The bourne supremacy, p.70
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.70

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 70


  'She did that?'

  'Havilland cleared you for everything. She did that and got away with it. Who was going to raise his voice? She had clandestine Washington just the way she wanted it. Frightened and embarrassed, both to the teeth. '

  The more I learn, the more I admire her. '

  'Admire her all you like, just find her. '

  'Speaking of the ambassador, where is he?' 'Having a quiet lunch with the Canadian high commissioner. '

  'He's going to tell him everything?'

  'No, he's going to ask for blind co-operation with a telephone at his table so he can reach London. London will instruct the commissioner to do whatever Havilland asks him to do. It's all been arranged. '

  'He moves and shakes, doesn't he?'

  'There's no one like him. He should be back any minute now, actually he's late. ' The telephone rang and McAllister picked it up. 'Yes? . . . No, he's not here. Who? . . . Yes, of course, I'll talk to him. ' The undersecretary covered the mouthpiece and spoke to the major. 'It's our consul general. '

  'Something's happened,' said Lin, nervously getting out of his chair.

  'Yes, Mr Lewis, this is McAllister. I want you to know how much we appreciate everything, sir. The consulate's been most co-operative. '

  Suddenly the door opened and Havilland walked into the room.

  'It's the American consul general, Mr Ambassador,' said Lin. 'I believe he was asking for you. '

  This is no time for one of his damned dinner parties!'

  'Just a minute, Mr Lewis. The ambassador just arrived. I'm sure you want to speak with him. ' McAllister extended; the phone to Havilland, who walked rapidly to the desk.

  'Yes, Jonathan, what is it?' His tall, slender body rigid, his eyes fixed on an unseen spot in the garden beyond the large bay window, the ambassador stood in silence, listening. Finally he spoke. Thank you, Jonathan, you did the right thing. Say absolutely nothing to anyone and I'll take it from here. ' Havilland hung up and looked alternately at McAllister and Wenzu. 'Our breakthrough, if it is a breakthrough, just came from the wrong direction. Not the Canadian but the American consulate. '

  'It's not consistent,' said McAllister. 'It's not Paris, not the street with her favourite tree, the maple tree, the maple leaf. That's the Canadian consulate, not the American. '

  'And with that analysis are we to disregard it?'

  'Of course not. What happened?'

  'An attach� named Nelson was stopped in Garden Road by a Canadian woman trying to find her American husband. This Nelson offered to help her, to accompany her to the police, but she was adamant. She wouldn't go to the police, and neither would she go back with him to his office. '

  'Did she give any reasons?' asked Lin. 'She appeals for help and then refuses it. '

  'Just that it was personal. Nelson described her as high-strung, overwrought. She identified herself as Marie Webb and said that perhaps her husband had come to the consulate looking for her. Could Nelson ask around and she'd call him back. '

  'That's not what she said before,' protested McAllister. 'She was clearly referring to what had happened to them in Paris, and that meant reaching an official of her own government, her own country. Canada. '

  'Why do you persist?' asked Havilland. That's not a criticism I simply want to know why. '

  'I'm not sure. Something's not right. Among other things, the major here established the fact that she did go to the Canadian consulate. '

  'Oh?' The ambassador looked at the man from Special Branch.

  The receptionist confirmed it. The description was close enough, especially for someone trained by a chameleon. Her story was that she had promised her family she would look up a distant cousin whose last name she had forgotten. The receptionist gave her a directory and she went through it. '

  'She found someone she knew,' interrupted the undersecretary of state. 'She made contact. ' Then there's your answer,' said Havilland firmly. 'She learned that her husband had not gone to a street with a row of maple trees, so she took the next best course of action. The American consulate. '

  'And identified herself when she has to know people are looking for her all over Hong Kong?'

  'Giving a false name would serve no purpose,' the ambassador replied.

  They both speak French. She could have used a French word - toile, for instance. It means web. '

  'I know what it means, but I think you're reaching. '

  'Her husband would have understood. She would have done something less obvious. '

  'Mr Ambassador,' interrupted Lin Wenzu, slowly taking his eyes off McAllister. 'Hearing your words to the American consul general, that he should say absolutely nothing to anyone, and now fully understanding your concerns for

  secrecy, 1 assume Mr Lewis has not been apprised of the situation. '

  'Correct, Major. '

  Then why did he call you? People frequently get lost here in Hong Kong. A missing husband or a missing wife is not so uncommon. '

  For an instant Havilland's expression was creased with self doubt. 'Jonathan Lewis and I go back a long time,' he said, his voice lacking its usual authority. 'He may be something of a bon vivani but he's no fool - he wouldn't be here if he were. And the circumstances under which the woman stopped his attach� - well, Lewis knows me and he drew certain conclusions. ' The diplomat turned to McAllister; when he continued his authority gradually returned. 'Call Lewis back, Edward. Tell him to instruct this Nelson to stand by for a call from you. I'd prefer a less direct approach, but there isn't time. I want you to question him, question him on anything and everything you can think of. I'll be listening on the line in your office. '

  'You agree, then,' said the undersecretary. 'Something's wrong. '

  'Yes,' answered Havilland, looking at Lin. The major saw it and I didn't. I'd phrase it somewhat differently but it's essentially what disturbs him. The question is not why Lewis called me, it's why an attach� went to him. After all, a highly agitated woman says her husband's missing but she won't go to the police, won't enter the consulate. Normally such a person would be dismissed as a crank. Certainly on the surface it's not a matter to bring to the attention of an overworked CG. Call Lewis. '

  'Of course. But, first, did things go smoothly with the Canadian commissioner? Will he co- operate?'

  The answer to your first question is no, things did not go smoothly. As to the second, he has no choice. '

  'I don't understand. '

  Havilland exhaled in weary irritation. Through Ottawa he'll provide us with a list of everyone on his staff who's had any dealings whatsoever with Marie St Jacques - reluctantly. That's the co- operation he's been instructed to deliver, but he was damned testy about it. To begin with, he himself went through a two-day seminar with her four years ago, and he ventured that probably a quarter of the consulate had done the same. Not that she'd remember them, but they certainly would remember her. She was "outstanding", that was the way he put it. She's also a Canadian who was thoroughly messed up by a group of American assholes - mind you, he had no compunction at all using the word - in some kind of mentally deranged black operation - yes, that was the phrase he used, mentally deranged - an idiotic operation mounted by these same assholes - indeed, he repeated it - that has never been satisfactorily explained. ' The ambassador stopped briefly, smiling briefly as he coughed a short laugh. 'It was all very refreshing. He didn't pull a single punch, and I haven't been talked to like that since my dear wife died. I need more of it. ' 'But you did tell him it was for her own good, didn't you? That we've got to find her before any harm's done to her. '

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