City of Endless Night
Part 5 out of 5
character of Jesus be explained. His was the case of a dual personality
of conflicting inheritance. One day he would say: 'Lay up for yourself
treasures'--that was the Jewish blood speaking. The next day he would
say: 'I come to bring a sword'--that was the noble German blood of a
Teutonic ancestor. It is logical, it must be true, for it was reasoned
out by one of our most rational professors."
The Countess yawned; Marguerite sat silent with troubled brows; Dr.
Ludwig Zimmern gazed abstractedly toward the cold electric imitation of
a fire, above which on a mantle stood two casts, diminutive
reproductions of the figures beside the door of the Emperor's palace,
the one the likeness of William the Great, the other the Statue of the
German God. But I was thinking of the news I had heard that afternoon
from my Ore Chief--that Captain Grauble's vessel had returned to Berlin.
IN WHICH A WOMAN ACCUSES ME OF MURDER AND
I PLACE A RUBY NECKLACE ABOUT HER THROAT
Anxious to renew my acquaintance with Captain Grauble at the earliest
opportunity, I sent my social secretary to invite him to meet me for a
dinner engagement in one of the popular halls of the Free Level.
When I reached the dining hall I found Captain Grauble awaiting me. But
he was not alone. Seated with him were two girls and so strange a
picture of contrast I had never seen. The girl on his right was an
extreme example of the prevailing blonde type. Her pinkish white skin
seemed transparent, her eyes were the palest blue and her hair was
bright yet pale gold. About her neck was a chain of blue stones linked
with platinum. She was dressed in a mottled gown of light blue and gold,
and so subtly blended were the colours that she and her gown seemed to
be part of the same created thing. But on Grauble's left sat a woman
whose gown was flashing crimson slashed with jetty black. Her skin was
white with a positive whiteness of rare marble and her cheeks and lips
flamed with blood's own red. The sheen of her hair was that of a raven's
wing, and her eyes scintillated with the blackness of polished jade.
The pale girl, whom Grauble introduced as Elsa, languidly reached up her
pink fingers for me to kiss and then sank back, eyeing me with mild
curiosity. But as I now turned to be presented to the other, I saw the
black-eyed beauty shrink and cower in an uncanny terror. Grauble again
repeated my name and then the name of the girl, and I, too, started in
fear, for the name he pronounced was "Katrina" and there flashed before
my vision the page from the diary that I had first read in the dank
chamber of the potash mine. In my memory's vision the words flamed and
shouted: "In no other woman have I seen such a blackness of hair and
eyes, combined with such a whiteness of skin."
The girl before me gave no sign of recognition, but only gripped the
table and pierced me with the stare of her beady eyes. Nervously I sank
into a seat. Grauble, standing over the girl, looked down at her in
angry amazement. "What ails you?" he said roughly, shaking her by
But the girl did not answer him and annoyed and bewildered, he sat down.
For some moments no one spoke, and even the pale Elsa leaned forward and
seemed to quiver with excitement.
Then the girl, Katrina, slowly rose from her chair. "Who are you?" she
demanded, in a hoarse, guttural voice, still gazing at me with
I did not answer, and Grauble again reached over and gripped the girl's
arm. "I told you who he was," he said. "He is Herr Karl von Armstadt of
the Chemical Staff."
But, the girl did not sit down and continued to stare at me. Then she
raised a trembling hand and, pointing an accusing finger at me, she
cried in a piercing voice:
"You are not Karl Armstadt, but an impostor posing as Karl Armstadt!"
We were located in a well-filled dancing café, and the tragic voice of
the accuser brought a crowd of curious people about our table. Captain
Grauble waved them back. As they pushed forward again, a street guard
elbowed in, brandishing his aluminum club and asking the cause of the
commotion. The bystanders indicated Katrina and the guard, edging up,
gripped her arm and demanded an explanation.
Katrina repeated her accusation.
"Evidently," suggested Grauble, "she has known another man of the same
name, and meeting Herr von Armstadt has recalled some tragic memory."
"Perhaps," said the guard politely, "if the gentleman would show the
young lady his identification folder, she would be convinced of
For a moment I hesitated, realizing full well what an inquiry might
"No," I said, "I do not feel that it is necessary."
"He is afraid to show it," screamed the girl. "I tell you he is trying
to pass for Armstadt but he is some one else. He looks like Karl
Armstadt and at first I thought he was Karl Armstadt, but I know he
I looked swiftly at the surrounding faces, and saw upon them suspicion
and accusation. "There may be something wrong," said a man in a military
uniform, "otherwise why should the gentleman of the staff hesitate to
show his folder?"
"Very well," I said, pulling out my folder.
The guard glanced at it. "It seems to be all right," he said, addressing
the group about the table; "now will you kindly resume your seats and
not embarrass these gentlemen with your idle curiosity?"
"Let me see the folder!" cried Katrina.
"Pardon," said the guard to me, "but I see no harm," and he handed her
She glanced over it with feverish haste.
"Are you satisfied now?" questioned the guard.
"Yes," hissed the black-eyed girl; "I am satisfied that this is Karl
Armstadt's folder. I know every word of it, but I tell you that the man
who carries it now is not the real Karl Armstadt." And then she wheeled
upon me and screamed, "You are not Karl Armstadt, Karl Armstadt is dead,
and you have murdered him!"
In an instant the café was in an uproar. Men in a hundred types of
uniform crowded forward; small women, rainbow-garbed, stood on the
chairs and peered over taller heads of ponderous sisters of the labour
caste. Grauble again waved back the crowd and the guard brandished his
club threateningly toward some of the more inquisitive daughters
When the crowd had fallen back to a more respectful distance, the guard
recovered my identification folder from Katrina and returned it to me.
"Perhaps," he said, "you have known the young lady and do not again care
to renew the acquaintance? If so, with your permission, I shall take her
where she will not trouble you again this evening."
"That may be best," I replied, wondering how I could explain the affair
to Captain Grauble.
"The incident is most unfortunate," said the Captain, evidently a little
nettled, "but I think this rude force unnecessary. I know Katrina well,
but I did not know she had previously known Herr von Armstadt. This
being the case, and he seeming not to wish to renew the acquaintance, I
suggest that she leave of her own accord."
But Katrina was not to be so easily dismissed. "No," she retorted, "I
will not leave until this man tells me how he came by that
identification folder and what became of the man I loved, whom he now
represents himself to be."
At these words the guard, who had been about to leave, turned back.
I glanced apprehensively at Grauble who, seeing that I was grievously
wrought up over the affair, said quietly to the officer, "You had best
take her away."
Katrina, with a black look of hatred at Grauble, went without further
words, and the curious crowd quickly melted away. The three of us who
remained at the table resumed our seats and I ordered dinner.
"My, how Katrina frightened me!" exclaimed the fragile Elsa.
"She does have temper," admitted Grauble. "Odd, though, that she would
conceive that idea that you were some one else. I have heard of all
sorts of plans of revenge for disappointments in love, but that is a
"You really know her?" questioned Elsa, turning her pale eyes upon me.
"Oh, yes, I once knew her," I replied, trying to seem unconcerned; "but
I did not recognize her at first."
"You mean you didn't care to," smiled Grauble. "Once a man had known
that woman he would hardly forget her."
"But you must have had a very emotional affair with her," said Elsa, "to
make her take on like that. Do tell us about it."
"I would rather not; there are some things one wishes to forget."
Grauble chided his dainty companion for her prying curiosity and tried
to turn the conversation into less personal channels. But Elsa's
appetite for romance had been whetted and she kept reverting to the
subject while I worried along trying to dismiss the matter. But the
ending of the affair was not to be left in my hands; as we were sitting
about our empty cups, we saw Katrina re-enter the café in company with a
high official of the level and the guard who had taken her away.
"I am sorry to disturb you," said the official, addressing me
courteously, "but this girl is very insistent in her accusation, and
perhaps, if you will aid us in the matter, it may prevent her making
further charges that might annoy you."
"And what do you wish me to do?"
"I suggest only that you should come to my office. I have telephoned to
have the records looked up and that should satisfy all and so end
"You might come also," added the official, turning to Grauble, but he
waved back the curious Elsa who was eager to follow.
When we reached his office in the Place of Records, the official who had
brought us thither turned to a man at a desk. "You have received the
data on missing men?" he inquired.
The other handed him a sheet of paper.
The official turned to Katrina. "Will you state again, please, the time
that you say the Karl Armstadt you knew disappeared?"
Katrina quite accurately named the date at which the man whose identity
I had assumed had been called to the potash mines.
"Very well," said the official, taking up the sheet of paper, "here we
have the list of missing men for four years compiled from the weighers'
records. There is not recorded here the disappearance of a single
chemist during the whole period. If another man than a chemist should
try to step into a chemist's shoes, he would have a rather difficult
time of it." The official laughed as if he thought himself very clever.
"But that man is not Karl Armstadt," cried Katrina in a wavering voice.
"Do you think I would not know him when every night for--"
"Shut up," said the official, "and get out of here, and if I hear
anything more of this matter I shall subtract your credit."
Katrina, now whimpering, was led from the room. The official beamed upon
Capt. Grauble and myself. "Do you see," he said, "how perfectly our
records take care of these crazy accusations? The black haired one is
evidently touched in the head with jealousy, and now that she has
chanced upon you, she makes up this preposterous story, which might
cause you no end of annoyance, but here we have the absolute refutation
of the charge. Before a man can step into another's shoes, he must step
out of his own. Murdered bodies can be destroyed, although that is
difficult, but one man cannot be two men!"
We left the official chuckling over his cleverness.
"The Keeper of Records was wise after his kind," mused Grauble, "but it
never occurred to him that there might be chemists in the world who are
not registered in the card files of Berlin."
Grauble's voice sounded a note of aloofness and suspicion. Had he
penetrated my secret? Did I dare make full confession? Had Grauble given
me the least encouragement I should have done so, but he seemed to wish
to avoid further discussion and I feared to risk it.
My hope of a fuller understanding with Grauble seemed destroyed, and we
soon separated without further confidences.
When I returned home from my offices one evening some days later, my
secretary announced that a visitor was awaiting me.
I entered the reception-room and found Holknecht, who had been my
chemical assistant in the early days of my work in Berlin. Holknecht had
seemed to me a servile fawning fellow and when I received my first
promotion I had deserted him quite brutally for the very excellent
reason that he had known the other Armstadt and I feared that his dulled
intelligence might at any time be aroused to penetrate my disguise. That
he should look me up in my advancement and prosperity, doubtless to beg
some favour, seemed plausible enough, and therefore with an air of
condescending patronage, I asked what I could do for him.
"It is about Katrina," he said haltingly, as he eyed me curiously.
"Well, what about her?"
"She wants me to bring you to her."
"But suppose I do not choose to go?"
"Then there may be trouble."
"She has already tried to make trouble," I said, "but nothing came of
"But that," said Holknecht, "was before she saw me."
"And what have you told her?"
"I told her about Armstadt's going to the mines and you coming back to
the hospital wearing his clothes and possessed of his folder and of your
being out of your memory."
"You mean," I replied, determined not to acknowledge his assumption of
my other identity, "that you explained to her how the illness had
changed me; and did that not make clear to her why she did not recognize
me at first?"
"There is no use," insisted Holknecht, "of your talking like that. I
never could quite make up my mind about you, though I always knew there
was something wrong. At first I believed the doctor's story, and that
you were really Armstadt, though it did seem like a sort of magic, the
way you were changed. But when you came to the laboratory and I saw you
work, I decided that you were somebody else and that the Chemical Staff
was working on some great secret and had a reason for putting some one
else in Armstadt's place. And now, of course, I know very well that that
was so, for the other Karl Armstadt would never have become a von of the
Royal Level. He didn't have that much brains."
As Holknecht was speaking I had been thinking rapidly. The thing I
feared was that the affair of the mine and hospital should be
investigated by some one with intelligence and authority. Since Katrina
had learned of that, and this Holknecht was also aware that I was a man
of unknown identity, it was very evident that they might set some
serious investigation going. But the man's own remarks suggested a
"You are quite right, Holknecht," I said; "I am not Karl Armstadt; and,
just as you have surmised, there were grave reasons why I should have
been put into his place under those peculiar circumstances. But this
matter is a state secret of the Chemical Staff and you will do well to
say nothing about it. Now is there anything I can do for you? A
promotion, perhaps, to a good position in the Protium Works?"
"No," said Holknecht, "I would rather stay where I am, but I could use a
little extra money."
"Of course; a check, perhaps; a little gift from an old friend who has
risen to power; there would be no difficulty in that, would there?"
"I think it would go through all right."
"I will make it now; say five thousand marks, and if nothing more is
said of this matter by you or Katrina, there will be another one like it
a year later."
The young man's eyes gloated as I wrote the check, which he pocketed
with greedy satisfaction. "Now," I said, "will this end the affair for
"This makes it all right with me," replied Holknecht, "but what about
"But you are to take care of her. She can only accept two hundred marks
a month and I have given you enough for that four times over."
"But she doesn't want money; she already has a full list."
"Then what does she want?"
"Jewels, of course; they all want them; jewels from the Royal Level, and
she knows you can get them for her."
"Oh, I see. Well, what would please her?"
"A necklace of rubies, the best they have, one that will cost at least
twenty thousand marks."
"That's rather expensive, is it not?"
"But her favourite lover disappeared," fenced Holknecht, "and his death
was never entered on the records. It may be the Chemical Staff knows
what became of him and maybe they do not; whatever happened, you seem to
want it kept still, so you had best get the necklace."
After a little further arguing that revealed nothing, I went to the
Royal Level, and searching out a jewelry shop, I purchased a necklace of
very beautiful synthetic rubies, for which I gave my check for twenty
Returning to my apartment, I found Holknecht still waiting. He insisted
on taking the necklace to Katrina, but I feared to trust a man who
accepted bribes so shamelessly, and decided to go with him and deliver
it in person.
Sullenly, Holknecht led the way to her apartment.
Katrina sensuously gowned in flaming red was awaiting the outcome of her
blackmailing venture. She motioned me to a chair near her, while
Holknecht, utterly ignored, sank obscurely into a corner.
"So you came," said the lady of black and scarlet, leaning back among
her pillows and gazing at me through half closed eyes.
"Yes," I said, "since you have looked up Holknecht and he has explained
to you the reason for the disappearance of the man you knew, I thought
best to see you and have an understanding."
"But that dumb fellow explained nothing," declared Katrina, "except that
he told me that Armstadt went to the mines and you came back and took
his place. He wasn't even sure you were not the other Karl Armstadt
until I convinced him, and then he claimed that he had known it all the
time; and yet he had never told it. Some men are as dull as books."
"On the contrary, Holknecht is very sensible," I replied. "It is a grave
affair of state and one that it is best not to probe into."
"And just what did become of the other Armstadt?" asked Katrina, and in
her voice was only a curiosity, with no real concern.
"To tell you the truth, your lover was killed in the mine explosion," I
replied, for I thought it unwise to state that he was still alive lest
she pursue her inquiries for him and so make further trouble.
"That is too bad," said Katrina. "You see, when I knew him he was only a
chemical captain. And when he deserted me I didn't really care much. But
when the Royal Captain Grauble asked me to meet a Karl von Armstadt of
the Chemical Staff, at first I could not believe that it was the same
man I had known, but I made inquiries and learned of your rapid rise and
traced it back and I thought you really were my old Karl. And when I saw
you, you seemed to be he, but when I looked again I knew that you were
another and I was so disappointed and angry that I lost control of my
temper. I am sorry I made a scene, and that official was so stupid--as
if I would not know one man from another! How I should like to tell him
that I knew more than his stupid records."
"But that is not best," I said; "your former lover is dead and there are
grave reasons why that death should not be investigated further--" The
argument was becoming a little difficult for me and I hastened to add:
"Since you were so discourteously treated by the official, I feel that I
owe you some little token of reparation."
I now drew out the necklace and held it out to the girl.
Her black eyes gleamed with triumph at the sight of the bauble. Greedily
she grasped it and held it up between her and the light, turning it
about and watching the red rays gleaming through the stones. "And now,"
she gloated, "that faded Elsa will cease to lord it over me--and to
think that another Karl Armstadt has brought me this--why that stingy
fellow would never have bought me a blue-stone ring, if he had been made
the Emperor's Minister."
Katrina now rose and preened before her mirror. "Won't you place it
round my neck?" she asked, holding out the necklace.
Nor daring to give offence, I took the chain of rubies and attempted to
fasten it round her neck. The mechanism of the fastening was strange to
me and I was some time in getting the thing adjusted. Just as I had
succeeded in hooking the clasp, I heard a curdled oath and the neglected
Holknecht hurled himself upon us, striking me on the temple with one
fist and clutching at the throat of the girl with the other hand.
The blow sent me reeling to the floor but in another instant I was up
and had collared him and dragged him away.
"Damn you both," he whimpered; "where do I come in?"
"Put him out," said Katrina, with a glance of disdain at the cowering
"I will go," snarled Holknecht, and he wrenched from my grasp and darted
toward the door. I followed, but he was fairly running down the passage
and pursuit was too undignified a thing to consider.
"You should have paid him," said Katrina, "for delivering my message."
"I have paid him," I replied. "I paid him very well."
"I wonder if he thought," she laughed, "that I would pay any attention
to a man of his petty rank. Why, I snubbed him unmercifully years ago
when the other Armstadt had the audacity to introduce me."
"Of course," I replied, "he does not understand."
And now, as I resumed my seat, I began puzzling my brain as to how I
could get away without giving offence to the second member of my pair of
blackmailers. But a little later I managed it, as it has been managed
for centuries, by looking suddenly at my watch and recalling a forgotten
"You will come again?" purred Katrina.
"Of course," I said, "I must come again, for you are very charming, but
I am afraid it will not be for some time as I have very important duties
and just at present my leisure is exceedingly limited."
And so I made my escape, and hastened home. After debating the question
pro and con I typed a note to Holknecht in which I assured him that I
had not the least interest in Katrina. "Perhaps," I wrote, "when she has
tired a bit of the necklace, she would appreciate something else. But it
would not be wise to hurry this; but if you will call around in a month
or so, I think I can arrange for you to get her something and present it
yourself, as I do not care to see her again."
THE BLACK SPOT IS ERASED FROM THE MAP OF THE WORLD AND
THERE IS DANCING IN THE SUNLIGHT ON THE ROOF OF BERLIN
The relative ease with which I had so long passed for the real Karl
Armstadt had lulled me into a feeling of security. But now that my
disguise had been penetrated, my old fears were renewed. True, the
weigher's records had seemingly cleared me, but I knew that Grauble had
seen the weak spot in the German logic of the stupid official, who had
so lightly dismissed Katrina's accusations. Moreover, I fancied that
Grauble had guessed the full truth and connected this uncertainty of my
identity with the seditious tenor of the suggestions I had made to him.
Even though he might be willing to discuss rebellious plans with a
German, could I count on him to consider the treasonable urging coming
from a man of another and an enemy race?
So fearing either to confess to him my identity or to proceed without
confessing, I postponed doing anything. The sailing date of his fifth
trip to the Arctic was fast approaching; if I was ever to board a vessel
leaving Berlin I would need von Kufner's permission. Marguerite reported
the growing cordiality of the Admiral. Although I realized that his
infatuation for her was becoming rather serious, with the confidence of
an accepted lover, I never imagined that he could really come between
Marguerite and myself.
But one evening when I went to call upon Marguerite she was "not at
home." I repeated the call with the same result. When I called her up by
telephone, her secretary bluntly told me that the Princess Marguerite
did not care to speak to me. I hastened to write an impassioned note,
pleading to see her at once, for the days were passing and there was now
but a week before Grauble's vessel was due to depart.
In desperation I waited two more days, and still no word came. My
letters of pleading, like my calls and telephone efforts, were
Then a messenger came bearing a note from Admiral von Kufner, asking me
to call upon him at once.
"I have been considering," began von Kufner, when I entered his office,
"the request you made of me some time ago to be permitted to go in
person to make a survey of the ore deposits. At first I opposed this, as
the trip is dangerous, but more recently I have reconsidered the
importance of it. As others are now fully able to continue your work
here, I can quite conceive that your risking the trip to the mines in
person would be a very courageous and noble sacrifice. So I have taken
the matter up with His Majesty."
With mocking politeness von Kufner now handed me a document bearing the
I held it with a trembling hand as I glanced over the fateful words that
commissioned me to go at once to the Arctic.
My smouldering jealousy of the oily von Kufner now flamed into
expression. "You have done this thing from personal motives," I cried.
"You have revoked your previous decision because you want me out of your
way. You know I will be gone for six months at least. You hope in your
cowardly heart that I will never come back."
Von Kufner's lips curled. "You see fit," he answered, "to impugn my
motives in suggesting that the order be issued, although it is the
granting of your own request. But the commission you hold in your hand
bears the Imperial signature, and the Emperor of the Germans never
revokes his orders."
"Very well," I said, controlling my rage, "I will go."
Upon leaving the Admiral's office my first thought was to go at once to
Marguerite. Whatever might be the nature of her quarrel with me I was
now sure that von Kufner was at the bottom of it, and that it was in
some way connected with this sudden determination of his to send me to
the Arctic, hoping that I would never return.
But before I had gone far I began to consider other matters. I was
commissioned to leave Berlin by submarine and that too by the vessel in
command of Captain Grauble, whom I knew to be nursing rebellion and
mutiny in his heart. If deliverance from Berlin was ever to come, it had
come now. To refuse to embrace it would mean to lose for ever this
fortunate chance to escape from this sunless Babylon.
I would therefore go first to Grauble and determine without delay if he
could be relied on to make the attempt to reach the outer world. Once I
knew that, I could go then to Marguerite with an invitation for her to
join me in flight--if such a thing were humanly possible.
But recalling the men who had done so much to fill me with hope and
faith in the righteousness of my mission, I again changed my plan and
sought out Dr. Zimmern and Col. Hellar and arranged for them to meet me
that evening at Grauble's quarters.
At the hour appointed I, who had first arrived at the apartment, sat
waiting for the arrival of Zimmern. When he came, to my surprise and
bewildered joy he was not alone, for Marguerite was with him.
She greeted me with distress and penitence in her eyes and I exulted in
the belief that whatever her quarrel with me might be it meant no
irretrievable loss of her devotion and love.
We sat about the room, a very solemn conclave, for I had already
informed Grauble of my commission to go to the Arctic, and he had sensed
at once the revolutionary nature of the meeting. I now gave him a brief
statement of the faith of the older men, who from the fulness of their
lives had reached the belief that the true patriotism for their race was
to be expressed in an effort to regain for the Germans the citizenship
of the world.
The young Captain gravely nodded. "I have not lived so long," he said,
"but my life has been bitter and full of fear. I am not out of sympathy
with your argument, but before we go further," and he turned to
Marguerite, "may I not ask why a Princess of the House of Hohenzollern
is included in such a meeting as this?"
I turned expectantly to Zimmern, who now gave Grauble an account of the
tragedy and romance of Marguerite's life.
"Very well," said Grauble; "she has earned her place with us; now that I
understand her part, let us proceed."
For some hours Hellar and Zimmern explained their reasons for believing
the life of the isolated German race was evil and defended their faith
in the hope of salvation through an appeal to the mercy and justice of
the World State.
"Of all this I am easily convinced," said Grauble, "for it is but a
logically thought-out conclusion of the feeling I have nourished in my
blind rebellion. I am ready to go with Herr von Armstadt and surrender
my vessel to the enemy; but the practical question is, will our risk
avail anything? What hope can we have that we will even be able to
deliver the message you wish to send? How are we to know that we will
not immediately be killed?"
The hour had come. "I will answer that question," I said, and there was
a tenseness in my tone that caused my hearers to look at me with eager,
"Barring," I said, "the possibility of destruction before I can gain
opportunity to speak to some one in authority, there is nothing to fear
in the way of our ungracious reception in the outer world--" As I paused
and looked about me I saw Marguerite's eyes shining with the same
worshipful wonder as when I had visioned for her the sunlight and the
storms of the world outside Berlin--"because I am of that world. I speak
their language. I know their people. I never saw the inside of Berlin
until I was brought here from the potash mines of Stassfurt, wearing the
clothes and carrying the identification papers of one Karl Armstadt who
was killed by gas bombs which I myself had ordered dropped into
At these startling statements the older men could only gasp in
incredulous astonishment, but Captain Grauble nodded wisely--"I half
expected as much," he said.
I turned to Marguerite. Her eyes were swimming in a mist of tears.
"Then your visions were real memories," she cried,--"and not miracles. I
knew you had seen other worlds, but I thought it was in some spirit
life." She reached out a trembling hand toward me and then shrinkingly
drew it back. "But you are not Karl Armstadt," she stammered, as she
realized that I was a nameless stranger.
"No," I said, going to her and placing a reassuring arm about her
shoulder, "I am not Karl Armstadt. My name is Lyman de Forrest. I am an
American, a chemical engineer from the city of Chicago, and if Captain
Grauble does not alter his purpose, I am going back there and will take
you with me."
Zimmern and Hellar were listening in consternation. "How is it," asked
Hellar, "that you speak German?"
By way of answer I addressed him in English and in French, while he and
Zimmern glanced at each other as do men who see a miracle and strive to
hold their reason while their senses contradict their logic.
I now sketched the story of my life and adventures with a fulness of
convincing detail. One incident only I omitted and that was of the near
discovery of my identity by Armstadt's former mistress. Of that I did
not speak for I felt that Marguerite, at least in the presence of the
others, would not relish that part of the story. Nor did I wish to worry
them with the fear that was still upon me that I had not seen the last
of that affair.
After answering many questions and satisfying all doubts as to the truth
of my story, I again turned the conversation to the practical problem of
the escape from Berlin. "You can now see," I declared, "that I deserve
no credit for genius or courage. I am merely a prisoner in an enemy city
where my life is in constant danger. If any one of you should speak the
word, I would be promptly disposed of as a spy. But if you are sincere
in your desire to send a message to my Government, I am here to take
"It almost makes one believe that there is a God," cried Hellar, "and
that he has sent us a deliverer."
"As for me," spoke up Captain Grauble, "I shall deliver your messenger
into the hands of his friends, and trust that he can persuade them to
deal graciously with me and my men. I should have made this break for
liberty before had I not believed it would be fleeing from one death
"Then you will surely leave us," said Zimmern. "It is more than we have
wished and prayed for, but," he added, turning a compassionate glance
toward Marguerite, "it will be hard for her."
"But she is going with us," I affirmed. "I will not leave her behind. As
for you and Col Hellar, I shall see you again when Berlin is free. But
the risks are great and the time may be long, and if Marguerite will go
I will take her with me as a pledge that I shall not prove false in my
mission for you, her people."
I read Marguerite's answer in the joy of her eyes, as I heard Col.
Hellar say: "That would be fine, if it were possible."
But Zimmern shook his head. "No," he said, as if commanding. "Marguerite
must not go now even if it were possible. You may come back for her if
you succeed in your mission, but we cannot lose her now; she must not go
now,--" and his voice trembled with deep emotion. At his words of
authority concerning the girl I loved I felt a resurge of the old
suspicion and jealousy.
"I am sorry," spoke up Captain Grauble, "but your desire to take the
Princess Marguerite with you is one that I fear cannot be realized. I
would be perfectly willing for her to go if we could once get her
aboard, but the approach of the submarine docks are very elaborately
guarded. To smuggle a man aboard without a proper permit would be
exceedingly difficult, but to get a woman to the vessel is quite
"I suppose that it cannot be," I said, for I saw the futility of arguing
the matter further at the time, especially as Zimmern was opposed to it.
The night was now far spent and but four days remained in which to
complete my preparations for departure. In this labour Zimmern and
Hellar could be of no service and I therefore took my leave of them,
lest I should not see them again. "Within a year at most," I said, "we
may meet again, for Berlin will be open to the world. Once the passage
is revealed and the protium traffic stopped, the food stores cannot last
longer. When these facts are realized by His Majesty and the Advisory
Council, let us hope they will see the futility of resisting. The
knowledge that Germany possesses will increase the world's food supply
far more than her population will add to the consumptive demands, hence if
reason and sanity prevail on both sides there will be no excuse for war
And so I took my leave of the two men from whose noble souls I had
achieved my aspirations to bring the century-old siege of Berlin to a
sane and peaceful end without the needless waste of life that all the
world outside had always believed would be an inevitable part of the
capitulation of the armoured city.
I now walked with Marguerite through the deserted tree-lined avenues of
the Royal Level.
"And why, dear," I asked, "have you refused to see me these five days
"Oh, Karl," she cried, "you must forgive me, for nothing matters now--I
have been crazed with jealousy. I was so hurt that I could see no one,
for I could only fight it out alone."
"And what do you mean?" I questioned. "Jealous? And of whom could you be
jealous, since there is no other woman in this unhappy city for whom I
have ever cared?"
"Yes, I believe that. I haven't doubted that you loved me with a nobler
love than the others, but you told me there were no others, and I
believed you. So it was hard, so very hard. The Doctor--I saw Dr.
Zimmern this morning and poured out my heart to him--insisted that I
should accept the fact that until marriage all men were like that, and
it could not be helped. But I never asked you, Karl, about other women;
you yourself volunteered to tell me there were no others, and what you
told me was not true. I must forgive you, for now I may lose you, but
why does a man ever need to lie to a woman? I somehow feel that love
"But," I insisted, "it was the truth. I bear no personal relation to any
She drew back from me, breathing quickly, faith and doubt fighting a
battle royal in her eyes. "But the checks, Karl?" she stammered; "those
checks the girl on the Free Level cashes each month, and worse than that
the check at the Jeweller's where you bought a necklace for twenty
"Quite right, there are such checks, and I shall explain them. But
before I begin, may I ask just how you came to know about those checks?
Not that I care; I am glad you do know; but the fact of your knowledge
puzzles me, for I thought the privacy of a man's checking account was
one of the unfair privileges that man has usurped for himself and not
granted to women."
"But I did not pry into the matter. I would never have thought of such a
thing until he forced the facts upon me."
"He? You mean von Kufner?"
"Yes, it was five days ago. I was out walking with him and he insisted
on my going into a jewellery store we were passing. I at first refused
to go as I thought he wished to buy me something. But he insisted that
he merely wanted me to look at things and I went in. You see, I was
trying not to offend him."
"Of course," I said, "there was no harm in that. And--"
"The Admiral winked at the Jeweller. I saw him do that; and the jeweller
set out a tray of ruby necklaces and began to talk about them, and then
von Kufner remarked that since they were so expensive he must not sell
many. 'Oh, yes,' said the Jeweller, 'I sell a great number to young men
who have just come into money. I sold one the other day to Herr von
Armstadt of the Chemical Staff,' and he reached for his sales book and
opened it to the page with a record of the sale. He had the place
marked, for I saw him remove a slip as he opened the book."
"Rather clever of von Kufner," I commented; "how do you suppose he got
trail of it?"
"He admitted his trailing quite frankly," said Marguerite, "for as soon
as we were out of the shop, I accused him of preparing the scene. 'Of
course,' he said, 'but I had to convince you that your chemist was not
so saintly as you thought him. His banker is a friend of mine, and I
asked him about von Armstadt's account. He is keeping a girl on the Free
Level and evidently also making love to one of better caste, or he would
hardly be buying ruby necklaces.' I told von Kufner that he was a
miserable spy, but he only laughed at me and said that all men were
alike and that I ought to find it out while I was young--and then he
asked if I would like him to have the young woman's record sent up from
the Free Level for my inspection. I ordered him to leave me at once and
I have not seen or heard from him since, until I received a note from
him today telling me of the Royal order for you to go to the Arctic."
I first set Marguerite's mind at ease about the checks to Bertha by
explaining the incident of the geography, and then told the story of
Katrina and the meeting in the café, and the later affair of Holknecht
and the necklace.
"And you will promise me never to see her again?"
"But you have forgotten," I said, "that I am leaving Berlin in four
"Oh, Karl," she cried, "I have forgotten everything--I cannot even
remember that new name you gave us--I believe I must be dreaming--or
that it is all a wild story you have told us to see how much we in our
simplicity and ignorance will believe."
"No," I said gently, "it is not a dream, though I could wish that it
were, for Grauble says that there is no hope of taking you with me; and
yet I must go, for the Emperor has ordered me to the Arctic and von
Kufner will see to it that I make no excuses. If I once leave Berlin by
submarine with Grauble I do not see how I can refuse to carry out my
part of this project to which I am pledged, and make the effort to reach
the free world outside."
Marguerite turned on me with a bitter laugh. "The free world," she
cried, "your world. You are going back to it and leave me here. You are
going back to your own people--you will not save Germany at all--you
will never come back for me!"
"You are very wrong," I said gently. "It is because I have known you and
known such men as Dr. Zimmern and Col. Hellar that I do want to carry
the message that will for ever end this sunless life of your
"But," cried Marguerite, "you do not want to take me; you could find a
way if you would--you made the Emperor do your bidding once--you could
do it again if you wanted to."
"I very much want to take you; to go without you would be but a bitter
"But have you no wife, or no girl you love among your own people?"
"But if I should go with you, the people of your world would welcome you
but they would imprison me or kill me as a spy."
"No," and I smiled as I answered, "they do not kill women."
During four brief days that remained until Capt. Grauble's vessel was
due to depart my every hour was full of hurried preparations for my
survey of the Arctic mines. Clothing for the rigours and rough labour of
that fearful region had to be obtained and I had to get together the
reports of previous surveys and the instruments for the ore analyses
that would be needed. Nor was I altogether faithless in these
preparations for at times I felt that my first duty might be thus to aid
in the further provisioning of the imprisoned race, for how was I to
know that I would be able to end the state of war that had prevailed in
spite of the generations of pacifist efforts? At times I even doubted
that this break for the outer world would ever be made. I doubted that
Capt. Grauble, though he solemnly assured us that he was ready for the
venture, was acting in good faith. Could he, I asked, persuade his men
to their part of the adventure? Would not our traitorous design be
discovered and we both be returned as prisoners to Berlin? Granted even
that Grauble could carry out his part and that the submarine proceeded
as planned to rise to the surface or attempt to make some port, with the
best of intentions of surrendering to the World State authorities, might
not we be destroyed before we could make clear our peaceful and friendly
intentions? Could I, coming out of Germany with Germans prove my
identity? Would my story be believed? Would I have believed such a story
before the days of my sojourn among the Germans? Might I not be
consigned to languish in prison as a merely clever German spy, or be
consigned to an insanity ward?
At times I doubted even my own desire to escape from Berlin if it meant
the desertion of Marguerite, for there could be no joy in escape for me
without her. Yet I found small relish in looking forward to life as a
member of that futile clan of parasitical Royalty. Had Germany been a
free society where we might hope to live in peace and freedom perhaps I
could have looked forward to a marriage with Marguerite and considered
life among the Germans a tolerable thing. But for such a life as we must
needs live, albeit the most decent Berlin had to offer, I could find no
relish--and the thought of escape and call of duty beyond the bomb proof
walls and poisoned soil called more strongly than could any thought of
love and domesticity within the accursed circle of fraudulent divinity.
There was also the danger that lurked for me in Holknecht's knowledge of
my identity and the bitterness of his anger born of his insane and
Rather than remain longer in Berlin I would take any chance and risk any
danger if only Marguerite were not to be left behind. And yet she must
be left behind, for such a thing as getting a woman aboard a submarine
or even to the submarine docks had never been heard of. I thought of all
the usual tricks of disguising her as a man, of smuggling her as a
stowaway amidst the cargo, but Grauble's insistence upon the
impossibility of such plans had made it all too clear that any such wild
attempt would lead to the undoing of us all.
If escape were possible with Marguerite--! But cold reason said that
escape was improbable enough for me alone. For a woman of the House of
Hohenzollern the prison of Berlin had walls of granite and locks
The time of departure drew nearer. I had already been passed down by the
stealthy guards and through the numerous locked and barred gates to the
subterranean docks where Grauble's vessel, the _Eitel 3_, rested on the
heavy trucks that would bear her away through the tunnel to the
pneumatic lock that would float her into the passage that led to
the open sea.
My supplies and apparatus were stored on board and the crew were making
ready to be off. But three hours were left until the time of our
departure and these hours I had set aside for my final leave-taking of
Marguerite. I hastened back through the guarded gates to the elevator
and was quickly lifted to the Royal Level where Marguerite was to be
waiting for me.
With fast beating and rebellious heart I rang the bell of the Countess'
apartment. I could scarcely believe I heard aright when the servant
informed me that the Princess Marguerite had gone out.
I demanded to see the Countess and was ushered into the reception-room
and suffered unbearably during the few minutes till she appeared. To my
excited question she replied with a teasing smile that Marguerite had
gone out a half hour before with Admiral von Kufner. "I warned you,"
said the Countess as she saw the tortured expression of my face, "but
you would not believe me, when I told you the Admiral would prove a
"But it is impossible," I cried. "I am leaving for the Arctic mines. I
have only a couple of hours; surely you are hiding something. Did you
see her go? Did she leave no word? Do you know where they have gone or
when they will return?"
The Countess shook her head. "I only know," she replied more
sympathetically, "that Marguerite seemed very excited all morning. She
talked with me of your leaving and seemed very wrought up over it, and
then but an hour or so ago she rushed into her room and telephoned--it
must have been to the Admiral, for he came shortly afterwards. They
talked together for a little while and then, without a word to me they
went out, seeming to be in a great hurry. Perhaps she felt so upset over
your leaving that she thought it kinder not to risk a parting scene. She
is so honest, poor child, that she probably did not wish to send you
away with any false hopes."
"But do you mean," I cried, "that you think she has gone out with von
Kufner to avoid seeing me?"
"I am sorry," consoled the Countess, "but it looks that way. It was
cruel of her, for she might have sent you away with hope to live on till
your return, even if she felt she could not wait for you."
I strove not to show my anger to the Countess, for, considering her
ignorance of the true significance of the occasion, I could not expect a
Miserably I waited for two hours as the Countess tried to entertain me
with her misplaced efforts at sympathy while I battled to keep my faith
in Marguerite alive despite the damaging evidence that she had deserted
me at the last hour.
I telephoned to von Kufner's office and to his residence but could get
no word as to his whereabouts, and Marguerite did not return.
I dared not wait any longer--asking for envelope and paper, I penned a
hasty note to Marguerite: "I shall go on to the Arctic and come back to
you. The salvation of Berlin must wait till you can go with me. I
cannot, will not, lose you."
And then I tore myself away and hastened to the elevator and was dropped
to a subterranean level and passed again through the locked and
As I came to the vessel no one was in sight but the regular guards
pacing along the loading docks. I mounted the ladder to the deck. The
second officer stood by the open trap. "They are waiting for you," he
said. "The Admiral himself is below. He came with his lady to see
I hastened to descend and saw von Kufner and Marguerite chatting with
"Why the delay?" asked von Kufner. "It is nearly the hour of departure,
and I have brought the Princess to bid you farewell. We have been
showing her the vessel."
"It is all very wonderful," said Marguerite with a calm voice, but her
eyes spoke the feverish excitement of a great adventure.
"The Princess Marguerite," said von Kufner, "is the only woman who has
ever seen a submarine since the open sea traffic was closed. But she has
seen it all and now we must take our leave for it is time that you
should be off."
As he finished speaking the Admiral politely stepped away to give me
opportunity for a farewell word with Marguerite. Grauble followed him
and, as he passed me, he gave me a look of gloating triumph and then
opened the door of his cabin, which the Admiral entered.
"I am going with you," whispered Marguerite. "Grauble understands."
There was the sound of a scuffle and a strangled oath. Grauble's head
appeared at the cabin door. "Here, Armstadt; be quick, and keep
I plunged into the cabin and saw von Kufner crumpled against the bunk;
his hands were manacled behind him and his mouth stuffed with a cloth.
With an exulting joy I threw myself upon the man as he struggled to
rise. I easily held him down, and whipping out my own kerchief I bound
it tightly across his mouth to more effectively gag him.
Then rolling him over I planted my knee on his back while I ripped a
sheet from the bunk and bound his feet.
From without I heard Grauble's voice in command: "Close the hatch." Then
I felt the vessel quiver with machinery in motion and I knew that we
were moving along the tunnel toward the sea.
Grauble appeared again in the door of the cabin. "The mate understands,"
he said, "and the crew will obey. I told them that the Admiral was going
out with us to inspect the lock. But the presence of a woman aboard will
puzzle them. I have placed the Princess in the mate's cabin so no one
can molest her. We have other things to keep us occupied."
With Grauble's help I now bound von Kufner to the staunch metal leg of
the bunk and we left him alone in the narrow room to ponder on the
meaning of what he had heard.
Outside Grauble led me over to the instrument board where the mate was
"Any unusual message?" asked Grauble.
"None," said the mate. "I think we will go through without interruption
at least until we reach the lock; if anything is suspicioned we will be
held up there for examination."
"Do you think the guards at the dock suspected anything?" questioned
"It is not likely," replied the mate. "They saw him come aboard, but he
spoke to none of them. They will presume he is going out to the lock.
The presence of a woman will puzzle them; but, as she was with the
Admiral, they will not dare interfere or even report the fact."
"Then what do you think we have to fear?" asked Grauble.
"Only the chance that the Admiral's absence may be noted at his office
and inquiry be made."
"Of that the Princess could tell us something," said Grauble. "We will
talk with her."
Grauble now led me to the mate's snug cabin, where we found Marguerite
seated on the bunk, looking very pale and anxious.
"Everything is going nicely, so far," the Captain assured her. "We have
only one thing to fear, and that is that inquiry from the Administration
Office for the Admiral may be addressed to the Commander of the Lock."
"But how will they know that he is with us?" asked Marguerite. "Will the
guards report it?"
"I do not think so," said Grauble, "but does any one at his office know
that he came to the docks?"
"I do not see how they could," replied Marguerite; "he was at his
apartment when I called him. He came to me at once, not knowing why I
wished to see him. I begged him to take me to see you off. I swore that
if he did not I should never speak to him again, and he agreed to do so.
He seemed to think himself very generous and talked much of the
distinctive privilege he was conferring upon me by acceding to my
request. But he told no one where we were going. He communicated with no
one from the time he came to me until we arrived at the vessel. The
guards and gate-keepers let us pass without question."
"That is fine," cried Grauble; "von Kufner often stays away from his
office for days at a time. Unless some chance information leaks back
from the guards, he will not be missed. Our chance of being passed
speedily out the lock is good--there is a vessel due to lock in this
very day and we could not be held back to block the tunnel. That is why
the Admiral was impatient when Armstadt failed to appear; he knew our
departure ought not be delayed."
"And what," I asked, "do you propose to do with the Admiral?"
"I suppose we must take him with us as a prisoner," replied the Captain.
"Your World State Government would appreciate a prisoner of the House of
At this suggestion Marguerite shook her head emphatically. "I do not
like that," she said. "Is there not some way to leave him behind?"
"I do not like it either," said Grauble, "because I fear his presence
aboard may make trouble among my men. I do not think they will object to
deserting with us to the free world. Their life in this service is
hopeless enough and this is my fifth trip; they have a belief that the
Captain's fifth trip is an ill-fated one; not a man aboard but trembles
in the dire fear that he will never see Berlin again. They will welcome
with joy a proposal to escape with us, but to ask them to make the
attempt with the Admiral himself on board as a prisoner is a different
thing. These men are cowed by authority and I know not what notions they
might have of their fate if they are to kidnap the Admiral."
"But," I questioned, "is there no possible way to leave him behind?"
Grauble sat thinking for a moment. "Yes," he said, "there is one way we
might do it. We could shave his beard and clip his hair, dress him in a
machinist's garb and smear his hands and face with grease. Then I could
drug him and we could carry him off at the lock and put him in a cell. I
would report that one of my men had gone raving mad, and I had drugged
him to keep him from doing injury to himself and others. It would create
no great surprise. Men in this service frequently go mad; and I am
provided with a sleep producing drug for just such emergencies."
"Then go ahead," I said.
"But you will lose the satisfaction of delivering him prisoner to your
government," smiled Grauble.
"I have no love for the Admiral," I replied, "but I think his punishment
will be more appropriately attended to in Berlin. When our escape is
known he will indeed have a rather difficult time explaining to
This suggestion of the pompous Admiral's predicament if thus left behind
seemed to amuse Grauble and he at once led the way back to his
Von Kufner was lying very quietly in his bonds and glared up at us with
a weak and futile rage. Grauble smiled cynically at his prostrate chief.
"I had thought to take you along with us," he said, "but I am afraid the
excitement of the voyage would be unpleasant for you so I have decided
to leave you at the lock to take our farewell back to His Majesty."
Von Kufner, helpless and gagged was given no opportunity to reply, for
Grauble, unlocking his medicine case took out a small hypodermic syringe
and plunged the needle into the prisoner's thigh.
In a few minutes the Admiral was unconscious. The Captain now brought a
suit of soiled mechanic's clothes and a clipper and razor, and in a half
hour the prim Admiral in his fancy uniform had been reduced to the
likeness of an oiler. His face roughly shaved, but pale and sallow, gave
a very good simulation of illness of mind and body.
"He will remain like that for at least twelve hours," said Grauble. "I
gave him a heavy dose."
Again we went out, locking the unconscious Admiral in the cabin. "You
may go and keep the Princess company," said Grauble, "while I talk with
my men and give them an inkling of what we are planning. If there is any
trouble at the lock it is better that they comprehend that hope of
freedom is in store for them."
Amid tears of joy Marguerite now told me of her belated conception of
the desperate plan to induce von Kufner to bring her to the docks to see
us depart, and how she had pretended to disbelieve that I was really
going and bargained to marry him within sixty days if she could be
assured by her own eyes that I had really departed for the Arctic.
As we waited feverishly for the first nerve-racking part of the journey
to be over, we spoke of the hopes and dangers of the great adventure
upon which we were finally embarked. And so the hours passed.
At last we felt the rumble of the motors die and knew that the movement
of the vessel had ceased.
The voice of the mate spoke at the door: "Remain quiet inside," he said,
and a key turned and clicked the bolt of the lock. The tense minutes
passed. Again the key turned in the door and the mate stuck his head
inside. "Come quick," he said to me.
I followed him into Capt. Grauble's cabin, but saw Grauble nowhere.
"Remove your clothing," said the mate, as he seized a sponge and soap
and began washing the blackened oil from the hands and face of the
unconscious Admiral. "We must dress him in your uniform. The Commander
of the Lock has orders to take you off the vessel. We must pass the
Admiral off for you. He will never be recognized. The Commander has
never seen you."
Obeying, without fully comprehending, I helped to quickly dress the
unconscious man in my own clothing. We had barely finished when we heard
"Quick, under the bunk," whispered the mate. As I obediently crawled
into the hiding place, the mate kicked in after me the remainder of the
oiler's clothing which I had been trying to put on and pulled the
disarranged bedding half off the bunk the better to hide me. Then he
opened the door and several men entered.
"I had to drug him," said Grauble's voice, "because he was so violent
with fear when I had him manacled that I thought he might attempt to
beat out his brains."
"Let me see his papers," said a strange voice.
After a brief interval the same voice spoke again--"These are identical
with the description given by His Majesty's secretary. There can be no
doubt that this is the man they want, but I do not see how an enemy spy
could ever pass for a German, even if he had the clothing and
identification. He does not even look like the description in the
folder. The chemists must be very stupid to have accepted him as one
"It is strange," replied the voice of Capt. Grauble, "but this man was
"It is only that most men are very dull," replied the other voice. "Now
I should have suspected at once that the man was not a German. But he
shall answer for his cleverness. Let him be removed at once. We have
word from the vessel outside that they are short of oxygen, and you must
be locked out and clear the passage."
With a shuffling of many feet the form of the third bearer of Karl
Armstadt's pedigree was carried from the cabin, and the door was
I was still lying cramped in my hiding place when I felt the vessel
moving again. Then a sailor came, bringing a case from which I took
fresh clothing. As I was dressing I felt my ear drums pain from the
increased air pressure, and I heard, as from a great distance, the roar
of the water being let into the lock. From the quiet swaying of the
floor beneath me I soon sensed that we were afloat. I waited in the
cabin until I felt the quiver of motors, now distinguished by the lesser
throb and smoother running, from the drive on the wheeled trucks through
I opened the cabin door and went out. Grauble was at the instrument
board. The mate stood aft among the motor controls; all men were at
their posts, for we were navigating the difficult subterranean passage
that led to the open sea.
As I approached Grauble he spoke without lifting his eyes from his
instruments. "Go bring the Princess out of her hiding; I want my men to
see her now. It will help to give them faith."
Marguerite came with me and stood trembling at my side as we watched
Grauble, whose eyes still riveted upon the many dials and indicators
"Watch the chart," said Grauble. "The red hand shows our position."
The chart before him was slowly passing over rolls. For a time we could
only see a straight line thereon bordered by many signs and figures.
Then slowly over the topmost roll came the wavy outlines of a shore, and
the parallel lines marking the depths of the bordering sea. Tensely we
watched the chart roll slowly down till the end of the channel passed
Grauble breathed a great sigh of relief and for the first time turned
his face towards us. "We are in the open sea," he said, "at a depth of
160 metres. I shall turn north at once and parallel the coast. You had
better get some rest; for the present nothing can happen. It is night
above now but in six more hours will be the dawn, then we shall rise and
take our bearings through the periscope."
I led Marguerite into the Captain's cabin and insisted that she lie down
on the narrow berth. Seated in the only chair, I related what I knew of
the affair at the locks. "It must have been," I concluded, after much
speculation, "that Holknecht finally got the attention of the Chemical
Staff and related what he knew of the incident of the potash mines. They
had enough data about me to have arrived at the correct conclusion long
ago. It was a question of getting the facts together."
"It was that," said Marguerite, "or else I am to blame."
"And what do you mean?" I asked.
"I mean," she said, "that I took a great risk about which I must tell
you, for it troubles my conscience. After I had sent for the Admiral and
he had promised to come, I telephoned to Dr. Zimmern of my intention to
get von Kufner to take me to the docks and my hope that I could come
with you. And it may be that some one listened in on our conversation."
"I do not see," I said, "how such a conversation should lead to the
discovery of my identity--the Holknecht theory is more reasonable--but
you did take a risk. Why did you do it?"
"I wanted to tell him good-bye," said Marguerite. "It was hard enough
that I could not see him." And she turned her face to the pillow and
began to weep.
"What is it, my dear?" I pleaded, as I knelt beside her. "It was all
right, of course. Why are you crying--you do not think, do you, that Dr.
Zimmern betrayed us?"
Marguerite raised herself upon her elbow and looked at me with hurt
surprise. "Do you think that?" she demanded, almost fiercely.
"By no means," I hastened to assure her, "but I do not understand your
grief and I only thought that perhaps when you told him he was
angered--I never understood why he seemed so anxious not to have you
go with me."
"Oh, my dear," sobbed Marguerite. "Of course you never understood,
because we too had a secret that has been kept from you, and you have
been so apologetic because you feared so long to confide in me and I
have been even slower to confide in you."
For a moment black rebellion rose in my heart, for though with my
reasoning I had accepted the explanation that Zimmern had given for his
interest in Marguerite, I had never quite accepted it in my unreasoning
heart. And in the depths of me the battle between love and reason and
the dark forces of jealous unreason and suspicion had smouldered, to
break out afresh on the least provocation.
I fought again to conquer these dark forces, for I had many times
forgiven her even the thing which suspicion charged. And as I struggled
now the sound of Marguerite's words came sweeping through my soul like a
great cleansing wind, for she said--"The secret that I have kept back
from you and that I have wanted so often to tell you is that Dr. Zimmern
is my father!"
In the early dawn of a foggy morning we beached the _Eitel 3_ on a sandy
stretch of Danish shore within a few kilometres of an airdome of the
World Patrol. A native fisherman took Grauble, Marguerite and myself in
his hydroplane to the post, where we found the commander at his
breakfast. He was a man of quick intelligence. Our strange garb was
sufficient to prove us Germans, while a brief and accurate account of
the attempted rescue of the mines of Stassfurt, given in perfect
English, sufficed to credit my reappearance in the affairs of the free
world as a matter of grave and urgent importance.
A squad of men were sent at once to guard the vessel that had been left
in charge of the mate. Within a few hours we three were at the seat of
the World Government at Geneva.
Grauble surrendered his charts of the secret passage and was made a
formal prisoner of state, until the line of the passage could be
explored by borings and the reality of its existence verified.
I was in daily conference with the Council in regard to momentous
actions that were set speedily a-going. The submarine tunnel was located
and the passage blocked. A fleet of ice crushers and exploring planes
were sent to locate the protium mines of the Arctic. The proclamation of
these calamities to the continued isolated existence of Germany and the
terms of peace and amnesty were sent showering down through the clouds
to the roof of Berlin.
Marguerite and I had taken up our residence in a cottage on the lake
shore, and there as I slept late into the sunlit hours of a July
morning, I heard the clatter of a telephone annunciator. I sat bolt
upright listening to the words of the instrument--
"Berlin has shut off the Ray generators of the defence mines--all over
the desert of German soil men are pouring forth from the ventilating
shafts--the roof of Berlin is a-swarm with a mass of men frolicking in
the sunlight--the planes of the World Patrol have alighted on the roof
and have received and flashed back the news of the abdication of the
Emperor and the capitulation of Berlin--the world armies of the mines
are out and marching forth to police the city--"
The voice of the instrument ceased.
I looked about for Marguerite and saw her not. I was up and running
through the rooms of the cottage. I reached the outer door and saw her
in the garden, robed in a gown of gossamer white, her hair streaming
loose about her shoulders and gleaming golden brown in the quivering
light. She was holding out her hands to the East, where o'er the
far-flung mountain craigs the God of Day beamed down upon his
In a frenzy of wild joy I called to her--"Babylon is fallen--is fallen!
The black spot is erased from the map of the world!"
Back to Full Books