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Peterson, with his coffee cup in his hand, was staring down the drive.

"Your car is a little early, Captain Drummond," he said at length. "However, perhaps it can wait two or three minutes, while we get matters perfectly clear. I should dislike you not knowing where you stand." He turned round and faced the soldier. "You have deliberately, against my advice, elected to fight me and the interests I represent. So be it. From now on, the gloves are off. You embarked on this course from a spirit of adventure, at the instigation of the girl next door. She, poor little fool, is concerned over that drunken waster—her father. She asked you to help her—you agreed; and, amazing though it may seem, up to now you have scored a certain measure of success. I admit it, and I admire you for it. I apologise now for having played the fool with you last night: you're the type of man whom one should kill outright—or leave alone."

He set down his coffee cup, and carefully snipped the end off a cigar.

"You are also the type of man who will continue on the path he has started. You are completely in the dark; you have no idea whatever what you are up against." He smiled grimly, and turned abruptly on Hugh. "You fool—you stupid young fool. Do you really imagine that you can beat me?"

The soldier rose and stood in front of him.

"I have a few remarks of my own to make," he answered, "and then we might consider the interview closed. I ask nothing better than that the gloves should be off—though with your filthy methods of