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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
V Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer
|Page 1 of 4||
"WELL," said Tuppence, recovering herself, "it really seems as though it were meant to be."
"I know what you mean. I'm superstitious myself. Luck, and all that sort of thing. Fate seems to have chosen you out to be mixed up in this."
Tommy indulged in a chuckle.
"My word! I don't wonder Whittington got the wind up when Tuppence plumped out that name! I should have myself. But look here, sir, we're taking up an awful lot of your time. Have you any tips to give us before we clear out?"
"I think not. My experts, working in stereotyped ways, have failed. You will bring imagination and an open mind to the task. Don't be discouraged if that too does not succeed. For one thing there is a likelihood of the pace being forced."
Tuppence frowned uncomprehendingly.
"When you had that interview with Whittington, they had time before them. I have information that the big coup was planned for early in the new year. But the Government is contemplating legislative action which will deal effectually with the strike menace. They'll get wind of it soon, if they haven't already, and it's 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 just 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."
I think we ought to be businesslike. What exactly can we count upon you for, Mr. Carter?" Mr. Carter's lips twitched slightly, but he replied succinctly: "Funds within reason, detailed information on any point, and NO OFFICIAL 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.
"I quite understand that. I'll write out a list of the things I want to know when I've had time to think. Now--about money----"
"Yes, 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."
"Yes, but--I'm 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 months, they send us a green one, and so on--well, that won't be much use, will it?"
Mr. Carter laughed outright.
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