The guard shook his head.
“I couldn’t go on that way, sir, without instructions.”
“Is there a telegraph office at this station?” Mr. Dunster inquired.
“We can speak anywhere on the line,” the guard replied.
“Then wire to the station-master at Liverpool Street,” Mr. Dunster instructed. “You can get a reply from him in the course of a few minutes. Explain the situation and tell him what my wishes are.”
The guard hesitated.
“It’s a goodish way from here to Norwich,” he observed, “and for all we know—”
“When we left Liverpool Street Station,” Mr. Dunster interrupted, “I promised five pounds each to you, the engine-driver, and his mate. That five pounds shall be made twenty-five if you succeed in getting me to the coast. Do your best for me.”
The guard raised his hat and departed without another word.
“It will probably suit you better,” Mr. Dunster continued, turning to his companion, “to leave me at Ipswich and join the mail.”
The latter shook his head.
“I don’t see that there’s any chance, anyway, of my getting over in time now,” he remarked. “If you’ll take me on with you as far as Norwich, I can go quietly home from there!”
“You live in this part of the world, then?” Mr. Dunster asked.
The young man assented. Again there was a certain amount of hesitation in his manner.
“I live some distance the other side of Norwich,” he said. “I don’t want to sponge on you too much,” he went on, “but if you’re really going to stick it out and try and get there, I’d like to go on, too. I am afraid I can’t offer to share the expense, but I’d work my passage if there was anything to be done.”
Mr. Dunster drummed for a moment upon the table with his fingers. All the time the young man had been speaking, his eyes had been studying his face. He turned now once more to his map.
“It was my idea,” he said, “to hire a steam trawler from Yarmouth. If I do so, you can, if you wish, accompany me so far as the port at which we may land in Holland. On the other hand, to be perfectly frank with you, I should prefer to go alone. There will be, no doubt, a certain amount of risk in crossing to-night. My own business is of importance. A golf tournament, however, is scarcely worth risking your life for, is it?”
“Oh, I don’t know about that!” the young man replied grimly. “I fancy I should rather like it. Let’s see whether we can get on to Norwich, anyhow, shall we? We may find that there are bridges down on that line.”
They relapsed once more into silence. Presently the guard reappeared.
“Instructions to take you on to Yarmouth, if possible, sir,” he announced, “and to collect the mileage at our destination.”