Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/139

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133
THE PERIL OF DELUDING THE PUBLIC

cover that he is no stupid foreigner, but a man very much up to date as regards our methods and things happening in this country. Our language, too, he speaks like a native, and, were it not for his markedly Teutonic features, he might pass for one of ourselves.

"What excited my suspicions first regarding this personage was the fact that he was continually quizzing and putting to me questions regarding my employment of a decidedly delicate nature, and conversing freely on subjects about which I thought few people knew anything. I also noticed, when in his shop, that he was most lavish in his remarks to customers, especially to young engineers and draughtsmen who came to him from the neighbouring shipbuilding yards, leading them on to talk about matters concerning the Navy and shipbuilding; their work in the various engineering shops and drawing offices; and the time likely to be taken to complete this or that gunboat, etc. Indeed, with some of these young engineers and draughtsmen I have not failed to notice that he is particularly 'chummy,' and I also know, for a fact, that on several occasions he has been 'up town' with them, visiting music halls and theatres, and that they have spent many evenings together. On these occasions no doubt, under the influence of liquor, many confidences will have been exchanged, and many 'secrets' regarding work and methods indiscreetly revealed.

"But so much for the above. On surmise alone my conclusions regarding this man might have been entirely wrong, but for the fact that I, one evening, met with a former employee of his, also a German, in another barber's shop in the city. This youngster, evidently nursing a grievance against his late employer for something or other, was quick to unburden himself to me regarding him, and gave me the following particulars. He said that his late master was not what he appeared to be, and that his barbering was all a blind to cover something else; in fact