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them to assume any undue familiarity. At the crack of doom I am sure he will still be the same as ever, smart and cool and very respectful.

ness. It was she who introduced him to me. Without her help I doubt if we should have become friends, for he hated strangers, and invariably sprang at them with a roar, almost throttling himself at the limit of his chain in his efforts to get at them. But once he understood that we were the sort of people he ought to know, he became quite communicative. In fact, he roared lustily whenever he saw us, until pacified with plum jam. Personally, my attentions were confined to offering him delicacies with distant respect at the end of a walking-stick. I never came nearer, because, in spite of his affectionate demeanour, his long forearms and long claws inspired me with distrust, and reminded me of the old Pathan story of Prince Charming and the Faithful Bear, who killed his master by mistake.

During the first three days McTavish was with us, he proved a godsend in dealing with visitors. He soon learned to keep the nationalities of our callers unmixed; to usher into the library the grave and reverend signor with details of Armenian atrocities while the Turkish politician was offered cigarettes in the drawing-room, the young Greek temporarily hidden in my bedroom, and the Scallywag with Persian long dogs to sell entertained in the kitchen. We should have been lost without him, for he also did our cooking. (Incidentally, we rarely had time for meals!) He had not been with us a day before he had made friends with the local Turkish police, so that in the early morning he was to be seen going out with a big pannier under his arm, accompanied by the minions of the law to help him in his marketing. By. I need only say that the sheer personality he had Profiteer-like all successchanged 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 funny stories. His word was as good as his bond-in fact it had to be, because his transactions could not be written down. A gang of spies were at his beck-oringing youths who used to slink up to him in the restaurants with reports of how the sugar swindle was going at Sirkedji, or whether there were any oil barges in the Bosphorus which could be

our

As to the bear, he lived in back garden, and his mistress was girl in a a travelling eirous, who came to feed him twice a day. He was quite devoted to her, and it was a touching sight to see him whimpering and licking her boots when they met in the morning. In her presence his ferocious expression melted to a look of ineffable tender

Of the trio who actually obtained the ear for us or stole it, to call a spade a spade

wangled into his depot for stolen goods. He was never without a wad of bank notes, and dispensed largesse liberally to his henchmen, of whom Franceseo was the chief. This Francesco W88 a curious hybrid creature, with no saving grace except the gift of tongues. No country owned him, and no one could have ever loved him. There seemed no light of humanity in his bleary eyes. Nothing but the sight of gold could kindle them. During the war he had been working for the Austrians, and had acquired an Austrian soldier's uniform, which helped him in his enterprises. He it was who, in consultation with the Profiteer, put us in touch with Rudolph. Rudolph was quite an important personage in the under-world, and his services would not have been enlisted had we not laid stress on the value of speed in procuring the car.

"If you like to wait, I can get you an automobile for a ten-pound note as a personal friend," the Profiteer had said.

But we had declined this offer with an inward shudder. We wanted the machine at once, or not at all. So Rudolph was sent for. His fees would be heavy, for he was the leading consultant in the city for affairs of this nature. But he would "deliver the goods." He was a German sergeant.

We awaited his arrival with some curiosity, and I was not disappointed, for he was an

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interesting and perhaps an uncommon type of villain. W88 & "good-looker," tall, blond, gentle - spoken, with a dreamy gaze that belied his cold and calculating brain. The things he had done were incredible, and of course unprintable. However, his morals were none of our business. According to his philosophy, each man was for himself in those days of "Deutschland unter Alles," and Rudolph didn't wait for the devil to help him, but helped himself liberally and secretly to anything he could lay his well-manicured hands on. By day he dressed in German uniform, and nosed out all stealable stores. By night, in civilian clothes, he grinned like a dog and ran about the city, selling himself and bis illgotten knowledge to the highest bidder. A sinister creature.

The plot was hatched in a café at Galata, over a bottle of Kirsch. We talked in

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French. Various possibilities were discussed, and various impossibilities, such as hospital limousines and motorlorries, but we refused to be drawn into details. decent oar was brought to our door that night, we would pay from £50 to £200 for it, in British gold, immediately. As an earnest of our intentions, I produced a bag of sovereigns, and letting jingle of gold slip through my fingers, I felt that I was weaving one of the most resistless spells in all the world. That bag held stuff for crimes

8

and treasons untold. A motorcar was child's play for its latent power. I pushed across a sovereign each to Francesco and to Rudolph. The Profiteer was too big a man to tip. In fact, we let him pay for the Kirsch. Nothing definite was decided when we left to attend to other matters, but our tigers had tasted blood -in other words, they had seen our sovereigns-and we felt sure that they would return for more. It was not until ten o'clock that night that we got back to our house. Various callers had come, and had been dealt with tactfully and firmly by M'Tavish. An Armenian priest had left a budget of atrocities, terror piled piled on terror. Another Armenian had presented us with 8 translation of 8 Turkish article, and the names of the journalists who were engaged during the war in advocating severities against our prisoners. A boxer friend of mine had called. But one visitor, unknown to M'Tavish, and mistrusted by him, had wanted to wait our return, and was dissuaded with difficulty, for he was in a high state of excitement. A gentleman with watery eyes. Francesco. Undoubtedly Francesco. He was to come again at ten o'clock, and he was already late.

The half-hour struck, and there was still no sign of him. We sent M'Tavish to bed.

Constantinople lay under a thunderstorm that night. The air was stagnant. The city

was still. It was a lull before the climax, in the affairs of nature as in the affairs of men. The fierce factions and the plots that had been brewing were soon to be aborted or succeed. The present state of things could not continue. Talaat, Enver, and Djemal had just escaped, and more malefactors would probably escape that night, before retribution evertook them. Yet the day of reckoning was elose -close 88 the clouds that blanketed the eity. And the muffled drums of cloudland were symbols of the pulse of fear that beat in the streets below, where men whispered together.

We waited patiently, disoussing the chances of Francesco's return, And if he came, would it be only to talk and talk? Or would he bring the car?

I

The front-door bell rang. unbarred the door. Out of the darkness a voice declared"I have come!"

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'Why don't you come in?" "Are you alone? "Of course we are. No one but ourselves."

"What's the matter with you, Francesco?" I asked, when he had crept into the hall like a whipped bitch: "is there anything wrong?"

He mopped his forehead and watched me bar the door again before replying.

"I was being followed."

We took him to the safety of the study, gave him two fingers of ration rum, and waited for his story. "Rudolph has stolen General

Liman von Sanders' oar," he said.

We were not vastly impressed. "Where is it?" asked my friend sceptically.

"How much do you want for it?" I added.

"It's close by, with the engine running, so that Rudolph won't get caught. You can have it for a thousand pounds."

“ Fiddlestieks,” said my friend, or words to that effect. "It might be worth fifty pounds," I said, "if you bring it here for us to see.”

"We could sell it for a thousand on the market any day," said Francesco,

"Then sell it on the market," I said: "there is no good bringing it here if you want that price."

"But we don't know where to put it for the night. You see, I was followed. I daren't

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A thunder-clap made Francesco jump, and we saw that his nerve was really shaken, After we had given him some more rum, he told his story.

They had heard that afternoon, he said, that the German Commander-in-Chief's chauffeur had bolted from the Headquarters Park, leaving his cars unattended. Of course there were other chauffeurs on duty, but Rudolph, who knew the sergeant in charge, said it would be quite feasible to go into the park, start up the car, and trust to luck, and darkness and disorder at the camp, to get clear away. Each vehicle that went out had to be registered in a journal

by the gate-keeper, whe entered the time it went out and the time it came back, but beyond this formality there would be few questions asked. Francesco was to wait outside, to show Rudolph the way to our house.

Matters marched according to plan. Francesco waited by Taxim Gardens, and presently Rudolph appeared with no lights burning (for he had net had time to adjust the acetylene) at the wheel of a superlative Mercedes. He had had no difficulty at all. In fact, at the park he had found a Greek civilian who was trying to bribe one of the attendants to let him steal a car. Rudolph, who was in uniform, affected to be highly indignant, and "touched" this Greek for five pounds. Then he went straight to the General's ears, and choosing the fifty-sixty Mercedes, with open touring-body, he started it up. A mechanic asked him where he was going, and Rudolph replied by asking the mechanic what business it was of his? He could ask the Unteroffizier in charge, if he wanted to know. At the entrance the Unteroffizier (Rudolph's friend aforesaid) remarked that it seemed likely to be a dirty night. Nothing more. No question as to where he was going. To avoid diffioulties, however, and leave the ground open for future business Rudolph proposed to return next day to forge an entry in the gate - keeper's book, to show that the ear had been duly returned. So far so very good. They had

the ear and Rudolph had five pounds.

But the unexpected happened, as the unexpected will. In the Grand Rue de Pera they were stopped by a German patrol who asked why their headlights were not burning. Rudolph was starting to explain, when—as I gathered the story-Francesco got frightened and bolted. He didn't admit, of course, that he had acted the oraven, but we inferred as much. The Germans, he said, had started asking awkward questions-who he was why he was travelling in the General's car-where were his papers? But somehow or other, with some unexplained and unimagined lie, Rudolph had got away and passed Francesco farther down the street. He was now hiding in a by-way. Francesco could easily find him, but where was the ear to be brought? Had we a garage for it?

"We are not going to be mixed up in all this business," I said; "we want a moter-ear, and are willing to pay you for it. Where it came from is not our business: where we put it is not yours. All you have to do is to deliver it: we'll look after the rest."

"But I daren't go out into the street. The German police are shadowing me."

"You can go by the back way," we suggested.

This seemed an excellent idea to Francesco, and we gave him some more rum.

"We'll bring the car to your back door," he said.

VOL. CCVII.-NO, MCCLVI.

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"Considering everything,' he continued, glancing out of the window-"considering the time of night and the weather, and-and the policy of small profits and quick returns, I'll take three hundred pounds in gold, not a penny less."

My accomplice looked at me through the bottom of his glass, and we understood each other.

"Go and get the car," he said, "and then we can talk about the price."

"Leave her at our back door," I echoed, "and your fortune's made."

Francesco stumbled out into the hall while I struck matches to light his way. We went through the dining-room and down the steps into the flooded garden. Meanwhile, unseen by us through the rain and unheard by us owing to the sloshing from the eaves, my partner was feeding marmalade to the bear to keep him quiet.

Unbarring the heavy beams from the garden door, I sent Francesco out into the night, as Noah sent the dove. Then we returned and dried ourselves and discussed the situation. What would Francesco de, slinking about in this welter of the elements? Would he find the Mercedes? And if it was found and brought to us, how much would it be worth? On a night like this would it be possible to judge, even roughly, of its condition?

I went upstairs to get a coat, and looked out of the window. The wind had come, 3 н

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