She stood back against the wall, in a dark corner, striving to collect her thoughts, thankful for the brief respite from conversation. A man in the costume of a monk, who had followed her across the room, touched her on the shoulder. He spoke in a quiet, unfamiliar voice with a foreign accent,
“You are Lady Maggie Trent?”
“Will you please go to box number fourteen, on the second tier? There is some one there who waits for you.”
“Who is it?” she asked.
The monk had glided away. Maggie, after a few minutes’ reflection, slipped out into the corridor, mounted one flight of stairs, and passed along the semicircular balcony. The door of box number fourteen was ajar. She pushed it gently open and glanced in. Seated so as to be out of sight of the whole house was La Belle Nita. For a moment the two looked at each other. Then the Chinese girl sprang to her feet, made a quaint little bow, and, gliding around, closed the door behind her visitor.
“Sit down, please,” she invited. “I will tell you things you may like to hear.”
A sudden thought flashed into Maggie’s mind. She began to see light. She obeyed at once. The two women sat well back and out of sight of the house. La Belle Nita held the handle of the door in her hand while she spoke, as though to prevent any one entering.
“I have an enemy who was once a friend,” she said, “and I wish to do him evil. He is not only my enemy, but he is yours. He is the enemy of all you English people, because it is a great disaster which he plans to bring upon you.”
“You speak of Prince Shan?” Maggie exclaimed.
Even at the mention of his name, the girl shook. She looked around as though fearing the shadows. She rattled the door to make sure that it was closed.
“For him whom you call Prince Shan I have worked many years, first of all in Paris, now here. I was content with small reward. That reward he now takes from me. It is my wish to betray him.”
“Why do you send for me?” Maggie asked.
“Because you have been an English spy,” was the quiet reply. “It may surprise you that I know that, but I do know. I have been a spy for Prince Shan in Paris. You were a spy for England in Berlin. You were a spy for your country’s sake; I was a spy for love. Now I betray for hate.”
“Please go on.”
“Prince Shan came this time to Europe with two schemes in his mind,” the girl continued. “One concerned France. That one he has discarded. Through me he learned of the military strength of France, her secret resources, of her tireless watch upon the Rhine. So he listens to Immelan, and Immelan and he together, oh, English lady, they have made a wonderful plan!”
“Are you going to tell me what it is?” Maggie asked, her eyes bright with excitement.
“I cannot tell you because I do not know,” was the unwilling admission, “but I will make it so that you can discover for yourself. A few hours ago, the plan was submitted to Prince Shan. It lies in the third drawer of an ebony cabinet, in the room on the left-hand side of the hall after you have entered his house in Curzon Street.”