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The Secret Of The Army Aeroplane
by [?]

“You are a German spy?” enquired Ray Raymond.

“No,” replied the bearded German in very good English, adding with marvellous coolness: “To what, pray, do we owe this unwarrantable intrusion?”

“To the fact that you are a spy who has been taking secret tracings of our Army aeroplane!” retorted my friend.

But the spy only laughed in open defiance.

“Well, there’s no law against it,” he replied.

“No,” retorted Ray grimly, “thanks to the stupidity of a crass Government, there is no law against it.”

“My God!” I said hoarsely, and my face went the colour of ashes.

“But my old friend Jacass–I mean Jacox–and I,” continued Ray Raymond, fixing the miserable spy with his eye, “have decided to take the law into our own hands. I have my revolver and my friend has his electric torch. Give me the tracings.”

“Gott–no!” cried the German spies in German. “Never, you English cur!”

But Ray had already extracted a letter from the elder man’s pocket, and was making for the door! I followed him. When we got back to our hotel he drew the letter from his pocket and eagerly examined it. I give here an exact copy of it, and I may state that when we sent it to His Majesty’s Minister for War he returned it without a word!


DEAR SIR,–In reply to yours of the 29th ult. We beg to say that we can do you a good line in shaving brushes at the following wholesale prices:

Badger 70s. a gross. Pure Badger 75s. a gross. Real Badger 80s. a gross.

Awaiting your esteemed order, which we shall have pleasure in promptly executing,

We are, sir, Yours obediently, WILKINSON and ALLBUTT. MR. JAMES MACDONALD.”

That letter, innocent enough upon the face of it, contained dastardly instructions from the Chief of Police to a German spy! Read by the alphabetical code supplied to every German secret agent in England, it ran as follows:

(Phrase 1). "Discover without delay secret of new aeroplane."

(Phrase 2). “Forward particulars of best plan for blowing up

(1) Portsmouth Dockyard.
(2) Woolwich Arsenal.
(3) Albert Memorial.”

(Phrase 3). “Be careful of Jack Jacox. He carries
a revolver and an electric torch.”

“Ah!” said my friend grimly, “we were only just in time. Had we delayed longer, England might have knelt at the proud foot of a conqueror!”

“Ha!” I replied briefly.

Next morning we returned to the chambers which we shared together in London, and were joined by Vera Vallance, the pretty fair daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Vallance, to whom my old friend was engaged. And, as he stroked her hair affectionately, I realised thankfully that he and I had indeed been the instruments of Providence in foiling the plots of the German spies!