When we reached the house the first question the Doctor asked of Dab-Dab in the hall was,
“Is Jip home yet?”
“No,” said Dab-Dab, “I haven’t seen him.”
“Let me know the moment he comes in, will you, please?” said the Doctor, hanging up his hat.
“Certainly I will,” said Dab-Dab. “Don’t be long over washing your hands; the lunch is on the table.”
Just as we were sitting down to luncheon in the kitchen we heard a great racket at the front door. I ran and opened it. In bounded Jip.
“Doctor!” he cried, “come into the library quick. I’ve got something to tell you—No, Dab-Dab, the luncheon must wait. Please hurry, Doctor. There’s not a moment to be lost. Don’t let any of the animals come—just you and Tommy.”
“Now,” he said, when we were inside the library and the door was closed, “turn the key in the lock and make sure there’s no one listening under the windows.”
“It’s all right,” said the Doctor. “Nobody can hear you here. Now what is it?”
“Well, Doctor,” said Jip (he was badly out of breath from running), “I know all about the Hermit—I have known for years. But I couldn’t tell you.”
“Why?” asked the Doctor.
“Because I’d promised not to tell any one. It was Bob, his dog, that told me. And I swore to him that I would keep the secret.”