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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
VIII The Adventures of Tommy
|Page 5 of 6||
There was a pause, and then came the soft, sibilant accents of Number One:
"Good! You shall have the money. Boris, you will see to that."
Boris asked a question:
"Via the Irish Americans, and Mr. Potter as usual?"
"I guess that'll be all right!" said a new voice, with a transatlantic intonation, "though I'd like to point out, here and now, that things are getting a mite difficult. There's not the sympathy there was, and a growing disposition to let the Irish settle their own affairs without interference from America."
Tommy felt that Boris had shrugged his shoulders as he answered:
"Does that matter, since the money only nominally comes from the States?"
"The chief difficulty is the landing of the ammunition," said the Sinn Feiner. "The money is conveyed in easily enough--thanks to our colleague here."
Another voice, which Tommy fancied was that of the tall, commanding-looking man whose face had seemed familiar to him, said:
"Think of the feelings of Belfast if they could hear you!"
"That is settled, then," said the sibilant tones. "Now, in the matter of the loan to an English newspaper, you have arranged the details satisfactorily, Boris?"
"I think so."
"That is good. An official denial from Moscow will be forthcoming if necessary."
There was a pause, and then the clear voice of the German broke the silence:
"I am directed by--Mr. Brown, to place the summaries of the reports from the different unions before you. That of the miners is most satisfactory. We must hold back the railways. There may be trouble with the A.S.E."
For a long time there was a silence, broken only by the rustle of papers and an occasional word of explanation from the German. Then Tommy heard the light tap-tap of fingers, drumming on the table.
"And--the date, my friend?" said Number One.
The Russian seemed to consider:
"That is rather soon."
"I know. But it was settled by the principal Labour leaders, and we cannot seem to interfere too much. They must believe it to be entirely their own show."
The Russian laughed softly, as though amused.
"Yes, yes," he said. "That is true. They must have no inkling that we are using them for our own ends. They are honest men--and that is their value to us. It is curious--but you cannot make a revolution without honest men. The instinct of the populace is infallible." He paused, and then repeated, as though the phrase pleased him: "Every revolution has had its honest men. They are soon disposed of afterwards."
There was a sinister note in his voice.
The German resumed:
"Clymes must go. He is too far-seeing. Number Fourteen will see to that."
There was a hoarse murmur.
"That's all right, gov'nor." And then after a moment or two: "Suppose I'm nabbed."
"You will have the best legal talent to defend you," replied the German quietly. "But in any case you will wear gloves fitted with the finger-prints of a notorious housebreaker. You have little to fear."
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