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The Secret Adversary - Chapter 3 - A Set Back

1. Prologue

2. Chapter 1 - The Young Adventurers, Ltd.

3. Chapter 2 - Mr. Whittington's Offer

4. Chapter 3 - A Set Back

5. Chapter 4 - Who is Jane Finn?

6. Chapter 5 - Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer

7. Chapter 6 - A Plan of Campaign

8. Chapter 7 - The House in Soho

9. Chapter 8 - The Adventures of Tommy

10. Chapter 9 - Tuppence Enters Domestic Service

11. Chapter 10 - Enter Sir James Peel Edgerton

12. Chapter 11 - Julius Tells a Story

13. Chapter 12 - A Friend in Need

14. Chapter 13 - The Vigil

15. Chapter 14 - A Consultation

16. Chapter 15 - Tuppence Receives a Proposal

17. Chapter 16 - Further Adventures of Tommy

18. Chapter 17 - Annette

19. Chapter 18 - The Telegram

20. Chapter 19 - Jane Finn

21. Chapter 20 - Too Late

22. Chapter 21 - Tommy Makes a Discovery

23. Chapter 22 - In Downing Street

24. Chapter 23 - A Rage Against Time

25. Chapter 24 - Julius Takes a Hand

26. Chapter 25 - Jane's Story

27. Chapter 26 - Mr. Brown

28. Chapter 27 - A Supper Party at the Savoy

29. Chapter 28 - And After

THE moment was not quite so triumphant as it ought to have been.
To begin with, the resources of Tommy's pockets were somewhat
limited. In the end the fare was managed, the lady recollecting a
plebeian twopence, and the driver, still holding the varied
assortment of coins in his hand, was prevailed upon to move on,
which he did after one last hoarse demand as to what the
gentleman thought he was giving him?

"I think you've given him too much, Tommy," said Tuppence
innocently. "I fancy he wants to give some of it back."

It was possibly this remark which induced the driver to move

"Well," said Mr. Beresford, at length able to relieve his
feelings, "what the--dickens, did you want to take a taxi for?"

"I was afraid I might be late and keep you waiting," said
Tuppence gently.

"Afraid--you--might--be--late! Oh, Lord, I give it up!" said Mr.

"And really and truly," continued Tuppence, opening her eyes very
wide, "I haven't got anything smaller than a five-pound note."

"You did that part of it very well, old bean, but all the same
the fellow wasn't taken in--not for a moment!"

"No," said Tuppence thoughtfully, "he didn't believe it. That's
the curious part about speaking the truth. No one does believe
it. I found that out this morning. Now let's go to lunch. How
about the Savoy?"

Tommy grinned.

"How about the Ritz?"

"On second thoughts, I prefer the Piccadilly. It's nearer. We
shan't have to take another taxi. Come along."

"Is this a new brand of humour? Or is your brain really
unhinged?" inquired Tommy.

"Your last supposition is the correct one. I have come into
money, and the shock has been too much for me! For that
particular form of mental trouble an eminent physician recommends
unlimited Hors d'oeuvre, Lobster a l'americane, Chicken Newberg,
and Peche Melba! Let's go and get them!"

"Tuppence, old girl, what has really come over you?"

"Oh, unbelieving one!" Tuppence wrenched open her bag. "Look
here, and here, and here!"

"Great Jehosaphat! My dear girl, don't wave Fishers aloft like

"They're not Fishers. They're five times better than Fishers,
and this one's ten times better!"

Tommy groaned.

"I must have been drinking unawares! Am I dreaming, Tuppence, or
do I really behold a large quantity of five-pound notes being
waved about in a dangerous fashion?"

"Even so, O King! Now, will you come and have lunch?"

"I'll come anywhere. But what have you been doing? Holding up a

"All in good time. What an awful place Piccadilly Circus is.
There's a huge bus bearing down on us. It would be too terrible
if they killed the five-pound notes!"

"Grill room?" inquired Tommy, as they reached the opposite
pavement in safety.

"The other's more expensive," demurred Tuppence.

"That's mere wicked wanton extravagance. Come on below."

"Are you sure I can get all the things I want there?"

"That extremely unwholesome menu you were outlining just now? Of
course you can--or as much as is good for you, anyway."

"And now tell me," said Tommy, unable to restrain his pent-up
curiosity any longer, as they sat in state surrounded by the many
hors d'oeuvre of Tuppence's dreams.

Miss Cowley told him.

"And the curious part of it is," she ended, "that I really did
invent the name of Jane Finn! I didn't want to give my own
because of poor father--in case I should get mixed up in anything

"Perhaps that's so," said Tommy slowly. "But you didn't invent


"No. I told it to you. Don't you remember, I said yesterday I'd
overheard two people talking about a female called Jane Finn?
That's what brought the name into your mind so pat."

"So you did. I remember now. How extraordinary----" Tuppence
tailed off into silence. Suddenly she aroused herself. "Tommy!"


"What were they like, the two men you passed?"

Tommy frowned in an effort at remembrance.

"One was a big fat sort of chap. Clean shaven, I think--and

"That's him," cried Tuppence, in an ungrammatical squeal. "That's
Whittington! What was the other man like?"

"I can't remember. I didn't notice him particularly. It was
really the outlandish name that caught my attention."

"And people say that coincidences don't happen!" Tuppence tackled
her Peche Melba happily.

But Tommy had become serious.

"Look here, Tuppence, old girl, what is this going to lead to?"

"More money," replied his companion.

"I know that. You've only got one idea in your head. What I mean
is, what about the next step? How are you going to keep the game

"Oh!" Tuppence laid down her spoon. "You're right, Tommy, it is
a bit of a poser."

"After all, you know, you can't bluff him forever. You're sure to
slip up sooner or later. And, anyway, I'm not at all sure that
it isn't actionable--blackmail, you know."

"Nonsense. Blackmail is saying you'll tell unless you are given
money. Now, there's nothing I could tell, because I don't really
know anything."

"Hm," said Tommy doubtfully. "Well, anyway, what ARE we going to
do? Whittington was in a hurry to get rid of you this morning,
but next time he'll want to know something more before he parts
with his money. He'll want to know how much YOU know, and where
you got your information from, and a lot of other things that you
can't cope with. What are you going to do about it?"

Tuppence frowned severely.

"We must think. Order some Turkish coffee, Tommy. Stimulating
to the brain. Oh, dear, what a lot I have eaten!"

"You have made rather a hog of yourself! So have I for that
matter, but I flatter myself that my choice of dishes was more
judicious than yours. Two coffees." (This was to the waiter.)
"One Turkish, one French."

Tuppence sipped her coffee with a deeply reflective air, and
snubbed Tommy when he spoke to her.

"Be quiet. I'm thinking."

"Shades of Pelmanism!" said Tommy, and relapsed into silence.

"There!" said Tuppence at last. "I've got a plan. Obviously what
we've got to do is to find out more about it all."

Tommy applauded.

"Don't jeer. We can only find out through Whittington. We must
discover where he lives, what he does--sleuth him, in fact! Now I
can't do it, because he knows me, but he only saw you for a
minute or two in Lyons'. He's not likely to recognize you. After
all, one young man is much like another."

"I repudiate that remark utterly. I'm sure my pleasing features
and distinguished appearance would single me out from any crowd."

"My plan is this," Tuppence went on calmly, "I'll go alone
to-morrow. I'll put him off again like I did to-day. It doesn't
matter if I don't get any more money at once. Fifty pounds ought
to last us a few days."

"Or even longer!"

"You'll hang about outside. When I come out I shan't speak to
you in case he's watching. But I'll take up my stand somewhere
near, and when he comes out of the building I'll drop a
handkerchief or something, and off you go!"

"Off I go where?"

"Follow him, of course, silly! What do you think of the idea?"

"Sort of thing one reads about in books. I somehow feel that in
real life one will feel a bit of an ass standing in the street
for hours with nothing to do. People will wonder what I'm up

"Not in the city. Every one's in such a hurry. Probably no one
will even notice you at all."

"That's the second time you've made that sort of remark. Never
mind, I forgive you. Anyway, it will be rather a lark. What are
you doing this afternoon?"

"Well," said Tuppence meditatively. "I HAD thought of hats! Or
perhaps silk stockings! Or perhaps----"

"Hold hard," admonished Tommy. "There's a limit to fifty pounds!
But let's do dinner and a show to-night at all events."


The day passed pleasantly. The evening even more so. Two of the
five-pound notes were now irretrievably dead.

They met by arrangement the following morning and proceeded
citywards. Tommy remained on the opposite side of the road while
Tuppence plunged into the building.

Tommy strolled slowly down to the end of the street, then back
again. Just as he came abreast of the building, Tuppence darted
across the road.


"Yes. What's up?"

"The place is shut. I can't make anyone hear."

"That's odd."

"Isn't it? Come up with me, and let's try again."

Tommy followed her. As they passed the third floor landing a
young clerk came out of an office. He hesitated a moment, then
addressed himself to Tuppence.

"Were you wanting the Esthonia Glassware?"

"Yes, please."

"It's closed down. Since yesterday afternoon. Company being
wound up, they say. Not that I've ever heard of it myself. But
anyway the office is to let."

"Th--thank you," faltered Tuppence. "I suppose you don't know
Mr. Whittington's address?"

"Afraid I don't. They left rather suddenly."

"Thank you very much," said Tommy. "Come on, Tuppence."

They descended to the street again where they gazed at one
another blankly.

"That's torn it," said Tommy at length.

"And I never suspected it," wailed Tuppence.

"Cheer up, old thing, it can't be helped."

"Can't it, though!" Tuppence's little chin shot out defiantly.
"Do you think this is the end? If so, you're wrong. It's just
the beginning!"

"The beginning of what?"

"Of our adventure! Tommy, don't you see, if they are scared
enough to run away like this, it shows that there must be a lot
in this Jane Finn business! Well, we'll get to the bottom of it.
We'll run them down! We'll be sleuths in earnest!"

"Yes, but there's no one left to sleuth."

"No, that's why we'll have to start all over again. Lend me that
bit of pencil. Thanks. Wait a minute--don't interrupt. There!"
Tuppence handed back the pencil, and surveyed the piece of paper
on which she had written with a satisfied eye:

"What's that?"


"You're not going to put that thing in after all?"

"No, it's a different one." She handed him the slip of paper.

Tommy read the words on it aloud:

"WANTED, any information respecting Jane Finn. Apply Y.A."

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