"We hardly exchanged a dozen words," she insisted.
Fleck shook his head in a puzzled way.
"I can't understand it at all," he said. "Old Otto is a common enough type of German, painstaking, methodical, stupid, stubborn, ready to commit any crime for Prussia, but the young fellow is of far different material. He has brains and daring and initiative. He is far more alert and more dangerous. I cannot understand his finding you there and not trying to discover what you were doing."
"I can't understand that either," Jane admitted.
"There's no doubt in my mind," the chief continued, "that Frederic Hoff is the real conspirator, the head of the plotters."
"Why do you say that?" asked Jane quickly. "What did you find out when you searched the apartment yesterday?"
She felt certain from the manner in which he spoke that he must now have some damning evidence of Frederic Hoff's guilt. He was not in the habit of making decisions without proof.
"We found," said Fleck, his keen eyes fixed on her face as if trying to read her innermost thoughts, "a British officer's uniform hanging in Frederic Hoff's closet, proof positive that he is a dangerous spy."
"And," said Carter, pointing to the two clippings lying on Fleck's desk, "in the old man's waste-paper basket we found those."
Jane picked up the clippings and examined them curiously.
"What are they?" she asked, looking from one to the other; "cipher messages of some sort?"
"We think so," said Carter. "We don't know yet."
"I've noticed these peculiar advertisements often," said Jane, studying the clippings, "but I never thought of connecting them with the Hoffs. I wonder--" Fleck and Carter had their heads together and were talking in low tones.
"I wonder," said the chief, "what young Hoff is up to. He must have known the girl was there to spy on him. I can't understand his not quizzing her."
"He's a cagey bird," Carter replied. "They are both of them expert at throwing off shadowers. Both of them know, I think, they are being watched."
"Oh, listen," interrupted Jane, all excitement. "I believe I can read this cipher. The number of letters in the word in big type at the beginning of the advertisement is the key. See, this word here is 'remember'--that has eight letters. Read every eighth word in this advertisement. I've underlined them."
Fleck took the paper quickly from her hand and he and Carter bent eagerly over it to see if her theory was correct.
REMEMBER Please, that our new paste, Dento, will _stop_ decay of your teeth. Sound teeth are _passports_ to good health and comfort.