"Oh, yes, I know," said Jane quickly. With a thrill she remembered the scene she had witnessed from her window the night K-19, her predecessor on Chief Fleck's staff, had been murdered. In her relief at discovering that Frederic was no German spy, she had forgotten that for weeks and weeks she had all but believed him guilty of murder. Now, something told her, surely and confidently, that he could explain it all.
"I saw you from my window one night before I met you," she went on. "A man was following you, and you chased him around the corner."
"I remember that," he said; "the poor chap was found dead the next morning. Old Otto killed him. The man had been following me, and I had imagined that he was one of old Otto's spies and knocked him down. I couldn't find anything on him to indicate who he was, so just as he was beginning to revive I left him and came on home. It seems old Otto had been watching him trail me. He followed along and shot the man. He gleefully told me about it the next day, the hound. I ought to have given him over to the police, but that would have upset our plans."
"I see," said Jane; "what about Lieutenant Kramer? Was he working with old Mr. Hoff?"
"That's the funny part of it. Here in this country you've got so many kinds of secret agents they're always trampling on each others' toes.
There's your treasury agents, and your Department of Justice agents, and your army intelligence men and your naval intelligence men--nine different sets of investigators you've got, counting the volunteers, so some one told me, and each lot trying to make a record for itself and not taking the others into its confidence. Rather stupid I call it."
"I should say so," agreed Jane.
"Here was I watching old Hoff for our government, and Kramer watching me for your navy and Fleck watching both of us. It was a funny jumble."
"But about that uniform?" Jane persisted.
"When the old man got to ragging me a bit, I felt I must do something to convince him I was all right. I suggested trying to get a British uniform and maybe learning thereby some secrets. It delighted him hugely. Of course I just went down to Colonel Brook-White and got my own uniform, and that was all there was to that."
"It puzzled Mr. Carter, though, how you got it in and out of the house.
He used to open every bundle that came for Mr. Hoff."
Sir Frederic laughed delightedly.