“The notion of your arrest, sir,” he said to Lessingham harshly, “is apparently distasteful to some one at headquarters who has not digested my information. I am withdrawing my men for the present.”
“You’re not going to arrest him?” Philippa cried.
“I am not,” Captain Griffiths answered. “But,” he added, turning to Lessingham, “this is only a respite. I have more evidence behind all that I have offered. You are Baron Bertram Maderstrom, a German spy, living here in a prohibited area under a false name. That I know, and that I shall prove to those who have interfered with me in the execution of my duty. This is not the end.”
He left the room without even a word or a salute to Philippa. Lessingham looked after him for a moment, thoughtfully. Then he shrugged his shoulders.
“I am quite sure that I do not like Captain Griffiths,” he declared. “There is no breeding about the fellow.”
Philippa, even for some moments after the departure of Captain Griffiths and his myrmidons, remained in a sort of nerveless trance. The crisis, with its bewildering denouement, had affected her curiously. Lessingham rose presently to his feet.
“I wonder,” he asked, “if I could have a whisky and soda?”
She stamped her foot at him in a little fit of hysterical passion.
“You’re not natural!” she cried. “Whisky and soda!”
“Well, I don’t know,” he protested mildly, helping himself from the table in the background. “I rather thought I was being particularly British. When in doubt, take a drink. That is Richard all the world over, you know.”
She broke into a little mirthless laugh.
“I shall begin to think that you are a poseur!” she exclaimed.
He crossed the room towards her.
“Perhaps I am, dear,” he confessed. “I want you just to sit up and lose that unnatural look. I am not really full of cheap bravado, but I am a philosopher. Something has happened to postpone—the end. Good luck to it, I say!”
He raised his tumbler to his lips and set it down empty. Philippa rose to her feet and walked restlessly to the window and back.
“I’ll try and be reasonable too,” she promised, resuming her seat. “I was right, you see. Captain Griffiths has discovered everything. Can you tell me what possible reason any one in London could have had for interference?”
“I seem to have got a friend up there without knowing it, don’t I?” he observed.
“This is aging me terribly,” Philippa declared, throwing herself back into her seat. “All my life I have hated mysteries. Here I am face to face with two absolutely insoluble ones. Captain Griffiths has assured me that there is here in Dreymarsh something of sufficient importance to account for the presence of a foreign spy. You have confirmed it. I have been torturing my brain about that for the last twenty-four hours. Now there happens something more inexplicable still. You are arrested, and you are not arrested. Your identity is known, and Captain Griffiths is forbidden to do his duty.”