Page:BulldogDrummondSapper.djvu/107

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103
A QUIET NIGHT AT THE ELMS

idiot, go—while there's time. Oh! if I could only make you understand; if you'd only believe me! Get out of it—go abroad; do anything—but don't fool around here."

In her agitation she was shaking him to and fro.

"It seems a cheerful household," remarked Hugh, with a smile. "May I ask why you're all so concerned about me? Your estimable father gave me the same advice yesterday morning."

"Don't ask why," she answered feverishly, "because I can't tell you. Only you must believe that what I say is the truth—you must. It's just possible that if you go now and tell them where you've hidden the American you'll be all right. But if you don't—" Her hand dropped to her side suddenly. "Breakfast will be at nine, my Hugh: until then, au revoir."

He turned as she left the room, a little puzzled by her change of tone. Standing at the top of the stairs was Peterson, watching them both in silence…

II

In the days when Drummond had been a platoon commander, he had done many dangerous things. The ordinary joys of the infantry subaltern's life—such as going over the top, and carrying out raids—had not proved sufficient for his appetite. He had specialised in peculiar stunts of his own: stunts over which he was singularly reticent; stunts over which his men formed their own conclusions, and worshipped him accordingly.

But Drummond was no fool, and he had realised the vital importance of fitting himself for these stunts