she unwrapped that final purchase. 
Five minutes later she smiled contentedly at her reflec- 
tion in the glass. With an actress's pencil she had 
slightly altered the line of her eyebrows, and that, taken 
in conjunction with the new luxuriant growth of fair 
hair above, so changed her appearance that she felt 
confident that even if she came face to face with Whit- 
tington he would not recognize her. She would wear 
devators in her shoes, and the cap and apron would be 
an even more valuable disguise. From hospital expe- 
rience she knew only too well that a nurse out of uni- 
form is frequently unrecognized by her patients. 

''Yes,** said Tuppence aloud, nodding at the pert 
reflection in the glass, ^you'll do." She then resumed 
her normal appearance. 

Dinner was a solitary meal. Tuppence was rather 
surprised at Tommy's non-return. Julius, too, was 
absent — ^but that to the girl's mind was more easily 
explained. His ^'hustling" activities were not confined 
to London, and his abrupt appearances and disappear- 
ances were fully accepted by the Young Adventurers 
as part of the day's work. It was quite on the cards 
that Julius P. Hersheimmer had left for Constantinople 
at a moment's notice if he fancied that a clue to his 
cousin's disappearance was to be found there. The 
energetic young man had succeeded in making the lives 
of several Scotland Yard men unbearable to them, and 
the telephone girls at the Admiralty had learned to 
know and dread the familiar ^HulloP* He had spent 
three hours in Paris hustling the Prefecture, and had 



9S 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



returned from there imbued with the idea> possiblj 
inspired by a weary French official, that the true clue 
to the mystery was to be found in Ireland* 

"I dare say he's dashed off there now," thought Tup* 
pence. "All very well, but this is very dull for mei 
Here I am bursting with news, and absolutely no one 
to tell it to ! Tonmiy might have wired* or something. 
I wonder where he is. Anyway, he can't have 'lost the 

trail' as they say- That reminds me ** And Miss 

Cowley broke off in her meditations, and summoned 
a small boy. 

Ten minutes later the lady was ensconced comfort- 
ably on her bed, smoking cigarettes and deep in the 
perusal of Gamab^ Williams^ the Boy Detective^ which, 
with other threepenny works of lurid fiction, she had 



TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE 98 

now no one could blame you. At any rate, think the 
matter over well before you decide. 

''If, in spite of my warnings, you make up your mind 
to go through with it, you will find everything arranged. 
You have lived for two years with Miss Dufferin, The 
Parsonage, Llanelly, and Mrs. Yandemeyer can apply 
to her for a reference. 

''May I be permitted a word or two of advice? Stick 
as near to the truth as possible — ^it minimizes the danger 
of 'slips.' I suggest that you should represent yourself 
to be what you are, a former y.A.D., who has chosen 
domestic service as a profession. There are many such 
at the present time. That explains away any incongru- 
ities of voice or manner which otherwise might awaken 
suspicion. 

"Whichever way you decide, good luck to you. 
"Your sincere friend, 

"Me. Caetee.'* 

Tuppence's spirits rose mercurially. Mr. Carter's 
warnings passed unheeded. The young lady had far 
too much confidence in herself to pay any heed to them. 

With some reluctance she abandoned the interesting 
part she had sketched out for herself. Although she 
had no doubts of her own powers to sustain a rdle 
indefinitely, she had too much common sense not to 
recognize the force of Mr. Carter's arguments. 

There was still no word or message from Tommy, 
but the morning post brought a somewhat dirty post- 
card with the words: "It's O.K." scrawled upon it. 
. At ten-thirty Tuppence surveyed with pride • 



94 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



slightlj battered tin trunk containing her new posses- 
sions. It was artistically corded. It was with a slight 
blush that she rang the bell and ordered it to be placed 
in a taxi. She drove to Paddington, and left the box 
in the cloak room. She then repaired with a handbag 
to the fastnesses of the ladies' waiting-room. Ten 
minutes later a metamorphosed Tuppence walked de- 
murely out of the station and entered a bus. 

It was a few minutes past eleven when Tuppence 
again entered the hall of South Audley Mansions, Al^ 
bert was on the look-out, attending to his duties id 4 
somewhat desultory fashion. He did not immediately 
recognize Tuppence, When he did, his admiration was 
unbounded. 

**Blest if Vd have known you ! That rig-out*s top- 



TUPPENCE ENTERff DOMESTIC SERVICE 95 

As the rang the bell of No. 20 she was conscioas 
of Albert's eyes slowly descending beneath the level of 
the floor. 

A smart young woman opened the door. 

^Nre come about the place/' said Tuppence. 

^It's a rotten place," said the young woman without 
hesitation. ^'Regular old cat — always interfering. Ac- 
cused me of tampering with her letters. Me! The 
flap was half undone anyway. There's never anything 
in the waste-paper-basket — she bums everything. She's 
a wrong 'un, that's what she is. Swell clothes, but 
no dass. Cook knows something about her — but she 
won't tell — scared to death of her. And suspicious! 
She's on to you in a minute if you as much as speak 
to a fellow. I can tell you ^" 

But what more Annie could tell. Tuppence was never 
destined to learn, for at that moment a clear voice with 
a peculiarly steely ring to it called: 

^Annie!" 

The smart young woman jimiped as if she had been 
shot. 

•*Yes, ma'am." 

•*Who are you talking to?'* 

^t's a young woman about the situation, ma'anu" 

•*Show her in then. At once." 

**Yes, ma'am." 

Tuppence was ushered into a room on the right of 
the long passage. A woman was standing by the fire- 
place. She was no longer in her first youth, and the 
beauty she undeniably possessed was hardened and 
coarsened. In her youth she must have been dazzling. 



06 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Her pale gold hair^ owing a slight assistance to art, 
was coOed low on her neck, her ejes, of a piercing dee- 
trie blue, seemed to possess a faculty of bonng into the 
Tery soul of the person she was looking at. Her est* 
quisite figure was enhaoced bj a wonderful gown of 
indigo charmeuse. And jet, despite her swaying grace, 
and the almost ethereal beauty of her f ace» you felt in* 
fitinctirely the presence of something hard and menac- 
ing, a kind of metallic strength that found expression 
in the tones of her voice and in that gimlet-like quaUty 
of her eyes. 

For the first time Tuppence felt afraid. She had 
not feared Whittington, but this woman was different. 
As if fascinated, she watched the long cruel line of the 
red curving mouthy and again she felt that sensation 



TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE 87 

^HTou tpeak like an educated girl?'' 

Glibly enough. Tuppence ran through her imaginary 
career on the lines suggested by Mr. Carter. It seemed 
to her, as she did so, that the tension of Mrs. Yande- 
meyer's attitude relaxed. 

^I see,** she remarked at length. ''Is there anyone 
I can write to for a reference.** 

''I lived last with a Miss Dufferin, The Parsonage, 
IJaneDy. I was with her two years.'* 

''And then you thought you would get more money 
bj coming to London, I suppose? Well, it doesn't 
matter to me. I will give you £60 — ^£60 — ^whatever 
you want. You can come in at once?" 

•TTes, ma'am. To-day, if you like. My box is at 
Paddington.** 

"Go and fetch it in a taxi, then. It*s an easy place. 
I am out a good deal. By the way, what's your name?" 

"Prudence Cooper, ma'am." 

"Very well. Prudence. Gro away and fetch your box. 
I shall be out to lunch. The cook will show you where 
everything is." 

"Thank you, ma'am." 

Tuppence withdrew. The smart Annie was not in 
evidence. In the hall below a magnificent hall porter 
had relegated Albert to the background. Tuppence 
did not even glance at him as she passed meekly out. 

Tlie adventure had begun, but she felt less elated 
than she had done earlier in the morning. It crossed 
her mind that if the unknown Jane Finn had fallen 
into the hands of Mrs. Yandemeyer, it was likely to 
have gone hard with her. 



rrPPENCE betnjed na awkwardnc 
duties. The daughters of the arc 
well grounded in household tasks. 
Iso experts in training a **raw girl,^ i 
esult being that the raw girl, once trail 
Isewhere where her newly-acquired knc 
landed a more substantial remuneration t 
eacon's meagre purse allowed. 

Tuppence had therefore very little fea 
lefficient. Mrs. Yandemeyer's cook puzz 
ndently went in deadly terror of her mi 
irl thought it probable that the other wor 
old over her. For the rest, she cooked li 
!*uppence had an opportunity of judging 
f rs. Vandemeyer was expecting a guest tc 
'uppence accordingly laid the beautifi 
able for two. She was a little exercisec 



ENTER Sm JAMES PEEL ED6ERTON 99 

and Tuppence went to answer it with some inward 
trepidation. She was relieved to see that the visitor 
was the second of the two men whom Tommy had taken 
upon himself to follow. 

He gave his name as Count Stepanov. Tuppence 
announced him, and Mrs. Yandemeyer rose from her 
seat on a low divan with a quick murmur of pleasure. 

"It is delightful to see you, Boris Ivanovitch,*' 
she said. 

*'And you, madame!** He bowed low over her hand. 

Tuppence returned to the kitchen. 

"Count Stepanov, or some such," she remarked, and 
affecting a frank and unvarnished curiosity: "Who's 
he?'' 

"A Russian gentleman, I believe." 

"Come here much?" 

"Once in a while. What d'you want to know for?" 

"Fancied he might be sweet on the missus, that's 
all," explained the girl, adding with an appearance of 
sulkiness : *^How you do take one up !" 

"Fm not quite easy in my mind about the MOuffU!* 
explained the other. 

"You know something," thought Tuppence to her- 
self, but aloud she only said: "Going to dish up now? 
Right-o." 

Whilst waiting at table. Tuppence listened closely to 
all that was said. She remembered that this was one 
of the men Tommy was shadowing when she had last 
seen him. Already, although she would hardly admit 
it, she was becoming uneasy about her partner. Where 
was he? Why had no word of any kind come from 



100 



THE SECRET ADVTSRSARY 



him? She had arranged before leaving the Riiz to 
have aU letters or messages sent on at once by special 
messenger to a small stationer*s shop near at hand 
where Albert was to call in frequentlj. Tnie, it was 
onlj yesterday moriiing that she had parted from 
Tommj, and she told herself that any anxiety on his 
behalf would be absurd. Still, it was strange that he 
had sent no word of any kind. 

Butj listen as she might, the conversation presented 
no clue, Boris and Mrs. Vandemeyer talked on purely 
indifferent subjects: plays they had seen, new dances, 
and the latest society gossip. After dinner they 
repaired to the small boudoir where Mrs. Vandemeyer, 
stretched on the divan, looked more wickedly beautiful 
tlian ever. Tuppence brought in the coffee and 



ENTER Sm JAMES PEEL EDGERTON 101 

Tuppence removed herself speedily. 

She dared not absent herself longer from the back 
premises, but she cleared away and washed up with 
a breathless speed acquired in hospital. Then she 
slipped quietly back to the boudoir door. The cook, 
more leisurely, was stUl busy in the kitchen and, if 
the missed the other, would only suppose her to be 
turning down the beds. 

Alas! The conversation inside was being carried 
on in too low a tone to permit of her hearing anything 
of it. She dared not reopen the door, however gently. 
Mrs. Yandemeyer was sitting almost facing it, and 
Tuppence respected her mistress's lynx-eyed powers 
of observation. 

Nevertheless, she felt she would give a good deal to 
overhear what was going on. Possibly, if anything 
unforeseen had happened, she might get news of 
Tommy. For some moments she reflected desperately, 
then her face brightened. She went quickly along the 
passage to Mrs. Yandemeyer's bedroom, which had long 
French windows leading on to a balcony that ran the 
length of the fiat. Slipping quickly through the win- 
dow. Tuppence crept noiselessly along till she reached 
the boudoir window. As she had thought it stood a 
little ajar, and the voices within were plainly audible. 

Tuppence listened attentively, but there was no men- 
tion of anything that could be twisted to apply to 
Tommy. Mrs. Yandemeyer and the Russian seemed 
to be at variance over some matter, and finally the 
latter exclaimed bitterly: 



102 THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

"With your persisteirt redde^finess, you will end by 
mining us!" 

"Bah !" laughed the woman. *'Notoriety of the right 
kind is the best way of disarmmg suspicion. You will 
realize that one of these days — ^perhaps sooner than 
you think!" 

"In the meanthne» you are going about everywhere 
with Peel EdgertoHp Not only is he, perhaps, the most 
celebrated K.C. in England, but his special hobby is 
criminology! It is madness f* 

"I know that his eloquence has saved untold men 
from the gallows," said Mrs* Vandemeyer calmly, 
"^Vhat of it? I may need his assistance in that line 
myself some day* If so, how fortunate to have such 
a friend at court — or perhaps it would be more to 



ENTER SIR JAMES PEEL EDGERTON 108 

The other threw up his hands in despair. 

^Toa are impossible,^ he muttered. ^Impossible! 
Already it may be too late. They say Peel Edgerton 
can stneU a criminal ! How do we know what is at the 
bottom of his sudden interest in you? Perhaps even 
now his suspicions are aroused. He guesses ^ 

Mrs. Yandemeyer eyed him scornfully. 

^Reassure yourself, my dear Boris. He suspects 
nothing. With less than your usual chivalry, you 
seem to forget that I am commonly accounted a beau- 
tiful woman. I assure you that is all that interests 
Peel Edgerton." 

Boris shook his head doubtfully. 

^He has studied crime as no other man in this king- 
dom has studied it. Do you fancy that you can de- 
ceive him?** 

Mrs. Yandemeyer's eyes narrowed. 

•*If he is all that you say — it would amuse me to try P* 

**Good heavens, Rita *^ 

"Besides," added Mrs. Yandemeyer, •'he is ex- 
tremely rich. I am not one who despises money. The 
•sinews of war,* you know, Boris P* 

••Money — money! That is always the danger with 
you, Rita. I believe you would sell your soul for 

money. I believe ^** He paused, then in a low, 

sinister voice he said slowly: ••Sometimes I believe 
that you would sell — ut?* 

Mrs. Yandemeyer smiled and shrugged her shoulders. 

••The price, at any rate, would have to be enor- 
mous," she said lightly. ••It would be bey<nid the 
power of anyone but a millionaire to pay." 



104 THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

**Ah!" snarled the Russian, 'TTou s«€, I 
rig-htl" 

"My dear Boris, can you not take a joke?'* 

"Was it a joke?" 

"Of course*'* 

"Then all I can say is that your Ideas of humour 
are peculiar, my dear Rita,** 

Mrs, Vandemeyer smiled* 

**Let us not quarrdi Boris* Touch the belL We 
win have some drinks**' 

Tuppence beat a hasty retreat. She paused a mo- 
ment to sun^ey herself in Mrs. Vandemeyer's long 
glass^ and be sure that nothing was amiss with her 
appearance. Then she answered the beU demurely. 

The conversation that she had overheard, although 



ENTER SIR JAMES PEEL ED6ERT0N 105 

^And to-day is Friday! But I suppose you hardly 
wish to go out to-day, as you only came yesterday.*' 

^ was thinking of asking you if I might, ma'am.** 

Mrs. Vandemeyer looked at her a minute longer, and 
then smiled. 

^I wish Count Stepanov could hear you. He made 
a suggestion about you last night.'' Her smile broad- 
ened, cat-like. "Your request is very — typical. I 
am satisfied. You do not understand all this — but 
you can go out to-day. It makes no difference to me, 
as I shall not be dining at home." 

^^Thank you, ma'am." 

Tuppence felt a sensation of relief once she was out 
of the other's presence. Once again she admitted to 
herself that she was afraid, horribly afraid, of the 
beautiful woman with the cruel eyes. 

In the midst of a final desultory polishing of her 
silver. Tuppence was disturbed by the ringing of the 
front door bell, and went to answer it. T*his time the 
Tisitor was neither Whittington nor Boris, but a man 
of striking appearance. 

Just a shade over average height, he nevertheless 
conveyed the impression of a big man. His face, clean- 
shaven and exquisitely mobile, was stamped with an 
expression of power and force far beyond the ordinary. 
Magnetism seemed to radiate from him. 

Tuppence was undecided for the moment whether 
to put him down as an actor or a lawyer, but her doubts 
were soon solved as he gave her his name: Sir James 
Peel Edgerton. 



106 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



She laoked at him with renewed interest. This, thai, 
was the famous K*C. whose came was famUiar all over 
England. She had heard it said that he might one 
day be Prime Minister* He was known to have re^ 
fused office in the interests of his profession, preferring 
to remain a simple Member for a Scotch constituencj* 

Tuppence went back to her pantry thoughtfully. 
The great man had impressed hen She understood 
Boris's agitation. Peel Edgerton would not be an easy 
man to deceive. 

In about a quarter of an hour the bell ran^, and 
Tuppence repaired to the hall to show the visitor out* 
He had given her a piercing glance before. Now, as 
she handed him his hat and stick, she was conscious 
of his eyes raking her through. As she opened the 



ENTER SIR JAMES PEEL EDGERTON 107 

But Sir James was already on the topmost stair. 
He looked back with his kindly, shrewd glance. 

••Just a hint," he said. "That's all.'* 

Tuppence went back to the pantry more thoughtful 
than ever. 



CHAPTER XI 



JXTLnrS TKIXS A STOmT 



DRESSED appropriately, Tuppence duly sallied 
forth for her "afternoon out-'* Albert was 
in temporary abeyance, but Tuppence went her- 
self to the stationer's to make quite sure that nothing 
had come for her. Satisfied on this point, she made 
her way to the Ritz. On inquiry she learnt that Tommy 
had not yet returned. It was the answer she had ex- 
pected, but it was another nail in the coffin of her hopes. 



JULIUS TELLS A STORY 109 

ford wasnH here any longer— hadn't been here since 
Wednesday. Is that so?** 

Tuppence nodded. 

**You don't know where he k?** she asked faintly. 

**I? How should I know? I haven't had one darned 
word from him, though I wired him yesterday morn- 
ing.^ 

^I expect your wire's at the office unopened.** 

••But where is he?" 

**I don't know. I hoped you might." 

••I tell you I haven't had one darned word from him 
since we parted at the depot on Wednesday." 

•*What depot?" 

••Waterloo. Your London and South Western 
road." 

••Waterloo?" frowned Tuppence. 

"Why, yes. Didn't he tell you?" 

••I haven't seen him either," replied Tuppence im- 
patiently. ••Gro on about Waterloo. What were you 
doing there?" 

••He gave me a call. Over the phone. Told me to 
get a move on, and hustle. Said he was trailing two 
crooks." 

••Oh !" said Tuppence, her eyes opening. ••I sec. Go 
on." 

••I hurried along right away. Beresford was there. 
He pointed out the crooks. The big one was mine, the 
guy you bluffed. Tommy shoved a ticket into my hand 
and told me to get aboard the cars. He was going to 
slaith the other crook." Julius paused. ••I thought 
for sore you'd know all this." 



110 



THE SECRET ADVERSAKY 



''Julius,*' said Tuppence finnlj, **stop waUdug up 
and down. It makes me giddy. Sit do^Ti in that arm- 
chair, and tell me the whole story with as few fancy 
turns of speech as possible." 

Mn Hersheimmer obeyed, 

**Sure/* he said, "Where shall I begin?** 

*^Where you left off- At Waterloo.'* 

"Well," began Julius, **I got into one of your dear 
old-fashioned first-class British compartments. The 
train was just off. First thing I knew a guard came 
along and informed me mighty politely that I wasn't 
in a smoking-carriage. I handed him out half & dollar, 
and that settled that. I did a hit of prospecting along 
the corridor to the next coach. Whittington was there 
right enough. When I saw the skunk, with his big sleek 



JULIUS TELLS A STORY HI 

likely aoagh that be^d be gcmig out on his real business 
afterwaids. 

^'Sare enoagfa, about nine o'dock, so be did. Took 
a car across the town — mighty pretty place by the 
▼Ay> I guess 111 take Jane there for a spell when I 
find her — and then paid it off and struck out along 
those pine-woods on the top of the cliff. I was there 
too, you understand. We walked, maybe, for half an 
hour. There's a lot of villas all the way along, but by 
degrees they seemed to get more and more thinned out, 
and in the end we got to one that seemed the last of 
the bunch. Big house it was, with a lot of piny 
grounds around it. 

^It was a pretty black night, and the carriage drive 
up to the house was dark as pitch. I could hear him 
ahead, though I couldn't see him. I had to walk care- 
fully in case he might get on to it that he was being 
followed. I turned a curve and I was just in time to 
see him ring the bell and get admitted to the house. 
I just stopped where I was. It was beginning to rain, 
and I was soon pretty near soaked through. Also, it 
was almighty cold. 

''Whittington didn't come out again, and by and by 
I got kind of restive, and began to mouch around. 
AD the ground floor windows were shuttered tight, but 
upstairs, on the first floor (it was a two-storied house) 
I noticed a window with a light burning and the cur- 
tains not drawn. 

*7^ow, just opposite to that window, there was a 
tree growing. It was about thirty foot away from the 
house, maybe, and I sort of got it into my head that. 



112 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



if I climbed up that tree, Td very likely be able to see 
into that room* Of course, 1 knew there was no reason 
why IfVhittin^on should be in that room rather than 
in any other — less reason, in fact, for the betting would 
be on his being in one of the reception-rooms down- 
stairs. But I guess I*d got the hump from standing^ 
so long in the rain^ and anything seemed better than 
going on doing nothing. So 1 started up* 

**It wasn*t so easy, by a long chalk! The rain had 
made the boughs mighty slippery, and it was all I could 
do to keep a foothold, but bit by bit I managed it, 
until at last there I was level with the window. 

*'But then I was disappointed. I was too far to the 
left- I could only see sideways into the room* A bit 
of curtain, and a yard of wallpaper was all I could 



JULIUS TELLS A STORY 118 

**The room was medium-sixed, famished in a kind 
of bare hygienic way* There was a taUe with a lamp 
on it in the middle of the room, and sitting at that tsUe, 
facing towards me, was Whittington right enough* He 
was talking to a woman dressed as a hospital nurse. 
She was sitting with her back to me, so I couldn't see 
her face* Although the blinds were up, the window 
itself was shut, so I couldn't catch a word of what they 
•aid* Whittington seemed to be doug all the talking, 
and the nurse just listened. Now and then she nodded, 
and sometimes she'd shake her head, as though she 
were answering questions* He seemed very emphatic — 
once or twice he beat with his fist on the table. The 
rain had stopped now, and the sky was clearing in 
that sudden way it does* 

Presently, he seemed to get to the end of what he 
was saying. He got up, and so did she* He looked 
towards the window and asked something — ^I guess it 
was whether it was raining. Anyway, she came right 
across and looked out. Just then the moon came out 
from behind the clouds* I was scared the woman would 
catch sight of me, for I was full in the moonlight. I 
tried to move back a bit. The jerk I gave was too much 
for that rotten old branch. With an almighty crash, 
down it came, and Julius P. Hersheimmer with it !" 

•*0h, Julius," breathed Tuppence, **how exciting ! (Jo 
on.** 

''Well, luckily for me, I pitched down into a good 
soft bed of earth — but it put me out of action for the 
time, sure enough. The next thing I knew, I was lying 
in bed with a hospital nurse (not Whittington's one) 



114 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



on one aide of me, and a little black-bearded man witli 
gold glasses, and medical man written all over bim, on 
the other. He rubbed his hands together, and raised 
his eyebrows as I stared at him, *Ah !' he said. *So 
our young friend is coming round again* CapiiaL 
Capital' 

**I did the usual stunt. Said: *Wliat'fl happened?* 
And *Where am 1?' Bat I knew the answer to the 
I last well eiough. There's no moss growing on my 
brain* 'I think that'll do for the present^ sister,' said 
the little man* and the nurse left the room in a sort of 
brisk well-trained way. But I caught her handing me 
out a loot of deep curiosity as she passed through the 
door> 

*'That look of hers gave me an idea. *Now then. 



JUUUS TELLS A STORY 115 

ht replied. ^Well, to begin with^ I wasn't after the 
spoons/ 

^e smiled. ^My first theory. But I soon altered 
my mind. By the way, you are an American, are you 
notr I told him my name. 'And you?' 'I am Dr. 
Hall, and this, as you doubtless know^ is my private 
nursing home.' 

**! didn't know, but I wasn't going to put him wise. 
I was just thankful for the information. I liked the 
man, and I felt he was straight, but I wasn't going to 
giTe him the whole story. For one thing he probably 
wouldn't have believed it. 

^I made up my mind in a flash. *Why, doctor/ I 
•aid, *I guess I feel an almighty fool, but I owe it to 
you to let you know that it wasn't the Bill Sikes busi- 
ness I was up to.' Then I went on and mumbled out 
something about a girl. I trotted out the stem 
guardian business, and a nervous breakdown, and 
finaUy explained that I had fancied I recognized her 
among the patients at the home, hence my nocturnal 
adventures. 

^ guess it was just the kind of story he was expect- 
ing. %2uite a romance,' he said genially, when Fd fin- 
ished* ^ow, doc,' I went on, *will you be frank with 
me? Have you here now, or have you had here at any 
time, a young girl called Jane Finn?' He repeated 
the name thoughtfully. 'Jane Finn?' he said. 'No.' 

''I was chagrined, and I guess I showed it. 'You 
are sure?* 'Quite sure, Mr. Hersheimmer. It is an 
uneommon name, and I should not have been likely to 
forest iV 



116 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**Wdl, that was flat. It laid me out far a space. 
I'd kind of hoped my search was at an end. 'That's 
that,' I said at last. *Now, there's another matter- 
When I was hugging that darned branch I thought I 
recogniied an -old friend of mine talking to one of your 
nurses/ I purposely didn't mention any name because, 
of course, Whittington might be calling himself some- 
thing quite diiferent down here, but the doctor an- 
swered at once< 'Mr, Whittington, perhaps?* *That's 
the fellow,' I replied, 'What's he doing down here? 
Don't tell me his nerves are out of order?* 

**Dr. Hall laughed. *No- He came down to see one 
of my nurses. Nurse Edith, who is a niece of his/ *Why, 
fancy that!* I exclaimed, *Is he still here?' 'No^ he 
went back to town almost immediately/ *What a pity !* 



JUUUS TELLS A STORY 117 

he wasn't Imsy. I had to be guarded in what I taid. 
However, I didn't hear from him, and my foot soon got 
aD right. It was only ricked, not really sprained, so 
to-day I said good-bye to the little doctor chap, asked 
him to send me word if he heard from Nurse Ekiith, and 
came right away back to town. Say, Miss TuppencCy 
you're looking mighty pale?" 

**It's Tommy," said Tuppence^ **What can ham 
happened to him?" 

^Buck up, I guess he^s all right really. Why 
shouldn't he be? See here, it was a foreign-looking 
guy he went off after. Maybe they've gone abroad — to 
Poland, or something like that?" 

Tuppence shook her head. 

''He couldn't without passports and things. Besides 
Pre seen that man, Boris Something, since. He dined 
with Mrs. Vandemeyer last night." 

•'Mrs. Who?" 

•^I forgot. Of course you don't know all that.** 

^"m listening," said Julius, and gave vent to his 
favourite expression. ''Put me wise." 

Tuppence thereupon related the events of the last 
two days. Julius's astonishment and admiration were 
unbounded. 

"Bully for you ! Fancy you a menial. It just tickles 
me to death P* Then he added seriously: "But say 
now, I don't like it. Miss Tuppence, I sure don't. 
You're just as plucky as they make 'em, but I wish 
you'd keep right out of this. These crooks we're up 
against would as soon croak a giri as a man any 
day." 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

f*Do you think Tin afraid?" said Tuppen^ ifldig^ 
atlj, valiantij repressing meniories of the steely 
tier in Mrs. Vandemeyer's eyes. 
"I said before you were darned plucky* But that 

tsn't alter facts," 

rOh^ bother jneT* said Tuppence impatiently. **Let'« 

Ink about what can have happened to Tommy. IVe 

Ittcn to Mr. Carter about it," she added, aad told 

li the gist of her letter, 

ITuIius nodded gravely. 

I'l guess that's good as far as it goes. But it's 
us to get busy and do something/' 

I^What can we do?" asked Tuppence* her spirits 

guess we'd better get on the track of Boris. You 



JULIUS TELLS A STORY llflt 

^Siire,^ agreed Julias. ^'Wliat ;oa mj goes, 
ni get one.** 

^Bot you can't at onoe/^ cried Tappence. People 
wait ages sometimes." 

^Little Julius doesnty" affirmed Mr. Hersheimmer. 
**Don*t you worry any. ITl be round in the car in 
balf an hour.'' 

Tuppence got up. 

'You're awfully good, Julius. But I cant help 
feeling that it*8 rather a forlorn hope. Ihn really pin- 
ning my faith to Mr. Carter.'* 

"Then I shouldn't.'* 

"Why?" 

"Just an idea of mine." 

"Oh; but he must do something. Tliere's no one 
else. By the way, I forgot to tell you of a queer thing 
that happened this morning." 

And she narrated her encounter with Sir James 
Peel Edgerton. Julius was interested. 

"What did the guy mean, do you think?" he asked. 

"I don't quite know," said Tuppence meditatively. 
"But I think that, in an ambiguous, legal, without prej- 
ndishish lawyer's way, he was trying to warn me." 

"Why should he?" 

"I don't know," confessed Tuppence. "But he 
looked kind, and simply awfully clever. I wouldn't 
mind going to him and telling him everything." 

Somewhat to her surprise, Julius negatived the idea 
sharply. 

"See here," he said, "we don't want any lawyers 
mixed up in this. That guy couldn't help us any." 



120 



THE SECRET ADVERSAHY 



"Well, I bdiere he could,'' reiterated Tuppence ob- 
stifiatdj. 

"Don't you iinnk it. So long. FD be back in half 
an hour," 

Tliirt v-five minutes had elapsed when JuUtis returned. 
He took Tuppence by the arm, and walked her to the 
window, 

"There she is/* 

"Oh I" said Tuppence with a note of reverence in her 
voice, as she gazed down at the enormous car. 

"She's some pace-m^er, I can tell you," said Julius 
complacently. 

"How did you get it?'^ gasped Tuppence, 

"She was just being sent home to some bigwig,*' 

"WeU?" 



CHAPTER Xn 



A FmiKKB IN NXXD 



FRIDAY and Saturday passed uneventfully. Tup- 
pence had received a brief answer to her appeal 
from Mr. Carter. In it he pointed out that the 
Toung Adventurers had undertaken the work at their 
own risk, and had been fully warned of the dangers. 
If anything had happened to Tonuny he regretted it 
deeply, but he could do nothing. 

This was cold comfort. Somehow, without Tommy, 
all the savour went out of the adventure, and, for the 
first time. Tuppence felt doubtful of success. While 
they had been together she had never questioned it for 
a minute. Although she was accustomed to take the 
lead, and to pride herself on her quick-wittedness, in 
reality she had relied upon Tommy more than she real- 
ized at the time. There was something so eminently 
sober and clear-headed about him, his common sense 
and soundness of vision were so unvarying, that without 
him Tuppence felt much like a rudderless ship. It was 
curious that Julius, who was undoubtedly much cleverer 
than Tommy, did not give her the same feeling of sup- 
port. She had accused Tommy of being a pessimist, 
and it is certain that he always saw the disadvantages 
and difllcolties which she herself was optimistically given 

to overlooking, but nevertheless she had really relied a 

121 



122 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



good deal an bis judgments He might be alov, but be 
was verj sure. 

It seeraed to the girl that, for tlie first time, she 
realized the sinister character of the mlssioiL they had 
undertaken so light-heartedly. It had begun like a 
page of romance. Now^ shom of its glamour, it seemed 
to be turning to grim reality. Tommy — that was all 
that mattered. Many times in the day Tuppence 
blinked the tears out of her eyes resolutely. "Little 
fool," she would apostrophize herself, *'don't snivel- Of 
course youVe fond of him. You've known him all your 
life. But there's no need to be sentimental about it." 

In the meantime, nothing more was seen of Boris. 
He did not come to the flat, and Julius and the car 
waited in vain. Tuppence gave herself over to new 



A FRIEND IN NEED 128 

amoont of persuading, but Tuppence held firm, ^t 
can do no harm/' was what she always came back to. 
In the end Julius gave in, and they proceeded in the car 
to Carlton House Terrace. 

The door was opened by an irreproachable butler. 
Tuppence felt a little nervous. After all, perhaps it 
was colossal cheek on her part. She had decided not 
to ask if Sir James was ^at home,** but to adopt a more 
personal attitude. 

'HYill you ask Sir James if I can see him for a few 
minutes? I have an important message for him." 

The butler retired, returning a moment or two later. 

**Sir James will see you. Will you step this way?" 

He ushered them into a room at the back of the house, 
furnished as a library. The collection of books was a 
magnificent one, and Tuppence noticed that all one 
wall was devoted to works on crime and criminology. 
There were several deep-padded leather arm-chairs, and 
an old-fashioned open hearth. In the window was a big 
roll-top desk strewn with papers at which the master 
of the house was sitting. 

He rose as they entered. 

•*You have a message for me? Ah" — ^he recognized 
Tuppence with a smile — ^'^it's you, is it? Brought a 
message from Mrs. Vandemeyer, I suppose?" 

•*Not exactly," said Tuppence. **In fact, I'm afraid 
I only said that to be quite sure of getting in. Oh, 
by the way, this is Mr. Hersheimmer, Sir James Peel 
Edgerton." 

''Pleased to meet you,'' said the American, shooting 
<mt a hand. 



124 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



'*Woii't you both sit down?*' asked Sir James, He 
drew forward two chairs. 

**Sir James," said Tuppence, plunging boldly, "I 
dare say you will think it is moat awful eheek of me 
coming here like this, Becausej of course, it's nothing 
whatever to do with you, and then youVe a Tcry im- 
portant person, and of course Tommy and I aiB very 
tinimportant.'^ She paused for breath. 

"Tommy?" queried Sir James, looking across at the 
American. 

"Xo, that's Julius/' explained Tuppence. **rm 
rather nervous, and that makes me tell it ba<Uy. What 
I really want to know is what you meant by what you 
said to me the other day? Did you mean to warn me 
against Mrs. Vandemeyer? You did* didn't you?*' 



A FRIEND IN NEED 125 

liriogy I should not like to see her in Mrs. Vandemejer's 
service. I felt it incumbent on me just to give you a 
hint. It is no place for a young and inexperienced girl. 
That is all I can tell you." 

••I see,", said Tuppence thoughtfully. **Thank you 
Tery much. But I'm not reaUy inexperienced, you know. 
I knew perfectly that she was a bad lot when I went 

there — as a matter of fact that's why I went ^ She 

broke off, seeing some bewilderment on the lawyer's 
face, and went on: ^I think perhaps I'd better tell you 
the whole story, Sir James. I've a sort of feeling that 
you'd know in a minute if I didn't tell the truth, and 
so you might as well know all about it from the be- 
ginning. What do you think, Julius?'^ 

'^As you're bent on it, I'd go right ahead with the 
facts," replied the American, who had so far sat in 
silence. 

'^es, tell me all about it," said Sir James. ^ want 
to know who Tommy is." 

Thus encouraged Tuppence plunged into her tale, 
and the lawyer listened with close attention. 

•*Very interesting," he said, when she finished. **A 
great deal of what you tell me, child, is already known 
to me. I've had certain theories of my own about this 
Jane Finn. You've done extraordinarily well so far, 
but it's rather too bad of — ^what do you know him as? 
— Mr. Carter to pitchfork you two young things into 
an affair of this kind. By the way, where did Mr. 
Hersheimmer come in originaUy? You didnt make 
that clear?" 

Jolhis answered for himself. 



126 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



'Tm Jane's first cousin,'* he erplainedt r^tumitig the 
lawyer's keen gaze, 

"Ahr 

**0h, Sir James," broke out Tuppence, "what do 
you think has become of Tommy?" 

"HV*" The lawyer rose, and paced slowly up and 
down. "When you arrived, young lady, I was just 
packing up my traps. Going to Scotland by the night 
train far a few days' fishing* But there are difi'erent 
kinds of fishiDg. I'ire a good mind to stay, and see if 
we can't get on the track of that young chap." 

*H)h !" Tuppence clasped her hands ecstatically, 

"All the same^ as I said before, it's too bad of — of 
Carter to set you two babies on a job like this* Now, 
;ct offended^ Miss^ — er " 



A FRIEND IN NEED 127 

*1 reckoned it would be no good worrying joa wifh 
a petty little business like this." 

^I see.** He paused a moment, ^^lliis ipettj little 
business, as you call it, bears directly on a very big 
business, bigger periiaps than either you or Miss Tui>- 
pence know. If this boy is alive, he may have very 
valuable information to give us. Therefore, we must 
find him." 

"Yes, but how?" cried Tuppence. •*rve tried to 
think of everything." 

Sir James smiled. 

'^And yet there's one person quite near at hand who 
in all probability knows where he is, or at all events 
where he is likely to be." 

''Who is that?" asked Tuppence, puzzled. 

**Mr8. Vandemeyer." 

**Ycs, but sheM never tell us." 

''Ah, that is where I come in. I think it quite likely 
that I shall be able to make Mrs. Vandemeyer tell me 
what I want to know." 

"How?" demanded Tuppence, opening her eyes very 
wide. 

"Oh, just by asking her questions," replied Sir James 
easily. "That's the way we do it, you know." 

He tapped with his finger on the table, and Tup- 
pence felt again the intense power that radiated from 
the man. 

"And if she won't tcll?" asked Jufius suddenly. 

"I think she will. I have one or two powerful levers. 
Still, in that unlikely event, there is always the possi- 
bility of bribery." 



128 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**Sure, And that's where I come mP* cried Julius, 
bringing his fist down on the table with a bang. "Yon 
can count on me^ if necessary, for one million dollars* 
Yes, sir, one million dollars !'* 

Sir James sat down and subjected Julius to a long 
scrutinv. 

*'Mr. Hersheimmer,*' He said at last> "that is & wesj 
large sum." 

"I guess it*ll haye to be. These arenH the kind of 
folk to offer sixpence to*" 

"At the present rate of exchange it amounts to 
considerably o^er two hundred at^l fiftj thous&ad 
pounds," 

"That's so* Maybe yon think I*m talking through 
my hat, but I can deliver the goods aU right> with 



A FRIEND IN NEED 139 

^Tliere is no time to be lost. The sooner we strike 
the better." He tamed to Tuppence. ''Is Mrs. 
VADdemejer dining out to-night, do you know?" 

''Yes, I think so, but she will not be out late. Other- 
wise, she would have taken the latchkey." 

"Good. I will call upon her about ten o'clock. 
What time are you supposed to return?" 

"About nine-thirty or ten, but I could go back 
earlier." 

'^ou must not do that on any account. It might 
arouse suspicion if you did not stay out till the usual 
time. Be back by nine-thirty. I will arrive at ten. 
Mr. Hersheimmer will wait below in a taxi perhaps." 

"He's got a new Rolls-Royce car," said Tuppence 
with vicarious pride. 

"Even better. If I succeed in obtaining the address 
from her, we can go there at once, taking Mrs. Vande- 
meyer with us if necessary. You understand?" 

"Yes." Tuppence rose to her feet with a skip of 
delight. "Oh, I feel so much better!" 

"Don't build on it too much. Miss Tuppence. 60 
easy." 

Julius turned to the lawyer. 

"Say, then. I'D call for you in the car round about 
nine-thirty. Is that right?" 

"Perhaps that will be the best plan. It would be 
unnecessary to have two cars waiting about. Now, 
Miss Tdppence, my advice to you is to go and have a 
good dinner, a recMy good one, mind. And don't think 
ahead more than you can help.** 



130 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



He shook hands with them both, and a moment later 
they were outside. 

*'Isn't he a duck?" inquired Tuppence ecsiaticalljf 
as she skipped down the steps. ^^Ohj Julius^ iso'^t be 
just a duck?" 

"Wellj I allow he seems to be the goods all right. 
And I was wron^ about its being useless to go to him. 
Say, shall we go right away back to the Ritzf** 

**I must walk a bit, I think. I feel so excited. I>rop 
me in the park, will yon? Unless you'd like to come 
too?" 

"I want to get some petrol," he explained, **And 
send off a cable or two*" 

^AU right, ini meet you at the Ritz at seven. We'll 
have to dine upstairs. I can't show myself in tb^e 



A FRIEND IN NEED 181 

coold resign herself to waiting patiently for ten o'clock. 

South Audley Mansions looked exactly the same as 
usual. What Tuppence had expected she hardly knew^ 
but the sight of its red brick stolidity slightly assuaged 
the growing and entirely unreasonable uneasiness that 
possessed her. She was just turning away when she 
heard a piercing whistle, and the faithful Albert came 
running from the building to join her. 

Tuppence frowned. It was no part of the programme 
to have attention called to her presence in the neigh- 
bourhoody but Albert was purple with suppressed ex- 
citement. 

^I say, miss, she's a going!" 

"Who's going?" demanded Tuppence sharply. 

"The crook. Ready Rita. Mrs. Vandemeycr. She's 
a-packing up, and she's just sent down word for me 
to get her a taxi." 

"What?" Tuppence clutched his arm. 

"It's the truth, miss. I thought maybe as you didn't 
know about it." 

"Albert," cried Tuppence, "you're a brick. If it 
hadn't been for you we'd have lost her." 

Albert flushed with pleasure at this tribute. 

"There's no time to lose," said Tuppence, crossing 
the road. "I've got to stop her. At all costs I must 

keep her here until " She broke ofi^. "Albert, 

there's a telephone here, isn't there." 

The boy shook his head. 

"The flats mostly have their own, miss. But there's 
a box just round the comer." 

"Go to it then, at once, and ring up the Riix Hotd. 



132 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Ask for Mr* Hersheimmer, and when you get him tell 
him to get Sir James and come on at once, as Mrs. 
Vandemejer is trying to hoot it. If you can't get lum^ 
ring up Sir James Peel Edgerton, youTl find his num- 
ber in the book, and tell him what's happening. You 
won't forget the names, wUl you?" 

Albert repeated them glibly, **You trust to me, 
miss, itni be all right. But what about you? Arca*t 
you afraid to trust yourself with her?** 

**No, no, that's all right. But go and telephone. Be 
quick." 

Drawing a long breath, Tuppence entered the Man- 
sions and ran up to the door of No. 20, How she 
was to detain Mrs, Vandemeyer until the two men ar- 
rived, she did not know, but somehow or other it had 



A FRIEND IN NEED 188 

Mn. Yandemeyer said noihing* but she drew back 
and let Tuppence pass into the hall. 

^How unfortunate for you,'^ she said coldly, ^oa 
had better go to bed.** 

^h, I shall be aU right in the kitchen, ma'am. Cook 
win "^ 

^Cook is out,** said Mrs. Yandemeyer, in a rather 
disagreeable tone. ^ sent her out. So you see you 
had better go to bed.'' 

Suddenly Tuppence felt afraid. There was a ring in 
Mrs. Yandemeyer's Toice that she did not like at all. 
Ako, the other woman was slowly edging her up the 
passage. Tuppence turned at bay. 

«*I don't want ^" 

Then, in a flash, a rim of cold steel touched her 
temple, and Mrs. Yandemeyer's Toice rose cold and 
menacing: 

^^ou damned little fool! Do you think I don't 
know? No, don't answer. If you struggle or cry 
out, ni shoot you like a dog.** 

The rim of steel pressed a little harder against the 
girl's temple. 

•*Now then, march," went on Mrs. Yandemeyer. 
•fThis way — into my room. In a minute, when I've 
done with you, you'll go to bed as I told you to. And 
youHl sleep— oh yes, my little spy, youll sleep all 
right P' 

There was a sort of hideous geniality in the last 
words which Tuppence did not at all like. For the 
moment there was nothing to be done, and she walked 
obediently into Mrs. Yandemeyer's bedroom. The pis-^ 



134 



THE SECRET AD\:ERSARY 



tol Dever left her forehead. The room was in a stste 
of wild disorder, clothes were flung about rigbt aad 
lefty a suit-case and a hat bax» half-packed^ stood in 
the middle of the floor. 

Tuppence pulled herself together with an effort. Her 
voice shook a little, but she spoke out bravely* 

"Come now," she said, "This is nonsense. You can^t 
shoot me- Why, every one in the building would hear 
the report," 

**I'd risk that," said Mrs, Vandcmeyer cheerfully. 
**But, as long as jou don*t sing out for help, you're 
all right — and I don't think you wiD, You're a clever 
girL You deceived me all right, I hadn't a suspicion 
of you! So I've no doubt that you understand per* 
fectly well that this is where I'm on top and you're 



A FRIEND IN NEED 185 

•'What's that?'* asked Tuppence sharply. 

^^Something to make you sleep soundly." 

Tuppence paled a little. 

••Are you going to poison me?" she asked in a 
whisper. 

••Perhaps," said Mrs. Yandemeyer, smiling agree- 
ably. 

•Tlien I shan't drink it," said Tuppence firmly. 
••I'd much rather be shot. At any rate that would 
make a row, and some one might hear it. But I won't 
be killed off quietly like a lamb." 

Mrs. Yandemeyer stamped her foot. 

••Don't be a little fool ! Do you really think I want 
a hue and cry for murder out after me? If you've 
any sense at all, you'll realize that poisoning you 
wouldn't suit my book at all. It's a sleeping draught, 
that's alL You'll wake up to-morrow morning none 
the worse. I simply don't want the bother of tying 
you up and gagging you. That's the alternative — 
and you won't like it, I can tell you! I can be very 
rough if I choose. So drink this down like a good girl, 
and you'll be none the worse for it." 

In her heart of hearts Tuppence believed her. The 
arguments she had adduced rang true. It was a simple 
and effective method of getting her out of the way for 
the time being. Nevertheless, the girl did not take 
kindly to the idea of being tamely put to sleep without 
as much as one bid for freedom. She felt that once 
Mrs. Yandemeyer gave them the slip, the last hope of 
finding Tommy would be gone. 

Tuppence was quick in her mental processes. All 



188 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Ibese reflections passed through her mind in a flash, and 
she saw where a chance, a very problematical chance, 
laj, and she determined to risk all in one supreme eff*ort. 

Accordingly, she lurched suddenly off the bed and 
fell on her knees before Mrs. Vandemeyer, clutching 
her skirts frantically. 

"I don't believe it/* she moaned. "It's poison — 1 
know it's poison* Oh, don't make me drink it" — her 
Toice rose to a shriek — **doti't make me drink it ?* 

Mrs- Vandemeyer, glass in hand, looked down with a 
curling lip at this sudden collapse. 

*'Get up, yoa little idiot! Don't go on driTelling 
there* How you ever had the nerve to play your part 
as you did I can't think** She stamped her foot. 
"Get up, I say," 



A FRIEND IN NEED 187 

**Vcry well.** Her moath opened meekly. 
Mrs. Yandeiiieyer gave a sigh of relief, off her guard 
for the moment. Then, quick as a flash, Tuppence 
jerked the glass upward as hard as she could. The 
fluid in it splashed into Mrs. Yandemeyer's face, and 
during her momentary gasp. Tuppence's right hand 
shot out and grasped the reyolver where it lay on the 
edge of the washstand. The next moment she had 
sprung back a pace, and the revolver pointed straight 
at Mrs. Yandemeyer's heart, with no unsteadiness in 
the hand that held it. 

In the moment of victory, Tuppence betrayed a some- 
what unsportsman*like triumph. 

^ow who's on top and who's underneath?" she 
crowed. 

The other's face was convulsed with rage. For a 
minute Tuppence thought she was going to spring upon 
her, which would have placed the girl in an unpleasant 
dilemma, since she meant to draw the line at actually 
letting off the revolver. However, with an effort Mrs. 
Yandemeyer controlled herself, and at last a slow evil 
smile crept over her face. 

^ot a fool, then, after all ! Tou did that well, girL 
But you shall pay for itr— ohf yes, you shall pay for it! 
I have a long memory f* 

*Tm surprised you should have been gulled so easily,** 
said Tuppence scomfuDy. ^^d you really think I 
was the kind of girl to roll about on the floor and whine 
for mercy?" 

<<Yoa may do— some dayP* said the other signifl- 
cantly. 



138 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



The cold maligmtj of her manner sent aa unpleasant 
chill down Tuppence*s spine, but ihe was not going to 
give in to it- 

"Supposing we sit down," she said pleasantlj- "Our 
present attitude is a little melodramatic. No — ^not on 
the bed. Draw a chair up to the table^ that^s right. 
Now I'll git opposite jou with the revolver in front of 
me — ^just in case of accidents. Splendid* Now, let's 
talk/* 

"Wliat about?** said Mrs* Vandemeyer suUenlj, 

Tuppence e^^ed her thoughtfully for a minute. She 
was rtanembering several things. Boris's words, "I 
believe you would seU — ui/*' and her answer, "The 
price would have to be enormous," ^ven lightly, it was 
true, yet might not there be a substratum of truth in 



A FBIEND IN NEED 189 

— Tuppence wanned to her pet creed — ^^Srell, there's 
nothing unsatisfactory about money, is there?'' 

**Do you think," said Mrs. Vandemeyer scornfully, 
*Hhat I am the kind of woman to sell my friends?" 

•*Yes," said Tuppence promptly. "If the price was 
big enough." 

"A paltry hundred pounds or so P' 

"No," said Tuppence. "I should suggest — a hun- 
dred thousand !" 

Her economical spirit did not permit her to mention 
the whole million dollars suggested by Julius. 

A flush crept over Mrs. Vandemeyer's face. 

"What did you say?" she asked, her fingers playing 
nervously with a brooch on her breast. In that mo- 
ment Tuppence knew that the fish was hooked, and for 
the first time she felt a horror of her own money-loving 
spirit. It gave her a dreadful sense cf kinship to the 
woman fronting her. 

"A hundred thousand pounds," repeated Tuppence. 

The light died out of Mrs. Vandemcyer's eyes. She 
leaned back in her chair. 

"Bah P' she said. "You haven't got it." 

"No," admitted Tuppence, "I haven't — but I know 
some one who has." 

"Who?" 

"A friend of mine." 

"Must be a millionaire," remarked Mrs. Vandemeyer 
unbelievingly. 

"As a matter of fact he is. He's an American. Hell 
pay you that without a murmur. You can take it from 
me that it's a perfectly genuine proposition." 



140 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Mrs, Vandemeyer sat up again. 

"Fm indined to believe joii>" she said slowly. 

There was silence betweeo them for some time, then 
Mrs, Vandemeyer looked up* 

"WTiat does he want to know, this friend of yaur^?** 

Tuppence went through a momentary stmgglej but 
it was Jullos's money, and his interests must come first, 

"He wants to know where Jane Finn is/* she aaH 
boldly. 

Airs, Vandemeyer sbowed no surprise- 

"I'm not sure where she ia at the present moment,** 
Bhe replied. 

**But you could find out?** 

"Oh, yes," returned Mrs, Vandemeyer carelessly. 
"There would be no difficultv about that." 



A FRIEND IN NEED 141 

self together and tried to resume her former manner. 
But the attempt was a mere parodj. 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

''You can't have learnt much about us if you don't 
know that nobody knowi taho Mr. Brown is. • • •" 

•TTou do,'* said Tuppence quietly. 

Again the colour deserted the other's face. 

•nVhat makes you think that?" 

••I don't know," said the girl truthfuUy. «*But I'm 
sure." 

Mrs. Vandemeyer stared in front of her for a long 
time. 

"Yes," she said hoarsely, at last, "/ know. I was 
beautiful, you see — very beautiful ^ 

"You are still," said Tuppence with admiration. 

Mrs. Vandemeyer shook her head. There was a 
strange gleam in her dectric-blue eyes. 

"Not beautiful enough," she said in a soft dangerous 
voice. "Not — beautiful — enough! And sometimes, 
lately, I've been afraid. • . . It's dangerous to know 
too much!" She leaned forward across the table. 
•*Swear that my name shan't be brought into it — that 
no one shall ever know." 

"I swear it. And, once he's caught, youll be out 
of danger." 

A terrified look swept across Mrs. Yandemeyer's face. 

"Shall I? Shall I ever be?" She clutched Tup- 
pence's arm. "You're sure about the money?" 

"Quite sure." 

^'When shall I have it? There must be no delay." 



142 



THE SECRET AD\1ERSARY 



*'This friend of mine will be here presentlj. He 
may have to send cables, or something like tbat. But 
there won't be anj delay — he's a terrific hustler," 

A resolute look settled on Mrs* Vandemeyer's face^ 

"Fit do it. It's a great siiiii of money, and besides" 
— she gave a curious smile — "it is not — ^wise to tbrow 
over a wom^in like me!" 

For a nionicnt or two, she remained smiling^ and 
lightly tapping her fingers on the table. Suddeiilj 
she started, and her face blanched. 

*'What uas that?" 

*'I heard nothing.'* 

Mrs, Vandemeyer gazed round her fearfully. 

"H there should be some one listening '* 

"Nonsense. Who could there be?" 



CHAPTER Xm 



THs vion* 



SIR JAMES brushed past Julius and hurriedlj bent 
over the fallen woman. 

•'Heart,'* he said sharply. "Seeing us so sud- 
denly must have given her a shock. Brandy — and 
goickly, or she'll slip through our fingers.'* 

Julius hurried to the washstand. 

"Not there," said Tuppence over her shoulder. "In 
the tantalus in the dining-room. Second door down 
the passage.** 

Between them Sir James and Tuppence lifted Mrs. 
Vandemeyer and carried her to the bed. There they 
dashed water on her face, but with no result. The law- 
yer fingered her pulse. 

"Touch and go," he muttered. "I wish that young 
fellow would hurry up with the brandy.** 

At that moment Julius re-entered the room, carrying 
a glass half full of the spirit which he handed to Sir 
James. While Tuppence lifted her head the lawyer 
tried to force a little of the spirit between her closed 
lips. Finally the woman opened her eyes feebly. Tup- 
pence held the glass to her lips. 

"Drink this.** 

Mrs. Vandemeyer complied. The brandy brought 

the colour back to her white cheeks, and revived her 

143 



IM 



THE SECRET AD\^RSARY 



in a marvdlous fasluon. She tried to sit up — ^en fell 
back with a groan, her hand to her side. 

**It*s my heart,'* she whispered, **I mustn't talk," 

She lay back with closed eyes. 

Sir Jatnes kept his finger on her wrist a minute longer, 
then withdrew it with a nod, 

"She'll do now.'* 

AH three moved away, and stood together talkiiig 
in low voices. One and aU were conscious of a certain 
feeling of anticlimax. Clearly any scheme for cross* 
questioning the lady was out of the question for the 
moment. For the time being they were baffled, and 
could do nothing. 

Tuppence related how Mrs. Vandemeyer had declared 
herself willing to disclose the identity of Mr, Brown, 



THE VIGIL 145 

Vftndemeyer lay perfectly passive with closed eyes. He 
shook his head. 

'^ell/' said Tuppence, with an attempt at cheer- 
lUllMtiy ^S^e must wait until the morning, that's alL 
Biit donH think we ought to leave the flat.** 

n^Thlkt about leaving that bright boy of yours on 

^ABiert? And suppose she came round again and 
hooked it. Albert couldn't stop her.** 

^I guess she won't want to make tracks away from 
the dollars.'* 

'^She might. She seemed very frightened of *Mr. 
Brown.' " 

''What? Real plumb scared of him?** 

''Yes. She looked round and said even walls had 
cars." 

"Maybe she meant a dictaphone," said Julius with 
interest. 

"Miss Tuppence is nght,** said Sir James quietly. 
•'We must not leave the flat — if only for Mrs. Vande- 
meyer's sake." 

Julius stared at him. 

•TTou think he^d get after her? Between now and 
to-morrow morning. How could he know, even?" 

"You forget your own suggestion of a dictaphone," 
said Sir James dryly. "We have a very formidable 
adversary. I believe, if we exercise all due care, that 
there is a very good chance of his being delivered into 
oor hands. But we must neglect no precaution. We 
have an important witness, but she must be safe- 
guarded. I would suggest that Miss Tuppence should 



146 



THE SECRET ADVERSAK^ 



go to bed, and that jou aod I, Mr. Hersheinmiert should 
share the yigiV* 

Tuppence was about to protest, but happening to 
glance at the bed she saw Mrs, Vandemever, her ejts 
half-open, with fiuch an expression of mingled fear 
maleyoknce on her face that it quite froze the words 
on her lips. 

For a moment she wondered whether tlie faint mxi 
the heart attack had been a gigantic sham^ but remem- 
bering the deadly pallor she c^uld hardly credit the 
supposition. As she looked the expression disappeared 
as by magic, and Mrs, Vandemeyer lay inert and mo- 
tionless as before. For a moment the girl fancied 
she must have dreamt it. But she determined neTer- 
theless to be on the alert. 



THE VIGIL 147 

**Mr. — ^Brown ^ The voice stopped. 

But the half-dosed eyes seemed still to send an 
agonixed message. 

Moyed by a sudden impulse, the girl said quickly: 

^'I shan't leave the flat. I shall sit up all night.** 

A flash of relief showed before the lids descended 
once more. Apparently Mrs. Vandemeyer slept. But 
her words had awakened a new uneasiness in Tuppence. 
What had she meant by that low murmur. *'Mr. 
Brown?*' Tuppence caught herself nervously looking 
over her shoulder. The big wardrobe loomed up in a 
sinister fashion before her eyes. Plenty of room for 
a man to hide in that. . . . Half-ashamed of herself. 
Tuppence pulled it open and looked inside. No one^ 
of course! She stooped down and looked under the 
bed. There was no other possible hiding-place. 

Tuppence gave her familiar shake of the shoulders. 
It was absurd, this giving way to nerves! Slowly 
she went out of the room. Julius and Sir James were 
talking in a low voice. Sir James turned to her. 

^Lock the door on the outside, please, Miss Tup- 
pence, and take out the key. There must be no chance 
of any one entering that room." 

Tlie gravity of his manner impressed them, and 
Tuppence felt less ashamed of her attack of "nerves." 

•*Say,** remarked Julius suddenly, "there's Tup- 
pence's bright boy. I guess I'd better go down and 
ease his young mind. That's some lad. Tuppence." 

••How did you get in, by the way?" asked Tuppence 
suddenly. "I forgot to ask." 



148 



THE SECRET ADVERSABY 



"Well, Albert got me on the phone all right. I ran 
round for Sir James here, and we came rig^t <nt 
The boy was on the look out for us, and was just a mite 
worried about what might have happened to jou* HeM 
been listening outside the door of the flat, but coaldn't 
hear anything. Anyhow he suggested sending us up 
in the coal lift instead of ringing the bell. And fure 
enough we landed in the scullery and came right along 
to And you. Albert's still below, and must be just 
hopping mad by this time." With which Julius de- 
parted abruptly. 

**Now thcn^ Miss Tuppence,*' said Sir James, **yoa 
know this place better than I do> Where do you sug- 
gest we should take up our quarters?" 

Tuppence considered for a moment or two. 



THE VIGIL 149 

^At any rate, jou've got to have something to eat 
right away. Where's the larder?'* 

Tuppence directed him, and he returned in a few 
minutes with a cold pie and three plates. 

After a hearty meal, the girl felt inclined to pooh- 
pooh her fancies of half an hour before. The power of 
the money bribe could not faiL 

'^And now. Miss Tuppence," said Sir James, ^Sre 
want to hear your adventures.'' 

"That's so," agreed Julius. 

Tuppence narrated her adventures with some com- 
placence. Julius occasionally interjected an admiring 
"Bully." Sir James said nothing until she had finished, 
when his quiet "well done, Miss Tuppence," made her 
flush with pleasure. 

**There's one thing I don't get clearly," said Julius. 
"What put her up to clearing out?" 

"I don't know," confessed Tuppence. 

Sir James stroked his chin thoughtfully. 

"The room was in great disorder. That looks aa 
though her flight was unpremeditated. Almost aa 
though she got a sudden warning to go from some 
one." 

"Mr. Brown, I suppose," said Julius scoffingly. 

The lawyer looked at him deliberately for a minute 
or two. 

"Why not?" he said. "Remember, you yourself have 
race been worsted by him." 

Julius flushed with vexation. 

"I feel just mad when I think of how I handed out 
Jane's photograph to him like a lamb. Gree, if I evei; 



150 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



lay hands on it again, Fll freeze on to it like — like 

hdir 

"That contingency is likely to be a reni0te one,'* 
said the other dryly. 

1 guess you're rights" &aid Julius frankly. **And* 
in any case, it's the original Vm out after. Where do 
you think she can be^ Sir James?" 

The lawyer shook his head. 

''Impossible to say. But I*ve a very good idea where 
she hag been," 

**You have? Wliere?*' 

Sir James smiled. 

"At the scene of your nocturnal adventures, the 
Bournemouth nursing home," 

"There? Impossible. I asked." 



THE VIGIL 151 

known him slightly on and off for tome years, and 
this morning I ran across him in the street. Staying 
at the Mitropole, he told me." He turned to Julius. 
'^Didn't he tell you he was coming up to town?'' 

Julius shook his head. 

**Curiou8," mused Sir James. **You did not men- 
tion his name this afternoon, or I would have suggested 
your going to him for further information with my 
card as introduction." 

^I guess I'm a mutt," said Julius, with unusual 
humility. ''I ought to have thought of the false name 
stunt." 

^How could you think of anything after falling out 
of that tree?" cried Tuppence. **Vm sure anyone else 
would have been killed right off." 

^Well, I guess it doesn't matter now, anyway," said 
Julius. '^We've got Mrs. Vandemeyer on a string, and 
that's all we need.'' 

"Yes," said Tuppence, but there was a lack of as- 
surance in her voice. 

A silence settled down over the party. Little by 
little the magic of the night began to gain a hold on 
them. There were sudden creaks in the furniture, im- 
perceptible rustlings in the curtains. Suddenly Tup- 
pence sprang up with a cry. 

"I can't help it. I know Mr. Brown's somewhere in 
the flat! I can fed him." 

"Sure, Tuppence how could he be? This door's open 
into the hall. No one could have come in by the front 
door without our seeing and hearing him." 

"I can't help it. I /^W he's here!" 



152 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



She looked appe^Uoglj at Sir James, wlio replied 
^avel J : 

"With due deference to yotir feelings, Misa Tup- 
pence (and mine as well for that matter)^ I do not see 
how it is humanly possible for anyone to be in the flat 
without our knowledge," 

The girl was a little comforted by his words. 

*'Sitting up at ui^it is always rather jumpy," shm 
confessed. 

*^'e$," said Sir James, 'TVe are in the con- 
dition of people holding a ^ance* Perhaps if a medium 
were present we might get some marvellous results,** 

**Do you believe in spiritualism?" asked Tuppence^ 
opening her eyes wide. 

The lawj^er shrugged his shoulders* 



THE VIGIL 158 

make some tea. She returned with a tray, containmg 
the teapot and four cups. 

**Who*8 the other cup for?** inquired Julius. 

''The prisoner, of course. I suppose we might call 
her that?'^ 

''Taking her tea seems a kind of anti-climax to last 
night/' said Julius thoughtfully. 

"Yes, it does," admitted Tuppence. "But, anyway, 
here goes. Perhaps you'd both come, too, in case she 
springs on me, or anything. You see, we don't know 
what mood shell wake up in." 

Sir James and Julius accompanied her to the door. 

"Where's the key? Oh, of course, I've got it my- 
self." 

She put it in the lock, and turned it, then paused. 

"Supposing, after all, she's escaped?" she mur- 
mured in a whisper. 

"Plumb impossible," replied Julius reassuringly. 

But Sir James said nothing. 

Tuppence drew a long breath and entered. She 
heaved a sigh of relief as she saw that Mrs. Vandemeyer 
was lying on the bed. 

"Good morning," she remarked cheerfully. "Pve 
brought you some tea." 

Mrs. Vandemeyer did not reply. Tuppence put down 
the cup on the table by the bed and went across to 
draw up the blinds. When she turned, Mrs. Vande- 
meyer stin lay without a movement. With a sudden 
fear clutching at her heart. Tuppence ran to the bed. 
The hand she lifted was cold as ice. • . • Mrs. Vande- 
meyer would never speak now« • . . 



154 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Her cry brou^t the others. A Tery few minates 
sufficed. Mrs, VandeiDeyer was dead— must have been 
dead some hours* She had evidently died in her sleep, 

**If that isn't the cruellest luck/* cried Julius io 
despair. 

The lawyer was calmer, but there was a curious gleam 
in his eyps. 

"If it is luck," he replied. 

**Yon don*t think — ^but, say, that's plumb impossible 
— no one could have got in." 

"No," admitted the lawyer- **I don't see how they 
eouId> And yet — she is on the point of betraying Mn 
Brown, and — she dies. Is it only chance?" 

*^But how '* 

*Tl^cs, Aott/ That is what we must find out,** He 



THE VIGIL 165 

Hastily, the three searched. A charred mass in the 
grate indicated that Mrs. Vandemeyer had been burning 
papers on the eve of her flight. Nothing of importance 
remained, though they searched the other rooms as well. 

"There's that," said Tuppence suddenly, pointing 
to a small, old-fashioned safe let into the wall. ^*It'8 
for jewellery, I believe, but there might be something 
else in it." 

The key was in the lock, and Julius swung open the 
door, and searched inside. He was some time over 
the task. 

"Well," said Tuppence impatiently. 

There was a pause before Julius answered, then he 
withdrew his head and shut to the door. 

"Nothing," he said. 

In five minutes a brisk young doctor arrived, hastily 
summoned. He was deferential to Sir James, whom he 
recognized. 

**Heart failure, or possibly an overdose of some sleep- 
ing-draught." He snifl^ed. "Rather an odour of 
chloral in the air." 

Tuppence remembered the glass she had upset. A 
new thought drove her to the washstand. She found 
the little bottle from which Mrs. Vandemeyer had 
poured a few drops. 

It had been three parts full. Now — if was empty. 



CHAPTER XIV 



A CONSULTATION 



NOTHING was mon? surprising and bewildering to 
Tuppence than the ease and simplicity with 
which everything was arranged, owing to Sir 
Jameses skilful handling. The doctor accepted quite 
readily the theory that Mrs, Vandemeyer had acci- 
dentally taken an overflose of chloraL He doubted 
whether an inquest would be necessary. If so, he would 
let Sir James know. He understood that Mrs- Vande^ 
nxeyer was on the eve of departure for abroad, and that 



A CONSULTATION 167 

I think I told you that he b staying at the Miiropole. 
I should suggest that we call upon him there as soon as 
possible. Shall we say after a bath and breakfast?'^ 

It was arranged that Tuppence and Julius should 
return to the Riiz^ and call for Sir James in the car. 
This programme was faithfully carried out, and a little 
after eleven they drew up before the Mitropole. They 
asked for Dr. Hall, and a page-boy went in search of 
him. In a few minutes the little doctor came hurrying 
towards them. . 

^Can you spare us a few minutes, Dr. Hall?'' said 
Sir James pleasantly. ''Let me introduce you to Miss 
Cowley. Mr. Hersheimmer, I think, you already 
know." 

A quizzical gleam came into the doctor's eye as he 
shook hands with Julius. 

"Ah, yes, my young friend of the tree episode ! Ankle 
an right, eh?" 

**I guess it's cured owing to your skilful treatment, 
doc." 

"And the heart trouble? Ha ha!" 

"Still searching," said Julius briefly. 

"To come to the point, can we have a word with you 
in private?" asked Sir James. 

"Certainly. I think there is a room here where we 
shall be quite undisturbed." 

He led the way, and the others followed him. They 
«at down, and the doctor looked inquiringly at Sir 
James. 

"Dr. Hall, I am very anxious to find a certain young 
lady for the jnirpose of obtaining a statement from her. 



158 



THE SECRET ADVERSAHY 



I have reason to believe that she has been at one time 
or another m jour establishment at BourDemouth* I 
hope I am tratisgressing^ no professional etiquette in 
questioning you on the subject?*' 

**I suppose it is a matter of testimony?'* 

Sir James hesitated a moment, then he replied: 

"Yes." 

"I shall be pleased to give you any information in 
my power- What is the young lady's name? Mr. 

Hersheimmer asked me, I remember " He half 

turned to Julius. 

**The name," said Sir James bluntly, **ifl really im- 
materiah She would he almost certainly s€nt to yon 
under an assumed one. But I should like to know if 
you are acquainted with a Mrs. Vandemeyer?" 



I 



A CONSULTATION 159 

^ am acquainted with the details becaiue^— welly it 
was I who found her dead.*^ 

''Indeed/' said the doctor, starting. 

''Yes/' said Sir James, and stroked his chin reflec- 
tively. 

'TThis is very sad news, but you will excuse me if I 
say that I do not see how it bears on the subject of 
your inquiry?'* 

"It bears on it in this way, is it not a fact that Mrs. 
Vandemeycr committed a young relative of hers to 
your charge?" 

Julius leaned forward eagerly. 

'TTiat is the case," said the doctor quietly. 

"Under the name of ?" 

"Janet Vandemeyer. I understood her to be a niece 
of Mrs. Vandemeyer's." 

"And she came to you?" 

"As far as I can remember in June or July of 
1916." 

"Was she a mental case?" 

"She is perfectly sane, if that is what you mean. 
I understood from Mrs. Vandemeyer that the girl had 
been with her on the Lusitania when that ill-fated ship 
was sunk, and had suffered a severe shock in conse- 
quence." 

"We're on the right track, I think?" Sir James 
looked round. 

"As I said before, I'm a mutt!" returned Julius. 

The doctor looked at them all curiously. 

"You spoke of wanting a statement from her,'' he 
said. "Supposing she is not able to give one?" 



160 



THE SECRET AD\TRSARY 



**What? You have just said that she b perfectlj 
sane.'* 

**So she is. Nevertheless^ if you. want a statement 
from her concerning any events prior to May Tf 1916» 
she will not be able to give it to yoo-** 

Thev looked at the little man> stupefied* He nodded 
cheerfullj. 

"It*s a pity>" he said, "A great pity, especially a« 
I gather, Sir James, that the matter is important. But 
there it is, she can teD you nothing." 

•*But why, man? Dam it all, why?" 

The little man shifted bis benevolent glance to ilia 
excited young American, 

"Because Janet Vandemeyer is suffering from m 
complete loss of memory*'* 



A CONSULTATION 161 

where fihe had come from, or where she was. She 
couldn't eyen speak her own tongue.'* 

**But surely all this is most unusual?'* put in Julius. 

^^No, my dear sir. Quite normal under the circum- 
stances. Severe shock to the nervous system. Loss of 
memory proceeds nearly always on the same lines. I 
suggested a specialist, of course. There's a very good 
man in Paris — ^makes a study of these cases — but Mrs. 
Vandemeyer opposed the idea of publicity that might 
result from such a course." t 

**! can imagine she would,** said Sir James grimly. 

**I fell in with her views. There i$ a certain notoriety 
given to these cases. And the girl was very younjf— 
nineteen, I believe. It seemed a pity that her infirmity 
should be talked about — might damage her prospects. 
Besides, there is no special treatment to pursue in such 
cases. It is really a matter of waiting.** 

•^Waiting?** 

•*Yes, sooner or later, the memory will return — ^as 
suddenly as it went. But ia all probability the girl will 
have entirely forgotten the intervening period, and will 
take up life where she left off — at the sinking of the 
Lusitafda** 

**And when do you expect this to happen?'* 

The doctor shrugged his shoulders. 

^Ah, that I cannot say. Sometimes it is a matter 
of months, sometimes it has been known to be as long as 
twenty years ! Sometimes another shock does the tricL 
One restores what the other took away.** 

^Another shock, eh?** said Julius thoughtfully. 



162 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"Exactly. There was a case in Colorado^—" 
The little maii^s Toice trailed on, voluble, mildlj en- 
thusiastic. 

Julius did not seem to be listening. He had re^ 
lapsed into his own thoughts aod was frowning. 
Suddenly he came out of his brown study, and hit the 
table such a resounding bang with his fist that every one 
jumped J the doctor mast of all, 

"Pve got it! I guess, doc, I*d like your medical 
opinion on the plan Vui about to outline. Say Jane 
was to cross the herring pond again, and the same thing 
was to happen. The submarine, the sinking ship> every 
one to take to the boats — and so on. Woulda't that 
do the trick? Wouldn't it give a mighty big bump to 
her subconscious self, or whatever the jargon is, and 



A CONSULTATION 168 

over. Ever heard of the word *graft,' sir? Well, graft 
gets there every time! I reckon that we shan't really 
need to fire a torpedo. If every one hustles round and 
screams loud enough that the ship is sinking, it ought 
to be enough for an innocent young girl like Jane. By 
the time she's got a life-belt on her, and is being hustled 
into a boat, with a well-driUed lot of artistes doing the 
hysterical stuK on deck, why — she ought to be right 
back again where she was in May, 1916. How's that 
for the bare outline?" 

Dr. Hall looked at Julius. Everything that he was 
for the moment incapable of saying was eloquent in 
that look. 

**No," said Julius, in answer to it, •'Pm not crazy. 
The thing's perfectly possible. It's done every day in 
the States for the movies. Haven't you seen trains 
in collision on the screen? What's the difference be- 
tween buying up a train and buying up a liner? Get 
the properties and you can go right ahead !" 

Dr. Hall found his voice. 

**But the expense, my dear sir." His voice rose. 
"The expense ! It will be colossal !" 

"Money doesn't worry me any," explained Julius 
simply. 

Dr. Hall turned an appealing face to Sir James, who 
smiled slightly. 

**Mr. Hershcimmer is very well off — very well off 
indeed." 

The doctor's glance came back to Julius with a new 
and subtle quality in it. This was no longer an ec- 



16i 



THE SECHET ADVERSARY 



centric joung fellow with a habit of falling off treei. 
The doctor^s ejes held the deference accorded to a 
reallj rich man* 

*'Very renmrkahle plan. Very remarkable," he mur- 
mured* "The movies — of course! Your Americats 
word for the Idnema. Very interesting, I fear we are 
perhaps a little behind the time a over here in our 
methods- And you rcftlly mean to carry out this re- 
markable plan of yours,'* 

"You bet your bottom dollar T do." 

The doctor believed him — which was a tribute to his 
nationality. If an Englishman had suggested such a 
thing, he would have had grave doubts as to his sanitj. 

"I cannot guarantee a cure," he pointed out, 
"Perhaps I ought to make that quite clear." 



CHAPTER XV 

TUPPXNCX BSCXiyXS A PEOPOSAI. 

JULIUS sprang up. 
"What?*' 
"I thought you were aware of thaf 

**When did she leave?*' 

''Let me see. To-day is Monday, is it not? It must 
have been last Wednesday — ^why, surely — yes, it was 
the same evening that you— er — fell out of my tree." 

"That evening? Before, or after?'* 

**Let me see — oh yes, afterwards. A very urgent 
message arrived from Mrs. Yandemeyer. The young 
lady and the nurse who was in charge of her left by the 
night train." 

Julius sank back again into his chair. 

"Nurse Edith — ^left with a patient — ^I remembert" 
he muttered. "My Grod, to have been so near!" 

Dr. Hall looked bewildered. 

"I don't understand. Is the young lady not with 
her aunt, after aU?" 

Tuppence shook her head. She was about to speak 
when a warning glance from Sir James made her hold 
her tongue. The lawyer rose. 

"Fm much obliged to you. Hall. We're very grate- 
ful for all you've told us. I'm afraid we're now in the 

position of having to track Miss Yandemeyer anew« 

1S5 



166 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



What about the nurse who accampanied her ; I suppose 
jou don't know where she is?" 

The doctor shook his head. 

**We've not heard from her^ as it happens. I under- 
stood she was to remain with Miss Vandemeyer for a 
while- But what can have happened? Surely the girt 
has not heen kidnapped." 

"That remains to be seen," said Sir James gravely. 

The other hesitated, 

*'Vou do not think I ought to go to the police?** 

**No, no* In all probability the young lady is with 
other relations/* 

Tlie doctor was not completely satisfied, hut he saw 
that Sir James was determined to say no more, and 
realized that to try and extract more information from 



TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL 167 

the girl. That is the only course I can suggest, and 
I must confess I do not hope for much result. Other- 
wise there is nothing to be done.'' 

••Nothing?" said Tuppence blankly. "And — ^Tom- 
my?'' 

••We must hope for the best,'' said Sir James. 
•K)h yes, we must go on hoping." 

But over her downcast head his eyes met Julius's, 
and almost imperceptibly he shook his head. Julius 
understood. The lawyer considered the case hopeless. 
The young American's face grew grave. Sir James 
took Tuppence's hand. 

••You must let me know if anything further comes to 
light. Letters will always be forwarded." 

Tuppence stared at him blankly. 

••You are going away?" 

•^ told you. Don't you remember? To Scotland.*' 

••Yes, but I thought ^" The girl hesitated. 

Sir James shrugged his shoulders. 

••My dear young lady, I can do nothing more, I fear. 
Our clues have all ended in thin air. You can take 
my word for it that there is nothing more to be done. 
If anything should arise, I shall be glad to advise you 
in any way I can." 

His words gave Tuppence an extraordinarily deso- 
late feeling. 

••I suppose you're right," she said. "Anyway, thank 
you very much for trying to help us. Good-bye." 

Julius was bending over the car. A momentary pity 
eame into Sir James's keen eyes, as he gazed into the 
girl's downcast face. 



168 



THE SECRIIT ADVERSARY 



"Don't be too diaconsoTate, Miss Tuppence,^ he 
«mid in a low Toice. ''Remember, holidaj-time isn't 
always aU play-time. One sometimes manages to put 
in some work as wdL" 

Something in his tone made Tuppeoce glance up 
sharply. He shook his head with a smOe. 

**No, I shan't say any more. Great mistake to say 
too much. Rememher that* Never tell all you know- — 
not even to the person you know best. Understand? 
Good-bye-" 

He strode away. Tuppence stared after him. She 
was beginning to understand Sir James*s methods. 
Once before he had thrown her a hint in the same care- 
less fashion. Was this a hint? What exactly lay 
behind those last brief words? Did he mean that, 



TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL 1«» 

"Nothing particular,'* she replied. 

She felt rather than saw Julius throw a sideways 
glance at her. 

"Say, shall we go for a spin in the park?** 

"If you Uke.'' 

For a while they ran on under the trees in silence. 
It was a beautiful day. The keen rush through the air 
brought a new exhilaration to Tuppence. 

"Say, Miss Tuppence, do you think I'm ever going to 
find Jane?** 

Julius spoke in a discouraged voice. The mood was 
so alien to him that Tuppence turned and stared at him 
in surprise. He nodded. 

"That's so. I'm getting down and out over the 
business. Sir James to-day hadn't got any hope at 
all, I could see that. I don't like him — we don't gee 
together somehow — but he's pretty cute, and I guess 
he wouldn't quit if there was any chance of success — 
now, would he?" 

Tuppence felt rather uncomfortable, but clinging to 
her belief that Julius also had withheld something from 
her, she remained firm. 

"He suggested advertising for the nurse," she re* 
minded him. 

"Yes, with a *forlom hope' flavour to his voice ! No 
— ^Fm about fed up. I've half a mind to go back to 
the States right away." 

"Oh noP cried Tuppence. "We've got to find 
Tommy.** 

"I sure forgot Beresford," said Julius contritely. 
"That's so. We must find him. But after— well. 



170 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



I've been daj^reaming ever smee I started on thb trip 
—and these dreams are rotten poor business. Pm quit 
of them. Saj, Miss Tuppence, tbere^s eomething Fd 
like to ask you-** 

"Yes?" 

**You and BeresforA What about it?'* 

"I don't nnderstand you,'* replied Tuppence with 
dignity, adding rather in consequently : **And, anyway, 
you're wrong!" 

"Not got a sort of kindly feeling for one anotter?" 

"Certainly not/* said Tuppence with warmth. 
"Tommy and 1 are friends — nothing more.** 

"I guess every pair of lovers has said that sometime 
or another," observed Julius. 

"Nonsense!" snapped Tuppence. *T[)o I look the 



TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL 171 

^'Wliat about marriage?'' inquired Julias. ^Grot any 
views on the subject?" 

^I intend to marry, of course,'' replied Tuppence. 
•*That is, if — she paused, knew a momentary longing 
to draw back, and then stuck to her guns bravely — ^^I 
can find some one rich enough to make it worth my 
while. That's frank, isn't it? I dare say you despise 
me for it." 

^I never despise business instinct," said Julius. 
**What particular figure have you in mind?" 

figure?" asked Tuppence, puzzled. ^Do you mean 
tan or short?" 

"No. Sum — ^income." 

•*0h, I— I haven't quite worked that out." 

••What about me?" 

"Sure thing." 

"Oh, I couldn't!" 

••Why not?" 

••I tell you I couldn't." 

••Again, why not?" 

••It would seem so unfair." 

••I don't see anything unfair about it. I call your 
blufi^, that's all. I admire you immensely, Miss Tup- 
pence, more than any girl I've ever met. You're so 
darned plucky. I'd just love to pye you a real, rattling 
good time. Say the word, and we'll run round right 
away to some high-class jeweller, and fix up the ring 
business." 

•T[ can't," gasped Tuppence. 

••Because of Beresford?" 



172 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



^ 



"No, no, nor 

"WeUtheu?'* 

Tuppence merely continued to shake her head Tio- 
lentlj, 

'^ou can*t reasonably expect more doDars than 
rve got/» 

*'0h, it isn't that/* gasped Tuppence with an almost 
hysterical laugh. "But thanking you very much» and 
all that, I think I'd better say no," 

"I'd be obliged if you'd do me the favour to think 
it over until to-morrow,'* 

"It's no use," 

"Still, I guess we'll leave it like that" 

"Very well/' said Tuppence meekly. 

Neither of them spoke again until they reached the 



TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL 178 

gled for self-control, and then abandoning all pretence, 
she held it to her lips and burst into a fit of sobbing. 

**0h, Tommy, Tommy," she cried, **I do love you 
BO — and I may never see you again. . • /* 

At the end of five minutes Tuppence sat up, blew 
her nose, and pushed back her hair. 

"That's that,'' she observed sternly. "Let's look 
facts in the face. I seem to have fallen in love — with 
an idiot of a boy who probably doesn't care two straws 
about me." Here she paused. "Anyway," she resumed, 
as though arguing with an unseen opponent, "I don't 
know that he does. He'd never have dared to say so. 
I've always jumped on sentiment — and here I am being 
more sentimental than anybody. What idiots girls are ! 
I've always thought so. I suppose I shall sleep with 
his photograph under my pillow, and dream about him 
all night. It's dreadful to feel you've been false to 
your principles." 

Tuppence shook her head sadly, as she reviewed her 
backsliding. 

"I don't know what to say to Julius, Fm sure. Oh, 
what a fool I feel ! Ill have to say iomeihinff — he's so 
American and thorough, hell insist upon having a rea- 
son. I wonder if he did find anything in that safe " 

Tuppence's meditations went oS on another tack. 
She reviewed the events of last night carefully and 
persistently. Somehow, they seemed bound up with 
Sir James's enigmatical words. • . • 

Suddenly she gave a great start — the colour faded 
out of her face. Her eyes, fascinated, gazed in front 
of her, the pupik dilated. 



174 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



•'Impossible," she murmured* ^* Impossible ! I miist 
be going mad eveo to think of such a thing. • . *" 

Monstrous — yet it e!£plained everything, . • . 

After a moment's reflection she sat down and wrote 
a note^ weighing each word as she did so. Finally she 
nodded her head as though satisfied, and slipped it into 
an envelope which she addressed to Julius, She went 
down the passage to his sitting-room and knocked at 
the door. As she had expected, the room was empty* 
She left the note on the table, 

A small page-boy was waiting outside her own door 
when she returned to it, 

**Telegram for you, miss." 

Tuppence took it from the salver, and tore it open 
carelessly. Then she gave a cry. The telegram was 



CHAPTER XVI 

WTTBLTKEM ADVEKTU&SS OF TOMICT 

FROM a darkness punctuated with throbbing stabs 
of fire, Tommy dragged his senses slowly back 
to life. When he at last opened his eyes, he was 
conscious of nothing but an excruciating pain through 
his temples. He was vaguely aware of unfamiliar 
surroundings. Where was he? What had happened? 
He blinked feebly. This was not his bedroom at the 
Ritz. And what the devil was the matter with his 
head? 

''Damn P* said Tommy, and tried to sit up. He had 
remembered. He was in that sinister house in Soho. 
He uttered a groan and fell back. Through his al- 
most-closed lids he reconnoitred carefully. 

**He is coming to," remarked a voice very near Tom- 
my's car. He recognized it at once for that of the 
bearded and efficient €rerman, and lay artistically inert. 
He felt that it would be a pity to come round too soon ; 
and until the pain in his head became a little less acute, 
he felt quite incapable of collecting his wits. Painfully 
he tried to puzzle out what had happened. Obviously 
somebody must have crept up behind him as he listened 
and struck him down with a blow on the head. They 
knew him now for a spy, and would in all probabQity 
give him short shrift. Undoubtedly he was in a tight 

176 



176 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



place* Nobodj knew where he was, therefore he need 
expect no outside assistance, and must depend soldj 
on his own wits. 

**WeIl, here goes," murmured Tommy to Mmsetf, 
and repeated his former remark, 

"Damn f* he observed, and this time succeeded in sit- 
ting up. 

In a mloute the German stepped forward and placed 
a glass to his lips, with the brief command "Drink." 
Tommy obeyed. The potency of the draught made 
him choke, but it cleared his brain in a marvellous 
manner. 

He was lying on a couch in the room in which the 
meeting had been held. On one side of him was the 
German, on the other the villainooa-faced doorkeeper 



FURTHER ADVENTURES OF TOMMY 177 

The man snarled, and the bearded man said quietly: 

*^e would have run no risk of that.'' 

"Just as you like,** replied Tommy. "I know it's 
the fashion to run down the police. I rather believe in 
them myself.'* 

His manner was nonchalant to the last degree. 
Tommy Beresford was one of those young Englishmen 
not distinguished by any special intellectual ability, 
but who are emphatically at their best in what is 
known as a "tight place." Their natural diffidence 
and caution fall from them then like a glove. Tommy 
realized perfectly that in his own wits lay the only 
chance of escape, and behind his casual manner he was 
racking his brains furiously. 

The cold accents of the Grerman took up the 
conversation : 

"Have you anything to say before you are put to 
death as a spy?" 

"Simply lots of things," replied Tommy with the 
same urbanity as before. 

"Do you deny that you were listening at that door?" 

"I do not. I must really apologize — but your con- 
versation was so interesting that it overcame my scru- 
ples." 

"How did you get in?" 

"Dear old Conrad here." Tommy smiled dcpre- 
catingly at him. "I hesitate to suggest pensioning off 
a faithful servant, but you really ought to have a better 
watchdog." 

Conrad snaried impotently, and said sullenly, as the 
man with the beard swung round upon him: 



178 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**He gave the word* How was I to knowr* 
**Yes," Tommy chimed in, **How was he to knov? 
Don't blame the poor fellow. His hastj action has 
given me the pleasure of seeing jou aO face to face." 
He fancied that his words caused some discomposure 
among the group, but the watchful German stilled it 
with a wave of his hand. 

*'Dead men tell no tales," he said evenlj. 
"Ah," said Tommy, **but I'm not dead yet!*^ 
**You soon will be, my young friend," said the Ger- 
man. 

An assenting murmur came from the others. 
Tommy's heart beat faster, but his casual pleasant- 
ness did not waver, 

"I think not," he said firmly. "I should have a great 



FURTHER ADVENTURES OP TOMMY 179 

"You hell-hound of a apy," he screamed. •'We will 
give you short shrift. Kill him ! Kill him !** 

There was a roar of applause. 

•*You hear?" said the Grerman, his eyes on Tommy. 
**What have you to say to that?*' 

**Say?'* Tommy shrugged his shoulders. "Pack 
of fools. Let them ask themselves a few questions. 
How did I get into this place? Remember what dear 
old Conrad said — xciih your awn password^ wasn't it? 
How did I get hold of that? You don't suppose I 
came up those steps haphazard and said the first thing 
that came into my head?" 

Tommy was pleased with the concluding words of this 
speech. His only regret was that Tuppence was not 
present to appreciate its full flavour. 

"That is true," said the working man suddenly. 
**Comradcs, we have been betrayed !" 

An ugly murmur arose. Tommy smiled at them en- 
couragingly. 

'•That's better. How can you hope to make a suc- 
cess of any job if you don't use your brains?" 

"You will tell us who has betrayed us," said the (Jer- 
man. "But that shall not save you — oh, no! You 
shall tell us all that you know. Boris, here, knows 
pretty ways of making people speak !" 

"Bah !" said Tommy scornfully, fighting down a sin- 
gularly unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. 
"You will neither torture me nor kill me." 

**And why not?" asked Boris. 

"Because you'd kill the goose that lays the golden 
eggs," replied Tommy quietly. 



180 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 




There was a iDOuientarj pause. It seemed as 
tliougb Tommj^B persistent assurance was at last con* 
que ring. They were no longier completely sure of 
themselves. The man in the shabby dotbes stared a fc^ 
ToDuny ^archingly. W^ 

**He's bluiEng you, Boris/' be said quietly. 

Tommy bated bim. Had the man seen tbrougb 
bimF 

The German^ with an effort, turned roughly to 
Tommy* 

**What do you mean?** 

^*What do jou tbint I mean?" parried Toounjg 
searching desperately in bis own mind. 

Suddenly Boris stepped forward, and shook his fist 
in Tommy's face* 



FURTHER ADVENTURES OP TOBOIY 181 



**Ye« — a bargain. My life and liberty against *^ 

He paused. 

**Against what?*' 

The group pressed forward. Tou could have heard 
a pin drop. 

Slowly Tommy spoke. 

^The papers that Dangers brought over from 
America in the LuHtafda.*' 

The effect of his words was electrical. Every one 
was on his feet. The German waved them back. He 
leaned over Tommy, his face purple with excitement. 

**Himmell You have got them, then?" 

With magnificent calm Tommy shook his head. 

"You know where they are?*' persisted the German. 

Again Tommy shook his head. "Not in the least." 

"Then — then " angry and baffled, the words 

failed him. 

Tommy looked round. He saw anger and bewilder- 
ment on every face, but his calm assurance had done 
its work — no one doubted but that something lay be- 
hind his words. 

"I don't know where the papers are — but I believe 
that I can find them. I have a theory ^ 

"PahP* 

Tommy raised his hand, and silenced the clamours 
of disgust. 

"I call it a theory — but Fm pretty sure of my facts 
— facts that are known to no one but myself. In any 
case what do you lose? If I can produce the papers — 
you give me my life and liberty in exchange. Is it a 
bargain?" 



182 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**Aiid if we refuse?'* said the Gennati quietlj. 

TooiiDj laj back on the couch, 

"The 29th/* he said thoaghtfidly, "is less than 



fortnight ahead '* 

For a moment the German hesitated. Then he made 
A sign to Conrad- 

**Take him into the other room.'* 

Por five minutes, Tommy sat on the bed in the dingy 
room next door. His heart was beating violently. He 
had risked all on this throw. How would they decide? 
And all the while that this agonized questioning went 
on within him, he talked flippantly to Conrad, enraging 
the cross-grained doorkeeper to the point of homicidal 
mania. 

At last the door opened, and the German called im- 
periously to Conrad to return. 



FURTHER ADVENTURES OF TOlOfY 188 

out of here leaving us a pretty story full of promises?'* 

**No," said Tommy thoughtfully. '^Though in- 
finitely simpler for me, I did not really think you would 
agree to that plan. Very well, we must arrange a com* 
promise. How would it be if you attached little Con- 
rad here to my person. He's a faithful fellow, and 
very ready with the fist.** 

**We prefer/' said the Grerman coldly, *Hhat you 
should remain here. One of our number will carry out 
your instructions minutely. If the operations are 
complicated, he will return to you with a report and 
you can instruct him further.** 

**You're tying my hands," complained Tommy. **It's 
a very delicate affur, and the other fellow will muff 
it up as likely as not, and then where shall I be? I 
don't believe one of you has got an ounce of tact.** 

The Grerman rapped the table. 

'^Those are our terms. Otherwise, death P' 

Tommy leaned back wearfly. 

**I like your style. Curt, but attractive. So be it, 
then. But one thing is essential, I must see the girl." 

••What girl?" 

•*Jane Finn, of course." 

The other looked at him curiously for some minutes, 
then he said slowly, and as though choosing his words 
with care: 

••Do you not know that she can tell you nothing?" 

Tommy's heart beat a little faster. Would he suc- 
ceed in coming face to face with the girl he was seeking? 

••I shall not ask her to tell me anything," he said 
quietly. ^•Not in bo many words, that is." 



1B4> 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**Theii why see her?" 

Tommj paused. 

"To watch her face when I sA her one question^** 
he replied at last. 

Again there was a look in the German's eyej that 
Tommy did not quite understand. 

"She will not be able to answer your question.** 

"Tliat does not matter. I shall have seen her face 
when I ask it," 

"And you think that will tell yoa anything?" He 
gave a short disagreeable laugh. More than ever, 
Tommy felt that there was a factor somewhere that he 
did not understand. The German looked at him search^ 
ingly. "I wonder whether, after all, you know as mucli 
as we think?" he said softly. 

Tommy felt his ascendaocv less sure than a moment 



FURTHER ADVENTURES OP TOMMY 185 

**That may }>erhap8 be arranged.** 

«*It must be.'* 

"We will see about it. Only one i>er8on can decide 
that.** 

**Who?'* asked Tommy. But he knew the answer. 

"Mr. Brown "" 

"Shall I see him?** 

"Perhaps.** 

"Come,** said Conrad harshly. 

Tommy rose obediently. Outside the door his gaoler 
motioned to him to mount the stairs. He himself fol- 
lowed closed behind. On the floor above Conrad opened 
a door and Tommy passed into a small room. Conrad 
lit a hissing gas burner and went out. Tommy heard 
the sound of the key being turned in the lock. 

He set to work to examine his prison. It was a 
smaller room than the one downstairs, and there was 
something peculiarly airless about the atmosphere of 
it. Then he realized that there was no window. He 
walked round it. The walls were filthily dirty, as 
everywhere else. Pour pictures hung crookedly on the 
wall representing scenes from "Paust.** Marguerite 
with her box of jewels, the church scene, Siebel and his 
flowers, and Faust and Mephistopheles. The latter 
brought Tommy's mind back to Mr. Brown again. In 
this sealed and closed chamber, with its close-fitting 
heavy door, he felt cut off from the world, and the 
sinister power of the arch-criminal seemed more real. 
Shout as he would, no one could ever hear him. Tlie 
place was a living tomb. . . • 

With an effort Tommy pulled himself together. He 



180 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



flank on to the bed and gave himself up to reflection* 
His head ached had]y ; also, he was hungry. The ailence 
of the place was dispiriting. 

"Anyway," said Tommy, trying to cheer himself, **I 
shall see the chief — the mysterious Mr- Brown^ and 
with a bit of luck in bluffing I shall see the mysterious 
Jane Finn also. After that " 

After that Tommy was forced to admit the prospect 
looked dreary. 



CHAPTER XVn 



AKNXm 



THE troubles of the future, however, soon faded 
before the troubles of the present. And of these, 
the most immediate and pressing was that of 
hunger. Tommy had a healthy and vigorous appetite. 
The steak and chips partaken of for lunch seemed now 
to belong to another decade. He regretfully recognized 
the fact that he would not make a success of a hunger 
strike. 

He prowled aimlessly about his prison. Once or 
twice he discarded dignity, and pounded on the door. 
But nobody answered the summons. 

**Hang it allP' said Tommy indignantly. **They 
can't mean to starve me to death.** A new-bom fear 
passed through his mind that this might, perhaps, be 
one of those **prctty ways** of making a prisoner speak, 
which had been attributed to Boris. But on reflection 
he dismissed the idea. 

^It*s that sour faced brute Conrad,** he decided. 
^'That's a fellow I shall enjoy getting even with one of 
these days. This is just a bit of spite on his part. Fm 
certain of it.** 

Further meditations induced in him the feeling that 
it would be extremely pleasant to bring something 
down with a whack on Conrad's egg-shaped head. 

187 



188 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Tommj stroked his own head tenderly, and gave him- 
self up to the pleasures of imaginatioti. Finally a 
bright idea flashed across his brain* Why not convert 
imagination into reality? Conrad was undoubtedly the 
tenant of the house. The others, with the possible ex* 
ception of the bearded German, merely used it as a 
rendezvous. Therefore, why not wait in ambush for 
Conrad behind the door, and when he entered bring down 
a chair^ or one of the decrepit pictures, smartly on lo 
his head. One would, of course, he careful not to hit 
too hard* And then — and then, simply walk out! If 

he met anyone on the way down, well- Tommy 

brightened at the thought of an encounter with hk 
fists. Such an affair was infinitely more in his line than 
the verbal encounter of this afternoon- Intoxicated by 



ANNETTE 189 

faculties, Tommy merely blinked at the ceiling and won- 
dered vaguely where he was. Then he remembered, and 
looked at his watch. It was eight o'clock. 

^'It's either early morning tea or breakf ast,** deduced 
the young man, ^'and pray God it's the latter P' 

The door swung open. Too late, Tommy remembered 
his scheme of obliterating the unprepossessing Conrad. 
A moment later he was glad that he had, for it was 
not Conrad who entered, but a girl. She carried a tray 
which she set down on the table. 

In the feeble light of the gas burner Tommy blinked 
at her. He decided at once that she was one of the 
most beautiful girls he had ever seen. Her hair was a 
full rich brown, with sudden glints of gold in it as 
though there were imprisoned sunbeams struggling in 
its depths. There was a wild-rose quality about her 
face. Her eyes, set wide apart, were hazel, a golden 
hazel that again recalled a memory of sunbeams. 

A delirious thought shot through Tommy's mind. 

**Are you Jane Finn?** he asked breathlessly. 

The girl shook her head wonderingly. 

"My name is Annette, monsieur." 

She spoke in a soft, broken English. 

**0h?* said Tommy, rather taken aback. **Frafk- 
fttUef** he hazarded. 

"Oui, monsieur. Monsieur parle franfais?** 

'•Not for any length of time,** said Tcmmiy. 
'•What's that? Breakfast?" 

The girl nodded. Tommy dropped off the bed and 
came and inspected the contents of the tray. It con- 
citted of a loaff some margarine^ and a jug of coffee* 



.^^£.^.'2^1.: 



190 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"The living is not ^ual to the Bitz/* he obser 
with a Bighp **But for what we are at last aboal 



receive the Lord has made me tnilj thankful. 
He drew up a chair» and the girl tamed 
the door. 



AmeaJ 
awaj taj 



of 



**Wait a sec,** cried Tommy. "There are L 
things I want to ask jou, Annette* What are yoa 
doing in this house? Don't tell me you're Conrad^a 
niece, or daughter, or anything, because I can't believe 
it.'' 

"I do the Mervicei monsieur, I am not related to 
anybody,** 

"I see," said Tommy. **You know what I asked yoa 
just now. Have you ever heard that name?" 

*'^I have heard people speak of Jane Finn> I thint" 



ANNETTE 191 

there, we can't always have brains as well as beauty. 
What have we for lunch? Stew? How did I know? 
Elementary, my dear Watson — the smell of onions is 
unmistakable." 

"^alk away,*" grunted the man. ^t's little enouj^ 
time you'll have to talk in, maybe.'' 

The remark was unpleasant in its suggestion, but 
Tommy ignored it. He sat down at the table. 

'Retire, varlet," he said, with a wave of his hand. 
•Trate not to thy betters." 

That evening Tommy sat on the bed, and cogitated 
deeply. Would Conrad again accompany the girl? If 
he did not, should he risk trying to make an ally of her? 
He decided that he must leave no stone unturned. His 
position was desperate. 

At eight o'clock the familiar sound of the key turn- 
ing made him spring to his feet. The girl was alone. 

^Shut the door," he conunanded. '^I want to speak 
to you." 

She obeyed. 

*^Look here, Annette, I want you to help me get out 
of this." 

She shook her head^ 

'^Impossible. There are three of them on the floor 
below." 

•*OhP' Tommy was secretly grateful for the in- 
formation. ^But you would help me if you could?" 

*^o, monsieur." 

•'Why not?" 

The girl hesitated. 



192 



THE SECRET AD\^RSARY 



**I think — they are my own people. You have spied 
upon them- They are quite right to keep you here." 

**They're a bad lot, Annette, If you'll help me, ITl 
take you away from tlie lot of them. And you*d prol>* 
ably get a good whack of money," 

But the girl merely shook her head. 

**I dare not, monsieur; I am afraid of them." 

She turned away. 

**Wouldn^t 3-0U do anything to help another girl?** 
cried Tommy. "She's about your age too* Won^t you 
save her from their clutches?" 

"You mean Jane Finn?" 

*^^es." 

"It is her you came here to look for? Yes?" 

"That's it> 



ANNETTE 198 

it? Surely not. He rehung the picture on the wall 
thoughtfully. 

Three more days went by in dreary inaction. Tom- 
my felt the strain telling on his nerves. He saw no one 
but Conrad and Annette, and the girl had become 
dumb. She spoke only in monosyllables. A kind of 
dark suspicion smouldered in her eyes. Tommy felt 
that if this solitary confinement went on much longer 
he would go mad. He gathered from Conrad that they 
were waiting for orders from **Mr. Brown/' Perhaps, 
thought Tommy, he was abroad or away, and they 
were obliged to wait for his return. 

But the evening of the third day brought a rude 
awakening. 

It was barely seven o'clock when he heard the tramp 
of footsteps outside in the passage. In another 
minute the door was flung open. Conrad entered. With 
him was the evil-looking Number 14. Tommy's heart 
sank at the sight of them. 

**Evcnin', guv'nor," said the man with a leer. **6ot 
those ropes, mate?" 

The silent Conrad produced a length of fine cord. 
The next minute Number 14's hands, horribly dexter- 
ous, were winding the cord round his limbs, while Con- 
rad held him down. 

**What the devil ?" began Tommy* 

But the slow, speechless grin of the silent Conrad 
froze the words on his lips. 

Number 14 proceeded deftly with his task. In an- 
other minute Tommy was a mere helpless bundle. Then 
at last Conrad spoke; 



194 



THE SECRET ADVERSAKY 



'^Thought you'd bluffed u«, did fou? With what 
jou kuew^ and what you dldnH know. Bargained 
with us! And all the time it was bluff t Bluff! Yoa 
know lesa than a kitten. But your number's up now. 
all right, you b- gwine,** ^ 

Tommy lay silent^ There was nothing to say. He 
had failed. Somehow or other the omnipotent Mr, 
Brown had seen through his pretensions. Suddenly a 
thought occurred to him, 

**A very good speech, Conrad," he said approvin^y. 
"But wherefore the bonds and fetters? Why not let 
this kind gentleman here cut my throat without delay?*' 

**Garn," said Number 1^ unexpectedly- "Think 
we're as green as to do you in here, and have the poHce 
nosing round? Not *alf! WeVe ordered the carriage 



ANNETTE 195 

The two men departed and the door slammed. Tom- 
my was left to his meditations. They were not pleasant 
ones. Already his limbs felt cramped and stiff. He 
was utterly helpless, and he could see no hope anywhere. 

About an hour had passed when he heard the key 
softly turned, and the door opened. It was Annette. 
Tommy's heart beat a little faster. He had forgotten 
the girl. Was it possible that she had come to his help? 

Suddenly he heard Conrad's voice: 

^ome out of it, Annette. He doesn't want any 
sapper to-night." 

^Oui, oui, je sais bien. But I must take the other 
tray. We need the things on it." 

•*Well, hurry up," growled Conrad. 

Without looking at Tommy the girl went over to 
the table, and picked up the tray. She raised a hand 
and turned out the light. 

•*Curse you" — Conrad had OHne to the door — ^**why 
aid you do that?" 

^I always turn it out. Tou should have told me. 
Shall I relight it. Monsieur Conrad?" 

•*No, come on out of it." 

^'Le beau petit monsieur," cried Annette, pausing by 
the bed in the darkness, '^ou have tied him up well, 
heint He is like a trussed chicken !" The frank amuse- 
ment in her tone jarred on the boy ; but at that moment, 
to his amazement, he felt her hand running lightly over 
his bonds, and something smaU and cold was pressed 
into the palm of his hand. 

**Come on, Annette." 

"^ais me voili." 



196 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



The door shut. Tommy heard Conrad say: 

'*Lock it and give me the key,'* 

The footsteps died away* Tommy lay petrified with 
amazement. The object Annette had thrust into hjs 
hand was a small penknife, the Wade open. From the 
way she had studiously avoided looking at him, and 
her action with the lig-ht, he came to the conclusion 
that the room was overlooked. There must be a peep- 
hole somewhere m the walls. Remembering how guarded 
she had always been in her manner, he saw that he had 
probably been under observation all the time^ Had he 
said anything to give himself away? Hardly. He had 
revealed a wish to escape and a desire to find Jane 
Finn, but nothing that could have given a clue to his 
own identity. True, his question to Annette had proved 
that he was personally unacquainted with Jane Finn, 



ANNETTE 197 

limbs. His first care was to bind up his bleeding 
wrist. Then he sat on the edge of the bed to think. 
Conrad had taken the key of the door, so he could 
expect little more assistance from Annette. The only 
outlet from the room was the door, consequently he 
would perforce have to wait until the two men returned 
to fetch him. But when they did • • • Tommy smiled ! 
Moving with infinite caution in the dark room, he 
found and unhooked the famous picture. He felt an 
economical pleasure that his first plan would not be 
wasted. There was now nothing to do but to wait. 
He waited. 

The night passed slowly. Tommy lived through an 
eternity of hours, but at last he heard footsteps. He 
stood upright, drew a deep breath, and clutched the 
picture firmly. 

The door opened. A faint light streamed in from 
outside. Conrad went straight towards the gas to 
light it. Tommy deeply regretted that it was he who 
had entered first. It would have been pleasant to get 
even with Conrad. Number 14 followed. As he stepped 
across the threshold, Tommy brought the picture down 
with terrific force on his head. Number 14 went down 
amidst a stupendous crash of broken glass. In a min- 
ute Tommy had slipped out and pulled to the door. 
The key was In the lock. He turned it and withdrew 
it just as Conrad hurled himself against the door from 
the inside with a volley of curses. 

For a moment Tommy hesitated. There was the 
sound of some one stirring on the floor below. Then 
the German's voice came up the stairs. 



198 



THE SECRET ADVERSAKY 



lBdd€^ 



''Gott im Himmel! Conr&d, what is it?*' 

Tammy felt a small hand thrust into his, Besieie^ 
him stood Annette, She pointed up a ricketj 
that apparently led to &omc attics* 

"Quick — up here!" She dragged him after her up 
the ladder. In another moment they were stand ii^ 
in a dusty garret littered with lumber. Tommy looked 
round. 

"This won't do. It's a regular trap. Th€iie*s no 
way out." 

"Hush! Wait" The girl put her finger to her 
lips. She crept to the top of the ladder and listened. 

The banging and beating on the door was terrific. 
The German and another were trying to force the door 
in. Annette explained in a whisper: 



ANNETTE 199 

''I am going down. Do you think you can go half- 
way, and then swing yourself down behind the ladder^ 
so that they will not see you?** 

Tommy nodded. 

^^There's a big cupboard in the shadow of the land- 
ing. Stand behind it. Take the end of this string in 
your hand. When I've let the others out — fvUF* 

Before he had time to ask her anything more, she 
had flitted lightly down the ladder and was in the midst 
of the group with a loud cry : 

**Mon Dieu! Mon Dicu! Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?'* 

The German turned on her with an oath. 

•*Get out of this. Gro to your room !" 

Very cautiously Tommy swung himself down the 
back of the ladder. So long as they did not turn 
round ... all was welL He crouched behind the 
cupboard. They were still between him and the 
stairs. 

'*Ah ?^ Annette appeared to stumble over something. 
She stooped. ''Mon Dieu, viol& la clef P' 

The German snatched it from her. He unlocked the 
door. Conrad stumbled out, swearing. 

"Where is he? Have you got him?" 

''We have seen no one," said the German sharply. 
His face paled. "Who do you mean?" 

Conrad gave vent to another oath. 

"He's got away." 

"Impossible. He would have passed us." 

At that moment, with an ecstatic smile Tommy pulled 
the string. A crash of crockery came from the attic 
above. In a trice the men were pushing each other 



200 



THE SECRET ADVERSAHY 



tip thft rickety ladder and had disappeared into the 
darkness above. £| 

Quick as a flash Tommy leapt from his hiding^plac^ 
and dashed down the stairs, pulling the girl with him- 
There was no one in the hall. He fumbled over the 
bolts and chain. At last they yielded, the door swung 
open. He turned. Annette had disappeared. 

Tommy stood spell-bound. Had she mu upstairs 
again? What madness possessed herl He fumed with 
irapatiencej but he stood his ground. He would not go 
without her. 

And suddenly there was an outcry overhead, an ex- 
clamation from the German, and then Annette's voice, 
clear and high: 

"Ma f 01, he has escaped I And quickly ! Who would 



ANNETTE 201 

He realized that it would be good for his health to get 
out of this house as soon as possible. As regards 
Annette he could do nothing. He had got even with 
Conrad, whidi was one satisfaction. The blow had 
been a good one. 

He leapt for the door, slamming it behind him. The 
square was deserted. In front of the house was a 
baker's van. Evidently he was to have been taken out 
of London in that, and his body found many miles from 
the house in Soho. The driver jumped to the pave- 
ment and tried to bar Tommy's way. Again Tommy's 
fist shot out, and the driver sprawled on the pave- 
ment. 

Tommy took to his heels and ran — none too soon. 
The front door opened and a hafl of bullets followed 
him. Fortunately none of them hit him. He turned 
the comer of the square. 

'^There's one thing," he thought to himself, 'Hhey 
can't go on shooting. They'll have the police after 
them if they do. I wonder they dared to there." 

He heard the footsteps of his pursuers behind him, 
and redoubled his own pace. Once he got out of these 
by-ways he would be safe. There would be a police- 
man about somewhere — ^not that he really wanted to 
invoke the aid of the police if he could possibly do 
without it. It meant explanations, and general awk- 
wardness. In another moment he had reason to bless 
his luck. He stumbled over a prostrate figure, which 
started up with a yell of alarm and dashed off down 
the street. Tommy drew back into a doorway. In 
a minute he had the pleasure of seeing his two pursuers. 



202 



THE SECHET ADVERSART 



of whom the German was one, mdustriouslj trmcking 
down the red herring! 

Tommy sat down quietly oa the doorstep and allowed 
a few moments to elapse while he recovered his breath. 
Then he strolled gently in the opposite directioti. He 
glanced at his watch. It was a little after half-pa^t 
five. It was rapidly growing light. At the next corner 
he passed a policeman. The policeman cast a suspicions 
eye on him. Tommy felt slightly offended. Then, pass- 
ing his hand over his face, he laughed. He had not 
shaved or washed for three days \ What a guy he must 
look. 

He betook himself without more ado to a Turkish 
Bath establishment which he knew to be open all nighL 
He emerged into the busy daylight feeling himself once 
more, and able to make 



ANNETTE 208 

He paid for his breakfast, and betook himself to 
Whitehall. There he sent up his name, and the message 
that it was urgent. A few minutes later he was in the 
presence of the man who did not here go by the name of 
^Mr. Carter/' There was a frown on his face. 

'^Look here, you've no business to come asking for me 
in this way. I thought that was distinctly under- 
stood?'' 

^It was, sir. But I judged it important to lose no 
time." 

And as briefly and succinctly as possible he detailed 
the experiences of the last few days. 

Half*way through, Mr. Carter interrupted him to 
give a few cryptic orders through the telephone. All 
traces of displeasure had now left his face. He nodded 
energetically when Tommy had finished. 

••Quite right. Every moment's of value. Fear we 
ahaU be too late anyway. They wouldn't wait. Would 
dear out at once. Still, they may have left something 
behind them that will be a clue. You say you've recog^ 
nized Number 1 to be Kramenin? That's important* 
We want something against him badly to prevent the 
Cabinet falling on his neck too freely. What about the 
others ? You say two faces were familiar to you ? One's 
a Labour man, you think? Just look through these 
photos, and see if you can spot him." 

A minute later. Tommy held one up. Mr. Carter 
exhibited some surprise. 

••Ah, Westway ! Shouldn't have thought it. Poses 
as being moderate. As for the other fellow, I think I 
can give a good guess." He handed another ig^W^^A- 



204 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 




graph to Tommj, and smiled at the other's e:S€lajna^ 
**I*in right, then. Who is he? Irishman, Promi] 
Uniooist M.P. All a bUnd, of course, WeVe suspected 
it — ^but couldnH get any proof. Yea, you*ve done very 
well, young man- The 29th^ you say, is the date. Thai 
gives OS very little time — ^very Uttk time indeed/* 

«But " Tommy hesitated, 

Mr. Carter read his thoughts. 

"We can deal with the General Strile menace, I 
think. It's a toss-up — but we've got a sporting chance! 
But if that draft treaty turns up — we^re done. En^ 
land will be plunged in anarchy. Ah, what's that? 
The car? Come on, Beresford, wc*ll go atid have a look 
at this house of yours.** 

Two constables were on duty in front of the house in 



ANNETTE 205 

''It would fieem so, sir. She ran upstairs while I was 
getting the door open." 

''H'm, she must belong to the gang, then ; but, being 
a woman, didn't feel like standing by to see a personable 
young man killed. But evidently she's in with them, or 
she wouldn't have gone back." 

"I can't believe she's really one of them, sir. She — 
seemed so different ^" 

''Good-looking, I suppose?" said Mr. Carter with a 
smile that made Tommy flush to the roots of his hair. 
He admitted Annette's beauty rather shamefacedly. 

"By the way," observed Mr. Carter, "have you 
shown yourself to Miss Tuppence yet? She's been 
bombarding me with letters about you." 

"Tuppence? I was afraid she might get a bit rat- 
tled. Did she go to the police?" 

Mr. Carter shook his head. 

"Then I wonder how they twigged me." 

Mr. Carter looked inquiringly at him, and Tommy 
explained. The other nodded thoughtfully. 

"True, that's rather a curious point. Unless the 
mention of the Ritz was an accidental remark?" 

"It might have been, sir. But they must have found 
out about me suddenly in some way." 

"Well," said Mr. Carter, looking round him, "there's 
nothing more to be done here. What about some lunch 
with me?" 

"Thanks awfully, sir. But I think I'd better get 
back and rout out Tuppence." 

"Of course. Give her my kind regards and tell her 
not to believe you're killed too readily next time." 



206 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



n 



Tommy grinned, 

**1 take & lot of killing, sir,** 

**So I perceive," said Mr. Carter dryly, "Well^ 
good-bye. Remember you're a marked man now, and 
take reasonable care of yourself," 

"Thank you, sir," 

Hailing a taxi brisklj Tommy stepped in, and waa 
swiftly borne to the Ritz^ dwelling the while on the 
pleasurable anticipation of startling Tuppence. 

"Wonder what she's been up to. Dogging *Rita* 
most likely. By the way, I suppose that's who Annette 
meant by Marguerite. I didn't get it at the time." 
The thought saddened him a little, for it seemed to 
prove that Mrs, Vandemeyer and the girl were on inU' 
mate terms. 

Tommy burst into 



CHAPTER XVm 



THX TKLKOJLAU 



BAFFLED for the moment, Tommy strolled into 
the restaurant, and ordered a meal of surpassing 
exceUence. His four days' imprisonment had 
taught him anew to value good food. 

He was in the middle of conveying a particularly 
choice morsel of Sole k la Jeanette to his mouth, when 
he caught sight of Julius entering the room. Tommy 
waved a menu cheerfully, and succeeded in attracting 
the other's attention. At the sight of Tommy, Julius's 
eyes seemed as though they would pop out of his head. 
He strode across, and pump-handled Tommy's hand 
with what seemed to the latter quite unnecessary 
vigour. 

**Holy snakes!" he ejaculated. **Is it really you?" 

•*Of course it is. Why shouldn't it be?" 

^Why shouldn't it be? Say, man, don't you know 
you've been given up for dead? I guess we'd have had 
a solemn requiem for you in another few days." 

•*Who thought I was dead?" demanded Tommy. 

**Tuppence." 

•*She remembered the proverb about the good dying 
young, I suppose. There must be a certain amount 
of original sin in me to have survived. Where is Tup- 
pence, by the way?" 

207 



Ai you're feeding 1 
maw. It's going to be a 

Julius drew up a cha 
table, summoned a hove 
wishes. Then he turned 

"Fire ahead. I guess 
tures." 

**One or two,'' replied T 
into his recital. 

Julius listened spell-bo 
were placed before him he 
he heaved a long sigh. 

"Bully for you. Reads 

"And now for the home 1 
ing out his hand for a pet 

"We-el," drawled Juliu 
we've had some adventures 

He, in his turn, assume 
ginning with his unsuccess 
mouth, he passed on ^^ ^'' 



THE TELEGRAM 209 

''But who killed her?" asked Tommy. ''I dont 
quite understand." 

'The doctor kidded himself she took it herself," re- 
plied Julius dryly. 

"And Sir James? What did he think?" 

"Being a legal luminary, he is likewise a human 
oyster," replied Julius. "I should say he 'reserved 
judgment.' " He went on to detail the events of the 
morning. 

"Lost her memory, eh?" said Tommy with interest. 
"By Jove, that explains why they looked at me so 
queerly when I spoke of questioning her. Bit of a slip 
on my part, that! But it wasn't the sort of thing a 
fellow would be likely to guess." 

"They didn't give you any sort of hint as to where 
Jane was?" 

Tommy shook his head regretfully. 

"Not a word. I'm a bit of an ass, as you know. I 
ought to have got more out of them somehow." 

"I guess you're lucky to be here at all. That bluflF 
of yours was the goods all right. How you ever came 
to think of it all so pat beats me to a frazzle !" 

"I was in such a funk I had to think of something," 
said Tommy simply. 

There was a moment's pause, and then Tommy re- 
Terted to Mrs. Vandemeyer's death. 

"There's no doubt it was chloral?" 

"I believe not. At least they call it heart failure 
induced by an overdose, or some such claptrap. It's 
all right. We don't want to be worried with an in- 



210 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



higb- 

4 



quest. But I guess Tuppence find I and even the high 
brow Sir James have all got the &ame idea/' 

"Mr, BrowD?" hazarded Tommj. 

"Sure thing." 

ToBuny nodded, 

"All the same/' he said thou^tfullj, **Mr- Brown 
hasn^t got wings. I don't see how he got in and 
out/' 

**How about some high-class thought transference 
•tunt? Some magnetic influence that irresistibly im- 
pelled Mrs, Vanderoeyer to commit suicide?" 

Tommy looked at him with respect, 

"Good* Julius. Distinctly good. Especially the 
phraseology. But it leaves me cold, I yearn for a 
real Mr* Brown of flesh and blood* I think the gifted 



THE TELEGRAM 211 

^^The taxi, sir. I heard her tdl the driver Charing 
Cross and to look sharp.** 

Tommy stared at him, his eyes opening wide in sur- 
prise* Emboldened, the small boy proceeded. ''So I 
thought, having asked for an A3.C. and a Bradshaw.** 

Tommy interrupted him: 

''When did she ask for an A.B.C. and a Bradshaw?** 

•'When I took her the telegram, sir." 

•'A telegram?" 

«Yes, sir." 

•'When was that?" 

"About half-past twelve, sir," 

"Tell me exactly what happened." 

The small boy drew a long breath. 

"I took up a telegram to No. 891 — the lady was 
there. She opened it and gave a gasp, and then she 
said, very jolly like: 'Bring me up a Bradshaw, and an 
AJB.C, and look sharp, Henry. My name isn't Henry, 
but " 

"Never mind your name," said Tommy impatiently. 
"Go on." 

"Yes, sir. I brought them, and she told me to wait, 
and looked up something. And then she looks up at 
the clock, and 'Hurry up,' she says. 'Tell them to 
get me a taxi,' and she begins a-shoving on of her hat 
in front of the glass, and she was down in two ticks, 
almost as quick as I was, and I seed her going down 
the steps and into the taxi, and I heard her call out 
what I told you." 

The smaU boy stopped and replenished his lungs. 
Timimy continued to stare at him. At that moment 



212 



THE SECBET ADVERSARY 



m ms 

i 



Julius rejoined him. He hdd ao open letter in liis 
hand, 

"I fiay, Hersheimmer**— Tooiray tumed to 
"Tuppence has gone off sleuthing on her own.** 

*'Shucksl" 

"Yes^ she has. She went off in a taxi to Charmg 
Cross in the deuce of a hurry after getting a telegram,'' 
His eye fell on the letter in Julius's hand. "Oh; she 
left a note for you. That*s all right, Where's she off 
to?" 

Almost unconsciously, he held out his hand for the 
letter, hut Julius folded it up and placed it in his 
pocket* He seemed a trifle embarrassed. 

"I guess this IS nothing to do with it. It's about 
something else— something I asked her that she was to 



IHE TELEGRAM 218 

cigarette with a hand that shook ever so little. ^That's 
quite all right. Tuppence always said that she was 
looking out for •' 

He stopped abruptly, his face crimsoning, but Julius 
was in no way discomposed. 

•*0h, I guess it'll be the dollars that'fl do the trick. 
Miss Tuppence put me wise to that right away. There's 
no humbug about her. We ought to gee along to- 
gether very well." 

Tommy looked at him curiously for a minute, as 
though he were about to speak, then changed his mind 
and said nothing. Tuppence and Julius! Well, why 
not? Had she not lamented the fact that she knew no 
rich men? Had she not openly avowed her intention 
of marrying for money if she ever had the chance? Her 
meeting with the young American millionaire had given 
her the chance — and it was unlikely she would be slow 
to avail herself of it. She was out for money. She 
had always said so. Why blame her because she had 
been true to her creed? 

Nevertheless, Tommy did blame her. He was filled 
with a passionate and utterly illogical resentment. It 
was all very well to say things like that — but a real 
girl would never marry for money. Tuppence was 
utterly cold-blooded and selfish, and he would be de- 
lighted if he never saw her again ! And it was a rotten 
worid! 

Julius's voice broke in on these meditations. 

•TTes, ire ought to gee along together very well. Pve 
heard that a girl always refuses you once— ^ sort of 
convention.'* 



214 



THE SECRET ADV^EHSARY 



Tominj caught his arm. 

"Refuses? Did you say T€fuMe$f^ 

**Sur€ thing. Didn't I tell you that? She jusF 
rapped out a *na' without any kind of reason to it. 
The eternal feminine^ the Huns call it* IVe heard. But 
«he-ll come round right enough. Likely enough, I 
hustled her some — ** 

But Tommy interrupted regardless of decorum* 

**What did she say in that note?*' he demanded 
fiercely. 

The obliging Julius handed it to him. 

"There's no earthly clue in it as to where she's gonc,^ 
he assured Tommy. "But you might as well see for 
yourself if you don't believe me,'* 

The note, in Tuppence's weQ-known schoolboy writ- 
ings ran as follows: 



THE TELEGRAM 215 

him <Hi in his efforts to find Tommy, but he supposed 
she had not really meant it that way. Darling Tup- 
pence, there was not a girl in the world to touch her! 

When he saw her His thoughts were brought up 

with a sudden jerk. 

**Ab you say," he remarked, pulling himself together, 
**there's not a hint here as to what she*s up to. Hi — 
Henry r 

The small boy came obediently. Tommy produced 
five shillings. 

^One thing more. Do you remember what the young 
lady did with the telegram?" 

Henry gasped and spoke. 

''She crumpled it up into a ball and threw it into the 
grate, and made a sort of noise like 'Whoop P sir." 

"Very graphic, Henry," said Tommy. "Here's your 
fire shillings. Come on, Julius. We must find that 
telegram." 

They hurried upstairs. Tuppence had left the key in 
her door. The room was as she had left it. In the fire- 
place was a crumpled ball of orange and white. Tommy 
disentangled it and smoothed out the telegram. 

"Come at once, Moat House, Ebury, Yorkshire, great 
developments — Tommy." 

They looked at each other in stupefaction. Julius 
spoke first : 

**Yau didn't send it? 

"Of course not. What does it mean?" 

"I guess it means the worst," said Julius quietly. 
"They've got her." 



216 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"Whatr 

**Sure thin^! They si^ed your n&oie, and she fe 
into the trap like a lamb," 

"My God! What shall we do?" M 

"Get busjj and go after her ! Right now ! There*? no 
time to waste. It's almightj luck that she didn't take 
the wire with her. If she had we'd probably never hare 
traced her. But we've got to hustle* Where's that 
Bradshaw?" 

The energy of Julius was infectious. Left to himself. 
Tommy would probably have sat down to think things 
out for a good half-hour before he decided on a plan of 
action. But with Julius Hersheimmer about» hustling 
was ineTitable, 

After a few muttered imprecations he handed the 
Bradshaw to Tommy as bein^ more conversant with ita 



THE TELEGRAM 217 

**I say, Julius, what do they want her for, anyway?'* 

•*Eh? I don't get you?" 

'^What I mean is that I don't think it's their game to 
do her any harm," explained Tommy, puckering his 
brow with the strain of his mental processes. ''She's a 
hostage, that's what she is. She's in no immediate 
danger, because if we tumble on to anything, she'd be 
damned useful to them. As long as they've got her, 
they've got the whip hand of us. See?" 

**Sure thing," said Julius thoughtfully. "That's so." 

•'Besides," added Tommy, as an afterthought, "I've 
great faith in Tuppence." 

The journey was wearisome, with many stops, and 
crowded carriages. They had to change twice, once at 
Doncaster, once at a small junction. Ebury was a de- 
serted station with a solitary porter, to whom Tommy 
addressed himself: 

"Can you tell me the way to the Moat House?'* 

"The Moat House? It's a tidy step from here. The 
big house near the sea, you mean?" 

Tommy assented brazenly. After listening to the 
porter's meticulous but perplexing directions, they pre- 
pared to leave the station. It was beginning to rain, 
and they turned up the collars of their coats as they 
trudged through the slush of the road. Suddenly 
Tommy halted. 

"Wait a moment." He ran back to the station and 
tackled the porter anew. 

"Look here, do you remember a young lady who 
arrived by an earlier train, the 12.50 from London? 
She'd probably ask you the way to the Moat Kn^%^r 



218 



THE SECRET ADVERSAKY 



He described Tuppence as wdl as be could, but tie 
porter shook hi* bead. Several people bad PLTiiTed bj 
the train in qtiestion* He could not call to mind one 
young ladj in particular. But be was quite certain that 
no one bad asked him the way to the Moat House* 

Tommy rejoined Julius, and explained. Depression 
was settling down on him like a leaden weight. He felt 
convinced that their quest was going to be unsuece^sfuL 
The enemy had over three hours' start. Three hours 
was more than enough for Mr. Brown, He would not 
ignore the possibility of the telegram having been found. 

The way seemed endless. Once they took the wrong 
turning and went nearly half a mile out of their dit«c- 
tion. It was past seven oMock when a small boy told 
them that "t* Moat House" was just past the next 
comer. 



THE TELEGRAM 219 

Julias jerked the ratty bdl handle. A jangling i>eal 
rang diBcordantly, echoing through the emptiness 
within. No one came. They rang again and again — 
bat there was no sign of life. Then they walked com- 
pletely round the house. Everywhere silence, and shut- 
tered windows. If they could beliere the evidence of their 
eyes the place was empty. 

^^othing doing,^ said Julius. 

They retraced their steps slowly to the gate. 

^There must be a village handy," continued the 
young American. ^We'd better make inquiries there. 
They'll know something about the place, and whether 
there's been any one there lately •'* 

*^es, that's not a bad idea." 

Proceeding up the road, they soon came to a little 
hamlet. On the outskirts of it, they met a workman 
swinging his bag of tools, and Tommy stopped him with 
a question. 

**The Moat House? It's empty. Been empty for 
years. Mrs. Sweeny's got the key if you want to go 
over it — ^next to the post office." 

Tommy thanked him. They soon found the post 
office, which was also a sweet and general fancy shop, 
and knocked at the door of the cottage next to it. A 
clean, wholesome-looking woman opened it. She readily 
produced the key of the Moat House. 

**Though I doubt if it's the kind of place to suit you, 
sir. In a terrible state of repair. Ceilings leaking and 
alL 'Twould need a lot of money spent on it." 

*TTianks," said Tommy cheerily. "I dare say itTl 
be a wash-out, but houses are scarce nowadays " 



220 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"That thej are,'* declared the woman heartily* **My 
daughter and son-in-law have been lookmg for a decent 
cottage for I don't know how long, It*s all the war. 
Upset things terriblj, it ha^. But excuse me, sjr« itV 
be too dark for you to see much of the housep HadtiH 
you better wait until to-morrow?" 

**That's all right. We'll have a look around this 
evening, anyway. We*d have been here before only we 
lost our way- WTiat's the beat place to stay at for the 
night round liere?" 

Mrs, Sweeny looked doubtful. 

"There's the Yorkshire Armg^ but it*s not much of a 
place for gentlemen like you.'* 

**0h» it will do very well. Thanks, By the way, 
youNe not had a yaung lady here asking for this key 
to-day?" 



THE TELEGRAM 221 

Julius shook his head without replying. 

•*We*ll go over it again to-morrow,** said Tommy. 
**Perhaps we'll see more in the daylight.'* 

On the morrow they took up the search once more, 
and were reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the 
house had not been invaded for some considerable time. 
They might have left the village altogether but for a 
fortunate discovery of Tommy's. As they were retrac- 
ing their steps to the gate, he gave a sudden cry, and 
stooping, picked something up from among the leaves, 
and held it out to Julius. It was a small gold brooch. 

"That's Tuppence's!" 

"Are you sure?" 

"Absolutely. I've often seen her wear it.'* 

Julius drew a deep breath. 

"I guess that settles it. She came as far as here, 
anyway. We'll make that pub our head-quarters, and 
raise hell round here until we find her. Somebody must 
have seen her.*' 

Forthwith the campaign began. Tommy and Julius 
woi^ed separately and together, but the result was the 
same. Nobody answering to Tuppence's description 
had been seen in the vicinity. They were baffled — ^but 
not discouraged. Finally they altered their tactics. 
Tuppence had certainly not remained long in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Moat House. That pointed to her 
having been overcome and carried away in a car. They 
renewed inquiries. Had any one seen a car standing 
somewhere near the Moat House that day? Again they 
met with no success. 

Julius wired to town for his own car. and tVi%^ «cnvvt^ 



222 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



4 



the neighbourhood daily with unflagging zeal. A grey 
limousine on which thej had set high hopes waj traced 
to Harrogate, and turned out to be the propertj of a 
highly respectable maiden lady! 

Each day saw them set out on a new quest. Joljns 
was like a hound on the leash. He followed up the 
slenderest clue> Every car that had passed through the 
village on the fateful day was tracked down. He forced 
his way into country properties and submitted the 
owners of the motors to a searching cross-examination- 
His apologies were as thorough as bis methods^ and 
seldom failed in disarming the indignation of hia vie* 
tims ; but, as day succeeded day, they were no nearer to 
discovering Tuppence*8 whereabouts. So well had the 
abduction been planned that the girl seemed literally to 
have vanished into thin ain 



THE TELEGRAM 228 

worth an hour's parchafe afterwards. The hostage 
game will be played oat by then. Vm beginning to fed 
that we've made a big mistake in the way we've set about 
this. We've wasted time and we're no forrader." 

"I'm with you there. We've been a couple of mutts» 
who've bitten off a bigger bit than they can chew. I'm 
going to quit fooling right away !'' 

**What do you mean?" 

"I'll tell you. I'm going to do what we ought to have 
done a week ago. I'm going right back to London to 
put the case in the hands of your British police. We 
fancied ourselves as sleuths. Sleuths ! It was a piece of 
damn-fool foolishness ! I'm through ! I've had enough 
of it. Scotland Yard for me !" 

"You're right," said Tommy slowly. "I wish to Grod 
we'd gone there right away." 

"Better late than never. We've been like a couple of 
babes playing *Here we go round the Mulberry Bush.' 
Now I'm going right along to Scotland Yard to ask 
them to take me by the hand and show me the way I 
should go. I guess the professional always scores over 
the amateur in the end. Are you coming along with 
me?" 

Tommy shook his head. 

"What's the good? One of us is enough. I might as 
well stay here and nose round a bit longer. Something 
might turn up. One never knows." 

"Sure thing. Well, so long. Ill be back in a couple 
of shakes with a few inspectors along. I shall tell them 
to pick out their brightest and best." 



224 



THE SECRET AD\^RSARY 



But the course of events w&s not to foOow the phn 
Julius had laid down* Later in the day Tommy recerrtd 
& wire: 



"Join Tne Manchester Midland Hotd, 
news — JuuTis," 



Important 



At 7,30 that night Tommy alighted from a clow 
cross-country train* Julius was on the platform, 

"Thought youM come by this train if you w^«n*t 
out when my wire arriTed,'* 

Tommy grasped him by the arm. 

"What is it? Is Tuppence found?** 

Julius shook hiB head, 

"No, But I found this waiting in London. Jnst 
arrived." 



J 



CHAPTER XIX 



JAKX FINN 



I **'lk Jf^ train got in half an hour ago,^ explained 

I Y I Julius, as he led the way out of the station. 

"I reckoned you*d come by this before I left 

London, and wired accordingly to Sir James. He's 

booked rooms for us, and will be round to dine at eight.** 

**What made you think he'd ceased to take any in- 
terest in the case?'' asked Tommy curiously. 

**What he said," replied Julius dryly. "The old 
bird's as close as an oyster! Like all the darned lot of 
them, he wasn't going to commit himself till he was sure 
he could deliver the goods." 

**I wonder," said Tommy thoughtfully. 

Julius turned on him. 

"You wonder what?" 

"Whether that was his real reason." 

"Sure. You bet your life it was." 

Tommy shook his head unconvinced. 

Sir James arrived punctually at eight o'clodk, and 
Julius introduced Tommy. Sir James fihook hands with 
him warmly. 

"I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Mr. 
Beresford. I have heard so much about you from Miss 
Tuppence" — ^he smiled involuntarily — "that it really 
seems as though I already know you quite well«" 

226 



226 



THE SECRET AD\^ERSARY 



*'Thaiik jou, sir," said Tommy with his cheerful grin* 
He scanned the great lawyer eagerly. Like Tuppejice, 
he felt the magnetism of the other's personality. He 
was reminded of Mr, Carter* The two men, totally an* 
like so far as physical resemblance went, produced a 
similar effect. Beneath the weary manner of the one 
and the professional reserve of the other, lay the samt 
quality of mind^ keen-edged like a rapier. 

In the meantime he was conscious of Sir James's close 
scrutiny. When the lawyer dropped his eyes the young 
man had the feeling that the other had read him through 
and through like an open book. He could not but 
wonder what the final judgment was, but there was little 
chance of learning that. Sir James took in everything, 
but gave out only what he chose, A proof of that oc- 
curred almost at once. 



JANE FJNN 827 

^Bot I guess I can take it* wt were wroogy'' pursued 
Julius. 

^Wdl, I don't know that I should go so far as to 
say that. But it's certainly fortunate for all parties 
that we've managed to find the young lady." 

*^But where is she?" demanded Julius, his thoujj^ts 
flying off on another tack. ''I thought you'd be sure to 
bring her along?" 

**That would hardly be possible," said Sir James 
gravely. 

•*Why?" 

^Because the young lady was knocked down in a 
street accident, and has sustained slight injuries to the 
head. She was taken to the infirmary, and on recover- 
ing consciousness gave her name as Jane Finn. When 
— ah ! — ^I heard that, I arranged for her to be removed 
to the house of a doctor — a friend of mine, and wired 
at once for you. She relapsed into unconsciousness 
and has not spoken since." 

"She's not seriously hurt?" 

^h, a bruise and a cut or two ; really, from a medi- 
cal point of view, absurdly slight injuries to have pro- 
duced such a conditon. Her state is probably to be 
attributed to the mental shock consequent on recover- 
ing her memory." 

*^It's come back?" cried Julius excitedly. 

Sir James tapped the table rather impatiently. 

Undoubtedly, Mr. Hersheimmer, since she was able 
to give her real name. I thought you had appreciated 
that point." 



228 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



I 



"And jou just happened io be oe the spot,** Bmi 
Tommy* **Seein9 quite like a fairy tale*" 

But Sir James was far too wary to be drawn. 

"Coincidences are curious things,'* he said dryly- 

Nevertheless Tommy was now certain of what he haj 
before only suspected. Sir James's presence in Man- 
chester was not accidental* Far from abandoning the 
€ase» as Julius supposed, he had by some means of his 
own successfully run the missing girl to earth. The 
only thing that puzzled Tommy was the reason far aU 
this secrecy. He concluded that it was a foible of the 
legal mind» 

Julius was speaking, 

"After dinner j" he announced, "I shall go right away 
and see Jane." 

possible, I fear,** said Sir James. 



JANE FINN 229 

«eemed likely to burst into flame, but in the end Julius 
lowered his eyes, defeated. 

^For the moment, I reckon you're the boss.'' 

"Thank you," said the other. **We will say ten 
o'clock then?" With consummate ease of manner he 
turned to Tommy. "I must confess, Mr. Beresford, 
that it was something of a surprise to me to see you 
here this evening. The last I heard of you was that 
your friends were in grave anxiety on your behalf. 
Nothing had been heard of you for some days, and Miss 
Tuppence was inclined to think you had got into diffi- 
culties." 

*^I had, sirP' Tommy grinned reminiscently. ''I was 
never in a tighter place in my life." 

Helped out by questions from Sir James, he gave an 
abbreviated account of his adventures. The lawyer 
looked at him with renewed interest as he brought the 
tale to a close. 

**You got yourself out of a tight place very well," he 
said gravely. "I congratulate you. You displayed a 
great deal of ingenuity and carried your part through 
weU." 

Tommy blushed, his face assuming a prawn-like hue 
at the praise. 

"I couldn't have got away but for the girl, isir." 

"No." Sir James smiled a little. **It was lucky for 
you she happened to— er — take a fancy to you." 
Tommy appeared about to protest, but Sir James went 
on. "There's no doubt about her being one of the gang, 
I suppose?" 

"Fm afraid not, sir. I thought perhaps iVi*^-^ ^^t^ 



230 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 




keeping her there bj force, but the way ehe acted di4it 
fit ID with that. You see, she went back to them when 
she could have got awaj," 

Sir James nodded thoughtfully, 9 

'*What did she saj? Something about wanting to be 
taken to Marguerite?'* 

**Yes, sir, I suppose she m&ant Mrs, Vandecneyer," 
**She always signed herself Rita Vandemeyer. All her 
friends spoke of her as Rita, Still, I suppose the girl 
must have been in the habit of calling her by her full 
name. And, at the moment she was crying out to her, 
Mrs. Vandemeyer was either dead or dying! Curious! 
There are one or two points that strike me as being 
obscure — their sudden change of attitude towards youi^ 
self, for instance. By the way, the house was raadedi 
of course?" 



JANE FINN 281 

said slowly. The sickening anxiety, forgotten for a 
while in the excitement of knowing Jane Finn was found 
at last, swept over him again. 

The lawyer laid down his knife and fork sharply. 

*^Has anything happened to Miss Tuppence?*' His 
Toioe was keen-edged. 

^She*« disappeared,** said Julius. 

•*When?** 

"A week ago.** 

•*How?*» 

Sir James*s questions fairly shot out. Between them 
Tommy and Julius gave the history of the last week and 
their futile search. 

Sir James went at once to the root of the matter. 

**A wire signed with your name? They knew enough 
of you both for that. They weren't sure of how much 
you had learnt in that house. Their kidnapping of 
Miss Tuppence is the counter-move to your escape. If 
necessary they could seal your lips with a threat of 
what might happen to her.** 

Tommy nodded. 

*TTiat*s just what I thought, sir.** 

Sir James looked at him keenly. **You had worked 
that out, had you? Not bad — not at all bad. The 
curious thing is that they certainly did not know any- 
thing about you when they first held you prisoner. You 
are sure that you did not in any way disclose your 
identity?** 

Tommy shook his head. 

•Tniat*s so,** said Julius with a nod. ''Therefox^ \ 



232 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



reckon some one put them wise — and not earlier th&n 
Sunday afternoon." 
"Yes, but who?" 

"That almighty omniscient Mr, Brown, of coarse!" 
There was a faint note of derision in the American's 
Toicc which made Sir James look up sharply, 

"You don*t believe in Mr. Brown, Mr, Hetfiheinuiier?'* 
**No, sir* I do not," returned the young American 
with emphasis, '*Not as such* that is to say^ I reckon 
it out that he's a figurehead^ — jost a bogy name to 
frighten the children with. The real head of this busi* 
ness is that Russian chap Kramenin. I guess he's quite 
capable of running revolutions in three countries at 
once if he chose! The man Whittington is probably 
the head of the English branch*" 

" said Sir James shortly, ^itr. 



JANE FINN 288 

ments for meeting on the morrow, the great lawyer took 
his leave. 

At ten o'clock, the two yonng men were at the ap- 
pointed spot. Sir James had joined them on the door- 
step. He alone appeared unexcited. He introduced 
them to the doctor. 

*^Mr. Hersheimmer — ^Mr. Beresford — ^Dr. Roylance. 
How's the patient?" 

'^Going on well. Evidently no idea of the flight of 
time. Asked this morning how many had been saved 
from the Lusitatda. Was it in the papers yet? That, 
of course, was only what was to be expected. She 
seems to have something on her mind, though." 

"I think we can relieve her anxiety. May we go up?" 

"Certainly." 

Tommy's heart beat sensibly faster as they followed 
the doctor upstairs. Jane Finn at last! The long- 
sought, the mysterious, the elusive Jane Finn! How 
wildly improbable success had seemed ! And here in this 
house, her memory almost miraculously restored, lay 
the girl who held the future of England in her hands. 
A half groan broke from Tommy's lips. If only Tup- 
pence could have been at his side to share in the trium- 
phant conclusion of their joint venture! Then he put 
the thought of Tuppence resolutely aside. His confi- 
dence in Sir James was growing. There was a man who 
would unerringly ferret out Tuppence's whereabouts. 
In the meantime Jane Finn! And suddenly a dread 
clutched at his heart. It seemed too easy. . . . Sup- 
pose they should find her dead . • • stricken down by 
the hand of Mr. Brown? 




THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

[d another minute he was laughing at these Bielo- 
iimatic fancies- The doctor held open the door of m 
Dm and thej passed in. On the white bed, bandages 
ind her head, lay the girl. Somehow the whole scene 
|?mcd unreaL It was so exactly what one expected 
it it gave the eflfect of t>eing beautifully staged. 
iThe girl looked from one to the other of them with 
rge wondering eyes. Sir James spoke first, 
r'Miss Finn," he said, "this is your cousin^ Mr. 
Ilius F* Hersheimmer." 

[A faint flush flitted over the girl*s face, as JuUuf 
Ipped forward and took her hand. 
l*'How do. Cousin Jane?-* he said lightly, 
iBut Tommy caught the tremor in his voice, 

'Are you really Uncle MiramV son?" she asked won- 
Iringly, 

I Her voice, with the slight wannth of the W^tem 
|cent, had an almost thrilling quality. It seemed 
jely familiar to Tommy, but he thrust the imp res- 



JANE FINN 285 

A shadow passed over the giri's face. 

"They've been telling me things — dreadful things — 
that my memory went, and that there are years I shall 
never know about — ^years lost out of my life.'* 

**You didn't realize that yourself?'* 

The girl's eyes opened wide. 

"Why, no. It seems to me as thouj;^ it were no time 
since we were being hustled into those boats. I can see 
it all now." She closed her eyes with a shudder. 

Julius looked across at Sir James, who nodded. 

**Don't worry any. It isn't worth it. Now, see here, 
Jane, there's something we want to know about. There 
was a man aboard that boat with some mighty impor- 
tant papers on him, and the big guns in this country 
have got a notion that he passed on the goods to you. 
Is that so?" 

The girl hesitated, her glance shifting to the other 
two. Julius understood. 

"Mr. Beresford is commissioned by the British Gov- 
ernment to get those papers back. Sir James Peel 
Edgerton is an En^sh Member of Parliament, and 
might be a big gun in the Cabinet if he liked. It's owing 
to him that we've ferreted you out at last. So you can 
go right ahead and tell us the whole story. Did Danvers 
give you the papers?" 

"Tes. He said they'd have a better chance with me, 
because they would save the women and childrra 
first.'* 

"Just as we thought,** said Sir James. 

"He said they were very important — ^that they might 
make all the difference to the Allies, B^l^ U \\!% iISl v^ 



236 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



long ago, and the war's o^er, what does it otattcr 
now?" 

*'I guess history repeats itself, Jane. First there w«* 
a great hue and cry over those papers^ then it all died 
down, and now the whole caboodle's started all over 
again — for rather different reasons. Then you can 
band them over to us right away?'* 

'^But I can't'* 

'*What?" 

"I haven't got them," 

**Yon^ — ^haven't — got th^n?'* Julius punctuated the 
words with little pauses. 

'*No^I hid them," 

*^^ou kid them?'* 

**Yes* I got uneasy. People seemed to be watching 
me. It scared me~badly." She put her hand to her 



JANE FINN 287 

they were like golden flames. I looked round. There 
wasn't a soul in sight. But just level with my head 
there was a hole in the rock. It was quite small — ^I could 
only just get my hand in, but it went a long way back. 
I took the oflskin packet from round my neck and 
shoved it right in as far as I could. Then I tore off a 
bit of gorse — ^My! but it did prick — and plugged the 
hole with it so that you'd never guess there was a crevice 
of any kind there. Then I marked the place carefully 
in my own mind, so that I'd find it again. There was a 
queer boulder in the path just there — for all the world 
like a dog sitting up begging. Then I went back to the 
road. The car was waiting, and I drove back. I just 
caught the train. I was a bit ashamed of myself for 
fancying things maybe, but, by and by, I saw the man 
opposite me wink at a woman who was sitting next to 
me, and I felt scared again, and was glad the papers 
were safe. I went out in the corridor to get a little air. 
I thought I'd slip into another carriage. But the 
woman called me back, said I'd dropped something, and 
when I stooped to look, something seemed to hit me — 
here." She placed her hand to the back of her head. **I 
don't remember anything more until I woke up in the 
hospital." 

There was a pause. 

*^Thank you, Miss Finn." It was Sir James who 
spoke. "I hope we have not tired you?" 

<'Oh, that's all right. My head aches a liUle, but 
otherwise I feel fine." 

Julius stepped forward and took her hand again. 

''So long. Cousin Jane. Fm going to get Vsmvj ^\\xst 



238 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



those papers^ but I'll be b&ck in two shakes of & dog^'f 
tail, and 1*11 iote joa up to London and gire jou tbe 
time of jour young life before we go back to the Statet 
1 mean it — uo hurry up and get wdL^* 



■^ 



CHAPTER XX 



TOOULTM 



IN the street they held an informal council of war. 
Sir James had drawn a watch from his pocket. 
**Tlie boat train to Holyhead stops at Chester at 
12.14. If you start at once I think you can catch the 
connection.'' 

Tommy looked up, puzzled. 

^Is there any need to hurry, sir? To-day is only the 
24th.'' 

^ guess it's always well to get up early in the morn- 
ing," said Julius, before the lawyer had time to reply. 
•*We11 make tracks for the depot right away." 

A little frown had settled on Sir James's brow. 

*1 wish I could come with you. I am due to speak at 
a meeting at two o'dock. It is unfortunate." 

The reluctance in his tone was very evident. It was 
clear, on the other hand, that Julius was easily disposed 
to put up with the loss of the other's company. 

^ guess there's nothing complicated about this deal," 
he remarked. ^Just a game of hide-and-seek, that's 
«IL" 

*1 hope so," said Sir James. 

**Sure thing. What else could it be?" 

^ou are still young, Mr. Hersheimmer. At tdl^ %:ib^ 

2S9 



240 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



you will probably have learnt one lesson. *N€v€r undei^ 
estunate jour adversary/ " 

The graTiiy of his tone impressed Tonimy» bat had 
little effect upon Julius. 

**You think Mr, Brown might come along and t^ke a 
hand? If he does, Pm ready for him/* He slapped his 
pocket, **I carry a gun* Little Willie here traveb 
Tound with me everywhere," He produced a murderotu- 
looking automatic, and tapped it affectionatdy before 
returning it to its home* **But he won't be needed tUi 
trip. There's nobody to put Mr. Brown wise.** 

The lawyer shrugged his shoulders. 

**There was nobody to put Mr. Brown wise to the fact 
that Mrs. Vandemeyer meant to betray him- Nererlhe- 
Icss, Mrs. Vandemfyer died mthout gpeaking^^ 

lenced for once^ and Sir James added on 



TOO LATE 241 

Tommy, after a moment's astonishment, searched his 
mind. 

''Can't say I have," he replied at last. ''Not that I 
can recollect, anyhow. Why?" 

"Because for the last two months Fve been making a 
sentimental idiot of myself over Jane! First moment 
I clapped eyes on her photograph my heart did all 
the usual stunts you read about in novels. I guess Fm 
ashamed to admit it, but I came over here determined to 
find her and fix it all up, and take her back as Mrs. 
Julius P. Hersheimmer!" 
"Oh !" said Tommy, amazed. 

Julius uncrossed his legs brusqudy and continued: 
"Just shows what an almighty fool a man can make 
of himself ! One look at the girl in the flesh, and I was 
cured P' 

Feeling more tongue-tied than ever. Tommy ejacu- 
lated "Oh r again. 

"No disparagement to Jane, mind you," continued 
the other. "She's a real nice girl, and some fellow will 
fall in love with her right away." 

"I thought her a very good-looking girl," said 
Tommy, finding his tongue. 

"Sure she is. But she's not like her photo one bit. 
At least I suppose she is in a way — must be — because I 
recognized her right off. If I'd seen her in a crowd I'd 
have said 'There's a prl whose face I know' right away 
without any hesitation. But there was something about 
that photo" — Julius shook his head, and heaved a sigh 
— *^ guess romance is a mighty queer thing P* 




THE SECRET ADVERSARY 

•Tt must be," said Tonuny coldlyt "if you casx come 
over here in love with one girl, and propose to another 
within a fortnight," . 

Julius had the ^ace to look discomposed* ^ 

"Well, yoti see, I'd got a sort of tired feding that Fd 
never find Jane- — and that it was all plumb foolishness 
anyway. And then — oh^ well, the French, for instance^ 
are much more sensible in the way they look at thti^gs. 
They keep romance and marriage apart " 

Tommy flushed. 

"Well,'l'm damned f If that^s ^' 

Julius hastened to interrupt, 

"Say now, don*t be hasty. I don't mean what too 
mean. I take it Americans hare a higher opinion of 
morality than you have even. What I meant was that 
the French set about marria 



TOO LATE 248 

After conBultation, and with the aid of a road map, 
they were fairly wdl agreed as to direction, so were able 
to hire a taxi without more ado and drive out on the 
road leading to Treaddur Bay. They instructed the 
man to go slowly, and watched narrowly so as not to 
miss the path. They came to it not long after leaving 
the town, and Tommy stopped the car promptly, asked 
in a casual tone whether the path led down to the sea, 
and hearing it did paid off the man in handsome style. 

A moment later the taxi was slowly chugging back to 
Holyhead. Tommy and Julius watched it out of sight, 
and then turned to the narrow path. 

^'It's the right one, I suppose?" asked Tommy doubt- 
fully. ^^There must be simply heaps along here." 

^Sure it is. Look at the gorse. Remember what 
Jane said?" 

Tommy looked at the swelling hedges of golden blos- 
som which bordered the path on either side, and was 
convinced* 

They went down in single file, Julius leading. Twice 
Tommy turned his head uneasily. Julius looked back. 

•'What is it?" 

^ don't know. Fve got the wind up somehow. Keep 
fancying there's some one following us.'^ 

"Can't be," said JuUus positively. **We'd see him." 

Tommy had to admit that this was true. Neverthe- 
less, his sense of uneasiness deepened. In spite of him- 
self he believed in the omniscience of the enemy. 

^I rather wish that fellow would come along," said 
Julius. He patted his pocket. "Little William here is 
just aching for exercise P 



244 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



*'Do you always carry it — ^him- — with you?" inquired 
Tommy with burning curiosity. 

**Most always. I guess you never know what m^fat 
turn up," 

Tommy kept a respectful silence. He was impressed 
by little William. It seemed to remove the menace of 
Mr. Brown farther away. 

The path was now running along the side of the cli*» 
parallel to the sea. Suddenly Julius came to such an 
abrupt halt that Tommy cannoned into him* 

*'What's up?" he inquired. 
Look there. If that doesn't beat the band f* 

Tommy looked. Standing out and half obstructing 
the path was a huge boulder which certainly bore a 
fanciful resemblance to a **begging'' terrier. 

'^Wellj" said Tommy, refusing to share Juligs's emo- 



TOO LATE 245 

Julius replied in an awestricken voice: 

*Tlat'8 it— for sure.'* 

They looked at each other. 

'^When I was in France," said Tommy reminiscently, 
Whenever my batman failed to call me, he always said 
that he had come over queer. I never believed it. But 
whether he felt it or not, there i$ such a sensation. I've 
got it now! Badly r 

He looked at the rock with a kind of agonized passion. 

**Damn it !*• he cried. •'It's impossible ! Five years ! 
Think of it ! Bird's-nesting boys, picnic parties, thou- 
sands of people passing! It can't be there! It's a 
hundred to one against its being there ! It's against aO 
reason !" 

Indeed, he felt it to be impossible — ^more, perhaps, be* 
cause he could not believe in his own success where so 
many others had faOed. The thing was too easy, there- 
fore it could not be. The hole would be empty. 

Julius looked at him with a widening smile. 

•'I guess you're rattled now all right," he drawled 
with some enjoyment. "Well, here goes!" He thrust 
his hand into the crevice, and made a slight grimace. 
'•It's a tight fit. Jane's hand must be a few sizes smaller 
than mine. I don't feel anything — no — say, what's 
this? Gee whixP' And with a flourish he waved aloft 
a small discoloured packet. ''It's the goods all right. 
Sewn up in oilskin. Hold it while I get my penknife." 

The unbelievable had happened. Tommy held the 
precious packet tenderly between his hands. They had 
succeeded ! 

*^t's queer," he murmured idly, **you'd tKvx^ VSofc 



^ 



246 THE SECKET AD^^RSABY 

stitchei would h&Te rotted. Tbey look just ms good ai 
new,*' 

Thej cut them carefully and ripped awaj the oilsiIL 
Inside was a flmall folded sheet of paper. With trem- 
bling fingers thej unfolded it. The sheet was blank! 
Thej stared at each other, puzzled, 

"A dummj?'* hazarded JuUus. "Was Danrers just 
a decoy?" 

Totnraj shook his head. That lolution did not 
satisfy him. Suddenly his face cleared. 

**IVe got it 1 Sifmpathetic rnkt* 

*^ou think so?" 

**Worth trying^ anyhow. Heat usually does the bridle 
Get some sticks, We*U make a fire," 

In a few minutes the little fire of twigs and leares was 
hla2ing merrily. Tommy held the sheet of paper near 



CHAPTER XXI 

TOMMT MAJCS8 A DISCOVUT 

FOR a moment or two they stood staring at each 
other stupidly, dazed with the shock. Somehow^ 
inexplicably, Mr. Brown had forestalled thenu 
Tommy accepted defeat quietly. Not so Julius. 

^How in tarnation did he get ahead of us? That's 
what beats me !" he ended up. 

Tommy shook his head, and said dully: 

^'It accounts for the stitches being new. We might 
have guessed. . . ." 

^^Never mind the darned stitches. How did he get 
ahead of us? We hustled all we knew. It's downright 
impossible for anyone to get here quicker than we did. 
And, anyway, how did he know? Do you reckon there 
was a dictoj^one in Jane's room? I guess there must 
have been.** 

But Tommy^s common sense pointed out objections. 

^No one could have known beforehand that she was 
going to be in that house — much less that particular 
room." 

•"That's so," admitted Julius. **Then one of the 
nurses was a crook and listened at the door. How's 
that?" 

•"I don't see that it matters anyway," said Tommy 
wearily. ""He may have found oat some months «4B^> 

247 



3«8 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



and removed the papers, then- 



No* by JoTe, that 



won't wash I They'd have been published at <mce.^ A 

"Sure thing they would! No^ some one's got abeadr^ 
of us to-day by an hour or so. But how they did it geta 
my goat," 

"I wish that chap Peel Edgerton had b^n with lis,** 
said Tommy thoughtfully, 

**Why ?" Julius stared. **The mischief was done when 
we came." 

"Yes -" Tommy hesitated. He could not explain 

his own feeling — the illogical idea that the K,C<'a pret- 
ence would somehow have averted the catastrophe. He 
reverted to his former point of view, "It's no good 
arguing about how it was done« The game's up. We*TC 
failed. There's only one thing for me to do/* 



TOMMY MAKES A DISCOVERY 240 

^^Ah!" said Mr. Carter quietly. The expression on 
his face did not change, but Tommy caught the flicker 
of despair in his eyes. It convinced him as nothing else 
had done that the outlook was hopeless. 

**Wcll,'' said Mr. Carter after a minute or two, **we 
mustn't sag at the knees, I suppose. I'm glad to know 
definitely. We must do what we can." 

Through Tommy's mind flashed the assurance: ^t's 
hopeless, and he knows it's hopeless P' 

The other looked up at him. 

**Don't take it to heart, lad," he said kindly. •'You 
did your best. Yon were up against one of the biggest 
brains of the century. And you came very near success. 
Remember that." 

•TTiank you, sir. It's awfully decent of you." 

^I blame myself. I have been blaming myself ever 
since I heard this other news." 

Something in his tone attracted Tommy's attention. 
A new fear gripped at his heart. 

"Is there — something more, sir?" 

**I'm afraid so," said Mr. Carter gravely. He 
stretched out his hand to a sheet on the table. 

••Tuppence ?" faltered Tommy. 

••Read for yourself." 

The typewritten words danced before his eyes. The 
description of a green toque, a coat with a handkerchief 
in the pocket marked P.L.C. He looked an agonized 
question at Mr. Carter. The latter replied to it : 

••Washed up on the Yorkshire coast — near Ebury. 
Fm afraid — ^it looks very much like foul play." 



250 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



**Mj Godf gasped Tommy. ^"Tuppence! Those 
devils — 1*11 never rest till Fve got even with thcml HI 
hunt them down 1 I'll *' 

The pity on Mn Carter^s face stopped him, 

"I know what you feel like, my poor boy. But it*s no 
good. You'll waste your strength uselessly. It may 
sound harsh, but my advice to you is: Cut your losses. 
Time's mercifuL You'll forget-** 

"Forget Tuppence? Never?** 

Mr. Carter shook his head. 

"So you think now. Well, it won't bear thinking of 
— ^that brave little girl I l*in sorry about the whole bu;ri- 
ness — confoundedly sorry/* 

Tommy came to himself with a start. 

**I*m taking up your time, sir," he said with an effort, 
"There's no need for you to blame yourself. I dare say 



TOMMY MAKES A DISCOVERY 261 

with ihe offer of a post on a ranch in the Argentine^ 
where Sir James had considerable interests. 

^'Kind old beggar," muttered Tommy, as he flung it 
aside. 

The door opened, and Julius burst in with his usual 
violence. He held an open newspaper in his hand. 

*'Saj, what's all this? They seem to have got some 
fool idea about Tuppence." 

**It*s true," said Tommy quietly. 

•*You mean they've done her in?" 

Tommy nodded. 

•*I suppose when they got the treaty she — ^wasn't any 
good to them any longer, and they were afraid to let 
her go." 

**Well, I'm darned!" said Julius. **Little Tuppence. 
She sure was the pluckiest little girl ^" 

But suddenly something seemed to crack in Tommy's 
brain. He rose to his feet. 

•*0h, get out! You don't really care, damn you! 
You asked her to marry you in your rotten cold-blooded 
way, but I loved her. I'd have given the soul out of my 
body to save her from harm. I'd have stood by without 
a word and let her marry you, because you could have 
given her the sort of time she ought to have had, and I 
was only a poor devil without a penny to bless himself 
with. But it wouldn't have been because I didn't care!" 

**See here," b^an Julius temperately. 

•*0h, go to the devil ! I can't stand your coming here 
and talking about ^little Tuppence.' Go and look after 
your cousin. Tuppence is my girl ! I've always loved 
her, from the time we played togethex q^a >d<\]^« '^^ 



252 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



grew up and it was just the same. I shall ncTcr foi^ct 
when I was in hospital, and she came in in that ridjcu- 
lous cap and apron ! It was like a miracle to see the giri 
1 lored turn up in a nurse's kit ^^ 

But Julius internipted him. 

"A nurse's kit I Gee whiz ! I mtist be going to Colney 
Hatch ! I could swear I've seen Jane in a nurse's cap 
too. And that^s plumb impossible! No, by gum, INre 
got it ! It was her I saw talking to Whittington at that 
nursing Iiome in Bournemouth. She wasn't a patient 
there ! She was a nurse ?^ 

*'I dare say," said Tommy angrily, "she's probably 
been in with them from the start* I shouldn't wonder if 
she stole those papers from Danvers to begin with." 

"I'm darned if she did !'' shouted Julius, *'She'a my 
cousin, and as patriotic a ffirl as ever step 



TOMMY MAKES A DISCOVERY 268 

As the door closed behind Julius, he returned to his 
suit-case. 

''That's the lot," he murmured, and rang the bell. 

**Take my luggage down." 

**Ye8, sir. Going away, sir?" 

'Tm going to the devil," said Tommy, regardless of 
the menial's feelings. 

That functionary, however, merely replied respect- 
fuUy: 

"Yes, sir. Shall I caU a taxi?" 

Tommy nodded. 

Where was he going? He hadn't the faintest idea. 
Beyond a fixed determination to get even with Mr. 
Brown he had no plans. He re-read Sir James' letter, 
and shook his head. Tuppence must be avenged. Still, 
it was kind of the old fellow. 

''Better answer it, I suppose.'* He went across to the 
writing-table. With the usual perversity of bedroom 
stationery, there were innumerable envelopes and no 
paper. He rang. No one came. Tommy fumed at the 
delay. Then he remembered that there was a good 
supply in Julius's sitting-room. The American had 
announced his immediate departure, there would be no 
fear of running up against him. Besides, he wouldn't 
mind if he did. He was beginning to be rather ashamed 
of the things he had said. Old Julius had taken them 
jolly well. He'd apologize if he found him there. 

But the room was deserted. Tommy walked across to 
the writing-table, and opened the middle drawer. A 
photograph, carelessly thrust in face upwards, caught 
his eye. For a moment he stood rooted to lVk<^ ^o\xtJ^« 



254 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



Then he took it out, shut the drawer, walked slowly 
over to an arm-chair^ and sat down stiU staring a! Hmm 
photograph in his hand. H 

What on earth wa« a photograph of the French giri 
Annette doing in Julius Hersheimmer's writing-table? 



CHAPTER XXn 



IN DOWKIKO BTEXXT 



THE Prime Minister tapped the desk in front of 
him with nervous fingers. His face was worn 
and harassed. He took up his conversation with 
Mr. Carter at the point it had broken off. 

**I don't understand,'^ he said. "Do you really mean 
that things are not so desperate after all?" 
"So this lad seems to think.'* 
"Let's have a look at his letter again." 
Mr. Carter handed it over. It was written in a 
sprawling boyish hand. 

"DsAK Mk. Carter, 

"Something's turned up that has given me a jar. 
Of course I may be simply making an awful ass of my- 
self, but I don't think so. If my conclusions are right, 
that girl at Manchester was just a plant. The whole 
thing was prearranged, sham packet and all, with the 
object of making us think the game was up — ^therefore 
I fancy that we must have been pretty hot on the scent. 
"I think I know who the real Jane Finn is, and Fve 
even got an idea where the papers are. That last's only 
a guess, of course, but I've a sort of feeling it'll turn 
oat rif^t. Anyhow, I enclose it in a sealed envelope 

for what it's worth. I'm going to ask you not to open 

266 



886 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



it until the very last moment^ midnight on the 28tli, in 
fact- You'll understand why in a minute. You eae^ 
I've figured it out that those things of Tuppence's are 
a plant too, and she's no more drowned than I am, Tbe 
way I reason is this: as a last chance they'll let Jane 
Finn escape in the hope that she's heen shamming this 
memory stunt^ and that once she thinks she's free she'll 
go right away to the eache. Of course it's an awful ride 
for them to take, because she knows all about them — 
but they're pretty desperate to get hold of that treaty. 
But if they know ih4it the papers hav€ been recovered 
bp U9t neither of those two girls* Uvea will be worth an 
hour's purchase. I must try and get hold of Tuppenct 
before Jane escapes* 

"I want a repeat of that telegram that was sent to 
Tuppence at the Ritz, Sir James Peel Edgerton said 



IN DOWNING STREET 257 

once. We can keep the fact of haying done so quite 
secret.** 

**Can we? Tm not so sure. There are spies all round 
OS. Once it's known I wouldn't give that" — ^he snapped 
his fingers — ^**for the life of those two girls. No, the 
boy trusted me, and I shan't let him down." 

**Well, well, we must leave it at that, then. What's 
he like, this lad?" 

"Outwardly, he's an ordinary clean-limbed, rather 
block-headed young Englishman. Slow in his mental 
processes. On the other hand, it's quite impossible to 
lead him astray through his imagination. He hasn't 
got any — so he's difficult to deceive. He worries things 
out slowly, and once he's got hold of anything he doesnt 
let go. The little lady's quite different. More intuition 
and less common sense. They make a pretty pair work- 
ing together. Pace and stamina." 

"He seems confident," mused the Prime Minister. 

"Yes, and that's what gives me hope. He's the kind 
of diflMent youth who would have to be very sure before 
he ventured an opinion at all." 

A half smile came to the other's lips. 

"And it is this — boy who will defeat the master 
criminal of our time?" 

"This — boy, as you say! But I sometimes fancy I 
see a shadow behind." 

"You mean?" 

"Peel Edgerton." 

"Peel Edgerton?" said the Prime Minister in aston- 
ishment. 

"Yes. I see his hand in iJui.^ He struck iVw^ fs^xsL 



258 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



letter. "He's there — working in the dark, sOently, uih 
obtrusiTely, F^e always felt that if anyone wa^ to 
nin Mr. Brown to earth, Peel Edgerton would be tiie 
man. I tell you he's on the cose now, but doesn't waal 
it known. By the way, I got rather an odd request 
from him the other day," 

**Yes?" 

*'Hc sent roe a cutting from some American paper* 
It referred to a man^s body found near the docks in 
New York about three weeks ago. He asked me to cd* 
lect any information on the subject I couli** 

«WeU?" 

Carter shrugged his shoulders. 

**I couldn't get much. Young fellow about thirty-fire 
— poorly dressed — face very badly disHgured. He 
never identified." 



IN DOWNING STREET 200 

^ou suppose wrong,^ said the lawyer. 

^HAr Mr. Carter was a little nonplussed. 

Sir James smiled^ and stroked his chin. 

•*He rang me up,'' he Tolunteered. 

*^ould jou have any objection to telling us exactly 
what passed between you?'' 

^Not at all. He thanked me for a certain letter 
which I had written to him — as a matter of fact, I had 
offered him a job. Then he reminded me of something I 
had said to him at Manchester respecting that bogus 
telegram which lured Miss Cowley away. I asked him 
if anything untoward had occurred. He said it had — 
that in a drawer in Mr. Hersheimmer's room he had dis- 
covered a photograph." The lawyer paused, then con- 
tinued: ^I asked him if the photograph bore the name 
and address of a Califomian photographer. He re- 
plied: * You're on to it, sir. It had.' Then he went on 
to tell me something I £dn*t know. The original of that 
photograph was the French girl, Annette, who saved 
his life." 

**What?" 

^'Exactly. I asked the young man with some curios- 
ity what he had done with the photograph. He replied 
that he had put it back where he found it." The lawyer 
paused again. ''That was good, you know — distinctly 
good. He can use his brains, that young fellow. I 
congratulated him. The discovery was a providential 
one. Of course, from the moment that the girl in Man- 
chester was proved to be a plant everything was altered. 
Young Beresford saw that for himself without my hav- 
ifllg to ten it him. But he felt he couldn't trust his ^udfr 



260 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



ment on the subject of Miss Cowley- Did I think she 
was aUve? I told him^ duly weighing the eT]dence» thai 
there was a very decided chance in favour of it. Tbak 
brought as back to the telegratn," 

*'Yes?" 

**I advised him to apply to you for a copy of the 
original wire- It had occurred to me as probable that, 
after Miss Cowley flung it on the floor, certain words 
might have been erased and altered with the express in- 
iention of setting searchers on a false trait" 

Carter nodded> He took a sheet from his pocket, and 
read aloud; 



*'Come at once, Astley Priors, Gatebonae, KaiW 
Great developments — Tommy,** 



IN DOWNING STREET 261 

eorrect to say I'm preparing a case. Any more facts 
about that American chap for me?** 

^m afraid not. Is it important to find oat who he 
was?'' 

'^h, I know who he was," said Sir James easily. ^ 
can't prove it yet — but I know.** 

The other two asked no questions. They had an in- 
stinct that it would be mere waste of breath. 

^But what I don't understand," said the Prime 
Minister suddenly, ^is how that photograph came to be 
in Mr. Hersheimmer's drawer?" 

^Perhaps it never left it," suggested the lawyer 
gently. 

^ut the bogus inspector? Inspector Brown?" 

^Ah r' said Sir James thoughtfully. He rose to his 
feet. '^I mustn't keep you. Go on with the affairs of 
the nation. I must get back to — ^my case." 

Two days later Julius Hersheimmer returned from 
Manchester. A note from Tommy lay on his table: 

^'DsAm HxasHmncxB, 

^Sorry I lost my temper. In case I don't see you 
again, good-bye. I've been offered a job in the Argen^ 
tine, and might as well take it. 

•TTours, 
•Tomnr BEaESFoan." 

A peculiar smile lingered for a moment on Julius's 
face. He threw the letter into the waste-paper basket. 
^The darned fool!" he murmured. 



CHAPTER XXm 



A K4CE AGAINST TIME 



AFTER riogiDg up Sir James, Tommy's n^t pn>- 
cedure was to make a call at Soath Audlev 
Mansions. He found Albert discharging im 
professional duties, and introduced himself without more 
ado as a friend of Tuppence^s. Albert unbent immeili^ 
ately. 

"Things has been very quiet here lately," he said 
fully, "Hope the young lady's keeping well, sir?** 
**That's just the point, Albert, She's disappei 



••^ 



A RACE AGAINST TIMB 268 

has been mortal bad for a long time^ and sbe^s asking 
for me with her dying breath.'* 

Tommy nodded approval. 

*^Can you report this in the proper quarter and meet 
me at Charing Cross in an hour's time?'* 

*TI1 be there, sir. You can count on me." 

As Tommy had judged, the faithful Albert proved an 
invaluable aUy. The two took up their quarters at the 
inn in Gatehouse. To Albert fell the task of collecting 
information. There was no difficulty about it. 

Astley Priors was the property of a Dr. Adams. The 
doctor no longer practised, had retired, the landlord 
believed, but he took a few private patients — ^here the 
good fellow tapped his forehead knowingly — ^**balmy 
ones! You understand!" The doctor was a popular 
figure in the village, subscribed freely to all the local 
sports— **a very pleasant, affable gentleman." Been 
there long? Oh, a matter of ten years or so — might be 
longer. Scientific gentleman, he was. Professors and 
people often came down from town to see him. Anyway, 
it was a gay house, always visitors. 

In the face of all this volubility. Tommy felt doubts. 
Was it possible that this genial, well-known figure could 
be in reality a dangerous criminal? His life seemed so 
open and above-board. No hint of sinister doings. 
Suppose it was all a gigantic mistake? TcHnmy felt a 
cold chill at the thought. 

Then he remembered the private patients — ^**balmy 
ones." He inquired carefully if there was a young lady 
amongst them, describing Tuppence. But nothing 
much seemed to be known about the ^^XAKoXiii — •^^'^ 



264 



THE SECRET ADVERSABY 



were seldom seen outside the grotiEids. A gnaxtled de* 
£cription of Annette also failed to provoke reco^gnltjoiL 

Astley Priors was a pleasant red-brick edifice, siir- 
rounded bj well-wooded grounds which eifectuaUj 
shielded the house from obsenration from the roadL 

On the first evening Tomnij, accompanied hj Albert, 
explored the grounds. Owing to Albert's insistence they 
dragged themselves along painfully on their stomachs, 
thereby producing a great deal more noise than if they 
had stood upright. In any case, these precautions were 
totally unnecessary. The grounds^ like those of any 
other private house after nightfall, seemed untenanted 
Tommy had Imagined a possible fierce watchdog* 
Albert*® fancy ran to a puma, or a tame cobra* But 
they reached a shrubbery near the house quite un- 



A RACE AGAINST TBfE 266 

He returned with the information that she was un- 
doubtedly **one of the crooks,** but Tommy mistrusted 
the yivldness of his imagination. Questioned, he could 
adduce nothing in support of his statement except his 
own opinion that she wasn't the usual kind. You could 
see that at a glance. 

The substitution being repeated (much to the pecuni- 
ary advantage of the real greengrocer's boy) on the 
following day, Albert brought back the first piece of 
hopeful news. There was a Frendi young lady staying 
in the house. Tommy put his doubts aside. Here was 
confirmation of his theory. But time pressed. To-day 
was the 27th. The 29th was the much-talked-of '<La- 
bour Day," about which all sorts of rumours were run- 
ning riot. Newspapers were getting agitated. Sensa- 
tional hints of a Labour coup ffitat were freely 
reported. The Grovemment said nothing. It knew and 
was prepared. There were rumours of dissension 
among the Labour leaders. They were not of one mind. 
The more far-seeing among them realized that what 
they proposed might well be a death-blow to the Eng- 
land that at heart they loved. They shrank from the 
starvation and misery a general strike would entail, and 
were willing to meet the Grovemment half-way. But 
behind them were subtle, insistent forces at work, urging 
the memories of old wrongs, deprecating the weakness 
of half-and-half measures, fomenting misunderstand- 
ings. 

Tommy felt that, thanks to Mr. Carter, he under- 
stood the position fairly accurately. With the fatal 
document in the hands of Mr. Brown, public opinioa 



*»»«»«rfj. The 

unseen chief held i, 

;«ved an instant p, 

J^ft to themselves; . 

••e possible. 

"This is a one-n 

-Ifte thing to do is 

t."*"«P*rtlvini 

^«thehad«q„este 

«n^eIope. The draft 

°°-andthenhewa 
H;» dared he think 
•"an,, ^iser and cleve 
^«»M.est«cttenacio„ 

irri i "'"'■"« ''« an, 
grounds of .Astley ] 



A RACE AGAINST TIME 267 

He clutched Albert by the shoulder. 

"Stay here! When I begin to sing, watch that 
window/' 

He retreated hastily to a position on the main drive, 
and began in a deep roar, coupled with an unsteady 
gait, the following ditty: 

I am a Soldier 

A jolly British Soldier; 

You can see that Pm a Soldier by my feet • • • 

It had been a favourite on the gramophone in Tup- 
pence's hospital days. He did not doubt but that she 
would recognize it and draw her own conclusions. 
Tommy had not a note of music in his voice, but his 
lungs were excellent. The noise he produced was ter- 
rific. 

Presently an unimpeachable butler, accompanied by 
an equally unimpeachable footman, issued from the 
front door. The butler remonstrated with him. Tommy 
continued to sing, addressing the butler affectionately 
as "dear old whiskers." The footman took him by one 
arm, the butler by the other. They ran him down the 
drive, and neatly out of the gate. The butler threatened 
him with the police if he intruded again. It was beauti- 
fully done — soberly and with perfect decorum. Anyone 
would have sworn that the butler was a real butler, the 
footman a real footman — only, as it happened, the but- 
ler was Whittington ! 

Tommy retired to the inn and waited for Albert's re- 
tiuiL At last that worthy made his appearance. 



-IMf! - CI 

'■ wrote a mesi 

'°>"'d a stone, ar 

continued Albert b 

Tommjr groaned 

i our zeal Willi 

did jou 8ajP'> 

"Said wl was a-s, 
*'^a.v, to come there 

ly- "^'ourima^ 
*now, Albert, n^ 

"Ifj^ it you lean 

,f 'bert looked rathe 

Cheer up.» said 1 

'"f':\- old friend c 
though he didn't let o 
f"spicion. That's whT 



A RACE AGAINST TIME 269 

who's blundered in jnst at the right moment for them. 
But later, Mr. T. Beresford had better look outP* 

Tonmiy retired for the nif^t in a state of some ela- 
tion. He had elaborated a careful plan for the follow- 
ing evening. He felt sure that the inhabitants of Astley 
Priors would not interfere with him up to a certain 
point. It was after that that Tommy proposed to give 
them a surprise. 

About twelve o'clock, however, his calm was rudely 
shaken. He was told that some one was demanding him 
in the bar. The applicant proved to be a rude-looking 
carter well coated with mud. 

**Well, my good fellow, what is it?** asked Tommy. 

'^Might this be for you, sir?" The carter held out a 
very dirty folded note, on the outside of which was 
written: ^ake this to the gentleman at the inn near 
Astley Priors. He will give you ten shillings." 

The handwriting was Tuppence's. Tommy appre- 
ciated her quick-wittedness in realizing that he mif^t 
be staying at the inn under an assumed name. He 
snatched at it. 

"That's all right.^ 

The man withheld it. 

"What about my ten shillings?" 

Tommy hastily produced a ten-shilling note, and the 
man relinquished his find« Tommy unfastened it. 

"DeAE TOMICT, 

"I knew it was you last night. Don't go this eve- 
ning. They'll be lying in wait for you. They're taking 
OS away this morning. I heard something about Wales 



270 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



n 



— ^Holyhead, I tMnk. I'll drop this on the road if T get 
a chance. Aouette told me bow you'd escaped. Buck 
up. 

Tommy raised a shout for Albert before he had rren 
finished perusing this characteristic epistle. 

"Pack my bag? We're off!'* 

''Yes, sir," The boota of Albert could be heaid 
racing upstairs, 

Holyhead? Did that mean that, after all 

Tommy was puzzled He read on slowly. 

The boots of Albert continued to be active on the 
floor above* 

Suddenly a second shout came from below. 



I 



CHAPTER XXIV 



JUIJU8 TAKES A HAND 



IN his suite at Claridge's, Eramenin reclined on a 
couch and dictated to his secretary in sibilalat 
Russian. 

Presently the telephone at the secretary's elbow 
purred, and he took up the receiver, spoke for a minute 
or two, then turned to his employer. 

**Some one below is asking for you." 

"Who is it?" 

**He gives the name of Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer." 

"Hersheimmer," repeated Kramenin thoughtfully. 
**I have heard that name before." 

"His father was one of the steel kings of America," 
explained the secretary, whose business it was to know 
everything, ^^his young man must be a millionaire 
several times over." 

The other's eyes narrowed appreciatively. 

"You had better go down and see him, Ivan. Find 
out what he wants." 

The secretary obeyed, closing the door noiselessly 
bdiind him. In a few minutes he returned. 

"He declines to state his business — says it is entirely 
private and personal, and that he must see you." 

"A millionaire several times over," murmured Kra- 
menin. "Bring him up, my dear Ivan." 

271 



272 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



The secretary left the room once more, and ictamed 
escorting Julius. 

**Monsieur KrameDin?** said the latter abruptlj. 

The Russian, studying him atteotiTely with hia pale 
Tenomous eyes, bowed. 

**Pleased to meet you,** said the Amencan. "Pve got 
some Tery important business Fd like to talk over with 
you, if I can see you alone," He looked pointedly at 
the other, 

**My secretary. Monsieur Grieber, from whom I hm 
no sc?crets,'* 

"That may be so—but I have," said Julius dryly. 
**So Fd be obliged if you*d tell him to scoot,** 

**Ivan," said the Russian softly* "perhaps jan would 

not mind retiring into the next room '* 

interrupted JuUtis. "I 



I 



JULIUS TAKES A HAND 278 

^ow, Mr. Hersheimmer, perhaps you will be so kind 
as to come to the point?" 

*'I guess that won't take a minute," drawled Julius. 
Then, with an abrupt change of manner: *^Hands up— 
or I shoot !" 

For a moment Kramenin stared blindly into the big 
automatic, then, with almost comical haste, he flung up 
his hands above his head. In that instant Julius had 
taken his measure. The man he had to deal with was 
an abject physical coward — the rest would be easy. 

^'This is an outrage," cried the Russian in a high 
hysterical voice. ^An outrage! Do you mean to kill 
me?" 

^Not if you keep your voice down. Don't go edging 
sideways towards that bell. That's better." 

*^hat do you want? Do nothing rashly. Remem- 
ber my life is of the utmost value to my country. I 
may have been maligned " 

'^I reckon," said Julius, ^'that the man who let day- 
light into you would be doing humanity a good turn. 
But you needn't worry any. I'm not proposing to kill 
you this trip— that is, if you're reasonable." 

The Russian quailed before the stem menace in 
the other's eyes. He passed his tongue over his dry 
lips. 

•'What do you want? Money?" 

*^o. I want Jane Finn." 

"Jane Finn? I — ^never heard of her!" 

•TTou're a darned liar! You know perfectly who I 
mean." 

^I tell you I've never heard of the prl." 



it?** 

^ramonia shoo 
' daren't." 
"^^J not?" 
"I daren't. Yo 

doubted it. ^„j^ 
*°him/aeeto/aeo. 



JULIUS TAKES A HAND 275 

^ut the world in general will benefit He raised the 
revolver, 

"Stop,*' shrieked the Russian. ^TTou cannot mean to 
thoot me?" 

"Of coarse I do. Fve always heard you Revolution- 
ists held life cheap, but it seems there's a difference 
when it's your own life in question. I gave you just 
one chance of saving your dirty skin, and that you 
wouldn't take!" 

"They would kiU me!" 

**Well," said Julius pleasantly, "it's up to you. But 
m just say this. Little Willie here is a dead cert, and 
if I was you I'd take a sporting chance with Mr. 
Brown P' 

'^ou will hang if you shoot me," muttered the Rus- 
sian irresolutely. 

"No, stranger, that's where you're wrong. You for- 
get the dollars. A big crowd of solicitors will get busy, 
and they'll get some high-bro^ doctors on the job, and 
the end of it all will be that they'll say my brain was 
unhinged. I shall spend a few months in a quiet sana- 
torium, my mental health will improve, the doctors will 
declare me sane again, and all will end happily for little 
JuHus. I guess I can bear a few months' retirement in 
order to rid the world of you, but don't you kid your- 
self I'D hang for it P' 

Tlie Russian believed him. Corrupt himself, he be- 
lieved implicitly in the power of money. He had read 
of American murder trials running much on the lines 
indicated by Julius. He had bought and sold justice 



^ «"•««. in* 

JuJius lowered tl 

;^^« she a prisoner 
She, not allow, 
»«fe enough «alJr 
curse her'" 
7iat'. been anno 

"Dot r^"" ^^"'«' 

..^?'^° to Gatehous, 



mrv4.^ 



JULroS TAKES A HAND 27T 

fixed. N09 sir, you're coining along with me. This your 
bedroom next door here? Walk right in. Little Willie 
and I will come behind. Put on a thick coat, that's 
right. Fur lined? And you a Socialist! Now we're 
ready. We walk downstairs and out through the hall 
to where my car's waiting. And don't you forget I've 
got you covered every inch of the way. I can shoot just 
as well through my coat pocket. One word, or a glance 
even, at one of those liveried menials, and therell sure 
be a strange face in the Sulphur and Brimstone 
Works P' 

Together they descended the stairs, and passed out 
to the waiting car. The Russian was shaking with rage. 
The hotel servants surrounded them. A cry hovered on 
his lips, but at the last minute his nerve failed him. The 
American was a man of his word. 

When they reached the car, Julius breathed a sigh of 
relief. The danger-zone was passed. Fear had success- 
fully hypnotized the man by his side. 

**Get in," he ordered. Then as he caught the other's 
sidelong glance, ^No, the chauffeur won't help you any. 
Naval man. Was on a submarine in Russia when 
the Revolution broke out. A brother of his was mur- 
dered by your people. Greorge !" 

**Yes, sir?" The chauffeur turned his head. 

^^This gentleman is a Russian Bolshevik. We don't 
want to shoot him, but it may be necessary. You 
understand?'* 

Perfectly, sir.'* 

^ want to go to Gatehouse in Kent. Know the roaii 
ataU?^ 



278 



THE SECRET ADV'ERSARY 



di 



"Yes, sir, it will be about an hour and a hairs niiL^ 

"Mate it an hour, Vm in a hurry," 

**I'll do mj best, sir." The car shot forward throo^ — 
the traffic. ^ 

Julius ensconced himself comfortably by the sidie of 
his victim. He kept his hand in the pocket of his east, 
but his manner was urbane to the last degree, 

"There was & man I shot once in Arizona ^ he 

began cheerfully. 

At the end of the hour's run the unfortunate Krame- 
nin was more dead than alive* In succession to the anec* 
dote of the Arizona man, there had been a tough from 
'Frisco, and an episode in the Rockies, Julius*s narra- 
tive style, if not strictly accurate, was picturesque! 

Slowing down, the chauffeur called over his shoulder 
that they were lust coming into Gatehouse. Julius 



JULIUS TAKES A HAND 279 

•^Now,** hissed Julius. **Aiid be careful." 

The Russian beckoned. His lips were white, and his 
voice was not very steady : 

'^It is I — ^Kramenin! Bring down the girl at once! 
There is no time to lose !'' 

Whittington had come down the steps. He uttered 
an exclamation of astonishment at seeing the other. 

**You ! What's up? Surely you know the plan ^ 

Kramenin interrupted him, using the words that have 
created many unnecessary panics: 

"We have been betrayed ! Plans must be abandoned. 
We must save our own skins. The girl ! And at once ! 
It's our only chance.'* 

Whittington hesitated, but for hardly a moment. 

**You have orders — from himf** 

"Naturally! Should I be here otherwise? Hurry! 
There is no time to be lost. The other little fool had 
better come too." 

Whittington turned and ran back into the house. 
The agonizing minutes went by. Then — ^two figures 
hastOy huddled in cloaks appeared on the steps and 
were hustled into the car. The smaller of the two was 
inclined to resist and Whittington shoved her in un- 
ceremoniously. Julius leaned forward, and in doing so 
the light from the open door lit up his face. Another 
man on the steps behind Whittington gave a startled 
exclamation. Concealment was at an end. 

"Get a move on, George," shouted Julius. 

The chauffeur slipped in his clutch, and with a bound 
the car started. 

The man on the steps uttered an oatlv. "Rv^ Vax^. 



Tuppence?" 

"Of course I am. 
this?" She indicated 

"Tommy's making t 
he thought you'd turm 
the gate, George ! Thi 
five minutes to get bus 
phone, I guess, so look 
take the direct route, 
pence? Let me presen 
suaded him to come on t 

The Russian remainec 

"But what made the 
pence suspiciously. 

"I reckon Monsieur 
prettily they just couldi 

This was too much f 
Tehementlv 



JULIUS TAKES A HAND 281 

**Let me go, then,** cried the other. **I have done 
what you asked. Why do you still keep me with you?** 

**Not for the pleasure of your company. I guess you 
can get right off now if you want to. I thought you'd 
rather I tooled you back to London." 

**You may never reach London," snarled the other. 
**Let me go here and now," 

^Sure thing. Pull up, Greorge. The gentleman's not 
making the return trip. If I ever come to Russia, 
Monsieur Kramenin, I shall expect a rousing welcome^ 
and " 

But before Julius had finished his speech, and before 
the car had finally halted, the Russian had swung him- 
self out and disappeared into the night. 

^Just a mite impatient to leave us," commented 
Julius, as the car gathered way again. '*And no idea 
of saying good-bye politely to the ladies. Say, Jane» 
you can get up on the seat now." 

For the first time the girl spoke. 

"How did you *persuade' him?" she asked. 

Julius tapped his revolver. 

•Tittle Willie here takes the credit!" 

•^SplendidT' cried the girl. The colour surged into 
her face, her eyes looked admiringly at Julius. 

^Annette and I didn't know what was going to hap- 
pen to us," said Tuppence. "Old Whittington hurried 
us off. We thought it was Iambs to the slaughter." 

"Annette," said Julius. "Is that what you call her?" 

His mind seemed to be trying to adjust itself to a new 
idea. 



Wund her head. 

•^wn with vo 

^««^^jsh«ve'c 
mt, George." 

ThecarfairljJe, 
°«t. but went happi 

*^^^ back of the car. 

"Nothing to shoot 

•» gooss there'll be a 

He raised his hanc 

^ *ou are hurt?", 

'Only a scratch ♦» 

.r^^*'"' sprang to 
. ■'^tnieouti Let 

W me they're after. I 
'^^hhng with the fast. 



JULIUS TAKES A HAND 283 

The girl looked at him, nodded, and then suddenly 
burst into tears. Julius patted her on the shoulder. 

"There, there — just you sit tight. We're not going 
to let you quit.'* 

Through her sobs the girl said indistinctly : 

"You're from home. I can tell by your voice. It 
makes me home-sick." 

"Sure I'm from home. I'm your cousin — Julius 
Hersheimmer. I came over to Europe on purpose to 
find you — and a pretty dance you've led mc." 

The car slackened speed. Greorge spoke over his 
shoulder: 

"Cross-roads here, sir. I'm not sure of the way." 

The car slowed down till it hardly moved. As it did 
so a figure climbed suddenly over the back, and plunged 
head first into the midst of them. 

"Sorry," said Tommy, extricating himself. 

A mass of confused exclamations greeted him. He 
replied to them severally : 

*^as in the bushes by the drive. Hung on behind. 
Couldn't let you know before at the pace you were going. 
It was all I could do to hang on. Now then, you girls, 
get out!" 

"Get out?'* 

"Yes. There's a station just up that road. Train 
due in three minutes. You'll catch it if you hurry." 

"What the devil are you driving at?" demanded 
Julius. "Do you think you can fool them by leaving 
the car?" 

"You and I aren't going to leave the car. Only the 
girU." 



284 



THE SECKET ADVTIRSARY 



irU be the end 



"You^re crazed, Beresford, Star; 
You can^t let those girls go off alone, 
of it if you do,*' 

Tommy turned to Tuppence. 

*'Get out at once. Tuppence. Take her with you, and 
do just as I say. No one wiO do you any harm. You're 
safe. Talte the train to London. Go straight to Sir 
James Peel Edgerton. Mr. Garter lives out of tovn, 
but you'll be safe with him." 

"Dam you [" cried Juliua. **You*re mad. Jane, yoa 
stay where you are.'* 

With a sudden swift movement^ Tommy snatdied the 
revolver from Julius's hand, and levelled it at him. 

**Now will you believe I'm in earnest? Get oat, both 
of you, and do as I say — or 1*11 shoot I" 

Tuppence sprang out, dragging the unwilling Jane 



CHAPTER XXV 

JAKS'S 8TOKT 

HER arm through Jane's, dragging her along. 
Tuppence reached the station. Her quick ears 
caught the sound of the approaching train. 

**Hurry up," she panted, "or weHl miss it." 

They arrived on the platform just as the train came 
to a standstill. Tuppence opened the door of an empty 
first-^lass compartment, and the two girls sank down 
breathless on the padded seats. 

A man looked in, then passed on to the next carriage. 
Jane started nervously. Her eyes dilated with terror. 
She looked questioningly at Tuppence. 

"Is he one of them, do you think?" she breathed. 

Tuppence shook her head. 

"No, no. It's all right." She took Jane's hand in 
hers. "Tommy wouldn't have told us to do this unless 
he was sure we'd be all right.** 

"But he doesn't know them as I doP' The girl 
shivered. "You can't understand. Five years! Five 
long years ! Sometimes I thought I should go mad.'* 

"Never mind. It's all over.** 

"Is it?" 

The train was moving now, speeding through the 

night at a gradually increasing rate. Suddenly Jane 

Finn started up. 

286 



can't help it. Ifthe: 
eyes opened wide ano 

*'DonUr implored 
think. You can be 
have said it was safe i 

^^My cousin didn't 
do this." 

"No," said Tuppenc 

"What are you thin. 

"Why?" 

"Your voice was so— 

**I was thinking of s 
"But I don't want to 
wrong, but I don't thin] 
into my head a long ti 
I'm almost sure he has. 
be time enough for tha 
all! Dn ^^-^ ^ - 



JANE'S STORY 287 

hertdf she was neirous. Her ejres flashed eontiniiallj 
from one window to the other. She noted the exact 
position of the communication cord. What it was that 
she feared, she would have been hard put to it to say. 
But in her own mind she was far from feeling the confi- 
dence displayed in her words. Not that she disbelieved 
in Tommy, but occasionally she was shaken with doubts 
as to whether anyone so simple and honest as he was 
could ever be a match for the fiendish subtlety of the 
arch-criminal. 

If they once reached Sir James Peel Edgerton in 
safety, all would be well. But would they reach him? 
Would not the silent forces of Mr. Brown already be 
assembling against them? Even that last picture of 
Tommy, revolver in hand, failed to comfort her. By 
now he might be overpowered, borne down by sheer force 
of numbers. . . . Tuppence mapped out her plan of 
campaign. 

As the train at length drew slowly into Charing Cross, 
Jane Finn sat up with a start. 

**Have we arrived? I never thought we should!'' 

'^h, I thought we'd get to London all right. If 
there's going to be any fun, now is when it will begin. 
Quick, get out. We'll nip into a taxi." 

In another minute they were passing the barrier, had 
paid the necessary fares, and were stepping into a taxi. 

'^ng's Cross," directed Tuppence. Then she gave a 
jump. A man looked in at the window, just as they 
started. She was almost certain it was the same man 
who had got into the carriage next to them. She had a 
horrible feeling of being slowly hemmed in on every side. 



ITie two girl, ^ 

minutes later thejrwer 
'^tracing their steps, i 
■lerrace. 

"^"«'" "-id Tup 
«»» ought to do then, 
«a«y rather clever' 

";7' But I took lu- 
Po'tal order to-nior™^, 
happen, to bege„„..„. 

There was a grinding 

tax, had collided with th 

In a flash Tuppence . 

^n"T^ '•^ -PProachi 
P«^»<^o had handed the dri 

Jane had merged thon,.„,„ 



JANE'S STORY 289 

•*I don't know. It might have been either." 

Hand-in-hand» the two girls hurried along. 

**It may be my fancy," aaid Tuppence suddenly, *1)ut 
I feel as though there was some one behind us." 

•^Hurry !" murmured the other. **0h, hurry !" 

They were now at the comer of Carlton House Ter- 
race, and their spirits lightened. Suddenly a large and 
apparently intoxicated man barred their way. 

**Good evening, ladies," he hiccupped. "Whither 
away so fast?" 

*'Let us pass, please," said Tuppence imperiously. 

•'Just a word with your pretty friend here." He 
stretched out an unsteady hand, and clutched Jane by 
the shoulder. Tuppence heard other footsteps behind. 
She did not pause to ascertain whether they were friends 
or foes. Lowering her head, she repeated a manoeuvre 
of childish days, and butted their aggressor full in the 
capacious middle. The success of these unsportsman- 
like tactics was immediate. The man sat down abruptly 
on the pavement. Tuppence and Jane took to their 
heels. The house they sought was some way down. 
Other footsteps echoed behind them. Their breath was 
coming in choking gasps as they reached Sir James's 
door. Tuppence seized the bell and Jane the knocker. 

The man who had stopped them reached the foot of 
the steps. For a moment he hesitated, and as he did so 
the door opened. They fell into the hall together. Sir 
James came forward from the library door. 

"Huflo! What's this?" 

He stepped forward, and put his arm round Jane as 
•he swayed uncertainly. He half carried her into the 



QouBcallj. 

bo«ted Tuppence. 
So,t«!en«,«„yj 

*»dth«tth,V'-hetur, 
J^wJanePinnp,, 

J«ne sat up. 

InfT*''" "^^ ""<* quiet] 
'ot to tel] jou." 

;^^nj.ou.rest«„, 
^o— now!" Kp^ , 



JANE'S STORY 291 

and they were accepted. I hadn't got any folk of my 
own, so it made it easy to arrange things. 

^'When the Lusitatda was torpedoed, a man came np 
to me. I'd noticed him more than once — and I'd figured 
it out in my own mind that he was afraid of somebody 
or something. He asked me if I was a patriotic Ameri- 
can, and told me he was carrying papers which were just 
life or death to the Allies. He asked me to take charge 
of them. I was to watch for an advertisement in the 
Time». If it didn't appear, I was to take them to the 
American Ambassador. 

^Most of what followed seems like a nightmare stilL 
I see it in my dreams sometimes. . . . I'll hurry over 
that part. Mr. Danvers had told me to watch out. He 
might have been shadowed from New York, but he didn't 
think so. At first I had no suspicions, but on the boat 
to Holyhead I began to get uneasy. There was one 
woman who had been very keen to look after me, and 
chum up with me generally — a Mrs. Yandemeyer. At 
first rd been only grateful to her for being so kind to 
me; but all the time I felt there was something about 
her I didn't like, and on the Irish boat I saw her talking 
to some queer-looking men, and from the way they 
looked I saw that they were talking about me. I remem- 
bered that she'd been quite near me on the Lusitania 
when Mr. Danvers gave me the packet, and before that 
she'd tried to talk to him once or twice. I began to get 
•cared, but I didn't quite see what to do. 

^I had a wild idea of stopping at Holyhead, and not 
going on to London that day, but I soon saw that that 
would be plumb foolishness. The only thing was to act 



292 



THE SECRET AD\^RSARY 



as though I'd noticed Bothing, and hope for the best, I 
couldn*t see how thej could get me if I was on my guanl 
One thing Vd done already as a precaution — ripped 
open the oilskin packet and substituted bl&nk papeft 
and then sewn it up again. So, if anyone did manage l© 
rob me of it> it wouldn't matter. 

*'\Vhat to do with the real thing worried me no end- 
Finally I opened it out flat — there were only two aheets 
— and laid it between two of the advertisement pages of 
a magazine. I stuck the two pages together round the 
edge with some gum off an envelope. I carried the 
magazine carelessly stuffed into the pocket of my ulster. 

'*At Holyhead I tried to get into a carriage with 
people that looked all right, but in a queer way there 
seemed always to be a crowd round me shoving and 
pushing me just the way I didnH want to go. There 



JANE'S STORY 298 

in the corridor as quick as ever I coulcL I got up, try- 
ing to look natural and easy. Perhaps they saw some- 
thing — ^I dont know — but suddenly Mrs. Vandemeyer 
said 'Now/ and flung something over my nose and mouth 
as I tried to scream. At the same moment I felt a ter- 
rific blow on the back of my head. . . •" 

She shuddered. Sir James murmured something sym- 
pathetically. In a minute she resumed : 

^I don't know how long it was before I came back to 
consciousness. I felt very ill and sick* I was lying on 
a dirty bed. There was a screen round it, but I could 
hear two people talking in the room. Mrs. Vandemeyer 
was one of them. I tried to listen, but at first I couldn't 
take much in. When at last I did begin to grasp what 
was going on — ^I was just terrified! I wonder I didn't 
scream right out there and then. 

''They hadn't found the papers. They'd got the oil- 
skin packet with the blanks, and they were just mad! 
They didn't know whether Pd changed the papers, or 
whether Danvers had been carrying a dummy message, 
while the real one was sent another way. They spoke 
©r* — she closed her eyes — ^"torturing me to find out ! 

"Td never known what fear — really sickening fear — 
was before ! Once they came to look at me. I shut my 
eyes and pretended to be still unconscious, but I was 
afraid they'd hear the beating of my heart. However, 
they went away again. I began thinking madly. What 
could I do? I knew I wouldn't be able to stand up 
against torture very long. 

''Suddenly something put the thought of loss of 
memory into my head. The subject had always inter- 



««MUUI,AUUJ» Mitt 1 

''It puzded her, I 
had been talking to. 
face In shadow. He i 
was very ordinary a 
know why, he scared i 
he'd see right througl 
part. I asked again w^ 
there was something I 
— only for the moment . 
up to be more and moi 
name. I said I didn't k 
anj'thing at all. 

^'Suddenly he caught 
The pap was awful, 
screamed and screamed 
things in French. I do 
gone on, but luckily I f 

mruo V* — 



JANETS STORY 295 

honey to me. She'd had her orders, I guess. She spoke 
to me in French — ^told me Fd had a shock and been very 
ill. I should be better soon. I pretended to be rather 
dazed — murmured something about the ^doctor* haying 
hurt my wrist. She looked relieved when I said that. 

^'By and by she went out of the room altogether. I 
was suspicious stiH, and lay quite quiet for some time. In 
the end, however, I got up and walked round the room, 
examining it. I thought that even if anyone was watch- 
ing me from somewhere, it would seem natural enough 
under the circumstances. It was a squalid, dirty place. 
There were no windows, which seemed queer. I guessed 
the door would be locked, but I didn't try it. There 
were some battered old pictures on the walls, represent- 
ing scenes from Fauii** 

Jane's two listeners gave a simultaneous ^Ah P The 
girl nodded. 

^^es — it was the place in Soho where Mr. Beresford 
was imprisoned. Of course, at the time I didn't even 
know if I was in London. One thing was worrying me 
dreadfully, but my heart gave a great throb of relief 
when I saw my ulster lying carelessly over the back of a 
chair. And the magasAne was »tiU roUed up in the 
pocket! 

^If only I could be certain that I was not being over- 
looked! I looked carefully round the walls. There 
didn't seem to be a peep-hole of any kind — nevertheless 
I felt kind of sure there must be. All of a sudden I sat 
down on the edge of the table, and put my face in my 
hands, sobbing out a 'Mon Dieu ! Mon Dieu !' I've got 



296 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



very sharp ears. I distinctly heard the rustle of e 
dress, and slight creak* That was enough for me. I 
was being watched ! 

"I lay down on the bed again, and by and by Mrs- 
Vandemeyer brought me some supper. She was still 
sweet as they niake them- I guess she*d been told to win 
mj confidence. Presently she produced the oilskiii 
packet, and asked me if I recognized it, watching me 
like a lynx all the time. 

"I took it and turned It over in a ptizzled sort of way- 
Then I shoot my head. I said that I felt I aught to 
remember something about it, that it was just as though 
it was all coming back, and then, before I could get hold 
of it, it went again. Then she told me that I was her 
niece, and that I was to call her *Aunt Rita,* I did 
obediently, and she told me not to worry — my memory 



JANE'S STORY 297 

together pages from the magazine, and now I slipped 
them with their precious enclosure between the picture 
and its brown paper backing. A little gum from the 
envelopes helped me to stick the latter up again. No 
one would dream the picture had ever been tampered 
with. I rehung it on the wall, put the magazine back in 
my coat pocket, and crept back to bed. I was pleased 
with my hiding-place. They'd never think of pulling to 
pieces one of their own pictures. I hoped that they'd 
come to the conclusion that Danvers had been carrying 
a dummy all along, and that, in the end, they'd let me 
go. 

**As a matter of fact, I guess that's what they did 
think at first and, in a way, it was dangerous for me. I 
learnt afterwards that they nearly did away with me 
then and there — there was never much chance of their 
letting me go' — but the first man, who was the boss, 
preferred to keep me alive on the chance of my having 
hidden them, and being able to tell where if I recovered 
my memory. They watched me constantly for weeks. 
Sometimes they'd ask me questions by the hour — I guess 
there was nothing they didn't know about the third 
degree ! — but somehow I managed to hold my own. The 
strain of it was awful, though . . . 

•TTiey took me back to Ireland, and over every step 
of the journey again, in case I'd hidden it somewhere 
en route. Mrs. Yandemeyer and another woman never 
left me for a moment. They spoke of me as a young 
rdative of Ifrs. Yandemeyer's whose mind was affected 
by the shock of the Lusitafda. There was no one I 
eoald appeal to for help without giving myself away to 



298 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



tJum, and if I risked it and failed — and Mrs. Vaoifc' 
meyer looked so rich^ and so beautifully dressed^ that I 
felt convinced they'd take her word against miiie^ aj]d 
think it was part of my mental trouble to think mys^ 
'persecuted' — I felt that the horrors in store for me 
would be too awful once they knew I'd been only shamr, ^ 
ming." ^ 

Sir James nodded comprehendiogly. 

*'Mrs* Vandemeyer was a woman of great personality. 
With that and her social position she would have bad 
little difficulty in imposing her point of view in pref- 
erence to yours. Your sensational accusations against 
her would not easily have found credence," 

"That's what I thought. It ended in my being sent 
to a sanatorium at Bournemouth^ I could oH make up 
my mind at first whether it was a sham affair or genuine. 



JANE'S STORY 299 

sane person shut up in a lunatic asylum often ends by 
becoming insane, they say. I guess I was like that. 
Flaying my part had become second nature to me. I 
wasn't even unhappy in the end — ^just apathetic. Noth- 
ing seemed to matter. And the years went on. 

^And then suddenly things seemed to change. Mrs. 
Vandemeyer came down from London. She and the 
doctor asked me questions, experimented with various 
treatments. There was some talk of eending me to a 
specialist in Paris. In the end, they did not dare risk it. 
I overheard something that seemed to show that other 
]>eople — friends — were looking for me. I learnt later 
that the nurse who had looked after me went to Paris, 
and consulted a specialist, representing herself to be me. 
He put her through some searching tests, and exposed 
her loss of memory to be fraudulent ; but she had taken 
a note of his methods and reproduced them on me. I 
dare say I couldn't have deceived the specialist for a 
minute — a man who has made a lifelong study of a thing 
is unique— but I managed once again to hold my own 
with them. The fact that I'd not thought of myself as 
Jane Finn for so long made it easier. 

^ne night I was whisked off to London at a mo- 
ment's notice. They took me back to the house in Soho. 
Once I got away from the sanatorium I felt different — 
as though something in me that had been buried for a 
long time was waking up again. 

^^They sent me in to wait on Mr. Beresford. (Of 
course I didn't know his name then.) I was suspicious 
— -I thought it was another trap. But he looked so 
honest, I could hardly believe it. However, I was care- 



wanted to go back to Ma 
three times very loud. I 
meant Mrs. Yandemeyer, 
Mr. Beresf ord think of th 
the first day — ^that's whi 
him." 

She paused. 
"Then the papers,** sai 
at the back of the picture 
"Yes." The girl had su: 
with the strain of the long 
Sir James rose to his fee 
*'Come," he said, "we mi 
"To-night?" queried Tu 
"To-morrow may be 
gravely. "Besides, by g 
chance of capturing that ^ 



JANE'S STORY 801 

lead him. But the Soho house is under police super- 
▼ision night and day. There are several men watching 
it. When we enter that house, Mr. Brown will not draw 
back — ^he will risk all, on the chance of obtaining the 
spark to fire his mine. And he fancies the risk not 
great — since he will enter in the guise of a friend r* 

Tuppence flushed, then opened her mouth impulsively. 

•*But there'fl something you don't know — ^that we 
haven't told you." Her eyes dwelt on Jane in per- 
plexity. 

"What is that?" asked the other sharply. **No hesi- 
tations. Miss Tuppence. We need to be sure of our 
going." 

But Tuppence, for once, seemed tongue-tied. 

•*It's so difficult — ^you see, if I'm wrongf— oh, it would 
be dreadful." She made a grimace at the unconscious 
Jane. **Never forgive me," she observed cryptically. 

**You want me to help you out, eh?" 

*^es, please. Tau know who Mr. Brown is, don't 
you?" 

•TTes," said Sir James gravely. **At last I do." 

•*At last?" queried Tuppence doubtfully. "Oh, but 
I thought ^" She paused. 

•TTou thought correctly, Miss Tuppence. I have 
been morally certain of his identity for some time — ever 
since the night of Mrs. Yandemeycr's mysterious death." 

**AhP' breathed Tuppence. 

"For there we are up against the logic of facts. 
There are only two solutions. Either the chloral was 
administered by her own hand, which theory I reject 
utterly, or els e ' ^ 



AAviruitammery ms the m 
wms a wen-known figure 
impossible that he and Hi 
same. But you cannot 
Since the thing was so- 
ber Mrs. Vandemeyer's . 
tion. Another proof, if 
^I took an early opp 
From «ome words of Mr. 
I gathered that you had 
hint. Then I set to wor 
sible. Mr. Beresford rai 
had already suspected, 1 
Jane Finn had never real 



mer's possession " 

But the girl interrupte 

cried out angrily : 

"What do you mean? 



CHAPTER XXVI 



MB. BKOWK 



Snt JAMES' words came like a bomb-shelL Both 
girk looked equally puzzled. The lawyer went 
across to his desk, and returned with a small news- 
paper cutting, which he handed to Jane. Tuppence 
read it over her shoulder. Mr. Carter would have recoj^ 
nized it. It referred to the mysterious man found dead 
in New York. 

^As I was saying to Miss Tuppence,'* resumed the 
lawyer, ^I set to work to prove the impossible possible. 
The great stumbling-block was the undeniable fact that 
Julius Hersheimmer was not an assumed name. When 
I came across this paragraph my problem was solved. 
Julius Hersheimmer set out to discover what had be- 
come of his cousin. He went out West, where he ob- 
tained news of her and her photograph to aid him in his 
search. On the eve of his departure from New York 
he was set upon and murdered. His body was dressed 
in shabby clothes, and the face disfigured to prevent 
identification. Mr. Brown took his place. He safled 
immediately for England. None of the real Hersheim- 
mer's friends or intimates saw him before he sailed — 
though indeed it would hardly have mattered if they 
had, the impersonation was so perfect. Since then he 
liad been hand and glove with those sworn to hunt him 

803 



Picion. He near 
"I can't believ. 
splendid." 

"The real Julf, 

And Mr, Brown i 

Tuppence if she a; 

Jane turned mu 

**I didn't want t 

y°"- And, after, 

understand whj, if 

"Was it J^u^, 

escape?" 

Tuppence recoun 

of the evening, endi, 

"Can't you? Ic, 

«<^t'ons. As a last h 

«cape-and the esc 

'iarbours n^ ,..- . . 



MR. BROWN 805 

but don't hit anybody. What would have happened 
next? You would have driven straight to the house in 
Soho and secured the document which Miss Finn would 
probably have entrusted to her cousin's keeping. Or, if 
he conducted the search, he would have pretended to find 
the hiding-place already rifled. He would have had a 
dozen ways of dealing with the situation, but the result 
would have been the same. And I rather fancy some 
accident would have happened to both of you. You see, 
you know rather an inconvenient amount. That's a 
rough outline. I admit I was caught napping; but 
somebody else wasn't." 

"Tommy ,** said Tuppence softly. 

"Yes. Evidently when the right moment came to get 
rid of him — ^he was too sharp for them. All the same, 
I'm not too easy in my mind about him.'' 

**Why?" 

"Because Julius Hersheimmer is Mr. Brown," said 
Sir James dryly. "And it takes more than one man and 
a revolver to hold up Mr. Brown. . . ." 

Tuppence paled a little. 

"What can we do?" 

"Nothing untfl we've been to the house in Soho. If 
Beresford has still got the upper hand, there's nothing 
to fear. If otherwise, our enemy will come to find us, 
and he will not find us unprepared!" From a drawer in 
the desk, he took a service revolver, and placed it in his 
coat pocket. 

"Now we're ready. I know better than even to sug- 
gest going without you. Miss Tuppenc 

"I should think so indeed !" 



drive Tuppence'. 

n»omentarjquai„ 

could not but feel 

The car drew u 

sot out. Sir Jam 

*« on dutj witi 

Then he rejoined t 
"No one has got 
»*tched at the ba< 
*hat. Anjonewho 
«o i«^ill be arrested 
A policeman pre 
James well. Tliej }; 
P'^nce. Only the tl 
known to them. T] 
the door to behind 
'^cketjr stairs. At 
hiding tho ro^ . 



MR. BROWN 807 

out the outline of a form. • • • Supposing Mr. Brown 
— Julius — was there waiting. • • • 

Impossible of course! Yet she almost went back to 
put the curtain aside and make sure. • • . 

Now they were entering the prison room. No place 
for any one to hide here, thought Tuppence, with a sigh 
of relief, then chided herself indignantly. She must not 
give way to this foolish fancying — this curious insistent 
feeling that Mr. Brawn was in the house. • • • Hark! 
what was that? A stealthy footstep on the stairs? 
There teas some one in the house! Absurd! She was 
becoming hysterical. 

Jane had gone straight to the picture of Marguerite. 
She unhooked it with a steady hand. The dust lay 
thick upon it, and festoons of cobwebs lay between it 
and the walL Sir James handed her a pocket-knife, 
and she ripped away the brown paper from the back. 
• • • The advertisement page of a magazine fell out. 
Jane picked it up. Holding apart the frayed inner 
edges she extracted two thin sheets covered with 
writing! 

No dummy this time! The real thing! 

**We've got it,^ said Tuppence. "At last. . . ." 

The moment was almost breathless in its emotion. 
Forgotten the faint creakings, the imagined noises of a 
minute ago. None of them had eyes for anything but 
what Jane held in her hand. 

Sir James took it, and scrutinized it attentively. 

•'Yes,'* he said quietly, "this is the ill-fated draft 
treaty P* 



308 



THE SECRET ADVERS.\11Y 



''We've succeeded,** said Tuppence, There was am 
and an almost wondering unbelief in her voice. 

Sir James echoed her words as he folded the paper 
carefully and put it away in his pocket-hook, thefi be 
looked curiously round the dingy room* 

**It was here that our young friend was confined far 
so long, was it not?" he said, **A truly minister room. 
You notice the absence of windows, and the thickmesi of 
the close-fittjDg door. Whatever took place here wotdl 
never he heard by the outside world." 

Tuppence shivered. His words woke a vague alarm ta 
her. What if there wm some one concealed in tbt 
house? Some one who might bar that door on theso, 
aod leave them to die like rats in a trap? Then she 
realized the absurdity of her thought. The house wmm 
surrounded by police who, if they failed to reappear. 



MR. BROWN 809 

Stupefied, unbelieving, they stared at him. The very 
lines of his face had changed. It was a different man 
who stood before them. He smiled a slow cruel «mile. 

"Neither of you will leave this room alive ! You said 
just now we had succeeded. / have succeeded! The 
draft treaty is mine.'* His smile grew wider as he 
looked at Tuppence. "Shall I tell you how it will be? 
Sooner or later the police will break in, and they will 
find three victims of Mr. Brown — three, not two, you 
understand, but fortunately the third will not be dead, 
only wounded, and will be able to describe the attack 
with a wealth of detail ! The treaty? It is in the hands 
of Mr. Brown. So no one will think of searching the 
pockets of Sir James Peel EdgertonT* 

He turned to Jane. 

"You outwitted me. I make my acknowledgments. 
But you will not do it again.'' 

There was a faint sound behind him, but, intoxicated 
with success, he did not turn his head. 

He slipped his hand into his pocket. 

"Checkmate to the Young Adventurers," he said, 
and slowly raised the big automatic. 

But, even as he did so, he felt himself seized from be- 
hind in a grip of iron. The revolver was wrenched from 
his hand, and the voice of Julius Hersheimmer said 
drawlingly: 

"I guess you^re caught redhanded with the goods 
upon you.** 

The Uood rushed to the K.C.'s face, but his self-con- 
trol was marvellous, as he looked from one to the other 
of his two captors. He looked longest at Tommy. 



Then his face ch. 
shudder he fell forw 
odour of bitter abnoi 



CHAPTER XXVn 

A SUPPXE PAETT AT THK "gAVOT** 

THE supper party given by Mr. Julius Hersheim- 
mer to a few friends on the evening of the 80th 
will long be remembered in catering circles. It 
took place in a private room, and Mr. Hersheimmer's 
orders were brief and forcible. He gave carte blanche 
— ^and when a millionaire gives carte blanche he usually 
gets it! 

Every delicacy out of season was duly provided* 
Waiters carried bottles of ancient and royal vintage 
with loving care. The floral decorations defied the 
seasons, and fruits of the earth as far apart as May and 
November found themselves miraculously side by side. 
The list of guests was small and select. The American 
Ambassador, Mr. Carter, who had taken the liberty, he 
said, of bringing an old friend. Sir William Beresford, 
with him. Archdeacon Cowley, Dr. Hall, those two 
youthful adventurers, Miss Prudence Cowley and Mr. 
Thomas Beresford, and last, but not least, as guest of 
honour. Miss Jane Finn. 

Julius had spared no pains to make Jane's appear- 
ance a success. A mysterious knock had brought Tup- 
pence to the door of the apartment she was sharing with 
the American girl. It was Julius. In his hand he held 
a cheque. 



312 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"Sa jt Tuppence,** he began, **wfll you do me a good 
tam? Take this, and get Jane regularly togged up for 
this evening, You*re all coming to supper with me at 
the Savop, See? Spare no expense. You get me?^ 

**Sure thing,'* mimicked Tuppence. **We shall emjoj 
ourselves! It will be a pleasure dressing Jane. Sh«r*f 
the loveliest thing I've ever seen." 

"That's so," agreed Mr- Hersheiininer fervently. 

His fervour brought a momentary twinkle to Tup- 
pence's eye. 

**By the way, Julius," she remarked demurely^ **I 
— haven't given you my answer yet." 

"Answer?" said Julius. His face paled. 

"You know — when you asked me to — marry you,^ 
faltered Tuppence, her eyes downcast in the true manner 
torian heroine, *'and wouldo^t take no 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOy* 818 

^Shucks r^ retorted Tuppence. She laughed, and 
doted the door, reopening it to add with dignity: 
'Morally, I shall always consider I have been jilted!** 

*nVhat was it?" asked Jane as Tuppence rejoined 
her. 

•^Julius." 

"What did he want?" 

"Really, I think, he wanted to see you, but I wasn't 
going to let him. Not until to-night, when you're going 
to burst upon every one like King Solomon in his glory ! 
Come on ! We^re going to thopP* 

To most people the 29th, the much-heralded "Labour 
Day," had passed much as any other day. Speeches 
were made in the Park and Trafalgar Square. Strag- 
gling processions, singing the Red Flag^ wandered 
through the streets in a more or less aimless manner. 
Newspapers which had hinted at a general strike, and 
the inauguration of a reign of terror, were forced to 
hide their diminished heads. The bolder and more 
astute among them sought to prove that peace had been 
effected by following their counsels. In the Sunday 
papers a brief notice of the sudden death of Sir James 
Peel Edgerton, the famous K.C., had appeared. Mon- 
day's papers dealt appreciatively with the dead man's 
career. The exact manner of his sudden death was 
never made public. 

Tonmiy had been right in his forecast of the situa- 
tion. It had been a one-man show. Deprived of their 
chief, the organization fell to pieces. Kramenin had 
made a precipitate return to Russia, leaving England 
early on Sunday morning. The gang had fled from 



•• » cat'« paw. Certai] 
Government, and were c 
Peace, not War! 

But the Cabinet knew 

had escaped utter diss 

Carter's brain was the i 

place in the house in Soh 

He had entered the sc 

man, the friend of a lifet; 

own mouth. From the d 

retrieved the ill-omened 

there, in the presence of t 

duced to ashes. . . . En^ 

And now, on the eveni 

room at the Savotf, Mr. J 

ceiving his guests. 

Mr. Carter was the firs 
dioleric-looking old gen 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOY^ 816 

mother must have brought you up well after alL Shall 
we let bygones be bygones, eh? You're my heir, you 
know; and in future I propose to make you an allow- 
ance — ^and you can look upon Chahners Park as your 
home.** 

^Thank you, sir, it's awfully decent of you.'* 

**Where's this young lady I've been hearing such a 
lot about?" 

Tommy introduced Tuppence. 

•*Ha!" said Sir WiUiam, eyeing her. "Girls aren't 
what they used to be in my young days." 

•*Ye«, they are," said Tuppence. "Their clothes are 
different, perhaps, but they themselves are just the 



*Well, perhaps you're right. Minxes then — minxes 



now 



i»> 



••That's it," said Tuppence. "I'm a frightful minx 
myself." 

••I believe you," said the old gentleman, chuckling, 
and pinched her ear in high good-humour. Most young 
women were terrified of the "old bear," as they termed 
him. Tuppence's pertness delighted the old misogynist. 

Then came the timid archdeacon, a little bewildered 
by the company in which he found himself, glad that his 
daughter was considered to have distinguished herself, 
but unable to help glancing at her from time to time 
with nervous apprehension. But Tuppence behaved 
admirably. She forbore to cross her legs, set a guard 
upon her tongue, and steadfastly refused to smoke. 

Dr. Hall came next, and he was followed by the 
American Ambassador. 



316 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



-^We miglit as wdl sit down/' said Jalius^ wtesi lie 
had introduced all his guests to each other. **Tup- 
peoce, will you '* 

He indicated the place of honour with a wa^t of Wbj 
hand. ^H 

But Tuppence shook her head, '"" 

**No— that*s JaDe*s place! When one thinks of how 
she's held out all these years, she ought to be made the 
queen of the feast to*night." 

Julius flung her a grateful glance^ and Jane came 
forward shyly to the allotted scat. Beautiful as she 
had seemed before, it was as nothing to the loveliness 
that now went fully adorned* Tuppence had perfornied 
her part faithfully. The model gown supplied by a 
famous dressmaker had been entitled "A tiger lily.** R 
is and reds and browns, and out of it rose the 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOY'^ 81T 

graph in the New York paper suggested the plan to 
him, and by means of it he wove a web that nearly en- 
meshed you fatally.'* 

"I never liked him,** said Julius. "I felt from the 
first that there was something wrong about him» and I 
always suspected that it was he who silenced Mrs. 
Vandemeyer so appositely. But it wasn't till I heard 
that the order for Tommy's execution came right on 
the heels of our interview with him that Sunday that I 
began to tumble to the fact that he was the big bug 
himself." 

^I never suspected it at all," lamented Tuppence. 
•*rve always thought I was so much cleverer than 
Tommy — but he's undoubtedly scored over me hand- 
somely." 

Julius agreed. 

tommy's been the goods this trip ! And, instead of 
sitting there as dumb as a fish, let him banish his blushes, 
and tell us all about it.'* 

•^earlhearP' 

••There's nothing to tell," said Tommy, acutely un- 
comfortable. ••! was an awful mug — right up to the 
time I found that photograph of Annette, and realized 
that she was Jane Finn. Then I remembered how per- 
sistently she had shouted out that word ••Marguerite" 
— and I thought of the pictures, and — ^well, that's that. 
Then of course I went over the whole thing to see where 
I'd made an ass of myself." 

••Gro on," said Mr. Carter, as Tommy showed signs of 
taking refuge in silence once more. 

••That business about Mrs. Vandemeyer had worried 



either waj. Ij 

B»"own,8ajing] 

Sir James's lett 

«o that he wou] 

''rote mj fetter 

Taking him into 

«'ther waj, so I 

ieved the papers 

«et on the tract 

armed me, but no 

the two of them. 

Tuppence— and I 

"But how?" 

Tommy toot th( 

passed it round th. 

"It's her handwi 

from her because , 

her name 'Twon^n, 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOy* 819 

bursting up in his car» I felt it wasn't part of Mr. 
Brown's plan — and that there would probably be 
trouble. Unless Sir James was actually caught in the 
act, so to speak, I knew Mr. Carter would never believe 
it of him on my bare word ^ 

**I didn't,*' interposed Mr. Carter ruefully. 

^^That's why I sent the girls off to Sir James. I was 
sure they'd fetch up at the house in Soho sooner or 
later. I threatened Julius with the revolver, because I 
wanted Tuppence to repeat that to Sir James, so that 
he wouldn't worry about us. The moment the girls were 
out of sight I told Julius to drive like hell for London, 
and as we went along I told him the whole story. We 
got to the Soho house in plenty of time and met Mr. 
Carter outside. After arranging things with him we 
went in and hid behind the curtain in the recess. The 
ix>licemen had orders to say, if they were asked, that no 
one had gone into the house. That's all." 

And Tommy came to an abrupt halt. 

There was silence for a moment. 

**By the way," said Julius suddenly, **you're all 
wrong about that photograph of Jane. It was taken 
from me, but I found it again." 

•*Where?" cried Tuppence. 

^In that little safe on the wall in Mrs. Vandemeyer's 
bedroom." 

^^I knew you found something," said Tuppence 
reproachfully, ^^o tell you the truth, that's what 
started me off suspecting you. Why didn't you say?" 

^I guess I was a mite suspicious too. It had been got 
away from me once, and I determined I wouldn't let on 



uevea isir dames JTeel 
to speak, he was can^ 
not until I read the e 
hring myself fully to 
book will pass into the 
it will never he public 
association with the 
But to you, who know 
tain passages which ii 
traordinary mentality 
He opened the book, 

^^ • • It is madness 
It is documentary evi< 
never shrunk from taki 
need for self-expressio 
taken from my dead bo( 

". . . From an early 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOY^ 821 

^. • • When I was a boy I heard a famous murder 
triaL I waa deeply impressed by the power and 
eloquence of the counsel for the defence. For the first 
time I entertained the idea of taking my talents to that 
particular market. • • • Then I studied the criminal 
in the dock. . . . The man was a fool — ^he had been 
incredibly, unbeUevably stupid. Even the eloquence of 
his counsel was hardly likely to save him. I felt an 
immeasurable contempt for him. • . • Then it occurred 
to me that the criminal standard was a low one. It was 
the wastrels, the failures, the general riff-raff of civiliza- 
tion who drifted into crime. . . . Strange that men of 
brains had never realized its extraordinary oppor- 
tunities. ... I played with the idea. . • • What a 
magnificent field — ^what unlimited possibilities ! It made 
my brain reel. . . • 

*^ . . I read standard works on crime and criminals. 
They all confirmed my opinion. Degeneracy, disease — 
never the deliberate embracing of a career by a far- 
seeing man. Then I considered. Supposing my utmost 
ambitions were realized — that I was called to the bar, 
and rose to the height of my profession? That I en- 
tered politics — say, even, that I became Prime Minister 
of England? What then? Was that power? Ham- 
j)ered at every turn by my colleagues, fettered by the 
democratic system of which I should be the mere figure- 
head ! No— the power I dreamed of was absolute ! An 
autocrat! A dictator! And such power could only be 
obtained by working outside the law. To play on the 
weaknesses of human nature, then on the weaknesses of 
nations^ — to get together and control a vast organisa- 



822 



THE SECRET AI3nERSARY 



tian, and finallj to overthrow the esistizi^ order, aoj 
rule 1 The thought intoxicated me. . . . 

"... I saw that I must lead two liTe&. A man Hbt 
myself ia bound to attract notice. I mast have a mc- 
cessful career which would mask mj true activities. * * » 
Also I must cultivate a personality, I modelled myself 
upon famous K.C'a, I reproduced their manner* 
isms, their magnetism. If I had chosen to be an actor, 
I should have been the greatest actor living! Xo dis- 
guises — no grease paint — no false beards ! Personality ! 
I put it on like a glove! When I shed it, I was mjsdf, 
quiet, unobtmsive, a man like every other man* I called 
myself Mr. Brown, There are hundreds of men called 
Brown^ — there are hundreds of men looking just like 
me. . • • 

**p . • I succeeded in my false career. I was bound 



A SUPPER AT THE "SAVOY'' 828 

would further my plans. The Germans are so efficient. 
Their spy system^ too^ was excellent. The streets are 
full of these boys in khaki. All empty-headed young 
fools. • • • Yet I do not know. • . • They won the war. 
• • • It disturbs me. . . • 

**. • • My plans are |;oing welL • • . A girl butted in 
—I do not think she really knew anything. . . . But 
we must give up the Esthonia. • . . No risks now. • • . 

"• • • AH goes welL The loss of memory is vexing. 
It cannot be a fake. No girl could deceive mx! • . . 

•*. . . The 29th. . . . That is very soon. . . .^ 
Mr. Carter paused. 

^ will not read the details of the coup that was 
planned. But there are just two small entries that refer 
to the three of you. In the light of what happened they 
are interesting. 

". . . By inducing the girl to come to me of her own 
accord, I have succeeded in disarming her. But she has 
intuitive flashes that might be dangerous. . . . She 
must be got out of the way. • • • I can do nothing with 
the American. He suspects and dislikes me. But he 
cannot know. I fancy my armour is impregnable. . . . 
Sometimes I fear I have underestimated the other boy. 
He is not clever, but it is hard to blind his eyes to 
facts. . . .** 

Mr. Carter shut the book« 

"A great man,'' he said. '^Genius, or insanity, who 
can say?** 

There was sQence. 

Then Mr. Carter rose to his feet. 



32^ 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"I will give you & toast. The Joint Ventore whid 
has so amply justified itsdf by success P* 

It was drunk with acclamatioiL 

**There's something more we want to hear,** eontinned 
Mr. Carter. He looked at the American AmbaaMdur* 
*'I apeak for yoa also, I know. We'll ask Alisa Jaat 
Finn to tell us the story that only Miss Tuppence hii 
heard so far — ^but before we do so we*U drink her he&ltk 
The health of one of the bravest of America's dau^ten, 
to whom is due the thanks and gratitude of two gr^t 
countries !" 



CHAPTER XXVin 



AND AFTXK 



*y ■ ^HAT was a mighty good toast, Jane,** said Mr. 
I Hersheimmer, as he and his cousin were beipg 
driven back in the Rolls-Royce to the Ritz. 

**The one to the joint venture?" 

**No — ^the one to you. There isn't another girl in the 
world who could have carried it throuj^ as you did. 
You were just wonderful !" 

Jane shook her head. 

^I don't feel wonderful. At heart I'm just tired and 
lonesome — and longing for my own country.'* 

^That brings me to something I wanted to say. I 
heard the Ambassador telling you his wife hoped you 
would come to them at the Embassy right away. That's 
good enough, but I've got another plan. Jane — ^I want 
you to marry me ! DonH get scared and say no at once. 
You can't love me right away, of course, that's impos- 
sible. But Pve loved you from the very moment I set 
eyes on your photo — and now Pve seen you Pm simply 
crazy about you! If youTl only marry me, I wont 
worry you any — ^you shall take your own time. Maybe 
youll never come to love me, and if that's the case PU 
manage to set you free. But I want the rif^t to look 

after you, and take care of you.'' 

826 



326 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"That^s what I want," said the giri wistfoDy. **Somr 
one who^ll be good to me. Ob, you don't know how lone- 
fiome I feel!" 

"Sure thing I do. Then I gue&s that's all fixed op^ 
and 111 see the archbishop about a special license ti^ 
morrow morning/* 

"Oh, Julius 1" 

"Well, I don't want to hijstle joa any, Jat»=, bat 
there's no sens^ in waiting about. Don't be scared — 
I shan't expect you to love me all at once*** 

But a small hand was slipped into his, 

**I love you now, Julius," said Jane FiniL "I loved 
you that first moment in the car when the ballet gr&sal 
your cheek. . . .*' ^ 

Five minutes later Jane murmured softly: 



AND AFTER 827 

^I thoui^t fo^" said Jane thoughtf uDy. 

<Trom all the things Tuppence didn't sayP* 

^^There you have me beat/' said Mr. Hersheinuner. 
But Jane only laughed. 

In the meantimet the Young Adventurers were sitting 
bolt upright, very stiff and ill at ease, in a taxi which, 
with a singular lack of originality, was also returning 
to the RiiK via Regent's Park. 

A terrible constraint seemed to have settled down be- 
tween them. Without quite knowing what had hap- 
pened, everything seemed changed. They were 
tongue-tied — ^paralysed. All the old camaraderie was 
gwie. 

Tuppence could think of nothing to say. 

Tommy was equally afficted. 

They sat very straight and forbore to look at each 
other. 

At last Tuppence made a desperate effort. 

"Rather fun, wasn't it?" 

"Rather." 

Another silence. 

"I like Julius," essayed Tuppence again. 

Tommy was suddenly galvanized into life. 

"You're not going to marry him, do you hear?" he 
•aid dictatorially. "I forbid it." 

**Oh P' said Tuppence meekly. 

"Absolutely, you understand." 

"He doesn't want to marry me — he really only asked 
me out of kindness." 

"That's not very likely," scoffed Tonmiy. 



328 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



"It's quite true- He^s head over ears in loTft 
Jane. I expect he*s proposiog to her now," 

**She'll do for him Tery nicdj," said Tommj 
descendingly. 

"Don't you think she's the most lovely cremtiat" 
you've ever seen?" 

**0h, I dare say.'* 

*'But 1 suppose you prefer steiUng worth," said Tup- 
pence demurely. 

"I — oh, dash it all. Tuppence, you know T* 

"I like your uncle, Tommy," said Tuppence, hastily 
creating a diversion, "By the way, what are you going 
to do, accept Mr. Carter's offer of a Govemmeiit job, 
or accept Julius's invitation and take a richly tiea mBer' 
ated post in America on his ranch?" ^HH 

"I shall stick to the old ship, I think, thougii^^ 



AND AFTER 829 

^^Tappence^ you are the limit P* 

^t has been fun» hasn't it, Tommy? I do hope we 
•hall have lots more adventures.*' 

'You're insatiable, Tuppence. Fve had quite enough 
adventures for the present.'' 

^^Well, shopping is almost as good," said Tuppence 
dreamily. ^Think of buying old furniture, and bright 
carpets, and futurist silk curtains, and a polished 
dining-table, and a divan with lots of cushions ^ 

"Hold hard," said Tommy. "What's aU this forP' 

"Possibly a house— but I think a flat." 

"Whose flat?" 

'^ou think I mind saying it, but I don't in the least ! 
OurSf so there !" 

"You darling r' cried Tonmiy, his arms tightly round 
her. "I was determined to make you say it. I owe you 
something for the relentless way you've squashed me 
whenever I've tried to be sentimentaL" 

Tuppence raised her face to his. The taxi pro- 
ceeded on its course round the north side of Regent's 
Park. 

"You haven't really proposed now," pointed out Tup- 
}>ence. "Not what our grandmothers would call a pro- 
posal. But after listening to a rotten one like Julius's, 
Pm inclined to let you off." 

"You won't be able to get out of marrying me, so 
don't you think it." 

"What fun it will be," responded Tuppence. •Ttfar- 
riage is called all sorts of things, a haven, and a refuge^ 



330 



THE SECRET ADVERSARY 



and a crowning glory, and a state of bondage^ and ktf 
more. But do jou know what I think it i*?*' 

"What?" 

**A sport r 

<^And a damned good sport too»'' said Tonmiy* 



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