“The ambassador!” Miss Thorne whispered thrillingly.
A RESCUE AND AN ESCAPE
Miss Thorne’s voice startled Mr. Grimm a little, but he had no doubts. It was Monsieur Boissegur. Mr. Grimm was going toward the enframed figure when, without any apparent reason, the ambassador turned and ran along the hall; and at that instant the lights went out again. For one moment Grimm stood still, dazed and blinded by the sudden blackness, and again he started toward the door. Miss Thorne was beside him.
“The lights!” he whispered tensely. “Find the switch!”
He heard the rustle of her skirts as she moved away, and stepped out into the hall, feeling with both his hands along the wall. A few feet away, in the direction the ambassador had gone, there seemed to be a violent struggle in progress—there was the scuffling of feet, and quick-drawn breaths as muscle strained against muscle. The lights! If he could only find the switch! Then, as his hands moved along the wall, they came in contact with another hand—a hand pressed firmly against the plastering, barring his progress. A light blow in the face caused him to step back quickly.
The scuffling sound suddenly resolved itself into moving footsteps, and the front door opened and closed with a bang. Mr. Grimm’s listless eyes snapped, and his white teeth came together sharply as he started toward the front door. But fate seemed to be against him still. He stumbled over a chair, and his own impetus forward sent him sprawling; his head struck the wall with a resounding whack; and then, over the house, came utter silence. From outside he heard the clatter of a cab. Finally that died away in the distance.
“Miss Thorne?” he inquired quietly.
“I’m here,” she answered in a despairing voice. “But I can’t find the switch.”
“Are you hurt?”
And then she found the switch; the lights flared up. Mr. Grimm was sitting thoughtfully on the floor.
“That simplifies the matter considerably,” he observed complacently, as he rose. “The men who signaled to me when you entered the embassy will never let that cab get out of their sight.”
Miss Thorne stood leaning forward a little, eagerly gazing at him with those wonderful blue-gray eyes, and an expression of—of—perhaps it was admiration on her face.
“Are you sure?” she demanded, at last.
“I know it,” was his response.
And just then Monsieur Rigolot, secretary of the embassy, thrust an inquisitive head timidly around the corner of the stairs. The crash of glass had aroused him.
“What happened?” he asked breathlessly.
“We don’t know just yet,” replied Mr. Grimm. “If the noise aroused any one else please assure them that there’s nothing the matter. And you might inform Madame Boissegur that the ambassador will return home to-morrow. Good night!”