Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/143

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137
THE PERIL OF DELUDING THE PUBLIC
the personal signature of the bookkeeper. 'What's this mean?' asked Brown. 'It means,' said the wild-eyed bookkeeper, 'that I have never paid that German his salary—not one penny in all the time he has been here. He never asked for money, always had plenty, so I pocketed from month to month the money due to him. But it's killing me. I didn't need to do it. I just couldn't resist the temptation. I had money of my own, and knew I could pay him any time. Yesterday when you said that I must again raise his salary I realised for the first time the enormity of the thing I was doing. I resolved to tell the German the whole story this morning, and give him his money in full. This is the cheque for the money I have stolen from him. I have money in the bank to meet it. I want him to have it, I don't care what follows.' Brown, gazing spellbound at his clerk, said: 'But I don't understand. Did the German never ask for his salary?' 'No,' replied the bookkeeper. 'He always had money; he seemed only to want the situation—to be connected with this house; he has some mysterious influence over the German trade in this country.' A weather-beaten man in a sea-jacket an hour or two later unceremoniously shuffled into the office. He handed Brown a note, who read it aloud: 'I am aboard ship by this time,' the letter said, 'bound for my country. Receive my sincere regrets at the abrupt termination of our pleasant relations. Through connection with your firm, I have found out the secret of glucose-making, and am going back to impart it to the firm which I belong to in Germany. You owe me nothing."

These few cases I print here because I think it but right to show that both before the war, and since, the public have not been so utterly blinded to the truth as the authorities had hoped.

Many of the other cases before me are of such a character that I do not propose to reveal them