I took it and put it in my waistcoat pocket.
“You will ascend by the lift from the smoking-room to the top floor,” Louis continued. “You can then descend by the other lift to the fifth floor, and walk boldly into the sitting-room. The door on the right will be Mr. Delora’s bedroom, and of that there will be, after midnight, a key upon the mantelpiece in the sitting-room.”
“But Miss Delora?” I asked. “What of her? The sitting-room connects, also, with her apartments.”
“Mademoiselle will be told something of this during the evening,” Louis answered. “It will be better. She will have retired and be locked in her room long before it will be necessary for you to ascend.”
“Very well,” I said. “But now for the practical side of it. If anything really happens, what is to be my excuse for occupying those apartments to-night?”
“I will provide you with a sufficient one later on,” Louis promised. “You will dine downstairs?”
“Possibly,” I answered.
“In which case we can have a little conversation,” Louis remarked.
“Louis,” I said, “what sort of an affair is this, really, in which I am mixing myself up? Am I one of a gang of magnificent criminals, a political conspirator, or a fool?”
“Monsieur,” he said, “I found you very weary of life. I will put you in the way of finding excitement. Monsieur should ask no more than that. There are many men of his temperament who would give years of their life for the chance.”
He left me with his usual polite bow. I strolled after him down the corridor a moment or so later, but I just missed the lift in which he descended. Looking down, I saw that it had stopped at the fifth floor. It seemed as though Louis had gone to visit number 157!
TWO OF A TRADE
I smoked two pipes, one after the other, in a vain attempt to draw out some definite sequence of facts from the tangled web of happenings into which I seemed to have strayed. I came to the conclusion that Fate, which had bestowed on me a physique of more than ordinary size, a sound constitution, and muscles which had filled my study with various kinds of trophies, had not been equally generous in her dispensation of brains. Try as I would, I could make nothing of the situation in which I found myself. The most reasonable thing seemed to be to conclude that Louis was one of a gang of thieves, that I was about to become their accomplice, and that Felicia was simply the Delilah with whom these people had summoned me to their aid. Such a conclusion, however, was not flattering, nor did it please me in any way. Directly I allowed myself to think of Felicia, I believed in her. There were none of the arts of the adventuress about her methods, her glances, or her words. She did not, for instance, in the least resemble the