TO ALL THOSE WHO LEAD
IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE
AT SECOND HAND
THE DELIGHTS AND DANGERS OF
I The Young Adventurers, Ltd.
II Mr. Whittington's Offer
III A Set Back
IV Who Is Jane Finn?
V Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer
VI A Plan of Campaign
VII The House in Soho
VIII The Adventures of Tommy
IX Tuppence Enters Domestic Service
X Enter Sir James Peel Edgerton
XI Julius Tells a Story
XII A Friend in Need
XIII The Vigil
XIV A Consultation
XV Tuppence Receives a Proposal
XVI Further Adventures of Tommy
XVIII The Telegram
XIX Jane Finn
XX Too Late
XXI Tommy Makes a Discovery
XXII In Downing Street
XXIII A Race Against Time
XXIV Julius Takes a Hand
XXV Jane's Story
XXVI Mr. Brown
XXVII A Supper Party at the Savoy
XXVIII And After
IT was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The Lusitania had been
struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while
the boats were being launched with all possible speed. The women and
children were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clung
desperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their children
closely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart from
the rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seem
afraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead.
"I beg your pardon."
A man's voice beside her made her start and turn. She had noticed the
speaker more than once amongst the first-class passengers. There had
been a hint of mystery about him which had appealed to her imagination.
He spoke to no one. If anyone spoke to him he was quick to rebuff the
overture. Also he had a nervous way of looking over his shoulder with a
swift, suspicious glance.
She noticed now that he was greatly agitated. There were beads of
perspiration on his brow. He was evidently in a state of overmastering
fear. And yet he did not strike her as the kind of man who would be
afraid to meet death!
"Yes?" Her grave eyes met his inquiringly.
He stood looking at her with a kind of desperate irresolution.
"It must be!" he muttered to himself. "Yes--it is the only way." Then
aloud he said abruptly: "You are an American?"
"A patriotic one?"
The girl flushed.
"I guess you've no right to ask such a thing! Of course I am!"
"Don't be offended. You wouldn't be if you knew how much there was at
stake. But I've got to trust some one--and it must be a woman."
"Because of 'women and children first.'" He looked round and lowered his
voice. "I'm carrying papers--vitally important papers. They may make all
the difference to the Allies in the war. You understand? These papers
have GOT to be saved! They've more chance with you than with me. Will
you take them?"
The girl held out her hand.
"Wait--I must warn you. There may be a risk--if I've been followed. I
don't think I have, but one never knows. If so, there will be danger.
Have you the nerve to go through with it?"
The girl smiled.
"I'll go through with it all right. And I'm real proud to be chosen!
What am I to do with them afterwards?"
"Watch the newspapers! I'll advertise in the personal column of the
Times, beginning 'Shipmate.' At the end of three days if there's
nothing--well, you'll know I'm down and out. Then take the packet to
the American Embassy, and deliver it into the Ambassador's own hands. Is
"Then be ready--I'm going to say good-bye." He took her hand in his.
"Good-bye. Good luck to you," he said in a louder tone.
Her hand closed on the oilskin packet that had lain in his palm.
The Lusitania settled with a more decided list to starboard. In answer
to a quick command, the girl went forward to take her place in the boat.
CHAPTER I. THE YOUNG ADVENTURERS, LTD.
"TOMMY, old thing!"
"Tuppence, old bean!"
The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily
blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so. The adjective "old"
was misleading. Their united ages would certainly not have totalled
"Not seen you for simply centuries," continued the young man. "Where are
you off to? Come and chew a bun with me. We're getting a bit unpopular
here--blocking the gangway as it were. Let's get out of it."
The girl assenting, they started walking down Dover Street towards
"Now then," said Tommy, "where shall we go?"
The very faint anxiety which underlay his tone did not escape the astute
ears of Miss Prudence Cowley, known to her intimate friends for some
mysterious reason as "Tuppence." She pounced at once.
"Tommy, you're stony!"
"Not a bit of it," declared Tommy unconvincingly. "Rolling in cash."
"You always were a shocking liar," said Tuppence severely, "though you
did once persuade Sister Greenbank that the doctor had ordered you beer
as a tonic, but forgotten to write it on the chart. Do you remember?"
"I should think I did! Wasn't the old cat in a rage when she found
out? Not that she was a bad sort really, old Mother Greenbank! Good old
hospital--demobbed like everything else, I suppose?"