“Tell me exactly what you know about my stay in Berlin,” she demanded.
“Everything,” he answered gravely.
“I mean that the New World to-day has progressed where the Old World seems to have been stricken with a terrible blindness. Our secret-service system has never been better, and frankly I hear many things which I don’t like. I am going to talk to Lord Dorminster this afternoon very seriously, but in the meantime I wanted to speak to you. I heard a rumour that you thought of going back to Berlin.”
“I don’t know how you heard it, but the rumour is not altogether untrue,” she admitted. “I have not yet made up my mind.”
“Don’t go,” he begged.
“You think they really do know all about me?”
“I know that they do. I don’t mind telling you that you had the shave of your life on the Dutch frontier last time, and I don’t mind telling you, also, that we had two of our men shadowing you. One of them acted on his own initiative, or you would never have crossed the frontier.”
“I rather wondered why they let me out,” she observed. “Perhaps you can explain why Frau Essendorf keeps on writing to me under my pseudonym of ‘Miss Brown’ and to my reputed address in Lincolnshire, begging me to return.”
“I could tell you that, too,” he replied. “They want you back in Berlin.”
“They really do know, then, that I brought over the dispatch from Atcheson?” she asked.
“They know it,” he assured her. “They know, too, that it was chiefly a wasted labour. Their London agents saw to that.”
“Perhaps,” she suggested, “you know who their London agents are?”
“Sooner or later in our conversation,” he remarked, “we were bound to arrive at a point—”
“Come along and let us make up a set then,” she intervened.
Naida, deserted by her father, who had found a taxicab to take him back to the purlieus of Piccadilly and auction bridge, sauntered along at the back of the tennis nets until she arrived at the court where Nigel and his party were playing.
“I should like to watch this game for a few minutes,” she told her companion. “The men are such opposite types and yet both so good-looking. And Lady Maggie fascinates me.”
Immelan fetched two chairs, and they settled down to watch the set. Nigel, with his clean, well-knit figure, looked his best in spotless white flannels. Chalmers, a more powerful and muscular type, also presented a fine appearance. The play was fast and sometimes brilliant. Nigel had Maggie for a partner, and Chalmers one of her friends, and the set was as nearly equal as possible. Naida leaned forward in her chair, following every stroke with interest.
“I find this most fascinating,” she murmured. “I hope that Lord Dorminster and his cousin will win. Your sympathies, of course, are on the other side.”