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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XXVI Mr. Brown
|Page 2 of 4||
"Tommy," said Tuppence softly.
"Yes. Evidently when the right moment came to get rid of him--he was too sharp for them. All the same, I'm not too easy in my mind about him."
"Because Julius Hersheimmer is Mr. Brown," said Sir James dryly. "And it takes more than one man and a revolver to hold up Mr. Brown...."
Tuppence paled a little.
"What can we do?"
"Nothing until we've been to the house in Soho. If Beresford has still got the upper hand, there's nothing to fear. If otherwise, our enemy will come to find us, and he will not find us unprepared!" From a drawer in the desk, he took a service revolver, and placed it in his coat pocket.
"Now we're ready. I know better than even to suggest going without you, Miss Tuppence----"
"I should think so indeed!"
"But I do suggest that Miss Finn should remain here. She will be perfectly safe, and I am afraid she is absolutely worn out with all she has been through."
But to Tuppence's surprise Jane shook her head.
"No. I guess I'm going too. Those papers were my trust. I must go through with this business to the end. I'm heaps better now anyway."
Sir James's car was ordered round. During the short drive Tuppence's heart beat tumultuously. In spite of momentary qualms of uneasiness respecting Tommy, she could not but feel exultation. They were going to win!
The car drew up at the corner of the square and they got out. Sir James went up to a plain-clothes man who was on duty with several others, and spoke to him. Then he rejoined the girls.
"No one has gone into the house so far. It is being watched at the back as well, so they are quite sure of that. Anyone who attempts to enter after we have done so will be arrested immediately. Shall we go in?"
A policeman produced a key. They all knew Sir James well. They had also had orders respecting Tuppence. Only the third member of the party was unknown to them. The three entered the house, pulling the door to behind them. Slowly they mounted the rickety stairs. At the top was the ragged curtain hiding the recess where Tommy had hidden that day. Tuppence had heard the story from Jane in her character of "Annette." She looked at the tattered velvet with interest. Even now she could almost swear it moved--as though some one was behind it. So strong was the illusion that she almost fancied she could make out the outline of a form.... Supposing Mr. Brown--Julius--was there waiting....
Impossible of course! Yet she almost went back to put the curtain aside and make sure....
Now they were entering the prison room. No place for anyone to hide here, thought Tuppence, with a sigh of relief, then chided herself indignantly. She must not give way to this foolish fancying--this curious insistent feeling that MR. BROWN WAS IN THE HOUSE.... Hark! what was that? A stealthy footstep on the stairs? There WAS some one in the house! Absurd! She was becoming hysterical.
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