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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIX Jane Finn
|Page 6 of 7||
The girl hesitated, her glance shifting to the other two. Julius understood.
"Mr. Beresford is commissioned by the British Government to get those papers back. Sir James Peel Edgerton is an English Member of Parliament, and might be a big gun in the Cabinet if he liked. It's owing to him that we've ferreted you out at last. So you can go right ahead and tell us the whole story. Did Danvers give you the papers?"
"Yes. He said they'd have a better chance with me, because they would save the women and children first."
"Just as we thought," said Sir James.
"He said they were very important--that they might make all the difference to the Allies. But, if it's all so long ago, and the war's over, what does it matter now?"
"I guess history repeats itself, Jane. First there was a great hue and cry over those papers, then it all died down, and now the whole caboodle's started all over again--for rather different reasons. Then you can hand them over to us right away?"
"But I can't."
"I haven't got them."
"You--haven't--got them?" Julius punctuated the words with little pauses.
"No--I hid them."
"You hid them?"
"Yes. I got uneasy. People seemed to be watching me. It scared me--badly." She put her hand to her head. "It's almost the last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital...."
"Go on," said Sir James, in his quiet penetrating tones. "What do you remember?"
She turned to him obediently.
"It was at Holyhead. I came that way--I don't remember why...."
"That doesn't matter. Go on."
"In the confusion on the quay I slipped away. Nobody saw me. I took a car. Told the man to drive me out of the town. I watched when we got on the open road. No other car was following us. I saw a path at the side of the road. I told the man to wait."
She paused, then went on. "The path led to the cliff, and down to the sea between big yellow gorse bushes--they were like golden flames. I looked round. There wasn't a soul in sight. But just level with my head there was a hole in the rock. It was quite small--I could only just get my hand in, but it went a long way back. I took the oilskin packet from round my neck and shoved it right in as far as I could. Then I tore off a bit of gorse--My! but it did prick--and plugged the hole with it so that you'd never guess there was a crevice of any kind there. Then I marked the place carefully in my own mind, so that I'd find it again. There was a queer boulder in the path just there--for all the world like a dog sitting up begging. Then I went back to the road. The car was waiting, and I drove back. I just caught the train. I was a bit ashamed of myself for fancying things maybe, but, by and by, I saw the man opposite me wink at a woman who was sitting next to me, and I felt scared again, and was glad the papers were safe. I went out in the corridor to get a little air. I thought I'd slip into another carriage. But the woman called me back, said I'd dropped something, and when I stooped to look, something seemed to hit me--here." She placed her hand to the back of her head. "I don't remember anything more until I woke up in the hospital."
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