He was well-dressed, possessing a pair of shrewd, searching eyes, and a moustache carefully trimmed. His appearance was that of a prosperous French tradesman—one of thousands one meets in the city of Marseilles.
As Hugh idled along, gazing into some of the shop windows as he lazily smoked his cigarette, the under-sized stranger kept very careful watch upon his movements. He evidently intended that he should not escape observation. Hugh paused at a tobacconist’s and bought some stamps, but as he came out of the shop, the watcher drew back suddenly and in such a manner as to reveal to anyone who might have observed him that he was no tyro in the art of surveillance.
Walking a little farther along, Hugh came to the corner of the broad Rue de Rome, where he entered a crowded cafe in which an orchestra was playing.
He had taken a corner seat in the window, had ordered his coffee, and was glancing at the Petit Parisien, which he had taken from his pocket, when another man entered, gazed around in search of a seat and, noticing one at Hugh’s table, crossed, lifted his hat, and took the vacant chair.
He was the stranger who had followed him from the Louvre et Paix.
The young Englishman, all unsuspecting, glanced at the newcomer, and then resumed his paper, while the keen-eyed little man took a long, thin cigar which the waiter brought, lit it carefully, and sipped his coffee, his interest apparently centred in the music.
Suddenly a tall, dark-haired woman, who had been sitting near by with a man who seemed to be her husband, rose and left. A moment before she had exchanged glances with the watcher, who, apparently at her bidding, rose and followed her.
All this seemed quite unnoticed by Hugh, immersed as he was in his newspaper.
Outside the man and woman met. They held hurried consultation. The woman told him something which evidently caused him sudden surprise.
“I will call on you at eleven to-morrow morning, madame,” he said.
“No. I will meet you at the Reserve. I will lunch there at twelve. You will lunch with me?”
“Very well,” he answered. “Au revoir,” and he returned to his seat in the cafe, while she disappeared without returning to her companion.
The mysterious watcher resumed his coffee, for he had only been absent for a few moments, and the waiter had not cleared it away.
Hugh took out his cigarette-case and, suddenly finding himself without a match, made the opportunity for which the mysterious stranger had been waiting.
He struck one and handed it to his vis-a-vis, bowing with his foreign grace.
Then they naturally dropped into conversation.
“Ah! m’sieur is English!” exclaimed the shrewd-eyed little man. “Here, in Marseilles, we have many English who pass to and fro from the boats. I suppose, m’sieur is going East?” he suggested affably.