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Newspaper Page Text
Regular every afternoon she drove
'in the park dressed in figured silks
worn over an ample crinoline, a poke
bonnet half hiding her delicately
rouged face and grandmotherly hair.
It was vaguely-known that she
claimed to be a reincarnation of
Marie Antoinette and that at her
splendid house in Marlborough-gate,
W., she sad enshrined a coffin "that
she might be beautiful in death."
Obviously Mme. Trost was rich.
She maintained a splendid home just
opposite Kensington Gardens, where
she lived surrounded by Louis XVI
furniture and superb plate.
But while girl pages in rich silk
gowns of Louis XVI period served the
guests at Madam's frequent "at
homes," the queer old lady kept no
servants, but lived quite alone, doing
all her own cooking and much of the'
This seemed more remarkable be
cause Madam Trost was a beauty
specialist in Bond-st, W. A business
woman whose trade it was to pander
to the follies of the idle rich.
Practically all her clientele occu
pied important social or official posi
tions. After a treatment those who wish
ed to rest their nerves could drink
tea and play bridge. If the lost
Madam was a liberal banker. As
time passed and accounts grew the
ensnared clients became helpless be
fore their creditor's curiosity. A more
inquisitive old lady never lived. For
wheedling information she was al
most without a rival.
But one day, after war began,
Mme. Trost asked an apparently
harmless question of a clear-headed,
debt-free woman. That night Scot
land Yard became mildly suspicious
of the beauty specialist
Official investigation proved that
the quaint Victorian in life was a
German subject born in Frankfort,
that she ahd lived 30 years in Lon
don and identified herself with every
thing English, but had never been
Scotland Yard delved deeper and
discovered that long ago, when Ber
tha Trost was quite a young woman,
she stood in the shadow of Austrian
royalty until her connection with an
intrigue caused some one highly
placed at the Vienna court to suggest
that she would be better off in Lon
don, where suitable provision would
be made for her.
The Bond st. "business," with its (j
bizarre boudoirs, was merely a blind
to hoodwink the police. The receipts
did not pay the rent. Behind the
trellis screens and rose-strung shut
ters madam could carry out her
schemes. The important women
whose physical defects she knew,
whose notes of hand she held, could
often be induced to yield up official
gossip, even secrets of state.
Madam Trost's subterraneon pro
fession became daily more obvious.
Recently she began to drive out with
wounded officers just home from the
front. Then, grown suddenly reck
less, she attempted to visit the.
camps of German prisoners in Eng
land. Scotland Yard called a halt and de
manded an explanation. The truth
came out. Madam Trost, married 30
years ago in Germany, was searching
for her son, a German prisoner, now
interned in England. Mother love
had made her careless of conse
quences. In an effort to nullify the decree of
exile to her own country she at
tempted to marry a British subject
by special license. But the Birming
ham bridegroom, who answered the
summons by the first train, arrived
in London just as the Lady of the
Crinoline was arrested.
Now her long scheming is ended. J
Her splendid home -and her "busi
ness" premises are held by the public
trustee and the curious triple-sheath-
ed coffin is in the hands of the bureau
of criminal investigation.
Fqr the "dear old English lady"
was a dangerous secret agent, a spy
in skirts, in the pay of Germany.