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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
|Page 3 of 10||
"Retire, varlet," he said, with a wave of his hand. "Prate not to thy betters."
That evening Tommy sat on the bed, and cogitated deeply. Would Conrad again accompany the girl? If he did not, should he risk trying to make an ally of her? He decided that he must leave no stone unturned. His position was desperate.
At eight o'clock the familiar sound of the key turning made him spring to his feet. The girl was alone.
"Shut the door," he commanded. "I want to speak to you." She obeyed.
"Look here, Annette, I want you to help me get out of this." She shook her head.
"Impossible. There are three of them on the floor below."
"Oh!" Tommy was secretly grateful for the information. "But you would help me if you could?"
The girl hesitated.
"I think--they are my own people. You have spied upon them. They are quite right to keep you here."
"They're a bad lot, Annette. If you'll help me, I'll take you away from the lot of them. And you'd probably get a good whack of money."
But the girl merely shook her head.
"I dare not, monsieur; I am afraid of them."
She turned away.
"Wouldn't you do anything to help another girl?" cried Tommy. "She's about your age too. Won't you save her from their clutches?"
"You mean Jane Finn?"
"It is her you came here to look for? Yes?"
The girl looked at him, then passed her hand across her forehead.
"Jane Finn. Always I hear that name. It is familiar."
Tommy came forward eagerly.
"You must know SOMETHING about her?"
But the girl turned away abruptly.
"I know nothing--only the name." She walked towards the door. Suddenly she uttered a cry. Tommy stared. She had caught sight of the picture he had laid against the wall the night before. For a moment he caught a look of terror in her eyes. As inexplicably it changed to relief. Then abruptly she went out of the room. Tommy could make nothing of it. Did she fancy that he had meant to attack her with it? Surely not. He rehung the picture on the wall thoughtfully.
Three more days went by in dreary inaction. Tommy felt the strain telling on his nerves. He saw no one but Conrad and Annette, and the girl had become dumb. She spoke only in monosyllables. A kind of dark suspicion smouldered in her eyes. Tommy felt that if this solitary confinement went on much longer he would go mad. He gathered from Conrad that they were waiting for orders from "Mr. Brown." Perhaps, thought Tommy, he was abroad or away, and they were obliged to wait for his return.
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