Mrs. Bond treated Mead extremely well, and paid him well. She knew that by so doing she would secure a good advertisement. She had done so before, when four or five years ago she had lived at Keswick.
“Do you know, Charles,” she said presently, “I’m really very apprehensive regarding the present situation. Yvonne is, no doubt, keeping a watchful eye upon the young fellow. But what can she do if he has followed the Ranscomb girl and is with her each day? Each day, indeed, must bring the pair closer together, and—”
“That’s what we must prevent, my dear Molly!” exclaimed the lady’s visitor. “Think of all it means to us. You are quite safe here—as safe as I am to-day. But we can’t last out without money—either of us. We must have cash-money—and cash-money always.”
“Yes. That’s so. But Yvonne is wonderful—amazing.”
“She hasn’t the same stake in the affair as we have.”
“Why not?” asked the woman for whom the European police were in search.
“Well, because she is rich—she’s won pots of money at the tables—and we—well, both of us have only limited means. Yours, Molly, are larger than mine—thanks to Frank. But I must have money soon. My expenses in town are mounting up daily.”
“But your rooms don’t cost you very much! Old Mrs. Evans looks after things as she has always done.”
“Yes. But everything is going up in price, and remember, I dare not cross the Channel just now. At Calais, Boulogne, Cherbourg, and other places, they have my photograph, and they are waiting for me to fall into the trap. But the rat, once encaged, is shy! And I am very shy just now,” he added with a light laugh.
“You’ll stay and have dinner, won’t you?” urged his hostess.
“If I do Louise may return, and just now I don’t want to meet her. It is better not.”
“But she won’t be back till the last train to Guildford. Mead is meeting her. Yes—stay.”
“I must get a car to take me back to town. I have to go to Glasgow by the early train in the morning.”
“Well, we’re order one from one of the garages in Guildford. You really must stay, Charles. There’s lots we have to talk over—a lot of things that are of vital consequence to us both.”
At that moment there came a rap at the door and the young manservant entered, saying:
“You’re wanted on the telephone, ma’am.”
Mrs. Bond rose from the settee and went to the telephone in the library, where she heard the voice of a female telephone operator.
“Is that Shapley Manor?” she asked. “I have a telegram for Mrs. Bond. Handed in at Nice at two twenty-five, received here at four twenty-eight. ’To Bond, Shapley Manor, near Guildford. Yvonne shot by some unknown person while with Hugh. In grave danger.—S.’ That is the message. Have you got it please?”
Mrs. Bond held her breath.