She was a sprightly little person, and had effectively brought off several highly successful coups. Before leaving his cosy flat in the Rue des Petits Champs, The Sparrow had sat for an hour calmly reviewing the situation in the light of what Lisette had told him and of Hugh’s exciting adventure on the Arles road.
That he had successfully escaped from a very clever trap was plain, but who was the traitor? Who, indeed, had fired that shot which, failing to kill Yvonne, had unbalanced her brain so that no attention could be paid to her wandering remarks?
He had that morning been on the point of trying to get into touch with his friend Howell, but after Lisette’s disclosures, he was very glad that he had not done so. His master-mind worked quickly. He could sum up a situation and act almost instantly where other men would be inclined to waver. But when The Sparrow arrived at a decision it was unalterable. All his associates knew that too well. Some of them called him stubborn, but they had to agree that he was invariably right in his suspicions and conclusions.
He had debated whether he should tell Hugh what Lisette had alleged concerning the forgery of his father’s will, but had decided to keep the matter to himself and see what further proof he could obtain. Therefore he had forbidden the girl to tell Henfrey anything, for, after all, it was quite likely that her statements could not be substantiated.
After their coffee all three returned to the Rue des Petits Champs where Lisette, merry and full of vivacity, joined them in a cigarette.
The Sparrow had been preoccupied and thoughtful the whole evening. But at last, as they sat together, he said:
“We shall all three go south to-morrow—to Nice direct.”
“To Nice!” exclaimed Lisette. “It is hardly safe—is it?”
“Yes. You will leave by the midday train from the Gare de Lyon—and go to Madame Odette’s in the boulevard Gambetta. I may want you. We shall follow by the train-de-luxe. It is best that Mr. Henfrey is out of Paris. The Surete will certainly be searching for him.”
Then, turning to Hugh, he told him that he had better remain his guest that night, and in the morning he would buy him another suit, hat and coat.
“There will not be so much risk in Nice as here in Paris,” he added. “After all, we ought not to have ventured out to Vian’s.”
Later he sat down, and after referring to a pocket-book containing certain entries, he scribbled four cryptic telegrams which were, apparently, Bourse quotations, but when read by their addressees were of quite a different character.
He went out and himself dispatched these from the office of the Grand Hotel. He never entrusted his telegrams of instructions to others.
When he returned ten minutes later he took up Le Soir, and searching it eagerly, suddenly exclaimed:
“Ah! Here it is! Manfield has been successful and got away all right with the German countess’s trinkets!”