The Adventures of Heine
The Adventures of Heine
2. THE MAN WHO DWELT ON A HILL
WHEN I left London hurriedly, after the arrest of Alexander Koos, I must confess that my mind was greatly disturbed. I sat half the night in my sleeper, turning over all the circumstances leading up to the arrest of my good friend. We Germans are the most logical people in the world. We argue with precision from known facts, and we deduce from those facts such subtle conclusions as naturally flow.
We do not indulge in frivolous speculations-we Germans are a serious people with a passion for accurate data.
Thus I argued: (1) if a secret police force bad been established it is a post-war creation. Otherwise our general staff would have known of its existence and have advised us. (2) Supposing a secret service had been initiated where would its agents be found? Naturally in the vicinity of the great arsenals and military camps. Under these circumstances it was not surprising that Koos, confining his investigations to Woolwich, had been brought into contact with a member this new organisation. (3) It was humanly impossible that the operations of an improvised secret service could be extended in a few days to areas other than military and arsenal areas. Therefore it behoved the investigator to avoid as far as possible arousing suspicion by pursuing his inquiries in the neighbourhood of arsenals and camps.
At eight o'clock in the morning I was taking my breakfast in the station-buffet at Edinburgh. Von Kahn was awaiting me, and over the meal, served by sleepy waitress, I had an opportunity of retailing the events which had I to my hasty departure from London. Von Kahn stroked his moustache thoughtfully.
"Koos was an impetuous man," he said. "I am not surprised that he has been detected. You must not forget, my dear Heine, that we Germans have only one thought, only one goal, the welfare of the Fatherland. Koos allowed his penchant for feminine society to overcome his judgment. That is a mistake which should never make."
I looked at our good Von Kahn, with his big red face and his short, well-fed body, and I could not help thinking that it would be indeed a remarkable circumstance if he allowed himself to be lured to destruction in such a manner.
He joined the train and went on with me to Dundee. We had not gone far from the station before the train stopped and an attendant came in and pulled down all the blinds, removing, in spite of our protest, all our baggage, which he locked in an empty compartment.
"What is the meaning of this?" I demanded.
"I am very sorry, sir," said the man "but those are my orders."
For a moment I had a cold feeling inside me that I was suspected, but his next words reassured me.
"We do it to everybody, sir, before we cross the-- Bridge."
When he had gone I turned to von Kahn. "This is an extraordinary thing," I said. "I never suspected the English of taking such intelligent precautions."
Von Kahn laughed.
"The English here are Scots," he said, "and they are very cautious."
I should have dearly liked to peep out when the rumble of the wheels told we were passing the famous bridge, but in the corridor outside the carriage discovered, to my amazement, a Scottish soldier with fixed bayonet, and for some reason or other his eyes never left us.
It was not until we were a very long way past the bridge that the attendant returned my bag and suit-case and pulled up the blind, and not until we reached Dundee that I discussed the matter at with von Kahn.
"I have reason to believe he said, "that we have passed a portion of the British Fleet, and it will be my endeavour during the next few days to discover what units are at present in the region of Rosyth."
He told me this in the cab on the way to our hotel and he also gave me a great of deal of information about the East Coast defences which it had been his business to investigate.
"It is practical