“Well, you know what happened at the Villa Amette that night? Have you any idea of the identity of the person who shot poor Mademoiselle—the lady they call Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo?”
“Not in the least,” was the reply. “All I know is that Il Passero has some very keen and personal interest in the affair. He has sent further orders to you. It is imperative, he says, that you should get away from Brussels. The police are too keen here.”
“Where shall I go?”
“I suggest that you go at once to Malines. Go to Madame Maupoil, 208 Rue de Stassart, opposite the Military Hospital. It is far too dangerous for you to remain here in Brussels. I have already written that you are coming. Her house is one of the sanctuaries of the friends of Il Passero. Remember the name and address.”
“The Sparrow seems to be ubiquitous,” Hugh remarked.
“He is. No really great robbery can be accomplished unless he plans and finances it.”
“I cannot think why he takes so keen an interest in me.”
“He often does in persons who are quite ignorant of his existence.”
“That is my own case. I never heard of him until I was in Genoa, a fugitive,” said Hugh. “But you told me I shall receive a message from Miss Ranscomb by special messenger. When?”
“When you are in Malines.”
“But all this is very strange. Will the mysterious messenger call upon Miss Ranscomb in London?”
“Of course. Il Passero has several messengers who travel to and fro in secret. Mademoiselle Lisette was once one of them. She has travelled many times the length and breadth of Europe. But nowadays she is an indicator—and a very clever one indeed,” he added with a laugh.
“I suppose I had better get away to Malines without delay?” Hugh remarked.
“Yes. Go to your hotel, pay them for your room and get your valise. I shall be waiting for you at noon in a car in the Rue Gretry, close to the Palais d’Ete. Then we can slip away to Malines. Have you sufficient money? If not, I can give you some. Il Passero has ordered me to do so.”
“Thanks,” replied Hugh. “I have enough for the present. My only desire is to be back again in London.”
“Ah! I am afraid that is not possible for some time to come.”
“But I shall hear from Miss Ranscomb?”
“Oh, yes. The messenger will come to you in Malines.”
“Who is the messenger?”
“Of that I have no knowledge,” was Vervoort’s reply. He seemed a very refined man, and was no doubt an extremely clever crook. He said little of himself, but sufficient to cause Hugh to realize that his was one of the master minds of underground Europe.
The young Englishman was naturally eager to further penetrate the veil of mystery surrounding Mademoiselle Yvonne, but he learned little or nothing. Vervoort either knew nothing, or else refused to disclose what he knew. Which, Hugh could not exactly decide.