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He waved vaguely at the lady in question and then held out his cigarette-case to the girl. "Turkish on this side—Virginian on that," he remarked. "And as I appear satisfactory, will you tell me who I'm to murder?"

With the unlighted cigarette held in her fingers she stared at him gravely. "I want you to tell me," she said at length, and there was no trace of jesting in her voice, "tell me, on your word of honour, whether that advertisement was bona fide or a joke."

He answered her in the same vein. "It started more or less as a joke. It may now be regarded as absolutely genuine."

She nodded as if satisfied. " Are you prepared to risk your life?"

Drummond's eyebrows went up and then he smiled. "Granted that the inducement is sufficient," he returned slowly, "I think that I may say that I am."

She nodded again. "You won't be asked to do it in order to obtain a halfpenny bun," she remarked. "If you've a match, I would rather like a light."

Drummond apologised. "Our talk on trivialities engrossed me for the moment," he murmured. He held the lighted match for her, and as he did so he saw that she was staring over his shoulder at someone behind his back.

"Don't look round," she ordered, "and tell me your name quickly."

"Drummond—Captain Drummond, late of the Loamshires." He leaned back in his chair, and lit a cigarette himself.