lanced by my impenetrable calm. Respect me, if you love your own life! I summon you to answer three questions before you open your lips again. Hear them—they are necessary to this interview. Answer them—they are necessary to ME." He held up one finger of his right hand. "First question!" he said. "You come here possessed of information which may be true or may be false—where did you get it?"
"I decline to tell you."
"No matter—I shall find out. If that information is true—mind I say, with the whole force of my resolution, if—you are making your market of it here by treachery of your own or by treachery of some other man. I note that circumstance for future use in my memory, which forgets nothing, and proceed." He held up another finger. "Second question! Those lines you invited me to read are without signature. Who wrote them?"
"A man whom I have every reason to depend on, and whom you have every reason to fear."
My answer reached him to some purpose. His left hand trembled audibly in the drawer.
"How long do you give me," he asked, putting his third question in a quieter tone, "before the clock strikes and the seal is broken?"
"Time enough for you to come to my terms," I replied.
"Give me a plainer answer, Mr. Hartright. What hour is the clock to strike?"
"Nine, to-morrow morning."
"Nine, to-morrow morning? Yes, yes—your trap is laid for me before I can get my passport regulated and leave London. It is not earlier, I suppose? We will see about that presently—I can keep you hostage here, and bargain with you to send for your letter before I let you go. In the meantime, be so good next as to mention your terms."
"You shall hear them. They are simple, and soon stated. You know whose interests I represent in coming here?"
He smiled with the most supreme composure, and carelessly waved his right hand.
"I consent to hazard a guess," he said jeeringly. "A lady's interests, of course!"
"My Wife's interests."
He looked at me with the first honest expression that had crossed his face in my presence—an expression of blank amazement. I could see that I sank in his estimation as a dangerous man from that moment. He shut up the drawer at