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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIX Jane Finn
|Page 2 of 7||
"But where is she?" demanded Julius, his thoughts flying off on another tack. "I thought you'd be sure to bring her along?"
"That would hardly be possible," said Sir James gravely.
"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 recovering 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?"
"Oh, a bruise and a cut or two; really, from a medical point of view, absurdly slight injuries to have produced such a condition. Her state is probably to be attributed to the mental shock consequent on recovering 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."
"And you just happened to be on the spot," said Tommy. "Seems 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 had before only suspected. Sir James's presence in Manchester was not accidental. Far from abandoning the case, 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 for all this secrecy. He concluded that it was a foible of the legal mind.
Julius was speaking.
"After dinner," he announced, "I shall go right away and see Jane."
"That will be impossible, I fear," said Sir James. "It is very unlikely they would allow her to see visitors at this time of night. I should suggest to-morrow morning about ten o'clock."
Julius flushed. There was something in Sir James which always stirred him to antagonism. It was a conflict of two masterful personalities.
"All the same, I reckon I'll go round there to-night and see if I can't ginger them up to break through their silly rules."
"It will be quite useless, Mr. Hersheimmer."
The words came out like the crack of a pistol, and Tommy looked up with a start. Julius was nervous and excited. The hand with which he raised his glass to his lips shook slightly, but his eyes held Sir James's defiantly. For a moment the hostility between the two seemed 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 difficulties."
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