Everywhere I was met with wearisome delays. A slow train to Amberieu, a still slower cross journey to Lyons, which I did not reach till nearly 4 P.M., and learnt that another hour or more must elapse before the departure of the next Marseilles express.
The journey seemed interminable, but just as I was losing all patience, I received a fillip that awoke me to alertness, and set all my nerves tingling.
The man Tiler, the second detective, the man whom I had already befooled more than once, was there now on the platform, waiting like myself to embark upon the 5.19 train south to Marseilles.
He had come after me; that was perfectly clear. He, and he alone, and I rejoiced greatly that I had to do entirely with him. I had tried my strength with him more than once already, and felt myself his equal in guile. Although he owed me a grudge and would certainly be upon his guard, I thought myself strong enough to face and outwit him.
When I first caught sight of Mr. Ludovic Tiler he was busily engaged in conversation with one of the guards and a couple of porters. From his gestures, no doubt, he was describing our party, and I was half-inclined to walk up to him and say “Behold!” But then I drew back hesitating. I did not fear him in the least, but he would be sure to draw the others to him, and I did not quite like the idea of having three of them on my hands at once, and with no Colonel on my side.
I could only communicate with Colonel Annesley by a roundabout process, and it might take him some time to reach me, even if he was not otherwise engaged by Henriette.
This Tiler man would of course stick to me and follow me if he had the faintest clue, and I let him have that by directing Philpotts to show herself, passing quite close to him and walking on towards the train. She was to return then to the waiting-room, where together we made some change in our appearance. There were other cloaks in the bundle of rugs, which we put on over those we were wearing. I got out a thick veil, and Philpotts replaced her neat bonnet by a soft motor cap. More than all, we made away with the dummy child, broke up the parcel, resolved it into its component parts, a small pillow and many wraps, all of which we put away in the same convenient receptacle.
Tiler certainly did not recognize us as we walked separately to the train. He was looking for a party of two and a baby, and all he saw was one woman who might remind him of me, but without her attendant or any encumbrance. He had his suspicions, however, for as soon as we started he walked through the long line of couloir carriages, deliberately peering and prying, examining the passengers of every compartment. He passed us at first, and was much put out, I could see, disappointed no doubt, but he came back presently and stood for some time at our window, while I hid my face in among the rugs, and Philpotts cowered in a corner.