Chapter 17: Wall Street Swastika: The Prince Offers Helga The Crown Jewels:
“I am charmed by your interest, Your Highness,” Frau von Wessel trilled with her deep alto voice.
“I would be delighted to learn everything I could about your important venture into German politics,” the Prince said to Frau von Wessel, laughing jovially.
“My wife and I will escort you over to the Embassy right now,” Herr von Wessel spoke up. “We have certain pamphlets and posters there that you would like to see.”
“We even have a film or two,” Frau von Wessel added. “You can see Herr Hitler here in action. He has been filmed. And believe me it is a magnificent performance. It is what is starting to captivate all of Germany.”
“Let’s get going then,” the Prince sounded enthusiastic. “I can hardly wait.”
Dora could imagine the Prince giving Frau von Wessel his arm.
“I am sorry that I canno accompany you,” Hitler spoke up through his interpreter. “But I have a speech to make in two days in Germany. I have to hurry back to tend to my duties.”
“i wish I could go with you,” the Prince sighed. “My own duties and appearances here are onerous by comparison.”
They all left in a sudden rush, talking all at once and heading for the doors at the Savoy Hotel.
Now they could talk aloud without fear of being overheard. Churchill glanced down at his pocket watch. “We must hurry back to the Embassy,” he declared. “Evidently the Prince and the von Wessels are headed there this minute.”
“But what are we to do if we find them there?” Edward asked. “It is one thing to follow them. It is quite another to prevent any harm.”
Winston winced. “At first I did not want to involve the Palace. But what authority do I have to control the actions of the Prince of Wales? He must be recalled and sent somewhere else right now, and he must be kept busy so he does not dilly dally with the von Wessels and Herr Hitler.” He was obviously thinking aloud.
Dora said, “That is why we don’t have a Prince of Wales in America. Our own politicians would be afraid to hang around publicly with a man who is a would be dictator. It would harm their reputations. Instead this man inherited his position and doesn’t have to work for a living. No wonder he gets in trouble!”
It was not the first time she had contrasted the goings on in England with Pittsburgh in an unfavorable fashion. But this was Europe!
“Dora, I have told you a million times that Europe isn’t America, or I wouldn’t get called away so often from my duties at Mid-East Headquarters in Cairo to go after that dastardly Hitler. If this were America I suppose we could just have him arrested, and that would be that,” Edward hissed.
“You already had him arrested, and he escaped or whatever. And it didn’t do any good,” Dora complained.
“Well then, in America he would be jailed for life!” Edward proclaimed.
“You had better believe he would!” Dora fumed.
She got tired of these endless escapades every time she was supposed to be alone with Edward. And it was always the same bad guy, Adolf Hitler.
Edward escorted her to a cab. They grabbed the first one they could find. Winston had already rushed off to the Palace to talk to the King.
But as soon as they got to Prussia House, the German Embassy in London, they found the place deserted. Everyone had gone home for the day. The Prince and the von Wessels had obviously not gone there.
They found the first available red phone booth and called Winston. Winston answered on the first ring though they expected to get his secretary at Morpeth Mansions instead because he had gone to the Palace.
“I forgot that their Majesties are in Scotland right now. I could not talk to the King as much as we need to,” Winston sighed. “We will have to manage with our own ingenuity.
“But they are not at the Embassy!” Edward declared. “We were just there.”
“They have deceived us again. They suspect they are being followed and are trying to elude us,” Winston concluded. He told them to wait while he called around London. He could not get any answers. They met at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese near Fleet Street while they tried to figure out what to do next. The oppressive dark atmosphere of the place that was like a cellar restaurant without real windows but only tiny slits at the tops of the walls was enough to drive Dora mad. Samuel Johnson did not provide any answers as he stared down at them from his portrait on the wall.
The waiter brought a phone to Winston. “What! They are at Southampton? Thank you.”
Winston signaled and they all rushed for a taxi. Dora had to pay the taxi driver to zoom all the way to the south of England to catch the vagabonds embarking on a cruise ship with Herr Hitler at this very minute.
An attendant of the Prince rushed up to his master and thrust a wad of bills at him. “Here is what I could get without more authorization, sir.”
“Damn the authorization!” the Prince wriggled his nose. “It is as if I have to have the PM sign every time I want to give a tip to the toilet attendant.”
“Here,” Frau von Wessel gushed as she took the money from him, “I will keep it in my wallet. You don’t have any other place to put it right now.”
The Prince smiled down at her. “I would trust you with the Crown Jewels if I could lay my hands on them right now.”
Helga beamed and patted his hand with one of those fingers that could wear a King’s ransom.