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Newspaper Page Text
By H. NL Egbert
Basel is a little green -oasis amid
the awful deserts of the wan The
little, neat Swiss town is always
overflowing with those engaged in
reconstructing what they can out of
the chaos of suffering and desola
tion. It is packed with Red Cross
nurses and ambulances and parties
and French and German soldiers who
are to be exchanged salute each
other without animosity as they take
the sun upon their crutches.
My officer friend and I enjoyed the
sunlight together every morning, but
he spent his afternoons lying down
upstairs in his bedroom, shielded
from the light by the green shutters.
He was still far from strong. Hence
he was not present late that after
noon when the Red Cross nurse
made her confession to me.
We had noticed each other from
the beginning, I believe. There was
something striking and arresting in
her appearance. She was a Russian,
I discovered afterward, and, like all
Russians who are not peasants, was
of noble affiliations. I had performed
some trifling service for her, and
somehow she came to tell me this
you know how often we make con
( fessions to comparative strangers.
"I am a spy, the daughter of a spy.
I say 'am,' although I have not plied
my trade for a long time, because
once a spy always a spy. My father
was a general in the army; he sold
his country's secrets. Not for him
i self, but for the benefit of the Nihjl-
istic fraternity to which he belonged.
That was his sense of patriotism
perverted but not wholly base.
"He was discovered, as in the end
he was bound to be, and put to death.
He left me penniless. I was then a
girl of 19. I spied too for a living.
It had been suggested to me that,
ith my advantages I was capable
of extracting becrets from Russian
army officers, always unsuspicious.
The proposal came from the foreign
country, which my father had se
cretly served. I accepted it and it
put me in possession of a comforta
"For years I went up and down
through Russia, gathering informa
tion, until I had covered the land
with a network of intrigue. I had
agents under me; I was trusted ab
solutely by the foreign country 1
served. And then the war broke out
and all this devil's sowing came to
"Col. Repovitch was in charge of
the arsenal at Krujevatz. The arse
nal contained models of the new 25
centimeter gun which was to-be used
by the Serbian and Russian forces.
If I could procure a model of this
gun, or even the 'key' to the breech
mechanism, I was to receive 100,000
"It was sport to me, this Jesting
with men's lives and nations' safety;
and if I thought of it seriously at all I