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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XI Julius Tells a Story
|Page 1 of 7||
DRESSED appropriately, Tuppence duly sallied forth for her "afternoon out." Albert was in temporary abeyance, but Tuppence went herself to the stationer's to make quite sure that nothing had come for her. Satisfied on this point, she made her way to the Ritz. On inquiry she learnt that Tommy had not yet returned. It was the answer she had expected, but it was another nail in the coffin of her hopes. She resolved to appeal to Mr. Carter, telling him when and where Tommy had started on his quest, and asking him to do something to trace him. The prospect of his aid revived her mercurial spirits, and she next inquired for Julius Hersheimmer. The reply she got was to the effect that he had returned about half an hour ago, but had gone out immediately.
Tuppence's spirits revived still more. It would be something to see Julius. Perhaps he could devise some plan for finding out what had become of Tommy. She wrote her note to Mr. Carter in Julius's sitting-room, and was just addressing the envelope when the door burst open.
"What the hell----" began Julius, but checked himself abruptly. "I beg your pardon, Miss Tuppence. Those fools down at the office would have it that Beresford wasn't here any longer--hadn't been here since Wednesday. Is that so?"
"You don't know where he is?" she asked faintly.
"I? How should I know? I haven't had one darned word from him, though I wired him yesterday morning."
"I expect your wire's at the office unopened."
"But where is he?"
"I don't know. I hoped you might."
"I tell you I haven't had one darned word from him since we parted at the depot on Wednesday."
"Waterloo. Your London and South Western road."
"Waterloo?" frowned Tuppence.
"Why, yes. Didn't he tell you?"
"I haven't seen him either," replied Tuppence impatiently. "Go on about Waterloo. What were you doing there?"
"He gave me a call. Over the phone. Told me to get a move on, and hustle. Said he was trailing two crooks."
"Oh!" said Tuppence, her eyes opening. "I see. Go on."
"I hurried along right away. Beresford was there. He pointed out the crooks. The big one was mine, the guy you bluffed. Tommy shoved a ticket into my hand and told me to get aboard the cars. He was going to sleuth the other crook." Julius paused. "I thought for sure you'd know all this."
"Julius," said Tuppence firmly, "stop walking up and down. It makes me giddy. Sit down in that armchair, and tell me the whole story with as few fancy turns of speech as possible."
Mr. Hersheimmer obeyed.
"Sure," he said. "Where shall I begin?"
"Where you left off. At Waterloo."
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