From Piccadilly the stranger had followed Dorise unseen, until at the corner of Maddox Street she overtook her, and smiling, uttered her name.
“Yes,” responded Doris in surprise. “But I regret—you have the advantage of me?”
“Probably,” replied the stranger. “Do you recollect the bal blanc at Nice and a certain white cavalier? I have a message from him to give you in secret.”
“Why in secret?” Dorise asked rather defiantly.
“Well—for certain reasons which I think you can guess,” answered the girl in black, as she strolled at Dorise’s side.
“Why did not you call on me at home?”
“Because of your mother. She would probably have been a little inquisitive. Let us go into some place—a tea-room—where we can talk,” she suggested. “I have come to see you concerning Mr. Henfrey.”
“Where is he?” asked Dorise, in an instant anxious.
“Quite safe. He arrived in Malines yesterday—and is with friends.”
“Has he had my letters?”
“Unfortunately, no. But do not let us talk here. Let’s go in yonder,” and she indicated the Laurel Tea Rooms, which, the hour being early, they found, to their satisfaction, practically deserted.
At a table in the far corner they resumed their conversation.
“Why has he not received my letters?” asked Dorise. “It is nearly a month ago since I first wrote.”
“By some mysterious means the police got to know of your friend’s intended visit to Brussels to obtain his letters. Therefore, it was too dangerous for him to go to the Poste Restante, or even to send anyone there. The Brussels police were watching constantly. How they have gained their knowledge is a complete mystery.”
“Who sent you to me?”
“A friend of Mr. Henfrey. My instructions are to see you, and to convey any message you may wish to send to Mr. Henfrey to him direct in Malines.”
“I’m sure it’s awfully good of you,” Dorise replied. “Does he know you are here?”
“Yes. But I have not met him. I am simply a messenger. In fact, I travel far and wide for those who employ me.”
“And who are they?”
“I regret, but they must remain nameless,” said the girl, with a smile.
Dorise was puzzled as to how the French police could have gained any knowledge of Hugh’s intentions. Then suddenly, she became horrified as a forgotten fact flashed across her mind. She recollected how, early in the grey morning, after her return from the ball at Nice, she had written and addressed a letter to Hugh. On reflection, she had realized that it was not sufficiently reassuring, so she had torn it up and thrown it into the waste-paper basket instead of burning it.
She had, she remembered, addressed the envelope to Mr. Godfrey Brown, at the Poste Restante in Brussels.
Was it possible that the torn fragments had fallen into the hands of the police? She knew that they had been watching her closely. Her surmise was, as a matter of fact, the correct one. Ogier had employed the head chambermaid to give him the contents of Dorise’s waste-paper basket from time to time, hence the knowledge he had gained.