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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XII A Friend in Need
|Page 5 of 11||
"About nine-thirty or ten, but I could go back earlier."
"You 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. Vandemeyer 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. Go easy."
Julius turned to the lawyer.
"Say, then. I'll 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 Tuppence, my advice to you is to go and have a good dinner, a REALLY good one, mind. And don't think ahead more than you can help."
He shook hands with them both, and a moment later they were outside.
"Isn't he a duck?" inquired Tuppence ecstatically, as she skipped down the steps. "Oh, Julius, isn't he just a duck?"
"Well, I allow he seems to be the goods all right. And I was wrong about its being useless to go to him. Say, shall we go right away back to the Ritz?"
"I must walk a bit, I think. I feel so excited. Drop me in the park, will you? Unless you'd like to come too?"
"I want to get some petrol," he explained. "And send off a cable or two."
"All right. I'll meet you at the Ritz at seven. We'll have to dine upstairs. I can't show myself in these glad rags."
"Sure. I'll get Felix help me choose the menu. He's some head waiter, that. So long."
Tuppence walked briskly along towards the Serpentine, first glancing at her watch. It was nearly six o'clock. She remembered that she had had no tea, but felt too excited to be conscious of hunger. She walked as far as Kensington Gardens and then slowly retraced her steps, feeling infinitely better for the fresh air and exercise. It was not so easy to follow Sir James's advice, and put the possible events of the evening out of her head. As she drew nearer and nearer to Hyde Park corner, the temptation to return to South Audley Mansions was almost irresistible.
At any rate, she decided, it would do no harm just to go and LOOK at the building. Perhaps, then, she could 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.
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