“No,” replied Hugh, speaking in French, “I have some business here—that is all.” He was highly suspicious of all strangers, and the more so of anyone who endeavoured to get into conversation with him.
“You know Marseilles—of course?” asked the stranger, sharply scrutinizing him.
“I have been here several times before. I find the city always gay and bright.”
“Not so bright as before the war,” declared the little man, smoking at his ease. “There have been many changes lately.”
Hugh Henfrey could not make the fellow out. Yet many times before he had been addressed by strangers who seemed to question him out of curiosity, and for no apparent reason. This man was one of them, no doubt.
The man, who had accompanied the woman whom the stranger had followed out, rose, exchanged a significant glance with the little man, and walked out. That the three were in accord seemed quite apparent, though Hugh was still unsuspicious.
He chatted merrily with the stranger for nearly half an hour, and then rose and left the cafe. When quite close to the hotel the stranger overtook him, and halting, asked in a low voice, in very good English:
“I believe you are Mr. Henfrey—are you not?”
“Why do you ask that?” inquired Hugh, much surprised. “My name is Jordan—William Jordan.”
“Yes,” laughed the man. “That is, I know, the name you have given at the hotel. But your real name is Henfrey.”
Hugh started. The stranger, noticing his alarm, hastened to reassure him.
FRIEND OR ENEMY?
“You need not worry,” said the stranger to Hugh. “I am not your enemy, but a friend. I warn you that Marseilles is unsafe for you. Get away as soon as possible. The Spanish police have learnt that you have come here,” he went on as he strolled at his side.
Hugh was amazed.
“How did you know my identity?” he asked eagerly.
“I was instructed to watch for your arrival—and to warn you.”
“Who instructed you?”
“A friend of yours—and mine—The Sparrow.”
“Has he been here?”
“No. He spoke to me on the telephone from Paris.”
“What were his instructions?”
“That you were to go at once—to-night—by car to the Hotel de Paris, at Cette. A car and driver awaits you at the Garage Beauvau, in the Rue Beauvau. I have arranged everything at The Sparrow’s orders. You are one of Us, I understand,” and the man laughed lightly.
“But my bag?” exclaimed Hugh.
“Go to the hotel, pay your bill, and take your bag to the station cloak-room. Then go and get the car, pick up your bag, and get out on the road to Cette as soon as ever you can. Your driver will ask no questions, and will remain silent. He has his orders from The Sparrow.”
“Does The Sparrow ever come to Marseilles?” Hugh asked.