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Chapter 3 IN THE EXPRESS

  • A YELLOW fog hung over a part of Glasgow. The foul cloudland came to Newto_oore's nostrils, pricked his throat, filled him with a horror he had found i_ard to name. His clothes hung limp with moisture as he crouched closer to th_all listening. In the same attitude the famous Secret Service Agent ha_emained since darkness fell. The cigarette between his teeth had spen_tself, and he had no more matches. So he stood trembling there, waiting fo_he hour when he could strike, and then hasten to the food he had not touche_or a score of hours.
  • It was one of the biggest things Moore had ever been engaged in. I_uccessful, he hoped to lay by the heels the most daring scoundrel in Europe.
  • Not a government was there which had no cause to dread Alex Mefer; no plan o_reaty had leaked out these twenty years without Mefer being at the bottom o_he business.
  • For the present, however, Moore's occupation partook more or less of th_ature of a side-show. It was a means to an end, a part of a little schem_orked out by him in a drift of cigarette smoke burnt in with the midnigh_ours.
  • Now and again a figure drifted by. Then came a step lighter than the rest, an_oore stood up quivering. A tall man passed him, an exceedingly handsome ma_ith a face of bronze, and gold rings in his ears. As this obviously Italia_eauty passed on, Moore followed.
  • He found himself presently ascending a flight of stairs in a building let ou_n rooms to all and sundry who possessed the desired means to pay for them, _uilding of philanthropy with a backing of 5 per cent behind it. Into a roo_n the third floor the Italian entered.
  • Moore crept after his quarry like a cat. He stood in the open doorway whils_he foreigner lighted his lamp. An instant later the door was closed, and th_talian was lying back in the chair with a grip on his throat and a blac_error glazing his eyes.
  • "Signor Moore," he gurgled, "Signor Moore!"
  • Moore relaxed his grip. He had established the full measure of fear he ha_nticipated. That he was dealing with an arrant coward he already knew. Eve_owards have their use in the way of Queen's evidence.
  • "You didn't expect to see me here?" Moore asked. "Eh, Stefano?"
  • Stefano shook his head sadly. His dark eyes were drawn to Moore with a sort o_azed fascination.
  • "I am doing no harm," he said sullenly.
  • "You came from Florence with Tosco and Berthe and—and another one," sai_oore. "And Katrina is in the business. I haven't been following up you_ittle lot for the last two months for nothing. I know exactly where thos_lycerine shells are at present and also what you are going to do with them.
  • Tosco and Berthe will have a pleasant surprise presently."
  • Stefano's eyes dilated still further.
  • "In this country," Moore went on, "men who endanger human life by blowing u_ublic buildings and the like seldom escape with less than twenty years' pena_ervitude. How will you like that, my pretty Stefano? And what will b_atrina's view on the matter?"
  • Stefano shivered. The prospect had no charm for him. And how was he to kno_hat Moore was merely bluffing? He had voiced his suspicions easily, an_tefano's manner was confirming them.
  • "What are you going to do?" the latter asked.
  • "I am going to wait here till Katrina arrives," Moore replied.
  • Stefano shivered again. He protested volubly that Katrina, the pride o_lorence, the toast of the wine-shops, was not in this drear island. Moor_ointed to a hat and jacket of obviously feminine origin and smiled.
  • "I am going to show you a way out of the difficulty," he said.
  • "Ah! I am going to be pardoned," Stefano gasped.
  • "On conditions—on conditions, of course. The wheels of life, my dear Stefano, are best run on the siding of compromise. Before midnight Tosco and Berth_ill be arrested red-handed. If you are to depart as you came, I must hav_ertain information both from Katrina and yourself."
  • "But Signor," Stefano protested, "for so great a man as yourself, so small _atter—"
  • Stefano finished with a shrug and a smile—a prettily implied compliment.
  • "There are such things as small matters," Moore replied, "and, as you suggest, I am fishing for salmon rather than for minnows. Now Mefer for an instance i_ salmon."
  • "Mefer is to be implicated in this business?" Stefano suggested.
  • "Certainly. He is in the business, as I happen to know. Why he's in it, I hav_et to discover. He goes to-morrow by the morning express to London, and _hall accompany him. Doubtless we shall have an exceedingly interestin_onversation."
  • Stefano followed all this somewhat lazily.
  • "But what have I to do, Signor?" he asked. "To give evidence against m_riends?"
  • He paused and shuddered. Not devoid of imagination, those fine eyes in fanc_aw a corpse floating on dark waters with a red stain on the breast.
  • "Not you," said Moore, "but Katrina."
  • A choking cry burst from Stefano's lips.
  • "She would never do it," he exclaimed.
  • "Then you will be arrested and tried with the others. Katrina is one of th_leverest and most unscrupulous women in Europe, but she has a weak spot, Stefano, and that weak spot is her absorbing affection for you. If she fail_o do what I ask, she will never see her beloved Stefano again."
  • The grim playfulness touched Stefano as no outburst of anger could have done.
  • He gave a deep sigh—half relief, half fear—as a light footstep came up th_tairs. The door opened and a woman came in.
  • She had a face of amazing beauty. Strength, resolution, and courage wer_tamped on her faultless features. But the eyes were melting, and the thi_carlet lines of her mouth had the curve of passion. Her eyes were gleamin_ow, her lips parted.
  • "We must fly," she cried. "Tosco and Berthe have been arrested."
  • "That," Moore observed, "does not in the least surprise me."
  • Katrina turned swiftly upon the speaker. They were old antagonists, these. An_p to now Moore had had none too much the best of the game.
  • "We last met in France, I believe." The woman smiled. She knew the danger, bu_here was no trace of fear in her face.
  • "I am not likely to forget it," Moore said drily. "It will not be long befor_tefano joins his friends Tosco and Berthe."
  • The woman locked her hands together. A grey tinge crept over her face. Moor_ad touched the right chord.
  • "You have come to compromise?" Katrina demanded.
  • "Ah, there is no doubt you are a wonderful woman. Tosco and Berthe and Mefe_ave been watched ever since they arrived here. For my own purposes I hav_anaged to shield Stefano."
  • "You want me to betray Mefer into your hands?"
  • "You have guessed it. For your little tin conspiracy I care nothing. That ha_ailed, as such things are bound to fail, only the law will not be the les_evere on that account. All you will have to do is to go into the witness-bo_o-morrow to give evidence in favor of Tosco and Berthe. I need hardly sa_hat you will be subject to searching cross-examination. You are to answe_ruthfully certain questions put to you, and those answers will give me th_rip over Mefer that I need. I may say that Mefer has not been arrested yet, nor will he be for the present."
  • "And if I refuse to do this thing?"
  • Moore drew a whistle from his pocket.
  • "In that case," he said, "I perform a solo on this little instrument, and _inute later this room is full of police. Before an hour passes you will be i_ail, and in the course of time you will find yourselves doing penal servitud_or long terms of years. But you are not going to be so silly, you are no_oing to be the puppet of Mefer any longer. One final word of advice—don'_ttempt to communicate with him."
  • It was a long time before Katrina replied. She flashed Moore a glance lik_udden death, then her eyes melted into tenderness as they fell upon Stefan_crewed up anxiously in his chair.
  • "I couldn't let him suffer," she said. "And Mefer told me—"
  • Something seemed to rise up in her throat and choke her. She bent her hea_orward on the table and two big drops splashed on the greasy board. When sh_lanced at Moore she was herself again.
  • "If I were my own mistress!" she said hoarsely. "If I were my own mistress!
  • But what woman ever was who truly loved?"
  • * * * * *
  • A STIFF inspector with an aggressive Scotch accent was awaiting Moore when h_eached the Central Police Station. It was evident that Inspector Lockwoo_egarded his visitor with no great favor.
  • "I'm puzzled, sir," he remarked, "fairly puzzled."
  • "You surprise me," Moore replied drily. "A detective puzzled!"
  • "Well, it is evident to me that you're not a detective."
  • "Your information is accurate and not displeasing, which is a quotation, m_ear Lockwood. You are naturally annoyed because this affair has been take_ut of your hands, and because the powers that be have given you stringen_rders to act under my instructions. You have arrested Tosco and Berthe?"
  • "Yes," Lockwood growled, "and why I was not permitted to arrest that fello_efer and his tool Stefano passes my understanding."
  • Moore smiled with what patience he could command.
  • "Because Mefer is a big fish," he explained. "At the present moment, Mefer i_n possession of plans of the greatest importance. He came here to obtain th_ey to the submarine defences to Port Glasgow. And, what is more, he's go_hem. They were stolen by a subordinate official some few weeks ago at Mefer'_nstigation, and only this week he came over to get the plans. As a matter o_act, Mefer has nothing whatever to do with this dynamite business. He is onl_sing those fools for his own purpose. He would not have the slightes_ifficulty in clearing himself, and he would slip through my fingers. It is o_he utmost importance that those plans should be recovered. You understan_hat?"
  • "Yes, but I don't see how you are going to do it?"
  • "Neither do I propose to tell you," Moore said drily. "I have been day_orking out the scheme which is complete at last. I shall get those papers a_ure as—as sure as you are a detective."
  • Inspector Lockwood expressed no lively satisfaction.
  • "It's very irregular," he grumbled, "and so humiliating for me. I kno_othing; I can merely produce the prisoners to-morrow and ask for a remand.
  • They have even sent down a barrister from London to prosecute. You seem t_ave the whole British Government backing you up."
  • "As a matter of fact," Moore said curtly, "I have."
  • Moore proceeded to expound his views and wishes as to the future of th_uzzling case with a freedom that caused Lockwood some emotion. He was merel_ puppet in the game, a fact that Moore pointed out cogently. Whereupon th_ecret Service Agent departed for the Caledonian Hotel.
  • Here a keen, alert-looking man with a clean-shaven face and gold-rimme_lasses awaited him. They shook hands warmly.
  • "I'm glad the Home Office sent you, Mclntyre," Moore remarked. "I suppos_ou've got the heads of your case from Lockwood?"
  • "I'm practically in the dark, my dear fellow," the eminent barrister replied.
  • "I know I'm to prosecute two men for an alleged conspiracy, but beyond tha_ockwood told me very little. As far as I can see, to-morrow's proceeding_ill be purely formal."
  • "I fancy not," Moore said drily. "Do you remember some months ago my tellin_ou the history of that wonderful woman, Katrina?"
  • Mclntyre nodded. A new interest was being added to the case. The interes_eepened as Moore proceeded to relate the details of his interview wit_atrina and Stefano earlier in the evening. He went still further than that—h_old the why and wherefore of Mefer's immunity from arrest, and the scheme h_ad devised to get the better of him.
  • "Worthy of Wilkie Collins, by Jove," Mclntyre cried. "If Mefer is th_uperstitious chap you describe him to be, you will torture him almost out o_is mind before he and you reach London to-morrow. So you fancy this Katrin_ill turn Queen's evidence to save that rascal Stefano?"
  • "I feel perfectly certain of it," Moore replied. "Stefano dare not do s_imself, but no great harm will come to Katrina. She can always plead that sh_as sacrificed the few to save the many conspirators. I have jotted down her_ long list of the questions you are to ask her in the witness box. She is _trong, clever woman, and doubtless she will try to evade them. She does no_ealise yet what it means to stand an examination such as yours will be. Onc_ou get on her nerves you will be able to do anything."
  • Mclntyre nodded thoughtfully. He was lost in admiration of Moore's scheme, it_onderful ingenuity, and the dexterity with which he had worked out ever_etail in a marvellously complex piece of machinery.
  • "I never heard anything finer," he exclaimed.
  • At the same moment a waiter entered with a card, which he placed before Moore.
  • The latter glanced at a pencil scrawl and smiled.
  • "Show the lady up," he said. "My dear Mclntyre, it's Katrina herself. I quit_xpected her to try and see me again."
  • Katrina entered. Her face was white and her eyes wild, but she had lost non_f the proud, easy bearing. Moore made the necessary introduction, an_xplained that Mclntyre was here on business not indirectly connected wit_atrina herself.
  • "Mr. Mclntyre has a perfect knowledge of the situation," Moore sai_ignificantly. Katrina bowed. Her quick intelligence had grasped Moore'_eaning.
  • "You know why I come here," she cried. "I will waste no time in idle words.
  • Our conspiracy has failed. The life of one whom I regard before all others i_he world is in peril. For none other would I degrade myself as I am going t_egrade myself now. For Stefano's sake I am going to be a traitor. I am goin_o betray those who have trusted me. Ask any question you please, and I wil_ell you  _all_."
  • She threw up her arms; a laugh of exceeding bitterness escaped her. Th_assionate, loving woman was uppermost now, the splendid courage had vanished, a dull shame veiled Katrina's eyes.
  • "You will repeat your confession in public to-morrow," said Mclntyre. Katrin_odded. She had no word for the moment. Her hands were locked together wit_onvulsive force, a scar was on her lips where the white, even teeth ha_cored it.
  • "I will say what you wish," she burst out presently. "If I have to be bad, then I will be bad to the core. It is all for the sake of Stefano. Ah, it i_nly in the South that we know how to love and to sacrifice all to the passio_f our lives."
  • The fit of passion passed, tears stood in the woman's eyes. There was in thos_yes the enthusiasm that sometimes culminates in insanity.
  • "Sit down," said Mclntyre,"and let us talk."
  • Katrina dropped into a chair. She answered glibly all the many and varie_uestions that the barrister put to her. But out of all those questions ther_as not one of them taken from the paper that Moore had handed over to hi_riend and ally.
  • * * * * *
  • A FAIR man with a dreamy face was in a casual way turning over a pile o_laming bookstall literature as Moore entered the great Glasgow station. Th_an with the dreamy face turned and just for an instant the lines of his mout_rew rigid as Moore touched him on the shoulder.
  • "Alex Mefer," said Moore, "how are you?"
  • The man addressed as Mefer smiled. He and Moore were old antagonists, an_heir respect for each other's powers was mutual. They were both men o_ndomitable courage and pluck when the pinch came, albeit the famous spy wa_o less nervous and imaginative than Moore on ordinary occasions. He showed n_race of these qualities at present.
  • "My dear friend," he cried, "this is a meeting the most delightful. Tell me, have you been in Glasgow long?"
  • The cool, delicious insolence of the question amused Moore.
  • "Exactly as long as you have been here." he cried.
  • "Is it possible that we are both going to London to-day?"
  • "Such is my intention, friend Mefer. I have at my disposal a compartment i_he train, and I have made my arrangements for feeding on the journey. So sur_as I that you were going to London to-day that I laid my plans accordingly.
  • Permit me to offer you a seat in my carriage and a share of my luncheo_asket. There will be plenty for two I assure you." Mefer's eyes sparkled.
  • "This interest in my welfare is flattering," he said. "But what do you expec_n return for this hospitality?"
  • "Those Port Glasgow submarine plans you obtained possession of on Wednesday."
  • Mefer laughed no more for the moment. The sensitive, intellectual face gre_rave. Like most really clever men, he never underrated the strength of a_nemy, and in Moore he had long recognised a foe of infinite resource an_ovelty of method.
  • "So some papers have been stolen?" he asked.
  • "That is it," Moore replied drily. "I prefer to believe that they have passe_nto your possession. So sure do I feel of this that 1 have laid all my plan_ccordingly."
  • "Oh, oh. You are certain of your man."
  • "Absolutely certain. And equally assured that before midnight you wil_oluntarily restore the stolen documents. Come along."
  • Mefer followed his companion down the long platform, echoing to the tramp o_eet and the shrill, smiting scream of escaping vapor. Moore paused at lengt_efore a carriage guarded by a stalwart porter.
  • "Are you coming with me?" he asked.
  • Mefer nodded gravely. He showed no fear, but he was plainly puzzled. Moore wa_iolating every rule of the game. It was as if two masters of fence had com_ogether, the one with new passes and guards—something absolutely novel in th_ay of  _carte_  and  _tierce_ , the other relying on old methods.
  • "I think I will," said Mefer, "for frankly I don't understand you."
  • Hitherto this kind of duel had been played in the dark. The right hand of on_an was never seen by the left hand of the other until the plot was unskeine_nd the time to strike had come. Under ordinary circumstances, the last thin_oore would have dreamed of mentioning was the stolen plan.
  • Mefer flung himself down in the corner of the carriage and attacked _igarette. There was a banging of doors, a trilling whistle, then the hug_tation began to slide away. Moore appeared to be studying his paper wit_reat intentness.
  • "My friend," Mefer said suddenly, "you are not trying to fools-mate me?"
  • Moore laid his paper on one side.
  • "I have tried that game successfully before now," he said; "but I pay a highe_ribute to your powers than attempting it with you, my dear Mefer. And I di_o more than state a fact to you just now."
  • "But you cannot possibly guarantee that fact!"
  • "I can and will. I am not bluffing. By the way, there is a paragraph in th_aper here that may interest you. It is to the effect that two dynamiters, b_ame Tosco and Berthe, were arrested red-handed last night, and informing al_hom it may concern that the miscreants will be brought before the magistrate_o-day. I believe these men are no strangers to you."
  • "I seem to have heard the names," Mefer admitted drily.
  • "You came over to England together."
  • "Again your information is exceedingly accurate. But you cannot connect m_ith them to my detriment. I am too clever for that, sir."
  • Mefer positively beamed as he spoke. He began to see daylight. Moore was goin_o frighten these papers out of him by connecting him with this absur_ynamite business.
  • "One is loth to lose one's illusions, for they are scarce at forty," Mefe_esumed. "And hitherto I have regarded you as such a clever man."
  • Moore smiled. He saw the point quite clearly.
  • "I know perfectly well that those people were mere tools of yours," he said.
  • "You came to England with them as a blind to cover your real intentions. _ave not the least intention of using this information as a lever to force yo_o disgorge. You will see later on how that newspaper paragraph forms part o_y game. Individually, I may say there are others in the conspiracy who as ye_ave not been arrested.
  • Need I say that I am alluding to Stefano and Katrina? The woman is deeply i_ove with that handsome coward, and she would make any sacrifice to shiel_im. If Katrina said all she knew she could make Europe warm for you."
  • The puzzled look crossed Mefer's face again. Once more he seemed anxious an_neasy. He studied the features of his companion intently.
  • "Katrina would never tell the story of our work," he said. "She would not und_he labor of years like that."
  • "She may not intend to do so," Moore replied. "But a woman eager to save he_over will commit any folly. By giving evidence against the other two sh_ould shield Stefano. Both Tosco and Berthe are the wild visionaries who ar_repared to die for what they call the 'cause.' We will suggest that Katrin_urns Queen's evidence. We will suggest that she is examined by a barriste_ho is fully acquainted with her past, and who—best point of all—knows she i_hielding Stefano. Why, man alive, under those circumstances the advocat_ould make that woman say anything he pleased."
  • "She will not do it," Mefer cried hoarsely.
  • "I have already shown you how she could be compelled to speak," Moore said i_is most dry manner. "Within a few hours of Katrina's startling revelation_very police officer in England would be on the look-out for you. It would b_he same on the Continent. By the time we get to London my prophecy will b_ulfilled or falsified. If the former, what is to prevent me from giving yo_nto custody on our arrival? If I did that it would not be long before _ecovered those stolen plans."
  • Mefer admitted the point gloomily. Moore appeared to be familiar with ever_etail of that dynamite business. He cursed his folly now that he had touche_he matter at all.
  • "You cannot possibly connect me with those people," he cried.
  • "I'm not going to try," Moore replied. "I am merely using those fools as _eans to an end. With their assistance, voluntarily or otherwise, I propose t_rive you into the tightest corner you were ever in in your life. Then _ropose to offer you life and liberty on certain terms."
  • "Katrina is to be relied upon," said Mefer sullenly. "She will not speak."
  • Moore looked at his watch. The conversation had been desultory and wit_houghtful pauses, and an hour or more had passed.
  • "When we pass Carlisle," he said, "I will tell you for certain."
  • "You expect a telegram there?"
  • "Indeed, I don't. I abhor bustling about when I am travelling, which is th_eason why I engaged this compartment. From now till we reach London I don'_ropose to leave the train. At the same time I propose telling you all tha_akes place before the Glasgow magistrates to-day."
  • Mefer laughed, but there was no mirth in it. Moore was getting on his nerves.
  • The train at length passed Carlisle, but Moore said nothing. Another hou_assed and no words came from his lips. The train was passing through th_eart of the fells by this time. In the brilliant sunshine the green rollin_ills seemed strangely peaceful.
  • Moore watched one of them dreamily for a long time. Then he crossed over t_efer, and smote him on the thigh.
  • The whole aspect of the man had changed. His eyes gleamed and danced, his fac_as pallid with excitement.
  • "Katrina has turned up," he said. "For the best part of an hour now she ha_een giving her evidence. The two prisoners appear to be convinced that she i_etraying them to save the rest of the gang. A pity that men so brave shoul_e so wrong-headed. Katrina is being examined by Mclntyre who, as you know, i_reat in this kind of case. And Katrina has been speaking of you with th_reatest possible freedom."
  • Mefer gasped. With all his power and strength he was superstitious to _egree. Had Moore some marvellous, occult power of which he knew nothing? O_as he being made the victim of a stupid practical joke?
  • "I don't believe a word of it," he said sullenly.
  • "The proof will be to hand when we reach London," Moore replied. "I see yo_esire further details to convince you. Let me use my eyes for you."
  • Moore lay back and closed those organs languidly.
  • "The court is crowded," he said. "At the back of it lurks Stefano, who ha_een unable to keep away. Pale, frightened, yet defiant, Katrina stands in th_itness-box. She wears a black straw hat with scarlet poppies. Her dress i_hite with red bands across it. Mclntyre presses her hard and she shows sign_f weakness. She staggers, and asks for a glass of water. She faints, an_here is great commotion in court. Then, as it is twelve o'clock, they adjour_or luncheon."
  • Moore opened his eyes and sat upright. Mefer was pale and ghastly. He tried t_augh, but his thin lips trembled, and no sound came from them.
  • "Don't!" he grasped with a convulsive shudder. "You get on my nerves. But wha_ou say cannot be true."
  • "As there is a God above us, all I say is gospel," Moore cried. "By the tim_e get to London it will be in print in all the evening papers. Meanwhile le_s examine the contents of my luncheon basket. In the course of an hour or s_ shall have more information for you."
  • Mefer toyed with the wing of a chicken, whilst Moore ate heartily.
  • He knew that he had his man now. It was getting on towards three o'clock whe_e returned to his proper seat and looked dreamily out of the window again. H_eemed to be absorbed in the contemplation of a gaunt rock miles away tha_emained in sight for some time.
  • "Getting more information?" Mefer muttered.
  • "Got it," Moore snapped. "The case was adjourned and the prisoners remanded a_ quarter past two, when Katrina completed her evidence. She has made a clea_reast of everything. She has gone into detail over the murder of that Wa_ffice attaché at Vienna. She has given the story chapter and verse. You ar_earing the murdered man's watch at the present time, which is hardly discree_f you, my dear Mefer."
  • Mefer uttered a cry of horror and despair. He clasped his left side, he fel_ver on his face in a state of absolute collapse.
  • A little brandy restored the color to his lips and the light to his eyes.
  • "How did you do it?" he gasped.
  • "That secret must remain locked in my breast," Moore replied. "I don't fanc_ou will refuse to believe in my powers any longer."
  • Mefer made one last attempt to fight off the horror that wrapped him in _lack mist.
  • "It may all be pure conjecture," he muttered.
  • "London will prove that," said Moore, "and after London—well, after London th_est lies absolutely with yourself."
  • The train flashed through the green core of the landscape, leaving th_treaming miles behind until the fresh fields ran into lawns and hedges an_he trim houses skirting the uneasy heart of London. It was past eight o'cloc_nd the electric arcs were glaring purple when the express pulled up.
  • "A paper," Mefer said hoarsely. "A paper."
  • Moore snatched a "special " from the bookstall and hurried his companion int_ refreshment room. He opened the flimsy sheet. There was no triumph in hi_ace as he pointed to a double column dotted with plentiful scare heads.
  • "Read for yourself," he said, "it seems to be all there."
  • Mefer spread out the paper on a marble table. It was all there with _engeance. Every trifling touch Moore had foretold was faithfully recorded.
  • There was a description of the sensational witness, the account of he_ainting, the story of the Austrian military attaché's murder.
  • Mefer read it all, crushed in mind and in body. He was the victim o_uperhuman agency.
  • "I am beaten," he said drearily. "What do you want?"
  • "Those papers," Moore rasped out. "Give me those papers and you are free. Onc_ get those my task is done. And you are to tell me whence you obtained them.
  • If you reject my terms, I give one sign and you are in custody."
  • Mefer smiled bitterly.
  • "How can I reject your terms?" he asked.
  • "I am utterly powerless. My liberty and life are worth more to me than all th_est. Come with me to my hotel and you shall have what you require."
  • Half-an-hour later and the precious plans were in Moore's possession. The_ere all correct, not one of them was missing, and there had been no time fo_nyone to make a tracing of them.
  • "Where are you going now?" Moore asked.
  • Mefer was consulting his watch earnestly. He looked half wistfully at hi_ortmanteau; then he shook his head.
  • "1 dare not risk it," he muttered. "I must just slip out as I am. My idea i_o get to Southampton and reach France  _via_  Jersey. Good-bye, and curse yo_or the cleverest man I ever met."
  • * * * * *
  • "YOU have done wonderfully well," the great personage of the War Offic_emarked, as he fondled the precious papers Moore had just placed in hi_ands. "Under the circumstances no apology for interrupting my dessert i_ecessary. Try the port; you look as if a glass would do you good. I am sorr_hat you allowed Mefer to slip through your fingers."
  • "I had to, my lord," Moore replied. "Otherwise we should never have got th_lans. Besides, he is certain to be captured."
  • My lord smiled as if the information pleased him.
  • "There is much in that," he said. "And now perhaps you will tell me how yo_anaged to get your marvellous information  _en route_. I never heard o_nything so remarkable in the whole course of my life."
  • "It was merely a variation of an old fraud," Moore said modestly. "I kne_retty well beforehand what information Mclntyre would elicit. As the cas_roceeded I had it wired to ten confederates in prominent places by the lin_f railway. The wires were tapped on purpose. Then as the telegrams wer_eciphered they were flashed to me in the train by heliograph. You see th_hing was absurdly simple after all. Had there been no sunshine I should hav_aried my plan slightly and the signalling would have been done with flags. _early frightened my man to death. To his dying day he will firmly believ_hat I am possessed of occult powers."
  • And Moore smiled at the recollection. The great personage smiled also, but i_as a smile of intense approval.
  • "It seems easy when you know how it is done," he said. "I am more tha_leased, I am delighted. You'll like those cigarettes."
  • And Moore said it was the most enjoyable smoke he had ever had in his life.