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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XVIII The Telegram
|Page 3 of 9||
"Never mind your name," said Tommy impatiently. "Go on."
"Yes, sir. I brought them, and she told me to wait, and looked up something. And then she looks up at the clock, and 'Hurry up,' she says. 'Tell them to get me a taxi,' and she begins a-shoving on of her hat in front of the glass, and she was down in two ticks, almost as quick as I was, and I seed her going down the steps and into the taxi, and I heard her call out what I told you."
The small boy stopped and replenished his lungs. Tommy continued to stare at him. At that moment Julius rejoined him. He held an open letter in his hand.
"I say, Hersheimmer"--Tommy turned to him--"Tuppence has gone off sleuthing on her own."
"Yes, she has. She went off in a taxi to Charing Cross in the deuce of a hurry after getting a telegram." His eye fell on the letter in Julius's hand. "Oh; she left a note for you. That's all right. Where's she off to?"
Almost unconsciously, he held out his hand for the letter, but Julius folded it up and placed it in his pocket. He seemed a trifle embarrassed.
"I guess this is nothing to do with it. It's about something else--something I asked her that she was to let me know about."
"Oh!" Tommy looked puzzled, and seemed waiting for more.
"See here," said Julius suddenly, "I'd better put you wise. I asked Miss Tuppence to marry me this morning."
"Oh!" said Tommy mechanically. He felt dazed. Julius's words were totally unexpected. For the moment they benumbed his brain.
"I'd like to tell you," continued Julius, "that before I suggested anything of the kind to Miss Tuppence, I made it clear that I didn't want to butt in in any way between her and you----
Tommy roused himself.
"That's all right," he said quickly. "Tuppence and I have been pals for years. Nothing more." He lit a cigarette with a hand that shook ever so little. "That's quite all right. Tuppence always said that she was looking out for----"
He stopped abruptly, his face crimsoning, but Julius was in no way discomposed.
"Oh, I guess it'll be the dollars that'll do the trick. Miss Tuppence put me wise to that right away. There's no humbug about her. We ought to gee along together very well."
Tommy looked at him curiously for a minute, as though he were about to speak, then changed his mind and said nothing. Tuppence and Julius! Well, why not? Had she not lamented the fact that she knew no rich men? Had she not openly avowed her intention of marrying for money if she ever had the chance? Her meeting with the young American millionaire had given her the chance--and it was unlikely she would be slow to avail herself of it. She was out for money. She had always said so. Why blame her because she had been true to her creed?
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