“Detain me? On what charge?” Pailleton exclaimed angrily.
“On the charge of treason,” was the quiet reply. “I shall have you stripped and searched in this room. I shall have your luggage and your room searched at the Milan Hotel. And now, Monsieur Pailleton?”
Once more the man was bewildered. This time, however, it was bewilderment of a different sort. He thought for a moment steadfastly. Who was there who could have betrayed him?
“What is the nature of this document, monsieur, which you expect to find amongst my belongings?” he demanded.
“An authorised offer of peace from Germany to the French people,” the ambassador answered slowly. “It is the second attempt which has been made. The first was torn into fragments before the face of the person who had the effrontery to present it. The second, Monsieur Pailleton, is in your possession. You may keep it if you will. In Brazil you will find it of little use.”
Monsieur Pailleton folded his arms.
“I am a Frenchman,” he proclaimed. “What I may do, I do for France.”
“You refuse my mission, then?”
“I refuse it.”
The ambassador struck a bell upon his table. One of his secretaries promptly appeared.
“Send Colonel Defarge to me at once,” his chief ordered.
There was a brief pause. The ambassador was busy writing at his table. Pailleton, who was breathing heavily, said nothing. Presently an officer in French uniform entered.
“Monsieur le Colonel,” the ambassador said, stretching out his hand towards Pailleton, “you will accept the charge of this man, whom you will consider under arrest. I take the full responsibility for this proceeding. You will conduct him to your rooms here and you will search him. Any document found in his possession you will bring to me. When you have finished, let me know and I will give you an authority to proceed to his apartments in the Milan Hotel. You understand?”
“Certainly, my chief.”
The officer saluted and moved to Pailleton.
“You will come quietly, monsieur, is it not so?” he asked.
Pailleton waved him away. He turned to the ambassador.
“Monsieur,” he decided, “I will go to Brazil.”
TWO MORE GERMAN SUBMARINES SUNK WITH ALL HANDS
The Admiralty report that they received last night a message from Commander Conyers of the destroyer Scorpion, announcing that he has destroyed German submarines U 22 and 27, with all hands.
“Well, I’m damned!” the Admiral exclaimed, as he laid down the newspaper a few mornings later. “Ralph’s done it this time, and no mistake.”
Geraldine looked over his shoulder, her cheeks aglow.
“I knew at seven o’clock,” she declared. “Harris brought me the paper up. They are all so excited about it in the kitchen. You’d just gone out in the Park.”