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.
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Chapter 18: Wall Street Swastika: The Prince Assaults Dora:
Edward, Dora, and Churchill scurried about the Ocean Terminal in Southampton looking to buy tickets on the cruise to Hamburg across the English Channel and across the North Sea. Dora did not have any luggage with her. The little she had brought across the Atlantic had been sent ahead to Ware Hall. And now it did not look as if she were going there. And there was nothing to buy in the terminal building.
Dora promised herself she would hit the shops in the lobby as soon as she boarded the ship to find a change of clothes and a nightgown at the very least. She could not let the wastrel Prince interfere with her whole routine and her life, too.
They tried to stay clear of the German party and the Prince, and of course the Prince of Wales was attracting all sorts of attention particularly from the ladies who were crowding around him asking for his autograph. Dora did not even bother to see their cabin first. She dashed over to her favorite dress shop that also sold handbags, scarves, and jewelry. She began trying outfits on in the spare dressing room area that was squeezed in between two shops on this deck. She usually wore only Elsa Shaparelli originals. But this time she was going to have to compromise. Otherwise she would have to wear her old clothes the whole voyage and she had already worn them across the Atlantic.
Not long after she started to try on a white chiffon dress with folds in the lower skirt half and a white net attached to the casual straw hat, than she heard shrieks of laughter. She peered out at crack in the curtain of her stall. To her horror she could not help but notice Frau von Wessel squeezing her her into own dressing stall right next to her.
Even worse, Dora heard a male voice, too. She could not believe that she looked out of the stall to observe the Prince of Wales.
“You should get the low-backed gown with the flower prints,” the Prince insisted.
“Way too expensive!” Frau von Wessel exclaimed. “My budget won’t allow it.”
“I could never permit such an injustice! Since I am devoting my fortune to Herr Hitler the least I can do is to make certain that his assistants dress properly.”
“But I couldn’t impose on you!” Frau von Wessel leaned out of the dressing room in the most provocative, flirtatious way imaginable. She poked the Prince in the nose as if they were already on intimate terms.
Dora was more than horrified. She would have to remember what was going on and who said what to whom to report back to Edward and Winston Churchill as soon as she could get out of here and reach her cabin and safety. The Prince and Frau von Wessel should not see her. That would not be proper. Winston and Edward certainly would not like it.
The shop assistant bustled back and forth handing clothes to Frau von Wessel to try on and handing clothes to Dora. Dora silently tried to warn the lady off. She shook her head and tried to discourage her.
“We want you to dress right. Herr Hitler deserves to have his representatives look like they are in the pink of fashion. The workers should vote for him and sweep away that corrupt Weimar government!” The Prince asserted as he waited outside in the hallway where he must be squeezed because there was not much room at all. He must be bumping into the assistant on all occasions.
“You are so kind, Prince!” Helga gushed. “If only we had other supporters like you. Herr Hitler’s path towards saving Germany and its workers would not be so long and hard.”
“I will do everything I can to help and more!” the Prince promised.
Dora clapped her hands over her mouth and gasped. The Prince was reaching into her dressing room and grabbing hold of her instead of Frau von Wessel. She was being catapulted out of the stall and into the Prince’s arms. Before Dora could stop him, his lips landed on her own. Dora felt the shriek rising from the bowels of her being. Then she screamed and screamed and screamed.
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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.
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Chapter 16: Wall Street Swastika: The Prince Kisses A Nazi:
“I would be delighted to attend your rally in Nuremberg,” the Prince smiled. “Lately things are getting rather boring here in Whitehall.”
Dora could see him yawn. She realized she was still holding the curtain dividing the two dining rooms. She was aghast and let go. She did not want to be caught doing something so conspicuous. But even after she let go she could hear the Prince yawn again.
“Good!” the interpreter translated Hitler’s words. “We will make you our honored guest. Frick will be attending the rally of course. I will introduce you to him. Also I have some other candidates who might want to run for office. I would be honored to introduce them to you.”
“I should also be honored,” the Prince replied. “It sounds far more interesting and productive than when I have to attend a party here in London to meet the new Prime Minister or the Minister of this or that or God forbid! the new party candidates for Parliament. They all look alike, sound alike, and have the same repetitious, stupid ideas.” He sighed. “If you told them they had to create a new political party from scratch with brand new ideas suited for the time period and all this unemployment and lack of job opportunity, they would be appalled. They would probably go running for the moors and never be seen in London again.”
Hitler could be heard laughing. His translator joined in positively guffawing.
Winston’s jaw dropped. He scribbled furiously on a piece of paper. He scribbled so hard he was tearing the paper. “We cannot allow this trip. We must prevent this for the good of the British people. Their Majesties would be appalled.”
Edward wrote back, “How are we going to proceed? We can hardly walk up to a Royal and tell him he is a naughty boy and must go to his room. In fact, I have never been introduced. I don’t think I by any existing protocol could speak to him at all.”
“I know him,” Churchill wrote back. “I have spoken to him often on from the time he was a boy. In fact, when I was younger he used to be a neighbor of mine of sorts. He was always getting into trouble about protocol. But that is the Prince of Wales for you. If I know the man, we have to create a distraction.”
Dora thought, A neighbor of the Prince of Wales? I wonder what Winston could mean? She directed her questioning look at Edward.
He got her meaning right away. While Winston was busy looking at his pocket watch, drinking his wine, and consulting a pocket guide of what looked like train schedules, Edward wrote a note to Dora. “Winston is the grandson of the Duke of Marlborough. He is almost a British royal himself. That side of him is not well known especially among foreigners. He was born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, you know, and Blenheim Palace is one of the most splendid castles in the realm.”
“How are we going to distract a Prince?” Edward wrote.
Winston wrote back, “That is the question of the hour. It could save the Kingdom for us.”
The party next door seemed to be breaking up. Hitler seemed to be rising from his seat along with his interpreter. “We will send details of the event to you through our embassy in London. I want to introduce you to Frau and Herr von Wessel, the commercial attache here in London.”
To Dora’s horror the couple walked unexpectedly into the next room and shook the Prince’s hand.
“We will be delighted to invite you to dinner at the Embassy next week, Prince Edward,” Frau von Wessel seemed to purr at His Majesty. “We would have invited you there today except there was some what we might call unexpected interference.”
Dora felt a chill go down her spine. No doubt Frau von Wessel meant them. They switched locales at the last moment and had Hitler appear at the Savoy Hotel dining room instead.
“There is nothing I would rather do, but why wait for next week?” the Prince responded. “I am eager to learn everything about your German project that I can as soon as I can and what I can do to help finance it. After all, I have an excessive allowance. I don’t need all the money that Whitehall throws at me.” He laughed.
The Germans chortled. Hitler laughed the loudest of all.
Churchill paled. He wrote furiously, “We can’t have a scandal of such proportions. The Prince will give away government money to a criminal party in Germany? Impossible!”
“Very well,” Frau von Wessel spoke in her alto voice, “How about tomorrow night at our place?”
“Yes indeed!” Herr von Wessel seconded his wife.
“Certainly I would go anywhere for such a lovely teacher!” the Prince exclaimed about Frau von Wessel.
“The von Wessels will attend our rally in Nuremberg,” Hitler replied through his interpreter.
“I would rather go with no one else!”
Winston madly scribbled. “This is the worst possible development. The Prince is besotted with ladies and mistresses. He is one of the worst ladies’ men since Henry VIII!”
Dora could not imagine it. But she heard the sound of the Prince kissing Frau von Wessel’s hand.
Beautiful young woman retro portrait
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Chapter 15: Wall Street Swastika: The Prince Does A Nazi Salute
“I haven’t seen Adolf Hitler now for over six years,” Dora exclaimed. “But that is him for sure. Nobody else has that intense expression when he talks. And he is so animated. He must be talking about his political ideas.”
“And the Prince is taking it in all right!” Edward observed. “He is all eyes and ears.”
“A catastrophic situation in the making!” Winston groaned. “But there is little I can do directly. I can hardly fly at them and break it up. After all I am only a humble MP, and the Prince must have attendants with him who are just out of view. I think we will have to be a bit more subtle.”
Edward nodded. “What do you have in mind?”
Winston took a waiter aside. “Is anybody occupying the dining room on the other side of those guests?” he pointed. “You know, on the other side of the curtains?”
The waiter shook his head. “No, it is totally vacant right now.”
“Good!” Winston decided on the spur of the minute. “Set a table for three right now.”
Dora opened her pocketbook and thrust a one hundred pound note at the man as a big tip. But then he was doing an awfully big favor for them.
As they entered the spare dining room behind the waiter Dora noticed that Winston put his finger to his lips for silence. They were not to speak to him at all. In fact, he was handing them tablets. They were supposed to write to each other while eating lunch whenever they had something to say.
They were seated at the table close to the curtain that separated them from the other room. Hitler’s voice carried through the thin separation that at least concealed their identities and their presences. Winston pointed at the menu, and the waiter scribbled down their orders for filet of sole with lemon sauce with white wine to drink.
Hitler’s interpreter could be heard of the clanking of the silverware, since Herr Hitler did not speak much English. “The head of the Nazi Party here has invited you here to day, Your Majesty, because he has heard that you are interested in the fate of the German people.”
“Indeed my family has German roots itself in the House of Hannover south of Hamburg in Lower Saxony,” the Prince replied. “We were invited to come to Britain and rule at the beginning of the eighteenth century and have been there ever since. But more recently I have traveled extensively in Germany and frankly I have enjoyed myself immensely. The beer halls, the wursts, the folk festivals, the nightlife, just the people themselves!” the Prince sounded as if he were throwing his arms out in exclamation to emphasize his point.
“So you care what happens to them?” Herr Hitler said through his interpreter.
“Yes indeed, you could say I do. I care perhaps almost as much what happens to the German people as I care what happens to my own subjects here in England,” the Prince exclaimed.
Winston showed Dora a note he had scribbled. “The Prince is making one of his wild statements that can get him in trouble. He isn’t very prudent. If the newspapers published that statement, can you imagine what kind of sensation it would create?”
Edward scribbled back, “We must prevent the Times from hearing anything about it.”
“His Majesty would be so embarrassed and chagrined if this got out he would not know what to do,” Churchill insisted.
They hardly had time to settle their doubts when Hitler’s interpreter was at it again. “Herr Hitler is advancing one of his most trusted party members, Wilhelm Frick, to be the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Education in Thuringia. He has seen what a mess the present Weimar government has made of it. Democracy might be all right in America —- and Herr Hitler wonders even about that —- but in Germany It has brought the nation to ruin and bankruptcy. Look at the recent stockmarket crash for instance.”
“Yes, yes, the Americans are a bit too impulsive,” the Prince agreed. He sounded as if he were eager to hear much more, too.
Hitler spoke in an impassioned tone. His interpreter continued to translate. Dora was beginning to wonder if even the translator could keep up with the would be Dictator: “Germany needs a firm hand. The Fatherland deserves order. There is too much influence from foreign sources. There is not just the disorder of the stock market, jobs are being taken from the honest German workers by Eastern types such as Slavs and Jews as well who are willing to work for less than an honest day’s wage.”
“Yes,” the Prince agreed, “I have visited Berlin and Vienna. I have seen such suspicious Eastern types with my own two eyes. It is very tragic for Germany. I have even seen such types hanging around London!”
Dora thought, How can the Prince be so stupid? Can’t he see that Hitler is trying to take advantage of him?
The interpreter continued, “Herr Hitler wants jobs for Germans and a state that operates only for the interests of Germans. He wants to elevate German traditions that work here in the Fatherland and expel all alien foreign types from the country. And Frick will begin this process in Thuringia so other German states can look on and envy and want to be just like her.”
“Yes, yes, I would like to be part of this. It sounds far more exciting than my present duties here.” The Prince yawned. “If I have to attend another cricket match or boring horse race or make a speech about some insipid British business that has just been started, I will scream! But is there anything I could do in person?”
Winston visibly cringed. He almost dropped his fork to reveal his presence on the other side of the curtain but caught it at the last minute. He scribbled on a piece of paper: This would be a calamity to have a member of the British royal family in Germany promoting an upstart like Hitler! It would lend him way too much respectability. Worse, it might even start something unimaginable here in Britain.”
Dora knew it would not get anywhere in America, but this was Europe. Americans hated Dictators, and that was that.
Hitler spoke and then the translator spoke, “You could attend Herr Hitler’s next rally in Nuremberg when he introduces Frick to the crowd.”
Winston could not resist the urge to pull back the curtain just an inch or two. Dora and Edward leaned over so they could see. The Prince of Wales was doing the unbelievable. He was not only shaking Herr Hitler’s hand he was doing the Nazi salute.
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Chapter 14: Wall Street Swastika: Hitler at the Savoy:
Winston Churchill instantly scribbled a response and told the trusted messenger to take it back to zu Putlitz at once. They all waited nervously for a reply. This could be a scandal of major proportions. The wayward Prince of Wales was known to get himself into all sorts of trouble despite the warnings of his father the King and his more cautious mother. He needed supervising to say the very least. And no doubt Hitler was just the sort of savvy politician to take full advantage of such naiveté.
Putlitz himself appeared as Winston had requested. He was in a hurry to rush up the stairs to Winston’s suite of room at Morpeth Mansions. Winston’s wife had the hot soup ready to serve along with tea sandwiches. She brought out her silver tea service and got very serious pouring the boiling hot water into the teacups.
Putlitz handed Winston a photo he had taken of Herr von Wessel and his wife meeting with officials at the German Embassy to arrange the meeting with the Prince as soon as possible. He had a photo of Herr von Wessel signing a letter which his wife slipped into a fancy envelope. Then she hand addressed it with a very ornate style handwriting which she must have been practicing or even learning just for this special occasion. They sealed the envelope and handed it back to their messenger with a smile.
Winston handed the photos to Edward and Dora to examine. Dora could appreciate the wily ways of the von Wessels, having experienced them herself on many previous occasions. They seemed to be planning something particularly wicked to judge by their smiling, cagey face expressions and the way the husband and wife were casting each other pregnant looks.
“When is the appointed time?” Winston questioned Putlitz in his flowery language.
“I overheard that it was to be tomorrow at five in the main ballroom at the Embassy,” he revealed.
“We don’t have much time,” Edward observed. “We’ve got to stop them right away or it will be too late.”
“I don’t want to alarm their Majesties. I shall have to take care of this myself,” Winston asserted. He headed to his offices at Parliament accompanied by Dora and Edward. He started to search through filing cabinet after dusty filing cabinet for a copy of the original lease. The German government was after all leasing Prussia House from Parliament. He wanted to acquaint himself with the terms. He called file clerk after file clerk. Finally he found what he was looking for. The lease was expired and never renewed!
“So they are there illegally!” Edward exclaimed.
Churchill had a secretary type up a lease with very disadvantageous terms. He picked a functionary and carefully instructed him not to answer any questions about who sent him. He was just to say “a committee of Parliament”. That ought to put the kinks in their sails!
Mrs. Churchill, Churchill, Dora, and Edward were enjoying a hot cup of tea at Morpeth Mansions waiting for the boy’s return smiling to themselves when he came back with a blank look. “I could not find a soul. The Embassy was deserted.”
“What!” exclaimed Churchill. “But this is the very hour of infamy when they are supposed to be corrupting the Prince of Wales under the very noses of the British people.” He had instructed the boy to head to the very chamber and wing of the building.
The messenger shrugged.
Churchill got on the phone. He called around London to his confederates and associates. Had anybody seen the bastards?
“Hello!” Winston answered the phone. It was a favorite waiter from the Savoy Hotel which he liked to frequent, not somebody he had contacted by somebody who was calling spontaneously because he had observed what he thought Churchill might be interested in.
“What! The von Wessels are in the main dining room of the Savoy Hotel!” he exclaimed. “They have rented a room. The Prince has just appeared! This is infamy!”
When he hung up Edward guessed, “Maybe they caught on that you were up to something.”
“We will figure that out later,” Churchill chose his favorite bowler hat and they were out the door in a rush. Edward drove Churchill and Dora to the Savoy and ditched the car on the sidewalk for the flunkies to park.
They rushed into the lobby. They headed for the main dining room where all eyes among the guests were agog. There sat His Majesty at tea with not only the von Wessels but Adolf Hitler himself!
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Chapter 13: Wall Street Swastika: Putlitz to the Rescue
The German Embassy in London, otherwise known as Prussia House, seemed to be a seedbed of sedition and intrigue. They took up temporary residence at Winston’s London town house, Morpeth Mansions, to attempt to unravel what was going on. There was an uptick in activity there around the clock since the Wall Street Crash. That much was obvious.
After they had crashed the gambling party they had to be more cautious. No more would they be invited to the more Nazi-leaning events. They needed to find somebody who could slip in and out unimpeded and get information for them what the Nazis in London were up to, what their communications with Germany were like, and what was going to happen next so they could try to avert it or combat it.
Winston made a point of reaching out for contacts among his own contacts. He had the Prof down from Oxford to lunch one day. He suggested an old college chum of his name Putlitz. He had recently attended an Oxford alumnae event. Putlitz, an employee of the German Embassy in London, had been at the cocktail party. He had done nothing but complain about the rising power across the North Sea.
Winston, always a treasure trove of ideas, had another brilliant one. He summoned his wife, Clementine, down to London from the family estate at Chartwell in Kent. She was to arrange a dinner. The only guests were to be Colonel Sir Edward Ware, Mrs. Byrne, the Prof from Oxford, and this man from the German Embassy, su Putlitz. In other words, he invited only other members of the Lawrence map plot. He was clearly going to discuss business.
Putlitz shook his hand heartily and told Winston he had heard about him as a backbencher MP who almost all alone among the government and the British upper class was an enemy of the Nazis. Putlitz was dressed in the old style in a rather fussy fashion. He was a member of the German nobility, thus the “su” in his last name. He was from an old Prussian family with an estate in the country not far from Berlin, in fact situated about halfway between Hamburg and Berlin. He had always been proud to serve at the German Embassy since his family had much business and London and had spent much time there. He had a townhouse not far from Morpeth Mansions. But recently the German presence in England had been corrupted by Adolf Hitler, who was some sort of upstart from Austria who had appeared in Germany not long after the Great War. He had been imprisoned in Bavaria after the Putsch in 1923. Putlitz had thought he would never heard about the bastard again. And now here he was during the past few weeks creating an uproar all over Germany.
“Yes, and holding gambling events in the German Embassy in London of all things!” shuddered Clementine as she directed the server to present another glass of vintage wine to Putlitz.
“Edward always told me that the German Embassy was a staid place full of respectable people!” Dora agreed.
“That was under the old ambassador!” Putlitz cringed visibly. “But these days no one has any manners or sense of tradition anymore, least of all this Adolf Hitler character. He would not be above turning the Embassy into a brothel if it would provide enough money for his nefarious political activities.”
“Especially since the German government has been forced by Hitler to appoint Herr von Wessel as the commercial attache at the German Embassy,” Edward added. “That man has financed Hitler since before anybody ever heard about him. He goes back to 1918 and 1919 before Hitler even knew he was going to be a Nazi, Herr von Wessel had joined the party.”
“And that awful wife of his, Frau von Wesel, is even worse,” Winston wriggled his nose.
Clementine shook her head and sighed.
“This is why we need you to work for us,” Winston leaned closer to su Putlitz. “I can’t really pay you much for all the danger you will be risking, but we need the information badly if we are to do anything to counteract this rising star of the Nazi Party.”
Putlitz agreed. “That is why I came here tonight. I want to do something about it even if it costs me my family fortune.”
“That is the sort of fellow we need to hear from!” Winston called for his box of cheroots and offered one to su Putlitz. They toasted to Putlitz’s success.
“My family has always backed the old traditions,” Putlitz assured them. “And England has always been our greatest friend.”
Dora and Edward were having dinner with Winston and the Prof at Morpeth Mansions about one week later when su Putlitz sent a message by a trusted messenger to Winston. Winston tore it open and read it through silently first. Then he read it aloud as Dora leaned as close as she could to hear better:
“I want to warn you that Herr von Wessel and his wife, Frau von Wessel, are up to something big. And this is particularly heinous. Herr and Frau von Wessel are inviting the Prince of Wales to a private dinner to meet Nazi Party officials being sent there from Germany. The Prince is known for his lack of discretion and can be easily influenced and in addition has a big pocketbook. This private dinner at the Embassy is scheduled for this Friday. Sorry not to give you more notice. But we don’t want to involve a crowned head in what should be a major scandal.”
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Chapter 12: Wall Street Swastika: Nazi Party In London:
Now that Dora, Edward, and Churchill along with the Prof had evaded the onslaught of the Nazi spies at the British Museum and at Studland Beach and had finally deposited the Lawrence maps where no one could find them for now, they could finally concentrate on Hitler. Winston invited them to stay at Chartwell for several days. At Winston’s estate in Kent they received almost hourly reports about Nazi activities in London and back in Germany itself.
The cook was serving lunch when Churchill opened a missive from one of his spies on the ground in Germany. He read it through first to himself while he was smoking a cheroot, mumbling and exclaiming. Edward leaned over his shoulder to see what was what. Dora waited in suspense to find out what strange turn was next.
“Ha! So Hitler is trying to populate the government of Thuringia with his Nazi thugs!” Churchill exclaimed. “He is trying to nominate Wilhelm Frick as the head of both ministries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior, and the German People’s Party, the DVP, complains that the man was a man convicted of high treason for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. Good for them!”
Edward nodded, “I remember the man. We were in the streets fighting the Nazis to the last man during the Putsch,” Edward brought back an unpleasant memory. Dora had been there, too. “That man was one of the worst, the most unprincipled, bastards.”
“Does Hitler have the power to make the party accept his nominees?” Dora asked.
Winston sighed as he looked up from the letter from Germany. “Not by himself. But apparently he is lobbying industrialists in the area. And they are bringing pressure upon the heads of the German People’s Party to make Wilhelm Frick their man.”
“What exactly does Hitler want Frick to do?” Dora was puzzled.
“Frick is supposed to purge the Thuringian government of leftists and liberals and replace them with Nazi ideologues who believe in racism to the last man, including all the police and all the members of the civil service,” Edward said.
Churchill read on, practically crushing his cheroot between his teeth. “So here is something we can act upon right away!” he looked up hopefully at Edward. “The gall of the man! He is holding a fund raising event right here in London.”
“What!” Edward practically exploded.
Churchill nodded. “At the German Embassy in London. They are having a grand ball and banquet and getting English aristocrats to contribute to the Nazi cause.”
Edward rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. “I can see it now! They would be idiotic enough to do it, too. Nazism is the latest fashion in London.”
“Hitler is using this money as bribes to industrialists and party officials in Thuringia to start molding Germany to his Nazi vision.”
Edward was to appear at the ball that Saturday night. Dora was to be his guest visiting him in London. But she had to go in disguise. They could not have the newspapers reporting Mrs. Byrne to be where she was not supposed to be. After all, according to the excuse she sent to her parents and Michael, she was staying with her friend Rita Jolivet in New York to help her put her finances back together after the Crash.
Dora entered the ball on Edward’s arm. She was dressed to the hilt in the latest Elsa Shaparelli gown, but since it was a costume ball she was wearing a mask. There was a gaming table in the next room. It was presided over by that spy of spies, Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s right-hand man, and his evil wife, Frau von Wessel. Dora and Edward had encountered them many times before on other missions. They were bad news.
Frau von Wessel was dressed in a Coco Chanel original, a black dress with silver sequins that clung to her curves. She beamed with a wicked smile at the English aristocrats that she greeted by name and escorted them over to the gaming table where Herr von Wessel was presding like a Master of Ceremonies. All this occurred under the big Nazi flags that decorated the ballroom, turning the German Embassy into a kind of circus. To make things even more wicked, there was an open bar on the other side of the room with the gaming table. Drinks were on the house.
Dora and Edward split up according to plan. Edward headed for the gaming table. He pretended to be paying attention to the game, though the von Wessels were immediately on alert. What they did not watch and were not supposed to watch was Dora. She took up her position at the free bar and ordered a drink which she pretended to sip and really poured out in special container she had brought with her in her evening bag. While they were not watching her, she slipped a sleeping potion into the punch bowl. She smiled as a server immediately dipped into it and filled drinks to be taken over to the gaming table. Edward alone knew not to drink anything at the event.
Soon other gamblers were starting to nod off around Edward. Edward complained loudly that no one was taking the game seriously, and it was getting boring around here. Frau von Wessel whispered to her husband. They both frowned severely.
Edward extended his arm to Dora. She took hold of it. Smugly they both left the room resounding with snores.
“Very clever!” Herr von Wessel shouted after them. “But Hitler will answer you all too soon.”
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Chapter 11: Wall Street Swastika: Nazis at the British Museum:
It was clear now that the Prof’s identity had been compromised. He might have gotten away with taking the Lawrence maps from Dora during the ball in the Queen’s Room on the Mauretania. But now he was seen with Edward, Churchill, and Dora in public in a restaurant in the south of England. He had also accompanied them to Studland Beach. It was obvious that the Prof could not just return to Oxford with the maps and expect to remain unmolested.
“We’ve got to find a safe dumping place for the maps so we can decide what to do next about Hitler,” Winston suggested. “They have been left all sorts of places in the past. We have to be very original now to fool the enemy.”
Dora remembered how she had babysat the maps herself at the end of the Great War. First Edward had sent her the map of Petra, Lawrence’s greatest victory, to hide in her closet in her bedroom back in Pittsburgh. She had guarded it with her life and even brought it with her to the Paris Peace Conference where she first met Lawrence of Arabia face to face to talk to him about Edward’s fate. Then Lawrence himself, the Great Man who had drawn all the maps that had made the Germans go crazy for the past generation, had presented her with a humidor full of his maps to take back to Pittsburgh and guard with her life.
Since that fateful day the Lawrence maps —- and the Great Man had added to the trove since with new maps —- had been hidden everywhere from the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum to a miniature Grecian temple on the grounds at Ware Hall, to the floorboards at the bedroom at Ware Hall, to Churchill’s estate at Chartwell, to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe, to the Rose Tree Museum in Tombstone. Each locale had its own adventure and own drama associated with it. The chase never seemed to end. And here they were again.
Churchill and the Prof left at night so as to elude the enemy. They had called for a car, and it had been delivered. Dora and Edward had to wait and watch for things to be arranged. Meanwhile Edward kept the maps up his sleeve.
There was an uneasy truce with the Germans. They prowled around the beach day and night. Dora would often see strange figures up on the rocks and know who the blond Arayans worked for. Meanwhile when they went out to buy necessities they had to take two large hired thugs with them that Dora had hired over the phone.
The phone rang one night about a week later. It was Churchill. He told them that they would meet at the Garden Hotel across the street from the British Museum in London. They would meet for dinner in the main restaurant. There they would rendezvous with the archaeologist Leonard Woolley who had once excavated at Carchemish with T. E Lawrence, Edward, Edward’s father Sir Adolphus Ware, and a crew of workmen during the seasons 1913 and 1914.
Dora remembered Leonard Woolley! He had helped them hide the Lawrence maps once before. After all, he had special access to the collections at the museum.
Edward and Dora left at night. Edward insisted on driving the whole way to London himself using back roads cutting through the New Forest. When Dora thought she saw somebody following them, Edward eluded them. It got to the point she was spooked even by the moonlight on the Neolithic Bronze Age burial mounds lining the road. If something seemed to move it had to be the light or a ghost. It could not be a German.
They finally arrived at the hotel and were shown to their places at the patio overlooking private gardens in a room they had rented just for the occasion —- meaning no one else besides their party was allowed in. Leonard Woolley greeted them over tea and crumpets and showed them the worker suits they were to wear when they followed him back to the museum. Dora thought that was original. She only hoped it was enough of a disguise.
She got dressed and pinned her hair back underneath a special cap. Again under cover of darkness when the Museum was closed for the night, Woolley took them through the little used back entrance, up the stairs, into the main part of the British Museum. They were all carrying lights, flashlights, and lanterns for illumination.
Dora started. She thought she bumped into somebody. A lady with black braids was looking at her severely. She hoped it was not a German spy!
“These are two Egyptian sarcophagi from the Middle Kingdom during the time of Queen Hapshepsut,” Woolley lectured them. “This is the perfect hiding place for the Lawrence maps.” He reached out and grabbed one of the carved wooden black braids cascading down over the lady’s shoulder to her waist. At the end he had punched a hole. Edward handed him the maps. He inserted them in the opening and then plugged it shut again wtih the bottom of the carved wooden braid.
They stood there admiring the Egyptian twin figures with almost religious reverence. “Your secret could be kept for three thousand years!” Leonard Woolley boasted.
“Not that long!” chuckled Churchill. “Just until we defeat Hitler and any Germans who might be hanging about your museum.”
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Chapter 10: Wall Street Swastika: Nazis at Studland Beach
Dora stared at the belligerents on the other side of the room. How had they gotten here? Edward, Churchill, and Dora had sneaked off the ship earlier than the crew. No one had followed them, had they? At least Dora had not seen anybody. Maybe the Germans had a clue where Edward and Winston Churchill —- and even Lawrence when he was in Southampton! —- liked to eat in Southampton. The Pig was one of their frequent haunts. They should clearly have gone somewhere else this time. But then Churchill had made arrangements ahead of time to meet the Prof here. He did not have that flexibility.
If Dora, Edward, Churchill, and the Prof leaped up and ran out of the restaurant the thugs would follow them. So they had to face them down right here right now at the Pig and eat ther midday meal, their lunch, as if they were unconcerned about the enemy presence on the other side of the room.
Winston was good at playacting. Dora got a strong sense of it. He called the waiter and summoned him to his table with a bold wave of his arm. He wanted the special and he wanted it for everyone at his table right now. Soon he had everybody in the restaurant scurrying about. Another functionary he tipped to run and fetch him a cigar next door.
Dora got the idea and asked another waiter to fetch her postcards from the stand across the street. She would sit at the table and pen messages to her parents back in Pittsburgh .
The Prof sent his roast beef back to the kitchen to be cooked a little more. He claimed he liked it well done. They were all putting on quite a show except Edward who quietly ate his meal and watched everything that the enemy did.
Churchill ordered several rounds of drinks as if having a party and celebrating something. He ordered rounds of drinks for all the other customers, too. Of course Dora paid for everything very quietly. That was always her role —- to remain in the background and consult her pocketbook. But they were putting on a good show.
The waiters even offered the drinks to the enemy on the other side of the room. The thugs stared down at the cups in doubt as if they wondered if they should drink it. Was it poison or what? Was it all a trick? Winston waved at them to confuse them even more. The thugs looked at each other and whispered low, wondering what the Wares, Churchill, and the merry Prof were up to. They certainly were not used to this! Usually they ditched and fled at the first approach of the German spies!
Apparently the spies were not used to thinking for themselves. They were accustomed to obeying orders, and no one had thought of a surprise like this. While discussing what to do, one thug and then the next succumbed to the temptation to drink the wine and spirits. Before long, they were confronting a table of drunken Germans.
“Let’s get out of here now!” Edward rose to his full height.
Everybody sprang to their feet. They were only too anxious to leave. Dora did not even want to tabulate the bill. She took out a wad of hundred pound notes and tossed them on the table. It was clearly more than enough. The spare amount could be a big tip.
The waiters were eyeing the money and the spies hiccuping as they hurried out the door onto the street as quietly as possible. They leaped into the getaway car and were out of town before they knew it. Edward took the liberty of passing everybody in sight.
Instead of going back to Ware Hall which right now would no doubt be crawling with spies, Edward decided to head for his family beach house at Studland Beach. They drove west along the coast to a semi-wilderness area. Dora got chills in the shady areas where they drove through what looked like tunnels of trees covering the road. This beach was certainly out of the way.
No sooner did they enter the cottage and try to unpack their scant luggage, than Dora looked out the kitchen window onto the beach. The waves crashed against the shore. There stood the Commercial Attache from the German Embassy himself, the one who was responsible for hiring all those German spies, Hitler’s right-hand man and financier, Herr von Wessel. He looked up at just that moment and met Dora’s horrified gaze. There were Nazis at Studland Beach!
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