The entrance of Mrs. Clephane and Harleston was unexpected to Mrs. Spencer; Carpenter was a stranger to her and she had thought nothing of him; but when he spoke to Harleston, and seemed to know Mrs. Clephane, she put him on the list of the enemy. She kept him there when Snodgrass told her his name and position in the Diplomatic Service and that it was reputed there was no cipher too difficult for him to solve.
“We would better be very circumspect,” she said low. “I think that these two men are here to watch us; they know that I’m in the Secret Service, of Germany, and they’re naturally suspicious of me.”
“Carpenter was here when we came in,” Snodgrass remarked. “He was sitting in the lobby. However, if you prefer, I’ll let my mail go until evening.”
“We can decide when we’re through luncheon,” she replied. “Haste is of vital importance, my instructions say. I had hoped to get away on the midnight train for New York, and to sail tomorrow for England.”
“I had hoped to do the same!” he whispered.
“Really?” she asked.
“More than really! May I?” leaning forward.
“If you care to, Captain Snodgrass. It will be very pleasant to have you on board.”
“You may not care for the afterward,” she murmured.
“I’ll risk it!” he exclaimed. “We’ll sail tomorrow.”
“And the letter?” she asked.
“I’ll get it for you—or have it along!”
“What about the consideration?”
“Hang the consideration. I’ll pay it myself, if need be.”
“No, no, my friend!” she laughed. “I’m not worth so much, nor anything near it. And even though I were, I’d not permit the wasteful extravagance.”
She might have added that she had no objection whatever to his wasteful extravagance, in fact, she would rather encourage it, if she were its object. Only that must come later—after the present business was finished, and they had sailed from New York. How long the extravagance would continue was dependent on the depth of his purse and his disposition.
“Wasteful extravagance does not apply where you are concerned,” he replied. “However, we’ll let Germany pay the consideration, and I’ll have that much more to spend on you.”
She rewarded him with one of her alluringly ravishing smiles and a touch of her slender foot. She had him—and she knew she had him. She would be Madeline Spencer once again—always having a victim, and always ready for a fresh one. Since she had failed with Harleston, what mattered it how many the victims, or what the price they paid.
“Mrs. Spencer and her friend have reached some sort of an understanding,” Mrs. Clephane remarked. “She just smiled at him significantly and pressed his foot.”
“I noticed the smile but not the foot business,” Harleston chuckled. “It’s something quite personal to them, I take it!”