Her arm through Jane’s, dragging her along, Tuppence reached the station. Her quick ears caught the sound of the approaching train.
“Hurry up,” she panted, “or we’ll miss it.”
They arrived on the platform just as the train came to a standstill. Tuppence opened the door of an empty first-class compartment, and the two girls sank down breathless on the padded seats.
A man looked in, then passed on to the next carriage. Jane started nervously. Her eyes dilated with terror. She looked questioningly at Tuppence.
“Is he one of them, do you think?” she breathed.
Tuppence shook her head.
“No, no. It’s all right.” She took Jane’s hand in hers. “Tommy wouldn’t have told us to do this unless he was sure we’d be all right.”
“But he doesn’t know them as I do!” The girl shivered. “You can’t understand. Five years! Five long years! Sometimes I thought I should go mad.”
“Never mind. It’s all over.”
The train was moving now, speeding through the night at a gradually increasing rate. Suddenly Jane Finn started up.
“What was that? I thought I saw a face—looking in through the window.”
“No, there’s nothing. See.” Tuppence went to the window, and lifting the strap let the pane down.
The other seemed to feel some excuse was necessary:
“I guess I’m acting like a frightened rabbit, but I can’t help it. If they caught me now they’d——” Her eyes opened wide and staring.
“Don’t!” implored Tuppence. “Lie back, and don’t think. You can be quite sure that Tommy wouldn’t have said it was safe if it wasn’t.”
“My cousin didn’t think so. He didn’t want us to do this.”
“No,” said Tuppence, rather embarrassed.
“What are you thinking of?” said Jane sharply.
“Your voice was so—queer!”
“I was thinking of something,” confessed Tuppence. “But I don’t want to tell you—not now. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so. It’s just an idea that came into my head a long time ago. Tommy’s got it too—I’m almost sure he has. But don’t you worry—there’ll be time enough for that later. And it mayn’t be so at all! Do what I tell you—lie back and don’t think of anything.”
“I’ll try.” The long lashes drooped over the hazel eyes.
Tuppence, for her part, sat bolt upright—much in the attitude of a watchful terrier on guard. In spite of herself she was nervous. Her eyes flashed continually from one window to the other. She noted the exact position of the communication cord. What it was that she feared, she would have been hard put to it to say. But in her own mind she was far from feeling the confidence displayed in her words. Not that she disbelieved in Tommy, but occasionally she was shaken with doubts as to whether anyone so simple and honest as he was could ever be a match for the fiendish subtlety of the arch-criminal.