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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XIII The Vigil
|Page 3 of 6||
"Lock the door on the outside, please, Miss Tuppence, and take out the key. There must be no chance of anyone entering that room."
The gravity of his manner impressed them, and Tuppence felt less ashamed of her attack of "nerves."
"Say," remarked Julius suddenly, "there's Tuppence's bright boy. I guess I'd better go down and ease his young mind. That's some lad, Tuppence."
"How did you get in, by the way?" asked Tuppence suddenly. "I forgot to ask."
"Well, Albert got me on the phone all right. I ran round for Sir James here, and we came right on. The boy was on the look out for us, and was just a mite worried about what might have happened to you. He'd been listening outside the door of the flat, but couldn't hear anything. Anyhow he suggested sending us up in the coal lift instead of ringing the bell. And sure enough we landed in the scullery and came right along to find you. Albert's still below, and must be just hopping mad by this time." With which Julius departed abruptly.
"Now then, Miss Tuppence," said Sir James, "you know this place better than I do. Where do you suggest we should take up our quarters?"
Tuppence considered for a moment or two.
"I think Mrs. Vandemeyer's boudoir would be the most comfortable," she said at last, and led the way there.
Sir James looked round approvingly.
"This will do very well, and now, my dear young lady, do go to bed and get some sleep."
Tuppence shook her head resolutely.
"I couldn't, thank you, Sir James. I should dream of Mr. Brown all night!"
"But you'll be so tired, child."
"No, I shan't. I'd rather stay up--really."
The lawyer gave in.
Julius reappeared some minutes later, having reassured Albert and rewarded him lavishly for his services. Having in his turn failed to persuade Tuppence to go to bed, he said decisively:
"At any rate, you've got to have something to eat right away. Where's the larder?"
Tuppence directed him, and he returned in a few minutes with a cold pie and three plates.
After a hearty meal, the girl felt inclined to pooh-pooh her fancies of half an hour before. The power of the money bribe could not fail.
"And now, Miss Tuppence," said Sir James, "we want to hear your adventures."
"That's so," agreed Julius.
Tuppence narrated her adventures with some complacence. Julius occasionally interjected an admiring "Bully." Sir James said nothing until she had finished, when his quiet "well done, Miss Tuppence," made her flush with pleasure.
"There's one thing I don't get clearly," said Julius. "What put her up to clearing out?"
"I don't know," confessed Tuppence.
Sir James stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"The room was in great disorder. That looks as though her flight was unpremeditated. Almost as though she got a sudden warning to go from some one."
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