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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
V Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer
|Page 2 of 4||
"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, shall 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 love money! I'll keep beautiful accounts of our expenses all debit and credit, and the balance on the right side, and red line drawn sideways with the totals the same at the bottom. I really know how to do it when I think."
"I'm sure you do. Well, good-bye, and good luck to you both."
He shook hands with them, and in another minute they were descending the steps of 27 Carshalton Terrace with their heads in a whirl.
"Tommy! Tell me at once, who is 'Mr. Carter'?"
Tommy murmured a name in her ear.
"Oh!" said Tuppence, impressed.
"And I can tell you, old bean, he's IT!"
"Oh!" said Tuppence again. Then she added reflectively,
"I like him, don't you? He looks so awfully tired and bored, and yet you feel that underneath he's just like steel, all keen and flashing. Oh!" She gave a skip. "Pinch me, Tommy, do pinch me. I can't believe it's real!"
Mr. Beresford obliged.
"Ow! That's enough! Yes, we're not dreaming. We've got a job!"
"And what a job! The joint venture has really begun."
"It's more respectable than I thought it would be," said Tuppence thoughtfully.
"Luckily I haven't got your craving for crime! What time is it? Let's have lunch--oh!"
The same thought sprang to the minds of each. Tommy voiced it first.
"Julius P. Hersheimmer!"
"We never told Mr. Carter about hearing from him."
"Well, there wasn't much to tell--not till we've seen him. Come on, we'd better take a taxi."
"Now who's being extravagant?"
"All expenses paid, remember. Hop in."
"At any rate, we shall make a better effect arriving this way," said Tuppence, leaning back luxuriously. "I'm sure blackmailers never arrive in buses!"
"We've ceased being blackmailers," Tommy pointed out.
"I'm 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 girl put him down as thirty-five. He was of middle height, and squarely built to match his jaw. His face was pugnacious but pleasant. No one could have mistaken him for anything but an American, though he spoke with very little accent.
"Get my note? Sit down and tell me right away all you know about my cousin."
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