The energy of Mr. Hersheimmer was tremendous. They bowed before it.
“But say now,” he ended, “you’re not after her for anything? Contempt of court, or something British? A proud-spirited young American girl might find your rules and regulations in war time rather irksome, and get up against it. If that’s the case, and there’s such a thing as graft in this country, I’ll buy her off.”
Tuppence reassured him.
“That’s good. Then we can work together. What about some lunch? Shall we have it up here, or go down to the restaurant?”
Tuppence expressed a preference for the latter, and Julius bowed to her decision.
Oysters had just given place to Sole Colbert when a card was brought to Hersheimmer.
“Inspector Japp, C.I.D. Scotland Yard again. Another man this time. What does he expect I can tell him that I didn’t tell the first chap? I hope they haven’t lost that photograph. That Western photographer’s place was burned down and all his negatives destroyed—this is the only copy in existence. I got it from the principal of the college there.”
An unformulated dread swept over Tuppence.
“You—you don’t know the name of the man who came this morning?”
“Yes, I do. No, I don’t. Half a second. It was on his card. Oh, I know! Inspector Brown. Quiet, unassuming sort of chap.”
A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
A veil might with profit be drawn over the events of the next half-hour. Suffice it to say that no such person as “Inspector Brown” was known to Scotland Yard. The photograph of Jane Finn, which would have been of the utmost value to the police in tracing her, was lost beyond recovery. Once again “Mr. Brown” had triumphed.
The immediate result of this set back was to effect a rapprochement between Julius Hersheimmer and the Young Adventurers. All barriers went down with a crash, and Tommy and Tuppence felt they had known the young American all their lives. They abandoned the discreet reticence of “private inquiry agents,” and revealed to him the whole history of the joint venture, whereat the young man declared himself “tickled to death.”
He turned to Tuppence at the close of the narration.
“I’ve always had a kind of idea that English girls were just a mite moss-grown. Old-fashioned and sweet, you know, but scared to move round without a footman or a maiden aunt. I guess I’m a bit behind the times!”
The upshot of these confidential relations was that Tommy and Tuppence took up their abode forthwith at the Ritz, in order, as Tuppence put it, to keep in touch with Jane Finn’s only living relation. “And put like that,” she added confidentially to Tommy, “nobody could boggle at the expense!”
Nobody did, which was the great thing.
“And now,” said the young lady on the morning after their installation, “to work!”