From London Far
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All he said was "London, a Poem". The tobacconist took Meredith's murmur to be the password and ushered him into the headquarters of Europe's art thieves. And by the end of that day, the mild scholar found a talent for acting, rescued a girl and a brace of bloodhounds - and committed a murder.
nevertheless what the present exigency required. For now there were shouts not far behind them, and seconds after they had reached what must be the first floor of this mysterious building the zip of a bullet past their ears suggested that momentarily at least they had been within sight of their pursuers. They raced down yet another whitewashed corridor, swung round a corner, and found themselves in a dimly lit chamber of cathedral-like vastness, wholly void. The thud and echo of their footsteps
devoted to that transporting of flocks of sheep from island to island which is one of the few observable activities of the region. This steamer would tie up within the very foundations of the castle – up and through which and across the causey to the island its baaing and bleating cargo would then be discharged. For some years these were the only human activities that Castle Moila saw. Had there been anything to shoot on the island, the place might have been called a shooting-box and let to some
perhaps even now conversing with future allies. And unless some effective spy system were in operation round about (a thing, unfortunately, by no means unlikely) they had gained this vantage-ground unbeknown to their adversaries. Indeed, if Jean had been right in her calculations as to the likely conduct of the man Bubear, Mr Properjohn even now knew nothing of the confused events which had led to, and followed upon, the death of Vogelsang. And, even if he did, he must suppose that both
the part he had been driven to play, and were this to fail for a moment the illusion would snap. He would scarcely have passed the Giotto and the Titian before the end would come with a bullet in the back. His only safety – and the only safety of Mr Collins’ luckless loan – was to continue marching breast forward as he had begun. Meredith therefore advanced. He advanced upon the door which it appeared to be the young lady’s function to guard, and as he did so he saw her hand hover over the
iron panel had been forced back, perhaps by some heavy accidental pressure from within. Meredith bolted through the gap. In this, no doubt, there was not much rational plan either. He was simply resolved to keep going to the end. But it so happened that as a means of keeping going the move could by no conceivable resource have been surpassed. For he had taken no more than two steps forward in an uncertain light when he felt himself hit by something like a cyclone rapidly developing from below,