The Secret Adversary
22. In Downing Street
THE Prime Minister tapped the desk in front of him with nervous fingers. His face was
worn and harassed. He took up his conversation with Mr. Carter at the point it had broken
off. "I don't understand," he said. "Do you really mean that things are not so desperate
"So this lad seems to think."
"Let's have a look at his letter again."
Mr. Carter handed it over. It was written in a sprawling boyish hand.
DEAR MR. CARTER,
Something's turned up that has given me a jar. Of course I may be simply making an
awful ass of myself, but I don't think so. If my conclusions are right, that girl at
Manchester was just a plant. The whole thing was prearranged, sham packet and all, with
the object of making us think the game was up--therefore I fancy that we must have been
pretty hot on the scent.
I think I know who the real Jane Finn is, and I've even got an idea where the papers are.
That last's only a guess, of course, but I've a sort of feeling it'll turn out right. Anyhow, I
enclose it in a sealed envelope for what it's worth. I'm going to ask you not to open it
until the very last moment, midnight on the 28th, in fact. You'll understand why in a
minute. You see, I've figured it out that those things of Tuppence's are a plant too, and
she's no more drowned than I am. The way I reason is this: as a last chance they'll let Jane
Finn escape in the hope that she's been shamming this memory stunt, and that once she
thinks she's free she'll go right away to the cache. Of course it's an awful risk for them to
take, because she knows all about them--but they're pretty desperate to get hold of that
treaty. BUT IF THEY KNOW THAT THE PAPERS HAVE BEEN RECOVERED BY
US, neither of those two girls' lives will be worth an hour's purchase. I must try and get
hold of Tuppence before Jane escapes.
I want a repeat of that telegram that was sent to Tuppence at the Ritz. Sir James Peel
Edgerton said you would be able to manage that for me. He's frightfully clever.
One last thing--please have that house in Soho watched day and night.
The Prime Minister looked up.