Fiction

The Pawns Count

A Story of the Great War

E. Phillips Oppenheim October 1 1917
Fiction

The Pawns Count

A Story of the Great War

E. Phillips Oppenheim October 1 1917

The Pawns Count

Fiction

A Story of the Great War

E. Phillips Oppenheim

Author of ”Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo,” “The Double Traitor,” etc.

FOREWORD.

“I am for England and England only,” John Lutchester, the Englishman, asserted.

“I am for Japan and Japan only,” Nikasti, the Jap, insisted.

“I am for Germany first and America afterwards,” Oscar Fischer, the GermanAmerican, pronounced.

“ƒ am for America first, America only, America always,” Pamela Van Teyl, the American girl, declared.

They were all right except the GermanAmerican.

CHAPTER I.

Mefiez-Vous! Taisez-Vous! Les Oreilles Ennemies Vous Ecoutent.

THE usual little crowd was waiting in the lobby of a fashionable London restaurant a few minutes before the popular luncheon hour. Pamela Van Teyl, a very beautiful American girl, dressed in the extreme of fashion, which she seemed somehow to justify, directed the attention of her companions to the notice affixed to the wall facing them.

“Except,” she declared, “for you poor dears who have been hurt, that is the first thing I have seen in England which makes me realize that you are at war.” *

The younger of her two escorts. Capt. Richard Holderness, who wore the uniform of a well-known cavalry regiment, glanced at the notice a little impatiently.

“What rot it seems!”he exclaimed. “We get fed up with that sort of thing in France. It’s always the same at every little railway station and every little inn. ‘Mefiez-vous! Taisez-vous!’ They might spare us over here.” *

John Lutchester, a tall, clean-shaven man, dressed in civilian clothes, raised his eyeglass and read out the notice languidly.

“Well, I -don’t know,” he observed, “some of you Service fellows—not the Regulars, of course—do gas a good deal when you come back. I don’t suppose you any of you know anything, so it doesn’t really matter,” he added, glancing at his watch.

A Glimpse Ahead

This is the first instalment of the splendid secret service serial by Mr. Oppenheim. It is perhaps the most timely and interesting story that MACLKAN’S has t i er offered. In early issues new stories by three famous Canadian aif hors will start—“Metropolitan Nights/’ by Arthur .Stiinger: “The Blue Stones of KuhI.” by IP. .1. Fraser; and “The Great Mogul." by Arthur F. McFarlane.

“Army’s full of Johnnies, who come from God knows where nowadays,” Holderness assented gloomily. “No wonder they can’t keep their mouths shut.”

“Seems to me you need them all,” Miss Pamela Van Teyl remarked with a smile.

“Of course we do,” Holderness assented, “and Heaven forbid that' any of us Regulars should say a word against them. Jolly good stuff in them, too, as the Germans found out last month.”

“All the same,” Lutchester continued, still studying the notice, “news does run over London like quicksilver. If you step down to the American bar here, for instance, you’ll find that Charles is one of the best-informed men about the war in London. He has patrons in the Army, in the Navy, and in the Flying Corps, and it’s astonishing how communicative they seem to become after the second or third cocktail.” /

“Cocktail, mark you, Miss Van Teyl,” Holderness pointed out. “We poor Englishmen could keep our tongues frojn wagging before we acquired some of your American habits.”

“The habits are all right,” Pamela re-

torted. “It’s your heads that are “The most valued product country,” Lutchester murmui more dangerous to our hearts our heads.”

“C HE made a little grimace andlturned . away, holding out her hand tq a new arrival—a tall, broad-shouldered man« with a strong, cold face and keen, grey eyes, aggressive even behind hi* gold-rimmed spectacles. There was a queer change in his face as his eyes met Pamela^. He seemed suddenly to become more His pleasure at seeing her was ceraunly more than the usual transatlantic Eliteness.

“MB. Fischer,” she exclaimed, "thlsy are saying hard things about our country! Please protect me.”

He bowed over her fingers. Thlen he looked up. His tone was impressi vT “If I thought that you needed pj:

tion, Miss Van Teyl-”

“Well, I can assure you that I interrupted, laughing. “You knoi friends, don’t you?”

“I think I have that pleasure,] American replied, shaking hands Liriehester and Holderness.

ANOW we’ll get an independent rpinion.” the former observed, pointing t > the wall. “We were discussing that n&t; tice, Mr. Fischer. You’re almost as mu:h a Londoner as a New Yorker. What dt you think?—Is it sunerfluous or not?” Fischer read it out and smiled.

“Well,” he admitted, “in America we don’t lay much store by that sort of tl ing, but I don’t know as we’re very good ju Iges about what goes on over nei*. I shoul Int call this place, anyway, a hotbed of intrigue. Excúseme!”

He moved off to-greet some incoming guests—a well-known stockbroker and his partner. Lutchester looked after lim curiously.

“Is Mr. Fischer one of your typ cal millionaires. Miss Van Teyl?” he asked She shrugged her shouiders.

“We have no typical millionaires,” he

assured him. “They come from all classes and all states.”

“Fischer is a Westerner» isn’t he?”

Pamela nodded, but did not pursue the conversation. Her eyes were fixed upon a girl who had just entered, and who was looking a little doubtfully around, a girl plainly, but smartly, dressed, with fluffy light hair, dark eyes, and a very pleasant expression. Pamela, who was critical of her own sex, found the newcomer attractive.

“Is that, by any chance, one of our missing guests, Gapt. Holderness?” she inquired, turning towards him. “I don’t know why, but I have an idea that it is your sister.”

“By Jove, yes!” the young man assented, stepping forward. “Here we are Molly, and at last you are going to meet Miss Van Teyl. I’ve bored Molly stiff, talking about you,” he explained, as Pamela held out her hand.

The girls, who stood talking together for a moment, presented rather a striking contrast. Molly Holderness was pretty but usual. Pamela was beautiful and unusual. She had the long, slim body of a New York girl, the complexion and eyes of a Southerner, the savoir faire of a Frenchwoman. She was extraordinarily cosmopolitan, and yet extraordinarily American. She impressed everyone, as she did Molly Holderness at that moment, with a sense of charm. One could almost accept as truth her own statement—that she valued her looks chiefly because they helped people to forget that she had brains.

“I won’t'admit that I have ever been bored, Miss Van Teyl,” Molly Holderness assured her, “but Dick has certainly told me all sorts of wonderful things about you —how kind you were in New York, and what a delightful surprise it was to see you down at the hospital at Nice. I am afraid he must have been a terrible crock then.”

“Got well in no time as soon as Miss Van Teyl came along,” Holderness declared. “It vras a bit dreary down there at first. None of my lot were sent south, and a familiar face means a good deal when you’ve got your lungs full of that rotten gas and are feeling like nothing on earth. I wonder where that idiot Sandy is. I told him to be here a quarter of an hoúr before you others—thought we might have had a quiet chat first. Will you stand by the girls for a moment Lutchester, while I have a look around?” he added.

HE hobbled away, one of the thousands yyho were thronging the streets and public places of London—brave, simpleminded young . men, all of them, with tangled recollections in their brains of blood and fire and hell, and a game leg or a lost arm to remind them that the whole thing was not a nightmare. He looked a little disconsolately around, and was on the point of rejoining the others when the friend for whom he was searching came hurriedly through the turnstile doors.

“Sandy, old chap,” Holderness exclaimed with an air of relief, “here you are at last!”

“Cheero, Dick!” was the light-hearted reply. “Fearfully, sorry I’m late, but listen—just listen for one moment.”"

The newcomer threw his hat and coat to the attendant. He was a rather short, freckled young man, with a broad, high forehead and light-colored hair. His eyes

just now were filled with the enthusiasm which trembled in his tone.

“Dick,” he continued, gripping his friend’s arm tightly, “I’m late, I know, but I’ve great news. I’ve motored straight up from Salisbury Plain. I’ve done it! I swear to you, Dick, I’ve done it!”

“Done what?” Holderness demanded, a little bewildered.

“I’ve perfected my explosive—rthe thing I was telling you about last week,” was the triumphant reply. “The whole world's struggling for it, Dick. The 'German chemists have been working night and day for three years, just for one little formula, and I’ve got it! One of my shells, which fell in a wood at daylight this morning; killed every living thing within a mile of it. The bark fell off the trees, and thé laborers in a field beyond threw down their implements and ran for their lives. It’s the principle of intensification. The poison feeds on its own vapors. The formula—I’ve got it in my pocketbook-”

“Look here, old fellow,” Holderness interrupted. “It’s all splendid, of course, and I’m dying to hear you talk about ty, but come along now and be introduced to Miss Van Teyl. Molly’s over there, waiting, and we’re all half starved.”

“So am I,” was the cheerful answer. “Hullo Lutchester, how are you? Just one momentI must get a wash. I motored straight through, and I’m choked with dust. Where do I go?”

“I'll show you,” Lutchester volunteered. “Hurry up.”

The two men sprang up the stairs towards the dressing room, a»d Holderness strolled back to where his sister and Pamela were talking to a small, dark young man, with rather high cheek-bones and olive complexion. Pamela turned around with a smile.

“I have found an old friend,” she told him, “Baron Sunyea—Captain Holderness. Baron Sunyea used to be in the Japanese Embassy at Washington.”

The two men shook hands.

“I was interested,” the Japanese said slowly, “in your conversation just now about that notice. Your young friend was telling you news very loudly indeed, it seemed to me, which you would not like known across the North Sea. Am I not right?” ;

“In a sense you are, of course,” Holder-ness admitted, “but here at Henry’s — why, the place is like a club. Where are the enemies’ ears tó come from, I should like to know?”

“Where we least expect to find them, as a rule.” was the grave reply.

“Quite right,” Lutchester, who had just rejoined them, agreed. “They still say, you know, that our home Sectet Service is just as bad as our foreign Secret Service is good.”

Holderness smiled in somewhat superior fashion.

“Can’t say that I have much faith in that spy talk,” he said. '“No doubt there was any quantity of espionage before the war, but it’s pretty well weeded out now.

I say, how good civilization is!” he went on, his eyes dwelling lovingly on the interior of the restaurant. “Tophole, isn’t it, Lutchester—these smart girls, with their furs and violets and perfumes, the little note of music in the distance, the cheerful clatter of plates, the smiling faces of the waiters, and the undercurrent of pleasant voices. Don’t laugh at me, please, Miss Van Teyl. I’ve three weeks more of it, by George—perhaps more. I

don’t go up before my board till Thursday fortnight. Dash it, I wish Sandy would hurry up!”

“You never told me how you got your wound,” Pamela observed, as the conversation flagged for a moment.

“Can’t even remember,” was thé careless reply. “We were all scrapping away as hard as we could one afternoon, and nearly a dozen of us got the knock, all at the same time. It’s quite all right now, though, except for the stiffness. It was the gas did me in. . . . What a fellow Sandy is! You people must be starving.”

They waited for another five minutes. Then Holderness limped towards thestairs with a little imprecation. Lutchester stopped him.

Don’t you go, Holderness,” he begged/ “I’ll find him and bring him down by the scruff of the neck.”

He strode, up the stairs on a mission which ended in unexpected failure. Presently he returned, a slight frown upon his forehead.

“I am awfully sorry, he announced, “but I can’t find him anywhere. I left him washing his hands, and he said he’d be down in a moment. Are you quite sure that we haven’t missed him?” *

“There hasn’t been a sign of him,” Molly declared promptly. “I am so hungry that my eyes have been glued upon the staircase all the time.”

Pamela, w'ho had slipped away a few moments before, rejoined them with a little expression of surprise.

“Isn’t Capt. Graham here yet,” she asked increduously.

“Not a sign of him,” Holderness replied.. “Queer set out, isn’t it? We won’t wait a moment longer. Take my sister and Miss Van Teyl in, will you?” he went on, laying his hand on Lutchester’s shoulder. “Ferrani will look after you. I’ll follow directly.”

' I ' HE chief maitrc d’hotel advanced to meet them with a gesture of invitation and led them to a table arranged for five. The restaurant was crowded, and the colored band, from the space against the wall on their left, was playing a lively one-step. Ferrajii was buttonholed by an important client as they crossed the threshold, and they lingered for a moment, waiting for his guidance. Whilst they stood there, a curious thing happened, the leader of the orchestra seemed to draw his fingers recklessly across the strings of his instrument and to produce a discord which was almost appalling. A halfpained, half-amused exclamation rippled down the room. For a moment the music ceased. The conductor, who was responsible for the disturbance, was sitting motionless, his hands hanging down by his side. His features remained imperturbably, but the gleam of his white teeth, and a livid little streak under his eyes gave to his usually good-humored face an utterly altered, almost malignant expression. Ferrani stepped across and spoke to him for a moment angrily. The man took up his instrument, waved his hand, the music recommenced in a subdued note. Pamela turned to the chief maître cThotel, who had now rejoined them.

“What an extraordinary breakdown!” she exclaimed. “Is your leader a man of nerves?”

“Never have I heard such a thing in all my days,” Ferrani assured them fervently. “Joseph is one of .the most wonderful -performers in the world. His control over

his instrument is marvellous. . . .Capt Holderness asked particularly for this table.”

They seated themselves at the table reserved for them against the wall. Their cicerone was withdrawing with a low bow, but Pamela leaned over to speak to him.

“Your music,” she told him, “is quite wonderful. The orchestra consists almost entirely of Americans, ¡suppose?”

“Entirely, madam,” Ferrani assented. “They are real Southern Darkies, from Joseph, the leader, down to little Peter, who blows the motor-horn.” 1

Pamela’s interest in the matter remained unabated.

“I tell you it makes one feel almost homesick to hear them play,” she went on, with a little sigh. “Did they come direct from the States?”

Ferrani shook his head.

“From Paris, madam. Before that, for a little time, they wçre at the Winter Garden in Berlin.

They made quite a European tour of it before they arrived here.”

“And he is the leader—the man whom you call Joseph,” Pamela observed. “A broad, good-humored face—hot much intelligence, I should imagine.”

Ferrani’s protest was vigorous and gestieulatory. He evidently had ideas of his own concerning Joseph. >

“More, perhaps, than you would think, madam,” he declared. “He knows how to

make a bargain, believe me. It cost us more than I would like to tell you to get these fellows here.”

Pamela looked him in the eyes.

“Be careful, Monsieur Ferrani,” she advised, “that it does not cost you more to get rid of them.”

She leaned back in her place, apparently tired of the. subject, and Ferrani, a little puzzled, made his bow and withdrew. The music was once more in full swing.

Their luncheon was served, and Lutchbster did his best to entertain his companions. Their eyes, however, every few s sconds strayed towards the door. There vqas no sign of the missing guest.

CHAPTER II.

Vf OLLY HOLDERNESS, for whota Graham*s absence possessed, perhaps, more significance than the others,

relhpsed very soon into a strained and anxious silence. Pamela and Lutchester, on the other hand, divided their attention between a very excellent luncheon and an even flow of personal, almost inquisitorial conversation.

“You will find,” Pamela warned her companion almost as soon as they took their places, “that I am a very curious person. I am more interested in .people than in events. Tell me something about your work at the War Office?”

“f am not at the War Office,” he replied.

“Well, what is it that you do, then?” she asked. “Capt. Holderness told me that you had been out in France, fighting, but that you had some sort of official position at home now.”

“I am at the Ministry of Munitions,” he explained.

“Well, tell me about that, then?” she suggested. “Is it as exciting as fighting?”

He shook his head.

“It has advantages,” he admitted, “but I should scarcely say that excitement figured amongst them.”

She looked at him thoughtfully. Lutchester was a little over thirty-five years of age, tall and of sinewy build. His coloring was neutral, his complexion inclined to be pale, his mouth straight and firm, his grey eyes rather deep-set. Without possessing any of the stereotyped qualifications, he was sufficiently good-looking.

“I wonder you didn’t prefer soldiering,” she observed.

He smiled for a moment, and Pamela felt unreasonably annoyed at the twinkle in his eyes.

“I am not a soldier by profession,” he said, “but I went out with the Expeditionary Force and had a year of it. They kept me here, after a slight wound, to take up my old work again.”

“Your old work,” she repeated. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Ministry of Munitions before the war.” He deliberately changed the conversation, directing Pamela’s attention to the crowded condition of the room.

“Gay scene, isn’t it?” he remarked. “Very!” she assented drily.

“Do you come here to dance?” he inquired.

She shook her head.

“You must remember that I have been living in Paris for some months,” she told him. “You won’t be annoyed if I tell you that the way you English people are taking the war simply maddens me. Your young soldiers talk about it as though it were a sort of picnic, yoyr middle-aged clubmen seem to think that it was invented to give them a fresh interest in their newspapers, and the rest of you seem to think of nothing but the money you are making. And Paris. . . No, I don’t

think I should care to dance here!”

Lutchester nodded, but Pamela fancied somehow or other that his attitude was not wholly sympathetic. His tone, with its slight note of admonition, irritated her.

“You must be careful,” he said, “not to be too much misled by externals.”

Pamela opened her lips for a quick reply, but checked herself.

CAPT. Holderness and Ferrani had entered the room and were approaching their table, talking earnestly. The latter especially was looking perplexed and anxious.

“It’s the queerest thing I ever knew,” Holderness pronounced. “We’ve searched every hole and corner upstairs, and there isn’t a sign of Sandy.”

“Have you tried the bar?” Lutchester inquired.

“Both the bar and the grillroom,” Ferrani assured him.

“If he had been suddenly taken ill-”

Molly murmured.

“But there is no place in which he could have been taken ill which we have not searched,” Ferrani reminded her.

“And besides,” Holderness intervened, “Sandy was in the very pink of health, and bubbling over with high spirits.”

“One noticed that,” Lutchester remarked. a Ljttle drily.

“He might almost have been called garrulous,” Pamela agreed.

Ferrani took grave leave of them, and Holderness seated himself at the table.

“Well, let’s get on with luncheon, any way,” he advised. “It’s no good bothering. The best thing we can do is to conclude that the impossible has happened—that Sandy has met with some pals and will be here presently.”

“Or possibly,” Lutchester suggested, “that he has done what certainly seems the most reasonable thing—gone straight off to the War Office with his formula and forgotten all about us. Let us return the compliment and forget all about him.”

They finished their luncheon a little more cheerfully. As the cigarettes were handed round, Pamela’s eyes looked longingly at a Tray of Turkish coffee which was passing.

“I’m a rotten host,” Holderness declared, “but to tell the truth, this queer prank of Sandy’s has driven everything else out of my mind. Here, Hassan!”

The colored man in gorgeous oriental livery turned at once with a smile. He approached the table, bowing to each of them in turn. Pamela watched him ilatently. and, as his eyes met hers, Hassan’s hands began to shake.

“The waiter is bringing us ordinary coffee.” Holderness explained. “Please countermand it and bring us Turkish coffee for four.”

The man had lost his savoir faire. His wonderful smile turned into something •''sicklv. his bland speech of thanks into a mumble. He turned away almost sheepishly.

“Hassan doesn’t seem to like us today.” Molly remarked.

“I should have said that he was drunk,” her brother observed, looking after him curiously.

There was certainly something the matter with Hassan, for it was at least a quarter of an hour before he reappeared and served his specially prepared concoction with the usual ceremony, but with more restraint. Molly and the two men, after Hassan had sprinkled the contents . of his jnysterious little flask into their coffee, gave him their hands for the customary salute. When he came to Pamela, he hesitated. She shook her head and he fell back, bowing respectfully, his hand tracing cabalistic signs aeross his heart. For a moment before he departed, he raised his eyes and glanced at her. It was like the mute appeal of some hurt or frightened animal.

“You don’t approve of Hassan’s little ceremony?” Lutchester asked her.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“In America,” she observed, “I think we look upon colored people of any sort a

little differently. Well, we’ve certainly given your friend a chance," she went on, glancing at the little jewelled watch upon her wrist. “We’ve outstayed almost everyone here.”

Their host paid the bill, and they strolled reluctantly towards the door, Holderness and Pamela a few steps behind. *

“Now what are your sister and Mr. Lutchester studying again?” the latter inquired, as they reached the lobby.

Molly had paused once more before the notice on the wall, which seemed somehow to have fascinated her. She read it out, lingering on every word :

MEFIEZ-VOUS

TAISEZ-VOUS!

LES OREILLES ENNEMIES VOUS ECOUTENT!

Holderness listened with a frown. Then he turned suddenly to Lutchester, who was standing by his side.

“It would be too ridiculous, wouldn't it —you couldn’t-in any way connect the idea behind that notice with Sandy’s disappearance?”

“I was wondering about that myself,” Lutchester confessed. “To tell you the truth, I have been wondering all luncheontime. If ever a man broke the letter and the spirit of that simple warning, I should say your excitable young friend, Captain Graham, did.”

“But here at Henry’s” Holderness protested, “with friends on every side! Isn’t it a little too ridiculous! We’ll wait until the last person is out of the place, any way,” he added.

The crowd soon began to thin. Ferrani seeing them still waiting, approached with a little bow.

“Your friend,” he asked, “he has not arrived, eh?”

“No sign of him,” Holderness replied gloomily.

“What about his hat and coat?” Ferrani inquired, with a sudden inspiration.

“Great idea,” Holderness assented, turning towards the cloakroom attendant. “Don’t you remember my friend, James?” he went on. “He arrived about half-past one, and threw his coat and hat oyer to you.”

The attendant nodded and glanced towards an empty peg.

“I remember him quite well, sir,” he acknowledged. “Number sixty-seven was his number.”

“Where are his things, then?”

“Gone, sir,” the man replied.

“Di you remember his asking for them?”

The attendant shook his head.

“Can’t say that I do, sir,” he acknowledged, “but they’ve gone right enough.”

A party of outgoing guests claimed the man’s attention. Holderness turned away.

“This thing is getting on my nerves,” he declared. “Does it seem likely that Sandy would chuck his luncheon without a word of explanation, come out and get his coat and hat and walk off? And, besides, where was he all the time we were looking for him?”

IT was unanswerable, inexplicable.

They all looked at one another almost helplessly. Pamela held out her hand.

“Well,” she announced, “I am sorry, but I’m afraid I must go. I have a great many things to attend to this afternoon.”

“You are going away soon?” Lutchester inquired.

She hesitated, and at that moment Mr. Fischer, who had been saying farewell to his guests, turned towards her.

“You are not thinking of the trip home yet, Miss Van Teyl?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she answered a little evasively. “I’m out of humor with London just now.”

“Perhaps we shall be fellow-passengers on Thursday?” he ventured. “I am going over on the New York.” _

“I never make plans,” she told him.

“In any case,” Mr. Fischer continued, “I shall anticipate our early meeting in New' York. I heard from your brother only yesterday.”

She looked at him with a slight frowft.

“From James?”

Mr. Fischer nodded.

“Why, I didn’t know,” she observed, “that you a^d he were acquainted.”.

“I have had large transactions with his firm, and naturally I have seen a good deal of Mr. Van Teyl,” the other explained. “He looks after the interests of us W’estern clients.”

Pamela turned a little abruptly away, and Lutchester walked with her to the door.

“You will let me see that they bring your car round?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“Thank you, no»!’ she replied, holding out her hand. “I have not yet. said good-bye to Captain Holderness and

his sister. Good-bye, Mr. Lutchester!”

Her farewell was purposely chilly. It seemed as though the slight sparring in w'hich they had indulged throughout luncheon-time, had found its culmination in an antipathy which she had no desire to conceal. Lutchester, however, only smiled.

“Nowadays,” he observed, “that is a word which is never necessary to use.”

* She withdrew her hand from his somewhat too tenacious clasp. Something in his manner puzzled as well as irritated her.

“Do you mean that you, too, are thinking of taking a holiday from your strenuous labors?” she asked. “Perhaps America is the safest country in the world just now for an Englishman who-”

She stopped short, realizing the lengths towards which her causeless pique w’as carrying her.

“Prefers departmental work to fighting. were you going to add?” he said quietly. “Well, perhaps you are right. At any rate, I will content myself by saying au revoir."

He passed through the turnstile door and disappeared. Pamela made her adieux to Holderness and his sister, and then recognizing some acquaintances, turned back into the restaurant to speak to them. Fischer, who had just received his hat and-cane from the cloakroom attendant, stood watching her.

CHAPTER III.

PAMELA, after a brief conversation with her friends, once more lefl the restaurant. In the lobby she called Ferrani to her.

“Has Mr. Fischer gone, Ferrani,?" she asked.

“Not two minutes ago,” the man replied. “You wish to speak to him? I can stop him even now.”

She shook her head.

“On the contrary,” she said drily, “ Hr. Fischer represents a type of my coun rymen of whom I am not very fond. H » ia a great patron of yours, is he not?”

“He is a large shareholder in the c&t; mpany,” Ferrani confessed.

“Then your restaurant will prosp&t; r,’V she told him. “Mr. Fischer has the na mé of being very fortunate. . . That wa i a wonderful luncheon you gave us to-da r't' “Madame is very kind.”

“Will you do me a favor?”

Ferrani’s gesture w’as all-expressi e. Words w’erè entirely superfluous.

“I want two addresses, please. Fir it, the address of Joseph, your head musicis n, and, secondly, the address of Hassan, yo ircoffee-maker.”

Ferrani ¡effectually concealed any surprise he might have felt. He tore a paj a from his pocketbook.

“Both Pknow,” he declared. “Hassan lodges at a shop eighty yards away. Too

name is Haines, and there are newspaper placards outside the door.”

“That is quite enough,” Pamela murmured.

“As for Monsieur Joseph,” Ferrani continued. “that is a different matter. He has, I understand, a small flat in Tower Mansions, Tower street, leading off the Edgware Road. The number is 18C. So!” He wrote it down and passed it to her. Pamela thanked him and stood up.

“Now that I have done as you asked me,” Ferrani concluded, “let me add a word. Both these men are already off duty and have left the restaurant. If you wish to communicate with either of them, I advise you to do so by letter.” \ “You are a very courteous gentlematr/ Mr. Ferrani,” Pamela declared, dropping him a little mock courtesy, “and good morning!”

She made her way into the street outside, shook her head to the commissionaire’s upraised whistle, and strolled along until she came to a cross street down which several motor cars were waiting. She approached one—a very handsome limousine—and checked the driver w'ho would have sprung from his seat.

“George,” she said, “I am going to pay a call at a disreputable-looking news-shop, just where I am pointing. You can’t bring the car there as the street is too narrow. You might follow me on foot and be about.

The young man touched his hat and obeyed. A few’ yards down the street Pamela found her destination, and entered a gloomy little shop. A slatternly woman looked at her curiously from behind the counter.

“I am told that Hassan lodges here, the coffee-maker from Henry’s,” Pamela besan. ,

The woman looked at her in a peculiar fashion. 1

“Well?”

“I wish to see him.”

“You can’t, then,” was the curt answer. “He’s at his prayers.” 4

“At what?” Pamela exclaimed.

“At his prayers,” the woman repeated brusquely. “There,” she added, throwing open the door which led into the premises behind, “can’t you hear him. poor soul? Hefs been pinching some more charms from ladies’ bracelets, or something of the sort, I reckon. He’s always in trouble. He goes on like this for an hour or so. and then he forgives himself.”

Pamela stood by the open door and listened—listened to a strange, wailing chant, which rose and fell with almost weird monotony.

“Very interesting,” she observed. 1 have heard that sort .of thing before. Now will you kindly tell Hassan that I wish to speak to him, or shall I go and find him for myself?”

“Well, you’ve got some brass!” the woman declared, with a sneer.

“And some gold.” Pamela assented, passing a pound note over to the woman.

“Do you want to see him alone?” the latter asked, almost snatching at the note, but still regarding Pamela with distrustful curiosity.

“Of course,” was the calm reply.

The woman opened her lips and closed them again, sniffed, and led the way down a.short-passage, at the end of which was a door.

, “There you are,” she muttered, throwing it open. “You’ve arst for it, mind. Tain’t my business.”

SHE slouched her way .back again into the shop. At first Pamela could scarcely see anything except a dark figure on his knees before a closed and shrouded window’. Then she saw Hassan rise to his feet, saw the glitter of his eyes.

“Pull up the blind. Hassan,” she directed.

He came p step nearer to her. The gloom in the apartment w’as extraordinary. Only his shape and his eyes were visible.

“Do as I tell you.” she ordered. “Pull up the blind. It will be better.”

He hesitated. Then he obeyed. Even then the interior of the room seemed shadowy and obscure. Pamela could only see, in contrast with the rest of the house, that it was wonderfully and spotlessly clean. In one corner, barely concealed by a low screen, his bed stood upon the floor. Hassan muttered something in an Oriental tongue. Pamela interrupted him. She spoke in the soothing tone one uses towards a child.

“That’s all right. Hassan,” she said. “Sorry to have interrupted you at your prayers, but it had to be done. You know’ me?”

“Yes, mistress,” he answered unwillingly. “I your dragoman one year in Cairo. What you want here, mistress?”

“You know that I know,” she went on, “that you are a Turk and a Mohammedan, and not an Egyptian at all.

“Yes, mistress, you know that,” he muttered.

“And you also know,” she continued, “that if I give you away to the authorities you will be sent at once to a very uncomfortable internment camp. Where you w’on’t even have an opportunity to wash more than once a day, where you will have to herd with all sorts of people, who will make fun of your color and your religion-”

“Don’t mistress!” he shouted suddenly. “You will not tell. I think you will not tell!”

He was sidling a little tow’ards her. Again one of those curious changes seemed to have transformed him from a dumb, passive creature into a savage. There was menace in his eyes. She waved him back without moving.

“I have come to make a bargain with you. Hassan,” she said, “just a few words, that is all. Not quite so near, please.” He paused. There was a moment’s silence. His face was within a foot of hers, lowering. black, bestial. Her eyes met his without a tremor. Her full, sweet lips only curved into a faintly contemptuous line.

“You cannot frighten me. Hassan,” she declared. “No man has ever done that. And outside I have a chauffeur with muscles of iron, who waits for me. Be reasonable. Listen. There are secrets connected with your restaurant.”

“I know nothing.” he began at once; “nothing, mistress—nothing!”

“Quite naturally.” she continued. “I only need one piece of information. A man disappeared there this morning. I just have to find him. That’s all there is about it. At half-past one he was inveigled into the musicians’ room and by some means or other rendered unconscious. At three o’clock he had been removed. I want to know what became of him. You help me and the whole world can believe you to be an Egyptian for the rest of their lives. If you can’t help me it is rather unfortunate for you, because

I shall tell the police at once who and what you are. Don’t waste time. Hassan.”

He stood thinking, rubbing his hands and bowing before her, yet, as she knew very well, with murder in his heart. Once she saw his long fingers raised a little.

"Quite useless, Hassan,” she warned him. “They hang you in England, you know, for any little trifle such as you are thinking of. Be sensible, and I may even leave a few pound notes behind me.” “Mistress should ask Joseph.” he muttered. “I know nothing.”

“Oh, mistress is going to ask Joseph all right,” she assured him, “but I want a little information from you, too. You’ve got to earn your freedom, you know, Hassan. Come, what do they do with the people who disappear from the restaurant?”

“Not understand,” was the almost piteous reply.

Pamela sighed. She had again the air of one being patient with a child.

“See here. Hassan.” she went on. “a feudays ago I went over that restaurant from top to bottom with the manager. There is the musicians’ room, isn’t there, just over the entrance hall? I suppose those little glass places in the floor are movable, and then one can hear every word that is spoken below. I am right so far, am I not?”

Hassan answered nothing. His breath-, mg, however, had become a little deeper.

“An unsuspecting person, passing from the toilet rooms upstairs, could easily be induced to enter. I think that there must be another exit from that room. Yes?” “Yes!” Hassan faltered.

“To where?”

“The wine cellars.”

“And from there?”

Hassan was suddenly voluble. Truth unlocked his tongue.

“Not know, mistress—not know another thing. No one enters wine cellar but three men. One of those not know. If I guess —I, Hassan—I look at little chapel left standing in waste place. Perhans I wonder sometimes, but I not know.”

Pamela drew three notes from ,her gold nurse, smoothed them out and handed them over. f

“Three pound«. Hassan, silence, and good dav! You’ll live longer if you open your windows now and then, and get a little fresh air. instead of praying yourself hoarse."

Again the black figure swayed perilously towards her. She affected not to notice. not to notice the hand which seemed for a moment as though it would snatch the door handle from her grasp. She’ passed out pleasantlv and without haste. The last sound she heard was a groan.

“Done your bit 0’ business, eh?” the landladv. asked curiously.

Pamela nodded assent.

“Rather an odd'sort of lodger for you. isn’t he?”

“Not so odd as his visitors,” the woman retorted, with an evil sneer.

PAMELA passed into the narrow street and drew a long sigh of relief. Then she entered her car and gave the chauffeur an address from the slip of paper which she carried in her hand. When they stopped outside the little block of flats, he prepared to follow her.

“Tough neighborhood this, madam,” he said.

“Maybe. George.” she replied, waving Continued on page 84

Contmuea from page 18.

him back, “but you’ve got to stay down here. If the man I am going to see thought I was frightened of him, I wouldn’t have a chance. If I am not down in half an hour you can try number 18 C.”

The chauffeur resumed his place on the driving seat of the car. Pamela, heartily disliking her surroundings, was escorted by a shabby porter to a shabbier lift.

“You’ll find Mr. Joseph in,” thé lift boy assured her with a grin.

Pamela found the number at the end of an unswept stone passage. At her third summons the door was cautiously opened by a large, repulsive-looking woman, with a mass of peroxidized hair. She stared at her visitor first in amazement, then in rapidly gathering resentment

“Mr. Joseph is at home,” she admitted truculently, in response to Pamela’s inquiry. “What might you be wanting with him?”

“If you will be so good as to let me in, I will explain to Mr. Joseph,” Pamela replied.

The woman seemed on the point of slamming the door. Suddenly there waa a voice from behind her shoulder. Joseph appeared—not smiling, joyous Joseph of Henry’s, but a sullen-looking negro, dressed in shirt and trousers only, with a heavy under-lip and frowning forehead.

“Let the lady pass and get into the kitchen, Nora,” he ordered. “Come this way, mam.”

Pamela followed her guide into a parlor, redolent of stale cigar smoke, with oilcloth on the floor and varnished walls, an abode even more horrible than Hassan's lair. Joseph closed the door carefully behind him, and made no apology for his dishabille. He simply faced Pamela.

“Say, what is it you want with me?” he demanded truculently.

“A trifle,” she answered. “The key of the chapel in the little plot of wasteground next to Henry’s.”

She meant him to be staggered, and he was. He reeled back for a moment.

“What the hell are you talking about?” he gasped.

“Facts,” Pamela replied. “Do you want to save yourself, Joseph? You can do it if you choose.”

He folded his arms and stood in front of the closed door. Without a collar, his neck bulged unpleasantly behind. There wás nothing whatever left of the sauve and genial chef d’orchestre.

“Save myself from what, eh? Just let me get wise about it.”

Pamela’s eyebrows were daintily elevated.

“Dear me!” she murmured. “I thought you were more intelligent. Listen. You know where we met last? Let me remind you. You were playing in the Winter Garden at Berlin, and the gentleman whom I was with, an attache at the American Embassy, spoke to you. He told me a good deal about your past life, Joseph, and your present one. You are in the pay of the Secret Service of Germany. Am I to go to Scotland Yard and tell them so?” He looked at her wickedly.

“You’d have to get out of here first.” “Don’t be silly,” she advised him contemptuously. “Remember you’re talking to an American woman and don’t waste your breath. You can be in the Secret SeYvice of any country you like, without interference from me. On the other hand, there’s just one thing I want from you.” “What is it? I haven’t got any key.”

“I want to discover exactly what has become of Captain Graham,” she declared.

“What, the guy that missed his lunch to-day?” he-growled.

“I see you know all about it,” she continued equably.

“So he’s your spark, is he"?” Joseph observed slowly, his eyes blinking as he leaned a little forward.

“On the contrary, Pamela replied, “I have never met him. However, that’s beside the point Do I have the key of that

chapel’”

“You do not”

“Have you got it?”

“Right here,” Joseph assented, dangling it before her eyes.

“I think it’s a fair bargain Pm offering you,” she reminded him. “You lose the key and keep your place. You only have to keep your mouth shut and nothing happens.”

“Nothing doing,” the negro declared shortly. “Keys as important as this ain’t lost If I part with it, I get the chuck, and I probably get into the same mess as

the others. If I keep it-”

“If you keep it” Pamela interrupted, “you will probably stand with your back to the light in the Tower within the next few days. They’ve left off being lenient with spies over here.”

He looked at her, and there were things in his eyes which few women in the world could have seen without terror. Pamela’s lips only came a little closer together. She pressed the inside of the ring upon her third finger, and a ray of green fite seemed to shoot forward.

“I guess I’m up against it,” he growled, taking a step forward. “I’ll have something of what’s coming to me. if I swing for it”

His arm was suddenly around her, his face hideously close. He gave a little snarl as he felt the pinprick through his shirt sleeve. Then he went spinning round and round with his hand to his head.

“What in God’s name!” he spluttered. “What in hell-!

He reeled against the horsehair easychair and slipped on to the floor. Pamela calmly closed her ring, stooped over him, withdrew the key from his pocket, crossed the room and the dingy little hall with swift footsteps, and without waiting for the lift, fled down the stone steps. Before she reached the* bottom, she heard the shrill ringing of the lift bell, the angry shouting of the woman. Pamela, however, strolled quietly out and took her place in the car.

“Back to the hotel, George,” she directed thc^chauffeur. “Don’t stop if they call to you', from the flats.”

The young man sprang up to his seat and the car glided off. Pamela leaned forward and looked at herself in the mirror. There was a shade more color in her face, perhaps, than usual, but her low waves of chestnut hair were unruffled. She used her powder puff with attentive skill and leaned back.

“That’s the disagreeable part of it over, any way,” she sighed to herself contentedly.

CHAPTER IV.

THE last of the supper-guests had left Henry’s Restaurant, the commissionaire’s whistle was silent. The light laughter and frivolous adieux of the departing guests seemed to have melted away into a world somewhere beyond the pale of the unseasonable fog. The little strip of waste ground adjoining was wrapped in gloom and silence. The exterior of the bare and deserted chapel, long since unconsecrate, was dull and lifeless. Inside, however, began the march of strange things. First of all, the pinprick of light of a tiny electric torch seemed as though it had risen from the floor, and Hassan, pushing back a trap-door, stepped into the bare, dusty conventicle. He listened for a moment, then made a tour of the windows, touched a spring in the wall, and drew down long, thick blinds. Afterwards he passed between the row of dilapidated benches and paused at the entrance door. He stooped down, examined the keyless lock, shook it gently, gazed upwards and downwards as though in vain search of bolts that were never there. His white teeth gleamed for a moment in the uarkness. He turned away with a little aniver.

“Not my fault,” he muttered to himself. “Not my fault.”

He listened for a moment intently," as though for footsteps outside. The disturbance, however, came from the other end of the building. There was a sharp knocking at the trap-door by which he had ascended. He touched an electric knob. The place was dimly yet sufficiently illuminated. He hastened towards the further end of the place and pulled up 1he trap-door. A melancholy looking, little procession slowly emerged. First of all came Joseph, stepping backwards, supporting the head and shoulders of Graham, still bound and gagged. After him came a dark, swarthy-faced winewaiter, who supported Graham’s feet. Behind followed Fischer, carrying his silk hat and cane in his hand. He paused

for a moment as he stepped on the floor of the chapel, and brushed the dust from his trousers.

“You can take out the gag now,” he ordered the two men. “There isn’t much shout in him.”

They laid him upon a couch, and Joseph obeyed the order. Graham’s head swung helplessly on one side. His eyes opened, however, and he struggled for consciousness. His lips twitched for a moment. In these long hours he had almost forgotten the habit of speech. The words, when they came, sounded strange to him.

“What—where am I? What do you want with me?”

Fischer laid his hat and stick upon a table, on which also stood a telephone instrument.

“The formula, my young friend,” he replied, “for that wonderful explosive of which you spoke in the lobby.”

A sudden accession bf nervous strength brought something almost like passion into the young man’s reply, although to himself there still seemed some unreality in the words which might have come from the walls or the roof—surely not from his lips.

“I’ll see you damned first!”

Fischer smiled. The man was goodlooking, in his way, but this was a pale and ugly smile.

“My request was merely a matter of courtesy,” he remarked. “The difficulty of searching you is not formidable. It would Jiave been undertaken long ago but for the fact that the restaurant has been crowded and gags sometimes slip. Besides, there was no hurry. Observe!”

He leaned over Graham, who for the first time struggled furiously but ineffectually with his bonds. His fingers all the time were straining towards the inside .pocket of his coat. Fischer nodded understandingly.

“Allow me to anticipate you,” he said.

WITH a quick thrust he drew a little handful of papers from the pocket of his captive. One by one he glanced them through and flung them on to the ■floor. As he came towards the end of his search, however, his expression of confident complacency vanished. His lips shrivelled up a little, his eyes narrowed. The last folded sheet of paper—a little perfumed note from Peggy, thanking Sandy for the beautiful roses—he crumpled fiercely into a little ball. He opened his lips to speak, then he paused. A new light broke in upon him. The fury had passed from Sandy Graham’s face. In its stead there was an expression of blank astonishment

“Where is the formula?” Fischer asked, fiercely.

There was no reply. Sandy Graham was 3till staring at the little pile of papers upon the floor. Fischer made a brief examination of the other pockets. Then he stepped back. His voice shook, his face was dark and malevolent.

“Joseph, Hassan, Jules—listen to me!” he ordered. “Did anyone else enter the musicians’ room whilst he was lying in the alcove?”

“Impossible!” Jules declared.

“The door was locked,” Hassan murmured.

“Stop!” Joseph exclaimed.

Fischer wheeled round upon him. “Well?” he exclaimed. “Get on, then. Who?”

To be Continued.