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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIII The Vigil
|Page 5 of 6||
"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 FEEL he's here!"
She looked appealingly at Sir James, who replied gravely:
"With due deference to your feelings, Miss Tuppence (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 wards.
"Sitting up at night is always rather jumpy," she confessed.
"Yes," said Sir James. "We are in the condition of people holding a seance. Perhaps if a medium were present we might get some marvellous results."
"Do you believe in spiritualism?" asked Tuppence, opening her eyes wide.
The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.
"There is some truth in it, without a doubt. But most of the testimony would not pass muster in the witness-box."
The hours drew on. With the first faint glimmerings of dawn, Sir James drew aside the curtains. They beheld, what few Londoners see, the slow rising of the sun over the sleeping city. Somehow, with the coming of the light, the dreads and fancies of the past night seemed absurd. Tuppence's spirits revived to the normal.
"Hooray!" she said. "It's going to be a gorgeous day. And we shall find Tommy. And Jane Finn. And everything will be lovely. I shall ask Mr. Carter if I can't be made a Dame!"
At seven o'clock Tuppence volunteered to go and make some tea. She returned with a tray, containing the teapot and four cups.
"Who's the other cup for?" inquired Julius.
"The prisoner, of course. I suppose we might call her that?"
"Taking her tea seems a kind of anticlimax 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 she'll wake up in."
Sir James and Julius accompanied her to the door.
"Where's the key? Oh, of course, I've got it myself."
She put it in the lock, and turned it, then paused.
"Supposing, after all, she's escaped?" she murmured 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. "I've 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. Vandemeyer still 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. Vandemeyer would never speak now....
Her cry brought the others. A very few minutes sufficed. Mrs. Vandemeyer was dead--must have been dead some hours. She had evidently died in her sleep.
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