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The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

Mr. Chapman Waves His Wand

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He found it impossible to say anything intelligible. She threw off her coat, and went on, with a wistful gravity that became her even more than smiles:

"Mr. Mifflin has told me some more about what you did last week-- I mean, how you took a room across the street and spied upon that hateful man and saw through the whole thing when we were too blind to know what was going on. And I want to apologize for the silly things I said that Sunday morning. Will you forgive me?"

Aubrey had never felt his self-salesmanship ability at such a low ebb. To his unspeakable horror, he felt his eyes betray him. They grew moist.

"Please don't talk like that," he said. "I had no right to do what I did, anyway. And I was wrong in what I said about Mr. Mifflin. I don't wonder you were angry."

"Now surely you're not going to deprive me of the pleasure of thanking you," she said. "You know as well as I do that you saved my life--all our lives, that night. I guess you'd have saved poor Bock's, too, if you could." Her eyes filled with tears.

"If anybody deserves credit, it's you," he said. "Why, if it hadn't been for you they'd have been away with that suitcase and probably Metzger would have got his bomb on board the ship and blown up the President----"

"I'm not arguing with you," she said. "I'm just thanking you."

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It was a happy little party that sat down in Roger's dining room that evening. Helen had prepared Eggs Samuel Butler in Aubrey's honour, and Mr. Chapman had brought two bottles of champagne to pledge the future success of the bookshop. Aubrey was called upon to announce the result of his conferences with the secret service men who had been looking up Weintraub's record.

"It all seems so simple now," he said, "that I wonder we didn't see through it at once. You see, we all made the mistake of assuming that German plotting would stop automatically when the armistice was signed. It seems that this man Weintraub was one of the most dangerous spies Germany had in this country. Thirty or forty fires and explosions on our ships at sea are said to have been due to his work. As he had lived here so long and taken out citizen's papers, no one suspected him. But after his death, his wife, whom he had treated very brutally, gave way and told a great deal about his activities. According to her, as soon as it was announced that the President would go to the Peace Conference, Weintraub made up his mind to get a bomb into the President's cabin on board the George Washington. Mrs. Weintraub tried to dissuade him from it, as she was in secret opposed to these murderous plots of his, but he threatened to kill her if she thwarted him. She lived in terror of her life. I can believe it, for I remember her face when her husband looked at her.

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The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

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