Chapter 19: Wall Street Swastika: Dora Gets Kidnapped
Dora did not hesitate to push the Prince away. She raised her hand to slap him if he persisted in mauling her and fondling her.
She heard female laughter all around her. It got louder and turned into a raucous giggle. “That is just Mrs. Byrne, Your Highness. Don’t let her scare you,” said the low alto voice that Dora recognized all too well.
The Prince looked temporarily taken aback. He was not accustomed to ladies pushing him away. Usually they followed him about in crowds flirting with him and oohing and aahing about everything he said. They complimented him and remarked on how brilliant it was whether it was or not.
“Mrs. Byrne is an American,” Helga remarked. “She isn’t any fun.” She made a nasty, exaggerated face at her enemy in the stalls on the ship.
“On the contrary, I have always been very fond of Americans,” the Prince smiled at Dora. “Independent types. I envy them their freedom to do and say as they wish.”
Dora shut the drapes to her stall decisively, though she was sure the Prince was not accustomed to that behavior either. She quickly put on her own clothes and got ready to flee. She did not want to be caught by a bunch of freaks sent by the von Wessels to capture her and drag her off somewhere just like poor Rita Jolivet and the lighthouse in Nova Scotia. Just because she was on the ocean liner headed for Hamburg did not prevent that sort of wayward behavior.
“When you run into Mrs. Byrne that means that Colonel Sir Edward Ware must not be far behind. And in this instance I think you will even find the backbencher MP Winston Churchill aboard this ship,” Frau von Wessel said to the Prince as he helped her with her zipper.
Dora knew she had been found out. She had exposed them to danger.
“Churchill!” the Prince exclaimed. “You don’t say! I remember his family living nearby one of our Palaces. He was in the government during the war. He did a credible job as Secretary of Munitions, but he got sacked as First Lord of the Admiralty for Gallipoli and for the Lusitania.” He sighed. “But you say he has got himself involved in intrigue with Hitler and Germany?”
“Up to his neck!” Frau von Wessel sounded dramatic.
“I suppose he will never learn,” the Prince reflected. “Herr Hitler seems to be an up and coming force in Europe. Too bad he can’t see it that way.”
“Churchill isn’t as smart as you are, Your Highness,” Helga purred as Dora put her shoes back on, and she was forced to listen to more smooching and giggles. “And he’s much older and way too old fashioned. He thinks he is back in the era of Queen Victoria, your grandmother.” She laughed and laughed. “He doesn’t have all the new ideas like Adolf Hitler. I guess that’s why he is always snooping into our affairs anyway and trying to interfere with everything we do. He doesn’t approve of us.”
“I don’t understand why,” the Prince. “Anybody who doesn’t approve of you must be a eunuch or a fool.”
Dora peered out the dressing room. She looked from side to side as Helga and the Prince carried on shamefully in the dressing room right next to her while Helga attempted to wheedle money from the Prince for Hitler. She noticed two big-shouldered goons in dark suits and glasses standing by the entrance to the dress shop. She had no illusions that they had been summoned to handle her.
Dora had to make a break for it. She did not know what else to do. She waved at the shop assistant. She forced herself to smile. “I am ready to buy this dress. Could you assist me?”
The lady was of course more than happy to do so. Dora with seeming impulsiveness pointed at this scarf and that piece of jewelry. She added them to the total and checked out several bags full of merchandise.
“Oh, excuse me, but could you help me to my cabin!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands. “I don’t think I could carry everything all by myself.”
Since she had purchased over one thousand dollars worth of items the shop was only too glad to send one of their assistants over to her cabin that she was sharing with Edward on the main deck. Dora attempted to brush past the goons with the shop assistant. But no sooner did she try to enter the first dark hallway than one of them cupped his hand over her mouth and drew her into an empty cabin.
“All right,” the goon pressed her, “where are those Lawrence maps?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she attempted to put them off with her standard answer.
Hitler might be after money to fund his political campaigns. But he was always after the Lawrence maps.