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- The Boy Allies with Haig in Flanders - 7/33 -


sir?" he demanded.

Hal smiled.

"I'm not applying for a job, sir," he replied. "I came here at your son's suggestion. He said you might have a proposition to make, and if I can be of service without taking too great risk, I am willing, sir."

Again the general meditated. At last he said:

"It's true that we have need of men for the work my son mentions. To my mind, your youth would be in favor, rather than against, the success of the undertaking. Would you be willing to go back to America?"

"Well, I don't care particularly about going right now," said Hal truthfully.

"But there is nothing to prevent your going?"

."Well, no. But I would know the nature of my work first. I would not like to become a spy, sir. It seems to me that spies are not made of manly caliber, sir."

"You are wrong," was the quiet response. "Why, I can show you the names of men whom you would not think of suspecting, and yet who are acting for the German government in America."

"Is that so, sir?"

"It is indeed. Wait." General Rentzel arose, approached the big safe in the rear of the room, unlocked it and took there from a small paper-bound book. He returned to his seat at the table.

"In this little book," he said, tapping the table gently with it, "are the names of our agents in America. See, I'll show you a name, of worldwide importance, who is acting for us."

General Rentzel exposed a name. Hal glanced at it and then gave a long whistle.

"It's no wonder you are surprised," said the general, smiling. "Neither is it any wonder that our agents have been so successful in America, considering names like that."

"I should say not, sir," returned Hal grim.

General Rentzel returned the book to his safe, closed the heavy iron door and twirled the knob.

"What do you say, sir?" he demanded, as he resumed his seat.

For a moment Hal seemed to hesitate. Then he said:

"I accept on one condition, sir."

"And that?" asked the general.

"That," said Hal, "is that I may have the week in which to put my affairs in shape. I shall have to resign my position with my paper and attend to a few other matters, sir."

"Very good, sir. You need not call here again. It would be unwise. I shall see you at the Swiss ambassador's ball, which will be held four nights from tonight. There I will give you what passports you need and other instructions. Until then, sir, auf Wiedersehen."

Captain Rentzel accompanied Hal from his father's office.

"You are in luck," said that worthy, "and the pay is big. In a year or two you will be a wealthy man."

Hal thanked the captain, and made his way home alone.

As he moved up the steps he was startled to see a shadowy figure lurking in the doorway. His hand dropped to his pocket, and he advanced cautiously.

"Don't be afraid. Take your hand away from that revolver," came the voice of Gladys Schweiring.

"Miss Gladys!" exclaimed Hal in surprise. "What are you doing here? It is almost midnight."

"I was waiting for you," was the low response. "I was afraid something might have happened."

"It has," replied Hal, "but it is good news and not bad. Where is your mother?"

"In the drawing-room."

"Are the others there?"

"Just your friends. The guests have gone, and father has retired."

"Good . I have important information for them,"

Hal followed the young girl into the drawing room. Chester rose to his feet.

"By George! I'm glad to see you back safely," he said. "I was afraid something had happened."

Others echoed his words.

"Folks," said Hal, "I've news for you -- good news."

"What is it?" demanded Chester eagerly.

"Well," said Hal very quietly. "I've seen the list!"

CHAPTER VII

THE MINISTER'S BALL

It was a gay assemblage that thronged the home of the Swiss minister four nights after Hal's interview with the chief of the German secret service. Elegantly dressed women and well groomed and handsome officers danced and sang, and from the general tone of the evening it would have been hard to believe that Germany was engaged in a war that threatened her very existence.

Hal, Chester and McKenzie went to the ball accompanied by Mrs. Schweiring and her daughter. Mrs. Schweiring's husband announced that he would appear later, as he had matters of importance to transact at his office.

This was the night that Hal had decided upon to make an effort to get the list of names for which the three friends were risking so much. He had a well- conceived plan in mind. The details he had worked out in the days following his interview with the German chief of secret service and his preparations had been careful and thorough. Now he was anxious for action.

General Rentzel reached the ball late in the evening. He paid his respects to the Swiss minister and to the latter's wife. A few moments later he encountered Hal, and escorted the lad to a secluded nook, where he presented the lad with several documents.

"This," he said, indicating one, "is your passport into Switzerland. From there you will travel as a Swiss subject. You will present that paper," and he indicated a second, "to Herr Baumgartner in Washington. You will find him still at the Austrian embassy. He will give you other instructions. Also, you will receive your pay through him, and whatever other money is necessary."

Hal bowed.

"Very well, sir," he said.

"I don't know that there is anything further," said General Rentzel, "except to warn you that treachery means death."

"I am aware of that, sir," returned Hal quietly.

"Very good, then. Good luck to you."

The general moved away.

Hal sought Chester instantly, glancing at his watch as he passed along slowly and without apparent haste. It was 10:30 o'clock.

"It's time to get busy, Chester," he said quietly. "It's half-past ten, and I may require an hour and a half. You get word to Gladys and her mother to keep General Rentzel here under some pretext until midnight. I'm off."

"Am I not going with you?" demanded Chester.

"No," said Hal. "I don't have time to wait, and the message must be delivered to Mrs. Schweiring or her daughter at once. I'll pick McKenzie up on the way. Good-bye."

"Good luck," said Chester simply.

Hal left the room quietly. In the hall he found McKenzie, whom he motioned to follow him. McKenzie did so quietly.

Outside Hal found the automobile which had brought them to the ball. He leaped in and McKenzie followed. Hal gave quick directions to the chauffeur to drive them home. The latter asked no questions.

At the home of Mrs. Schweiring Hal ordered McKenzie to remain in the car while the lad hurried into the house. He returned a moment later, carrying a small grip. This he threw into the car and climbed in after it.

"We have important business with General Rentzel," he told the chauffeur. "You will drive us there and then return to the ball for your mistress."

The chauffeur asked no questions. There were so many queer things going on in Berlin that he was not even greatly interested.

General Rentzel's office was in darkness when the car pulled up before it. Motioning McKenzie to follow him, Hal hastened up the steps. The


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