The Pawns Count
A Story of Secret Service and the Great War
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Author of “Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo,” “The Double Traitor,” etc.
Synopsis on page 28.
AT five-and-twenty minutes past eight that evening Lutchester, who was waiting in the entrance hall of their own mine field. So far as regards At half-past, his absorption in an evening paper, over the top of which he looked at every newcomer, was almost farcical. At five-and-twenty to nine Pamela arrived. He advanced to meet her down the lounge. Her face was inscrutable, her smile conventional. Yet she had come ! He looked over his shoulder towards the men’s eoat-
“I sent Jim to his club,” she said. “I want to have a real good talk with you, Mr. Lutehester.”
“I am very much flattered,” he told her, with real earnestness.
She vanished for a few moments in the cloakroom, and reappeared, a radiant vision in deep blue silk. Her hair was gathered in a coil at the top of her head, and surmounted with an ornament of pearls.
“You are looking at my head-dress,” she remarked, as they walked into the room. “It is the style you admire, is it not?”
He murmured something vague, but he knew that he was forgiven. They were ushered to their places by a portly maître d’hotel, and she approved of his table. It was set almost in an alcove, and was partially hidden from the other diners.
“Is this seclusion vanity or flattery?” “As a matter of fact, it is rather a popular table,” he told her. .“We have an excellent view of the room, and yet one can talk here without being disturbed.”
“To talk to you is exactly what I wish to do,” she said, as they took their places. “We commence, if you please, with a question. Mr. Fischer thought that he had that formula and he hasn’t. I could have sworn that it was in my possesion—and it isn’t. Where is it?”
“I took it to the War Office before I left England,” he told her simplv. “They will have the first few tons of the stuff ready next month.”
“You!” she cried. “Cut where did you get it?”
“I happened to be first, that’s all,” he explained. “You see, I had the advantage of a little inside information. I could have exposed the whole affair if I had thought it wise. I preferred, however, to let matters take their course. Young Graham deserved all he got there, and I made sure of being the first to go through his papers. I’m afraid I must confess that I left a bogus formula for you.”
“I had begun to suspect this,” Pamela confessed.
“You don’t mind being put into the witness box, do you?” she adde d, as she pushed aside the menu with a little sigh of satisfaction.
“How wonderfully you order a n American dinner !”
“I am so glad I have chosen what you like,” he said, “and as to being in the witness - box— well, I am going to place myself in the confessional, and that is very much the same thing, isn’t it?”
“To begin at the beginning, then—about that destroyer?”
“My mission over here was really important,” he admitted. “I could not catch the Lapland, so the Admiralty sent me over.”
“And your golf with Senator Hamblin? It wasn’t altogether by accident you met him down at Baltusrol, was it?”
“It was not,” he confessed. “I had reason to suspect that certain proposals from Berlin were to be put forward to the President either through his or Senator Hastings’ mediation. There were certain facts in connection with them which I desired to be the first to lay before the authorities.”
SHE looked around the room and recognized some of her friends. For some reason or other she felt remarkably light-hearted.
“For a poor, vanquished woman,” she observed, turning back to Lutehester, “I feel extraordinarily gay to-night. Tell me some more.”
“Mademoiselle Sonia,” he proceeded, “has been a friend of mine since she sang in the cafés of Buda-Pesth. I dined with her, however, because it had come to my knowledge that she was behaving in a very foolish manner,”
Pamela nodded understandingly.
“She was the friend of Count Maurice Ziduski, wasn’t she?”
“She is no longer,” Lutehester replied. “She sailed for France this morning without seeing him. She has remembered that she is a French woman.”
“It was you who reminded her!”
“Love so easily makes people forgetful,” he said, “and I think that Sonia was very fond of Maurice Ziduski. She is a thoughtless, passionate woman, easily swayed through her affections, and she had no idea of the evil she was doing.” “So that disposes of Sonia,” Pamela reflected.
“Sonia was only an interlude,” Lutehester declared. “She really doesn’t come into this affair at all. The one person who does come into it, whom you and I must speak of, is Fischer.”
“A most interesting man,” Pamela sighed. “I really think his wife would have a most exciting life.”
“She would!” Lutehester agreed. “She’d probably be allowed to visit him
once every fourteen days in care of a warder.”
“Spite!” Pamela exclaimed, with a suspicious little quiver at the corner of her
Lutchester shook his head.
“Fischer is too near the end of his rope for me to feel spiteful,” be said, “though I am quite prepared to grant that he may be capable of considerable mischief yet. A man who has the sublime effrontery to attempt to come to an agreement with two countries, each behind the other’s back, is a little more than Machievellian, isn’t he?”
“Is that true of Mr. Fischer?” “Absolutely,” Lutchester assured her. “He is over here for the purpose of somehow or other making it known informally in Washington that Germany would be willing to pledge herself to an alliance with America against Japan, after the war, if America will alter her views as to the export of munitions to the Allies.” “Well, that’s a reasonable proposition, isn’t it, from his point of view?” Pamela
remarked. “It may not be a very agreeable one from yours, but it is certainly one which he has a right to make.” “Entirely,” Lutchester agreed, “but where he goes wrong is that his primary object in coming here tvas to meet the chief of the Japanese Secret Service, to whom he has made a proposition of precisely similar character.”
Pamela set down her glass.
“You are not in earnest!”
“Precisely! He came all the way from Japan to confer with Fischer. Probably, if we knew the whole truth, those rooms at the Plaza Hotel, and the social partnership of your brother and Fischer, were arranged for no other reason than to provide a safe personality for Nikasti in this country, and a safe place for him to talk things over with Fischer.”
“Mr. Fischer was paying nearly the whole of the expenses of the Plaza suite,” Pamela observed thoughtfully.
“Naturally,” Lutchester replied. “Your
brother’s name was a good, safe name to get behind. But to conclude with our friend Nikasti. He is supposed to leave New York next Saturday, and to carry Emperor of Japan an autograph letter from a nameless person, promising him, if Japan will cease the export of munitions to Russia, the aid of Germany in her impending campaign against America.”
“An autograph letter, did you say?” Pamela almost gasped.
“An autograph letter,” Lutchester repeated firmly. “Now don’t you agree with me that Fischer’s game is just a little too daring?”
“It is preposterous!” she cried. “I have a theory,” Lutchester continued, “that Fischer was never intended to use more than one of these letters. It was intended that he should study the situation here, approach one side, and, if unsuccessful, try the other. Fischer, however, conceived a more magnificent idea. He seems to be trying both at the same time. It is the sublime egotism of the Teutonic mind.” “It is monstrous!” Pamela exclaimed indignantly.
“It is almost as monstrous,” Lutchester agreed, “as his daring to raise his eyes to you, although, so far as you are concerned, I believe that he is as honest as the man knows how to be.” “And why,” she asked, “do you credit him with so much good faith?”
“Because,” Lutchester replied, “if he had not been actuated by personal motives, he would never have sought you out as an intermediary. There are other sources open to him, by means of which he could make equally sure of reaching the President’s ear. His idea was to impress you. It was foolish but natural.” Pamela was deep in thought. There was an angry spot of color burning in her cheek.
“Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Lutchester,” she persisted, “that this afternoon, say, when with every appearance of earnestness he was begging time to put these propositions before my uncle, he had really made precisely similar overtures to Japan.”
“I give you my word that this is the truth,” Lutchester assured her solemnly.
SHE looked at him with something almost like wonder in her eyes.
“But you?” she exclaimed. “How do you know this? How can you be sure of it?”
“I have seen the autograph letter which Nikasti has in his possession,” he announced.
“You mean that Mr. Fischer showed it to you?” she exclaimed incredulously. Lutchester hesitated.
“There are methods,” he said, “which
those who fight in the dark places for their country are forced sometimes to make use of. I have seen the letter. I have half convinced those who represent Japan in this matter of Fischer’s duplicity. With your help I am hoping wholly to do so.”
Pamela leaned for a moment back m her chair.
“Really,” she declared, “I am beginning to have the feeling that I am living almost too rapidly. Let us have a breathing spell. I wonder what all these other people are talking about.”
“Probably,” he suggested, with a little glance around, “about themselves. We will follow their example. Will you marry me, please, Miss Van Teyl?” (
“We haven’t even come to the ice yet,’ she sighed, “and you pass from high politics to flagrant personalities. Are you a sensationalist, Mr. Lutchester?”
“Not in the least,” he protested. “I simply asked you an extremely important question quite calmly.”
“It isn’t a question that should be asked calmly,” she objected.
“I have immense self-control,” he told her, “but if you’d like me to abandon
“For Heaven’s sake, no!” she interrupted. “Tell me more about Mr. Fischer.”
“You won’t forget to answer my little question later on, will you?” he begged. “To proceed, then, I spent some little time this afternoon with your chief of the police here, and I fancy that the person you speak of is becoming a little too blatant even for a broad-minded country like this. He belongs to an informal company of wealthy sympathizers with Germany, who propose to start a campaign of destruction at all factories manufacturing munitions for the Allies. They have put aside—I believe it is several million dollars, for purposes of bribery. They don’t seem to realize, as my friend pointed out to me this afternoon, that the days for this sort of thing in New York have passed. Some of them will be in prison before they know where they are.”
“Exactly why did you come to America?” she asked, a little abruptly.
“To meet Nikasti and to look after Fischer.”
“Well, you seem to have done that pretty effectually!”
“Also,” he went on, “to keep an eye upon you.”
“You ask me to give away too many secrets,” he whispered, leaning towards
She made a little grimace.
“Tell me some more about your little adventure in Fifth Avenue?” she begged.
He smiled grimly.
“You wouldn’t believe me,” he reminded her, “but it really was one of Fischer’s little jokes. It very nearly came off, too. As a matter of fact,” he went on, “Fischer isn’t really clever. He is too obstinate, too convinced in his own mind that things must go the way he wants them to, that Fate is the servant of his will. It’s a sort of national trait, you know, very much like the way we English bury our heads In the sand when we hear unpleasant truths. The last thing Fischer wants is advertisement, and yet he goes to some of his Fourteenth Street friends and unearths a popular desperado to get rid of me. The fellow happens most unexpectedly to fail, and now Fischer has to face a good many awkward questions and a good deal of notoriety. No, I don’t think Fischer is really clever.”
“In that case, I suppose I shall have to say ‘No’ to him,” she decided. “After waiting all this time, I couldn’t bear to be married to a fool.”
“You won’t be,” he assured her cheerfully.
“More British arrogance,” she murmured. “Now see what’s going to happen to us!”
A TALL, elderly man, with smooth white hair plastered over his forehead, very precisely dressed, and with a gait so careful as to be almost mincing, was approaching their table. Pamela held out her hands..
“My dear uncle!” she exclaimed. “And I thought that you and aunt never dined at restaurants!”
Mr. Hastings stood with his fingers resting lightly upon the table. He glanced at Lutchester without apparent recogni-
“You remember Mr. Lutchester?” Pamela murmured.
Mr. Hastings’ manner lacked the true American cordiality, but he hastened to extend his hand.
“Of course!” he declared. “I was not fortunate enough, however, to see much of you the other evening, Mr. Lutchester. We have several mutual friends whom I should be glad to hear about.”
“I shall pay my respects to Mrs. Hastings, if I may, very shortly,” Lutchester promised.
“Are you with friends here, uncle?” Pamela inquired.
“We are the guests of Mr. Oscar Fischer,” the Senator announced.
Pamela raised her eyebrows.
“So you know Mr. Fischer, uncle?” “Naturally,” Mr. Hastings replied, with some dignity. “Oscar Fischer is one of the most important men in the State which I represent. He is a man of great wealth and industry and immense influ-
Pamela made a little grimace. Her uncle noticed it and frowned.
“He has just been telling us of his voyage with you, Pamela. Perhaps, if Lutchester can spare you,” he went on, with a little bow across the table, “you will come and take your coffee with us. Your aunt is leaving for Washington, probably to-morrow, and wishes to arrange for you to travel with her. Mr. Lutchester may also, perhaps, give us the pleasure of his company for a few minutes,” he added, after a slight but obvious pause.
“Thank you,” Pamela answered quickly, “I am Mr. Lutchester’s guest this evening. If you are still here, I shall love to come and speak to aunt for a moment later on. If not, I will ring up to-morrow morning.”
The bland, almost espiscopal, serenity of Senator Hastings’ face was somewhat disturbed. It was obvious that the situation displeased him.
“I think, Pamela,” he said, “that you had better come and speak to your aunt before you leave.”
His bow to Lutchester was the bow of a politician to an adversary. He made his way back in leisurely fashion to the table from which he had come, exchanging a few words with many acquaintances. Pamela watched him with a twinkle in her eyes.
“I am becoming so unpopular,” she murmured. “I can read in my uncle’s tone that my aunt and he disapprove of our dining together here. And as for Mr. Fischer, I am afraid he’ll break off our prospective alliance.”
“Prospective is the only word to use,” he observed. “By the by, are you particularly fond of your uncle?”
“Not riotously,” she admitted. “He has been kind to me once or twice, but he’s rather a starchy old person.”
“In that case,” Lutchester decided, “we won’t interfere.”
FISCHER had by no means the appearance of a discomforted man that evening when, some time later, Pamela and Lutchester approached the little group of which he seemed, somehow, to have become the central figure. It was a small party, but, in its way, a distinguished one. Pamela’s aunt was a member of an historic American family, and a woman of great social position, not only in New York, but in Washington itself. Of the remaining guests, one was a financial magnate of world-wide fame, and the other, Senator Joyce, a politician of such eminence that his name was freely mentioned as a possible future president. Mrs. Hastings greeted Pamela and her escort without enthusiasm.
“My dear child,” she exclaimed, “how extraordinary to find you here!”
“Is it?” Pamela observed indifferently. “You know Mr. Lutchester, don’t you, aunt?”
Mrs. Hastings remembered her late dinner guest, but her recognition was icy and barely polite. She turned away at once and resumed her conversation with Fischer. Lutchester was not introduced to either of the other members of the party. He laid his hand on the back of an empty chair and turned it round for Pamela, but she stopped him with a word of thanks. Something had gone from her own naturally pleasant tone. She held her head higher, even, than her aunt’s as she turned a little insistently towards her.
"So sorry, aunt,” she announced, “but we are going now. Good night!”
Mrs. Hastings disapproved.
“We have seen nothing of you yet, Pamela,” she said stiffly. “You had better stay with us and we will drop you on our way home.”
Pamela shook her head.
“I am coming with you to-morrow, you know,” she reminded her «aunt. “To night I am Mr. Lutchester’s guest and he will see me home.”
Mrs. Hastings drew her niece a little closer to her.
“Is this part of your European manners, Pamela,” she whispered, “that you dine alone in a restaurant with an acquaintance? Let me tell you frankly that I dislike the idea most heartily. My chaperonage is always at your service, and any girl of your age in America would be delighted to avail herself of it.” “It is very kind of you, aunt,” Pamela replied, “but in a general way I finished with chaperons long ago.”
“Where is Jimmy?” Mrs. Hastings in-
“Ile was coming with us to-night,” Pamela explained, “but I asked him particularly to stay away. I have seen so little of Mr. Lutchester since he arrived, and I want to talk to him.”
The financial magnate awoke from a comatose inertia and suddenly gripped Lutchester by the hand.
“Lutchester,” he repeated to himself. “I thought I knew your face. Stayed with
your uncle down at Monte Carlo once. You came there for a week.”
Lutchester acknowledged his recollection of the fact and the two men exchanged a few commonplace remarks. Mrs. Hastings took the opportunity to try and induce Pamela to converse with Fischer.
“We have all been so interested tonight,” she said, “in hearing what Mr. Fischer has to say about the situation on the other side.”
Pamela was primed for combat.
“Has Mr. Fischer been telling you fairy tales?” she laughed.
“F'airy tales?” her aunt repeated severely. “I don’t understand.”
Fischer’s steel grey eyes flashed behind his spectacles.
“I’m afraid that Miss Van Teyl’s prejudices,” he observed bitterly, “are very firmly fixed.”
“Then she is no true American,” Mrs. Hastings pronounced didactically.
“Oh, I can assure you that I am not prejudiced,” Pamela declared, “only, you see, I, too, have just arrived from the other side, and I have been able to use my own eyes and judgment. If there is any prejudice in the matter, why should it not come from Mr. Fischer? He has the very good excuse of his German birth.”
“Mr. Fischer is an American citizen,” Mrs. Hastings reminded her niece, “and personally, I think that the American of German birth is one of the most loyal and long-suffering persons I know. I cannot say as much for the English people who are living over here. And as to fairy
Pamela intervened, turning towards Fischer with a little laugh.
“Oh, he can’t even deny those ! What about the great German victory in the North Sea, Mr. Fischer? Do you happen to have seen the latest telegrams?”
“Our first reports were perhaps a little too glowing,” Mr. Fischer acknowledged. “That, under the circumstances, is, I think, only natural. But the facts remain that the invincible English and the untried German fleets have met, to the advantage of the German.”
Pamela shook her head.
“I cannot even allow that,” she objected. “The advantage, if there was any, rested on the other side. But I just want you to remember what we were told in that first wonderful outpouring of fabricated news — that the naval supremacy of England was gone for ever, that the freedom of the seas was assured, that German merchant vessels were steaming home from all directions! No, Mr.
Fischer! Between ourselves, I think that your cause needs a few fairy stories, and I look upon you as one of the greatest experts in the world when it comes to concho c t i n g
Fischer, who had risen to his feet half way through Pamela’s speech, was obviously a little taken
aback by her direct attack. Mrs. Hastings took no pains to conceal her annoy-
“For a young girl of your age, Pamela,” she said sternly, “I consider that you express your opinions far too freely. Your attitude, too, is unjustifiable.”
“Ah, well, you see, I am a little prejudiced against Mr. Fischer,” Pamela laughed, turning towards him. “He happened to defeat one of my pet schemes."
“But I am ready to further your dearest one,” he reminded her, dropping his voice, and leading her a little on one side. “What about our alliance?”
“You scarcely need my aid,” she observed, with a shrug of her shoulders.
He remonstrated vigorously. There was a revived hopefulness in his tone. Perhaps, after all, here was the secret of her displeasure with him.
“You wonder, perhaps, to see me with your uncle. I give you my word that it is a dinner of courtesy only. I give you my word that I have not opened my lips on political matters. I have been waiting for your answer.”
"I have lost faith in you,” she told him calmly. “I am not even certain that you possess the authority you spoke of.”
“If that is all,” he replied eagerly, “you shall see it with your own eyes. You are staying with your uncle and aunt in Washington, are you not? I shall call upon you immediately I arrive, and bring it with me.”
“Well, that remains a challenge, then, Mr. Fischer.
And now, if you are quite ready,” she added, turning to Lutchester.
your ears burning?”
Pamela asked, after Lutchester had handed her into a taxicab and taken his place by her side. “I can absolutely feel them talking about us.”
“I seem to be most regrettably unpopular,” Lutchester remarked.
“Even now I am puzzled about that,” Pamela confessed, “but you see my aunt considers herself the arbitress of what is right or wrong in social matters, and she is exceedingly narrow-minded. In her eyes it is no doubt a greater misdemeanor for me to have dined at the Ritz-Carlton alone with you than if 1 had conspired against the Government.”
“And this, I thought, was the land of freedom for your sex!”
“Ah, but my aunt is rather an exception,” Pamela reminded him. “The one thing I cannot understand, however, is that she should have allowed herself to be seen dining with Mr. Oscar Fischer at the Ritz-Carlton. I should have thought that would have been almost as heinous to her as my own little slip from grace.” • “Is your aunt by way of being interested in politics?” Lutchester inquired.
“Not in a general way,” Pamela replied, “but she is intensely ambitious, and she’d give her soul if Uncle Theodore could get a nomination for the presidency.”
“Perhaps she is taking up the GermanAmerican cause, then," Lutchester sug-
gested. “It is a possible platform, at any
“I foresee a new party,” Pamela murmured thoughtfully. “Now I come to think of it, Mr. Elsworthy, the fat old gentleman who knew your uncle, is very pro-German.
He leaned towards her.
“We have had enough politics,” he insisted. “There is the other thing. Couldn’t I have my answer?”
She let him take her fingers. In the cool darkness through which they were rushing her face seemed white, her head was a little averted. He tried to draw her to him, but she was unyielding.
“Please not,” she begged. “I like you— and I’m glad I like you,” she added, “but I don’t feel certain about anything. Couldn’t we be just friends a little longer?”
“It must be as you say, but I am horribly in love with you,” he confessed. “That may sound rather a bald way of saying so, but it’s the truth, Pamela, dear.”
His clasp upon her fingers was tightened. She turned towards him. Her expression was serious but delightful.
“Well, let me tell you this much, at least,” she confided. “I have never before in my life been so glad to hear any one say so. . . . And here we are at home and there’s Jimmy on the doorstep. What is it, Jimmy?” she asked, waving her hand.
He came down towards her in a state -of great excitement.
“Say, we’ve had to open up the office again!” he exclaimed. “The telegrams are rolling in now. That so-called German naval victory was a fake. The Britishers came out right on top. You know you stand to net at least half a million, Mr. Lutchester? The worst of it is I have another client who’s going to lose it.”
Pamela shook her head at Lutchester.
“The possibility of increased responsibilities,” he whispered. “A married man needs something to fall back upon.”
THE offices of Messrs. Neville, Brooks and Van Teyl were the scene of something like pandemonium. Van Teyl himself, bathed in perspiration, rushed into his room for the twentieth time. He almost flung the newspaper man who was waiting for him through the door.
“No, we don’t know a darned thing,” he declared. “We’ve no special information. The only reason we’re up to our neck in Anglo-French is because we’ve two big clients dealing.”
“It’s just a few personal notes about those clients we’d like to handle.”
“Oh, get out as quick as you can!” Van Teyl snapped. “This isn’t a bucket shop or a pool room. The names of our clients concerns ourselves only.”
“What do you think Anglo-French are going to do, Mr. Van Teyl?”
“I carft tell,” was the prompt answer, “but I can tell what’s going to happen if you don’t clear out.”
The newspaper man took a hurried leave. Van Teyl seized the telephone receiver, only to put it down with a little shout of relief as the door opened and Lutchester entered.
“Thank God!” he exclaimed. “Why, I’ve been ringing you up for an hour and a half.”
“Sorry,” Lutchester replied, “I was down at the barber’s the first time you got through, and then I had some cables to send off.”
“Look here,” Van Teyl continued, grip-
ping him by the shoulder, “is six hundred and forty thousand dollars, or thereabout, profit enough for you on your Anglo-French?”
“It sounds adequate,” Lutchester confessed, laying his hat and cane carefully upon the table and drawing up an easychair. “How much is Mr. Fischer going to lose?”
“God knows! If you allow me to sell at the present moment, you’ll ease the market, and he’ll lose about what you
“And if I decide to hold my AngloFrench ?”
“You’ll have to provide us with about a couple of million dollars,” Van Teyl replied, “and I should think you would pretty well break Fischer for a time. Frankly, he’s an important client, and we don’t want him broken, even temporarily.”
“What do you want me to do, then?”
“Give us authority to sell,” Van Teyl begged. “Can’t you hear them yapping about in the office outside?” They’re round me all the time like a pack of hounds. Honestly, if I don’t sell some Anglo-French before lunch-time to-day, they look like wrecking the office.”
Lutchester knocked the end of a cigar-
SYNOPSIS: Capt. G/aham, an English officer, invents a new explosive of tremendous power and tells about it at a fashionable London restaurant in the hearing of a number of people, including John Lutchester, another Englishman; Pamela Van Teyl, an American girl; Oscar Fischer, a German-American, and Baron Sunyea, a Japanese. The formula disappears and Graham is murdered. Pamela Van Teyl returns to America on the same boat as Fischer and finds that he is sharing rooms in New York with her brother with a Japanese valet named Nikasti. The valet proves to be in the Japanese secret service and, believing Pamela to have the stolen formula, he tries to force it from her. She is rescued by Iyutchester, who has also journeyed to America. Fischer has James Van Teyl in his power and promises to release him if Pamela will give him the document. She gives him a document believing it to be the formula. Immediately Fischer and Baron Schwerin, a German envoy, give Nikasti a message to be delivered by him to the Japanese Emperor, proposing a secret treaty between the two countries. Lutchester takes the document by force from Nikasti and learns the contents. Fischer proves to be a member of a group of German-Americans plotting to prevent by violence the shipping of munitions from the United States to the Allies. He plots to have a gun-man kill Lutchester, but the attempt fails. Lutchester tells Pamela that the formula she took from Graham was not the right one.
ette thoughtfully against the side of his
“All right,” he decided, “I don’t want you to suffer any inconvenience. Besides, I am going to Washington this afternoon. You can keep on selling as long as the market’s steady. Directly it sags, hold off. If necessary, even buy a few more. You understand me? Don’t sell a single block under to-day’s price. Keep the market at that figure. It’s an easy job, because next week Anglo-French will go up
Van Teyl was moved to a rare flash of admiration.
“You’re a cool hand, Lutchester,” he declared, “considering you’re not a business man.”
“Fischer’s the man you’ll need to keep cool,” Lutchester remarked, lighting his cigarette. “What about a little lunch?”
THE stockbroker scarcely heard him.
He had struck a bell, and the office seemed suddenly tilled with clerks. Van Teyl’s words were incoherent—a string of strange directions, punctuated by slang which was, so far as Lutchester was concerned, unintelligible. The whole place seemed to wake into a clamor of telephone bells, slhouts, the clanging and opening of the lift gates, and the hurried tramp of footsteps in the corridors outside. Lutchester rose to his feet. He was looking very comfortable and matterof-fact in his grey tweed suit and soft felt hat.
“Perhaps,” he observed pleasantly, “I am out of place here. Drop me a line and let me know how things are going to the Hotel Capitol at Washington.” “That’s all right, Van Teyl promised. “I’ll get you on the long-distance ’phone. I was coming myself with Pamela for a few days, but this little deal of yours has set things buzzing. . . Say, who’s
The door opened and Fischer paused upon the threshold. Certainly, of all the people concerned, the two speculators themselves seemed the least moved by the excitement they were causing. Fischer was dressed with his usual spick-andspan neatness, and his appearance betrayed no sign of flurry or excitement. He nodded grimly to Lutchester.
“My congratulations,” he said. “You seem to have rigged the Press here to some purpose.”
Lutchester raised his eyebrows.
“I don’t even know a newspaper man in New York,” he declared.
The newcomer gave vent to a little gesture of derision.
“Then you’ve some very clever friends! You’d better make the most of their offices. The German version of the naval battle will be confirmed and amplified within twenty-four hours, and then your Anglo-French will touch mud.”
.“If that is your idea,” Lutchester remarked suavely, “why buy now? Why not wait till next week? Come,” he went on, “I will have a little flutter with you, if you like, Fischer. 1 will bet you five thousand dollars, and Van Tevl here shall hold the stakes, that a week hence to-day Anglo-French stand higher than they do at this moment.”
Fischer hesitated. Then he turned
“I am not a sportsman, Mr. Lutchester,” he said.
Lutchester brushed away a little dust from his coat sleeve.
“No,” he murmured, “I agree with you. Good-morning!” . . .
Lutchester walked out into the sun-
Continued on page 96
Continued from page 28
baked streets, and with his absence Fischer abandoned his almost unnatural calm. He strode up and down the room, fuming with rage. At every fresh click of the tape machine, he snatched at the printed slip eagerly and threw it away with an oath. No one took any notice of him. Van Teyl rushed in and out, telephones clanged, perspiring clerks dashed in with copies of contracts to add to the small pile upon the desk. There came a quiet moment presently. Van Teyl wiped the perspiration from his forehead and drank a tumblerful of water.
“Fischer,” he asked, “what made you go into this so big? You must have known there was always the risk of your wireless report beating it up a little too tall.”
“It wasn’t our report at all that I went by,” Fischer confessed gloomily. “It was the English Admiralty announcement that did it. Can you conceive,” he went on, striking the table with his fists, “any nation at war, with a grain of commonsense or an ounce of self-respect, issuing a statement like that?—an apology for a defeat which, damn it all, never happened! Say the thing was a drawn battle, which is about what it really was. It didn’t suit the Germans to fight it to a finish. They’d everything to lose and little to gain. So in effect they left the Britishers there and passed back behind their own mine fields. So far as regards reports, that was victory enough for any one except those muddle-headed civilians at Whitehall. They deceived the world with that infernal bulletin,-and incidentally me. It was on that statement I gave you my orders, not on ours.” “It’s a damned unfortunate business!” Van Teyl sighed. “You’re only half way out yet, and it’s cost your nearly three hundred thousand.”
A dull spot of purple color burned in Fischer’s cheeks. His upper lip was drawn in, his appearance for a moment was repulsive.
“It isn’t the money I mind,” he muttered. “It’s Lutchester.”
Van Teyl was discreetly silent. Fischer seemed to read his thoughts. He leaned across the table.
“A wonderful feliow, your friend Lutchester,” he sneered. “An Admirable Crichton of finance and diplomacy and love-making, eh? But the end isn’‘t just yet. I promise you one thing, James Van Teyl. He is going to marry your sister.” “I’d a damned sight sooner she married him than you!” Van Teyl blazed out.
Fischer was taken aback. He had held for so long the upper hand with
this young man that for the moment ft had forgotten that circumstances wen changed between them. Van Teyl ros* to his feet. The bonds of the last few’ months had snapped. He spoke like *». free man.
“Look here, F’ischer,” he said, “you’ve had me practically in your power for the 6est part of a year, but now I’m through with you. I’m out of your debt, no thanks to you, and I’m going to keep out I am working on your business as hará as though you were my own brother, anS I’ll go on doing it. I’ll get you out of this mess as well as I can, and after th¡« you can take your damned business wheS you please.”
“So that’s it, is it?” Fischer scoffedu “A rich brother-in-law coming alon¿ eh? . . . No, don’t do that,” stepping quickly backwards as Van Teyl’s fist shi
“Then keep my sister’s name out of th conversation,” Van Teyl insisted. “If yon are wise, you’ll clear out altogethi They’re at it again.”
Fischer, however, glanced at the cloi and remained. At the next lull, he hun down the tape and turnedto his con panion.
“Say, there’s no use quarrellin James,” he declared. “I’m going to leai you to it now. Guess I said a little mo: than I meant to, but I tell you I hate th; fellow Lutchester. I hate him just té) though I were the typical German and he were the typical Britisher, and ther was nothing but a sea of hate between us. Shake hands, Jim.”
Van Teyl obeyed without enthusiasm Fischer drew a chair to the table a® wrote out a cheque, which he passât across.
“I’ll drop into the bank and let then know about this,” he said. “You cai make up accounts and let me hear hot the balance stands. I’ll wipe it out b; return, whatever it is.”
Fischer passed out of the offices a te\ minutes later, followed by many curiou eyes, and stepped into his automobil! A young man who had brushed againî him pushed a note into his hand. Fischei opened it as his car swung slowly throug: the traffic:—
Guard» at all Connecticut factories doubled. O’lLigan caught last night in precincts of small arms factory. Was taken alive, diâoheying orders. Be careful.
Fischer tore the note into small piece His face was grimmer than ever as h leaned back amongst the cushions. Thei were evil things awaiting him outslc Wall Street.
To be continued.
War is making bare the world's cupboard - ; the granaries are being emptied; the flocks thinned, the herds butchered, the mines scraped. War is making everything dear except human life; the destructive monster is consuming more food essentials than it is producing. Want follows hard in the ivalce of the chariot, wheels of Mars, anil the whole world is threatened with hunger, the menace of which will hemme greater with the prolongation of hostilities. Victory will go to the combatants who are best fed and nourished. The food question is now paramount.