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The Box with Broken Seals by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Part 4 out of 5

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of our elderly machines a touching up, I can tell you!"

"So you fly over the German lines most days, eh?" Jocelyn Thew ruminated.

"We dropped a few thousand copies of the President's speech last Monday,"
the young man told them. "That ought to give them something to think about.
They only know just what they are told. The last batch of prisoners that
were brought in firmly believed that one of their armies had landed in
England and that London was on the point of falling."

"All war," Jocelyn Thew said didactically, "is carried on under a cloud of

The young man stretched himself out. He had dined well and his courage was
returning. He asked a question which up till then he had felt inclined to

"What licks me," he declared suddenly, "is finding you two over here. What
ever brought you across, Katharine?"

There was a brief silence. Katharine seemed uncertain how to answer. It was
Jocelyn Thew who took up the challenge.

"A little over a fortnight ago," he explained, "I called upon your sister
in New York. I begged her to perform a certain service for me. She
consented. The execution of that service brought her across from New York
on board the _City of Boston_."

"But have you two been seeing anything of one another, then? You never
mentioned Thew in any of your letters, Katharine?"

"Your sister and I have not met since a certain memorable occasion,"
Jocelyn Thew replied.

The young man shivered and drained his glass.

"What was this service?" he enquired.

"Your sister played sick nurse upon the steamer to a person in whom I was
interested, and who was operated upon in her hospital," Jocelyn Thew
explained. "He was an Englishman, and very anxious to reach his own country
before he died."

"I can't quite catch on to it," Beverley admitted.

Jocelyn Thew glanced carelessly around. His manner was the reverse of
suspicious, but he only resumed his speech when he was sure that not even a
waiter was within hearing.

"It happened to form part of an important plan of mine," he said, "that a
man who was dangerously ill should be brought over to England without
raising any suspicion as to his _bona fides_. I made use of your sister's
name and social position to ensure this. There has been, as I think you
have often acknowledged, Beverley, a debt owing from you to me. Half of
that debt your sister has paid."

"You haven't been getting Katharine mixed up in any crooked business?" her
brother demanded excitedly.

"Your sister ran no risk whatever," Jocelyn Thew assured him. "She
performed her share of the bargain excellently. It is just possible," he
continued, with a glint of fire in his eyes and a peculiar, cold emphasis
creeping into his words, "that it may fall to your lot to wipe out the
remainder of the debt."

Beverley moved in his chair uneasily.

"You will remember," he said, "that things have changed. I am not a free
agent now. I entered upon this fighting business as an adventure, but, my
God, Thew, it's got into my blood! I've seen things, felt things. I don't
want anything to come between me and the glorious life I live day by day."

Jocelyn Thew nodded approvingly.

"That's the proper spirit, Beverley," he declared. "I always knew you had
pluck. Quite the proper spirit! Your sister showed the same courage when
the necessity came."

"Oh, don't bring me into this, please!" she interrupted.

"You seem to have been brought into it," her brother observed grimly, "and
I'm not sure that I am satisfied. I can pay my own debts."

There was a note of rising anger in his tone. Katharine laid her fingers
upon his hand.

"Don't imagine things, please, Dick," she begged. "It is my own foolishness
if I am disturbed. I really had nothing to do. Mr. Thew has been most

"In any case," Jocelyn Thew went on, "I think that the matter had better be
discussed another time, when we are alone. We might have to make reference
to things which are best not mentioned in a public place."

For a moment the young man's eyes challenged his. Then they fell. He
shivered a little.

"Why ever speak of them?" he demanded.

"Ah, well, we'll see," Jocelyn Thew observed. "Now what about an hour or
two at a music-hall? I have a box at the Alhambra."

Katharine rose at once to her feet. They all made their way into the
lounge. Whilst they waited for her to fetch her cloak, Beverley swung round
to his companion.

"Look here," he said, "for myself it doesn't matter--you know that--but
what game are you playing? I don't know much about your life, of course,
before those few days, but on your own showing you were out for big things.
Are you known here? Is it anything--anything against the law, this business
you're on? I don't care for myself--you know that. It's Katharine I'm
thinking of."

Jocelyn Thew knocked the ash from his cigar. He smiled deprecatingly at his
companion. Certainly there was no man in that very fashionable restaurant
who looked less like a criminal.

"My dear Beverley," he expostulated, "you must remember that I am an
exceedingly clever person. I am suspected of any number of misdemeanours. I
will not say that there are not one or two of which I have not been guilty,
but I have never left behind me any proof. I dare say the English police
over here look on me sometimes just as hungrily as the New York ones. They
feel in their hearts that I am an adventurer. They feel that I have been
connected with some curious enterprises, both in the States and various
other countries of the globe. They know very well that where there has been
fighting and loot and danger, I have generally followed under my own flag.
They know all this, but they can prove nothing against me. They can only
watch me, and that they do wherever I am. They are watching me now, every
hour of the day."

"It isn't," the young man commenced, with a sudden break in his tone--

Jocelyn shook his head.

"No, my young friend," he said, "the curtain fell upon that little episode.
I doubt whether there is even a police record of it. It isn't the lives of
individuals I am juggling with to-day. It's the life of a nation."

"Are you a spy?" Beverley asked him hoarsely.

"Your sister," Jocelyn Thew pointed out, "is waiting for us."


Crawshay, having the good fortune to find, as he issued from his rooms, a
taxicab whose driver's ideas of speed were in accordance with his own
impatience, managed to reach the Savoy at a few minutes before eight. He
entered the hotel by the Court entrance. An insignificant-looking young man
with a fair moustache and watery eyes touched him on the shoulder as he
passed through the Court lobby. Crawshay glanced lazily around and assured
himself that they were unobserved.

"Anything fresh?" he asked laconically.

"Nothing. We have searched Miss Sharey's rooms thoroughly, and two of our
men have been over Thew's apartments again."

"Miss Sharey up-stairs?"

The young man shook his head.

"Hasn't been up for some hours," he reported.

Crawshay nodded and strolled on. He left his coat and hat in charge of the
attendant, and entered the grill room. Here, however, he met with
disappointment. The place was crowded but his search was methodical. There
was no sign there of Nora Sharey. He climbed the few stairs and entered the
smoking room. Seated in an armchair, reading a novel, he discovered the
young lady of whom he was in search.

He crossed the room at a slow saunter, as though on his way to the bar, and
paused before the girl's chair. She laid down her book and looked up at
him. Her smile at once assured him of a welcome.

"I am glad that I am not altogether forgotten, Miss Sharey," he said,
holding out his hand which she promptly accepted. "I suppose it still is
Miss Sharey, is it? I hope so."

"I guess the name's all right," she replied. "Glad to see you don't bear
any ill-will against me, Mr. Crawshay. You Englishmen sometimes get so
peevish when things don't go quite your way, and you weren't saying nice
things to me last time we met."

Crawshay smiled and glanced at the seat by her side. She made room for him,
and he subsided into the vacant space with a little sigh of content.

"A man's profession," he confided, "sometimes makes large and repugnant
demands upon him."

"If that means you are sorry you were rude to me last time we met down in
Fourteenth Street," she said, "I guess I may as well accept your apology.
You were a trifle disappointed then, weren't you?"

"We acted," Crawshay explained, with studied laboriousness,--"my friends
and I acted, that is to say--upon inconclusive information. America at that
time, you see, was a neutral Power, and the facilities granted us by the
New York police were limited in their character. My department was
thoroughly convinced that the--er--restaurant of which your father was the
proprietor was something more than the ordinary meeting place of that
section of your country-people who carried their enmity towards my country
to an unreasonable extent."

She looked at him admiringly.

"Say, you know how to talk!" she observed. "What about getting an innocent
girl turned out of a job at Washington, though?"

Crawshay stroked his long chin reflectively.

"You don't suppose," he began--

"Oh, don't yarn!" she interrupted. "I'm not squealing. You knew very well
that I'd no need to take a post as telephone operator, and you did your
duty when you got me turned off. It was very clever of you," she went on,
"to tumble to me."

Crawshay accepted the compliment with a smile.

"If you will permit me to say so, Miss Sharey," he declared, "you are what
we call in this country a good sportsman."

"Oh, I can keep on the tracks all right," she assented. "I guess I am a
little easier to deal with, for instance, than your friend Mr. Jocelyn

Crawshay frowned. His expression became gloomier.

"I am bound to confess, Miss Sharey," he sighed, "that your friend Mr.
Jocelyn Thew has been the disappointment of my life."

"Some brains, eh?"

"He has brains, courage and luck," Crawshay pronounced. "Against these
three things it is very hard work to bring off--shall I say a _coup_?"

"The man who gets the better of Jocelyn Thew," she declared, with a little
laugh, "deserves all the nuts. He is a sure winner every time. You're up
against him now, aren't you?"

"More or less," Crawshay confessed. "I crossed on the steamer with him."

"I bet that didn't do you much good!"

"I lost the first game," Crawshay confessed candidly. "I see that you know
all about it."

"No need to put me wiser than I am," the girl observed carelessly. "Jocelyn
Thew's no talker."

"Not unless it serves his purpose. It is astonishing," Crawshay went on
reflectively, "how the science of detection has changed during the last ten
years. When I was an apprentice at it--and though you may not think it.
Miss Sharey, I am a professional, not an amateur, although I am generally
employed on Government business--secrecy was our watchword. We hid in
corners, we were stealthy, we always posed as being something we weren't.
We should have denied emphatically having the slightest interest in the
person under surveillance. In these days, however, everything is changed.
We play the game with the cards upon the table--all except the last two or
three, perhaps--and curiously enough, I am not at all sure that it doesn't
add finesse to the game."

Her eyes flashed appreciatively.

"You're dead right," she acknowledged. "Take us two, for instance. You know
very well that Jocelyn Thew is a pal of mine. You know very well that I
shall see him within the next twenty-four hours. You know very well that
you're out to hunt him to the death, and you know that I know it. Every
question you ask me has a purpose, yet we talk here just as chance
acquaintances might--I, a girl whom you rather like the look of--you do
like the look of me, don't you, Mr. Crawshay?"

Crawshay had no need to be subtle. His eyes and tone betrayed his

"I have thoroughly disliked you ever since you were too clever for me in
New York," he confessed, "and I have been in love with you all the time."

"And you," she continued, with a little gleam of appreciation in her eyes,
"are a very pleasant-looking, smart, agreeable Englishman, who looks as
though he knew almost enough to ask a poor girl out to dinner."

Crawshay glanced at his wrist watch.

"It is you who have the science of detection," he declared. "You have read
my thoughts. Do you wish to change your clothes first, or shall we turn in
at a grill room?"

She rose promptly to her feet.

"I'm all for the glad rags," she insisted. "I bought a heap of clothes in
Bond Street this afternoon, and I don't know how many chances I shall have
of wearing them. I am a quick dresser, and I shan't keep you more than a
quarter of an hour. But just one moment first."

Crawshay stood attentively by her side.

"I am at your service," he murmured.

"It's all in the game," she went on, "for you to take me out to dinner, of
course, but I guess I needn't tell you that there's nothing doing in the
information way. You've fixed it up in your mind, I dare say, that I am mad
with Jocelyn Thew. I may be or I may not, but that doesn't make me any the
more likely to come in on your side of the game."

Mr. Crawshay's gesture was entirely convincing.

"My dear Miss Sharey," he said softly, "I am going to take a holiday.
Business is one thing and pleasure is another. For this evening I am going
to put business out of my mind. The sentiment at which I hinted a few
moments ago, has, I can assure you, a very real existence."

"Hinted?" she laughed. "Guess there wasn't much hint about it. You said you
were in love with me."

"I am," Crawshay sighed.

Her eyes danced joyously.

"You shall tell me all about it over dinner," she declared. "I've got a
peach of a black gown--you won't mind if I am twenty minutes?"

"I shall mind every moment that you are away," Crawshay replied, "but I can
pass the time. I will telephone and have a cocktail."

She leaned towards him.

"I can guess whom you are going to telephone to."

"Perhaps--but not what I am going to say."

"You are going to telephone to that chap with the dark
moustache--Brightman, isn't it? I can hear you on the wire. 'Say, boys,'
you'll begin, 'I'm on to a good thing! Everything's looking lovely. I'm
taking little Nora Sharey, of Fourteenth Street, out to dine--girl who came
over to Europe after Jocelyn Thew, you know. Good business, eh?'"

Crawshay laughed tolerantly. The girl's humour pleased him.

"You are wrong," he declared. "If I told them that, they'd expect something
from me which I know I shan't get. You are right about the person, though.
I am going to telephone to Brightman."

"What are you going to say?" she challenged him.

"I am just going to tell him," Crawshay confided, "that Jocelyn Thew is
dining with Miss Beverley and her brother, more red roses and a corner
table in the restaurant, and--"

"Well, what else?"

Crawshay hesitated.

"Perhaps," he said, "if I went on I might put just one card too many on the
table, eh?"

"We'll let it go at that, then," she decided. "After all, you know, I am
not coming exactly like a lamb to the slaughter. There are a few things
you'd like to get to know from me about Jocelyn Thew, but there are also a
few things I should like to worm out of you. We'll see which wins. And, Mr.

"Miss Sharey?" he murmured, bending down to her as he held the door open.

"I don't mind confessing that it depends a great deal upon what brand of
champagne you fancy."

"_Mum cordon rouge_?" he suggested.

She made a little grimace as she turned away.

"I am rather beginning to fancy your chance," she declared.


Crawshay, about half an hour later, piloted his companion to the table
which he had engaged in the restaurant with all the _savoir faire_ of a
redoubtable man about town. She was, in her way, an exceedingly striking
figure in a black satin gown on which was enscrolled one immense cluster of
flowers. Her neck and arms, very fully visible, were irreproachable. Her
blue-black hair, simply arranged but magnificent, triumphed over the
fashions of the coiffeur. The transition from Fourteenth Street to her
present surroundings seemed to have been accomplished without the slightest
hitch. She leaned forward to smell the great cluster of white roses which
he had ordered in from the adjoining florist's.

"The one flower I love," she sighed. "I always fall for white roses."

Crawshay's eyes twinkled as he took his place.

"Do you remember your English history?" he asked. "This is perhaps destined
to become a battle of red and white roses--red roses at Claridge's and
white roses here."

"Which won--in history?" she asked indifferently.

"That I won't tell you," he said, "in case you should be superstitious. At
the same time, I am bound to confess that if we could both of us hear
exactly what Jocelyn Thew is saying to-night across those red roses, I
think perhaps that I should back the House of York."

"So that's the stunt, is it?" she remarked coolly. "You want to make me
jealous of Katharine Beverley?"

"The cleverest and hardest men in the world," Crawshay observed, "generally
meet with their Waterloo at the hands of your sex. So far as I am
concerned, I am myself in distress. I am jealous of Jocelyn Thew."

"You're bearing up!"

"I am bearing up," Crawshay rejoined, "because I am hoping that with
kindness and consideration, and with opportunity to prove to you what a
domestic and faithful person I am, you will perceive that of the two men I
am the more worthy."

"Think something of yourself, don't you?" she observed.

"I have cultivated this confidence," he told her. "In my younger days I was

"Guess you're older than I thought you, then."

"I am thirty-seven years old," he declared, "and I was well brought up."

"Jocelyn Thew," she said reflectively, "is forty."

"I did not bring you here," he declared, "to discuss the age of my unworthy
rival. I brought you to tell me whether you consider that this _Lobster
Americaine_ reminds you at all of Delmonico's, and to prove to you that we
can, if we put our minds to it and speak plain and simple words to the
_sommelier_, serve our champagne as iced even as you like it."

Nora was not wanting in appreciation.

"It's the best thing I've had to eat since I left New York, and for some
time before that," she assured him. "There hasn't been much Delmonico's for
me during the last few months. Too many of your lot poking about Fourteenth

He nodded.

"After all," he said, "that was bound to come to an end when America
declared war. You people did the only wise thing--brother to San Francisco,
eh, your father to Chicago, and you over here?"

"You do know things," she laughed.

"I am a perfect dictionary as to your movements," he assured her.

"Have you anything to do with the fact that my rooms have been searched by
the police?" she asked abruptly.

"Indirectly I fear so," he confessed. "You see, up to the present we
haven't the least idea as to what has become of all those documents and
plans which Mr. Jocelyn Thew so very cleverly brought over to this

"Don't know where he's tucked them away, eh?" she enquired.

"That's a fact," Crawshay confessed. "We discovered, a trifle too late, how
they were brought over, but what has become of them since Jocelyn Thew's
arrival in London we do not know. Every one concerned has been searched, no
deposit has been made at any hotel or in any of the ordinary places where
one might conceal securities. They have momentarily vanished."

The girl's eyes twinkled.

"Well," she exclaimed, "he does put it over you, doesn't he? I wonder
whether you think that I am going to be any use to you--that you'll trap
Jocelyn Thew through me?"

"Not now," he answered. "I used to think so once."

"Why have you changed your mind?"

"Because," he told her bluntly, "I used once to think that you and he cared
for one another."

"And now?"

"I have changed my mind," he admitted. "You know him so well that I need
not remind you that where women are concerned he seems to have shown few
signs of weakness. Personally, I have a theory that the time has come when
he is likely to go the way of all other men."

She leaned across the table. Those wonderful brown eyes of hers were lit
with an indescribable interest. Crawshay for a moment lost the thread of
his thoughts. They were certainly the most beautiful eyes he had ever
looked into.

"You think there is anything between those two--Katharine Beverley and

"The consideration of that point," Crawshay continued, resuming his usual
manner, "although it lies off the track of my present investigation,
presents some points of interest. She can be of no further use to him in
his present scheme. She certainly would not aid him in the concealment of
any of his spoils, nor could she become an intermediary in forwarding them
to their destination. Yet he has sent her roses every day she has been in
England, and dined with her two nights following. You, who know him better
than I do, will agree that such a course is unusual with him."

"But Dick Beverley is with them to-night, you told me," she reminded him.

"That scarcely alters the situation," Crawshay pointed out, "because his
coming was quite unexpected. If anything, it rather strengthens my point of
view. Beverley is very much a young man of the world, and he probably knows
Jocelyn Thew's reputation. He certainly would not consent to meet him in
this friendly fashion, in company with his sister, unless the latter

"She doesn't need to insist," Nora said, watching the champagne poured into
her glass. "Unless you're kidding me, you don't seem to be able to see much
further than your nose. Katharine Beverley didn't come across the Atlantic
for her health, and Dick Beverley didn't join that little dinner party for
nothing to-night. They both of them did as they were told, and they had to
do it."

"This, I must confess," Crawshay murmured, smoothly and mendaciously,
"puzzles me. Your idea is, then, that Jocelyn Thew has some hold over

She laughed at him a little contemptuously.

"You are not going to make me believe," she said, "that you are not wise
about that. It isn't clever, you know, to treat me as a simpleton."

"I am afraid," he confessed humbly, "that it is I who am the simpleton. You
think, then, that the red roses are more emblematic of warfare than of

Nora shrugged her shoulders and was silent for several moments. Her
companion changed the subject abruptly, pointed out to her several
theatrical celebrities, told her an entertaining story, and talked nonsense
until the smile came back to her lips. It was Nora herself who returned to
the subject of the Beverleys, reopening it with a certain abruptness which
showed that it had never been far from her thoughts.

"See here, Mr. Crawshay," she said, "you seem to me to be wasting a lot of
time worrying round a subject, when I don't know whether a straightforward
question wouldn't clear it up for you. If you want to know what there is
between those three, Jocelyn Thew and the two Beverleys, I don't know that
I mind telling you. It's probably what you asked me to dine with you for,

"My dear Miss Sharey!" Crawshay protested, with genuine earnestness. "I can
assure you that I had only one object in asking you to spend the evening
with me."

She smiled at him over the glass which she had just raised to her lips.

"And that?"

"The pleasure of talking to you--of being with you."

"You're easily satisfied."

"Perhaps not so easily as I seem," he whispered, leaning a little forward
in his place. "If only I were sure that you were not in love with Jocelyn

"If you think that I am," she observed, "why are you always slinging that
Beverley girl at me?"

"Perhaps," he said coolly, "to make you jealous. All's fair in love and
war, you know."

"I see. Then what you really want is to make love to me yourself? I'm
sitting here and taking notice. Go right ahead."

Crawshay let himself go for a few moments, and his companion listened to
him approvingly.

"It sounds quite like the real thing," she sighed, "but I never trust you
Englishmen. You seem to acquire the habit of talking love to us girls just
as easily as you drink a cocktail. You know that if I were to put my little
hand in yours this moment across the table, you wouldn't know what to do
with it."

"Try me," Crawshay begged.

She held it out--a long, rather thin, capable woman's hand, manicured a few
hours ago in the latest fashion, but ringless. Crawshay promptly raised it
to his lips. She snatched it away, half amused, half vexed, and glanced
furtively around.

"If you did that in an American restaurant," she told him, "you'd stand
some chance of getting yourself laughed at."

"It's quite the custom over here and on the Continent," he assured her
equably. "It means--well, just as much as you want it to mean."

She sighed and looked at her fingers reflectively.

"What you'd like me to tell you, then," she suggested, raising her eyes and
looking at him thoughtfully, "is that I've never wasted a thought on
Jocelyn Thew, but that Mr. Reginald Crawshay is it with a capital 'I'?"

"It would make me very happy," he assured her with much conviction.

She laughed at him very softly. Little sparks seemed to flash from her
eyes, and her teeth were wonderful.

"You're very nice, anyway," she declared, "although I am not sure that I
believe in you as much as I'd like to. I'll just tell you as much as I
know. It really doesn't amount to anything. It was just after Jocelyn Thew
had come back from Nicaragua and Dick Beverley was having a flare-up of his
own in New York. They came together, those two, when Dick was in a tight
corner. I don't know the story, but I know that Jocelyn Thew played the
white man. Dick Beverley owes him perhaps his life, perhaps only his
liberty, and his sister knows it. That's how those three stand to one

"I ought to have puzzled that out myself," Crawshay said humbly.

"I am not so sure," she retorted drily, "that you didn't, long ago."

"Surmises are of very little interest by the side of facts," he reminded
her. "I like to have something solid to build upon."

She smiled at him appreciatively.

"If I were a sentimental sort of girl," she declared, "I could take a fancy
to you, Mr. Crawshay."

"Now you're laughing at me," he protested. "However, I'm going right on
with it and then we will dismiss all serious subjects. Miss Beverley has
certainly quit herself of any obligation to Jocelyn Thew. Richard Beverley
is no longer free. Besides, he has only a couple of days in England, so
there's very little chance of his being of use. Yet," he continued
impressively, "I happen to know that every hour just now is of the greatest
importance to Jocelyn Thew. Why does he spend another entire evening with
these two?"

"Say, which of us is the detective--you or me?" she demanded.

"Professionally, I suppose I am," he admitted. "Just now, however, I
consider myself as indulging in the relaxation of private life."

She leaned across the table towards him, her chin supported by her clenched

"Then relax all you want to," she begged, with a smile of invitation.
"We'll drop the other stunt, if you don't mind. And please remember, though
I've never enjoyed a dinner more in my life, that we don't want to be too
late for the Empire."

Crawshay returned to his rooms about one o'clock the next morning, with his
hat a little on the back of his head, and wearing, very much against his
prejudice, a white rose in his buttonhole. Brightman, who was awaiting him
there, looked up eagerly at his entrance.

"Any luck, Mr. Crawshay?"

Crawshay laid his hat and coat upon the table and mixed himself a whisky
and soda.

"I am not sure," he replied thoughtfully. "Are you any good at English
history, Brightman?"

"I won an exhibition in my younger days," the detective replied. "I used to
consider myself rather great on history."

"Who won the Wars of the Roses?"

"The Lancastrians, of course."

Crawshay nodded.

"They were the chaps with the red roses, weren't they?" he observed.
"Brightman, I fancy we are going to reverse that. I am laying five to one
that I've found out how Jocelyn Thew counts on getting his spoils into


The dinner of the red roses, as though in emulation of its rival
entertainment, seemed on its way to complete success. Jocelyn Thew, from
whose manner there seemed to have departed much of the austerity of the
previous evening, had never been a more brilliant companion. He, who spoke
so seldom of his own doings, told story after story of his wanderings in
distant countries, until even Katharine lost her fears of the situation and
abandoned herself to the enjoyment of the moment. His tone was kindlier and
his manner more natural. He spoke with regret of Richard Beverley's
departure in a couple of days, and only once did he hint at anything in the
least disturbing.

"Wonderful feat, that of you flying men," he remarked, "dropping ten
thousand copies of Wilson's speech over the German lines. I am not sure
that it isn't rather a dangerous precedent, though."

"Why dangerous?" Katharine enquired.

"Because," he answered coolly, "it might suggest a possible means of
communication with Germany to a person, say, like myself."

"But you are not a flying man," Katharine reminded him.

He smiled.

"It would not be necessary," he observed, "for me to be my own messenger."

There was a brief and rather a blank silence. The shadow of a new fear had
arisen in Katharine's heart. The brother and sister exchanged quick

"I believe I am right," their host went on, a few minutes later, "in
presuming that you have told Richard here the details of our little
adventure upon the _City of Boston_?"

"I have told him everything," Katharine acknowledged. "You don't mind that,
do you? I felt that I had to."

"You were quite right," Jocelyn Thew assented. "There is no reason for you
to keep anything secret from Richard."

The young man was conscious of a sudden recrudescence of anger, the flaming
up again of his first resentment.

"The whole thing was a rotten business, Thew," he declared. "I should never
have resented your making use of me in any way you wished, but to make a
tool of Katharine--"

"My dear fellow," Jocelyn Thew interrupted, smoothly but with a dangerous
glitter in his eyes, "please don't go on. I have an idea that you were
going to say something offensive. Better not. Your sister came to no real
harm. She never ran any real risk."

"It depends upon the way you look at these things," the young man replied
gloomily. "Katharine tells me that she is watched at her hotel day and
night, and that she has come under the suspicion of the Government for
being concerned in this affair."

"That really isn't of much account," the other assured him. "You yourself,"
he went on, "came very nearly under suspicion once for something infinitely
more serious."

It was a chill note in the warmth of their festivities. Katharine glanced
reproachfully at her host, and he seemed to realise at once his lapse.

"Forgive me, both of you," he begged. "I fear that I am a little irritable
to-night. This constant espionage gets on one's nerves. Look at them all
around us,--Crawshay in the corner, trying his best to get something
incriminating out of Nora Sharey; Brightman smoking a cigar out there, with
his eyes wandering all the time through the glass screen towards this
table; and the young man who seemed to haunt your hotel, Miss
Beverley--Henshaw I believe his name is--you see him dining there with his
back turned ostentatiously towards us and a little pocket mirror by his
side. There are three pairs of eyes that scarcely ever leave us. I don't
know whether they expect me to produce my spoils from my pocket and lay
them upon the table, or whether one of them is a student of the lip
language and hopes to learn the secrets of our conversation. Bah! They are
very stupid, this professional potpourri of secret-service agents and
detectives. Can't you hear them, how they will whisper in the lobby after
we have left? 'Jocelyn Thew is entertaining a young Flying Corps man on
leave from the front, the brother of Miss Beverley, who has already helped
him. What does that mean?' Then they will put their fingers to their noses
and you, too, will probably be watched, Dick. They will congratulate
themselves upon possessing the subtlety of the Devil. They will see through
my scheme. They will say--'This young man is to drop the documents behind
the German lines!' Don't be alarmed, Richard, if you find a secret service
man in your bedroom when you get home to-night."

Katharine laughed almost joyously.

"Then you're not going to ask Dick to do anything of that sort?" she
demanded, her tone indicating an immense relief.

He smiled.

"I am not going to ask your brother to do anything which is so palpably
obvious," he replied. "His help I am certainly going to engage, but in a
manner which is very unlikely to bring trouble upon him. I promise you

She suddenly leaned across the table. The cloud had passed from her
features, the dull weight from her heart. Her eyes were more eloquent even
than her tremulous lips.

"Mr. Thew," she said, "do you know that I have always had one conviction
about you, and that is that all these strange adventures in which you have
taken part--some of them, as you yourself have acknowledged, more
creditable than others--you have entered into chiefly from that spirit of
adventure, just the spirit in which Dick here," she added with a little
shiver, "made his mistake. Why can't you satisfy that part of your nature
as Dick is doing? This war, upon which we Americans looked so coldly at
first, has become almost a holy war, a twentieth-century crusade. Why don't
you join one of these irregular forces and fight?"

Then they both witnessed what they had never before seen in Jocelyn Thew.
They saw his eyes blaze with a sudden concentrated fury. They saw his lips
part and something that was almost a snarl transform and disfigure his

"Fight for England?" he exclaimed bitterly. "I would sooner cut off my
right hand!"

His words left them at first speechless. He, too, after his little outburst
seemed shaken, lacking in his usual _sangfroid_. It was Katharine who first
recovered herself.

"But you are English?" she protested wonderingly.

"Am I?" he replied. "Will you forgive me if I beg you to change the

The subject was effectually changed for them by the advent of some of
Richard Beverley's brothers in arms. It was some time before they passed
on. Then a little note almost of tragedy concluded the feast. A tall and
elderly man, gaunt, with sunken cheeks, silver-white hair, complexion
curiously waxen, and big, dark eyes, left the table where he had been
sitting with a few Americans and came over towards them. His advance was
measured, almost abnormally slow. His manner would have been melodramatic
but for its intense earnestness. He stood at their table for a few seconds
before speaking, his eyes fixed upon Jocelyn Thew's in a curious, almost
unnatural stare.

"You will forgive me," he said. "I must be speaking to Sir Denis Cathley?"

Neither of the two young people, who were filled with wonder at the strange
appearance of the newcomer, noticed Jocelyn Thew's sudden grip of the
tablecloth, the tightening of his frame, the ominous contraction of his
eyebrows as for a moment he sat there speechless. Then he was himself
again. He shook his head courteously.

"I am afraid," he replied, "that you must be making some mistake. My name
is Jocelyn Thew."

"And mine," the stranger announced, "is Michael Dilwyn. Is that name known
to you?"

"Perfectly well," Jocelyn Thew acknowledged. "I was present at the
production of your last play in New York. I have since read with much
regret," he went on courteously, "of the losses you have sustained."

The old man's wonderful eyes flashed for a moment.

"They are losses I am proud to endure, sir," he said. "But I did not come
to speak of myself. I came to speak to Sir Denis Cathley."

Jocelyn Thew shook his head.

"It is a likeness which deceives you," he declared.

"A likeness!" the other repeated. "Nine weeks ago I stood in a ruined
mansion--so dilapidated, in fact, that one corner of it is open to the
skies. I listened to the roar of the Atlantic as I heard it in the same
place fifty years ago. A herdsman and his wife, perhaps a girl or two, live
somewhere in the back quarters. The only apartment in any sort of
preservation is the one sometimes called the picture gallery and sometimes
the banqueting hall. You should visit this ruined mansion, sir. You should
visit it before you give me the lie when I call you Sir Denis Cathley."

Jocelyn Thew's hand for a moment shielded part of his face, as though he
found the electric light a little strong. From behind the shelter of his
palm his eyes met the eyes of his visitor. The latter suddenly turned and
bowed to Katharine.

"You will forgive an old man," he begged courteously, "who has seen much
trouble lately, for his ill manners. Perhaps your friend here, your friend
whose name is not Sir Denis Cathley, can explain to you why I felt some
emotion at the sight of so wonderful a likeness."

He bowed, murmured some broken words in reply to Katharine's kindly little
speech, and moved away. Jocelyn Thew's eyes watched him with a curious

"Yes," he acknowledged, "I can tell you why, if he really saw a likeness in
me to the person he spoke of, it might remind him of strange things. You
know him by name, of course--Michael Dilwyn?"

"He wrote the wonderful Sinn Fein play, 'The New Green,' didn't he?"
Katharine asked eagerly. "I heard you mention it to him. My aunt and I were
there at the first night."

"He wrote that and some more wonderful poetry. He has spent more than half
his life working for the cause of Ireland. He was the father and patriarch
of the last rising. One of his sons was shot at Dublin."

"And who is Sir Denis Cathley?"

"The Cathleys are another so-called revolutionary family," Jocelyn Thew
explained. "The late Sir Denis, the father of the man whom he supposed me
to be, was Michael Dilwyn's closest friend. They, too, have paid a heavy
price for their patriotism or their rebellious instincts, whichever way you
choose to look at the matter."

"I think," Katharine declared, "that Mr. Dilwyn is the most
picturesque-looking man I ever saw. I don't believe that even now he is
altogether convinced as to your identity."

"He has probably reached an age," was the cool reply, "when his memory
begins to suffer.--Ah! I see our friend Crawshay is taking counsel with
Henshaw. They are looking in this direction. Richard, my young friend, you
are in a bad way. Suspicion is beginning to fasten upon you. Believe me,
one of my parasites will be on your track to-night. I can almost convince
myself as to their present subject of conversation. They are preening
themselves upon having seen through my subtle scheme. I am very sure they
are asking themselves--'When is the transfer of documents to take place?'"

"It may all seem very humorous to you," the young man remarked, a little
sullenly, "but it leaves a sort of nasty flavour in one's mouth, all the
same. If they were to suspect me of trying to drop documents over the
German lines except under instructions, it would mean a court-martial, even
though they were unable to prove anything, and a firing party in five
minutes if they were."

"Take heart, my young friend," Jocelyn Thew advised him, "and do not refuse
the Courvoisier brandy which our saintly friend with the chain is
proffering. If it is not indeed a relic of the Napoleonic era, it is at
least drinkable. And listen--this may help you to drink it with zest--I am
not going to ask you to drop any documents over the German lines."

The thankfulness in Katharine's face was reflected in her brother's.

"Thank God for that!" he exclaimed, helping himself liberally to the
brandy. "You know I'd find it hard to refuse you anything, Thew, but there
are limits. Besides, you are never really out of sight there. We go out in
squadrons, and from the height we fly at nothing I could drop would be very
likely to reach its destination."

Jocelyn Thew smiled coldly.

"My dear Richard," he said, "I am not going to make you an unwilling
partner in any foolhardy scheme such as you are thinking of, because that
is just the Obvious thing that our friends who take so much interest in us
would expect and prepare for. All the same, there is just a trifling
commission which I will ask you to undertake for me, and which I will
explain to you later. When do you leave?"

"Ten o'clock train from Charing Cross on Monday night," the young man
replied. "I have to fly on Tuesday morning."

"Then if it pleases you we will all dine here that night," Jocelyn Thew
suggested, "and I will take you on to the Alhambra for an hour. Doctor Gant
and I were there our first night in town, and we found the performance
excellent. You will honour me, Miss Beverley?"

"I shall be delighted," she answered, "but I am not at all sure that you
will be able to get seats at the Alhambra."

"Why not?" he asked.

"There is a great benefit performance there on Monday night," she told him.
"The house is closed now for rehearsals. All the stalls have gone already,
and the boxes are to be sold by auction at the Theatrical Fête."

Jocelyn Thew was for a moment grave.

"I am very glad that you told me this," he said, "but I think that I can
nevertheless promise you the stage box for Monday night. I have a call on
it. We must all meet once more. It is just possible that I may have a
pleasant surprise for both of you."

"Do give us an idea what it is," she begged.

He shook his head. Somehow, since the coming of Michael Dilwyn, a tired
look had crept into his eyes. He seemed to have lost all his old vivacity.
He had paid the bill some time before and they strolled together now into
the lounge. Katharine was carrying half a dozen of the roses, which the
waiter had pressed into her hand.

"To-night," she said, looking up into his face and dropping her voice a
little, "I am feeling so much happier--happier than I have felt for a long
time. Why do you keep us both, Mr. Thew, in such a state of uneasiness? You
give us so little of your real confidence, so little of your real self.
Sometimes it seems as though you deliberately try to make yourself out a
harder, crueller person than you really are. Why do you do that?"

For a moment she fancied that the impossible had happened, that she had
penetrated the armour of that steadfast and studied indifference.

"We are all just a little the fools of circumstance," he sighed. "A will to
succeed sometimes, if it is strong enough, crushes out things we would like
to keep alive."

She thrust one of the blossoms which she was carrying through his

"I know you will hate that," she whispered, "but you can take it out the
moment you have gotten rid of us. Dick and I are going on now, you know, to
the Esholt House dance. Shall I thank you for your dinner?"

"Or I you for your company?" he murmured, bowing over her fingers.

They took their leave, and Jocelyn Thew, almost as though against his will,
walked back into the foyer, after a few minutes of hesitation, and sat
there twirling the rose between his fingers, with his eyes fixed upon the
interior of the restaurant. He had the air of one waiting.


Crawshay was awakened the next morning a little before the customary hour
by his servant, who held out a card.

"Gentleman would like a word with you at once, sir," the latter announced.

Crawshay glanced at the card, slipped out of bed, and, attired in his
dressing gown and slippers, made an apologetic entrance into the sitting
room. The young man who was waiting there received him kindly, but
obviously disapproved of the pattern of his dressing gown.

"Chief wants a word with you, sir," he announced. "He is keeping from ten
to ten-thirty."

"I will be there," Crawshay promised, "on the stroke of ten."

"Then I need not detain you further," his visitor remarked, making a
graceful exit.

Crawshay bathed, shaved and breakfasted, and at five minutes before ten
entered an imposing-looking building and sent up his card to a very great
man, who had a fancy for being spoken of in his department as Mr. Brown.
After a very brief delay, he was admitted to the august presence. Mr. Brown
waved his secretaries from the room, shook hands kindly with Crawshay and
motioned him to a chair close to his own.

"Mr. Crawshay," he said, "this is the first time I have had the pleasure of
meeting you, but we have received at various times excellent reports as to
your work at Washington."

"I am very pleased to hear it, sir."

"From what I gather as to the present situation, however," the great man
continued, "I imagine that you were more successful in the conventional
secret service work than you have been in the very grave business I have
sent for you to discuss."

"I should like to point out, sir," Crawshay begged, "that that foolish
journey to Halifax was undertaken entirely against my convictions. I
protested at the time! Neither had I any confidence in the summons to

Mr. Brown took the circumstance into gracious consideration.

"I am glad to hear that," he said, "and I must admit that your recovery was
almost brilliant. A sense of humour," he went on, "sometimes obtrudes
itself into the most serious incidents, and the idea of your boarding that
steamer from a seaplane and then getting to work upon your investigations
will always remain to me one of the priceless unrecorded incidents of the
war. But to put the matter into plain words, our enemies got the better of

"Absolutely," was the honest confession.

"There is no doubt," the right honourable gentleman continued, "that the
person who took charge of this affair is exceedingly clever. He appears to
have resource and daring. Personally, I, like you, never believed for a
moment that the whole of the records of German espionage in America for the
last three years, would be found upon the same steamer as that by which the
departing ambassadorial staff travelled. However, I can quite see that
under the circumstances you had to yield to the convictions of those who
were already in charge of the affair."

"You have had full reports, sir, I suppose?" Crawshay asked. "You know the
manner in which the documents were brought into this country?"

"A ghastly business," Mr. Brown acknowledged, "ingenious but ghastly. Yes,
Mr. Crawshay," he went on, "I think I have been kept pretty well posted up
till now. I have sent for you because I am not sure whether one point has
been sufficiently impressed upon you. As you are of course aware, there are
many documents and details connected with this propaganda which are of
immense value to the police of New York, but there is just one--a letter
written in a moment of impulse by one great personage to another, and
stolen--which might do the cause of the Allies incalculable harm if it were
to fall into the wrong hands."

"I had a hint of this, sir. Mason knew of it, too. His idea was that they
would be quite willing to destroy all the rest of the treasonable stuff
they have, if they could be sure of getting this one letter through."

"The documents have been in England now," Mr. Brown observed, "for some
days. Have you formed any theory at all as to where they may be concealed?"

"To be perfectly frank," Crawshay confessed, "I have not. Doctor Gant,
Jocelyn Thew, a young woman called Nora Sharey, and Miss Beverley are the
four people possibly implicated in their disappearance, although of these
two I consider Miss Sharey and Miss Beverley out of the question.
Nevertheless, their rooms and every scrap of property they possess have
been searched thoroughly, and their movements since they arrived in London
are absolutely tabulated. Not one of them has written a letter or
dispatched a parcel which has not been investigated, nor have they made a
call or even entered a shop without being watched. It seems absolutely
impossible that they can have taken any steps towards the disposal of the
documents since Jocelyn Thew arrived in London."

"Have they given any indication of their future plans?"

"Doctor Gant," Crawshay replied, "has booked a passage back in the American
boat which sails for Liverpool early to-morrow morning. We shall escort him
there, and his effects will be searched once more in Liverpool. Otherwise,
we have no intention of detaining him. He and Miss Beverley were simply the
tools of the other man."

"And the other man?"

"He has shown no signs of making any move whatsoever. He lives, to all
appearance, the perfectly normal life of a man of leisure. I understand
that he is entirely a newcomer to this sort of business, but he is, without
a doubt, the most modern thing in secret service. He lives quite openly at
a small suite in the Savoy Court. He never makes the slightest concealment
about any of his movements. We know how he has spent every second of his
time since we first took up the search, and I can assure you that there is
not a single suspicious incident recorded against him."

"You are satisfied," Mr. Brown asked, "with the aid which you are getting
from Scotland Yard?"

"Absolutely," Crawshay declared. "Brightman, too--the man who came down
with me from Liverpool--has done excellent work."

"And notwithstanding all this," was the somewhat grave criticism, "you have
not the slightest idea where these documents are to be found?"

"Not the slightest," Crawshay confessed. "All that I do feel convinced of
is that they have not left the country."

The great man leaned back a little wearily in his chair. There were some
decoded cables, lying under a paper weight by his side, imploring him in
the strongest possible terms to make use of every means within his power to
solve this mystery,--a personal appeal from a man whose good will might
sway the balance of the future. He was used to wonderful service in every
department he controlled. His present sense of impotence was galling.

"Tell me, Mr. Crawshay," he asked, "how long was the gap of time between
your losing sight of Jocelyn Thew and when you picked him up in London?"

"Very short indeed," was the emphatic reply. "Jocelyn Thew must have left
the _City of Boston_ at about eight o'clock on Monday morning. He met Gant
at five o'clock that evening at Crewe station. Gant had come direct from
Frisby, the little village near Chester where he had left the body of
Phillips. It is obvious, therefore, that Gant had the papers with him when
he joined Jocelyn Thew. They travelled to London together but parted at
Euston, Gant going to a cheap hotel in the vicinity of Regent Street,
whilst Thew drove to the Savoy. Gant called at the Savoy Hotel at nine
o'clock that evening, and the two men dined together in the grill room and
took a box at a music hall--the Alhambra. Up to this time neither of them
had received a visitor or dispatched a message--Thew, in fact, had spent
more than an hour in the barber's shop. They returned from the Alhambra
together, went up to Thew's rooms, had a drink and separated half an hour
later. This, of course, is in a sense posthumous information, but Scotland
Yard have it tabulated down to the slightest detail, and we are unable to
find a single suspicious circumstance in connection with the movements of
either man. At four o'clock the following morning, when both men were
asleep in their rooms, the cordon was drawn around them. Since then they
haven't had a chance."

"The fact that the papers are not in the possession of either of them," Mr.
Brown said reflectively, "proves that they made some move of which you have
no record."

"Precisely," Crawshay agreed, "but it must have been a move of so slight a
character that chance may reveal it to us at any moment."

"Describe Jocelyn Thew to me," Mr. Brown begged.

"He has every appearance," Crawshay declared, "of being a man of breeding.
He is scarcely middle-aged--tall and of athletic build. He dresses well,
speaks well, and I should take him anywhere for an English public school
and college man."

"Did New York give you his record?"

"In a cloudy sort of way. He seems to have had a most interesting career,
ranching out West, fighting in Mexico, fighting in several of the Central
American states, and fighting, I shrewdly suspect, against England in South
Africa. He seems to have been a sort of stormy petrel, and to have turned
up in any place where there was trouble. In New York the police always
suspected him of being connected with some great criminal movements, but
they were never able to lay even a finger upon him. He lived at one of the
best hotels in the city, disappeared sometimes for days, sometimes for
weeks, sometimes for a year, but always returned quite quietly, with
apparently any amount of money to spend, and that queer look which comes to
a man who has been up against big things."

"He is an Englishman, I suppose?"

"He must be. His accent and manners and appearance are all unmistakable."

"How long was he suspected of being in the pay of our enemies before this
thing transpired?"

"Only a very short time. There was a little gang in New York--Rentoul, the
man who had the wireless in Fifth Avenue, was in it--and they used to meet
at a place in Fourteenth Street, belonging to an old man named Sharey.
That's where Miss Sharey comes into the business. There were some queer
things done there, but they don't concern this business, and New York has
the records of them."

"Jocelyn Thew," Mr. Brown repeated slowly to himself. "Where did you say he
was staying?"

"At the Savoy Court."

Mr. Brown looked fixedly at the cables, fluttering a little in the breeze
which blew in through the half-open window.

"All this isn't very encouraging, Mr. Crawshay," he sighed.

"Up to the present no," the former admitted. "Yet I can promise you one
thing, sir. Those papers shall not leave the country."

"I am glad to hear you speak with so much confidence," Mr. Brown observed
drily. "Mr. Jocelyn Thew seems at any rate to have managed to secrete them
without difficulty."

"That may be so," Crawshay acknowledged, "and yet I am convinced of one
thing. They are disposed of in some perfectly obvious way, and within the
next forty-eight hours he will make some effort to repossess himself of
them. If he does, he will fail."

Mr. Brown glanced at his watch.

"I am very much obliged to you for coming to see me," he said. "You are
doing your best, I know, and I beg you, Mr. Crawshay, never for a moment to
let your efforts relax. The mechanical side of the watch that is being kept
upon these people I know we can rely upon, but you must remember that you
are the brains of this enterprise. Your little band of watchers will be
quiet enough to see the things that happen and the things that exist. It is
you who must watch for the things which don't happen."

Crawshay smiled slightly as he rose to take his leave.

"I do not as a rule suffer from over-confidence, sir," he said, "but I
think I can promise you that by Wednesday night not only will the papers be
in our hands, but Mr. Jocelyn Thew will be so disposed of that he will be
no longer an object of anxiety to us."

"Get on with the good work, then," was Mr. Brown's laconic farewell.

Late on the following afternoon, Jocelyn Thew and Gant paced the long
platform at Euston, by the side of which the special for the American boat
was already drawn up. Curiously enough, in their immediate vicinity Mr.
Brightman was also seeing a friend off, and on the outskirts of the little
throng Mr. Henshaw was taking an intelligent interest in the scene.

"Perhaps, after all," Jocelyn Thew declared, "you are right to go. You have
been very useful, and you have, without a doubt, earned your thousand

"It was easy money," the other admitted, "but even now I am nervous. I
shall be glad to be back once more in my own country."

"You are certainly right to go," the other repeated. "If you had been
different, if you had been one of those men after my own heart," Jocelyn
Thew went on, resting his hand for a moment upon Gant's shoulder, "one of
those who, apart from thought of gain or hope of profit, love adventure for
its own sake, I should have begged you to stay with me. I would have sent
you on bogus errands to mysterious places. I would have twisted the brains
of those who have fastened upon us in a hundred different fashions. But
alas, my friend, you are not like that!"

"I am not," Gant admitted, gruffly but heartily. "I have done a job for
you, and you have paid me very well. I am glad to have done it, because I
love Germany and I do not love England. Apart from that my work is
finished. I like to go home. I am happiest with my wife and family."

"Quite so," his companion agreed. "I know your type, Gant,--in fact, I
chose you because of it. You like, as you say, to do your job and finish
with it,--and you have finished."

The doctor turned for a moment deliberately round and looked at his
companion. He was a heavy-browed, unimaginative, quiet-living man. The
things which passed before his eyes counted with him, and little else. The
thousand pounds which he was taking home was more than he had been able to
save throughout his life. To him it represented immense things. He would
probably not spend a dollar more, or indulge in a single luxury, yet the
money was there in the background, a warm, comforting thing.

"You have still," he said, "a desperate part to play. Can you tell me
honestly that you enjoy it, that you have no fear?"

Jocelyn Thew repeated the word almost wonderingly.

"Fear! Do you really know me so little, my friend of few perceptions?
Listen and I will confess something. I have fought for my life at least a
dozen times, fought against odds which seemed almost hopeless. I have seen
death with hungry, outstretched arms, within a few seconds' reach of me,
but I have never felt fear. I do not know what it is. The length of one's
life is purely a relative thing. It will come in ten or twenty years, if
not to-morrow. Why not to-morrow?"

"If you put it like that," Gant grunted, "why not to-day?"

"Or at any moment, if you will. I am quite ready, as ready as I ever shall
be. If I fail to bring off what I desire within the next few days, there
will be an end of me. Do I look as though I were worrying about that?"

"You don't indeed," the doctor agreed. "You ought to have been in my
profession. You might have become the greatest surgeon in the world."

Jocelyn Thew shrugged his shoulders.

"Even that is possible," he admitted. "Unfortunately, there was a cloud
over my early days, a cloud heavy enough even to prevent my offering my
services to the world through the medium of any of the recognized
professions. So you see, Gant, I had to invent one of my own. What would
you call it, I wonder?--Buccaneer? Adventurer? Explorer? Perhaps my enemies
would find a more unkind word.--Now you had better step in and take your
seat. Behold the creatures of our friend Brightman and the satellites of
the aristocratic Crawshay close in upon us! They listen for farewell words.
Is this your carriage? Very well. Here comes your porter, hungry for
remuneration. Shall I give them a hint, Gant?"

There flashed in the hunted man's eyes for a moment a gleam of almost
demoniacal humour.

Gant glowered at him. "You are mad!" he exclaimed.

"Not I, my dear friend," Jocelyn Thew assured him, as he gripped his hand
in a farewell salute. "Believe me, it is not I who am mad. It is these
stupid people who search for what they can never find. They lift up the
Stars and Stripes and find nothing. They lift up the Union Jack; again
nothing. They try the Tricolour; _rien de tout_. But if they have the sense
to try the Crescent--eh, Gant?--Well, a safe voyage to you, man. Sleep in
your waistcoat, and remember me to every one in New York. I can't promise
when I shall be back. I have taken a fancy to England. Still, one never

Thew watched the long train crawl out of the station, waved his hand in
farewell, forced a greeting upon the reluctant Brightman, whom he passed
examining the magazines upon a bookstall, and, summoning a taxi, was duly
deposited at the Alhambra Theatre. He made his way to the box office.

"I have called," he explained to the young man, "to see you about Box A on
Monday night. I understand that there is a benefit performance."

"Quite so, sir," the young man replied, "and I ought to have explained the
matter to you at the time, when you engaged the box. If you will remember,
although you took it for a week, you only paid for five nights. I omitted
to tell you that for Monday night the box is not ours to dispose of."

"It isn't yet sold, I hope?"

"Not yet, sir. The boxes will be disposed of by auction to-morrow afternoon
at the Theatrical Garden Party. Mr. Bobby is going to act as auctioneer."

"I see," Jocelyn Thew said thoughtfully. "The performance is, I believe, on
behalf of the Red Cross?"

"That is so."

"In that case, supposing I offer you now one hundred guineas for the box?"

"Very generous indeed, sir," the young man admitted, "but we are pledged to
allow all the boxes to be sold by Mr. Bobby. I think that if you are
prepared to go to that sum, you will have no difficulty in securing it."

Jocelyn Thew frowned slightly.

"I wasn't thinking of going to the Theatrical Garden Party," he remarked.

"You could perhaps get a friend to bid for you, sir," the young man
suggested. "We hope to get fifty guineas for the large boxes, but I should
think an offer such as yours would secure any one of them."

"I rather dislike the publicity of an auction," Jocelyn Thew observed, as
he turned to take his leave. "However, if charity demands it, I suppose one
must waive one's prejudices."

He strolled out and hesitated for a moment on the pavement. A curious
change had taken place in what a few hours ago had seemed to be a perfect
summer day. The clouds were thick in the sky, a few drops of rain were
already falling, and a cold wind, like the presage of a storm, was bending
the trees in the square. For a single moment he was conscious of an
unsuspected weakness. A wave of depression swept in upon him. An
unreasoning premonition of failure laid a cold hand upon his heart. He met
the careless gaze of an apparent loiterer who was studying the placards
without derision, almost with apprehension. Then he ground his heel into
the pavement and re-entered his taxicab.

"Savoy," he directed.


Captain Richard Beverley, on his way through the hotel smoking room to the
Savoy bar, stopped short. He looked at the girl who had half risen from her
seat on the couch with a sudden impulse of half startled recognition. Her
little smile of welcome was entirely convincing.

"Why, it's Nora Sharey!" he exclaimed. "Nora!"

"Well, I am glad you've recognised me at last," she said, laughing. "I
tried to make you see me last night in the restaurant, but you wouldn't

He seemed a little dazed, even after he had saluted mechanically, held her
hand for a moment and sank into the place by her side.

"Nora Sharey!" he repeated. "Why, it was really you, then, dining last
night with that fellow Crawshay?"

"Of course it was," she replied, "and I recognised you at once, even in
your uniform."

"You know that Jocelyn Thew is here? You saw him with us last night?"

"Yes, I know."

"Stop a moment," Richard Beverley went on. "Let me think, Nora. Jocelyn
Thew must have seen you dining with Crawshay. How does that work out?"

"He doesn't mind," she replied. "Let that stuff alone for a time. I want to
look at you. You're fine, Dick, but what does it all mean?"

"I couldn't stick the ranch after the war broke out," he confessed. "I
moved up into Canada and took on flying."

"You are fighting out there in France?"

"Have been for six months. Some sport, I can tell you, Nora. I've got a
little machine gun that's a perfect daisy. Gee! I've got to pull up. The
hardest work we fellows have sometimes is to remember that we mustn't talk
about our job. They used to call me undisciplined. I'm getting it into my
bones now, though.--Why, Nora, this is queer! I guess we're going to have a
cocktail together, aren't we?"

She nodded. He called to a waiter and gave an order. Then he turned and
looked at her appreciatively.

"You're looking fine," he declared.

She smiled with pleasure at the undoubted admiration in his tone. In the
new and fashionable clothes which she had purchased during the last few
days, the artistically coiffured hair, the smart hat and
carefully-thought-out details of her toilette, she was a transformed being,
in no way different from the half a dozen other young ladies who were
gathered with their escorts at the further end of the room.

"I am glad you think so," she replied. "Seems to me I've had nothing else
to do since I got here but buy frocks and things."

He looked at her in a puzzled fashion.

"You didn't come over with Jocelyn Thew, did you, Nora?" "Of course I
didn't," she answered indignantly. "If you want to know the truth, it
looked as though there was going to be trouble at Fourteenth Street. Dad
made a move out West, and I had a fancy for making a little trip this way."

"Kind of lonesome, isn't it?" he asked.

"In a way," she sighed. "Still, I am going on presently to where I fancy I
shall meet a few friends."

"And meanwhile," he remarked, "you are still friendly with Jocelyn Thew,
and you dined last night, didn't you, with the man who has sworn to hunt
him down?"

She shrugged her shoulders.

"You know what I think of Jocelyn Thew," she said. "I'm crazy about him,
and always shall be, but I've never seen him look twice at a woman yet in
his life, and never expect to. Dick!"

"Yes, Nora?"

"May I ask you a question--straight?"

"Of course!"

"Don't think I mean to say a word against Jocelyn Thew. He's a white man
through and through, and I think if there was any woman in the world he
cared for, she would be his slave. But he's a desperate man. Even now the
police are trying to draw their net around him. It was all very well for
you, when you were painting New York red, to choose your friends where it
pleased you, but your sister--she's different, isn't she?--what they call
over on our side a society belle. I am not saying that there is a single
person in the world too good for Jocelyn Thew to sit down with, but at the
present moment--well, he's hard up against it. Things might happen to him,
you know, Dick."

For a moment the young man was silent. His eyes seemed to look through the
walls of the room, seemed to conjure up some spectre from which a moment
later he shrank.

"You see, Nora," he explained, dropping his voice a little, "there was just
one time when Jocelyn Thew stood by me like a brick. I was hard up against
it and he saved me."

She leaned a little closer to him.

"I have often wondered," she murmured. "That was the affair down at the
Murchison country house, wasn't it?"

Richard Beverley assented silently.

"Guess we'll drink these cocktails," he said, watching the waiter approach.
"Flying takes something out of you all the time, you know, Nora, and
although when I am up my nerves are like a rock, I sometimes feel a little
shaky at leave time."

"Drink?" she asked tersely.

"I've quit that more or less," he assured her. "Still, I have been taking
some these last few days. Finding Katharine over here with Jocelyn Thew
hanging around gave me kind of a shock."

"You weren't best pleased to see them together, I should think, were you?"

"No," he admitted, a little sullenly.

"You're angry with him, aren't you?"

"Kind of," he confessed. "I wouldn't have complained at anything he'd asked
me to do, but it was a low-down trick to get Katharine into this trouble."
His eyes shone out with a dull anger. She watched him curiously.

"Dick, you're not the boy you were," she sighed. "Guess you're sorry you
ever came to that supper party at the Knickerbocker, aren't you?"

He turned and looked at her. He was only twenty-two years old, but there
were things in his face from which a man might have shrunk.

"Yes, I am sorry," he confessed. "I am not blaming anybody but I shall be
sorry all my life."

"Jocelyn Thew treated you very much as he did me," she went on. "He carried
you off your feet. You thought him the most wonderful thing that ever
lived. It was the same with me. He has never given as much of himself as
his little finger, never even looked at me as though I were a human being,
but I'd have scrubbed floors for him a month after we first met. It was
just the same with you, only you were a man. You'd have committed murder
for his sake, a week after that party."


He gave a sudden start, a start that amazed her. His hand was upon her
shoulder. His eyes, red with fury, were blazing into hers.

"What's that you're saying, Nora? What's that?"

She was speechless, paralysed by that little staccato cry. A group of
people near looked around. She laughed shrilly to cover the intensity of
the moment.

"No need to get excited!" she exclaimed. "Pull yourself together," she went
on, under her breath. "Waiter, two more cocktails." He recovered himself
almost at once, but the strained look was there about his mouth.

"Nerves, you see," he muttered. "I shall be all right again when I get back
to France."

She laid her hand gently upon his arm.

"Dick," she said, "you are often upon my conscience. You were such a nice
boy, back in those days. Everything that's happened to you seems to have
happened since you met Jocelyn Thew that night. He has got some sort of a
hold, hasn't he? What is it?"

The young man moistened his dry lips. The waiter brought their cocktails
and he drank his greedily.

"I'll tell you, Nora," he promised. "Perhaps it'll do me good to listen how
the story sounds as I tell it. First of all, let us have the thing
straight. Jocelyn Thew never helped me into trouble. I was in it, right up
to the neck, when I met him."

"You kept it to yourself," she murmured curiously.

"Because I was a fool," he answered, "and because I believed I could pull
things straight. But anyway, I was owing Dan Murchison seventy thousand I'd
lost at poker. He was kind of shepherding me. He was a rough sort, Dan, and
he had an ambitious wife, and I had a name he liked. Well, he was giving a
week-end party down at that place of his on the Hudson. He asked me, or
rather he ordered me down. I was only too glad to go. Then Mrs. Murchison
chipped in--wanted my sister, wanted to put it in the paper. Katharine
kicked, of course. So did I. Murchison for the first time showed his
teeth--and we both went. Jocelyn Thew was another of the guests."

"Tough, wasn't it?"

"Hell! On the way down--I don't know why, but I was feeling pretty
desperate--I told Jocelyn Thew how I stood with Murchison. He listened but
he didn't say much. He never does. It was a rotten party--common people,
one or two professional gamblers, a lot of florid, noisy, overdressed,
giggling women. After the women were supposed to have gone to bed, we sat
down to what Dan Murchison called a friendly game--a hundred dollars ante,
and a thousand rise. Jocelyn Thew played, three other men, and Murchison.
After about an hour of it, I'd lost over twenty thousand dollars. The
others had it between them, except Jocelyn, and about his play there was a
very curious thing. He put in his ante regularly when it came to him, but
he never made a single bet. Murchison turned to him once.

"'Say, you must be having rotten cards, Mr. Thew,' he said.

"Jocelyn shook his head very deliberately. I can hear his reply even now.
Kind of quiet it was and deliberate.

"'I don't fancy my chances of winning at this game.'

"I knew what he meant later. I didn't tumble to it at the time. We played
till two o'clock. God knows how much I'd lost! Then Murchison called the
game off. He locked up his winnings in a little safe let into the wall. I
was standing by him, drinking, and I saw the combination. Jocelyn Thew was
sitting quite by himself, as though deep in thought.--We all got up to bed
somehow. I sat for some hours at the open window. Pretty soon I got sober,
and I began to realise what had happened. And all the time I thought of
that safe, chock full of money, and the combination ready set. I heard
Katharine moving about in her room, and I knew that she was waiting for me
to go and say good night. I wouldn't. I put on a short jacket instead of my
dress coat, and I took an electric torch out of my dressing case and I went
down-stairs. I'd made up my mind, Nora. I meant to rob that safe."

She was carried away by his narrative. He had let himself go now, speaking
in short, quick sentences. Yet his plain words seemed to paint with a
marvellous vividness the story he told. It seemed to her that she could see
it all, could realise what he went through.

"Go on, Dick," she whispered. "I understand."

"Well, I got down into the room all right, and I got the safe open, and
there was the money, and, right facing me, my letters and bonds, and pretty
well a hundred thousand dollars in cash. And then I saw the lights flare
up, and Murchison was there in his shirt and trousers.

"'So that's your game, is it, Richard Beverley?' he said.

"There were two of the others with him who'd been playing cards. There they
were, three strong men, and I was a thief! I felt limp. I hadn't an ounce
of resistance in me. Murchison stood there, showing his ugly teeth, his
small eyes full of anger.

"'So you're a thief, are you, Richard Beverley?' he went on.

"I couldn't speak. At that moment they could have done just what they liked
with me. And then the door opened very quietly and closed again. Jocelyn
Thew came in. I saw Murchison's face. I tell you, Nora, it was something
you wouldn't forget in a hurry.

"'Is anything wrong?' Jocelyn Thew asked calmly.

"One of the guests pointed to Murchison and me.

"'We heard footsteps,' he explained. 'Dan called me and I followed him
down. Young Beverley there was at the safe.'

"'Probably helping himself,' Jocelyn said, in that same smooth, dangerous
tone, 'to his own money.'

"'To what?' Murchison cried.

"'To his own money,' Jocelyn repeated, coming a little nearer. 'You know,
Murchison, well enough what I mean--you and your two confederates here.
You're nothing more nor less than common card sharpers. I took a pack of
your cards up-stairs. I needn't say anything more. I think you'd better
give the boy back his money. I meant to wait until to-morrow. Fate seems to
have anticipated me. How much did you lose, Richard?'

"Dan Murchison strode up to him and I saw one of the other men go for his
hip pocket.

"'Will you take that back?' Murchison demanded.

"'Not on your life!' Thew replied.

"Murchison went for him, but he hadn't a dog's chance. I never saw such a
blow in my life. Jocelyn hit him on the point of the chin and he went over
like a log--cut his head against the fender. He lay there groaning, and
I--I swear to you, Nora, that I'm not a coward, but I couldn't move--my
knees were shaking. The two of them went for Jocelyn, and before they could
get there the door opened and a third man came in--Jake Hannaway, the most
dangerous of the lot. Jocelyn kept the other two off and half turned his
head towards me, where I was standing like a gibbering, nerveless lunatic.

"'I think you'd better take a hand, Richard,' he said."

Nora gasped a little and laid her hand upon his sleeve.

"Don't, Dick," she begged,--"not for a moment. I can't bear it. Just a

She clutched at the side of the settee. Richard Beverley simply sat still,
looking through the walls of the room. There was not the slightest change
in his face. He just waited until Nora whispered to him. Then he went on.

"I won't tell you about the fight," he said. "I wasn't much use at first.
Jocelyn was there, taking two of them on, and butting in sometimes against
Hannaway, who'd tackled me. Then I began to get my strength back, and I
think I should have settled Hannaway, but the door opened softly and I saw
Katharine's face. She gave a little shriek, and Jake Hannaway got me just
at the back of the head. I was pretty well done in, but Thew suddenly swung
round and caught Jake Hannaway very nearly where he had hit Murchison. Down
he went like a log. I stood there swaying. I can see the room now--a table
overthrown, glasses and flower vases all over the floor, and those two men
looking as though they meant to murder Thew. They rushed at him together.
He dodged one, but his strength was going. Then for the first time he
sprang clear of them, got his back to the wall.--I won't spin it out--he
shot one of them through the shoulder. The other one had had enough and
tried to bolt. Jocelyn Thew was just too quick for him. He flung a heavy
candlestick and got him somewhere on the neck. There they all were
now--Murchison sitting up and dabbing his face, half conscious, one of the
others groaning and streaming with blood, the other lying--just as though
he were dead. Jocelyn turned and spoke to Katharine--I can hear his voice
now--I swear, Nora, there wasn't a quaver in it--

"'I am afraid, Miss Beverley,' he said, 'that your brother has unwittingly
brought you into a den of thieves. I had my suspicions, and my car, instead
of being at the garage, is under the shrubs there. One moment.'

"He stepped out into the hall, brought a coat and threw it around her. Then
he turned to me.

"'Empty the safe, Richard,' he ordered.

"I obeyed him. There was all the money I owed Murchison there, and a lot of
other stuff. We stepped out of the French windows. Jocelyn moved the leg of
one of those men on one side and held the window open for Katharine to pass
through. I tell you he set the switch and started his car without a tremor.
Katharine was nearly fainting. I was still fogged. He drove us into New
York with scarcely a word. It was daylight when we reached our house in
Riverside Drive. He drove up to the front door.

"'Perhaps if you don't mind, Richard,' he said, 'you could lend me an
overcoat. People are quite content to accept us as night joy-riders, but I
am scarcely respectable for anything in the shape of a close examination.'

"Then I saw that he was all over blood on one side. Katharine took him away
and sponged him, although he laughed at it. Then he had me in the study and
together we went through the stuff we'd brought away. He made me keep what
Murchison had done me out of, and the rest he made into a packet, addressed
ready for posting and left it on the table.

"'For anything else that may happen, Dick,' he said, 'we must take our
chance. I have had my suspicions of that man Murchison for a long time. My
own opinion is that we shall hear nothing more about the matter.'"

Nora turned and looked at her companion with big, startled eyes.

"But it was Jake Hannaway," she exclaimed, "whom they accused of making a

He stopped her, without impatience but firmly.

"Jake Hannaway died the next day," he said. "I must have hit him harder
than I thought--or Jocelyn did! He had no relatives, no friends. Murchison
put the whole trouble down to him, admitted that there was a row over a
game of cards, and a free fight. The other two swore to exactly the same
story. Our names--mine and Jocelyn's, were never brought in. Murchison
never came near me again. I have never seen him since. That's the whole

"What about the police examination?" she asked curiously. "I know no more
than you do," he replied. "I expect Murchison had a pull, and he was
terrified of Jocelyn Thew. I--I went to Jake Hannaway's funeral," the young
man went on, with a slight quiver in his tone. "I've seen his face, Nora,
up in the clouds. I've seen it when I've been flying ten thousand feet up.
Suddenly a little piece of black sky would open and I'd see him looking
down at me!"

There was a brief silence. From somewhere through the repeatedly opened
swing doors came the rise and fall of music, played from a distant
orchestra. There were peals of laughter from a cheerful party at the other
end of the little room. Nora patted her companion's arm gently, and his
eyes and manner became more natural.

"It's done me good to tell you this," he said, half apologetically.
"Katharine's the only other living creature I've dared to speak to about
it, and she was there--she saw! Nora, that man can fight like a tiger!"

"Hush!" she whispered. "Here he comes."

The swing door was opened and Jocelyn Thew, back from his visit to the box
office at the Alhambra, entered the room. He raised his eye brows a little
as he saw the pair. Then he advanced towards them.

"Do you know, for the moment I had quite forgotten," he confided, as he
sank into an easy-chair by their side. "Of course, you two are old

Nora murmured something. Richard Beverley rose to his feet.

"Well, I'd better be getting along," he said. "It's been fine to see you
again, Nora," he added, taking her hand in his. "See you later, Thew."

He nodded with something of his old jauntiness and swung out of the room.
They both watched him in silence.

"Not quite the young man he was," Jocelyn Thew observed thoughtfully. "Is
it my fancy, I wonder, or does he drink a few too many cocktails when he is
on leave?"

"Richard Beverley's all right," Nora answered. "He is more sensitive than
he seems, and there's an ugly little corner in his life to live down. He is
doing the best he can to atone. Jocelyn," she went on, with a sudden
earnestness in her tone, "you're going to leave him alone, aren't you? You
haven't any scheme in your head for making use of him?"

"One never knows," was the cool reply.

She looked at him curiously.

"Jocelyn," she said, "you're a hard man. You set your hand to a task and
you don't care whom in the world you sacrifice to gain your end. You were a
fine friend to Richard Beverley once, but surely his sister has done her
best to pay his debt? Don't do anything that will make him ashamed of the
uniform he wears."

"Very pretty," he murmured approvingly, "but I must take you back to your
own words--they were true enough. When I have a task to perform, when I
pledge myself to a certain thing, I do it, and I must make use of those
whom fate puts in my way. Richard Beverley and his sister are a very
attractive couple, but if circumstances decree that they are the pawns by
means of which I can win the game, then I must make use of them.--Dear me,"
he added, "my friend Crawshay! I fear that I shall be _de trop_."

Nora turned to greet the newcomer, and Thew sauntered away with a little
bow of farewell, quite courteous, even gracious. With the handle of the
door in his hand, however, he paused and came back.

"My friend Crawshay," he said, "one word with you."

Crawshay turned around.

"With pleasure!"

"Those henchmen of yours--they are so stupid, so flagrantly obvious. I am a
good-tempered person, but they irritated me this afternoon at Euston."

"What can I do?" Crawshay asked. "However, you must not let them get on
your nerves. They follow you about only as a matter of form. We must keep
up the old legends, you know. When," he added, dropping his eyeglass and
polishing it slowly, "when we really come to the end of this most
fascinating little episode, I do not fancy that you will have cause to
complain of our methods."

Jocelyn Thew smiled.

"Your cryptic words have struck the right note," he confessed. "The thrill
of fear is in my veins. One more word, though. Miss Nora Sharey is an old
friend of mine. There is a tie between us at which you could not guess.
Lavish your attentions on her in the hope of hearing something which will
prove to your advantage, but do not trifle with her affections. If you do,
I shall constitute myself her guardian and there will be trouble,

Once more he turned away, with a smile at Nora and a little nod to
Crawshay. He passed through the door and disappeared, erect, lithe and
graceful. Nora looked after him, and her eyes were filled with admiration.

"I think," she sighed, "although I am getting fonder of you every moment,
Mr. Crawshay," she added, as she saw from underneath the tissue paper the
huge bunch of white roses he was carrying, "that my money will go on
Jocelyn Thew."


About three-thirty on the following afternoon, in the grounds devoted to
the much advertised Red Cross Sale, that eminent comedian, Mr. Joseph
Bobby, mounted to the temporary rostrum which had been erected for him at
the rear of one of the largest tents, amidst a little storm of half
facetious applause. He repaid the general expectation by gazing steadfastly
at a few friends amongst the audience in his usual inimitable fashion, and
by indulging in a few minutes of gagging chaff before he proceeded to
business. A little way off, a military band was playing popular selections.
The broad avenues between the marquees were crowded with streams of pretty
women in fancy dresses, and mankind with a little money in his pocket was
having a particularly uneasy time. There was nothing to distinguish this
from any other of the Red Cross fêtes of the season, except, perhaps, its
added magnificence.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the comedian began, "I am here to sell by auction
the boxes at the Alhambra Theatre for to-night, when, as you know, there
will be the greatest performance ever given by the largest number of star
artistes--myself included. Owing to a slight difference of opinion with the
management, who, as you are probably aware, ladies and gentlemen, are the
thickest-headed set of blighters in existence--" Loud cries of "No!" from
the managing director in the front row.

"--I have only the four large boxes to dispose of. I shall start with Box
B. Who will make me an offer for Box B? Who will offer me, say, twenty-five
guineas to start the bidding?"

Half-a-dozen offers were immediately made, and Box B was disposed of for
thirty-five guineas. Boxes C and D fetched a little more.

"We now come," the auctioneer concluded impressively, "to the _pièce de
résistance_, if I may so call it. Box A is--well, you all know Box A,
ladies and gentlemen, so I will simply say that it is the best box in the
house. It will hold all the friends any man breathing has any use for. It
would hold the largest family who ever received the Queen's bounty. Box A
is one of those elastic boxes, ladies and gentlemen, which have no limit.
You can fill it chock full, and if the right person knocks at the door
there will still be room for another. Who will start the bidding at forty

"I will give you fifty," Jocelyn Thew said, promptly raising his hand.

The auctioneer leaned forward, expecting to see a familiar face. He saw
instead a very distinguished-looking and remarkably well-turned-out
stranger, smiling pleasantly at him from the front row of the audience.

"You are a man, sir," the former declared warmly. "You are giving me a good
push off. Fifty guineas is bidden, ladies and gentlemen, for Box A."

"I'll go to fifty-five," a well-known racing man called out from the rear.
"Not a penny more, Joe, so don't get faking the bidding."

The comedian assumed an air of grieved surprise.

"That from you I did not expect, Mr. Mason," he said. "However, that you
may have no cause for complaint, I am prepared to knock Box A down to you
for fifty-five guineas, barring any advance."

"Sixty," Jocelyn Thew bid.

The auctioneer noted the advance with thanks. Then he looked towards the
betting man, who shook his head. The auctioneer, who was rather wanting to
get away, raised his hammer with an air of finality.

"Going at sixty guineas, then."

"Sixty-five," a new bidder intervened.

The comedian, with his hammer already poised in the air, paused in some
surprise. A clean-shaven man in dark grey clothes and a bowler hat, a man
who had somehow the air of being a little out of his element in this galaxy
of pleasure seekers, caught his eye.

"Sixty-five you said, sir. Very good. Going at sixty-five."

"Seventy," Jocelyn Thew bid.






"One hundred guineas," Jocelyn Thew bid, turning with a good-natured smile
to glance at his opponent.

The auctioneer drew himself up. The contest had begun to interest him.
Every one in the room was standing on tiptoe to watch.

"One hundred guineas is bid by my friend in the front," he declared. "A
very princely offer. Shall I knock it down at that?"

One hundred and twenty was promptly bidden by the newcomer. Jocelyn Thew
smiled up at the auctioneer.

"Well," he said, "I've invited my party so I suppose I'll have to stick to
it. I'll make it a hundred and fifty."

"A hundred and sixty."

"A hundred and seventy-five."

"Two hundred."

"Two hundred and fifty."

The comedian's flow of badinage had ceased. An intense silence reigned in
the marquee. He, in common with many of the others, was beginning to
recognise a note of something unusual in this duel.

"Two hundred and fifty guineas is a very handsome sum for the box," he
said, leaning forward. "Perhaps some arrangement could be made, Mr. ----"

"My name is Jocelyn Thew. The two hundred and fifty guineas bid is mine. I
have the notes here ready."

The auctioneer turned towards the other bidder appealingly.

"I am acting under instructions," the latter said, "and I am not at liberty
to make any arrangements to share the box."

"In that case, the bid against you at the present moment is two hundred and
fifty guineas," the auctioneer told him. "Of course, the more money we get,
the better--the Red Cross can do with it--but it seems to me that the
present bid is adequate. If no arrangement is possible, however, I must
continue the auction."

"Two hundred and seventy-five guineas."

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