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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIX Jane Finn
|Page 5 of 7||
"I think we can relieve her anxiety. May we go up?"
Tommy's heart beat sensibly faster as they followed the doctor upstairs. Jane Finn at last! The long-sought, the mysterious, the elusive Jane Finn! How wildly improbable success had seemed! And here in this house, her memory almost miraculously restored, lay the girl who held the future of England in her hands. A half groan broke from Tommy's lips. If only Tuppence could have been at his side to share in the triumphant conclusion of their joint venture! Then he put the thought of Tuppence resolutely aside. His confidence in Sir James was growing. There was a man who would unerringly ferret out Tuppence's whereabouts. In the meantime Jane Finn! And suddenly a dread clutched at his heart. It seemed too easy.... Suppose they should find her dead ... stricken down by the hand of Mr. Brown?
In another minute he was laughing at these melodramatic fancies. The doctor held open the door of a room and they passed in. On the white bed, bandages round her head, lay the girl. Somehow the whole scene seemed unreal. It was so exactly what one expected that it gave the effect of being beautifully staged.
The girl looked from one to the other of them with large wondering eyes. Sir James spoke first.
"Miss Finn," he said, "this is your cousin, Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer."
A faint flush flitted over the girl's face, as Julius stepped forward and took her hand.
"How do, Cousin Jane?" he said lightly.
But Tommy caught the tremor in his voice.
"Are you really Uncle Hiram's son?" she asked wonderingly.
Her voice, with the slight warmth of the Western accent, had an almost thrilling quality. It seemed vaguely familiar to Tommy, but he thrust the impression aside as impossible.
"We used to read about Uncle Hiram in the papers," continued the girl, in her low soft tones. "But I never thought I'd meet you one day. Mother figured it out that Uncle Hiram would never get over being mad with her."
"The old man was like that," admitted Julius. "But I guess the new generation's sort of different. Got no use for the family feud business. First thing I thought about, soon as the war was over, was to come along and hunt you up."
A shadow passed over the girl's face.
"They've been telling me things--dreadful things--that my memory went, and that there are years I shall never know about--years lost out of my life."
"You didn't realize that yourself?"
The girl's eyes opened wide.
"Why, no. It seems to me as though it were no time since we were being hustled into those boats. I can see it all now." She closed her eyes with a shudder.
Julius looked across at Sir James, who nodded.
"Don't worry any. It isn't worth it. Now, see here, Jane, there's something we want to know about. There was a man aboard that boat with some mighty important papers on him, and the big guns in this country have got a notion that he passed on the goods to you. Is that so?"
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