The Secret Adversary
16. Further Adventures Of Tommy
FROM a darkness punctuated with throbbing stabs of fire, Tommy dragged his senses
slowly back to life. When he at last opened his eyes, he was conscious of nothing but an
excruciating pain through his temples. He was vaguely aware of unfamiliar surroundings.
Where was he? What had happened? He blinked feebly. This was not his bedroom at the
Ritz. And what the devil was the matter with his head?
"Damn!" said Tommy, and tried to sit up. He had remembered. He was in that sinister
house in Soho. He uttered a groan and fell back. Through his almost-closed lids he
"He is coming to," remarked a voice very near Tommy's ear. He recognized it at once for
that of the bearded and efficient German, and lay artistically inert. He felt that it would be
a pity to come round too soon; and until the pain in his head became a little less acute, he
felt quite incapable of collecting his wits. Painfully he tried to puzzle out what had
happened. Obviously somebody must have crept up behind him as he listened and struck
him down with a blow on the head. They knew him now for a spy, and would in all
probability give him short shrift. Undoubtedly he was in a tight place. Nobody knew
where he was, therefore he need expect no outside assistance, and must depend solely on
his own wits.
"Well, here goes," murmured Tommy to himself, and repeated his former remark.
"Damn!" he observed, and this time succeeded in sitting up.
In a minute the German stepped forward and placed a glass to his lips, with the brief
command "Drink." Tommy obeyed. The potency of the draught made him choke, but it
cleared his brain in a marvellous manner.
He was lying on a couch in the room in which the meeting had been held. On one side of
him was the German, on the other the villainous-faced doorkeeper who had let him in.
The others were grouped together at a little distance away. But Tommy missed one face.
The man known as Number One was no longer of the company.
"Feel better?" asked the German, as he removed the empty glass.
"Yes, thanks," returned Tommy cheerfully.
"Ah, my young friend, it is lucky for you your skull is so thick. The good Conrad struck
hard." He indicated the evil-faced doorkeeper by a nod. The man grinned.
Tommy twisted his head round with an effort.