Page images

them to assume any undue ness. It was she who introfamiliarity. At the oraok of duoed him to me. Without doom I am sure he will still be her help I doubt if we should the same as ever, smart and have become friends, for he cool and very respectful. hated strangers, and invariably

Daring the first three days sprang at them with a roar, M'Tavish was with us, he almost throttling himself at proved a godsend in dealing the limit of bis chain in his with visitors. He soon learned efforts to get at them. But to keep the nationalities of once he understood that we our oallers unmixed; to usher were the sort of people he into the library the grave and ought to know, he became reverend signor with details of quite oommunioative. In fact, Armenian atrocities while the he roared lustily whenever he Turkish politioian was offered Baw us, until pacified with cigarettes in the drawing-room, plum jam. Personally, my the young Greek temporarily attentions were confined to hidden in my bedroom, and the offering him delicacies with Boally wag with Persian long distant respect at the end of & dogs to sell entertained in the walking-stiok. I never came kitohen. We should have been nearer, because, in spite of his lost without him, for he also affeotionate demeanour, his did our cooking. (Inoidentally, long forearms and long olaws we rarely had time for meals !) inspired


with distrust, He had not been with as a and reminded me of the old day before he had made Pathan story of Prince Charm

had friends with the local Turkish ing and the Faithful Bear, police, so that in the early who killed his master by morning he was to be seen mistake. going out with a big pannier Of the trio who actually obander his arm, accompanied by tained the car for us-or stole the minions of the law to help it, to oall a spade a spade him in his marketing. By. -I need only say that the sheer personality he had Profiteer - like

all changed his whilom captors ful bandits-had a good deal into zealous ciceroni. One of of personal charm. He liked the bull-dog breed.

good company, liqueurs, and As to the bear, he lived in funny stories. His word was our baok garden, and his as good as his bond-in fact it mistress was & girl in & had to be, because his transtravelling cirous, who came actions could not be written to feed him twice a day. He down. A gang of spies were was quite devoted to her, and at his beok-oringing youths it was a touching sight to see who used to slink up to him

ap him whimpering and licking in the restaurants with reports her boots when they met in of how the sugar swindle was the morning. In her presence going at Sirkedji, or whether his ferocious expression melted there were any oil barges in to a look of ineffable tender- the Bosphorus which could be

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]





wangled into his depot for interesting and perhaps an anstolen goods. He was never common type of villain. He without a wad of bank notes, W&B & "good - looker," tall, and dispensed largesse liberally blond, gentle - spoken, with a to his henchmen, of whom dreamy gaze that belied his Franoesoo was the chief. This cold and saloulating brain.

. Francesco

ourious The things he had done were hybrid creature, with no sav. inoredible, and of course ing grace except the gift of unprintable. However, bis tongues. No country owned morals him, and no one could have business. According to his ever loved him. There seemed philosophy, each man was for

. no light of humanity in his himself in those days of bleary eyes. Nothing but the “Deutschland unter Alles," and

” sight of gold could kindle Rudolph didn't wait for the them. During the war he devil to help him, but helped had been working for the himself liberally and secretly Austrians, and had aoquired to anything he could lay his an Austrian soldier's uniform, well-manicured bands on. By which helped him in his enter- day he dressed in German priges. He it was who, in aniform, and nosed out all oonsultation with the Profiteer, stealable stores. By night, put us in touch with Rudolph. in civilian clothes, he grinned

Rudolph was quite an im- like a dog and ran about the portant personage in the city, selling himself and bis ill. under-world, and his services gotten knowledge to the highwould not have been enlisted est bidder.

A sinister had we not laid stress on the creature. value of speed in procuring The plot was hatohed in a

oafé at Galata, over a bottle If you like to wait, I oan of Kirsch. We talked in get you an automobile for a Frenob. Various possibilities ten-pound note as a personal were discussed, and various friend,” the Profiteer Profiteer had impossibilities, such

88 hosgaid.

pital limousines and motorBut we had declined this lorries, but we refused to be offer with an inward shudder. drawn into details. If 8 We wanted the machine at decent car was brought to onoe, not at all. So our door that night, we would Rudolph was sent for. His pay from £50 to £200 for it, fees would be heavy, for he in British gold, immediately. was the leading consultant As an earnest of our intenin the city for affairs of this tions, I produced a bag of nature. But he would “de- sovereigns, and letting & liver the goods." He was a jingle of gold slip through German sergeant.

my fingers, I felt that I was We awaited his arrival with weaving one of the most resome ouriosity, and I was not sistless spells in all the world. disappointed, for he was an That bag held stuff for orimes


the oar.


[ocr errors]

and treagons untold. A motor- was still. It was a lull before oar was child's play for its the olimax, in the affairs of latent power. I pushed across nature as in the affairs of men. a sovereign each to Francesoo The fierce factions and the and to Rudolph. The Profiteer plots that had been brewing was too big a man to tip. In were soon to be aborted or fact, we let him pay for the succeed. The present state of Kirsch. Nothing definite was things could not continue. deoided when we left to at. Talaat, Enver, and Djemal tend to other matters, but had just escaped, and more our tigers had tasted blood malefactors would probably -in other words, they had escape that night, before retriseen our sovereigns- and we bution overtook them. Yet felt sure that they would re- the day of reckoning was elose turn for more. It was not -olose as the clouds that until ten o’olook that night blanketed the city. And the that we got baok to our muffled drums of cloudland house. Various callers had were symbols of the pulse of oome, and had been dealt fear that beat in the streets with taotfully and firmly by below, where men whispered M'Tavish. An Armenian together. priest had left a budget of We waited patiently, disatrooities, terror piled on oussing the chances of Franterror. Another Armenian oesoo's return, And if he had presented with

a came, would it be only to talk translation of Turkish and talk ? Or would be bring artiole, and the names of the car ? the journalists who

The front door bell rang.

I engaged during the war in unbarred the door. Out of the ad vooating severities against darkness a voice declaredour prisoners. A boxer friend “I have come !" of mine had called. But one “Why don't you come in ?" visitor, anknown to M'Tavish, Are


alone ?" and mistrusted by him, had “Of course we are. wanted to wait our return, but ourselves." and was dissuaded with diffi- What's the matter with oulty, for he was in a high you, Francesco ?” I asked, state of excitement. A gentle- when he had orept into the hall man with watery eyes. Fran- like a whipped bitoh : "is there 00800. Undoubtedly Francesco. anything wrong?” He was to come again at ten He mopped his forehead and o'clook, and he was already watched me bar the door again late.

before replying. The half-hour struok, and "I was being followed.” there was still no sign of him. We took him to the safety We gent M‘Tavish to bed. of the study, gave him two

Constantinople lay under a fingers of ration thunderstorm that night. The waited for his story. air was stagnant. The oity “Rudolph has stolen General

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

No one

rum, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Liman von Sanders' oar,” he by the gate-keeper, who ensaid.

tered the time it went out Wewerenot vastlyimpressed. and the time it came back, but

“Where is it?" asked my beyond this formality there friend soeptically.

would be few questions asked. “How much do you want for Francesco was to wait outside, it?” I added.

to show Rudolph the way to “It's close by, with the our house. engine running, so that Ru- Matters marched according dolph won't get oaught. You to plan. Francesco waited by oan have it for a thousand Taxim Gardens, and presently pounds.

Rudolph appeared with no " Fiddlestioks," said my lights burning (for he had net friend, or words to that effeot. had time to adjust the acety.

“It might be worth fiftylene) at the wheel of a superpounds," I said, “ if you bring lative Mercedes. He had had it here for us to see."

no diffioulty at all. In fact, “ We could sell it for a at the park he had found & thousand on the market any Greek civilian who was trying day,” said Franoesoo.

to bribe one of the attendants “Then sell it on the mar- to let him steal a car. Rodolph, ket," I said: “there is no good who was in uniform, affected bringing it here if you want to be highly indignant, and that price.”

"touched” this Greek for five “But-we don't know where pounds. Then he went straight to put it for the night. You to the General's cars, and see, I

followed. I choosing the fifty-sixty Merdaren't

cedes, with open touring-body, A thunder-olap made Fran- he started it up. A mechanio 00800 jump, and we saw that asked him where he was going, his nerve was really shaken, and Rudolph replied by asking After we had given him some the mechanio what business it more rum, he told his story. was of his ? He could ask the

They had heard that after. Unteroffizier in oharge, if he noon, he said, that the German wanted to know. At the Commander-in-Chief's chauf- entrance the Unteroffizier feur bad bolted from the (Rudolph's friend aforesaid) Headquarters Park, leaving romarked that it seemed likely his oars unattended. Of course to be a dirty night. Nothing there were other chauffeurs on more. No question as to where duty, but Rudolph, who knew he was going. To avoid diffithe sergeant in charge, said it oulties, however, and leave the would be quite feasible to go ground open for future busiinto the park, start up the car, , Radolph proposed to and trust to lack, and dark- return next day to forge an ness and disorder at the camp, entry in the gate - keeper's to get clear Away. Each book, to show that the ear vehiole that went out had had been duly returned. So to be registered in a journal far so very good. They bad


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


the car and Rudolph had five “ Considering everything," pounds.

he continued, glanoing out of But the unexpeoted hap- the window,"considering the pened, as the unexpected will. time of night and the weather, In the Grand Rue de Pera and—and the polioy of small they were stopped by a German profits and quiok returns, I'll patrol who asked why their take three hundred pounds in headlights were not burning. gold, not a penny loss." Radolph was starting to ex- My accomplice looked at me plain, when-as I gathered the through the bottom of his

Ι story-Franoesoo got fright- glass, and we understood each oned and bolted. He didn't other. admit, of course, that he had “Go and get the car," he acted the oraven, but we in- said, “and then we can talk ferred as much. The Germans, about the prioe." he said, had started asking " Leave her at our baek awkward questions—who he door,” I echoed, "and your was—why he was travelling fortuno's made.” in the General's par-where Franoesoo stumbled out into were his papers ? But some- the ball while I struok matches how other, with some to light his way. We went unexplained and unimagined through the dining-room and lie, Rudolph_had got away down the steps into the flooded and passed Francesco farther garden. Meanwhile, anseen by down the street. He was now

us through the rain and unhiding in a by-way. Fran- heard by 08 owing to the 08800 could easily find him, sloshing from the eaves, my but where was the oar to be partner was feeding marmabrought? Had we a garage lade to the bear to keep him for it ?

quiet. “We are not going to be Unbarring the heavy beams mixed up in all this business," from the garden door, I sent I said ;

we want a motor-oar, Francesco out into the night, and are willing to pay you for as Noah sent the dove. Then it. Where it oame from is not we returned and dried ourour business: where we put it selves and disoussed the situais not yours.

All you have tion. What would Francesco to do is to deliver it: we'll de, slinking about in this wellook after the rest."

ter of the elements? Would “Bat I daren't go out into he find the Mercedes ? And the street. The German police if it was found and brought are shadowing me."

to us, how muoh would it “You oan go by the back be worth? On & night like way," we suggested.

this would it be possible to This seemed an excellent judge, even roughly, of its idea to Franco860, and we gave condition? him some more rum.

I went apstairs to get & “We'll bring the oar to your cost, and looked out of the baok door," he said.

window. The wind had come, VOL, CCVII, NO, MCCLVI.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »