Page images
PDF
EPUB

was

looking terrified at the men in enable them to make more the courtyard.

arrests. Alice was given a “Yes, here," was the order. large cloak made of Scottish

“ Alice,” although she spoke wool to put on as she drove in German, had made no attempt the open car.

When they to defend herself, for she knew arrived at the house, M. and that it

useless. They Madame de Geyter were at found on her five or six different home. Their maid ran to the identity cards, and swore at door when the bell rang, and her as they discovered them. came back quickly, crying outThen, without any mercy, every "Oh, madame, monsieur ! inch of her clothing was most The Boches are there, and rigorously examined in case mademoiselle is with them.” anything more was hidden. M. de Geyter immediately After that, according to the went out to meet the Chief story subsequently told by an of the Police, who was followed onlooker, the whole party were by his assistants and detectives. placed in motor-cars, guarded As they met, Rotselaer shouted by gendarmes, and were taken at himto the offices of the secret police “Don't

you

know this close to the station of Tournai. woman?” " Alice had

succeeded in He pushed forward little swallowing the rice-paper re- Louise de Bettignies, whose port before the personal ex- face was so pale with hollows amination, and now at Tournai under her eyes that she looked they brought her a glass of like a ghost. Before any reply milk containing a strong emetic. could be given, Alice” exBut she refused to open her claimedmouth, and when they tried “Of course you know me, to force her to drink, she monsieur. Don't you know managed to throw the con- that I came from Neuve-Eglise, tents of the glass on to the and that I have been working carpet. After that they left in your house for the last her alone for a short time, for six months as a dressmaker ? already they had obtained suffi- Surely you know that's true.” cient evidence to keep her in She had made up this story prison ; but they let Lamote in order to try and protect go, keeping him under super herself, but both M. and vision in the future.

Madame de Geyter indignantly The next day she was taken denied it, sayingby the Chief of Police to Mous- "No, it is certainly not true. cron to the house of M. de We do not know you, and have Geyter, who was one of her never seen you before.” principal agents, for the police What a tragic moment! Durhoped that by confronting the ing all her adventurous life of two suddenly they would obtain the past few months “ Alice” further information that would had never made a mistake.

what you

own

Now, worn out by the night's interests, tell anxiety and by twenty-four know." hours of imprisonment, she Madame kept her head, and was unconsciously betraying refused to say a word so long two of her best friends, and as the revolver was left on the two of the most faithful agents table. The Chief of the Police of the Allies. She was also then replaced it in his pocket, acting against her own in- and the two talked together, structions, for she had always but she took care to give him told her colleagues that if they no information of any value. were arrested, arrested, they should

they should As he rose from his seat, and above all things never was about to start to search that they had met or knew the house, madame asked himany of their comrades. She Sir, will you allow me to had repeatedly said the only offer a little brandy and water way to avoid betraying one to this poor girl 1" another if arrested was to He nodded his head, and she reply : “I know nothing; I went downstairs to the entrance have never met this person ; I hall, where “ Alice's ” Scottish have seen nothing ; I don't cloak had been thrown on to understand what you say. a chair. Madame de Geyter Only by such replies would it had very good reason to recogbe possible to avoid being nise that cloak, which was blue tricked into saying too much. on the one side and green on As she saw M. Geyter's face the other, for she had been and heard his denials, she sud- wearing it herself a month denly realised what she had before, when she was carrying done, and said,

an important secret despatch. “Very well, then, I will say On that occasion she noticed no more.”

that she was being followed by At this the Chief of the detectives, and therefore at a Police seized her angrily, and railway station had left her shook her, saying

carriage, leaving the cloak be“Oh, you little liar! Now hind. She had managed to confess and tell us all.”

evade notice and slip away, He told the detectives to but the police had, of course, take M. de Geyter into one found the cloak. She rememroom, while he himself went bered that the name of the with Madame de Geyter into dress shop at Lille from which another. Alice

left she had bought the cloak was out in the passage. Rotselaer probably on the tab at the shut the door, took his revolver back, and that there was alout, and said to madame- ways the possibility that she

“We are going to shoot this might be traced by this. Now spy. And you will have the by accident the cloak, lent in same fate if you don't tell us a kindly way by the police to the truth. Come, in your own keep“ Alice warm on the

[ocr errors]

was

[ocr errors]

“ Alice.”

motor journey, had come back endeavoured to avoid any furto her house. She found the ther indiscretions.

She was hall deserted, and so took the frequently subjected to crossopportunity to cut off the label examination, and then for sevand throw it into the kitchen eral days was left alone. At fire. She then prepared a glass length about the 4th or 5th of of brandy and water, and took May 1916, more than six months it up to “ Alice,” who, after after her arrest, the police she had drunk, said

obtained evidence which showed “Madame, you do not know clearly that Madame de Betme, but you are very kind, and tignies and Léonie Vanhoutte this drink has done me good.” had been working together in

Then the police search began. obtaining military information Fortunately on the previous and sending it to England. night, as soon as they heard They therefore brought Léonie of “Alice's ” arrest, M. and to Brussels, and took her sudMme. de Geyter had spent denly into " Alice's " cell. . several hours destroying every " You know this girl, don't possible document or paper you ? ” said Goldsmith of the that might arouse suspicion. Brussels secret police to Accordingly, in spite of the minute search made of their “No, I don't." house, nothing was found. The After various attempts to police then went away, taking obtain a confession from them, with them Louise de Bettignies, he exclaimed angrilywho a few days later was con- At any rate, you both signed to the prison of St came out of the same camp." Gilles in Brussels. Above the He tried another method of door of this prison was written learning the truth the next these words

day by placing the two women “However great may be the together in

a room, where misfortune that your sins have they were left alone. In the brought upon you, do not meantime he was able to watch

don yourself to despair. through a spy-hole in the wall, Open your hearts to repent- but they were careful not to ance, and your courage will betray each other in any way. come back, your suffering will Two days later another be less, you will become worthy bed was placed in “ Alice's ” of respect, and will deserve the cell, and a woman was thrust pardon of men and the mercy in who was said to have been of God."

condemned three months preBy this time “ Alice” had yiously to ten years penal servibecome much more calm, and tude for complicity in the during her stay in this prison, schemes of Miss Edith Cavell she carried out gymnastic exer- at Brussels. For the first few cises in her cell so as to keep days the two women hardly herself as fit as possible, and spoke to each other, and the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

new-comer spent most of the ventilators connected with the time with her head in her hands supply of central heating. The in complete silence. She was woman, whose name was Ladfrequently taken out for cross- rière, then knelt down on the examination, but always re- ground, placed her ears close turned in despair, throwing to one of the ventilators, and herself on her bed or breaking listened to the cell on the left. out into furious curses on the This proved to be empty. She German secret police, whom she then tried to communicate with declared had beaten her cruelly. that on the right, where Léonie

One day she said to “ Alice": had been placed. She could “Do you know that there is just hear a chair being moved. another woman under suspicion She then gave three raps on for being a spy in the cell the wall, and far away both next door? She was put there heard raps in reply. “ Alice this morning. I have seen the in her excitement incautiously writing above the door-Ge- said, fahrlich Person.'

“Oh, let me speak.” And “Do you know her name ?” she whispered Léonie's nickasked “ Alice.”

name through the ventilator, “I believe that she is the 'Minou ! Minou! It's I!” French woman who has been There was no reply, for brought face to face with you Léonie, more prudent than her several times.”

“chief," kept silent. Then How do you know that ? ' Alice

rose up, crying bitAlice," who wondered terly, and the woman said to whether Léonie could be pos- hersibly so near at hand.

“ Who was it that you called The woman replied

Minou just then?“My dear child, you must "I am going to tell you,” remember that I am not a said

said "Alice," whose power of suspect like you. I have been resistance by now was entirely

. condemned, and the warders broken. She told the whole here know it. Possibly if you of the truth to her companion, wanted to give any message to who held her hands affectionany one under detention whom ately, and wept in sympathy you know, I might be able to with her. get it through."

When she had finished her But "Alice" replied without confession, the other woman hesitation

rose up, and, holding her hand I don't know any one under to her heart, cried outdetention here."

“Oh, I must see a doctor The following day the woman immediately ; I feel so ill." said

One of the wardresses was “Shall we try to speak with therefore called, and the woman our neighbours ?

left the cell. As soon as she There were in the ward two was outside she rushed to

[ocr errors]

asked “

Goldsmith of the secret police paper on which could be read and repeated word for word the words she had written in what she had just learnt ; lemon juice. for she was one of those police “This surely is your writing, spies who earn a livelihood by madame. Yes, and you give acting as a decoy or “mouton." your friend counsels of pruA certain number of French dence. But it was

a silly and Belgians had agreed to do mistake to lose such a letter !” this vile work. Ladrière was Alice was sent back to one of the more notorious, and her cell, and he summoned after the Armistice she found Léonie, to whom he showed herself received with so much the letter. She looked at it disgust and hatred that she and made no reply, until in poisoned herself. On this occa- anger he shouted to hersion Goldsmith told her that “ Now will you confess that she must return to the cell, you know this woman ? and obtain something in writing “No! No!” that would serve to convict “Very well," he replied. “ Alice.” Accordingly she went “Guard ! bring in the other back again to her traitorous prisoner.” work, and the two became Then Louise, pale as death, such close friends that “ Alice was brought back again, and foolishly gave her a short letter cried out to Léonieto carry to Léonie next door. “I couldn't help it. I conIn this there was nothing to fessed that we knew each other. involve anyone else, but it Do forgive me.” was unimpeachable evidence They both embraced each that they knew each other, other, sobbing as if their hearts and it contained a warning to would break, until the German be very careful and cautious. separated them roughly. The message was, of course,

After that the two prisoners taken direct to Goldsmith, and waited for their trial. Between

never saw Ladrière seven and eight o'clock one again, as she was sent on morning “ Alice" was taken similar work elsewhere. Gold- out of her cell and taken to the smith thereupon sent for Place of Justice. There, with

Alice," and said to her- six other accused persons and

“ Will you still tell me that soldiers on each side, she stood you do not know this Van- face to face with the Governor, houtte girl ! Haven't you writ- Von Bissing. The prosecuting ten to her ??

barrister was Stoëber, a man “I have not written to her. whose name is still infamous That is not true,” she replied in Brussels, and one of those indignantly.

concerned in the murder of “Ah, then, what is this?" Miss Cavell. he said, holding up to the “ Alice” was formally aclight the incriminating sheet of cused of being a spy, and the

“ Alice

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »