“But, general, if there is any place that is naturally strong, that—” Turcas began.
“The one place where they are confident that we won’t attack!” Westerling interrupted. He resented the staff’s professional respect for Turcas. After a silence and a survey of the faces around, he added with sententious effect: “And I was right about Bordir!”
To this argument there could be no answer. The one stroke of generalship by the Grays, who, otherwise, had succeeded alone through repeated mass attacks, had been Westerling’s hypothesis that had gained Bordir in a single assault.
“Engadir it is, then!” said Turcas with the loyalty of the subordinate who makes a superior’s conviction his own, the better to carry it out.
Hazily, Bouchard had heard the talk, while he was looking at Westerling and seeing him, not at the head of the council table, but in the arbor in eager appeal to Marta.
“I shall find out! I shall find out!” was drumming in his temples when the council rose; and, without a word or a backward glance, he was the first to leave the room.
In his search for the medium of the leak to the enemy Bouchard had studied every detail of the Galland premises and also of the ruins of the castle, with the exception of one feature mentioned in the regular staff records, prepared before the war, in the course of their minute description of the architecture of buildings which were accessible to the spies of the Grays. The tunnel to the dungeons could be reached only through the private quarters of the Gallands.
When he came out onto the veranda from the staff council a glimpse of Mrs. Galland walking in the garden told him that one of the guardians who stood between him and the satisfaction of his desperate curiosity was absent. He started for the tower and found the door open and the sitting-room empty. In his impatience he had one foot across the threshold before a prompting sense of respect for form made him pause. After all, this was a private residence. There being no bell, he rapped, and was glad that it was Minna and not Marta who appeared. He watched her intently for the effect of his abrupt announcement as he exclaimed:
“I want to go into the tunnel under the castle!”
There was no mistaking her shock and alarm. Her lips remained parted in a letter O as a sweep of breath escaped. Yet, in the very process of recovering her scattered faculties, her feminine quickness noted a triumphant gleam in his eye. She knew that her manner had given conviction to his suspicions. She knew that she alone stood between him and his finding Marta talking to Brown headquarters. As she was in a state of astonishment, why, astonishment was her cue. She appeared positively speechless from it except for the emission of another horrified gasp. Time! time! She must hold him until Marta left the telephone.