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- The Boy Allies with Haig in Flanders - 8/33 -
chauffeur, in accordance with Hal's instructions, immediately disappeared down the street with the car.
In the darkness of the vestibule, Hal tried the door.
"Locked," he said. "Lucky we came prepared."
He opened the little grip he carried.
Meanwhile, Chester had carried Hal's message to Gladys. The latter had repeated it to her mother, and these two now shadowed General Rentzel every place he moved, for they were fearful that he might decide at any moment to leave the house. Chester kept his eyes on all three.
Chester was plainly nervous. Had he been in the danger himself his nerves would have been as hard as steel, but the inaction while someone else was doing the work made him impatient and fanciful.
Finally General Rentzel approached the Swiss minister and paid his adieus. Then he moved toward the cloakroom.
Halfway there he was intercepted by Mrs. Schweiring and Gladys.
"You are not going so soon, your excellency?" questioned Mrs. Schweiring.
"I must," was the reply. "I have work to do at my office that will keep me until far into the night."
"I'm sorry," was the reply. "Have you seen my husband?"
"I understood him to say that he had some business with you; perhaps I was mistaken, however."
Twice now the general had attempted to move on, but Mrs. Schweiring had prevented it. He tried again, and she asked:
"What time have you, your excellency?"
General Rentzel glanced at his watch.
"Half-past eleven," he said.
"Surely, it is not that late," said Mrs. Schweiring. "Why, we have only been here a short time."
"Madame," said General Rentzel at this juncture, "I must ask you to excuse me. I must be going."
There was no reply the other could make to this without laying herself open to suspicion. She stepped back, and the German secret service chief passed on.
Behind him the woman and her daughter wrung their hands. They had been unsuccessful. In their minds they could see General Rentzel bursting in upon Hal and McKenzie in the middle of their work.
"What are we going to do?" cried the mother.
"They must be warned!' cried the daughter.
"I will warn them myself. It is a long ways to the general's quarters. He will be in no hurry. I can get there ahead of him."
"But if you should be discovered?"
Gladys shrugged her shoulders and was gone before her mother could protest.
Outside she dashed up to the Schweiring automobile and cried to the chauffeur.
"To General Rentzel's quarters! Quick!"
The machine sprang forward with a lurch.
Two minutes later, Gladys, peering from the car, made out as they passed what she took to be General, Rentzel's machine. She urged the chauffeur on even faster.
Half a block from the general's quarters, she ordered her driver to stop and then to take up position down a side street, where it was dark, and wait for her. These instructions were obeyed without question.
Gladys hurried toward the house.
There was no light to be seen as she ascended the steps and laid a hand on the door knob. Nevertheless the girl moved silently, for she did not know what servants might be in the house.
The door opened without a sound. Gladys advanced into the darkness.
From time to time she stopped as she moved along, but she was so afraid that General Rentzel might arrive before she could warn Hal and McKenzie that she wasted little time.
She came to a door, which opened noiselessly. She peered into the darkness, and in what appeared to be another room she saw what looked like a star.
The girl breathed a cry of thankfulness. She knew that she had found what she sought. She moved forward more rapidly.
As she walked along toward the light, she suddenly tripped over an obstacle hidden by the mantle of darkness and fell to the floor.
There was a crash that resounded throughout the house.
HAL GETS THE LIST
When Hal and McKenzie stopped in the entrance way upon finding that the door was locked, Hal took from the little grip he carried a long skeleton key. This had been procured for him by Mrs. Schweiring, and Hal knew that it would unlock almost any door.
To gain entrance to the house, therefore, was but the matter of an instant.
From his grip again Hal produced a small flashlight, with which he lighted their way. Thanks to the lad's previous visit to the house, he knew right where he was going, so there was no time lost in search.
Straight to the large safe in the general's private office Hal led the way. There he passed the light to McKenzie and placed the grip on the floor.
"No chance it has been left unlocked, I guess," the lad muttered. "However, I'll try it."
He shook the handle. The safe was locked.
"As I thought," said Hal. "Well, the rest will take time. Turn the light on the lock, McKenzie."
From his grip Hal took an ordinary cake of soap. This he proceeded to rub around the lock and stuff into the cracks. This done to his satisfaction, he stepped back and surveyed his work.
"All right, I guess," he said. "I never tackled anything like this before, but I think I know how it's done."
The next article he produced from the grip was a small vial. One look told McKenzie what it was. It contained nitroglycerine. This Hal poured under the edge of the safe. Then he attached a fuse and lighted it. Immediately he threw a heavy blanket, which was the last article the grip contained, over the safe to muffle the sound of the explosion that would occur in a few moments.
"Get back in the corner and crouch down, McKenzie," said Hal, and did the same thing himself.
At that moment there was a crash in the adjoining room. Hal's revolver leaped out, as did McKenzie's, and both dashed into the room. McKenzie flashed the light across the floor, and there, just getting to her feet, was Gladys.
"Quick! You must fly!" she cried. "General Rentzel is on his way and will be here at any moment."
The fuse in the other room was burning fast, as Hal knew. The lad determined, in that instant, that he would not leave the house without getting the list for which he had come.
He pulled Gladys back into the room where the fuse was fast burning to the safe. McKenzie followed, and the three crouched down.
A moment and there was a muffled explosion, followed by a flash of fire. Smoke filled the room. With a cry to the others to stay where they were, Hal dashed to the safe. It was as he hoped. The door had been blown clear.
Quickly Hal explored the contents of the safe. Then he gave a cry of delight. His hand encountered what he felt sure was the book he sought. He ran across the room with it to where McKenzie held the flashlight and by its glow examined his prize.
It was the list he sought.
Hal hesitated one moment, and then he pressed the book into the hands of Gladys.
"Quick!" he said. "Out the window with you. Give this to Chester and tell him to get out of Berlin at once. Tell him he will be followed but that he must get through."
"But you -"' protested Gladys.
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