The intervening hours I spent on the outskirts of Monte Carlo, dropping into many a quaint little wine cellar. At dusk I entered the Salle des Estrangers of the Casino and settling myself comfortably in the appointed corner, awaited developments. It was a trying wait. I sat there from seven to ten-thirty, smoking incessantly. I was just finishing my last cigarette and I had about come to the end of my resources in entertaining myself. One has ample time to conjecture all sorts of possible mishaps, and mishaps are deucedly uncomfortable in this sort of work.
Not to create curiosity or suspicion, by my long occupation of this particular corner, I had started a tremendous flirtation with a rather plain, rather rotund lady of the English Cook's Tour type. Her return glances and smiles attracted the amused attention of most of the passers-by, especially the attendant of that part of the Salle. This was rather good, for if one does not gamble or flirt in the Casino he is regarded by the commissaires as a Chevalier d'Industrie, in other words "confidence man."
Just then I saw the Countess' maid making a signal to me from the entrance door and without as much as by your leave I hurried after her. In about ten strides, .