‘Ostensibly,’ she said dryly. ‘He came over here as first secretary to the Embassy. Then he disappeared. No one quite knew what had become of him. I once had a suspicion. Now I know. You and I, my friend, are bunglers at the game he plays.’

Once more Lavendale was looking at the lock—unscratched, bearing so signs of 杭州桑拿泡茶 having been tampered with.

‘The thing is a miracle,’ he muttered.

‘Tell me—unless you would rather not,’ she asked, leaning a little forward, ‘was there any document in that safe likely to be of particular interest to the Japanese Secret Service?’

Lavendale’s face was dark with mingled shame and humiliation.

‘There was just the one document that should have been kept from them at all costs,’ he declared bitterly. ‘Two years ago I wrote a series of articles for an American Sunday paper upon our military unpreparedness. I don’t know that they did any particular good, but, anyway, it’s a subject I have studied closely. That paper I had my fingers on just now contains every possible scrap of information as to our standing army, our volunteer forces, our artillery, our possible scheme of defence on the west and the east, our stock of munitions, and our expenditure of same per thousand men. There was also an air and naval report and a scheme for mining 杭州足疗按摩不正规的 San Francisco Harbour.’

She leaned back in her chair and laughed.

‘Most interesting! I can quite understand how Niko’s eyes would gleam! … What’s that?’

She turned her head suddenly. Lavendale, too, had started, and with a swift movement forward had touched the switch and plunged the room into darkness. They heard the soft click of the latch and the opening and closing of the front door. They heard the soft footsteps of the intruder across the hall. The door of the room in which they were was quietly opened and closed. Still with that same amazing stealthiness, a small, dark figure crossed the room and stood before the safe. Then there was a pause, several breathless moments of silence. Niko’s instinct was telling him that he was not alone. Once more Lavendale’s finger touched the switch and the lights blazed out. Niko was 杭州夜生活小姐 standing, the knob of the safe in his hand, his head turned towards them.

The sudden light had a common effect upon all of them. Suzanne for a moment held her hand in front of her eyes. Niko blinked slightly. Then he drew himself up to his full height of five feet four. He stood in front of the safe with his eyes fixed upon Lavendale, something about his face and attitude bearing a curious resemblance to a statue carved in wax. Lavendale coughed.

‘You remind me, Baron Komashi,’ he said, ‘of an old English proverb—the pitcher that goes once too often to the well, you know. Was it something you had forgotten that brought you back? No, stay where you are, please.’

Niko remained motionless. Lavendale moved to a long, open cupboard which stood against the wall, opened it and groped about amongst its contents for a moment. Then he 杭州桑拿按摩电话 swung the door to and slipped some cartridges into the little revolver which he had taken from the top shelf. Niko’s muscles suddenly seemed to relax. Ever so slightly he shrugged his shoulders. It was the gesture of a supreme philosophy.

‘There’s no need for a row,’ Lavendale went on. ‘The game you and I are playing at, Baron Komashi, requires finesse rather than muscle. By a stroke of genius you have read a certain document in that safe. That document is naturally of interest to the representative of the one country with whom America might possibly quarrel.’

Niko bowed his sleek head.

‘I have read the document,’ he confessed. ‘It was my business here to read it. And now?’

‘There you have me,’ Lavendale admitted. ‘It is a document, without a doubt, of great interest to you, and your Government will highly appreciate

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a résumé 杭州水磨q微信 of its contents. At the same time, the only way to stop your making use of your information is to kill you.’

The man’s face was like the face of a sphinx. Suzanne leaned a little further back in her chair and crossed her legs.

‘It is a fortunate century in which you pursue your career, Baron,’ she observed, ‘and perhaps a fortunate country. These little qualms about human life which I can clearly see are influencing Mr. Lavendale, scarcely exist, even now, amongst your people, do they?’

‘We are as yet,’ Niko replied suavely, ‘free, I am thankful to say, from the cowardice of the west.’

‘If I asked you for your word of honour,’ Lavendale continued, ‘that you would not use that information?

‘I might give it you,’ Niko acknowledged, ‘but my country’s service is a higher thing than my personal honour, therefore it would do you 杭州spa水疗 no good. I shall be frank with you. There is no way you can prevent my report being duly made except by killing me. I am here, a self-confessed robber. If I were in your place, I should shoot.’

‘The cowardice of the west, you see,’ Lavendale remarked, throwing his revolver upon the table. ‘You had better get out of the room. I might change my mind.’

For a moment Niko made no movement. Suzanne rose to her feet and lit a cigarette.

‘As a matter of curiosity,’ she asked, ‘tell us why you returned, Baron?’

He bowed.

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