The moment was not quite so triumphant
as it ought to have been. To begin with, the
resources of Tommy’s pockets were somewhat limited.
In the end the fare was managed, the lady recollecting
a plebeian twopence, and the driver, still holding
the varied assortment of coins in his hand, was prevailed
upon to move on, which he did after one last hoarse
demand as to what the gentleman thought he was giving
“I think you’ve given
him too much, Tommy,” said Tuppence innocently.
“I fancy he wants to give some of it back.”
It was possibly this remark which
induced the driver to move away.
“Well,” said Mr. Beresford,
at length able to relieve his feelings, “what
the dickens, did you want to take a taxi
“I was afraid I might be late
and keep you waiting,” said Tuppence gently.
“Afraid you might be late!
Oh, Lord, I give it up!” said Mr. Beresford.
“And really and truly,”
continued Tuppence, opening her eyes very wide, “I
haven’t got anything smaller than a five-pound
“You did that part of it very
well, old bean, but all the same the fellow wasn’t
taken in not for a moment!”
“No,” said Tuppence thoughtfully,
“he didn’t believe it. That’s
the curious part about speaking the truth. No
one does believe it. I found that out this morning.
Now let’s go to lunch. How about the Savoy?”
“How about the Ritz?”
“On second thoughts, I prefer
the Piccadilly. It’s nearer. We shan’t
have to take another taxi. Come along.”
“Is this a new brand of humour?
Or is your brain really unhinged?” inquired
“Your last supposition is the
correct one. I have come into money, and the
shock has been too much for me! For that particular
form of mental trouble an eminent physician recommends
unlimited Hors d’oeuvre, Lobster a l’americane,
Chicken Newberg, and Peche Melba! Let’s
go and get them!”
“Tuppence, old girl, what has really come over
“Oh, unbelieving one!”
Tuppence wrenched open her bag. “Look here,
and here, and here!”
“Great Jehosaphat! My dear
girl, don’t wave Fishers aloft like that!”
“They’re not Fishers.
They’re five times better than Fishers, and this
one’s ten times better!”
“I must have been drinking unawares!
Am I dreaming, Tuppence, or do I really behold a large
quantity of five-pound notes being waved about in
a dangerous fashion?”
“Even so, O King! Now, will you come and
“I’ll come anywhere. But what have
you been doing? Holding up a bank?”
“All in good time. What
an awful place Piccadilly Circus is. There’s
a huge bus bearing down on us. It would be too
terrible if they killed the five-pound notes!”
“Grill room?” inquired
Tommy, as they reached the opposite pavement in safety.
“The other’s more expensive,” demurred
“That’s mere wicked wanton extravagance.
Come on below.”
“Are you sure I can get all the things I want
“That extremely unwholesome
menu you were outlining just now? Of course you
can or as much as is good for you, anyway.”
“And now tell me,” said
Tommy, unable to restrain his pent-up curiosity any
longer, as they sat in state surrounded by the many
hors d’oeuvre of Tuppence’s dreams.
Miss Cowley told him.
“And the curious part of it
is,” she ended, “that I really did invent
the name of Jane Finn! I didn’t want to
give my own because of poor father in case
I should get mixed up in anything shady.”
“Perhaps that’s so,”
said Tommy slowly. “But you didn’t
“No. I told it to you.
Don’t you remember, I said yesterday I’d
overheard two people talking about a female called
Jane Finn? That’s what brought the name
into your mind so pat.”
“So you did. I remember
now. How extraordinary ”
Tuppence tailed off into silence. Suddenly she
aroused herself. “Tommy!”
“What were they like, the two men you passed?”
Tommy frowned in an effort at remembrance.
“One was a big fat sort of chap. Clean
shaven, I think and dark.”
“That’s him,” cried
Tuppence, in an ungrammatical squeal. “That’s
Whittington! What was the other man like?”
“I can’t remember.
I didn’t notice him particularly. It was
really the outlandish name that caught my attention.”
“And people say that coincidences
don’t happen!” Tuppence tackled her Peche
But Tommy had become serious.
“Look here, Tuppence, old girl, what is this
going to lead to?”
“More money,” replied his companion.
“I know that. You’ve
only got one idea in your head. What I mean is,
what about the next step? How are you going to
keep the game up?”
“Oh!” Tuppence laid down
her spoon. “You’re right, Tommy, it
is a bit of a poser.”
“After all, you know, you can’t
bluff him forever. You’re sure to slip
up sooner or later. And, anyway, I’m not
at all sure that it isn’t actionable blackmail,
“Nonsense. Blackmail is
saying you’ll tell unless you are given money.
Now, there’s nothing I could tell, because I
don’t really know anything.”
“Hm,” said Tommy doubtfully.
“Well, anyway, what are we going to do?
Whittington was in a hurry to get rid of you this morning,
but next time he’ll want to know something more
before he parts with his money. He’ll want
to know how much you know, and where you got your
information from, and a lot of other things that you
can’t cope with. What are you going to
do about it?”
Tuppence frowned severely.
“We must think. Order some
Turkish coffee, Tommy. Stimulating to the brain.
Oh, dear, what a lot I have eaten!”
“You have made rather a hog
of yourself! So have I for that matter, but I
flatter myself that my choice of dishes was more judicious
than yours. Two coffees.” (This was to
the waiter.) “One Turkish, one French.”
Tuppence sipped her coffee with a
deeply reflective air, and snubbed Tommy when he spoke
“Be quiet. I’m thinking.”
“Shades of Pelmanism!” said Tommy, and
relapsed into silence.
“There!” said Tuppence
at last. “I’ve got a plan. Obviously
what we’ve got to do is to find out more about
“Don’t jeer. We can
only find out through Whittington. We must discover
where he lives, what he does sleuth him,
in fact! Now I can’t do it, because he
knows me, but he only saw you for a minute or two in
Lyons’. He’s not likely to recognize
you. After all, one young man is much like another.”
“I repudiate that remark utterly.
I’m sure my pleasing features and distinguished
appearance would single me out from any crowd.”
“My plan is this,” Tuppence
went on calmly, “I’ll go alone to-morrow.
I’ll put him off again like I did to-day.
It doesn’t matter if I don’t get any more
money at once. Fifty pounds ought to last us a
“Or even longer!”
“You’ll hang about outside.
When I come out I shan’t speak to you in case
he’s watching. But I’ll take up my
stand somewhere near, and when he comes out of the
building I’ll drop a handkerchief or something,
and off you go!”
“Off I go where?”
“Follow him, of course, silly! What do
you think of the idea?”
“Sort of thing one reads about
in books. I somehow feel that in real life one
will feel a bit of an ass standing in the street for
hours with nothing to do. People will wonder
what I’m up to.”
“Not in the city. Every
one’s in such a hurry. Probably no one will
even notice you at all.”
“That’s the second time
you’ve made that sort of remark. Never mind,
I forgive you. Anyway, it will be rather a lark.
What are you doing this afternoon?”
“Well,” said Tuppence
meditatively. “I had thought of hats!
Or perhaps silk stockings! Or perhaps ”
“Hold hard,” admonished
Tommy. “There’s a limit to fifty pounds!
But let’s do dinner and a show to-night at all
The day passed pleasantly. The
evening even more so. Two of the five-pound notes
were now irretrievably dead.
They met by arrangement the following
morning and proceeded citywards. Tommy remained
on the opposite side of the road while Tuppence plunged
into the building.
Tommy strolled slowly down to the
end of the street, then back again. Just as he
came abreast of the building, Tuppence darted across
“Yes. What’s up?”
“The place is shut. I can’t make
“Isn’t it? Come up with me, and let’s
Tommy followed her. As they passed
the third floor landing a young clerk came out of
an office. He hesitated a moment, then addressed
himself to Tuppence.
“Were you wanting the Esthonia Glassware?”
“It’s closed down.
Since yesterday afternoon. Company being wound
up, they say. Not that I’ve ever heard
of it myself. But anyway the office is to let.”
“Th thank you,”
faltered Tuppence. “I suppose you don’t
know Mr. Whittington’s address?”
“Afraid I don’t. They left rather
“Thank you very much,” said Tommy.
“Come on, Tuppence.”
They descended to the street again
where they gazed at one another blankly.
“That’s torn it,” said Tommy at
“And I never suspected it,” wailed Tuppence.
“Cheer up, old thing, it can’t be helped.”
“Can’t it, though!”
Tuppence’s little chin shot out defiantly.
“Do you think this is the end? If so, you’re
wrong. It’s just the beginning!”
“The beginning of what?”
“Of our adventure! Tommy,
don’t you see, if they are scared enough to
run away like this, it shows that there must be a lot
in this Jane Finn business! Well, we’ll
get to the bottom of it. We’ll run them
down! We’ll be sleuths in earnest!”
“Yes, but there’s no one left to sleuth.”
“No, that’s why we’ll
have to start all over again. Lend me that bit
of pencil. Thanks. Wait a minute don’t
interrupt. There!” Tuppence handed back
the pencil, and surveyed the piece of paper on which
she had written with a satisfied eye:
“You’re not going to put that thing in
“No, it’s a different one.”
She handed him the slip of paper.
Tommy read the words on it aloud:
“Wanted, any information respecting Jane
Finn. Apply Y.A.”