Her arm through Jane’s,
dragging her along, Tuppence reached the station.
Her quick ears caught the sound of the approaching
“Hurry up,” she panted, “or we’ll
They arrived on the platform just
as the train came to a standstill. Tuppence opened
the door of an empty first-class compartment, and the
two girls sank down breathless on the padded seats.
A man looked in, then passed on to
the next carriage. Jane started nervously.
Her eyes dilated with terror. She looked questioningly
“Is he one of them, do you think?” she
Tuppence shook her head.
“No, no. It’s all
right.” She took Jane’s hand in hers.
“Tommy wouldn’t have told us to do this
unless he was sure we’d be all right.”
“But he doesn’t know them
as I do!” The girl shivered. “You
can’t understand. Five years! Five
long years! Sometimes I thought I should go mad.”
“Never mind. It’s all over.”
The train was moving now, speeding
through the night at a gradually increasing rate.
Suddenly Jane Finn started up.
“What was that? I thought I saw a face looking
in through the window.”
“No, there’s nothing.
See.” Tuppence went to the window, and lifting
the strap let the pane down.
The other seemed to feel some excuse was necessary:
“I guess I’m acting like
a frightened rabbit, but I can’t help it.
If they caught me now they’d ”
Her eyes opened wide and staring.
Tuppence. “Lie back, and don’t
think. You can be quite sure that Tommy
wouldn’t have said it was safe if it wasn’t.”
“My cousin didn’t think so. He didn’t
want us to do this.”
“No,” said Tuppence, rather embarrassed.
“What are you thinking of?” said Jane
“Your voice was so queer!”
“I was thinking of something,”
confessed Tuppence. “But I don’t want
to tell you not now. I may be wrong,
but I don’t think so. It’s just an
idea that came into my head a long time ago. Tommy’s
got it too I’m almost sure he has.
But don’t you worry there’ll
be time enough for that later. And it mayn’t
be so at all! Do what I tell you lie
back and don’t think of anything.”
“I’ll try.” The long lashes
drooped over the hazel eyes.
Tuppence, for her part, sat bolt upright much
in the attitude of a watchful terrier on guard.
In spite of herself she was nervous. Her eyes
flashed continually from one window to the other.
She noted the exact position of the communication
cord. What it was that she feared, she would
have been hard put to it to say. But in her own
mind she was far from feeling the confidence displayed
in her words. Not that she disbelieved in Tommy,
but occasionally she was shaken with doubts as to
whether anyone so simple and honest as he was could
ever be a match for the fiendish subtlety of the arch-criminal.
If they once reached Sir James Peel
Edgerton in safety, all would be well. But would
they reach him? Would not the silent forces of
Mr. Brown already be assembling against them?
Even that last picture of Tommy, revolver in hand,
failed to comfort her. By now he might be overpowered,
borne down by sheer force of numbers.... Tuppence
mapped out her plan of campaign.
As the train at length drew slowly
into Charing Cross, Jane Finn sat up with a start.
“Have we arrived? I never thought we should!”
“Oh, I thought we’d get
to London all right. If there’s going to
be any fun, now is when it will begin. Quick,
get out. We’ll nip into a taxi.”
In another minute they were passing
the barrier, had paid the necessary fares, and were
stepping into a taxi.
directed Tuppence. Then she gave a jump.
A man looked in at the window, just as they started.
She was almost certain it was the same man who had
got into the carriage next to them. She had a
horrible feeling of being slowly hemmed in on every
“You see,” she explained
to Jane, “if they think we’re going to
Sir James, this will put them off the scent.
Now they’ll imagine we’re going to Mr.
Carter. His country place is north of London somewhere.”
Crossing Holborn there was a block,
and the taxi was held up. This was what Tuppence
had been waiting for.
“Quick,” she whispered. “Open
the right-hand door!”
The two girls stepped out into the
traffic. Two minutes later they were seated in
another taxi and were retracing their steps, this time
direct to Carlton House Terrace.
“There,” said Tuppence,
with great satisfaction, “this ought to do them.
I can’t help thinking that I’m really rather
clever! How that other taxi man will swear!
But I took his number, and I’ll send him a postal
order to-morrow, so that he won’t lose by it
if he happens to be genuine. What’s this
thing swerving Oh!”
There was a grinding noise and a bump.
Another taxi had collided with them.
In a flash Tuppence was out on the
pavement. A policeman was approaching. Before
he arrived Tuppence had handed the driver five shillings,
and she and Jane had merged themselves in the crowd.
“It’s only a step or two
now,” said Tuppence breathlessly. The accident
had taken place in Trafalgar Square.
“Do you think the collision
was an accident, or done deliberately?”
“I don’t know. It might have been
Hand-in-hand, the two girls hurried along.
“It may be my fancy,”
said Tuppence suddenly, “but I feel as though
there was some one behind us.”
“Hurry!” murmured the other. “Oh,
They were now at the corner of Carlton
House Terrace, and their spirits lightened. Suddenly
a large and apparently intoxicated man barred their
“Good evening, ladies,” he hiccupped.
“Whither away so fast?”
“Let us pass, please,” said Tuppence imperiously.
“Just a word with your pretty
friend here.” He stretched out an unsteady
hand, and clutched Jane by the shoulder. Tuppence
heard other footsteps behind. She did not pause
to ascertain whether they were friends or foes.
Lowering her head, she repeated a manoeuvre of childish
days, and butted their aggressor full in the capacious
middle. The success of these unsportsmanlike
tactics was immediate. The man sat down abruptly
on the pavement. Tuppence and Jane took to their
heels. The house they sought was some way down.
Other footsteps echoed behind them. Their breath
was coming in choking gasps as they reached Sir James’s
door. Tuppence seized the bell and Jane the knocker.
The man who had stopped them reached
the foot of the steps. For a moment he hesitated,
and as he did so the door opened. They fell into
the hall together. Sir James came forward from
the library door.
“Hullo! What’s this?”
He stepped forward, and put his arm
round Jane as she swayed uncertainly. He half
carried her into the library, and laid her on the
leather couch. From a tantalus on the table he
poured out a few drops of brandy, and forced her to
drink them. With a sigh she sat up, her eyes
still wild and frightened.
“It’s all right.
Don’t be afraid, my child. You’re
Her breath came more normally, and
the colour was returning to her cheeks. Sir James
looked at Tuppence quizzically.
“So you’re not dead, Miss
Tuppence, any more than that Tommy boy of yours was!”
“The Young Adventurers take
a lot of killing,” boasted Tuppence.
“So it seems,” said Sir
James dryly. “Am I right in thinking that
the joint venture has ended in success, and that this” he
turned to the girl on the couch “is
Miss Jane Finn?”
Jane sat up.
“Yes,” she said quietly, “I am Jane
Finn. I have a lot to tell you.”
“When you are stronger ”
“No now!” Her
voice rose a little. “I shall feel safer
when I have told everything.”
“As you please,” said the lawyer.
He sat down in one of the big arm-chairs
facing the couch. In a low voice Jane began her
“I came over on the Lusitania
to take up a post in Paris. I was fearfully keen
about the war, and just dying to help somehow or other.
I had been studying French, and my teacher said they
were wanting help in a hospital in Paris, so I wrote
and offered my services, and they were accepted.
I hadn’t got any folk of my own, so it made it
easy to arrange things.
“When the Lusitania was torpedoed,
a man came up to me. I’d noticed him more
than once and I’d figured it out in
my own mind that he was afraid of somebody or something.
He asked me if I was a patriotic American, and told
me he was carrying papers which were just life or death
to the Allies. He asked me to take charge of
them. I was to watch for an advertisement in
the Times. If it didn’t appear, I was to
take them to the American Ambassador.
“Most of what followed seems
like a nightmare still. I see it in my dreams
sometimes.... I’ll hurry over that part.
Mr. Danvers had told me to watch out. He might
have been shadowed from New York, but he didn’t
think so. At first I had no suspicions, but on
the boat to Holyhead I began to get uneasy. There
was one woman who had been very keen to look after
me, and chum up with me generally a Mrs.
Vandemeyer. At first I’d been only grateful
to her for being so kind to me; but all the time I
felt there was something about her I didn’t like,
and on the Irish boat I saw her talking to some queer-looking
men, and from the way they looked I saw that they
were talking about me. I remembered that she’d
been quite near me on the Lusitania when Mr. Danvers
gave me the packet, and before that she’d tried
to talk to him once or twice. I began to get
scared, but I didn’t quite see what to do.
“I had a wild idea of stopping
at Holyhead, and not going on to London that day,
but I soon saw that that would be plumb foolishness.
The only thing was to act as though I’d noticed
nothing, and hope for the best. I couldn’t
see how they could get me if I was on my guard.
One thing I’d done already as a precaution ripped
open the oilskin packet and substituted blank paper,
and then sewn it up again. So, if anyone did
manage to rob me of it, it wouldn’t matter.
“What to do with the real thing
worried me no end. Finally I opened it out flat there
were only two sheets and laid it between
two of the advertisement pages of a magazine.
I stuck the two pages together round the edge with
some gum off an envelope. I carried the magazine
carelessly stuffed into the pocket of my ulster.
“At Holyhead I tried to get
into a carriage with people that looked all right,
but in a queer way there seemed always to be a crowd
round me shoving and pushing me just the way I didn’t
want to go. There was something uncanny and frightening
about it. In the end I found myself in a carriage
with Mrs. Vandemeyer after all. I went out into
the corridor, but all the other carriages were full,
so I had to go back and sit down. I consoled
myself with the thought that there were other people
in the carriage there was quite a nice-looking
man and his wife sitting just opposite. So I
felt almost happy about it until just outside London.
I had leaned back and closed my eyes. I guess
they thought I was asleep, but my eyes weren’t
quite shut, and suddenly I saw the nice-looking man
get something out of his bag and hand it to Mrs. Vandemeyer,
and as he did so he winked....
“I can’t tell you how
that wink sort of froze me through and through.
My only thought was to get out in the corridor as
quick as ever I could. I got up, trying to look
natural and easy. Perhaps they saw something I
don’t know but suddenly Mrs. Vandemeyer
said ‘Now,’ and flung something over my
nose and mouth as I tried to scream. At the same
moment I felt a terrific blow on the back of my head....”
She shuddered. Sir James murmured
something sympathetically. In a minute she resumed:
“I don’t know how long
it was before I came back to consciousness. I
felt very ill and sick. I was lying on a dirty
bed. There was a screen round it, but I could
hear two people talking in the room. Mrs. Vandemeyer
was one of them. I tried to listen, but at first
I couldn’t take much in. When at last I
did begin to grasp what was going on I was
just terrified! I wonder I didn’t scream
right out there and then.
“They hadn’t found the
papers. They’d got the oilskin packet with
the blanks, and they were just mad! They didn’t
know whether I’d changed the papers, or whether
Danvers had been carrying a dummy message, while the
real one was sent another way. They spoke of” she
closed her eyes “torturing me to
“I’d never known what
fear really sickening fear was
before! Once they came to look at me. I
shut my eyes and pretended to be still unconscious,
but I was afraid they’d hear the beating of my
heart. However, they went away again. I
began thinking madly. What could I do? I
knew I wouldn’t be able to stand up against torture
“Suddenly something put the
thought of loss of memory into my head. The subject
had always interested me, and I’d read an awful
lot about it. I had the whole thing at my finger-tips.
If only I could succeed in carrying the bluff through,
it might save me. I said a prayer, and drew a
long breath. Then I opened my eyes and started
babbling in French!
“Mrs. Vandemeyer came round
the screen at once. Her face was so wicked I
nearly died, but I smiled up at her doubtfully, and
asked her in French where I was.
“It puzzled her, I could see.
She called the man she had been talking to. He
stood by the screen with his face in shadow. He
spoke to me in French. His voice was very ordinary
and quiet, but somehow, I don’t know why, he
scared me worse than the woman. I felt he’d
seen right through me, but I went on playing my part.
I asked again where I was, and then went on that there
was something I must remember must
remember only for the moment it was all
gone. I worked myself up to be more and more
distressed. He asked me my name. I said I
didn’t know that I couldn’t
remember anything at all.
“Suddenly he caught my wrist,
and began twisting it. The pain was awful.
I screamed. He went on. I screamed and screamed,
but I managed to shriek out things in French.
I don’t know how long I could have gone on, but
luckily I fainted. The last thing I heard was
his voice saying: ’That’s not bluff!
Anyway, a kid of her age wouldn’t know enough.’
I guess he forgot American girls are older for their
age than English ones, and take more interest in scientific
“When I came to, Mrs. Vandemeyer
was sweet as honey to me. She’d had her
orders, I guess. She spoke to me in French told
me I’d had a shock and been very ill. I
should be better soon. I pretended to be rather
dazed murmured something about the ‘doctor’
having hurt my wrist. She looked relieved when
I said that.
“By and by she went out of the
room altogether. I was suspicious still, and
lay quite quiet for some time. In the end, however,
I got up and walked round the room, examining it.
I thought that even if anyone was watching me
from somewhere, it would seem natural enough under
the circumstances. It was a squalid, dirty place.
There were no windows, which seemed queer. I
guessed the door would be locked, but I didn’t
try it. There were some battered old pictures
on the walls, representing scenes from Faust.”
Jane’s two listeners gave a
simultaneous “Ah!” The girl nodded.
“Yes it was the place
in Soho where Mr. Beresford was imprisoned. Of
course, at the time I didn’t even know if I was
in London. One thing was worrying me dreadfully,
but my heart gave a great throb of relief when I saw
my ulster lying carelessly over the back of a chair.
And the magazine was still
rolled up in the pocket!
“If only I could be certain
that I was not being overlooked! I looked carefully
round the walls. There didn’t seem to be
a peep-hole of any kind nevertheless I
felt kind of sure there must be. All of a sudden
I sat down on the edge of the table, and put my face
in my hands, sobbing out a ‘Mon Dieu! Mon
Dieu!’ I’ve got very sharp ears. I
distinctly heard the rustle of a dress, and slight
creak. That was enough for me. I was being
“I lay down on the bed again,
and by and by Mrs. Vandemeyer brought me some supper.
She was still sweet as they make them. I guess
she’d been told to win my confidence. Presently
she produced the oilskin packet, and asked me if I
recognized it, watching me like a lynx all the time.
“I took it and turned it over
in a puzzled sort of way. Then I shook my head.
I said that I felt I ought to remember something
about it, that it was just as though it was all coming
back, and then, before I could get hold of it, it
went again. Then she told me that I was her niece,
and that I was to call her ‘Aunt Rita.’
I did obediently, and she told me not to worry my
memory would soon come back.
“That was an awful night.
I’d made my plan whilst I was waiting for her.
The papers were safe so far, but I couldn’t take
the risk of leaving them there any longer. They
might throw that magazine away any minute. I
lay awake waiting until I judged it must be about two
o’clock in the morning. Then I got up as
softly as I could, and felt in the dark along the
left-hand wall. Very gently, I unhooked one of
the pictures from its nail Marguerite with
her casket of jewels. I crept over to my coat
and took out the magazine, and an odd envelope or
two that I had shoved in. Then I went to the
washstand, and damped the brown paper at the back
of the picture all round. Presently I was able
to pull it away. I had already torn out the two
stuck-together pages from the magazine, and now I
slipped them with their precious enclosure between
the picture and its brown paper backing. A little
gum from the envelopes helped me to stick the latter
up again. No one would dream the picture had ever
been tampered with. I rehung it on the wall,
put the magazine back in my coat pocket, and crept
back to bed. I was pleased with my hiding-place.
They’d never think of pulling to pieces one of
their own pictures. I hoped that they’d
come to the conclusion that Danvers had been carrying
a dummy all along, and that, in the end, they’d
let me go.
“As a matter of fact, I guess
that’s what they did think at first, and, in
a way, it was dangerous for me. I learnt afterwards
that they nearly did away with me then and there there
was never much chance of their ’letting me go’ but
the first man, who was the boss, preferred to keep
me alive on the chance of my having hidden them, and
being able to tell where if I recovered my memory.
They watched me constantly for weeks. Sometimes
they’d ask me questions by the hour I
guess there was nothing they didn’t know about
the third degree! but somehow I managed
to hold my own. The strain of it was awful, though...
“They took me back to Ireland,
and over every step of the Journey again, in case
I’d hidden it somewhere en route. Mrs. Vandemeyer
and another woman never left me for a moment.
They spoke of me as a young relative of Mrs. Vandemeyer’s
whose mind was affected by the shock of the Lusitania.
There was no one I could appeal to for help without
giving myself away to them, and if I risked it
and failed and Mrs. Vandemeyer looked so
rich, and so beautifully dressed, that I felt convinced
they’d take her word against mine, and think
it was part of my mental trouble to think myself ’persecuted’ I
felt that the horrors in store for me would be too
awful once they knew I’d been only shamming.”
Sir James nodded comprehendingly.
“Mrs. Vandemeyer was a woman
of great personality. With that and her social
position she would have had little difficulty in imposing
her point of view in preference to yours. Your
sensational accusations against her would not easily
have found credence.”
“That’s what I thought.
It ended in my being sent to a sanatorium at Bournemouth.
I couldn’t make up my mind at first whether it
was a sham affair or genuine. A hospital nurse
had charge of me. I was a special patient.
She seemed so nice and normal that at last I determined
to confide in her. A merciful providence just
saved me in time from falling into the trap.
My door happened to be ajar, and I heard her talking
to some one in the passage. She was
one of them! They still fancied
it might be a bluff on my part, and she was put in
charge of me to make sure! After that, my nerve
went completely. I dared trust nobody.
“I think I almost hypnotized
myself. After a while, I almost forgot that I
was really Jane Finn. I was so bent on playing
the part of Janet Vandemeyer that my nerves began
to play me tricks. I became really ill for
months I sank into a sort of stupor. I felt sure
I should die soon, and that nothing really mattered.
A sane person shut up in a lunatic asylum often ends
by becoming insane, they say. I guess I was like
that. Playing my part had become second nature
to me. I wasn’t even unhappy in the end just
apathetic. Nothing seemed to matter. And
the years went on.
“And then suddenly things seemed
to change. Mrs. Vandemeyer came down from London.
She and the doctor asked me questions, experimented
with various treatments. There was some talk
of sending me to a specialist in Paris. In the
end, they did not dare risk it. I overheard something
that seemed to show that other people friends were
looking for me. I learnt later that the nurse
who had looked after me went to Paris, and consulted
a specialist, representing herself to be me. He
put her through some searching tests, and exposed
her loss of memory to be fraudulent; but she had taken
a note of his methods and reproduced them on me.
I dare say I couldn’t have deceived the specialist
for a minute a man who has made a lifelong
study of a thing is unique but I managed
once again to hold my own with them. The fact
that I’d not thought of myself as Jane Finn
for so long made it easier.
“One night I was whisked off
to London at a moment’s notice. They took
me back to the house in Soho. Once I got away
from the sanatorium I felt different as
though something in me that had been buried for a long
time was waking up again.
“They sent me in to wait on
Mr. Beresford. (Of course I didn’t know his
name then.) I was suspicious I thought it
was another trap. But he looked so honest, I
could hardly believe it. However, I was careful
in all I said, for I knew we could be overheard.
There’s a small hole, high up in the wall.
“But on the Sunday afternoon
a message was brought to the house. They were
all very disturbed. Without their knowing, I listened.
Word had come that he was to be killed. I needn’t
tell the next part, because you know it. I thought
I’d have time to rush up and get the papers from
their hiding-place, but I was caught. So I screamed
out that he was escaping, and I said I wanted to go
back to Marguerite. I shouted the name three
times very loud. I knew the others would think
I meant Mrs. Vandemeyer, but I hoped it might make
Mr. Beresford think of the picture. He’d
unhooked one the first day that’s
what made me hesitate to trust him.”
“Then the papers,” said
Sir James slowly, “are still at the back of the
picture in that room.”
“Yes.” The girl had
sunk back on the sofa exhausted with the strain of
the long story.
Sir James rose to his feet. He looked at his
“Come,” he said, “we must go at
“To-night?” queried Tuppence, surprised.
“To-morrow may be too late,”
said Sir James gravely. “Besides, by going
to-night we have the chance of capturing that great
man and super-criminal Mr. Brown!”
There was dead silence, and Sir James continued:
“You have been followed here not
a doubt of it. When we leave the house we shall
be followed again, but not molested, for it
is Mr. Brown’s plan that
we are to lead him. But
the Soho house is under police supervision night and
day. There are several men watching it. When
we enter that house, Mr. Brown will not draw back he
will risk all, on the chance of obtaining the spark
to fire his mine. And he fancies the risk not
great since he will enter in the guise of
Tuppence flushed, then opened her mouth impulsively.
“But there’s something
you don’t know that we haven’t
told you.” Her eyes dwelt on Jane in perplexity.
“What is that?” asked
the other sharply. “No hesitations, Miss
Tuppence. We need to be sure of our going.”
But Tuppence, for once, seemed tongue-tied.
“It’s so difficult you
see, if I’m wrong oh, it would be
dreadful.” She made a grimace at the unconscious
Jane. “Never forgive me,” she observed
“You want me to help you out, eh?”
“Yes, please. You know who Mr. Brown
is, don’t you?”
“Yes,” said Sir James gravely. “At
last I do.”
“At last?” queried Tuppence
doubtfully. “Oh, but I thought ”
“You thought correctly, Miss
Tuppence. I have been morally certain of his
identity for some time ever since the night
of Mrs. Vandemeyer’s mysterious death.”
“Ah!” breathed Tuppence.
“For there we are up against
the logic of facts. There are only two solutions.
Either the chloral was administered by her own hand,
which theory I reject utterly, or else ”
“Or else it was administered
in the brandy you gave her. Only three people
touched that brandy you, Miss Tuppence,
I myself, and one other Mr. Julius Hersheimmer!”
Jane Finn stirred and sat up, regarding
the speaker with wide astonished eyes.
“At first, the thing seemed
utterly impossible. Mr. Hersheimmer, as the son
of a prominent millionaire, was a well-known figure
in America. It seemed utterly impossible that
he and Mr. Brown could be one and the same. But
you cannot escape from the logic of facts. Since
the thing was so it must be accepted.
Remember Mrs. Vandemeyer’s sudden and inexplicable
agitation. Another proof, if proof was needed.
“I took an early opportunity
of giving you a hint. From some words of Mr.
Hersheimmer’s at Manchester, I gathered that
you had understood and acted on that hint. Then
I set to work to prove the impossible possible.
Mr. Beresford rang me up and told me, what I had already
suspected, that the photograph of Miss Jane Finn had
never really been out of Mr. Hersheimmer’s possession ”
But the girl interrupted. Springing
to her feet, she cried out angrily:
“What do you mean? What
are you trying to suggest? That Mr. Brown is
Julius? Julius my own cousin!”
“No, Miss Finn,” said
Sir James unexpectedly. “Not your cousin.
The man who calls himself Julius Hersheimmer is no
relation to you whatsoever.”