"It's half past two," replied, the latter, "we should reach Cannon Street by three. She's running well up to time, I think."
"We've got time for a bit of a rehearsal," said Crook. "Just watch me, will you please, Major, and I'll try and give you an impression of our friend. I've been studying him at Brixton for the past twelve days, day and night almost, you might say, and I think I can convey an idea of his manner and walk. The walk is a very important point. Now, here is Mr. Bellward meeting one of his friends. Mr. Matthews, you will be the friend!"
Then followed one of the most extraordinary performances that Desmond had ever witnessed. By some trick of the actor's art, the shriveled figure of the expert seemed to swell out and thicken, while his low, gentle voice deepened into a full, metallic baritone. Of accent in his speech there was none, but Desmond's ear, trained to foreigners' English, could detect a slight Continental intonation, a little roll of the "r's," an unfamiliar sound about those open "o's" of the English tongue, which are so fatal a trap for foreigners speaking our language. As he watched Crook, Desmond glanced from time to time at the photograph of Bellward which he had picked up from the table. He had an intuition that Bellward behaved and spoke just as the man before him.
Then, at Crook's suggestion, Desmond assumed the role of Bellward. The expert interrupted him continually.
"The hands, Major, the hands, you must not keep them down at your sides. That is military! You must move them when you speak! So and so!"
"You speak too fast. Too... too youthfully, if you understand me, sir. You are a man of middle age. Life has no further secrets for you. You are poised and getting a trifle ponderous. Now try again!"
But the train was slackening speed. They were running between black masses of squalid houses. As the special thumped over the bridge across the river, Mr. Crook gathered up his paints and brushes and photographs and arranged them neatly in his black tin box.
"I shall be coming along to give you some more lessons very soon, Major. I wish you could see Bellward for yourself: you are very apt at this game, and it would save us much time. But I fear that's impossible."