“Say a thousand pounds.”
“That is a very large price indeed. Too large, I fear, for me,” said Van Zwieten, most amiably. “Perhaps you can see your way to make it lower?”
The visitor could not refrain from a movement of satisfaction, which was duly noted by the astute Dutchman.
“Well,” he said, “I will do what I can to meet you.” Van Zwieten smiled. He saw that the man was growing excited, and that in his excitement he would probably betray himself.
“That is accommodating of you, Mr. Dobbs. But how can I be certain this plan is genuine?”
“You can be perfectly certain, for I stole it from the War Office!”
“Indeed. That is certainly first hand. But 长沙桑拿论坛how did you, an American, get into the War Office?”
been a porter there for some time,” said Dobbs, glibly. “I am allowed access to all the rooms. I saw those papers on a desk, and I took them. Mazaroff told me you paid well, so–well, I came to you. Come, now, you shall have them for five hundred pounds.”
“Too much, Mr. Dobbs.”
“Three hundred,” said the man, trembling with eagerness.
“Ah, that’s more reasonable. Have you the papers with you?”
“No, but if you will come to my lodgings I will give them to you. But I must have the money first.”
“Certainly. Will a check do?”
“Oh, yes, a check will do right enough.”
Van Zwieten produced a check-book and bent over it to hide a smile. He drew the check, but before signing it looked up. “Of course this rather inculpates you,” he said. “I suppose you know what it means if you were caught at this game?”
“I’m willing to take the risk,”
said Dobbs, nervously.
“Quite so. Just see if I’ve got your name correctly. Burton, isn’t it?”
“What do you mean?”
Van Zwieten deftly twitched the beard off the face of his visitor and snatched the shade off the lamp. “Do you understand now?” he said,长沙桑拿水磨会所 laughing. “Look in the glass, sir, and see if Augustus Dobbs is not Wilfred Burton?”
Wilfred was ghastly pale, but more with rage at the failure of his scheme than with fear. With a cry of anger he sprang up and whipped a revolver out of his pocket. But Van Zwieten, on the alert for some such contingency, was quite as quick. He also snatched a revolver from the drawer, and with levelled weapons the two men faced one another. Van Zwieten was as calm as the other was excited.
“You are very clever, Mr. Burton,” he said mockingly; “but when you are in disguise you should not wear a signet ring. I observed your crest on the letters written to Miss Scarse by your brother. Come! how long are we to stand like this? Is it a duel? If so, I am ready.”
Wilfred uttered an oath and slipped his weapon into his pocket. With a laugh Van 长沙桑拿SPA会所 Zwieten tossed his into the drawer again, and sat down quite
“I think we understand one another now,” he said genially. “What induced you to play this trick on me?”