Tommy had produced a notebook and pencil.
“Good morning,” he said briskly and cheerfully. “From the Hampstead Borough Council. The new Voting Register. Mrs. Edgar Keith lives here, does she not?”
“Yaas,” said the servant.
“Christian name?” asked Tommy, his pencil poised.
“Missus’s? Eleanor Jane.”
“Eleanor,” spelt Tommy. “Any sons or daughters over twenty-one?”
“Thank you.” Tommy closed the notebook with a brisk snap. “Good morning.”
The servant volunteered her first remark:
“I thought perhaps as you’d come about the gas,” she observed cryptically, and shut the door.
Tommy rejoined his accomplice.
“You see, Tuppence,” he observed. “Child’s play to the masculine mind.”
“I don’t mind admitting that for once you’ve scored handsomely. I should never have thought of that.”
“Good wheeze, wasn’t it? And we can repeat it ad lib.”
Lunch-time found the young couple attacking a steak and chips in an obscure hostelry with avidity. They had collected a Gladys Mary and a Marjorie, been baffled by one change of address, and had been forced to listen to a long lecture on universal suffrage from a vivacious American lady whose Christian name had proved to be Sadie.
“Ah!” said Tommy, imbibing a long draught of beer, “I feel better. Where’s the next draw?”
The notebook lay on the table between them. Tuppence picked it up.
“Mrs. Vandemeyer,” she read, “20 South Audley Mansions. Miss Wheeler, 43 Clapington Road, Battersea. She’s a lady’s maid, as far as I remember, so probably won’t be there, and, anyway, she’s not likely.”
“Then the Mayfair lady is clearly indicated as the first port of call.”
“Tommy, I’m getting discouraged.”
“Buck up, old bean. We always knew it was an outside chance. And, anyway, we’re only starting. If we draw a blank in London, there’s a fine tour of England, Ireland and Scotland before us.”
“True,” said Tuppence, her flagging spirits reviving. “And all expenses paid! But, oh, Tommy, I do like things to happen quickly. So far, adventure has succeeded adventure, but this morning has been dull as dull.”
“You must stifle this longing for vulgar sensation, Tuppence. Remember that if Mr. Brown is all he is reported to be, it’s a wonder that he has not ere now done us to death. That’s a good sentence, quite a literary flavour about it.”
“You’re really more conceited than I am—with less excuse! Ahem! But it certainly is queer that Mr. Brown has not yet wreaked vengeance upon us. (You see, I can do it too.) We pass on our way unscathed.”
“Perhaps he doesn’t think us worth bothering about,” suggested the young man simply.
Tuppence received the remark with great disfavour.
“How horrid you are, Tommy. Just as though we didn’t count.”