We crept across the paddock to the wall, I gave Francis a back and he hoisted himself to the top and looked over. In a moment he sprang lightly down, a finger to his lips.
“Soldiers round a fire,” he whispered. “There must be troops billeted here. Come on ... we’ll go further round!”
We ran softly along the wall to where it turned to the right and followed it round. Presently we came to a small iron gate in the wall. It stood open.
We listened. The sound of voices was fainter here. We still saw the reflection of the flames in the sky. Otherwise, there was no sign or sound of human life.
The gate led into an ornamental garden with the Castle at the further end. All the windows were in darkness. We threaded a garden path leading to the house. It brought us in front of a glass door. I turned the handle and it yielded to my grasp.
I whispered to Francis:
“Stay where you are! And if you hear me shout, fly for your life!”
For, I reflected, the place might be full of troops. If there were any risk it would be better for me to take it since Francis, with his identity papers, had a better chance than I of bringing the document into safety.
I opened the glass door and found myself in a lobby with a door on the right.
I listened again. All was still. I cautiously opened the door and looked in. As I did so the place was suddenly flooded with light and a voice—a voice I had often heard in my dreams—called out imperiously:
“Stay where you are and put your hands above your head!”
Clubfoot stood there, a pistol in his great hand pointed at me.
“Grundt!” I shouted but I did not move.
And Clubfoot laughed.
FRANCIS TAKES UP THE NARRATIVE
I saw the lights flash up in the room. I heard Desmond cry out: “Grundt;” Instantly I flung myself flat on my face in the flower bed, lest Desmond’s shout might have alarmed the soldiers about the fire. But no one came; the gardens remained dark and damp and silent, and I heard no sound from the room in which I knew my brother to be in the clutches of that man.
Desmond’s cry pulled me together. It seemed to arouse me from the lethargy into which I had sunk during all those months of danger and disappointment. It shook me into life. If I was to save him, not a moment was to be lost. Clubfoot would act swiftly, I knew. So must I. But first I must find out what the situation was, the meaning of Clubfoot’s presence in Monica’s house, of those soldiers in the park. And, above all, was Monica herself at the Castle?
I had noticed a little estaminet place on the road, about a hundred yards before we reached the Schloss. I might, at least, be able to pick up something there. Accordingly, I stole across the garden, scaled the wall again and reached the road in safety.