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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XXIII A Race Against Time
|Page 4 of 4||
Tommy retired for the night in a state of some elation. He had elaborated a careful plan for the following evening. He felt sure that the inhabitants of Astley Priors would not interfere with him up to a certain point. It was after that that Tommy proposed to give them a surprise.
About twelve o'clock, however, his calm was rudely shaken. He was told that some one was demanding him in the bar. The applicant proved to be a rude-looking carter well coated with mud.
"Well, my good fellow, what is it?" asked Tommy.
"Might this be for you, sir?" The carter held out a very dirty folded note, on the outside of which was written: "Take this to the gentleman at the inn near Astley Priors. He will give you ten shillings."
The handwriting was Tuppence's. Tommy appreciated her quick-wittedness in realizing that he might be staying at the inn under an assumed name. He snatched at it.
"That's all right."
The man withheld it.
"What about my ten shillings?"
Tommy hastily produced a ten-shilling note, and the man relinquished his find. Tommy unfastened it.
"I knew it was you last night. Don't go this evening. They'll be lying in wait for you. They're taking us away this morning. I heard something about Wales--Holyhead, I think. I'll drop this on the road if I get a chance. Annette told me how you'd escaped. Buck up. "Yours, "TWOPENCE."
Tommy raised a shout for Albert before he had even finished perusing this characteristic epistle.
"Pack my bag! We're off!"
"Yes, sir." The boots of Albert could be heard racing upstairs. Holyhead? Did that mean that, after all----Tommy was puzzled. He read on slowly.
The boots of Albert continued to be active on the floor above.
Suddenly a second shout came from below.
"Albert! I'm a damned fool! Unpack that bag!"
Tommy smoothed out the note thoughtfully.
"Yes, a damned fool," he said softly. "But so's some one else! And at last I know who it is!"
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