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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIII The Vigil
|Page 1 of 6||
SIR James brushed past Julius and hurriedly bent over the fallen woman.
"Heart," he said sharply. "Seeing us so suddenly must have given her a shock. Brandy--and quickly, or she'll slip through our fingers."
Julius hurried to the washstand.
"Not there," said Tuppence over her shoulder. "In the tantalus in the dining-room. Second door down the passage."
Between them Sir James and Tuppence lifted Mrs. Vandemeyer and carried her to the bed. There they dashed water on her face, but with no result. The lawyer fingered her pulse.
"Touch and go," he muttered. "I wish that young fellow would hurry up with the brandy."
At that moment Julius re-entered the room, carrying a glass half full of the spirit which he handed to Sir James. While Tuppence lifted her head the lawyer tried to force a little of the spirit between her closed lips. Finally the woman opened her eyes feebly. Tuppence held the glass to her lips.
Mrs. Vandemeyer complied. The brandy brought the colour back to her white cheeks, and revived her in a marvellous fashion. She tried to sit up--then fell back with a groan, her hand to her side.
"It's my heart," she whispered. "I mustn't talk."
She lay back with closed eyes.
Sir James kept his finger on her wrist a minute longer, then withdrew it with a nod.
"She'll do now."
All three moved away, and stood together talking in low voices. One and all were conscious of a certain feeling of anticlimax. Clearly any scheme for cross-questioning the lady was out of the question for the moment. For the time being they were baffled, and could do nothing.
Tuppence related how Mrs. Vandemeyer had declared herself willing to disclose the identity of Mr. Brown, and how she had consented to discover and reveal to them the whereabouts of Jane Finn. Julius was congratulatory.
"That's all right, Miss Tuppence. Splendid! I guess that hundred thousand pounds will look just as good in the morning to the lady as it did over night. There's nothing to worry over. She won't speak without the cash anyway, you bet!"
There was certainly a good deal of common sense in this, and Tuppence felt a little comforted.
"What you say is true," said Sir James meditatively. "I must confess, however, that I cannot help wishing we had not interrupted at the minute we did. Still, it cannot be helped, it is only a matter of waiting until the morning."
He looked across at the inert figure on the bed. Mrs. Vandemeyer lay perfectly passive with closed eyes. He shook his head.
"Well," said Tuppence, with an attempt at cheerfulness, "we must wait until the morning, that's all. But I don't think we ought to leave the flat."
"What about leaving that bright boy of yours on guard?"
"Albert? And suppose she came round again and hooked it. Albert couldn't stop her."
"I guess she won't want to make tracks away from the dollars."
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