NATALIE SUMNER LINCOLN
_To MRS. SARAH VAIL GOULD my grandmother to whose affection belongs many
joyous days of childhood at "Oaklands" this book is offered as a loving
tribute to her memory._
I. AT VICTORIA STATION
II. OUT OF THE VOID
III. POWERS THAT PREY
IV. "SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT?"
V. AN EVENTFUL EVENING
VI. AT THE CAPITOL
VII. PHANTOM WIRES
VIII. KAISER BLUMEN
IX. THE SPIDER AND THE FLY
X. SISTERS IN UNITY
XI. A MAN IN A HURRY
XII. A SINISTER DISCOVERY
XIII. HIDE AND SEEK
XIV. A QUESTION OF LOYALTY
XV. THE GAME "I SPY"
XVI. AT THE MORGUE
XVII. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
XVIII. A PROPOSAL
XIX. THE YELLOW STREAK
XX. THE AWAKENING
XXI. THE FINGER PRINT
XXII. "TRENTON HURRY"
XXIII. IN FULL CRY
XXIV. RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
XXV. LOVE PARAMOUNT
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"He saw Kathleen quickly palm his place card"
"As Henry pushed back the door she collapsed into her father's arms"
"'A flash the rifle's recoil--and Mr. Whitney still standing just
where he was'"
"Whitney paused to snatch up a magnifying glass and by its aid examined
the finger prints"
AT VICTORIA STATION
The allied forces English and French had been bent backward day by day
until it seemed as if Paris was fairly within the Germans' grasp. Bent
indeed but never broken and with the turning of the tide the Allied
line had rushed forward and France breathed again.
Two men seated in a room of the United Service Club in London one gloomy
afternoon in November 1914 talked over the situation in tones too low
to reach other ears. The older man Sir Percival Hargraves had been
bemoaning the fact that England seemed honeycombed by the German Secret
Service and his nephew John Hargraves an officer in uniform was
attempting to reassure him. It was a farewell meeting for the young
officer was returning to the front.
"Much good will all this espionage do the Germans" said the young man.
"We are easily holding our own and with the spring will probably come
our opportunity." He clicked his teeth together. "What price then all
these suspected plots and futile intrigues?"
"Don't be so damned cocksure" rapped out his uncle his exasperation
showing in heightened color and snapping eyes. "It's that same
cocksureness which has almost brought the British Empire to the very
brink of dissolution."
His nephew smiled tolerantly and shifted his thickset figure to a more
"Now now" he cautioned. "Remember what old Sawbones told you yesterday
about not exciting yourself. Said you weren't to read or talk about this
bally old war. Leave the worrying to Kitchener; he'll see we chaps do
"If everything were left to Kitchener!" Sir Percival thumped the arm of
his chair. "Some of us would sleep easier in our beds. And I know you
chaps at the front will do your part. Would to God I could be with you!"
glancing at his shrunken and useless left leg. "If I could only take a
pot at the beggars!"
"According to your belief the firing line will shortly be on English
soil" chaffed his nephew avoiding looking at his companion. He knew the
tragic circumstances surrounding his uncle's maimed condition and wished
to avoid anything touching upon sentiment.
"If the plans to undermine England's home government are perfected and
carried out every man woman and child will have to band together to
repel invasion." Sir Percival lowered his voice. "If there are any
able-bodied men left here."
"Don't be so pessimistic. Kitchener has built up a great army and is
only waiting the proper moment to launch it in the field."
"The best of England has volunteered" agreed Sir Percival "but what
about the slackers? What about the coal strikes--the trouble in our
munition factories? All are chargeable to the Kaiser's war machine which
overlooks nothing in its complete preparedness. Preparedness--England
doesn't yet know the meaning of the word."
"It's time for me to leave" said the young officer consulting his
watch. "Take my word for it Uncle we're not going to the demnition
bowwows--count on England's bulldog grit. God help Germany when the
Allies get into that country!"
"When--ah when?" echoed Sir Percival. "I hope that I live to see the
day. Tell me boy" his voice softening "how is it with you and Molly?"
His nephew reddened under his tan. "Molly doesn't care for a chap like
me" he muttered.
"Did she tell you so?"
"Well no. You see Uncle it--eh--doesn't seem the thing to suggest
that a charming girl like Molly tie herself to a fellow who may get his
at any time."
"Piffle!" Sir Percival's shaggy eyebrows met in a frown. "Sentimental
nonsense! You and Molly were great chums a year ago. You told me yourself
that you hoped to marry her; I even spoke to her mother about the
suitability of the match."
"You had no right to" blazed his nephew. "It was damned impertinent
"You have not always thought so" retorted Sir Percival bitterly. "What
had that most impertinent American girl you met in Germany to do with
your change of front toward Molly?"
"I must insist that you speak more respectfully of Kathleen." John
Hargraves' expression altered. "If you must know I asked Kathleen to
marry me and--she refused."
"I said she was impertinent. All Americans are; they don't know any
better" fumed his uncle. "Forget her John; think of Molly. I tell you
the child loves you. Don't wreck her happiness for the sake of a
"Fleeting fancy?" John Hargraves shook his head sorrowfully. "When
Kathleen refused me I was hard hit; so hit I can't marry any other girl.
Don't let's talk of it." He smiled wistfully as he held out his hand.
"Time's up Uncle; the train leaves in an hour and I must get my kit.
Good-by sir. Wish me luck." And before the older man could stop him he
was retreating down the hall.
Sir Percival stared vacantly about the room. "The last of his race" he
muttered. "God help England! The toll is heavy."
In spite of his haste John Hargraves was late in reaching Victoria
Station and had barely time to take his place before the train pulled
slowly out. As he looked down the long trainshed he encountered the
fixed stare of a tall well-groomed man standing near one of the pillars.
Hargraves looked and looked again; then his hand flew up and leaning
far out of his compartment he shouted to a porter. But his message was
lost in the roar of the more rapidly moving train and the porter
shaking a bewildered head turned back.
The crowd of women and children and a few men which had gathered to
witness the troop train's departure was silently dispersing when an
obsequious porter approached the tall stranger whose appearance had so
excited John Hargraves.
"Ye keb's out 'ere sir" he said. "This way sir" and as the stranger
made no move to follow him he leaned forward and lifted the latter's top
coat from his arm. "Let me carry this 'ere for you gov'ner" then in a
whisper that none could overhear he said in German: "For your life
"Go on" directed the stranger in English pausing to adjust his cravat
and made his leisurely way after the hurrying porter. The latter stopped
finally by the side of a somewhat battered-looking limousine.
"'Ere ye are sir" announced the porter not waiting for the
chauffeur to pull open the door. "I most amissed ye" he rattled on.
"Kotched the keb sir an' tucked yer boxes inside then I looked for
ye at the bookin' office 'cording to directions. Let me tuck this
'ere laprobe over ye."
As the stranger stepped into the limousine and seated himself the porter
clambered in after him.
"They're on" he whispered his freckles showing plainly against his
white face. "The chauffeur is one of us he'll take you straight to our
landing. This packet's for you. Good luck!" And pocketing the sovereign
offered the porter voicing loud thanks backed from the limousine and
slammed the door shut.
The outskirts of London were reached before the man in the limousine
opened the slip of paper thrust into his hand by the porter. It was
wrapped about a small electric torch and a book of cigarette papers.
Slowly he read the German script in the note.
Be at the rendezvous by Thursday. Hans the chauffeur has full
directions. Do not miss the seventeenth.
After rereading the contents of the note the man tore it into tiny bits
and not content with that stuffed them among the tobacco in his pipe.
Striking a match he lighted his pipe and planting his feet on the bag he
gazed long and earnestly at his initials stamped on the much labeled
buckskin. The slowing up of the limousine aroused him from his
meditations and he glanced out of the window to see which way they were
headed. London the metropolis of the civilized world lay behind him.
Catching his chauffeur's backward glance he signaled him to continue
onward as removing his pipe he muttered:
"_Gott strafe England_!"
OUT OF THE VOID
Slowly the sullen roar of artillery the rattle of Maxims and rifles
sank fitfully away. A tall raw-boned major of artillery stretched his
cramped limbs in the observation station paused to look with callous
eyes over the devastated fields before him then sought the trench.
Earlier in the day the Allies had been shelled out of an advance position
by the enemy and had fallen back on the entrenchments.
"Devilish hot stuff shrapnel" commented a brother officer as Major
Seymour stopped at his side.
The Major nodded absently and without further reply advanced a few paces
to meet an ammunition corporal who was obviously seeking him. "Well?" he
demanded as the non-commissioned officer saluted.
"Only twenty rounds left Major." The Corporal lowered his voice.
"Captain Hargraves sent word to rush reinforcements here as soon as it is
Major Seymour glanced with unconcealed impatience at his wrist watch.
God! Would night never come!
"Can't we get our wounded to the base hospital Major?" asked a
younger officer. He had only joined the unit thirty-six hours before
and while he had faced the baptism of fire gallantly the ghastly
carnage about him shook his nerve. He was not fed up with horrors as
were his brother officers.
"The wounded would stand small chance of reaching safety if the German
gunners sighted them. They must wait for darkness" replied Seymour.
"Here take a pull at my flask. Got potted yourself didn't you?"
noticing a thin stream of blood trickling down his companion's sleeve.
"Only a flesh wound--of no moment" protested the young man flushing at
the thought that his commanding officer might have misunderstood his
question. "I'm afraid Captain Hargraves is in a bad way."
"Hargraves!" The Major spun on his heel. "Where is he?"
"This way sir" and the Lieutenant led him past groups of men and
officers. It was an appalling scene of desolation. The approach of night
had brought a slight drizzling rain and the ground pitted with shell
holes was slimy with wet greasy mud. Nearly all the trees in the
vicinity were blasted as if by lightning and along the right hand side
of the road was a line of A.S.S. carts and limbers blown to pieces. One
horse completely disemboweled lay on his back the inside arch of his
ribs plainly showing. His leader was a mass of entrails lying about and
on the other side lay four or five more one with a foreleg blown clear
off at the shoulder one minus a head. A half-dozen motor cycles and over
a dozen push bikes lay in the mud with some unrecognizable shapes that
had been riding them. Between the advance trenches in No Man's Land the
ground was thickly strewn with corpses of Scotties killed in the charge.
"The Huns had us cold as to range" volunteered the Lieutenant loss
of blood and reaction from excitement loosening his tongue. "They
outed five guns complete with detachments by direct hits. Here we are
sir" and he paused near a demolished gun emplacement. The ground
about was a shambles.
Major Seymour stepped up to one of the figures lying upon the ground
a mud-incrusted coat thrown over his legs. Several privates who had
been rendering what assistance they could moved aside on the
approach of their superior officers. Hargraves opened his eyes as
Seymour knelt by him.
"My number's up" he whispered and the game smile which twisted his
white lips was pitiful.
"Nonsense." Seymour's gruff tone concealed emotion. Hargraves' face
betrayed death's indelible sign. "You'll pull through once you're back
at the hospital."
Hargraves shook his head; he realized the futility of argument.
"Have you pencil and paper?" he asked.
"Yes." Seymour drew out his despatch book and removed a page. "What is
it John?" But some minutes passed before his question received an
answer and Hargraves' voice was noticeably weaker as he dictated:
I saw Karl in London at Victoria Station. I swear it was he ... warn
Uncle ... Kathleen ... Kathleen ...
There was a long silence; then Seymour laid aside the unneeded brandy
flask and slowly rose to his feet. He mechanically folded the scrap of
paper but before slipping it inside his pocket the blank side arrested
"Heavens! John never gave me her address or last name. Who is Kathleen?"
More shaken than he was willing to confess even to himself by the loss
of his pal he stared bitterly across the battlefield toward the enemy's
lines. How cheerily Hargraves had greeted him that morning on his return
from a week's furlough in England! How glad he had been to rejoin the
unit and be once again with his comrades on the firing line! A gallant
spirit had passed to the Great Beyond.
Back in his observation station Major Seymour an hour later viewed the
gathering darkness with satisfaction. Two hours more and it would be
difficult to see a hand before one's face. Undoubtedly the sorely needed
ammunition and reserves would reach the trenches in time and the wounded
could be safely transferred to the base hospital. The Allies' line had
held and in spite of their desperate assaults the Germans had been
unable to find a vulnerable spot.
Seymour passed his hand over his eyes. Against the darkness his fevered
imagination pictured advancing "gray phantoms." "They come like demons
from the hell they have created" he muttered. "I hope to God they
don't use 'starlights' over our trenches tonight. Flesh and blood can
stand no more."
The darkness grew denser and more dense. In the long battle front of the
Allies no sentinel saw a powerful Aviatik biplane glide over the trenches
and fly onward toward its goal. Several times the airman inspected his
phosphorescent compass and map each time thereafter altering his course.
Finally making a sign to his observer he planed to a lower level and
satisfied that he had reached the proper distance a bomb was released.
Down through the black void the infernal machine sped. A sickening
pause--then a deafening detonation followed by another and another cut
the stillness and the earth beneath was aflame with light as the high
explosives and shells stored in the concealed ammunition depot were set
off. Nothing escaped destruction; flesh and blood mortar and brick went
skyward together and a great gash in the earth was all that was left to
tell the story of the enemy's successful raid.
From a safe height the German airman and his observer watched their
handiwork. Suddenly the latter caught sight of an aeroplane winging its
way toward them.
"Bauerschreck!" he shouted and the airman followed his pointed finger.
Instantly under his skillful manipulation their biplane climbed into the
air in long graceful spirals until they were six thousand feet above
ground. But as fast as they went their heavier Aviatik was no match in
speed for the swift French aeroplane and the bullets from the latter's
machine gun were soon uncomfortably near.
The German airman's face was set in grim lines as he maneuvered his
biplane close to his pursuer and dodging and twisting in sharp dips and
curves spoiled the aim of the Frenchman at the machine gun while his
own revolver and that of his observer kept up a continuous fusillade.
For twenty minutes the unequal fight continued. It could not last much
longer. Despair pulled at the German's heartstrings as he saw his
observer topple for a moment in his seat then pitch forward into space.
The biplane tipped dangerously righted itself and sped like a homing
pigeon in the direction of the German lines. There was nothing left but
to fly for it. The German dared not look behind; only by the mercy of God
were the Frenchman's shots going wild. It could not last; he must get the
range. Surely surely they were past the last of the Allies' trenches?
The German turned and fired his revolver desperately at his pursuers.
Glory to God! one of his bullets punctured the latter's gasoline tank. It
must be so--the French aeroplane was apparently making a forced landing.
The shout on the German's lips was checked by a stinging sensation in his
right side. The Frenchman had his range at last.
Almost simultaneously his machine turned completely over. With groping
desperate fingers the German strove to gain control over the levels and
right himself. In vain--and as he started in the downward rush the
hurrying wind carried the frenzied whisper:
"The cross dear God the cross!"
POWERS THAT PREY
Not far as the crow flies from the scene of the German airman's
catastrophe but with its presence hidden from general knowledge was
the Grosses Hauptquartier the pulsing heart and brain of the Imperial
fighting forces. Vigilant sentries patrolled the park leading from the
chateau commandeered for the use of the War Lord and his entourage to
the quarters of the Great General Staff. In a secluded room of the
latter building a dozen men sat in conference about a table littered
with papers; they had been there since early evening but no man
permitted his glance to stray to the dial of a library clock whose hands
were gradually approaching two o'clock. Truly the chiefs of the
divisions were tireless toilers.
The Herr Chief of the Great General Staff was emphasizing his remarks