AN APPOINTMENT WITH DELORA
My Riz Diane duly arrived, but was served, I noticed, by a different waiter. It looked very tempting, and it was indeed a dish of which I was particularly fond, but I realized that it had been specially ordered by Louis, and with a sigh I pushed it on one side. I finished my luncheon with rolls and butter, and took care to procure my coffee before Louis returned.
“Well,” I asked, as he stopped once more before me, “what is it to be? Are you going to give me Delora’s address?”
“That is not the trouble, monsieur,” Louis declared. “Mr. Delora is away from London.”
“I think you will find that he is back again, Louis,” I answered. “It was a very interesting trip to Newcastle, but it was soon over. He arrived in London with his illustrious companion last night.”
This time I had really astonished Louis! He looked at me with a genuine expression of profound surprise.
“You are under the impression,” he said slowly, “that Mr. Delora has been to Newcastle!”
“That is scarcely the way I look at it, Louis,” I answered. “You see I was in Newcastle myself and saw him.”
I fancy that Louis’ manner toward me, from this time onward, acquired a new respect, but I recognized the fact that there was danger greater than ever before under his increasing suaveness.
“Captain Rotherby,” he said, “you were not meant to be an idle man. You have gifts of which you should make use!”
“In the meantime,” I said, “when can I see Mr. Delora?”
“This afternoon, if you like,” Louis answered. “Here is his address.”
He scribbled a few words down on a piece of paper and passed it to me. When I had received it I did not like it. It was an out-of-the-way street in Bermondsey, in a quarter of which I was absolutely ignorant except by repute.
“Couldn’t we arrange, don’t you think, Louis,” I asked, “to have Mr. Delora come up here?”
“You could send down a note and ask him,” Louis answered. “He is staying at that address under the name of Hoffmeyer.”
“I will write him a letter,” I decided, signing my bill.
“You will let me know the result?” Louis asked, looking at me anxiously.
“Certainly,” I answered.
I rose to my feet, but Louis did not immediately stand aside.
“Captain Rotherby,” he said, “there is one thing I should like to ask you. How did you know of Mr. Delora’s projected visit to Newcastle?”
“Why should I give away my methods, Louis?” I said. “You know very well that the movements of Mr. Delora have become very interesting to me. You and I are on opposite sides. I certainly do not feel called upon to disclose my sources of information.”
I passed out of the restaurant, and ascended to my own room. There I drew a sheet of paper toward me and wrote.