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Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer

Nicol Brinn Goes Out

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"I am!" Stokes spoke angrily. "While you kept me talking, she slipped out through that study, and down into the street."

"Ah," murmured Nicol Brinn.

"In fact, the whole business looks very suspicious to me," continued the detective.

"Sorry," drawled Brinn, again consulting his watch. "The five minutes are up. I must be off."

"Not until I have spoken to Scotland Yard, sir."

"You wish to speak to Scotland Yard?"

"I do," said Stokes, grimly.

Nicol Brinn strode to the telephone, which stood upon a small table almost immediately in front of the bookcase. The masked door remained ajar.

"You are quite fixed upon detaining me?"

"Quite," said Stokes, watching him closely.

In one long stride Brinn was through the doorway, telephone in hand! Before Stokes had time to move, the door closed violently, in order, no doubt, to make it shut over the telephone cable which lay under it!

Detective Sergeant Stokes fell back, gazed wildly at the false books for a moment, and then, turning, leaped to the outer door. It was locked!

In the meanwhile, Nicol Brinn, having secured the door which communicated with the study, walked out into the lobby where Hoskins was seated. Hoskins stood up.

"The lady went, Hoskins?"

"She did, sir."

Nicol Brinn withdrew the key from the door of the room in which Detective Sergeant Stokes was confined. Stokes began banging wildly upon the panels from within.

"That row will continue," Nicol Brinn said, coldly; "perhaps he will shout murder from one of the windows. You have only to say you had no key. I am going out now. The light coat, Hoskins."

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Hoskins unemotionally handed coat, hat, and cane to his master and, opening the front door, stood aside. The sound of a window being raised became audible from within the locked room.

"Probably," added Nicol Brinn, "you will be arrested."

"Very good, sir," said Hoskins. "Good-night, sir..."

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