`News from the bank?' I asked, as we started.

`News of Mr. Luker,' said Mr. Bruff. `An hour ago, he was seen to leave his house at Lambeth, in a cab, accompanied by two men, who were recognized by my men as police-officers in plain clothes. If Mr. Luker's dread of the Indians is at the bottom of this precaution, the inference is plain enough. He is going to take the Diamond out of the bank.'

`And we are going to the bank to see what comes of it?'

`Yes--or to hear what has come of it, if it is all over by this time. Did you notice my boy--on the box, there?'

`I noticed his eyes.'

Mr. Bruff laughed. `They call the poor little wretch "Gooseberry" at the office,' he said. `I employ him to go on errands--and I only wish my clerks who have nicknamed him were as thoroughly to be depended on as he is. Gooseberry is one of the sharpest boys in London, Mr. Blake, in spite of his eyes.'

It was twenty minutes to five when we drew up before the bank in Lombard Steet. Gooseberry looked longingly at his master, as he opened the cab door.

`Do you want to come in too?' asked Mr. Bruff kindly. `Come in then, and keep at my heels till further orders. He's as quick as lightning,' pursued Mr. Bruff, addressing me in a whisper. `Two words will do with Gooseberry, where twenty would be wanted with another boy.'

We entered the bank. The outer office--with the long counter, behind which the cashiers sat--was crowded with people; all waiting their turn to take money out, or to pay money in, before the bank closed at five o'clock.

Two men among the crowd approached Mr. Bruff, as soon as he showed himself.

`Well,' asked the lawyer. `Have you seen him?'

`He passed us here half an hour since, sir, and went on into the inner office.'

`Has he not come out again yet?'

`No, sir.'

Mr. Bruff turned to me. `Let us wait,' he said.

I looked round among the people about me for the three Indians. Not a sign of them was to be seen anywhere. The only person present with a noticeably dark complexion was a tall man in a pilot coat, and a round hat, who looked like a sailor. Could this be one of them in disguise? Impossible! The man was taller than any of the Indians; and his face, where it was not hidden by a bushy black beard, was twice the breadth of any of their faces at least.

`They must have their spy somewhere,' said Mr. Bruff, looking at the dark sailor in his turn. `And he may be the man.'

Before he could say more, his coat-tail was respectfully pulled by his attendant sprite with the gooseberry eyes. Mr. Bruff looked where the boy was looking. `Hush!' he said. `Here is Mr. Luker!'

The money-lender came out from the inner regions of the bank, followed by his two guardian policemen in plain clothes.

`Keep you eye on him,' whispered Mr. Bruff. `If he passes the Diamond to anybody, he will pass it here.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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