Cleopatra’s Stone by Dora Benley
Cleopatra’s Stone will be on special promotion on Amazon Kindle starting on Tuesday, June 13. Download it for free during the five days the promotion continues. But hurry! An offer like this won’t be repeated this year.
Lucius Antonius has sailed to Alexandria, Egypt along with Julius Caesar’s triumphant legions in pursuit of Pompey the Great. Caesar may be able to clap Ptolemy, the boy king, in irons. But his sister, Cleopatra, is another story. Just returned from hiding out in the Arabian Desert, she has chiseled a black stone of unknown age from a sacred monument because the bauble appeals to her. Assassins are on the loose to get revenge for the desecration. What will Cleopatra do to protect herself? The Serpent of the Nile is full of wiles — deadly ones for Caesar in this historical thriller novel, Cleopatra’s Stone, by Dora Benley.
Cleopatra’s Stone is brought to you by Edward Ware Thrillers At War, an imprint of Cheops Books, LLC. The novels tell the story of Edward Ware’s family from ancient times in ancient Rome to the present day, always involved in war and conflict and with the British Isles and eventually America as a home base. If you liked this novel try other Edward Ware Thrillers At War novels in the same series by Dora Benley such as Dark 3: Special Edition and Salisbury Plot.
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Dora And Edward Should Book A Mediterranean Cruise in 2018:
One year from today on Friday, June 8, 2018 the Queen Victoria sets out on a 14-night Mediterranean cruise that should interest Dora and Edward Ware with all their connections all over Europe. What is better the cruise embarks in Southampton and returns them to Southampton at the end of the cruise so they can easily drive right back to Ware Hall in the south of England or they can drive into London and take up residence at the Savoy at their apartment. The following ports of call are on the itinerary of Mediterranean Highlights: Oporto, Barcelona, Port Mahon, Ajaccio, Citavecchia, Cagliari, and Gibraltar.
Ajaccio should interest them. That is the place on the island of Corsica where Napoleon was born. There is a statue of the Emperor there as well as a house that was in the Bonaparte family until the 1920s. Edward’s great-grandfather served under Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo in the upcoming Cheops Books LLC historical thriller, Inn at the Crossroads.
Citavecchia is the port of Rome. Edward has a big chase scene through all sorts of Italian formal gardens in the historical thriller, Map Plot. He could take a shore excursion to Hadrian’s Villa or the Villa de Este with all its waterfalls.
And finally Gibraltar would always be of interest. In the historical thriller soon to be published by Cheops Books LLC, Hitler’s Agent, Dora and Edward pay a visit to the island of Gibraltar to refuel their yacht. They need to get back to Paris to meet with Winston Churchill at the Ritz Hotel. Dora enlists some local apes to help escape from Hitler and his agents.
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The British Museum In Edward Ware Thrillers:
The British Museum figures in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series on more than one occasion. It appears as a mysterious place, full of atmosphere and intrigue, and not as a very prim and proper and boring British institution where school kids visit on field trips. The series begins in 1914 when archaeologist Leonard Woolley is conducting a Hittite dig at Carchemish in Turkey. His assistant is a young man by the name of T.E. Lawrence. Edward Ware’s father, Sir Adolphus Ware, is an amateur archaeologist/car magnate and is helping to fund the dig. Edward first becomes enmeshed by the wiles of the spy who was later to become Helga von Wessel during this dig in 1914. She is searching for the Lawrence maps for the Kaiser.
Leonard Woolley helps Edward hide the Lawrence maps in the British Museum near the Rosetta Stone in the historical thriller Map Plot. Later still Dora and Edward return to the famed museum in the thriller Wall Street Swastika. The silent mummies and Greek statues watch them as they slink through the museum at night undetected by human eyes. It is all what helps to make the British Museum part of the Edward Ware Thriller Series.
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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 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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Chapter 2b: Wall Street Swastika: A Nazi Sandwich
Dora shivered when she remembered the skiff at sea and the threatening note that had been aboard it just for them. She knew that the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler would go to any lengths to get his hands on the Lawrence maps.
The first port of call out of New York was in Boston. They stopped in Boston Harbor for the day. They tied up beside some fishing boats that looked very New England like. Dora assumed they would be marooned aboard the ship for the day sitting there looking out the window and waiting to get underway again. But suddenly at breakfast in the main dining room Winston looked down at this gold pocket watch and said, “We have to rendezvous witn an operative of mine in four hours in Sandwich.”
“Where?” Dora asked, thinking she had not heard the MP right.
“Sandwich, Massachusetts. It’s on the Cape,” Winston replied.
“Why there?” Edward asked.
Winston shrugged. “He was invested in stocks, too. Visiting his brother in the States when the crash occurred. Wanted to console himself for his losses so he said in his last telegram. So he came here to Cape Cod to get over it if there is any way he can. But I’ve picked him as a recipient of the maps.” Winston spoke in a low tone.
“Edward certainly needs to get rid of them,” Dora put her hand on Edward’s arm. “Now that Hitler has a leg up because of the Crash, we don’t want to be the recipients of his unleashed fury.” Dora shuddered at the very thought of it.
“The latest word is that Hitler’s biggest backer, Herr von Wessel, is funneling Hitler five times as much money as before the crash,” Winston revealed.
“Where did you learn that?” Edward asked. “It sounds phenomenal.”
“Apparently it is a big scandal in Germany as we speak,” Winston conceded. “Nobody can believe it in political circles. But what do political circles matter at a time like this? Factories in the Ruhr are laying off workers left and right. All they care about is putting food on the table.
Any leader who promises that they will listen to. It doesn’t matter how he gets his money,” Winston attempted to explain the situation.
They disembarked. A car drove up before them. Winston got in and they followed. He had even arranged for the transportation.
Edward was always the chosen driver as they went south out of the city. Another car seemed to be riding on their bumper. Dora saw it in the rearview mirror.
Edward speeded up. The car speeded up. He turned off the main highway. The other car followed.
“They are after us already,” Dora swallowed hard.
Edward managed to lose them before they arrived in Sandwich.They pulled up in front of a water mill by a stream and got out. They purchased tickets and climbed out of the car.
No one seemed to be waiting for them inside. Edward and Churchill left her standing there to inquire at the desk if anyone had left a note for them. Winston left an alias that he was going by for the purpose of the rendezvous. Just then Dora saw a shadow in the mill stream from behind her. She spun around and gasped as a thug pointed a gun at her.
Dora fled inside the mill. No one was there least of all Winston or Edward. She did not want to scream or she might let the thug know where she was. But soon enough he appeared behind her. She climbed the stairs since it was the only way out of the room. The thug was blocking the only exit. Unfortunately he followed her as she fled.
Dora emerged in a viewing room at the top of the mill. Just on the other side of the railing the water from the stream gushed over the top of the water wheel, forcing it to turn.The creep appeared behind her. There was nowhere to flee. Dora backed up against the railing with the water behind her only feet away. She screamed and screamed and screamed.
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Dexter Grist Mill, Sandwich. Cape Cod, Massachussets, USA
Chapter 8: Wall Street Swastika: The Queen’s Room
Dora, Edward, and Churchill were foiled in their latest attempts to transfer the Lawrence maps to Professor Lindemann. It was becoming harder than a high wire act at the circus under the big top. They could not risk meeting publicly. They might be seen. And Churchill did not want anybody to know that Lindemann was associated with him. That was why meeting in a darkened theater had seemed like such a good idea. But they had been foiled even at that.
Churchill had idea of meeting in the Queen’s ballroom, the Queen’s Room, on deck 3. The Prof would be one of many men who asked Dora to dance. She would slip him the folder of maps hopefully when nobody was looking.
Dora first of all went to the seamstress. She was surprised that one was available. But so it was. So many of the ladies had brought frippery and finery for the ball that night in the Queen’s Room that the ship had somebody to tend to rips and tears at the last minute.
In her case she wanted the sewing lady to install a secret invisible pocket. She had packed the wrong gown at the last minute. She had been suprised that she was going to Europe at all. But then came the Wall Street Crash, and Edward had to have her sail to deal with the family business that was being left high and dry by the financial debacle.
She had grabbed the wrong gown. The other was better equipped with pockets. She put on her gown and modeled it. The seamstress quickly and neatly concealed a pocket amidst the many of folds of her classical muse costume. She had to go on a diet. The dress itself was unforgivably tight. It followed all her curves exactly without an inch to spare.
This pocket was brilliantly right at the neckline where the gown draped and folded itself over the top of her bosom. This pocket on the inside did not show at all. From the outside no one could tell it was there. In fact, Edward had tried to inspire Dora for the evening in the ship’s ballroom by meeting her in her cabin when Rita Jolivet was tending to buying clothes in the shops downstairs herself. He helped her drape it over herself just so. First of all, this dress had to have its own underwear designed not to show underneath. She had to take off all her daytime clothes and put them on one by one. When she was totally in the nude Edward took her aside to the bed and made love to her. They had not made love since before the Wall Street Crash. It all seemed very fiery and urgent. Times had changed in only a few days. But she got the message. She had to perform as Edward had, and she could not mess up.
But as soon as the dance was underway in the Queen’s Room and they started to exchange partners, an aggressive male dancer seemed to grab hold of her and move her aside right underneath the King’s and Queen’s portraits on the wall. He conered her in one part of the ballroom. When she tried to get away he would not let her. He kept her isolated there dancing just with him. She did not want to break off and run. That would not look right and might ruin their plan.
Edward tried to break in, but just at the last minute another man moved over there and started to dance with Dora, blocking Edward. He got so close he was touching her bosom. Then he started to reach for it as if he had been tipped off ahead of time. In a flash it occurred to Dora that the seamstress had been hired by the Dictator. She was a spy and had revealed the existence of the secret pocket in the neckline.
Dora slapped his face. She could not defend herself unless she created a scene and a big scene at that.
Ladies screamed and stood back. The Captain entered the Queen’s Room and was approaching. Suddenly a male passenger who acted as if he were drunk and tipsy came waltzing along with a laughing lady when nobody else was dancing. He let her go and grabbed Dora by both hands, kissing her on both cheeks. Then he danced out of the Queen’s Room with her. It was the Prof from Oxford! She had the presence of mind to quickly transfer the maps to her hands. He quickly stuffed them into his tuxedo and without missing a beat they danced back. The party seemed to resume. A few looks were cast her direction. But already the guests aboard the Mauretania seemed to forget.
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Chapter 7: Wall Street Swastika: Poor Ophelia
The next morning they went to the first class dining room for breakfast. Nervously Dora looked from side to side. She didn’t see any of the creepy German spies who had haunted them yesterday evening at dinner. Had they all decamped when Edward made the rogue who attacked her walk the plank? Did they want to avoid trouble? Had they been waiting for that ship that had been shadowing them to escape? Had Hitler sent it? Were they on their way to Germany right now?
Dora did not feel comfortable sitting in the dining room where last night they had encountered the rogues. Rita had sent her excuses that she was having breakfast in her cabin. But Dora had to sit there and endure it. Winston always insisted on having a full breakfast pefectly cooked. He said it was the only way to start the day. He had to have his wits about him, and his wits had to be carefully nourished.
He and Edward sat there discussing of all things the Lawrence maps themselves. Edward had them right now up his sleeve. Before the voyage was over they were supposed to rendezvous with Churchill’s best friend, Professor Lindemann of Oxford. The gentleman was aboard the ship right now. Winston was pretending he did not know the man. If they saw him they were not to say hello or wave. In fact, he was sitting across the room right now. Dora turned to see him reading the newspapers all by himself at a table next to the Roman pillar near the kitchen entrance. Waiters zoomed past the physics professor left and right and he did not eyeball one of them. Instead he seemed to be doing the crossword puzzle if Dora had to guess. He was marking things down on the newspaper itself.
“Do you have any word what the Dictator is up to right now since he got word of the crash?” Edward asked very low.
Churchill dug into his poached eggs on toast covered with heavenly hollandaise sauce with bacon on the side. Winston nodded. “I talked to Lindemann last night in secret in the men’s room on the lower level in the dark. He reported that Hitler isn’t wasting any time at all. His speaking engagements had been few and far between until last week. Germany is dependent upon short term loans in particular. The farmers are up in arms, one of Hitler’s bases of power to begin with. Others in the cities are starting to lose their jobs already.”
Dora shook her head. “But can’t they see that the stock market will recover one of these days?”
Edward sighed. “Not soon enough to keep the likes of the slippery footed Hitler out of power.”
“Hitler has been invited to the townhall in Nuremberg entitled Why Democracy Has Failed Germany: Time for a Change.” He sipped his hot chocolate.
Dora tapped her fingers nervously on the table.
“The Hugenberg Press is giving him an interview next week. He is going to emphasize how the Nazis never had anything to do with the Weimar government. He even has his eye on two posts in the Thuringian government. He wants to aim at the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education. That way he can control the civil service, the police, and the schools. He says he can do anything after that.”
Dora could not believe this nightmare just because of a bad day of Wall Street. All right. A terrible day. But she had to remember that not everybody had her father’s money.
That evening they were going to meet Lindemann in the theater aboard the ship. Once the lights went out they were going to hand over the maps. That was another clever move by Winston.
Dora had gotten there first. She was saving the four seats near the stage. The Royal Shakespearian Theater was putting on Hamlet. Ophelia was about to be buried in a church yard near the castle in Helsingor.
Suddenly a strange man sat down next to Dora. She rose immediately, but he grabbed her by the hand. She did not know whether to scream and attract everybody’s attention. After all, she had the maps in her handbag.
She did not get a chance to think. The lights had just gone out. He slipped his hand over her mouth and put a gun to her back. She was forced to accompany him up the back staircase to the stage. Whatever he was up to she could not imagine. There was a wooden box that resembled a coffin. He was forcing her to climb into it.
No sooner had she laid down than stage hands picked up the coffin and carried her right out into the middle of the stage. The players were declaiming all around her in Act V, Scene 1 of Hamlet. The gravediggers are arguing with each other whether she should be buried here since she committed suicide.
Hamlet and Horatio enter stage left. They are talking about the various graves. Hamlet finds a skull he likes but says in a voice that sounds a bit too familiar to Dora, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio!” Why, that sounded like Edward! Or was it her imagination? Had they seen her get kidnapped? Had they sensed an elaborate plot afoot for stealing the maps in the middle of the play?
Suddenly Hamlet sees her coffin. He breaks into lamentations. He claims that he would eat a crocodile for Ophelia or even be buried alive with her. Laertes contradicts Hamlet in the voice of the thug who brought her up here to begin with. She hears Edward shove the thug aside as Claudius and Gertrude enter the stage and declare Hamlet mad. But Hamlet insists on leaning over the coffin of Ophelia and kissing her cheek. She has the maps ready and hands them to Edward.
The curtains close and Dora leaps up out of the coffin of Ophelia. Churchill is stage left calling to her along with Edward still dressed as Hamlet next to the real players who look totally befuddled as Edward, Churchill, and Dora flee the theater to take the elevator to their rooms where Professor Lindemann waits. Dora falls into Edward’s arms. It was another narrow escape.
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Chapter 6: Wall Street Swastika: Nazi Goons Walk The Plank:
Dora glared at the four goons at the other table. Oddly enough despite the fact that they had not succeeded in throwing Rita Jolivet out the window at the lighthouse and oddly enough even though they did not possess a single Lawrence map, the German spies looked as if they were wining and dining themselves tonight as the ship headed out to sea to begin the transatlantic crossing. They kept on calling for more bottles of champagne and inviting pretty waitresses to sit down at the table with them and join them. They appeared to be having a grand celebration right on board the Mauretania ocean liner, the sister ship to the Lusitania that the Germans had sunk at the beginning of the last war.
“Bring on some candles!” one spy cried out in broken English with a heavy German accent.
Another tossed deustch marks at a passing waiter. “Bring us some matches and some big wine cups. These are too puny,” he looked with disdain down at his crystal wine glass.
“Isn’t that fellow the one you shot, Edward?’ Dora leaned closer to her fiance. “Wasn’t he lying dead on the floor when we arrived to rescue Rita?”
Edward nodded as if half paying attention to what Dora was saying. He seemed focused on studying the table of spies before them.
“I was wondering why he was already so stiff lying there. I didn’t have time but I should have examined him more closely,” Edward said. “I bet it was planned. If they met any opposition they were to throw down a mannequin with a suit on and a gun and papers in his pocket. He even had that obnoxious note for us.”
Dora nodded. She could see what they were up to. It was all an act just to get their attention about the maps and let them know how serious the Nazi Party leader was in obtaining them. If Dora and Edward did not hand them over, she might lose a friend or two.
Her hair stood up on end when one of the spies waved at her and smiled.
As they left the dining room after dinner, they had to pass by the table of goons. Rita spat at them. But they waved at her, too. Unbelievably they cheered. By then Dora assumed the goons were more than a little drunk with all the wine, women, and song.
They retired to their rooms. The crew had managed to arrange for adjoining rooms for Rita and Dora. Rita kept on bursting through the door so many times that Edward excused himself and went to join Churchill in his cabin down the hallway. But when Dora came back from saying good night to her fiance, she paused at the door. At the end of the darkened hallway that had become still after midnight she could make out a figure of a man. He was so far away she could not make out his features. But his height and silent ways, his very soberness, did not remind her of the table of goons who had been drinking themselves silly a couple of hours ago. The silent form made her shiver.
She did not want to tell Rita about the man lurking in the hallway when she got back to her room. She had to try to settle her old friend down in bed. She did not want to pick up the phone and call Edward either. Rita might overhear. Maybe after the lady went to sleep. All Dora did was make sure that her door was locked.
She took her drink and sat down by the porthole gazing out at the blackened Atlantic Ocean with only a silver moon overhead with gathering clouds. She listened to Rita settling down to sleep. Then a hand from behind suddenly cupped itself over her mouth.
A gun pointed at her temple. “Give me the Lawrence maps, or I will push you overboard.” He dragged her out of her cabin —- she could not imagine how he had gotten in her to begin with, but he no doubt had all the talents of a spider —- and dragged her down the silent hallway past Edward’s room. Dora tried to warn her fiance by reaching out to kick the door. She did not do it very loudly before the creep swept her out on the open deck with no one else about.
He was raising her to throw her overboard when suddenly the man fell back. Edward had taken his gun from him and thrown it overboard. He was pointing it at the gunman. Dora fell into Churchill’s arms as the goon freaked. He climbed up over the railing himself and leaped down into the waves.
There was a ship shadowing them just one hundred feet or so away. Had the spy been picked up? Dora trembled uncontrollably as Edward had made the Nazi walk the plank when it could have been her instead.And there was nothing on earth so lonely as the vast Atlantic Ocean with no other soul about for hundreds of miles and a darkness so incredible it was positively hellish.
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