She followed him slowly to the terrace. He stopped in the doorway and leisurely drew forth his cigarette case.
“Shall we wait for the explosion?” he asked without a sign of the emotion that had gone before. She gravely selected a cigarette from the case which he extended. As he lighted his own, he watched her draw from her little gold bag a diamond-studded case, half filled. Without a word of apology, she calmly deposited the cigarette in the case and restored it to the bottom of the bag.
Then she looked up brightly. “I am not smoking, you see,” she said, with a smile. “I am saving all of these for you when the famine comes.”
“By Jove!” he exclaimed, something like incredulity in the smile that transfigured his face.
“I could be a thrifty housewife, couldn’t I?” she asked naively.
At that moment, a dull, heavy report, as of distant thunder, came to their ears. The windows rattled sharply and the earth beneath them seemed to quiver. Involuntarily she drew nearer to him, casting a glance of alarm over her shoulder in the direction from which they had come.
“You could, if you had half a chance,” he said drily, and then casually remarked the explosion.
THE DISQUIETING END OF PONG
Later on, he and Deppingham visited the underground chamber, accompanied by Mr. Britt. They found that the door to the passage had been blown away by the terrific concussion. Otherwise, the room was, to all appearances, undamaged, except that some of the wine casks were leaking. The subterranean passage at this place was completely filled with earth and stone.
Deppingham stared at the closed mouth of the passage. “They’ve cut off our exit, but they’ve also secured us from invasion from this source. I wonder if the beggars were clever enough to carry the plunder above the flood line. If not, they’ve had their work for nothing.”
“Selim says there is a cave near the mouth of the passage,” said Chase. “The tunnel comes out half way up the side of the mountain, overlooking the sea, and the hole is very carefully screened by the thick shrubbery. Trust Von Blitz to do the safe thing.”
“I don’t mind Von Blitz escaping so much, Chase,” said his lordship earnestly, “as I do the unfortunate closing of what may have been our only way to leave the chateau in the end.”
“You must think me an ungrateful fool,” said Chase bitterly. He had already stated his position clearly.
“Not at all, old chap. Don’t get that into your head. I only meant that a hole in the ground is worth two warships that won’t come when we need ’em.”
Chase looked up quickly. “You don’t believe that I can call the cruisers?”
“Oh, come now, Chase, I’m not a demmed native, you know.”
The other grinned amiably. “Well, you just wait, as the boy says.”