Miss Penelope Morse was perfectly
well aware that the taxicab in
which she left the Carlton Hotel
was closely followed by two others.
Through the tube which she found
by her side, she altered her
first instructions to the driver,
and told him to proceed as fast
as possible to Harrod's Stores.
Then, raising the flap at the
rear of the cab, she watched
the progress of the chase. Along
Pall Mall the taxi in which she
was seated gained considerably,
but in the Park and along the
Bird Cage Walk both the other
taxies, risking the police regulations,
drew almost alongside. Once past
Hyde Park Corner, however, her
cab again drew ahead, and when
she was deposited in front of
Harrod's Stores, her pursuers
were out of sight. She paid the
driver quickly, a little over
double his fare.
"If any one asks you questions," she
said, "say that you had instructions
to wait here for me. Go on to
the rank for a quarter of an
hour. Then you can drive away."
"You won't be coming back,
then, miss?" the man asked.
"I shall not," she answered, "but
I want those men who are following
me to think that I am. They may
as well lose a little time for
The chauffeur touched his hat
and obeyed his instructions.
Miss Penelope Morse plunged into
the mazes of the Stores with
the air of one to whom the place
is familiar. She did not pause,
however, at any of the counters.
In something less than two minutes
she had left it again by a back
entrance, stepped into another
taxicab which was just setting
down a passenger, and was well
on her way back towards Pall
Mall. Her ruse appeared to have
been perfectly successful. At
any rate, she saw nothing more
of the occupants of the two taxicabs.
She stopped in front of one
of the big clubs and, scribbling
a line on her card, gave it to
the door keeper.
"Will you find out if this
gentleman is in?" she said. "If
he is, will you kindly ask him
to step out and speak to me?"
She returned to the cab and
waited. In less than five minutes
a tall, broad-shouldered young
man, clean-shaven, and moving
like an athlete, came briskly
down the steps. He carried a
soft hat in his hand, and directly
he spoke his transatlantic origin
"Penelope!" he exclaimed. "Why,
what on earth--"
"My dear Dicky," she interrupted,
laughing at his expression, "you
need not look so displeased with
me. Of course, I know that I
ought not to have come and sent
a message into your club. I will
admit at once that it was very
forward of me. Perhaps when I
have told you why I did so, you
won't look so shocked."
"I'm glad to see you, anyway," he
declared. "There's no bad news,
"Nothing that concerns us particularly," she
answered. "I simply want to have
a little talk with you. Come
in here with me, please, at once.
We can ride for a short distance
"But I am just in the middle
of a rubber of bridge," he objected.
"It can't be helped," she declared. "To
tell you the truth, the matter
I want to talk to you about is
of more importance than any game
of cards. Don't be foolish, Dicky.
You have your hat in your hand.
Step in here by my side at once."
He looked a little bewildered,
but he obeyed her, as most people
did when she was in earnest.
She gave the driver an address
somewhere in the city. As soon
as they were off, she turned
"Dicky," she said, "do
you read the newspapers?"
"Well, I can't say that I do
regularly," he answered. "I read
the New York Herald, but these
London journals are a bit difficult,
aren't they? One has to dig the
news out,--sort of treasure-hunt
all the time."
"You have read this murder
case, at any rate," she asked, "about
the man who was killed in a special
train between Liverpool and London?"
"Of course," he answered, with
a sudden awakening of interest. "What
"A good deal," she answered
slowly. "In the first place,
the man who was murdered--Mr.
Hamilton Fynes--comes from the
village where I was brought up
in Massachusetts, and I know
more about him, I dare say, than
any one else in this country.
What I know isn't very much,
perhaps, but it's interesting.
I was to have lunched with him
at the Carlton today; in fact,
I went there expecting to do
so, for I am like you--I scarcely
ever look inside these English
newspapers. Well, I went to the
Carlton and waited and he did
not come. At last I went into
the office and asked whether
he had arrived. Directly I mentioned
his name, it was as though I
had thrown a bomb shell into
the place. The clerk called me
on one side, took me into a private
office, and showed me a newspaper.
As soon as I had read the account,
I was interviewed by an inspector
from Scotland Yard. Ever since
then I have been followed about
The young man whistled softly.
"Say, Penelope!" he exclaimed. "Who
was this fellow, anyhow, and
what were you doing lunching
"That doesn't matter," she
answered. "You don't tell me
all your secrets, Mr. Dicky Vanderpole,
and it isn't necessary for me
to tell you all mine, even if
we are both foreigners in a strange
country. The poor fellow isn't
going to lunch with any one else
in this world. I suppose you
are thinking what an indiscreet
person I am, as usual?"
The young man considered the
matter for a moment.
"No," he said; "I
didn't understand that he was
the sort of person
you would have been likely to
have taken lunch with. But that
isn't my affair. Have you seen
the second edition?"
The girl shook her head.
told you that I never read
the papers? I only
saw what they showed me in at
Association have cabled to
America, but no one
seems to be able to make out
exactly who the fellow is. His
letter to the captain of the
steamer was from the chairman
of the company, and his introduction
to the manager of the London
and North Western Railway Company
was from the greatest railway
man in the world. Mr. Hamilton
Fynes must have been a person
who had a pretty considerable
pull over there. Curiously enough,
though, only the name of the
man was mentioned in them; nothing
about his business, or what he
was doing over on this side.
He was simply alluded to as Mr.
Hamilton Fynes--the gentleman
bearing this communication.'
I expect, after all, that you
know more about him than any
She shook her head.
"What I know," she said, "or
at least most of it, I am going
to tell you. A few years ago
he was a clerk in a Government
office in Washington. He was
steady in those days, and was
supposed to have a head. He used
to write me occasionally. One
day he turned up in London quite
unexpectedly. He said that he
had come on business, and whatever
his business was, it took him
to St. Petersburg and Berlin,
and then back to Berlin again.
I saw quite a good deal of him
"The dickens you did!" he
Miss Penelope Morse laughed
"Come, Dicky," she said, "don't
pretend to be jealous. You're
an outrageous flirt, I know,
but you and I are never likely
to get sentimental about one
"Why not?" he grumbled. "We've
always been pretty good pals,
"Naturally," she answered, "or
I shouldn't be here. Do you want
to hear anything more about Mr.
"Of course I do," he
"Well, be quiet, then, and
don't interrupt," she said. "I
knew London well and he didn't.
That is why, as I told you before,
we saw quite a great deal of
one another. He was always very
reticent about his affairs, and
especially about the business
which had taken him on the Continent.
Just before he left, however,
he gave me--well, a hint."
"What was it?" the
young man asked eagerly.
"He didn't put it into so many
words," she said, "and I am not
sure, even now, that I ought
to tell you, Dicky. Still, you
are a fellow countryman and a
budding diplomatist. I suppose
if I can give you a lift I ought
The taxi was on the Embankment
now, and they sped along for
some time in silence. Mr. Richard
Vanderpole was more than a little
"Of course, Penelope," he said, "I
don't expect you to tell me anything
which you feel that you oughtn't
to. There is one thing, however,
which I must ask you."
"I should like
to know what the mischief my
being in the
diplomatic service has to do
"If I explained that," she
answered, "I should be telling
you everything I haven't quite
made up my mind to do that yet."
"Tell me this?" he asked. "Would
that hint which he dropped when
he was here last help you to
solve the mystery of his murder?"
"It might," she
"Then I think," he said, "apart
from any other reason, you ought
to tell somebody. The police
at present don't seem to have
the ghost of a clue."
"They are not likely to find
one," she answered, "unless I
"Say, Penelope," he exclaimed, "you
are not in earnest?"
"I am," she assured him. "It
is exactly as I say. I believe
I am one of the few people who
could put the police upon the
"Is there any reason why you
shouldn't?" he asked.
"That's just what I can't make
up my mind about," she told him. "However,
I have brought you out with me
expecting to hear something,
and I am going to tell you this.
That last time he came to England--the
time he went to St. Petersburg
and twice to Berlin--he came
on government business."
The young man looked, for a
"Are you sure of that, Pen?" he
asked. "It doesn't sound like
our people, you know, does it?"
"I am quite sure," she declared
confidently. "You are a very
youthful diplomat, Dicky, but
even you have probably heard
of governments who employ private
messengers to carry despatches
which for various reasons they
don't care to put through their
"Why, that's so, of course,
over on this side," he agreed. "These
European nations are up to all
manner of tricks. But I tell
you frankly, Pen, I never heard
of anything of the sort being
done from Washington."
"Perhaps not," she answered
composedly. "You see, things
have developed with us during
the last twenty-five years. The
old America had only one foreign
policy, and that was to hold
inviolate the Monroe doctrine.
European or Asiatic complications
scarcely even interested her.
Those times have passed, Dicky.
Cuba and the Philippines were
the start of other things. We
are being drawn into the maelstrom.
In another ten years we shall
be there, whether we want to
be or not."
The young man was deeply interested.
"Well," he admitted, "there's
a good deal in what you say,
Penelope. You talk about it all
as though you were a diplomat
"Perhaps I am," she answered
calmly. "A stray young woman
like myself must have something
to occupy her thoughts, you know."
"That's not bad," he asserted, "for
a girl whom the New York Herald
declared, a few weeks ago, to
be one of the most brilliant
young women in English society."
She shrugged her shoulders
"That's just the sort of thing
the New York Herald would say," she
remarked. "You see, I have to
get a reputation for being smart
and saying bright things, or
nobody would ask me anywhere.
Penniless American young women
are not too popular over here."
"Marry me, then," he suggested
amiably. "I shall have plenty
of money some day."
"I'll see about it when you're
grown up," she answered. Just
at present, I think we'd better
return to the subject of Hamilton
Mr. Richard Vanderpole sighed,
but seemed not disinclined to
follow her suggestion.
"Harvey is a silent man, as
you know," he said thoughtfully, "and
he keeps everything of importance
to himself. At the same time
these little matters get about
in the shop, of course, and I
have never heard of any despatches
being brought across from Washington
except in the usual way. Presuming
that you are right," he added
after a moment's pause, "and
that this fellow Hamilton Fynes
really had something for us,
that would account for his being
able to get off the boat and
securing his special train so
easily. No one can imagine where
he got the pull."
"It accounts, also," Penelope
remarked, "for his murder!"
Her companion started.
"You haven't any idea--" he
"Nothing so definite as an
idea," she interrupted. "I am
not going so far as to say that.
I simply know that when a man
is practically the secret agent
of his government, and is probably
carrying despatches of an important
nature, that an accident such
as he has met with, in a country
which is greatly interested in
the contents of those despatches,
is a somewhat serious thing."
The young man nodded.
"Say," he admitted "you're
dead right. The Pacific cruise,
and our relations with Japan,
seem to have rubbed our friends
over here altogether the wrong
way. We have irritations enough
already to smooth over, without
anything of this sort on the
"I am going to tell you now," she
continued, leaning a little towards
him, "the real reason why I fetched
you out of the club this afternoon
and have brought you for this
little expedition. The last time
I lunched with Mr. Hamilton Fynes
was just after his return from
Berlin. He intrusted me then
with a very important mission.
He gave me a letter to deliver
to Mr. Blaine Harvey."
"But I don't understand!" he
protested. "Why should he give
you the letter when he was in
"I asked him that question
myself, naturally," she answered. "He
told me that it was an understood
thing that when he was over here
on business he was not even to
cross the threshold of the Embassy,
or hold any direct communication
with any person connected with
it. Everything had to be done
through a third party, and generally
in duplicate. There was another
man, for instance, who had a
copy of the same letter, but
I never came across him or even
knew his name."
"Gee whiz!" the young man exclaimed. "You're
telling me things, and no mistake!
Why this fellow Fynes made a
secret service messenger of you!"
"It was all very simple," she
said. "The first Mrs. Harvey,
who was alive then, was my greatest
friend, and I was in and out
of the place all the time. Now,
perhaps, you can understand the
significance of that marconigram
from Hamilton Fynes asking me
to lunch with him at the Carlton
Mr. Richard Vanderpole was
sitting bolt upright, gazing
"I wonder," he said slowly, "what
has become of the letter which
he was going to give you!"
"One thing is certain," she
declared. "It is in the hands
of those whose interests would
have been affected by its delivery."
"How much of this am I to tell
the chief?" the young man asked.
"Every word," Penelope answered. "You
see, I am trying to give you
a start in your career. What
bothers me is an entirely different
"What is it?" he
She laid her hand upon his
"How much of
it I shall tell to a certain
gentleman who calls
himself Inspector Jacks!"