By James Anderson

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However, Hitler's speech has changed the situation entirely. Now it is essential we act quickly. As the American cowboy films so quaintly put it, we must beat him to the draw. ' The short man sat down in a chair near the other, leaned forward, and spoke in a low voice. 'There is shortly to be a secret meeting between a representative of the Grand Duke - probably Martin Adler himself - and a British government minister. ' The older man's eyes narrowed and he eased himself slowly upright in his chair.

It was almost frightening, looking back, to see how quickly a family fortune could shrink. Her father, an only child, might have been able to retrieve the situation. But he had been a charming and impractical dilettante, who had never really woken up to the fact that he was becoming poor. His wife and family had not realised it, but the cost of giving Jane and her younger sister Jennifer a good education, and enabling them to do the London season, had almost bankrupted him. He had died suddenly, almost penniless and uninsured.

I'm trying to say that I'm not really all to blame. I was simply cruising quietly along. I couldn't see the hollow or the water or you. ' 'Oh, that's right. ' 'I was not motoring like a lunatic and I am not blaming you. I'm merely exonerating myself. ' He was starting to sound cross. 'I sincerely hope it was an accident! ' He swallowed and apparently with something of an effort, said quietly: 'Are you going up to the house? ' 'No thank you. ' He slammed the car into gear, accelerated, and let in the clutch - just a little too rapidly.

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