“But there are others,” Monsieur Boissegur interposed desperately, “two more somewhere below, and they will not allow—they will attack—!”
Mr. Grimm’s listless eyes narrowed slightly and he turned to Miss Thorne. She was a little white, but he saw enough in her face to satisfy him.
“I shall escort Monsieur Boissegur to his carriage, Miss Thorne,” he said calmly. “These men will remain here until I return. Take the revolver. If either of them so much as wags his head—shoot! You are not—not afraid?”
“No.” She smiled faintly. “I am not afraid.”
Mr. Grimm and the ambassador went down the stairs, and out the front door. Mr. Grimm was just turning to reenter the house when from above came a muffled, venomous cra-as-ash!—a shot! He took the steps going up, two at a time. Miss Thorne was leaning against the wall as if dazed; the revolver lay at her feet. A door in a far corner of the room stood open; and the clatter of footsteps echoed through the house.
“One of them leaped at me and I fired,” she gasped in explanation. “He struck me, but I’m—I’m not hurt.”
She stooped quickly, picked up the revolver and made as if to follow the dying footsteps. Mr. Grimm stopped her.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said quietly. “Let them go.” And after a while, earnestly: “If I had dreamed of such a—such a thing as this I should never have consented to allow you—”
“I understand,” she interrupted, and for one instant her outstretched hand rested on his arm. “The ambassador?”
“Perfectly safe,” responded Mr. Grimm. “Two of my men are with him.”
MASTER OF THE SITUATION
As the women rose and started out, leaving the gentlemen over their coffee and cigars, Miss Thorne paused at the door and the blue-gray eyes flashed some subtle message to the French ambassador who, after an instant, nodded comprehendingly, then resumed his conversation. As he left the room a few minutes later he noticed that Mr. Grimm had joined a group of automaniacs of which Mr. Cadwallader was the enthusiastic center. He spoke to his hostess, the wife of the minister from Portugal, for a moment, then went to Miss Thorne and dropped into a seat beside her. She greeted him with a smile and was still smiling as she talked.
“I believe, Monsieur,” she said in French, “you sent a code message to the cable office this afternoon?”
His eyes questioned hers quickly.
“And please bear in mind that we probably are being watched as we talk,” she went on pleasantly. “Mr. Grimm is the man to be afraid of. Smile—don’t look so serious!” She laughed outright.
“Yes, I sent a code message,” he replied.
“It was your resignation?”
“Well, it wasn’t sent, of course,” she informed him, and her eyes were sparkling as if something amusing had been said. “One of my agents stopped it. I may add that it will not be sent.”