So back to the hotel went Billy to enter upon a period of waiting that frayed his nerves to an utter frazzle. Inaction was horrible to him, and now it was inevitable. He must wait for word from that agile web of little spies which the one-eyed man was weaving about the Captain’s palace, and be ready to start whenever the word came.
He slept with his clothes on that Monday night, but he slept heavily for he was tired and his arm was no longer painful. The tear of wound he called a scratch was healing swiftly.
Tuesday morning passed in the same maddening suspense. Captain Kerissen rode out that morning but only to the parade ground, where he took part in a review with his troops. It was noticed that his right hand was bandaged, but the injury could not have been severe for his thumb was free from the bandage and he occasionally used that hand upon the reins. It was the bright eyes of the Imp that were sure of that.
In the afternoon the Captain went again to the barracks and then to the palace of one of the colonels in his regiment. Then he went home.
Utterly disgusted with this waiting game Billy began to dress for dinner. All lathered for a shave he stood testing his razor on a hair when his unlocked door was violently opened and a panting little figure darted across to him. It was the Imp.
“Sir, he goes, he goes upon the minute,” he panted out. “He is in the station. Quick!”
Like a streak of lathered lightening Billy went for his clothes. A centipede could have been no more active. He jerked up his suspenders; he jerked on a shirt; he jerked on a coat; he was wiping his face as he darted through the halls and down the stairs. No lift had speed enough for his descent. At the desk he flung some gold pieces at the clerk, cried something about being called out of the city, and asked to have his room kept; then he was down the steps and into the carriage that the Imp had magically summoned.
The drive to the station was a series of escapes. Between jolts the Imp gasped out the rest of the story. The Captain had ridden out in the automobile. The Imp had given chase and so had the one-eyed man, also on guard, and by dint of running for dear life they had kept the motor in sight until the crowded city streets were reached and a series of delays enabled them to catch up with it. As soon as they saw the motor stop before the station the boy had rushed for Billy while the Arab remained to shadow the Captain and learn his destination.
They themselves were at the station now, and Billy was still tying his cravat. Now they jumped down and pressed through the confusion, dodging dragomans, porters, drivers and hotel runners and making a vigorous way past hurrying travelers and through bewildered blockades of tourist parties. Suddenly over the bobbing heads they saw the face they sought. A single eye glared significance upon them. An uplifted hand beckoned furiously.