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The Secret Adversary - Chapter 6 - A Plan of Campaign

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

A veil might with profit be drawn over the events of the next
half-hour. Suffice it to say that no such person as "Inspector
Brown" was known to Scotland Yard. The photograph of Jane Finn,
which would have been of the utmost value to the police in
tracing her, was lost beyond recovery. Once again "Mr. Brown" had

The immediate result of this set back was to effect a
rapprochement between Julius Hersheimmer and the Young
Adventurers. All barriers went down with a crash, and Tommy and
Tuppence felt they had known the young American all their lives.
They abandoned the discreet reticence of "private inquiry
agents," and revealed to him the whole history of the joint
venture, whereat the young man declared himself "tickled to

He turned to Tuppence at the close of the narration.

"I've always had a kind of idea that English girls were just a
mite moss-grown. Old-fashioned and sweet, you know, but scared to
move round without a footman or a maiden aunt. I guess I'm a bit
behind the times!"

The upshot of these confidential relations was that Tommy and
Tuppence took up their abode forthwith at the Ritz, in order, as
Tuppence put it, to keep in touch with Jane Finn's only living
relation. "And put like that," she added confidentially to Tommy,
"nobody could boggle at the expense!"

Nobody did, which was the great thing.

"And now," said the young lady on the morning after their
installation, "to work!"

Mr. Beresford put down the Daily Mail, which he was reading, and
applauded with somewhat unnecessary vigour. He was politely
requested by his colleague not to be an ass.

"Dash it all, Tommy, we've got to DO something for our money."

Tommy sighed.

"Yes, I fear even the dear old Government will not support us at
the Ritz in idleness for ever."

"Therefore, as I said before, we must DO something."

"Well," said Tommy, picking up the Daily Mail again, "DO it. I
shan't stop you."

"You see," continued Tuppence. "I've been thinking----"

She was interrupted by a fresh bout of applause.

"It's all very well for you to sit there being funny, Tommy. It
would do you no harm to do a little brain work too."

"My union, Tuppence, my union! It does not permit me to work
before 11 a.m."

"Tommy, do you want something thrown at you? It is absolutely
essential that we should without delay map out a plan of

"Hear, hear!"

"Well, let's do it."

Tommy laid his paper finally aside. "There's something of the
simplicity of the truly great mind about you, Tuppence. Fire
ahead. I'm listening."

"To begin with," said Tuppence, "what have we to go upon?"

"Absolutely nothing," said Tommy cheerily.

"Wrong!" Tuppence wagged an energetic finger. "We have two
distinct clues."

"What are they?"

"First clue, we know one of the gang."


"Yes. I'd recognize him anywhere."

"Hum," said Tommy doubtfully, "I don't call that much of a clue.
You don't know where to look for him, and it's about a thousand
to one against your running against him by accident."

"I'm not so sure about that," replied Tuppence thoughtfully.
"I've often noticed that once coincidences start happening they
go on happening in the most extraordinary way. I dare say it's
some natural law that we haven't found out. Still, as you say, we
can't rely on that. But there ARE places in London where simply
every one is bound to turn up sooner or later. Piccadilly Circus,
for instance. One of my ideas was to take up my stand there
every day with a tray of flags."

"What about meals?" inquired the practical Tommy.

"How like a man! What does mere food matter?"

"That's all very well. You've just had a thundering good
breakfast. No one's got a better appetite than you have,
Tuppence, and by tea-time you'd be eating the flags, pins and
all. But, honestly, I don't think much of the idea. Whittington
mayn't be in London at all."

"That's true. Anyway, I think clue No. 2 is more promising."

"Let's hear it."

"It's nothing much. Only a Christian name--Rita. Whittington
mentioned it that day."

"Are you proposing a third advertisement: Wanted, female crook,
answering to the name of Rita?"

"I am not. I propose to reason in a logical manner. That man,
Danvers, was shadowed on the way over, wasn't he? And it's more
likely to have been a woman than a man----"

"I don't see that at all."

"I am absolutely certain that it would be a woman, and a
good-looking one," replied Tuppence calmly.

"On these technical points I bow to your decision," murmured Mr.

"Now, obviously this woman, whoever she was, was saved."

"How do you make that out?"

"If she wasn't, how would they have known Jane Finn had got the

"Correct. Proceed, O Sherlock!"

"Now there's just a chance, I admit it's only a chance, that this
woman may have been 'Rita.' "

"And if so?"

"If so, we've got to hunt through the survivors of the Lusitania
till we find her."

"Then the first thing is to get a list of the survivors."

"I've got it. I wrote a long list of things I wanted to know,
and sent it to Mr. Carter. I got his reply this morning, and
among other things it encloses the official statement of those
saved from the Lusitania. How's that for clever little

"Full marks for industry, zero for modesty. But the great point
is, is there a 'Rita' on the list?"

"That's just what I don't know," confessed Tuppence.

"Don't know?"

"Yes. Look here." Together they bent over the list. "You see,
very few Christian names are given. They're nearly all Mrs. or

Tommy nodded.

"That complicates matters," he murmured thoughtfully.

Tuppence gave her characteristic "terrier" shake.

"Well, we've just got to get down to it, that's all. We'll start
with the London area. Just note down the addresses of any of the
females who live in London or roundabout, while I put on my hat."

Five minutes later the young couple emerged into Piccadilly, and
a few seconds later a taxi was bearing them to The Laurels,
Glendower Road, N.7, the residence of Mrs. Edgar Keith, whose
name figured first in a list of seven reposing in Tommy's

The Laurels was a dilapidated house, standing back from the road
with a few grimy bushes to support the fiction of a front garden.
Tommy paid off the taxi, and accompanied Tuppence to the front
door bell. As she was about to ring it, he arrested her hand.

"What are you going to say?"

"What am I going to say? Why, I shall say--Oh dear, I don't
know. It's very awkward."

"I thought as much," said Tommy with satisfaction. "How like a
woman! No foresight! Now just stand aside, and see how easily
the mere male deals with the situation." He pressed the bell.
Tuppence withdrew to a suitable spot.

A slatternly looking servant, with an extremely dirty face and a
pair of eyes that did not match, answered the door.

Tommy had produced a notebook and pencil.

"Good morning," he said briskly and cheerfully. "From the
Hampstead Borough Council. The new Voting Register. Mrs. Edgar
Keith lives here, does she not?"

"Yaas," said the servant.

"Christian name?" asked Tommy, his pencil poised.

"Missus's? Eleanor Jane."

"Eleanor," spelt Tommy. "Any sons or daughters over twenty-one?"


"Thank you." Tommy closed the notebook with a brisk snap. "Good

The servant volunteered her first remark:

"I thought perhaps as you'd come about the gas," she observed
cryptically, and shut the door.

Tommy rejoined his accomplice.

"You see, Tuppence," he observed. "Child's play to the masculine

"I don't mind admitting that for once you've scored handsomely. I
should never have thought of that."

"Good wheeze, wasn't it? And we can repeat it ad lib."

Lunch-time found the young couple attacking a steak and chips in
an obscure hostelry with avidity. They had collected a Gladys
Mary and a Marjorie, been baffled by one change of address, and
had been forced to listen to a long lecture on universal suffrage
from a vivacious American lady whose Christian name had proved to
be Sadie.

"Ah!" said Tommy, imbibing a long draught of beer, "I feel
better. Where's the next draw?"

The notebook lay on the table between them. Tuppence picked it

"Mrs. Vandemeyer," she read, "20 South Audley Mansions. Miss
Wheeler, 43 Clapington Road, Battersea. She's a lady's maid, as
far as I remember, so probably won't be there, and, anyway, she's
not likely."

"Then the Mayfair lady is clearly indicated as the first port of

"Tommy, I'm getting discouraged."

"Buck up, old bean. We always knew it was an outside chance.
And, anyway, we're only starting. If we draw a blank in London,
there's a fine tour of England, Ireland and Scotland before us."

"True," said Tuppence, her flagging spirits reviving. "And all
expenses paid! But, oh, Tommy, I do like things to happen
quickly. So far, adventure has succeeded adventure, but this
morning has been dull as dull."

"You must stifle this longing for vulgar sensation, Tuppence.
Remember that if Mr. Brown is all he is reported to be, it's a
wonder that he has not ere now done us to death. That's a good
sentence, quite a literary flavour about it."

"You're really more conceited than I am--with less excuse! Ahem!
But it certainly is queer that Mr. Brown has not yet wreaked
vengeance upon us. (You see, I can do it too.) We pass on our way

"Perhaps he doesn't think us worth bothering about," suggested
the young man simply.

Tuppence received the remark with great disfavour.

"How horrid you are, Tommy. Just as though we didn't count."

"Sorry, Tuppence. What I meant was that we work like moles in
the dark, and that he has no suspicion of our nefarious schemes.
Ha ha!"

"Ha ha!" echoed Tuppence approvingly, as she rose.

South Audley Mansions was an imposing-looking block of flats just
off Park Lane. No. 20 was on the second floor.

Tommy had by this time the glibness born of practice. He rattled
off the formula to the elderly woman, looking more like a
housekeeper than a servant, who opened the door to him.

"Christian name?"


Tommy spelt it, but the other interrupted him.

"No, G U E."

"Oh, Marguerite; French way, I see." He paused, then plunged
boldly. "We had her down as Rita Vandemeyer, but I suppose that's

"She's mostly called that, sir, but Marguerite's her name."

"Thank you. That's all. Good morning."

Hardly able to contain his excitement, Tommy hurried down the
stairs. Tuppence was waiting at the angle of the turn.

"You heard?"

"Yes. Oh, TOMMY!"

Tommy squeezed her arm sympathetically.

"I know, old thing. I feel the same."

"It's--it's so lovely to think of things--and then for them
really to happen!" cried Tuppence enthusiastically.

Her hand was still in Tommy's. They had reached the entrance
hall. There were footsteps on the stairs above them, and voices.

Suddenly, to Tommy's complete surprise, Tuppence dragged him into
the little space by the side of the lift where the shadow was

"What the----"


Two men came down the stairs and passed out through the entrance.
Tuppence's hand closed tighter on Tommy's arm.

"Quick--follow them. I daren't. He might recognize me. I don't
know who the other man is, but the bigger of the two was

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