"There? Impossible. I asked."
"No, my dear sir, you asked if anyone of the name of Jane Finn
had been there. Now, if the girl had been placed there it would
almost certainly be under an assumed name."
"Bully for you," cried Julius. "I never thought of that!"
"It was fairly obvious," said the other.
"Perhaps the doctor's in it too," suggested Tuppence.
Julius shook his head.
"I don't think so. I took to him at once. No, I'm pretty sure
Dr. Hall's all right."
"Hall, did you say?" asked Sir James. "That is curious - really
"Why?" demanded Tuppence.
"Because I happened to meet him this morning. I've known him
slightly on and off for some years, and this morning I ran across
him in the street. Staying at the Metropole, he told me." He
turned to Julius. "Didn't he tell you he was coming up to town?"
Julius shook his head.
"Curious," mused Sir James. "You did not mention his name this
afternoon, or I would have suggested your going to him for
further information with my card as introduction."
"I guess I'm a mutt," said Julius with unusual humility. "I ought
to have thought of the false name stunt."
"How could you think of anything after falling out of that tree?"
cried Tuppence. "I'm sure anyone else would have been killed
"Well, I guess it doesn't matter now, anyway," said Julius.
"We've got Mrs. Vandemeyer on a string, and that's all we need."
"Yes," said Tuppence, but there was a lack of assurance in her
A silence settled down over the party. Little by little the
magic of the night began to gain a hold on them. There were
sudden creaks of the furniture, imperceptible rustlings in the
curtains. Suddenly Tuppence sprang up with a cry.
"I can't help it. I know Mr. Brown's somewhere in the flat! I
can FEEL him."
"Sure, Tuppence, how could he be? This door's open into the
hall. No one could have come in by the front door without our
seeing and hearing him."
"I can't help it. I FEEL he's here!"
She looked appealingly at Sir James, who replied gravely:
"With due deference to your feelings, Miss Tuppence (and mine as
well for that matter), I do not see how it is humanly possible
for anyone to be in the flat without our knowledge."
The girl was a little comforted by his wards.
"Sitting up at night is always rather jumpy," she confessed.
"Yes," said Sir James. "We are in the condition of people
holding a seance. Perhaps if a medium were present we might get
some marvellous results."
"Do you believe in spiritualism?" asked Tuppence, opening her
The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.
"There is some truth in it, without a doubt. But most of the
testimony would not pass muster in the witness-box."
The hours drew on. With the first faint glimmerings of dawn, Sir
James drew aside the curtains. They beheld, what few Londoners
see, the slow rising of the sun over the sleeping city. Somehow,
with the coming of the light, the dreads and fancies of the past
night seemed absurd. Tuppence's spirits revived to the normal.
"Hooray!" she said. "It's going to be a gorgeous day. And we
shall find Tommy. And Jane Finn. And everything will be lovely.
I shall ask Mr. Carter if I can't be made a Dame!"
At seven o'clock Tuppence volunteered to go and make some tea.
She returned with a tray, containing the teapot and four cups.
"Who's the other cup for?" inquired Julius.
"The prisoner, of course. I suppose we might call her that?"
"Taking her tea seems a kind of anticlimax to last night," said
"Yes, it does," admitted Tuppence. "But, anyway, here goes.
Perhaps you'd both come, too, in case she springs on me, or
anything. You see, we don't know what mood she'll wake up in."
Sir James and Julius accompanied her to the door.
"Where's the key? Oh, of course, I've got it myself."
She put it in the lock, and turned it, then paused.
"Supposing, after all, she's escaped?" she murmured in a whisper.
"Plumb impossible," replied Julius reassuringly.
But Sir James said nothing.
Tuppence drew a long breath and entered. She heaved a sigh of
relief as she saw that Mrs. Vandemeyer was lying on the bed.
"Good morning," she remarked cheerfully. "I've brought you some
Mrs. Vandemeyer did not reply. Tuppence put down the cup on the
table by the bed and went across to draw up the blinds. When she
turned, Mrs. Vandemeyer still lay without a movement. With a
sudden fear clutching at her heart, Tuppence ran to the bed. The
hand she lifted was cold as ice.... Mrs. Vandemeyer would never
Her cry brought the others. A very few minutes sufficed. Mrs.
Vandemeyer was dead - must have been dead some hours. She had
evidently died in her sleep.
"If that isn't the cruellest luck," cried Julius in despair.
The lawyer was calmer, but there was a curious gleam in his eyes.
"If it is luck," he replied.
"You don't think - but, say, that's plumb impossible - no one could
have got in."
"No," admitted the lawyer. "I don't see how they could. And
yet - she is on the point of betraying Mr. Brown, and - she dies.
Is it only chance?"
"But how - - "
"Yes, HOW! That is what we must find out." He stood there
silently, gently stroking his chin. "We must find out," he said
quietly, and Tuppence felt that if she was Mr. Brown she would
not like the tone of those simple words.
Julius's glance went to the window.
"The window's open," he remarked. "Do you think - - "
Tuppence shook her head.
"The balcony only goes along as far as the boudoir. We were
"He might have slipped out - - " suggested Julius.
But Sir James interrupted him.
"Mr. Brown's methods are not so crude. In the meantime we must
send for a doctor, but before we do so, is there anything in this
room that might be of value to us?"
Hastily, the three searched. A charred mass in the grate
indicated that Mrs. Vandemeyer had been burning papers on the eve
of her flight. Nothing of importance remained, though they
searched the other rooms as well.
"There's that," said Tuppence suddenly, pointing to a small,
old-fashioned safe let into the wall. "It's for jewellery, I
believe, but there might be something else in it."
The key was in the lock, and Julius swung open the door, and
searched inside. He was some time over the task.
"Well," said Tuppence impatiently.
There was a pause before Julius answered, then he withdrew his
head and shut to the door.
"Nothing," he said.
In five minutes a brisk young doctor arrived, hastily summoned.
He was deferential to Sir James, whom he recognized.
"Heart failure, or possibly an overdose of some
sleeping-draught." He sniffed. "Rather an odour of chloral in
Tuppence remembered the glass she had upset. A new thought drove
her to the washstand. She found the little bottle from which
Mrs. Vandemeyer had poured a few drops.
It had been three parts full. Now - IT WAS EMPTY.
NOTHING was more surprising and bewildering to Tuppence than the
ease and simplicity with which everything was arranged, owing to
Sir James's skilful handling. The doctor accepted quite readily
the theory that Mrs. Vandemeyer had accidentally taken an
overdose of chloral. He doubted whether an inquest would be
necessary. If so, he would let Sir James know. He understood
that Mrs. Vandemeyer was on the eve of departure for abroad, and
that the servants had already left? Sir James and his young
friends had been paying a call upon her, when she was suddenly
stricken down and they had spent the night in the flat, not
liking to leave her alone. Did they know of any relatives? They
did not, but Sir James referred him to Mrs. Vandemeyer's
Shortly afterwards a nurse arrived to take charge, and the other
left the ill-omened building.
"And what now?" asked Julius, with a gesture of despair. "I guess
we're down and out for good."
Sir James stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"No," he said quietly. "There is still the chance that Dr. Hall
may be able to tell us something."
"Gee! I'd forgotten him."
"The chance is slight, but it must not be neglected. I think I
told you that he is staying at the Metropole. I should suggest
that we call upon him there as soon as possible. Shall we say
after a bath and breakfast?"
It was arranged that Tuppence and Julius should return to the
Ritz, and call for Sir James in the car. This programme was
faithfully carried out, and a little after eleven they drew up
before the Metropole. They asked for Dr. Hall, and a page-boy
went in search of him. In a few minutes the little doctor came
hurrying towards them.
"Can you spare us a few minutes, Dr. Hall?" said Sir James
pleasantly. "Let me introduce you to Miss Cowley. Mr.
Hersheimmer, I think, you already know."
A quizzical gleam came into the doctor's eye as he shook hands
"Ah, yes, my young friend of the tree episode! Ankle all right,
"I guess it's cured owing to your skilful treatment, doc."
"And the heart trouble? Ha ha!"
"Still searching," said Julius briefly.
"To come to the point, can we have a word with you in private?"
asked Sir James.
"Certainly. I think there is a room here where we shall be quite
He led the way, and the others followed him. They sat down, and
the doctor looked inquiringly at Sir James.
"Dr. Hall, I am very anxious to find a certain young lady for the
purpose of obtaining a statement from her. I have reason to
believe that she has been at one time or another in your
establishment at Bournemouth. I hope I am transgressing no
professional etiquette in questioning you on the subject?"
"I suppose it is a matter of testimony?"
Sir James hesitated a moment, then he replied:
"I shall be pleased to give you any information in my power. What
is the young lady's name? Mr. Hersheimmer asked me, I
remember - - " He half turned to Julius.
"The name," said Sir James bluntly, "is really immaterial. She
would be almost certainly sent to you under an assumed one. But I
should like to know if you are acquainted with a Mrs.
"Mrs. Vandemeyer, of 20 South Audley Mansions? I know her
"You are not aware of what has happened?"
"What do you mean?"
"You do not know that Mrs. Vandemeyer is dead?"
"Dear, dear, I had no idea of it! When did it happen?"
"She took an overdose of chloral last night."
"Accidentally, it is believed. I should not like to say myself.
Anyway, she was found dead this morning."
"Very sad. A singularly handsome woman. I presume she was a
friend of yours, since you are acquainted with all these
"I am acquainted with the details because - well, it was I who
found her dead."
"Indeed," said the doctor, starting.
"Yes," said Sir James, and stroked his chin reflectively.
"This is very sad news, but you will excuse me if I say that I do
not see how it bears on the subject of your inquiry?"
"It bears on it in this way, is it not a fact that Mrs.
Vandemeyer committed a young relative of hers to your charge?"
Julius leaned forward eagerly.
"That is the case," said the doctor quietly.
"Under the name of - - ?"
"Janet Vandemeyer. I understood her to be a niece of Mrs.
"And she came to you?"
"As far as I can remember in June or July of 1915."
"Was she a mental case?"
"She is perfectly sane, if that is what you mean. I understood
from Mrs. Vandemeyer that the girl had been with her on the
Lusitania when that ill-fated ship was sunk, and had suffered a
severe shock in consequence."
"We're on the right track, I think?" Sir James looked round.
"As I said before, I'm a mutt!" returned Julius.
The doctor looked at them all curiously.
"You spoke of wanting a statement from her," he said. "Supposing
she is not able to give one?"
"What? You have just said that she is perfectly sane."
"So she is. Nevertheless, if you want a statement from her
concerning any events prior to May 7, 1915, she will not be able
to give it to you."
They looked at the little man, stupefied. He nodded cheerfully.
"It's a pity," he said. "A great pity, especially as I gather,
Sir James, that the matter is important. But there it is, she
can tell you nothing."
"But why, man? Darn it all, why?"
The little man shifted his benevolent glance to the excited young
"Because Janet Vandemeyer is suffering from a complete loss of
"Quite so. An interesting case, a very interesting case. Not so
uncommon, really, as you would think. There are several very
well known parallels. It's the first case of the kind that I've
had under my own personal observation, and I must admit that I've
found it of absorbing interest." There was something rather
ghoulish in the little man's satisfaction.
"And she remembers nothing," said Sir James slowly.
"Nothing prior to May 7, 1915. After that date her memory is as
good as yours or mine."
"Then the first thing she remembers?"
"Is landing with the survivors. Everything before that is a
blank. She did not know her own name, or where she had come from,
or where she was. She couldn't even speak her own tongue."
"But surely all this is most unusual?" put in Julius.
"No, my dear sir. Quite normal under the circumstances. Severe
shock to the nervous system. Loss of memory proceeds nearly
always on the same lines. I suggested a specialist, of course.
There's a very good man in Paris - makes a study of these
cases - but Mrs. Vandemeyer opposed the idea of publicity that
might result from such a course."
"I can imagine she would," said Sir James grimly.
"I fell in with her views. There is a certain notoriety given to
these cases. And the girl was very young - nineteen, I believe.
It seemed a pity that her infirmity should be talked about - might
damage her prospects. Besides, there is no special treatment to
pursue in such cases. It is really a matter of waiting."
"Yes, sooner or later, the memory will return - as suddenly as it
went. But in all probability the girl will have entirely
forgotten the intervening period, and will take up life where she
left off - at the sinking of the Lusitania."
"And when do you expect this to happen?"
The doctor shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah, that I cannot say. Sometimes it is a matter of months,
sometimes it has been known to be as long as twenty years!
Sometimes another shock does the trick. One restores what the
other took away."
"Another shock, eh?" said Julius thoughtfully.
"Exactly. There was a case in Colorado - - " The little man's
voice trailed on, voluble, mildly enthusiastic.
Julius did not seem to be listening. He had relapsed into his
own thoughts and was frowning. Suddenly he came out of his brown
study, and hit the table such a resounding bang with his fist
that every one jumped, the doctor most of all.
"I've got it! I guess, doc, I'd like your medical opinion on the
plan I'm about to outline. Say Jane was to cross the herring
pond again, and the same thing was to happen. The submarine, the
sinking ship, every one to take to the boats - and so on.
Wouldn't that do the trick? Wouldn't it give a mighty big bump to
her subconscious self, or whatever the jargon is, and start it
functioning again right away?"
"A very interesting speculation, Mr. Hersheimmer. In my own
opinion, it would be successful. It is unfortunate that there is
no chance of the conditions repeating themselves as you suggest."
"Not by nature, perhaps, doc. But I'm talking about art."
"Why, yes. What's the difficulty? Hire a liner - - "
"A liner!" murmured Dr. Hall faintly.
"Hire some passengers, hire a submarine - that's the only
difficulty, I guess. Governments are apt to be a bit hidebound
over their engines of war. They won't sell to the firstcomer.
Still, I guess that can be got over. Ever heard of the word
'graft,' sir? Well, graft gets there every time! I reckon that
we shan't really need to fire a torpedo. If every one hustles
round and screams loud enough that the ship is sinking, it ought
to be enough for an innocent young girl like Jane. By the time
she's got a life-belt on her, and is being hustled into a boat,
with a well-drilled lot of artistes doing the hysterical stunt on
deck, why - she ought to be right back where she was in May, 1915.
How's that for the bare outline?"
Dr. Hall looked at Julius. Everything that he was for the moment
incapable of saying was eloquent in that look.
"No," said Julius, in answer to it, "I'm not crazy. The thing's
perfectly possible. It's done every day in the States for the
movies. Haven't you seen trains in collision on the screen?
What's the difference between buying up a train and buying up a
liner? Get the properties and you can go right ahead!"
Dr. Hall found his voice.
"But the expense, my dear sir." His voice rose. "The expense!
It will be COLOSSAL!"
"Money doesn't worry me any," explained Julius simply.
Dr. Hall turned an appealing face to Sir James, who smiled
"Mr. Hersheimmer is very well off - very well off indeed."
The doctor's glance came back to Julius with a new and subtle
quality in it. This was no longer an eccentric young fellow with
a habit of falling off trees. The doctor's eyes held the
deference accorded to a really rich man.
"Very remarkable plan. Very remarkable," he murmured. "The
movies - of course! Your American word for the kinema. Very
interesting. I fear we are perhaps a little behind the times over
here in our methods. And you really mean to carry out this
remarkable plan of yours."
"You bet your bottom dollar I do."
The doctor believed him - which was a tribute to his nationality.
If an Englishman had suggested such a thing, he would have had
grave doubts as to his sanity.
"I cannot guarantee a cure," he pointed out. "Perhaps I ought to
make that quite clear."
"Sure, that's all right," said Julius. "You just trot out Jane,
and leave the rest to me."
"Miss Janet Vandemeyer, then. Can we get on the long distance to
your place right away, and ask them to send her up; or shall I
run down and fetch her in my car?"
The doctor stared.
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Hersheimmer. I thought you understood."
"That Miss Vandemeyer is no longer under my care."
TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL
JULIUS sprang up.
"I thought you were aware of that."
"When did she leave?"
"Let me see. To-day is Monday, is it not? It must have been
last Wednesday - why, surely - yes, it was the same evening that
you - er - fell out of my tree."
"That evening? Before, or after?"
"Let me see - oh yes, afterwards. A very urgent message arrived
from Mrs. Vandemeyer. The young lady and the nurse who was in
charge of her left by the night train."
Julius sank back again into his chair.
"Nurse Edith - left with a patient - I remember," he muttered. "My
God, to have been so near!"
Dr. Hall looked bewildered.
"I don't understand. Is the young lady not with her aunt, after
Tuppence shook her head. She was about to speak when a warning
glance from Sir James made her hold her tongue. The lawyer rose.
"I'm much obliged to you, Hall. We're very grateful for all
you've told us. I'm afraid we're now in the position of having to
track Miss Vandemeyer anew. What about the nurse who accompanied
her; I suppose you don't know where she is?"
The doctor shook his head.
"We've not heard from her, as it happens. I understood she was
to remain with Miss Vandemeyer for a while. But what can have
happened? Surely the girl has not been kidnapped."
"That remains to be seen," said Sir James gravely.
The other hesitated.
"You do not think I ought to go to the police?"
"No, no. In all probability the young lady is with other
The doctor was not completely satisfied, but he saw that Sir
James was determined to say no more, and realized that to try and
extract more information from the famous K.C. would be mere waste
of labour. Accordingly, he wished them goodbye, and they left the
hotel. For a few minutes they stood by the car talking.
"How maddening," cried Tuppence. "To think that Julius must have
been actually under the same roof with her for a few hours."
"I was a darned idiot," muttered Julius gloomily.
"You couldn't know," Tuppence consoled him. "Could he?" She
appealed to Sir James.
"I should advise you not to worry," said the latter kindly. "No
use crying over spilt milk, you know."
"The great thing is what to do next," added Tuppence the
Sir James shrugged his shoulders.
"You might advertise for the nurse who accompanied the girl. That
is the only course I can suggest, and I must confess I do not
hope for much result. Otherwise there is nothing to be done."
"Nothing?" said Tuppence blankly. "And - Tommy?"
"We must hope for the best," said Sir James. "Oh yes, we must go
But over her downcast head his eyes met Julius's, and almost
imperceptibly he shook his head. Julius understood. The lawyer
considered the case hopeless. The young American's face grew
grave. Sir James took Tuppence's hand.
"You must let me know if anything further comes to light. Letters
will always be forwarded."
Tuppence stared at him blankly.
"You are going away?"
"I told you. Don't you remember? To Scotland."
"Yes, but I thought - - " The girl hesitated.
Sir James shrugged his shoulders.
"My dear young lady, I can do nothing more, I fear. Our clues
have all ended in thin air. You can take my word for it that
there is nothing more to be done. If anything should arise, I
shall be glad to advise you in any way I can."
His words gave Tuppence an extraordinarily desolate feeling.
"I suppose you're right," she said. "Anyway, thank you very much
for trying to help us. Good-bye."
Julius was bending over the car. A momentary pity came into Sir
James's keen eyes, as he gazed into the girl's downcast face.
"Don't be too disconsolate, Miss Tuppence," he said in a low
voice. "Remember, holiday-time isn't always all playtime. One
sometimes manages to put in some work as well."
Something in his tone made Tuppence glance up sharply. He shook
his head with a smile.
"No, I shan't say any more. Great mistake to say too much.
Remember that. Never tell all you know - not even to the person
you know best. Understand? Good-bye."
He strode away. Tuppence stared after him. She was beginning to
understand Sir James's methods. Once before he had thrown her a
hint in the same careless fashion. Was this a hint? What exactly
lay behind those last brief words? Did he mean that, after all,
he had not abandoned the case; that, secretly, he would be
working on it still while - -
Her meditations were interrupted by Julius, who adjured her to
"get right in."
"You're looking kind of thoughtful," he remarked as they started
off. "Did the old guy say anything more?"
Tuppence opened her mouth impulsively, and then shut it again.
Sir James's words sounded in her ears: "Never tell all you
know - not even to the person you know best." And like a flash
there came into her mind another memory. Julius before the safe
in the flat, her own question and the pause before his reply,
"Nothing." Was there really nothing? Or had he found something
he wished to keep to himself? If he could make a reservation, so
"Nothing particular," she replied.
She felt rather than saw Julius throw a sideways glance at her.
"Say, shall we go for a spin in the park?"
"If you like."
For a while they ran on under the trees in silence. It was a
beautiful day. The keen rush through the air brought a new
exhilaration to Tuppence.
"Say, Miss Tuppence, do you think I'm ever going to find Jane?"
Julius spoke in a discouraged voice. The mood was so alien to
him that Tuppence turned and stared at him in surprise. He
"That's so. I'm getting down and out over the business. Sir
James to-day hadn't got any hope at all, I could see that. I
don't like him - we don't gee together somehow - but he's pretty
cute, and I guess he wouldn't quit if there was any chance of
success - now, would he?"
Tuppence felt rather uncomfortable, but clinging to her belief
that Julius also had withheld something from her, she remained
"He suggested advertising for the nurse," she reminded him.