Julius sprang up.
“I thought you were aware of that.”
“When did she leave?”
“Let me see. To-day is
Monday, is it not? It must have been last Wednesday why,
surely yes, it was the same evening that
you er fell out of my tree.”
“That evening? Before, or after?”
“Let me see oh yes,
afterwards. A very urgent message arrived from
Mrs. Vandemeyer. The young lady and the nurse
who was in charge of her left by the night train.”
Julius sank back again into his chair.
“Nurse Edith left
with a patient I remember,” he muttered.
“My God, to have been so near!”
Dr. Hall looked bewildered.
“I don’t understand. Is the young
lady not with her aunt, after all?”
Tuppence shook her head. She
was about to speak when a warning glance from Sir
James made her hold her tongue. The lawyer rose.
“I’m much obliged to you,
Hall. We’re very grateful for all you’ve
told us. I’m afraid we’re now in the
position of having to track Miss Vandemeyer anew.
What about the nurse who accompanied her; I suppose
you don’t know where she is?”
The doctor shook his head.
“We’ve not heard from
her, as it happens. I understood she was to remain
with Miss Vandemeyer for a while. But what can
have happened? Surely the girl has not been kidnapped.”
“That remains to be seen,” said Sir James
The other hesitated.
“You do not think I ought to go to the police?”
“No, no. In all probability the young lady
is with other relations.”
The doctor was not completely satisfied,
but he saw that Sir James was determined to say no
more, and realized that to try and extract more information
from the famous K.C. would be mere waste of labour.
Accordingly, he wished them goodbye, and they left
the hotel. For a few minutes they stood by the
“How maddening,” cried
Tuppence. “To think that Julius must have
been actually under the same roof with her for a few
“I was a darned idiot,” muttered Julius
“You couldn’t know,”
Tuppence consoled him. “Could he?”
She appealed to Sir James.
“I should advise you not to
worry,” said the latter kindly. “No
use crying over spilt milk, you know.”
“The great thing is what to
do next,” added Tuppence the practical.
Sir James shrugged his shoulders.
“You might advertise for the
nurse who accompanied the girl. That is the only
course I can suggest, and I must confess I do not hope
for much result. Otherwise there is nothing to
“Nothing?” said Tuppence blankly.
“We must hope for the best,”
said Sir James. “Oh yes, we must go on
But over her downcast head his eyes
met Julius’s, and almost imperceptibly he shook
his head. Julius understood. The lawyer
considered the case hopeless. The young American’s
face grew grave. Sir James took Tuppence’s
“You must let me know if anything
further comes to light. Letters will always be
Tuppence stared at him blankly.
“You are going away?”
“I told you. Don’t you remember?
“Yes, but I thought ”
The girl hesitated.
Sir James shrugged his shoulders.
“My dear young lady, I can do
nothing more, I fear. Our clues have all ended
in thin air. You can take my word for it that
there is nothing more to be done. If anything
should arise, I shall be glad to advise you in any
way I can.”
His words gave Tuppence an extraordinarily desolate
“I suppose you’re right,”
she said. “Anyway, thank you very much for
trying to help us. Good-bye.”
Julius was bending over the car.
A momentary pity came into Sir James’s keen
eyes, as he gazed into the girl’s downcast face.
“Don’t be too disconsolate,
Miss Tuppence,” he said in a low voice.
“Remember, holiday-time isn’t always all
playtime. One sometimes manages to put in some
work as well.”
Something in his tone made Tuppence
glance up sharply. He shook his head with a smile.
“No, I shan’t say any
more. Great mistake to say too much. Remember
that. Never tell all you know not even
to the person you know best. Understand?
He strode away. Tuppence stared
after him. She was beginning to understand Sir
James’s methods. Once before he had thrown
her a hint in the same careless fashion. Was
this a hint? What exactly lay behind those last
brief words? Did he mean that, after all, he had
not abandoned the case; that, secretly, he would be
working on it still while
Her meditations were interrupted by
Julius, who adjured her to “get right in.”
“You’re looking kind of
thoughtful,” he remarked as they started off.
“Did the old guy say anything more?”
Tuppence opened her mouth impulsively,
and then shut it again. Sir James’s words
sounded in her ears: “Never tell all you
know not even to the person you know best.”
And like a flash there came into her mind another
memory. Julius before the safe in the flat, her
own question and the pause before his reply, “Nothing.”
Was there really nothing? Or had he found something
he wished to keep to himself? If he could make
a reservation, so could she.
“Nothing particular,” she replied.
She felt rather than saw Julius throw a sideways glance
“Say, shall we go for a spin in the park?”
“If you like.”
For a while they ran on under the
trees in silence. It was a beautiful day.
The keen rush through the air brought a new exhilaration
“Say, Miss Tuppence, do you think I’m
ever going to find Jane?”
Julius spoke in a discouraged voice.
The mood was so alien to him that Tuppence turned
and stared at him in surprise. He nodded.
“That’s so. I’m
getting down and out over the business. Sir James
to-day hadn’t got any hope at all, I could see
that. I don’t like him we don’t
gee together somehow but he’s pretty
cute, and I guess he wouldn’t quit if there
was any chance of success now, would he?”
Tuppence felt rather uncomfortable,
but clinging to her belief that Julius also had withheld
something from her, she remained firm.
“He suggested advertising for
the nurse,” she reminded him.
“Yes, with a ‘forlorn
hope’ flavour to his voice! No I’m
about fed up. I’ve half a mind to go back
to the States right away.”
“Oh no!” cried Tuppence. “We’ve
got to find Tommy.”
“I sure forgot Beresford,”
said Julius contritely. “That’s so.
We must find him. But after well,
I’ve been day-dreaming ever since I started
on this trip and these dreams are rotten
poor business. I’m quit of them. Say,
Miss Tuppence, there’s something I’d like
to ask you.”
“You and Beresford. What about it?”
“I don’t understand you,”
replied Tuppence with dignity, adding rather inconsequently:
“And, anyway, you’re wrong!”
“Not got a sort of kindly feeling for one another?”
“Certainly not,” said
Tuppence with warmth. “Tommy and I are
friends nothing more.”
“I guess every pair of lovers
has said that sometime or another,” observed
“Nonsense!” snapped Tuppence.
“Do I look the sort of girl that’s always
falling in love with every man she meets?”
“You do not. You look the
sort of girl that’s mighty often getting fallen
in love with!”
“Oh!” said Tuppence, rather
taken aback. “That’s a compliment,
“Sure. Now let’s
get down to this. Supposing we never find Beresford
and and ”
“All right say it!
I can face facts. Supposing he’s dead!
“And all this business fiddles
out. What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” said Tuppence forlornly.
“You’ll be darned lonesome, you poor kid.”
“I shall be all right,”
snapped Tuppence with her usual resentment of any
kind of pity.
“What about marriage?” inquired Julius.
“Got any views on the subject?”
“I intend to marry, of course,”
replied Tuppence. “That is, if” she
paused, knew a momentary longing to draw back, and
then stuck to her guns bravely “I
can find some one rich enough to make it worth my
while. That’s frank, isn’t it?
I dare say you despise me for it.”
“I never despise business instinct,”
said Julius. “What particular figure have
you in mind?”
“Figure?” asked Tuppence,
puzzled. “Do you mean tall or short?”
“No. Sum income.”
“Oh, I I haven’t quite worked
“What about me?”
“Oh, I couldn’t!”
“I tell you I couldn’t.”
“Again, why not?”
“It would seem so unfair.”
“I don’t see anything
unfair about it. I call your bluff, that’s
all. I admire you immensely, Miss Tuppence, more
than any girl I’ve ever met. You’re
so darned plucky. I’d just love to give
you a real, rattling good time. Say the word,
and we’ll run round right away to some high-class
jeweller, and fix up the ring business.”
“I can’t,” gasped Tuppence.
“Because of Beresford?”
“No, no, no!”
Tuppence merely continued to shake her head violently.
“You can’t reasonably expect more dollars
than I’ve got.”
“Oh, it isn’t that,”
gasped Tuppence with an almost hysterical laugh.
“But thanking you very much, and all that, I
think I’d better say no.”
“I’d be obliged if you’d
do me the favour to think it over until to-morrow.”
“It’s no use.”
“Still, I guess we’ll leave it like that.”
“Very well,” said Tuppence meekly.
Neither of them spoke again until they reached the
Tuppence went upstairs to her room.
She felt morally battered to the ground after her
conflict with Julius’s vigorous personality.
Sitting down in front of the glass, she stared at
her own reflection for some minutes.
“Fool,” murmured Tuppence
at length, making a grimace. “Little fool.
Everything you want everything you’ve
ever hoped for, and you go and bleat out ‘no’
like an idiotic little sheep. It’s your
one chance. Why don’t you take it?
Grab it? Snatch at it? What more do you want?”
As if in answer to her own question,
her eyes fell on a small snapshot of Tommy that stood
on her dressing-table in a shabby frame. For a
moment she struggled for self-control, and then abandoning
all presence, she held it to her lips and burst into
a fit of sobbing.
“Oh, Tommy, Tommy,” she
cried, “I do love you so and I may
never see you again....”
At the end of five minutes Tuppence
sat up, blew her nose, and pushed back her hair.
“That’s that,” she
observed sternly. “Let’s look facts
in the face. I seem to have fallen in love with
an idiot of a boy who probably doesn’t care
two straws about me.” Here she paused.
“Anyway,” she resumed, as though arguing
with an unseen opponent, “I don’t know
that he does. He’d never have dared to
say so. I’ve always jumped on sentiment and
here I am being more sentimental than anybody.
What idiots girls are! I’ve always thought
so. I suppose I shall sleep with his photograph
under my pillow, and dream about him all night.
It’s dreadful to feel you’ve been false
to your principles.”
Tuppence shook her head sadly, as
she reviewed her backsliding.
“I don’t know what to
say to Julius, I’m sure. Oh, what a fool
I feel! I’ll have to say something he’s
so American and thorough, he’ll insist upon
having a reason. I wonder if he did find anything
in that safe ”
Tuppence’s meditations went
off on another tack. She reviewed the events
of last night carefully and persistently. Somehow,
they seemed bound up with Sir James’s enigmatical
Suddenly she gave a great start the
colour faded out of her face. Her eyes, fascinated,
gazed in front of her, the pupils dilated.
“Impossible,” she murmured.
“Impossible! I must be going mad even to
think of such a thing....”
Monstrous yet it explained everything....
After a moment’s reflection
she sat down and wrote a note, weighing each word
as she did so. Finally she nodded her head as
though satisfied, and slipped it into an envelope
which she addressed to Julius. She went down
the passage to his sitting-room and knocked at the
door. As she had expected, the room was empty.
She left the note on the table.
A small page-boy was waiting outside
her own door when she returned to it.
“Telegram for you, miss.”
Tuppence took it from the salver,
and tore it open carelessly. Then she gave a
cry. The telegram was from Tommy!