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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XXIV Julius Takes a Hand
|Page 2 of 7||
"This is an outrage," cried the Russian in a high hysterical voice. "An outrage! Do you mean to kill me?"
"Not if you keep your voice down. Don't go edging sideways towards that bell. That's better."
"What do you want? Do nothing rashly. Remember my life is of the utmost value to my country. I may have been maligned----"
"I reckon," said Julius, "that the man who let daylight into you would be doing humanity a good turn. But you needn't worry any. I'm not proposing to kill you this trip--that is, if you're reasonable."
The Russian quailed before the stern menace in the other's eyes. He passed his tongue over his dry lips.
"What do you want? Money?"
"No. I want Jane Finn."
"Jane Finn? I--never heard of her!"
"You're a darned liar! You know perfectly who I mean."
"I tell you I've never heard of the girl."
"And I tell you," retorted Julius, "that Little Willie here is just hopping mad to go off!"
The Russian wilted visibly.
"You wouldn't dare----"
"Oh, yes, I would, son!"
Kramenin must have recognized something in the voice that carried conviction, for he said sullenly:
"Well? Granted I do know who you mean--what of it?"
"You will tell me now--right here--where she is to be found."
Kramenin shook his head.
"I daren't. You ask an impossibility."
"Afraid, eh? Of whom? Mr. Brown? Ah, that tickles you up! There is such a person, then? I doubted it. And the mere mention of him scares you stiff!"
"I have seen him," said the Russian slowly. "Spoken to him face to face. I did not know it until afterwards. He was one of a crowd. I should not know him again. Who is he really? I do not know. But I know this--he is a man to fear."
"He'll never know," said Julius.
"He knows everything--and his vengeance is swift. Even I--Kramenin!--would not be exempt!"
"Then you won't do as I ask you?"
"You ask an impossibility."
"Sure that's a pity for you," said Julius cheerfully. "But the world in general will benefit." He raised the revolver.
"Stop," shrieked the Russian. "You cannot mean to shoot me?"
"Of course I do. I've always heard you Revolutionists held life cheap, but it seems there's a difference when it's your own life in question. I gave you just one chance of saving your dirty skin, and that you wouldn't take!"
"They would kill me!"
"Well," said Julius pleasantly, "it's up to you. But I'll just say this. Little Willie here is a dead cert, and if I was you I'd take a sporting chance with Mr. Brown!"
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