Page:BulldogDrummondSapper.djvu/20

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16
 
PROLOGUE

such things are beneath us. I wish now to slightly qualify that remark." He turned to the American on his right, who with his eyes half closed was thoughtfully picking his teeth. "At this stage, sir, I address myself particularly to you."

"Go right ahead," drawled Mr. Hocking.

"I do not wish to touch on the war—or its result; but though the Central Powers have been beaten by America and France and England, I think I can speak for you two gentlemen"—he bowed to the two Germans—"when I say that it is neither France nor America with whom they desire another round. England is German's main enemy; she always has been, she always will be."

Both Germans grunted assent, and the American's eyes closed a little more.

"I have reason to believe, Mr. Hocking, that you personally do not love the English?"

"I guess I don't see what my private feelings have got to do with it. But if it's of any interest to the company you are correct in your belief."

"Good." The Count nodded his head as if satisfied. "I take it then that you would not be averse to seeing England down and out."

"Wal," remarked the American, "you can assume anything you feel like. Let's get to the show-down."

Once again the Count nodded his head; then he turned to the two Germans.

"Now you two gentlemen must admit that your plans have miscarried somewhat. It was no part of your original programme that a British Army should occupy Cologne.…"