The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Produced by Charles Keller, and David Widger
THE SECRET ADVERSARY
By Agatha Christie
TO ALL THOSE WHO LEAD MONOTONOUS LIVES IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE AT SECOND HAND THE DELIGHTS AND DANGERS OF ADVENTURE
CHAPTER I. THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD.
CHAPTER II. MR. WHITTINGTON’S OFFER
CHAPTER III. A SET BACK
CHAPTER IV. WHO IS JANE FINN?
CHAPTER V. MR. JULIUS P. HERSHEIMMER
CHAPTER VI. A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
CHAPTER VII. THE HOUSE IN SOHO
CHAPTER VIII. THE ADVENTURES OF TOMMY
CHAPTER IX. TUPPENCE ENTERS DOMESTIC SERVICE
CHAPTER X. ENTER SIR JAMES PEEL EDGERTON
CHAPTER XI. JULIUS TELLS A STORY
CHAPTER XII. A FRIEND IN NEED
CHAPTER XIII. THE VIGIL
CHAPTER XIV. A CONSULTATION
CHAPTER XV. TUPPENCE RECEIVES A PROPOSAL
CHAPTER XVI. FURTHER ADVENTURES OF TOMMY
CHAPTER XVII. ANNETTE
CHAPTER XVIII. THE TELEGRAM
CHAPTER XIX. JANE FINN
CHAPTER XX. TOO LATE
CHAPTER XXI. TOMMY MAKES A DISCOVERY
CHAPTER XXII. IN DOWNING STREET
CHAPTER XXIII. A RACE AGAINST TIME
CHAPTER XXIV. JULIUS TAKES A HAND
CHAPTER XXV. JANE’S STORY
CHAPTER XXVI. MR. BROWN
CHAPTER XXVII. A SUPPER PARTY AT THE _SAVOY_
CHAPTER XXVIII. AND AFTER
IT was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The _Lusitania_ had beenstruck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, whilethe boats were being launched with all possible speed. The women andchildren were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clungdesperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their childrenclosely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart fromthe rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seemafraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead.
“I beg your pardon.”
A man’s voice beside her made her start and turn. She had noticed thespeaker more than once amongst the first-class passengers. There hadbeen a hint of mystery about him which had appealed to her imagination.He spoke to no one. If anyone spoke to him he was quick to rebuff theoverture. Also he had a nervous way of looking over his shoulder with aswift, suspicious glance.
She noticed now that he was greatly agitated. There were beads ofperspiration on his brow. He was evidently in a state of overmasteringfear. And yet he did not strike her as the kind of man who would beafraid to meet death!
“Yes?” Her grave eyes met his inquiringly.
He stood looking at her with a kind of desperate irresolution.
“It must be!” he muttered to himself. “Yes--it is the only way.” Thenaloud he said abruptly: “You are an American?”
“A patriotic one?”
The girl flushed.
“I guess you’ve no right to ask such a thing! Of course I am!”
“Don’t be offended. You wouldn’t be if you knew how much there was atstake. But I’ve got to trust some one--and it must be a woman.”
“Because of ‘women and children first.’” He looked round and lowered hisvoice. “I’m carrying papers--vitally important papers. They may make allthe difference to the Allies in the war. You understand? These papershave _got_ to be saved! They’ve more chance with you than with me. Willyou take them?”
The girl held out her hand.
“Wait--I must warn you. There may be a risk--if I’ve been followed. Idon’t think I have, but one never knows. If so, there will be danger.Have you the nerve to go through with it?”
The girl smiled.
“I’ll go through with it all right. And I’m real proud to be chosen!What am I to do with them afterwards?”
“Watch the newspapers! I’ll advertise in the personal column of the_Times_, beginning ‘Shipmate.’ At the end of three days if there’snothing--well, you’ll know I’m down and out. Then take the packet tothe American Embassy, and deliver it into the Ambassador’s own hands. Isthat clear?”
“Then be ready--I’m going to say good-bye.” He took her hand in his.“Good-bye. Good luck to you,” he said in a louder tone.
Her hand closed on the oilskin packet that had lain in his palm.
The _Lusitania_ settled with a more decided list to starboard. In answerto a quick command, the girl went forward to take her place in the boat.