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Full text of "The secret agent : a simple tale"

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BRITISH AUTHORS 

TAUCHNITZ EDITION. 

.VOL. 3995. 
THE SECRET AGENT. BY JOSEPH CONRAD. 

IN ONE VOLUME. 



TAUCHN1TZ EDITION. 

By the same Author, 

AN OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS . . 
TALES OF UNREST 



THE 

SECRET AGENT 



A SIMPLE TALE 



JOSEPH ICONRAD 

AUTHOR OF "AN OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS," ETC. 



COPYRIGHT EDITION 



L^Z I P Z I G 

D TAUCHNITZ 



1907. 



Annex 






THE SECRET AGENT. 



i. 

MR. VERLOC, going out in the morning, left his shop 
nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. It could be 
done, because there was very little business at any time, 
and practically none at all before the evening. Mr. 
Verloc cared but little about his ostensible business. And, 
moreover, his wife was in charge of his brother-in-law. 

The shop was small, and so was the house. It was 
one of those grimy brick houses which existed in large 
quantities before the era of reconstruction dawned upon 
London. The shop was a square box of a place, with 
the front glazed in small panes. In the daytime the door 
remained closed; in the evening it stood discreetly but 
suspiciously ajar. 

The window contained photographs of more or less 
undressed dancing girls; nondescript packages in wrappers 
like patent medicines; closed yellow paper envelopes, very 
flimsy, and marked two-and-six in heavy black figures; a 
few numbers of ancient French comic publications hung 
across a string as if to dry; a dingy blue china bowl, a 
casket of black wood, bottles of marking ink, and rubber 
stamps; a few books, with titles hinting at impropriety; a 



6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

few apparently old copies of obscure newspapers, badly 
printed, with titles like The Torch, The Gong rousing 
titles. And the two gas jets inside the panes were always 
turned low, either for economy's sake or for the sake of 
the customers. 

These customers were either very young men, who 
hung about the window for a time before slipping in sud- 
denly; or men of a more mature age, but looking generally 
as if they were not in funds. Some of that last kind 
had the collars of their overcoats turned right up to their 
moustaches, and traces of mud on the bottom of their 
nether garments, which had the appearance of being 
much worn and not very valuable. And the legs inside 
them did not, as a general rule, seem of much account 
either. With their hands plunged deep in the side pockets 
of their coats, they dodged in sideways, one shoulder first, 
as if afraid to start the bell going. 

The bell, hung on the door by means of a curved 
ribbon of steel, was difficult to circumvent It was hope- 
lessly cracked; but of an evening, at the slightest pro- 
vocation, it clattered behind the customer with impudent 
virulence. 

It clattered; and at that signal, through the dusty 
glass door behind the painted deal counter, Mr. Verloc 
would issue hastily from the parlour at the back. His 
eyes were naturally heavy; he had an air of having wal- 
lowed, fully dressed, all day on an unmade bed. Another 
man would have felt such an appearance a distinct dis- 
advantage. In a commercial transaction of the retail 
order much depends on the seller's engaging and amiable 
aspect. But Mr. Verloc knew his business, and remained 
undisturbed by any sort of aesthetic doubt about his ap- 
pearance. With a firm, steady-eyed impudence, which 



THE SECRET AGENT. 7 

seemed to hold back the threat of some abominable 
menace, he would proceed to sell over the counter some 
object looking obviously and scandalously not worth the 
money which passed in the transaction: a small cardboard 
box with apparently nothing inside, for instance, or one 
of those carefully closed yellow flimsy envelopes, or a 
soiled volume in paper covers with a promising title. 
Now and then it happened that one of the faded, yellow 
dancing girls would get sold to an amateur, as though 
she had been alive and young. 

Sometimes it was Mrs. Verloc who would appear at 
the call of the cracked bell. Winnie Verloc was a young 
woman with a full bust, in a tight bodice, and with broad 
hips. Her hair was very tidy. Steady-eyed like her hus- 
band, she preserved an air of unfathomable indifference 
behind the rampart of the counter. Then the customer 
of comparatively tender years would get suddenly discon- 
certed at having to deal with a woman, and with rage in 
his heart would proffer a request for a bottle of marking 
ink, retail value sixpence (price in Verloc's shop one-and- 
sixpence), which, once outside, he would drop stealthily 
into the gutter. 

The evening visitors the men with collars turned up 
and soft hats rammed down nodded familiarly to Mrs. 
Verloc, and with a muttered greeting, lifted up the flap 
at the end of the counter in order to pass into the back 
parlour, which gave access to a passage and to a steep 
flight of stairs. The door of the shop was the only means 
of entrance to the house in which Mr. Verloc carried on 
his business of a seller of shady wares, exercised his 
vocation of a protector of society, and cultivated his 
domestic virtues. These last were pronounced. He was 
thoroughly domesticated. Neither his spiritual, nor his 



8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

mental, nor his physical needs were of the kind to take 
him much abroad. He found at home the ease of his 
body and the peace of his conscience, together with Mrs. 
Verloc's wifely attentions and Mrs. Verloc's mother's de- 
ferential regard. 

Winnie's mother was a stout, wheezy woman, with a 
large brown face. She wore a black wig under a white 
cap. Her swollen legs rendered her inactive. She con- 
sidered herself to be of French descent, which might have 
been true; and after a good many years of married life 
with a licensed victualler of the more common sort, she 
provided for the years of widowhood by letting furnished 
apartments for gentlemen near Vauxhall Bridge Road in 
a square once of some splendour and still included in the 
district of Belgravia. This topographical fact was of some 
advantage in advertising her rooms; but the patrons of 
the worthy widow were not exactly of the fashionable 
kind. Such as they were, her daughter Winnie helped 
to look after them. Traces of the French descent which 
the widow boasted of were apparent in Winnie too. They 
were apparent in the extremely neat and artistic arrange- 
ment of her glossy dark hair. Winnie had also other 
charms: her youth; her full, rounded form; her clear com- 
plexion; the provocation of her unfathomable reserve, 
which never went so far as to prevent conversation, car- 
ried on on the lodgers' part with animation, and on hers 
with an equable amiability. It must be that Mr. Verloc 
was susceptible to these fascinations. Mr. Verloc was an 
intermittent patron. He came and went without any very 
apparent reason. He generally arrived in London (like 
the influenza) from the Continent, only he arrived un- 
heralded by the Press; and his visitations set in with great 
severity. He breakfasted in bed, and remained wallowing 



THE SECRET AGENT. 9 

there with an air of quiet enjoyment till noon every day 
and sometimes even to a later hour. But when he 
went out he seemed to experience a great difficulty in 
finding his way back to his temporary home in the Bel- 
gravian square. He left it late, and returned to it early 
as early as three or four in the morning; and on wak- 
ing up at ten addressed Winnie, bringing in the breakfast 
tray, with jocular, exhausted civility, in the hoarse, failing 
tones of a man who had been talking vehemently for 
"many hours together. His prominent, heavy-lidded eyes 
rolled sideways amorously and languidly, the bedclothes 
were pulled up to his chin, and his dark smooth moustache 
covered his thick lips capable of much honeyed banter. 

In Winnie's mother's opinion Mr. Verloc was a very 
nice gentleman. From her life's experience gathered in 
various "business houses" the good woman had taken 
into her retirement an ideal of gentlemanliness as ex- 
hibited by the patrons of private-saloon bars. Mr. Verloc 
approached that ideal; he attained it, in fact. 

"Of course, we'll take over your furniture, mother," 
Winnie had remarked. 

The lodging-house was to be given up. It seems it 
would not answer to carry it on. It would have been 
too much trouble for Mr. Verloc. It would not have 
been convenient for his other business. What his business 
was he did not say; but after his engagement to Winnie 
he took the trouble to get up before noon, and descend- 
ing the basement stairs, make himself pleasant to Winnie's 
mother in the breakfast-room downstairs where she had 
her motionless being. He stroked the cat, poked the fire, 
had his lunch served to him there. He left its slightly 
stuffy cosiness with evident reluctance, but, all the same, 
remained out till the night was far advanced. He never 



IO THE SECRET AGENT. 

offered to take Winnie to theatres, as such a nice gentle- 
man ought to have done. His evenings were occupied. 
His work was in a way political, he told Winnie once. 
She would have, he warned her, to be very nice to his 
political friends. And with her straight, unfathomable 
glance she answered that she would be so, of course. 

How much more he told her as to his occupation it 
was impossible for Winnie's mother to discover. The 
married couple took her over with the furniture. The 
mean aspect of the shop surprised her. The change from 
the Belgravian square to the narrow street in Soho affected 
her legs adversely. They became of an enormous size. 
On the other hand, she experienced a complete relief from 
material cares. Her son-in-law's heavy good nature in- 
spired her with a sense of absolute safety. Her daughter's 
future was obviously assured, and even as to her son 
Stevie she need have no anxiety. She had not been able 
to conceal from herself that he was a terrible encum- 
brance, that poor Stevie. But in view of Winnie's fond- 
ness for her delicate brother, and of Mr. Verloc's kind 
and generous disposition, she felt that the poor boy was 
pretty safe in this rough world. And in her heart of 
hearts she was not perhaps displeased that the Verlocs 
had no children. As that circumstance seemed perfectly 
indifferent to Mr. Verloc, and as Winnie found an object 
of quasi-maternal affection in her brother, perhaps this 
was just as well for poor Stevie. 

For he was difficult to dispose of, that boy. He was 
delicate and, in a frail way, good-looking too, except for 
the vacant droop of his lower lip. Under our excellent 
system of compulsory education he had learned to read 
and write, notwithstanding the unfavourable aspect of the 
lower lip. But as errand-boy he did not turn out a great 



THE SECRET AGENT. l * 



success. He forgot his messages; he was easily diverted 
from the straight path of duty by the attractions of stray 
cats and dogs, which he followed down narrow alleys into 
unsavoury courts; by the comedies of the streets, which 
he contemplated open-mouthed, to the detriment of his 
employer's interests; or by the dramas of fallen horses, 
whose pathos and violence induced him sometimes to 
shriek piercingly in a crowd, which disliked to be dis- 
turbed by sounds of distress in its quiet enjoyment of the 
national spectacle. When led away by a grave and pro- 
tecting policeman, it would often become apparent that 
poor Stevie had forgotten his address at least for a time. 
A brusque question caused him to stutter to the point of 
suffocation. When startled by anything perplexing he 
used to squint horribly. However, he never had any fits 
(which was encouraging); and before the natural outbursts 
of impatience on the part of his father he could always, 
in his childhood's days, run for protection behind the 
short skirts of his sister Winnie. On the other hand, he 
might have been suspected of hiding a fund of reckless 
naughtiness. When he had reached the age of fourteen 
a friend of his late father, an agent for a foreign preserved 
milk firm, having given him an opening as office-boy, he 
was discovered one foggy afternoon, in his chiefs absence, 
busy letting off fireworks on the staircase. He touched off 
in quick succession a set of fierce rockets, angry Catherine 
wheels, loudly exploding squibs and the matter might 
have turned out very serious. An awful panic spread 
through the whole building. Wild-eyed, choking clerks 
stampeded through the passages full of smoke, silk hats 
and elderly business men could be seen rolling independ- 
ently down the stairs. Stevie did not seem to derive any 
personal gratification from what he had done. His motives 



12 THE SECRET AGENT. ^ 

for this stroke of originality were difficult to discover. It 
was only later on that Winnie obtained from him a misty 
and confused confession. It seems that two other office- 
boys in the building had worked upon his feelings by tales 
of injustice and oppression till they had wrought his com- 
passion to the pitch of that frenzy. But his father's friend, 
of course, dismissed him summarily as likely to ruin his 
business. After that altruistic exploit Stevie was put to 
help wash the dishes in the basement kitchen, and to 
black the boots of the gentlemen patronising the Belgravian 
mansion. There was obviously no future in such work. 
The gentlemen tipped him a shilling now and then. Mr. 
Verloc showed himself the most generous of lodgers. But 
altogether all that did not amount to much either in the 
way of gain or prospects; so that when Winnie announced 
her engagement to Mr. Verloc her mother could not help 
wondering, with a sigh and a glance towards the scullery, 
what would become of poor Stephen now. 

It appeared that Mr. Verloc was ready to take him 
over together with his wife's mother and with the furniture, 
which was the whole visible fortune of the family. Mr. 
Verloc gathered everything as it came to his broad, good- 
natured breast The furniture was disposed to the best 
advantage all over the house, but Mrs. Verloc's mother 
was confined to two back rooms on the first floor. The 
luckless Stevie slept in one of them. By this time a growth 
of thin fluffy hair had come to blur, like a golden mist, 
the sharp line of his small lower jaw. He helped his 
sister with blind love and docility in her household duties. 
Mr. Verloc thought that some occupation would be good 
for him. His spare time he occupied by drawing circles 
with compass and pencil on a piece of paper. He applied 
himself to that pastime with great industry, with his elbows 



THE SECRET AGENT. 13 

spread out and bowed low over the kitchen-table. Through 
the open door of the parlour at the back of the shop 
Winnie, his sister, glanced at him from time to time with 
maternal vigilance. 

II. 

SUCH was the house, the household, and the business 
Mr. Verloc left behind him on his way westward at the 
hour of half-past ten in the morning. It was unusually 
early for him; his whole person exhaled the charm of al- 
most dewy freshness; he wore his blue cloth overcoat un- 
buttoned; his boots were shiny; his cheeks, freshly shaven, 
had a sort of gloss; and even his heavy-lidded eyes, re- 
freshed by a night of peaceful slumber, sent out glances 
of comparative alertness. Through the park railings these 
glances beheld men and women riding in the Row, couples 
cantering past harmoniously, others advancing sedately at 
a walk, loitering groups of three or four, solitary horsemen 
looking unsociable, and solitary women followed at a long 
distance by a groom with a cockade to his hat and a 
leather belt over his tight-fitting coat. Carriages went 
bowling by, mostly two-horse broughams, with here and 
there a victoria with the skin of some wild beast inside 
and a woman's face and hat emerging above the folded 
hood. And a peculiarly London sun against which no- 
thing could be said except that it looked bloodshot 
glorified all this by its stare. It hung at a moderate 
elevation above Hyde Park Corner with an air of punctual 
and benign vigilance. The very pavement under Mr. Ver- 
loc's feet had an old-gold tinge in that diffused light, in 
which neither wall, nor tree, nor beast, nor man cast a 
shadow. Mr. Verloc was going westward through a town 
without shadows in an atmosphere of powdered old gold. 



14 THE SECRET AGENT. 

There were red, coppery gleams on the roofs of houses, 
on the corners of walls, on the panels of carriages, on the 
very coats of the horses, and on the broad back of Mr. 
Verloc's overcoat, where they produced a dull effect of 
rustiness. But Mr. Verloc was not in the least conscious 
of having got rusty. He surveyed through the park rail- 
ings the evidences of the town's opulence and luxury with 
an approving eye. All these people had to be protected. 
Protection is the first necessity of opulence and luxury. 
They had to be protected; and their horses, carriages, 
houses, servants had to be protected; and the source of 
their wealth had to be protected in the heart of the city 
and the heart of the country; the whole social order 
favourable to their hygienic idleness had to be protected 
against the shallow enviousness of unhygienic labour. It 
had to and Mr. Verloc would have rubbed his hands 
with satisfaction had he not been constitutionally averse 
from every superfluous exertion. His idleness was not 
hygienic, but it suited him very well. He was in a manner 
devoted to it with a sort of inert fanaticism, or perhaps 
rather with a fanatical inertness. Born of industrious 
parents for a life of toil, he had embraced indolence from 
an impulse as profound as inexplicable and as imperious 
as the impulse which directs a man's preference for one 
particular woman in a given thousand. He was too lazy 
even for a mere demagogue, for a workman orator, for a 
leader of labour. It was too much trouble. He required 
a more perfect form of ease; or it might have been that 
he was the victim of a philosophical unbelief in the effective- 
ness of every human effort. Such a form of indolence 
requires, implies, a certain amount of intelligence. Mr. 
Verloc was not devoid of intelligence and at the notion 
of a menaced social order he would perhaps have winked 



THE SECRET AGENT. 15 

to himself if there had not been an effort to make in that 
sign of scepticism. His big, prominent eyes were not well 
adapted to winking. They were rather of the sort that 
closes solemnly in slumber with majestic effect 

Undemonstrative and burly in a fat-pig style, Mr. Ver- 
loc, without either rubbing his hands with satisfaction or 
winking sceptically at his thoughts, proceeded on his way. 
He trod the pavement heavily with his shiny boots, and 
his general get-up was that of a well-to-do mechanic in 
business for himself. He might have been anything from 
a picture-frame maker to a locksmith; an employer of 
labour in a small way. But there was also about him an 
indescribable air which no mechanic could have acquired 
in the practice of his handicraft however dishonestly ex- 
ercised: the air common to men who live on the vices, 
the follies, or the baser fears of mankind; the air of moral 
nihilism common to keepers of gambling hells and dis- 
orderly houses; to private detectives and inquiry agents; 
to drink sellers and, I should say, to the sellers of in- 
vigorating electric belts and to the inventors of patent 
medicines. But of that last I am not sure, not having 
carried my investigations so far into the depths. For all 
I know, the expression of these last may be perfectly 
diabolic. I shouldn't be surprised. What I want to affirm 
is that Mr. Verloc's expression was by no means diabolic. 

Before reaching Knightsbridge, Mr. Verloc took a 
turn to the left out of the busy main thoroughfare, up- 
roarious with the traffic of swaying omnibuses and trotting 
vans, in the almost silent, swift flow of hansoms. Under 
his hat, worn with a slight backward tilt, his hair had 
been carefully brushed into respectful sleekness; for his 
business was with an Embassy. And Mr. Verloc, steady 
like a rock a soft kind of rock marched now along a 



1 6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

street which could with every propriety be described as 
private. In its breadth, emptiness, and extent it had the 
majesty of inorganic nature, of matter that never dies. 
The only reminder of mortality was a doctor's brougham 
arrested in august solitude close to the curbstone. The 
polished knockers of the doors gleamed as far as the eye 
could reach, the clean windows shone with a dark opaque 
lustre. And all was still. But a milk cart rattled noisily 
across the distant perspective; a butcher boy, driving 
with the noble recklessness of a charioteer at Olympic 
Games, dashed round the corner sitting high above a 
pair of red wheels. A guilty-looking cat issuing from 
under the stones ran for a while in front of Mr. Verloc, 
then dived into another basement; and a thick police 
constable, looking a stranger to every emotion, as if he 
too were part of inorganic nature, surging apparently out 
of a lamp-post, took not the slightest notice of Mr. Verloc. 
With a turn to the left Mr. Verloc pursued his way along 
a narrow street by the side of a yellow wall which, for 
some inscrutable reason, had No. i Chesham Square 
written on it in black letters. Chesham Square was at 
least sixty yards away, and Mr. Verloc, cosmopolitan 
enough not to be deceived by London's topographical 
mysteries, held on steadily, without a sign of surprise or 
indignation. At last, with business-like persistency, he 
reached the Square, and made diagonally for the number i o. 
This belonged to an imposing carriage gate in a high, 
clean wall between two houses, of which one rationally 
enough bore the number 9 and the other was num- 
bered 37; but the fact that this last belonged to Porthill 
Street, a street well known in the neighbourhood, was pro- 
claimed by an inscription placed above the ground-floor 
windows by whatever highly efficient authority is charged 



THE SECRET AGENT. 17 

with the duty of keeping track of London's strayed houses. 
Why powers are not asked of Parliament (a short act 
would do) for compelling those edifices to return where 
they belong is one of the mysteries of municipal ad- 
ministration. Mr. Verloc did not trouble his head about 
it, his mission in life being the protection of the social 
mechanism, not its perfectionment or even its criticism. 

It was so early that the porter of the Embassy issued 
hurriedly out of his lodge still struggling with the left 
sleeve of his livery coat. His waistcoat was red, and he 
wore knee-breeches, but his aspect was flustered. Mr. 
Verloc, aware of the rush on his flank, drove it off by 
simply holding out an envelope stamped with the arms of 
the Embassy, and passed on. He produced the same 
talisman also to the footman who opened the door, and 
stood back to let him enter the hall. 

A clear fire burned in a tall fireplace, and an elderly 
man standing with his back to it, in evening dress and 
with a chain round his neck, glanced up from the news- 
paper he was holding spread out in both hands before 
his calm and severe face. He didn't move; but an- 
other lackey, in brown trousers and claw-hammer coat 
edged with thin yellow cord, approaching Mr. Verloc 
listened to the murmur of his name, and turning round 
on his heel in silence, began to walk, without looking 
back once. Mr. Verloc, thus led along a ground-floor 
passage to the left of the great carpeted staircase, was 
suddenly motioned to enter a quite small room furnished 
with a heavy writing-table and a few chairs. The servant 
shut the door, and Mr. Verloc remained alone. He 
did not take a seat. With his hat and stick held in one 
hand he glanced about,* passing his other podgy hand 
over his uncovered sleek head. 

The Secret Agent. 3 



1 8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Another door opened noiselessly, and Mr. Verloc 
immobilising his glance in that direction saw at first only 
black clothes, the bald top of a head, and a drooping 
dark -grey whisker on each side of a pair of wrinkled 
hands. The person who had entered was holding a batch 
of papers before his eyes and walked up to the table 
with a rather mincing step, turning the papers over the 
while. Privy Councillor Wurmt, Chancelier d'Ambassade, 
was rather short-sighted. This meritorious official laying 
the papers on the table, disclosed a face of pasty com- 
plexion and of melancholy ugliness surrounded by a lot 
of fine, long dark-grey hairs, barred heavily by thick and 
bushy eyebrows. He put on a black-framed pince-nez 
upon a blunt and shapeless nose, and seemed struck by 
Mr. Verloc's appearance. Under the enormous eyebrows 
his weak eyes blinked pathetically through the glasses. 

He made no sign of greeting; neither did Mr. Verloc, 
who certainly knew his place; but a subtle change about 
the general outlines of his shoulders and back suggested 
a slight bending of Mr. Verloc's spine under the vast 
surface of his overcoat. The effect was of unobtrusive 
deference. 

"I have here some of your reports," said the bureau- 
crat in an unexpectedly soft and weary voice, and press- 
ing the tip of his forefinger on the papers with force. He 
paused; and Mr. Verloc, who had recognised his own 
handwriting very well, waited in an almost breathless 
silence. "We are not very satisfied with the attitude of 
the police here," the other continued, with every ap- 
pearance of mental fatigue. 

The shoulders of Mr. Verloc, without actually moving, 
suggested a shrug. And for the* first time since he left 
his home that morning his lips opened. 



THE SECRET AGENT. IQ 

"Every country has its police," he said philosophically. 
But as the official of the Embassy went on blinking at 
him steadily he felt constrained to add: "Allow me to 
observe that I have no means of action upon the police 
here." 

"What is desired," said the man of papers, "is the 
occurrence of something definite which should stimulate 
their vigilance. That is within your province is it'not so?" 

Mr. Verloc made no answer except by a sigh, which 
escaped him involuntarily, for instantly he tried to give 
his face a cheerful expression. The official blinked doubt- 
fully, as if affected by the dim light of the room. He 
repeated vaguely: 

"The vigilance of the police and the severity of the 
magistrates. The general leniency of the judicial procedure 
here, and the utter absence of all repressive measures, 
are a scandal to Europe. What is wished for just now is 
the accentuation of the unrest of the fermentation which 
undoubtedly exists " 

"Undoubtedly, undoubtedly," broke in Mr. Verloc in 
a deep deferential bass of an oratorical quality, so utterly 
different from the tone in which he had spoken before 
that his interlocutor remained profoundly surprised. "It 
exists to a dangerous degree. My reports for the last 
twelve months make it sufficiently clear." 

"Your reports for the last twelve months," State 
Councillor Wurmt began in his gentle and dispassionate 
tone, "have been read by me. I failed to discover why 
you wrote them at all." 

A sad silence reigned for a time. Mr. Verloc seemed 
to have swallowed his tongue, and the other gazed at the 
papers on the table fixedly. At last he gave them a 
slight push. 

2* 



2O THE SECRET AGENT. 

"The state of affairs you expose there is assumed to 
exist as the first condition of your employment. What is 
required at present is not writing, but the bringing to 
light of a distinct, significant fact I would almost say of 
an alarming fact." 

"I need not say that all my endeavours shall be 
directed to that end," Mr. Verloc said, with convinced 
modulations in his conversational husky tone. But the 
sense of being blinked at watchfully behind the blind 
glitter of these eye-glasses on the other side of the table 
disconcerted him. He stopped short with a gesture of 
absolute devotion. The useful, hard-working, if obscure 
member of the Embassy had an air of being impressed 
by some newly-born thought. 

"You are very corpulent," he said. 

This observation, really of a psychological nature, 
and advanced with the modest hesitation of an officeman 
more familiar with ink and paper than with the require- 
ments of active life, stung Mr. Verloc in the manner of a 
rude personal remark. He stepped back a pace. 

"Eh? What were you pleased to say?" he exclaimed, 
with husky resentment. 

The Chancelier d'Ambassade entrusted with the con- 
duct of this interview seemed to find it too much for him. 

"I think," he said, "that you had better see Mr. 
Vladimir. Yes, decidedly I think you ought to see Mr. 
Vladimir. Be good enough to wait here," he added, and 
went out with mincing steps. 

At once Mr. Verloc passed his hand over his hair. 
A slight perspiration had broken out on his forehead. 
He let the air escape from his pursed-up lips like a man 
blowing at a spoonful of hot soup. But when the servant 
in brown appeared at the door silently, Mr. Verloc had 



THE SECRET AGENT. 21 

not moved an inch from the place he had occupied 
throughout the interview. He had remained motionless, 
as if feeling himself surrounded by pitfalls. 

He walked along a passage lighted by a lonely gas- 
jet, then up a flight of winding stairs, and through a 
glazed and cheerful corridor on the first floor. The foot- 
man threw open a door, and stood aside. The feet of 
Mr. Verloc felt a thick carpet. The room was large, 
with three windows; and a young man with a shaven, big 
face, sitting in a roomy armchair before a vast mahogany 
writing-table, said in French to the Chancelier d'Ambas- 
sade, who was going out with the papers in his hand: 

"You are quite right, man cher. He's fat the 
animal." 

Mr. Vladimir, First Secretary, had a drawing-room 
reputation as an agreeable and entertaining man. He was 
something of a favourite in society. His wit consisted in 
discovering droll connections between incongruous ideas; 
and when talking in that strain he sat well forward on 
his seat, with his left hand raised, as if exhibiting his 
funny demonstrations between the thumb and forefinger, 
while his round and clean-shaven face wore an expression 
of merry perplexity. 

But there was no trace of merriment or perplexity in 
the way he looked at Mr. Verloc. Lying far back in the 
deep armchair, with squarely spread elbows, and throwing 
one leg over a thick knee, he had with his smooth and 
rosy countenance the air of a preternaturally thriving baby 
that will not stand nonsense from anybody. 

"You understand French, I suppose?" he said. 

Mr. Verloc stated huskily that he did. His whole 
vast bulk had a forward inclination. He stood on the 
carpet in the middle of the room, clutching his hat and 



22 THE SECRET AGENT. 

stick in one hand; the other hung lifelessly by his side. 
He muttered unobtrusively somewhere deep down in his 
throat something about having done his military service 
in the French artillery. At once, with contemptuous per- 
versity, Mr. Vladimir changed the language, and began to 
speak idiomatic English without the slightest trace of a 
foreign accent. 

"Ah! Yes. Of course. Let's see. How much did 
you get for obtaining the design of the improved breech- 
block of their new field-gun?" 

"Five years' rigorous confinement in a fortress," Mr. 
Verloc answered unexpectedly, but without any sign of 
feeling. 

"You got off easily," was Mr. Vladimir's comment. 
"And, anyhow, it served you right for letting yourself 
get caught. What made you go in for that sort of 
thing eh?" 

Mr. Verloc's husky conversational voice was heard 
speaking of youth, of a fatal infatuation for an un- 
worthy 

"Aha! Cherchez la femme," Mr. Vladimir deigned to 
interrupt, unbending, but without affability; there was, on 
the contrary, a touch of grimness in his condescension. 
"How long have you been employed by the Embassy 
here?" he asked. 

"Ever since the time of the late Baron Stott-Warten- 
heim," Mr. Verloc answered in subdued tones, and pro- 
truding his lips sadly, in sign of sorrow for the deceased 
diplomat The First Secretary observed this play of 
physiognomy steadily. 

"Ah! ever since. . . . Well! What have you got to 
say for yourself?" he asked sharply. 

Mr. Verloc answered with some surprise that he was 



THE SECRET AGENT. 23 

not aware of having anything special to say. He had 
been summoned by a letter And he plunged his 
hand busily into the side pocket of his overcoat, but be- 
fore the mocking, cynical watchfulness of Mr. Vladimir, 
concluded to leave it there. 

"Bah!" said that latter. "What do you mean by 
getting out of condition like this? You haven't got even 
the physique of your profession. You a member of a 
starving proletariat never! You a desperate socialist or 
anarchist which is it?" 

"Anarchist," stated Mr. Verloc in a deadened tone. 

"Bosh!" went on Mr. Vladimir, without raising his 
voice. "You startled old Wurmt himself. You wouldn't 
deceive an idiot. They all are that by-the-bye, but you 
seem to me simply impossible. So you began your con- 
nection with us by stealing the French gun designs. And 
you got yourself caught. That must have been very dis- 
agreeable to our Government. You don't seem to be 
very smart." 

Mr. Verloc tried to exculpate himself huskily. 

"As I've had occasion to observe before, a fatal in- 
fatuation for an unworthy 

Mr. Vladimir raised a large white, plump hand. 

"Ah, yes. The unlucky attachment of your youth. 
She got hold of the money, and then sold you to the 
police eh?" 

The doleful change in Mr. Verloc's physiognomy, the 
momentary drooping of his whole person, confessed that 
such was the regrettable case. Mr. Vladimir's hand 
clasped the ankle reposing on his knee. The sock was 
of dark-blue silk. 

"You see, that was not very clever of you. Perhaps 
you are too susceptible." 



24 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Mr. Verloc intimated in a throaty, veiled murmur that 
he was no longer young. 

" Oh ! That's a failing which age does not cure," Mr. 
Vladimir remarked, with sinister familiarity. "But no! 
You are too fat for that. You could not have come to 
look like this if you had been at all susceptible. I'll tell 
you what I think is the matter: you are a lazy fellow. 
How long have you been drawing pay - from this Em- 
bassy?" 

"Eleven years," was the answer, after a moment of 
sulky hesitation. "I've been charged with several missions 
to London while His Excellency Baron Stott-Wartenheim 
was still Ambassador in Paris. Then by his Excellency's 
instructions I settled down in London. I am English." 

"You are! Are you? Eh?" 

"A natural-born British subject," Mr. Verloc said 
stolidly. "But my father was French, and so 

"Never mind explaining," interrupted the other. "I 
daresay you could have been legally a Marshal of France 
and a Member of Parliament in England and then, in- 
deed, you would have been of some use to our Embassy." 

This flight of fancy provoked something like a faint 
smile on Mr. Verloc's face. Mr. Vladimir retained an im- 
perturbable gravity. 

"But, as I've said, you are a lazy fellow; you don't 
use your opportunities. In the time of Baron Stott-Warten- 
heim we had a lot of soft-headed people running this 
Embassy. They caused fellows of your sort to form a 
false conception of the nature of a secret service fund. It 
is my business to correct this misapprehension by telling 
you what the secret service is not It is not a philan- 
thropic institution. I've had you called here on purpose 
to tell you this." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 25 

Mr. Vladimir observed the forced expression of be- 
wilderment on Verloc's face, and smiled sarcastically. 

"I see that you understand me perfectly. I daresay 
you are intelligent enough for your work. What we want 
now is activity activity." 

On repeating this last word Mr. Vladimir laid a long 
white forefinger on the edge of the desk. Every trace of 
huskiness disappeared from Verloc's voice. The nape of 
his gross neck became crimson above the velvet collar of 
his overcoat. His lips quivered before they came widely 
open. 

"If you'll only be good enough to look up my record," 
he boomed out in his great, clear oratorical bass, "you'll 
see I gave a warning only three months ago, on the occa- 
sion of the Grand Duke Romuald's visit to Paris, which 
was telegraphed from here to the French police, and 

"Tut, tut!" broke out Mr. Vladimir, with a frown- 
ing grimace. "The French police had no use for your 
warning. Don't roar like this. What the devil do you 
mean?" 

With a note of proud humility Mr. Verloc apologised 
for forgetting himself. His voice, famous for years at 
open-air meetings and at workmen's assemblies in large 
halls, had contributed, he said, to his reputation of a good 
and trustworthy comrade. It was, therefore, a part of 
his usefulness. It had inspired confidence in his principles. 
"I was always put up to speak by the leaders at a critical 
moment," Mr. Verloc declared, with obvious satisfaction. 
There was no uproar above which he could not make him- 
self heard, he added; and suddenly he made a demon- 
stration. 

"Allow me," he said. With lowered forehead, without 
looking up, swiftly and ponderously he crossed the room 



26 THE SECRET AGENT. 

to one of the French windows. As if giving way to an 
uncontrollable impulse, he opened it a little. Mr. Vladimir, 
jumping up amazed from the depths of the armchair, 
looked over his shoulder; and below, across the courtyard 
of the Embassy, well beyond the open gate, could be seen 
the broad back of a policeman watching idly the gorgeous 
perambulator of a wealthy baby being wheeled in state 
across the Square. 

" Constable ! " said Mr. Verloc, with no more effort than 
if he were whispering; and Mr. Vladimir burst into a laugh 
on seeing the policeman spin round as if prodded by a 
sharp instrument Mr. Verloc shut the window quietly, 
and returned to the middle of the room. 

"With a voice like that," he said, putting on the husky 
conversational pedal, "I was naturally trusted. And I 
knew what to say, too." 

Mr. Vladimir, arranging his cravat, observed him in 
the glass over the mantelpiece. 

"I daresay you have the social revolutionary jargon 
by heart well enough," he said contemptuously. "Vox 
et . . . You haven't ever studied Latin have you?" 

"No," growled Mr. Verloc. "You did not expect me 
to know it. I belong to the million. Who knows Latin? 
Only a few hundred imbeciles who aren't fit to take care 
of themselves." 

For some thirty seconds longer Mr. Vladimir studied 
in the mirror the fleshy profile, the gross bulk, of the man 
behind him. And at the same time he had the advantage 
of seeing his own face, clean-shaved and round, rosy about 
the gills, and with the thin sensitive lips formed exactly 
for the utterance of those delicate witticisms which had 
made him such a favourite in the very highest society. 
Then he turned, and advanced into the room with such 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2"J 

determination that the very ends of his quaintly old- 
fashioned bow necktie seemed to bristle with unspeakable 
menaces. The movement was so swift and fierce that 
Mr. Verloc, casting an oblique glance, quailed inwardly. 

"Aha! You dare be impudent," Mr. Vladimir began, 
with an amazingly guttural intonation not only utterly 
un-English, but absolutely un-European, and startling even 
to Mr. Verloc's experience of cosmopolitan slums. "You 
dare! Well, I am going to speak plain English to you. 
Voice won't do. We have no use for your voice. We 
don't want a voice. We want facts startling facts 
damn you," he added, with a sort of ferocious discretion, 
right into Mr. Verloc's face. 

"Don't you try to come over me with your Hyper- 
borean manners," Mr. Verloc defended himself huskily, 
looking at the carpet. At this his interlocutor, smiling 
mockingly above the bristling bow of his necktie, switched 
the conversation into French. 

"You give yourself for an 'agent provocateur.' The 
proper business of an 'agent provocateur' is to provoke. 
As far as I can judge from your record kept here, you 
have done nothing to earn your money for the last three 
years." 

"Nothing!" exclaimed Verloc, stirring not a limb, and 
not raising his eyes, but with the note of sincere feeling 
in his tone. "I have several times prevented what might 
have been 

"There is a proverb in this country which says pre- 
vention is better than cure," interrupted Mr. Vladimir, 
throwing himself into the armchair. "It is stupid in a 
general way. There is no end to prevention. But it is 
characteristic. They dislike finality in this country. Don't 
you be too English. And in this particular instance, 



28 THE SECRET AGENT. 

don't be absurd. The evil is already here. We don't 
want prevention we want cure." 

He paused, turned to the desk, and turning over 
some papers lying there, spoke in a changed business-like 
tone, without looking at Mr. Verloc. 

"You know, of course, of the International Conference 
assembled in Milan?" 

Mr. Verloc intimated hoarsely that he was in the habit 
of reading the daily papers. To a further question his 
answer was that, of course, he understood what he read. 
At this Mr. Vladimir, smiling faintly at the documents he 
was still scanning one after another, murmured "As long 
as it is not written in Latin, I suppose." 

"Or Chinese," added Mr. Verloc stolidly. 

"H'm. Some of your revolutionary friends' effusions 
are written in a charabia every bit as incomprehensible 

as Chinese " Mr. Vladimir let fall disdainfully a 

grey sheet of printed matter. "What are all these leaflets 
headed F. P., with a hammer, pen, and torch crossed? 
What does it mean, this F. P.?" Mr. Verloc approached 
the imposing writing-table. 

"The Future of the Proletariat It's a society," he 
explained, standing ponderously by the side of the arm- 
chair, "not anarchist in principle, but open to all shades 
of revolutionary opinion." 

"Are you in it?" 

"One of the Vice-Presidents," Mr. Verloc breathed 
out heavily; and the First Secretary of the Embassy 
raised his head to look at him. 

"Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself," he said 
incisively. "Isn't your society capable of anything else 
but printing this prophetic bosh in blunt type on this 
filthy paper eh? Why don't you do something? Look 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2Q 

here. I've this matter in hand now, and I tell you 
plainly that you will have to earn your money. The 
good old Stott-Wartenheim times are over. No work, no 
pay." 

Mr. Verloc felt a queer sensation of faintness in his 
stout legs. He stepped back one pace, and blew his 
nose loudly. 

He was, in truth, startled and alarmed. The rusty 
London sunshine struggling clear of the London mist shed 
a lukewarm brightness into the First Secretary's private 
room; and in the silence Mr. Verloc heard against a 
window-pane the, faint buzzing of a fly his first fly of 
the year heralding better than any number of swallows 
the approach of spring. The useless fussing of that tiny 
energetic organism affected unpleasantly this big man 
threatened in his indolence. 

In the pause Mr. Vladimir formulated in his mind a 
series of disparaging remarks concerning Mr. Verloc's face 
and figure. The fellow was unexpectedly vulgar, heavy, 
and impudently unintelligent. He looked uncommonly 
like a master plumber come to present his bill. The 
First Secretary of the Embassy, from his occasional ex- 
cursions into the field of American humour, had formed 
a special notion of that class of mechanic as the embodi- 
ment of fraudulent laziness and incompetency. 

This was then the famous and trusty secret agent, so 
secret that he was never designated otherwise but by the 
symbol A. in the late Baron Stott-Wartenheim's official, 
semi-official, and confidential correspondence; the cele- 
brated agent A., whose warnings had the power to change 
the schemes and the dates of royal, imperial, grand-ducal 
journeys, and sometimes caused them to be put off alto- 
gether! This fellow! And Mr. Vladimir indulged mentally 



3O THE SECRET AGENT. 

in an enormous and derisive fit of merriment, partly at 
his own astonishment, which he judged naive, but mostly 
at the expense of the universally regretted Baron Stott- 
Wartenheim. His late Excellency, whom the august favour 
of his Imperial master had imposed as Ambassador upon 
several reluctant Ministers of Foreign Affairs, had enjoyed 
in his lifetime a fame for an owlish, pessimistic gullibility. 
His Excellency had the social revolution on the brain. 
He imagined himself to be a diplomatist set apart by a 
special dispensation to watch the end of diplomacy, and 
pretty nearly the end of the world, in a horrid democratic 
upheaval. His prophetic and doleful despatches had 
been for years the joke of Foreign Offices. He was said 
to have exclaimed on his death-bed (visited by his Im- 
perial friend and master): "Unhappy Europe! Thou shalt 
perish by the moral insanity of thy children ! " He was 
fated to be the victim of the first humbugging rascal that 
came along, thought Mr. Vladimir, smiling vaguely at Mr. 
Verloc. 

"You ought to venerate the memory of Baron Stott^ 
Wartenheim," he exclaimed suddenly. 

The lowered physiognomy of Mr. Verloc expressed a 
sombre and weary annoyance. 

"Permit me to observe to you," he said, "that I came 
here because I was summoned by a peremptory letter. I 
have been here only twice before in the last eleven years, 
and certainly never at eleven in the morning. It isn't 
very wise to call me up like this. There is just a chance 
of being seen. And that would be no joke for me." 

Mr. Vladimir shrugged his shoulders. 

"It would destroy my usefulness," continued the other 
hotly. 

"That's your affair," murmured Mr. Vladimir, with 



THE SECRET AGENT. 31 

soft brutality. "When you cease to be useful you shall 
cease to be employed. Yes. Right off. Cut short. You 

shall " Mr. Vladimir, frowning, paused, at a loss for 

a sufficiently idiomatic expression, and instantly brightened 
up, with a grin of beautifully white teeth. "You shall be 
chucked," he brought out ferociously. 

Once more Mr. Verloc had to react with all the force 
of his will against that sensation of faintness running down 
one's legs which once upon a time had inspired some 
poor devil with the felicitous expression: "My heart went 
down into my boots." Mr. Verloc, aware of the sensa- 
tion, raised his head bravely. 

Mr. Vladimir bore the look of heavy inquiry with per- 
fect serenity. 

"What we want is to administer a tonic to the Con- 
ference in Milan," he said airily. "Its deliberations upon 
international action for the suppression of political crime 
don't seem to get anywhere. England lags. This country 
is absurd with its sentimental regard for individual liberty. 
It's intolerable to think that all your friends have got only 
to come over to " 

"In that way I have them all under my eye," Mr. 
Verloc interrupted huskily. 

"It would be much more to the point to have them 
all under lock and key. England must be brought into 
line. The imbecile bourgeoisie of this country make 
themselves the accomplices of the very people whose aim 
is to drive them out of their houses to starve in ditches. 
And they have the political power still, if they only had 
the sense to use it for their preservation. I suppose you 
agree that the middle classes are stupid?" 

Mr. Verloc agreed hoarsely. 

"They are." 



32 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"They have no imagination. They are blinded by 
an idiotic vanity. What they want just now is a jolly 
good scare. This is the psychological moment to set 
your friends to work. I have had you called here to de- 
velop to you my idea." 

And Mr. Vladimir developed his idea from on high, 
with scorn and condescension, displaying at the same 
time an amount of ignorance as to the real aims, thoughts, 
and methods of the revolutionary world which filled the 
silent Mr. Verloc with inward consternation. He con- 
founded causes with effects more than was excusable; 
the most distinguished propagandists with impulsive bomb 
throwers; assumed organisation where in the nature of 
things it could not exist; spoke of the social revolutionary 
party one moment as of a perfectly disciplined army, 
where the word of chiefs was supreme, and at another as 
if it had been the loosest association of desperate brigands 
that ever camped in a mountain gorge. Once Mr. Verloc 
had opened his mouth for a protest, but the raising of a 
shapely, large white hand arrested him. Very soon he 
became too appalled to even try to protest. He listened 
in a stillness of dread which resembled the immobility of 
profound attention. 

"A series of outrages," Mr. Vladimir continued calmly, 
"executed here in this country; not only planned here 
that would not do they would not mind. Your friends 
could set half the Continent on fire without influencing 
the public opinion here in favour of a universal repres- 
sive legislation. They will not look outside their back- 
yard here." 

Mr. Verloc cleared his throat, but his heart failed him, 
and he said nothing. 

"These outrages need not be especially sanguinary," 



THE SECRET AGENT. 33 

Mr. Vladimir went on, as if delivering a scientific lecture, 
"but they must be sufficiently startling effective. Let 
them be directed against buildings, for instance. What 
is the fetish of the hour that all the bourgeoisie recognise 
eh, Mr. Verloc?" 

Mr. Verloc opened his hands and shrugged his shoul- 
ders slightly. 

"You are too lazy to think," was Mr. Vladimir's com- 
ment upon that gesture. "Pay attention to what I say. 
The fetish of to-day is neither royalty nor religion. There- 
fore the palace and the church should be left alone. You 
understand what I mean, Mr. Verloc?" 

The dismay and the scorn of Mr. Verloc found vent 
in an attempt at levity. 

"Perfectly. But what of the Embassies? A series 
of attacks on the various Embassies," he began; but he 
could not withstand the cold, watchful stare of the First 
Secretary. 

"You can be facetious, I see," the latter observed 
carelessly. "That's all right. It may enliven your oratory 
at socialistic congresses. But this room is no place for 
it. It would be infinitely safer for you to follow carefully 
what I am saying. As you are being called upon to 
furnish facts instead of cock-and-bull stories, you had 
better try to make your profit off what I am taking the 
trouble to explain to you. The sacrosanct fetish of to- 
day is science. Why don't you get some of your friends 
to go for that wooden- faced panjandrum eh? Is it not 
part of these institutions which must be swept away be- 
fore the F. P. comes along?" 

Mr. Verloc said nothing. He was afraid to open his 
lips lest a groan should escape him. 

"This is what you should try for. An attempt upon 

The Secret Agent, 3 



34 THE SECRET AGENT. 

a crowned head or on a president is sensational enough 
in a way, but not so much as it used to be. It has 
entered into the general conception of the existence of 
all chiefs of state. It's almost conventional especially 
since so many presidents have been assassinated. Now 
let us take an outrage upon say a church. Horrible 
enough at first sight, no doubt, and yet not so effective as 
a person of an ordinary mind might think. No matter 
how revolutionary and anarchist in inception, there would 
be fools enough to give such an outrage the character of 
a religious manifestation. And that would detract from 
the especial alarming significance we wish to give to the 
act A murderous attempt on a restaurant or a theatre 
would suffer in the same way from the suggestion of non- 
political passion: the exasperation of a hungry man, an 
act of social revenge. All this is used up; it is no longer 
instructive as an object-lesson in revolutionary anarchism. 
Every newspaper has ready-made phrases to explain such 
manifestations away. I am about to give you the philo- 
sophy of bomb-throwing from my point of view; from the 
point of view you pretend to have been serving for the 
last eleven years. I will try not to talk above your head. 
The sensibilities of the class you are attacking are soon 
blunted. Property seems to them an indestructible thing. 
You can't count upon their emotions either of pity or fear 
for very long. A bomb outrage to have any influence 
on public opinion now must go beyond the intention of 
vengeance or terrorism. It must be purely destructive. It 
must be that, and only that, beyond the faintest suspicion 
of any other object You anarchists should make it clear 
that you are perfectly determined to make a clean sweep 
of the whole social creation. But how to get that ap- 
pallingly absurd notion into the heads of the middle 



THE SECRET AGENT. 35 

classes so that there should be no mistake? That's the 
question. By directing your blows at something outside 
the ordinary passions of humanity is the answer. Of 
course, there is art A bomb in the National Gallery 
would make some noise. But it would not be serious 
enough. Art has never been their fetish. It's like break- 
ing a few back windows in a man's house; whereas, if 
you want to make him really sit up, you must try at least 
to raise the roof. There would be some screaming of 
course, but from whom? Artists art critics and such- 
like people of no account Nobody minds what they 
say. But there is learning science. Any imbecile that 
has got an income believes in that. He does not know 
why, but he believes it matters somehow. It is the sacro- 
sanct fetish. All the damned professors are radicals at 
heart. Let them know that their great panjandrum has 
got to go too, to make room for the Future of the Pro- 
letariat. A howl from all these intellectual idiots is 
bound to help forward the labours of the Milan Con- 
ference. They will be writing to the papers. Their in- 
dignation would be above suspicion, no material interests 
being openly at stake, and it will alarm every selfishness 
of the class which should be impressed. They believe 
that in some mysterious way science is at the source of 
their material prosperity. They do. And the absurd 
ferocity of such a demonstration will affect them more 
profoundly than the mangling of a whole street or 
theatre full of their own kind. To that last they can 
always say: 'Oh! it's mere class hate.' But what is one 
to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to 
be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in 
feet, mad? Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch 
as you cannot placate it either by threats, persuasion, or 

3* 



36 THE SECRET AGENT. 

bribes. Moreover, I am a civilised man. I would never 
dream of directing you to organise a mere butchery, even 
if I expected the best results from it But I wouldn't ex- 
pect from a butchery the result I want. Murder is always 
with us. It is almost an institution. The demonstration 
must be against learning science. But not every science 
will do. The attack must have all the shocking sense- 
lessness of gratuitous blasphemy. Since bombs are your 
means of expression, it would be really telling if one could 
throw a bomb into pure mathematics. But that is im- 
possible. I have been trying to educate you; I have ex- 
pounded to you the higher philosophy of your usefulness, 
and suggested to you some serviceable arguments. The 
practical application of my teaching interests you mostly. 
But from the moment I have undertaken to interview you 
I have also given some attention to the practical aspect 
of the question. What do you think of having a go at 
astronomy?" 

For some time already Mr. Verloc's immobility by the 
side of the armchair resembled a state of collapsed coma 
a sort of passive insensibility interrupted by slight con- 
vulsive starts, such as may be observed in the domestic 
dog having a nightmare on the hearthrug. And it was 
in an uneasy doglike growl that he repeated the word: 

"Astronomy." 

He had not recovered thoroughly as yet from that 
state of bewilderment brought about by the effort to follow 
Mr. Vladimir's rapid incisive utterance. It had overcome 
his power of assimilation. It had made him angry. This 
anger was complicated by incredulity. And suddenly it 
dawned upon him that all this was an elaborate joke. 
Mr. Vladimir exhibited his white teeth in a smile, with 
dimples on his round, full face posed with a complacent 



THE SECRET AGENT. 37 

inclination above the bristling bow of his neck-tie. The 
favourite of intelligent society women had assumed his 
drawing-room attitude accompanying the delivery of 
delicate witticisms. Sitting well forward, his white hand 
upraised, he seemed to hold delicately between his thumb 
and forefinger the subtlety of his suggestion. 

"There could be nothing better. Such an outrage 
combines the greatest possible regard for humanity with 
the most alarming display of ferocious imbecility. I defy 
the ingenuity of journalists to persuade their public that 
any given member of the proletariat can have a personal 
grievance against astronomy. Starvation itself could hardly 
be dragged in there eh? And there are other advan- 
tages. The whole civilised world has heard of Greenwich. 
The very boot-blacks in the basement of Charing Cross 
Station know something of it. See?" 

The features of Mr. Vladimir, so well known in the 
best society by their humorous urbanity, beamed with 
cynical self-satisfaction, which would have astonished the 
intelligent women his wit entertained so exquisitely. "Yes," 
he continued, with a contemptuous smile, "the blowing 
up of the first meridian is bound to raise a howl of 
execration." 

"A difficult business," Mr. Verloc mumbled, feeling 
that this was the only safe thing to say. 

"What is the matter? Haven't you the whole gang 
under your hand? The very pick of the basket? That 
old terrorist Yundt is here. I see him walking about 
Piccadilly in his green havelock almost every day. And 
Michaelis, the ticket-of-leave apostle you don't mean to 
say you don't know where he is? Because if you don't, 
I can tell you," Mr. Vladimir went on menacingly. "If 



38 THE SECRET AGENT. 

you imagine that you are the only one on the secret fund 
list, you are mistaken." 

This perfectly gratuitous suggestion caused Mr. Verloc 
to shuffle his feet slightly. 

"And the whole Lausanne lot eh? Haven't they 
been flocking over here at the first hint of the Milan Con- 
ference? This is an absurd country." 

"It will cost money," Mr. Verloc said, by a sort of 
instinct. 

"That cock won't fight," Mr. Vladimir retorted, with 
an amazingly genuine English accent "You'll get your 
screw every month, and no more till something happens. 
And if nothing happens very soon you won't get even 
that What's your ostensible occupation? What are you 
supposed to live by?" 

"I keep a shop," answered Mr. Verloc. 

"A shop! What sort of shop?" 

"Stationery, newspapers. My wife " 

"Your what?" interrupted Mr. Vladimir in his gut- 
tural Central Asian tones. 

"My wife." Mr. Verloc raised his husky voice slightly. 
"I am married." 

"That be damned for a yarn," exclaimed the other 
in unfeigned astonishment "Married! And you a pro- 
fessed anarchist, too! What is this confounded nonsense? 
But I suppose it's merely a manner of speaking. Anar- 
chists don't marry. It's well known. They can't. It 
would be apostasy." 

"My wife isn't one," Mr. Verloc mumbled sulkily. 
"Moreover, it's no concern of yours." 

"Oh yes, it is," snapped Mr. Vladimir. "I am be- 
ginning to be convinced that you are not at all the man 
for the work you've been employed on. Why, you must 



THE SECRET AGENT. 39 

have discredited yourself completely in your own world 
by your marriage. Couldn't you have managed without? 
This is your virtuous attachment eh? What with one 
sort of attachment and another you are doing away with 
your usefulness." 

Mr. Verloc, puffing out his cheeks, let the air escape 
violently, and that was all. He had armed himself with 
patience. It was not to be tried much longer. The First 
Secretary became suddenly very curt, detached, final. 

""You may go now," he said. "A dynamite outrage 
must be provoked. I give you a month. The sittings of 
the Conference are suspended. Before it reassembles 
again something must have happened here, or your con- 
nection with us ceases." 

He changed the note once more with an unprincipled 
versatility. 

"Think over my philosophy, Mr. Mr. Verloc," he 
said, with a sort of chaffing condescension, waving his 
hand towards the door. "Go for the first meridian. You 
don't know the middle classes as well as I do. Their 
sensibilities are jaded. The first meridian. Nothing 
better, and nothing easier, I should think." 

He had got up, and with his thin sensitive lips twitch- 
ing humorously, watched in the glass over the mantel- 
piece Mr. Verloc backing out of the room heavily, hat 
and stick in hand. The door closed. 

The footman in trousers, appearing suddenly in the 
corridor, let Mr. Verloc another way out and through a 
small door in the corner of the courtyard. The porter 
standing at the gate ignored his exit completely; and Mr. 
Verloc retraced the path of his morning's pilgrimage as if 
in a dream an angry dream. This detachment from the 
material world was so complete that, though the mortal 



40 THE SECRET AGENT. 

envelope of Mr. Verloc had not hastened unduly along 
the streets, that part of him to which it would be un- 
warrantably rude to refuse immortality, found itself at the 
shop door all at once, as if borne from west to east on 
the wings of a great wind. He walked straight behind 
the counter, and sat down on a wooden chair that stood 
there. No one appeared to disturb his solitude. Stevie, 
put into a green baize apron, was now sweeping and 
dusting upstairs, intent and conscientious, as though he 
were playing at it; and Mrs. Verloc, warned in the kitchen 
by the clatter of the cracked bell, had merely come to 
the glazed door of the parlour, and putting the curtain 
aside a little, had peered into the dim shop. Seeing her 
husband sitting there shadowy and bulky, with his hat 
tilted far back on his head, she had at once returned to 
her stove. An hour or more later she took the green 
baize apron off her brother Stevie, and instructed him to 
wash his hands and face in the peremptory tone she had 
used in that connection for fifteen years or so ever since 
she had, in fact, ceased to attend to the boy's hands and 
face herself. She spared presently a glance away from 
her dishing-up for the inspection of that face and those 
hands which Stevie, approaching the kitchen table, offered 
for her approval with an air of self-assurance hiding a 
perpetual residue of anxiety. Formerly the anger of the 
father was the supremely effective sanction of these rites, 
but Mr. Verloc's placidity in domestic life would have 
made all mention of anger incredible even to poor 
Stevie's nervousness. The theory was that Mr. Verloc 
would have been inexpressibly pained and shocked by 
any deficiency of cleanliness at meal times. Winnie after 
the death of her father found considerable consolation in 
the feeling that she need no longer tremble for poor 



THE SECRET AGENT. 4! 

Stevie. She could not bear to see the boy hurt. It 
maddened her. As a little girl she had often faced with 
blazing eyes the irascible licensed victualler in defence of 
her brother. Nothing now in Mrs. Verloc's appearance 
could lead one to suppose that she was capable of a pas- 
sionate demonstration. 

She finished her dishing-up. The table was laid in 
the parlour. Going to the foot of the stairs, she screamed 
out "Mother!" Then opening the glazed door leading to 
the shop, she said quietly "Adolf!" Mr. Verloc had not 
changed his position; he had not apparently stirred a 
limb for an hour and a half. He got up heavily, and 
came to his dinner in his overcoat and with his hat on, 
without uttering a word. His silence in itself had nothing 
startlingly unusual in this household, hidden in the shades 
of the sordid street seldom touched by the sun, behind 
the dim shop with its wares of disreputable rubbish. 
Only that day Mr. Verloc's taciturnity was so obviously 
thoughtful that the two women were impressed by it. 
They sat silent themselves, keeping a watchful eye on 
poor Stevie, lest he should break out into one of his fits 
of loquacity. He faced Mr. Verloc across the table, and 
remained very good and quiet, staring vacantly. The en- 
deavour to keep him from making himself objectionable 
in any way to the master of the house put no inconsider- 
able anxiety into these two women's lives. "That boy," 
as they alluded to him softly between themselves, had 
been a source of that sort of anxiety almost from the very 
day of his birth. The late licensed victualler's humilia- 
tion at having such a very peculiar boy for a son mani- 
fested itself by a propensity to brutal treatment; for he 
was a person of fine sensibilities, and his sufferings as a 
man and a father were perfectly genuine. Afterwards 



42 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Stevie had to be kept from making himself a nui- 
sance to the single gentlemen lodgers, who are themselves 
a queer lot, and are easily aggrieved. And there was al- 
ways the anxiety of his mere existence to face. Visions 
of a workhouse infirmary for her child had haunted the 
old woman in the basement breakfast-room of the de- 
cayed Belgravian house. "If you had not found such a 
good husband, my dear," she used to say to her daughter, 
"I don't know what would have become of that poor boy." 
Mr. Verloc extended as much recognition to Stevie as 
a man not particularly fond of animals may give to his 
wife's beloved cat; and this recognition, benevolent and 
perfunctory, was essentially of the same quality. Both 
women admitted to themselves that not much more could 
be reasonably expected. It was enough to earn for Mr. 
Verloc the old woman's reverential gratitude. In the 
early days, made sceptical by the trials of friendless life, 
she used sometimes to ask anxiously: "You don't think, 
my dear, that Mr. Verloc is getting tired of seeing Stevie 
about?" To this Winnie replied habitually by a slight 
toss of her head. Once, however, she retorted, with a 
rather grim pertness: "He'll have to get tired of me first." 
A long silence ensued. The mother, with her feet propped 
up on a stool, seemed to be trying to get to the bottom 
of that answer, whose feminine profundity had struck her 
all of a heap. She had never really understood why 
Winnie had married Mr. Verloc. It was very sensible of 
her, and evidently had turned out for the best, but her 
girl might have naturally hoped to find somebody of a 
more suitable age. There had been a steady young fellow, 
only son of a butcher in the next street, helping his father 
in business, with whom Winnie had been walking out with 
obvious gusto. He was dependent on his father, it is 



THE SECRET AGENT. 43 

true; but the business was good, and his prospects ex- 
cellent. He took her girl to the theatre on several even- 
ings. Then just as she began to dread to hear of their 
engagement (for what could she have done with that big 
house alone, with Stevie on her hands), that romance 
came to an abrupt end, and Winnie went about looking 
very dull. But Mr. Verloc, turning up providentially to 
occupy the first-floor front bedroom, there had been no 
more question of the young butcher. It was clearly pro- 
vidential. 

III. 

"... ALL idealisation makes life poorer. To beautify 
it is to take away its character of complexity it is to 
destroy it. Leave that to the moralists, my boy. History 
is made by men, but they do not make it in their heads. 
The ideas that are born in their consciousness play an in- 
significant part in the march of events. History is domi- 
nated and determined by the tool and the production 
by the force of economic conditions. Capitalism has made 
socialism, and the laws made by the capitalism for the 
protection of property are responsible for anarchism. No 
one can tell what form the social organisation may take 
in the future. Then why indulge in prophetic phantasies? 
At best they can only interpret the mind of the prophet, 
and can have no objective value. Leave that pastime to 
the moralists, my boy." 

Michaelis, the ticket-of-leave apostle, was speaking in 
an even voice, a voice that wheezed as if deadened and 
oppressed by the layer of fat on his chest. He had come 
out of a highly hygienic prison round like a tub, with an 
enormous stomach and distended cheeks of a pale, semi- 
transparent complexion, as though for fifteen years the 



44 THE SECRET AGENT. 

servants of an outraged society had made a point of stuf- 
fing him with fattening foods in a damp and lightless 
cellar. And ever since he had never managed to get his 
weight down as much as an ounce. 

It was said that for three seasons running a very 
wealthy old lady had sent him for a cure to Marienbad 
where he was about to share the public curiosity once 
with a crowned head but the police on that occasion 
ordered him to leave within twelve hours. His martyr- 
dom was continued by forbidding him all access to the 
healing waters. But he was resigned now. 

With his elbow presenting no appearance of a joint, 
but more like a bend in a dummy's limb, thrown over 
the back of a chair, he leaned forward slightly over his 
short and enormous thighs to spit into the grate. 

"Yes! I had the time to think things out a little," 
he added without emphasis. "Society has given me 
plenty of time for meditation." 

On the other side of the fireplace, in the horse-hair 
armchair where Mrs. Verloc's mother was generally pri- 
vileged to sit, Karl Yundt giggled grimly, with a faint 
black grimace of a toothless mouth. The terrorist, as 
he called himself, was old and bald, with a narrow, snow- 
white wisp of a goatee hanging limply from his chin. 
An extraordinary expression of underhand malevolence 
survived in his extinguished eyes. When he rose pain- 
fully the thrusting forward of a skinny groping hand de- 
formed by gouty swellings suggested the effort of a mori- 
bund murderer summoning all his remaining strength for 
a last stab. He leaned on a thick stick, which trembled 
under his other hand. 

"I have always dreamed," he mouthed fiercely, "of a 
band of men absolute in their resolve to discard all 



THE SECRET AGENT. 45 

scruples in the choice of means, strong enough to give 
themselves frankly the name of destroyers, and free from 
the taint of that resigned pessimism which rots the world. 
No pity for anything on earth, including themselves, and 
death enlisted for good and all in the service of humanity 
that's what I would have liked to see." 

His little bald head quivered, imparting a comical 
vibration to the wisp of white goatee. His enunciation 
would have been almost totally unintelligible to a stranger. 
His worn-out passion, resembling in its impotent fierce- 
ness the excitement of a senile sensualist, was badly 
served by a dried throat and toothless gums which seemed 
to catch the tip of his tongue. Mr. Verloc, established 
in the corner of the sofa at the other end of the room, 
emitted two hearty grunts of assent. 

The old terrorist turned slowly his head on his skinny 
neck from side to side. 

"And I could never get as many as three such men 
together. So much for your rotten pessimism," he snarled 
at Michaelis, who uncrossed his thick legs, similar to 
bolsters, and slid his feet abruptly under his chair in 
sign of exasperation. 

He a pessimist! Preposterous! He cried out that 
the charge was outrageous. He was so far from pes- 
simism that he saw already the end of all private pro- 
perty coming along logically, unavoidably, by the mere 
development of its inherent viciousness. The possessors 
of property had not only to face the awakened proletariat, 
but they had also to fight amongst themselves. Yes. 
Struggle, warfare, was the condition of private owner- 
ship. It was fatal. Ah! he did not depend upon 
emotional excitement to keep up his belief, no de- 
clamations, no anger, no visions of blood-red flags waving, 



46 THE SECRET AGENT. 

or metaphorical lurid suns of vengeance rising above 
the horizon of a doomed society. Not he! Cold reason, 
he boasted, was the basis of his optimism. Yes, op- 
timism 

His laborious wheezing stopped, then, after a gasp or 
two, he added: 

"Don't you think that, if I had not been the optimist 
I am, I could not have found in fifteen years some 
means to cut my throat? And, in the last instance, there 
were always the walls of my cell to dash my head against." 

The shortness of breath took all fire, all animation 
out of his voice; his great, pale cheeks hung like filled 
pouches, motionless, without a quiver; but in his blue 
eyes, narrowed as if peering, there was the same look of 
confident shrewdness, a little crazy in its fixity, they must 
have had while the indomitable optimist sat thinking at 
night in his cell. Before him, Karl Yundt remained 
standing, one wing of his faded greenish havelock thrown 
back cavalierly over his shoulder. Seated in front of the 
fireplace, Comrade Ossipon, ex-medical student, the prin- 
cipal writer of the F. P. leaflets, stretched out his robust 
legs, keeping the soles of his boots turned up to the 
glow in the grate. A bush of crinkly yellow hair topped 
his red, freckled face, with a flattened nose and pro- 
minent mouth cast in the rough mould of the negro type. 
His almond-shaped eyes leered languidly over the high 
cheek-bones. He wore a grey flannel shirt, the loose 
ends of a black silk tie hung down the buttoned breast 
of his serge coat; and his head resting on the back of 
his chair, his throat largely exposed, he raised to his lips 
a cigarette in a long wooden tube, puffing jets of smoke 
straight up at the ceiling. 

Michaelis pursued his idea the idea of his solitary 



THE SECRET AGENT. 47 

reclusion the thought vouchsafed to his captivity and 
growing like a faith revealed in visions. He talked to 
himself, indifferent to the sympathy or hostility of his 
hearers, indifferent indeed to their presence, from the 
habit he had acquired of thinking aloud hopefully in the 
solitude of the four whitewashed walls of his cell, in the 
sepulchral silence of the great blind pile of bricks near a 
river, sinister and ugly like a colossal mortuary for the 
socially drowned. 

He was no good in discussion, not because any 
amount of argument could shake his faith, but because 
the mere fact of hearing another voice disconcerted him 
painfully, confusing his thoughts at once these thoughts 
that for so many years, in a mental solitude more barren 
than a waterless desert, no living voice had ever com- 
batted, commented, or approved. 

No one interrupted him now, and he made again the 
confession of his faith, mastering him irresistible and 
complete like an act of grace: the secret of fate dis- 
covered in the material side of life; the economic con- 
dition of the world responsible for the past and shaping 
the future; the source of all history, of all ideas, guiding 
the mental development of mankind and the very im- 
pulses of their passion 

A harsh laugh from Comrade Ossipon cut the tirade 
dead short in a sudden faltering of the tongue and a be- 
wildered unsteadiness of the apostle's mildly exalted eyes. 
He closed them slowly for a moment, as if to collect his 
routed thoughts. A silence fell; but what with the two 
gas-jets over the table and the glowing grate the little 
parlour behind Mr. Verloc's shop had become frightfully 
hot. Mr. Verloc, getting off the sofa with ponderous re- 
luctance, opened the door leading into the kitchen to get 



48 THE SECRET AGENT. 

more air, and thus disclosed the innocent Stevie, seated 
very good and quiet at a deal table, drawing circles, 
circles, circles; innumerable circles, concentric, eccentric; 
a coruscating whirl of circles that by their tangled mul- 
titude of repeated curves, uniformity of form, and con- 
fusion of intersecting lines suggested a rendering of cosmic 
chaos, the symbolism of a mad art attempting the incon- 
ceivable. The artist never turned his head; and in all 
his soul's application to the task his back quivered, his 
thin neck, sunk into a deep hollow at the base of the 
skull, seemed ready to snap. 

Mr. Verloc, after a grunt of disapproving surprise, re- 
turned to the sofa. Alexander Ossipon got up, tall in 
his threadbare blue serge suit under the low ceiling, shook 
off the stiffness of long immobility, and strolled away into 
the kitchen (down two steps) to look over Stevie's shoulder. 
He came back, pronouncing oracularly: "Very good. Very 
characteristic, perfectly typical." 

"What's very good?" grunted inquiringly Mr. Verloc, 
settled again in the corner of the sofa. The other ex- 
plained his meaning negligently, with a shade of con- 
descension and a toss of his head towards the kitchen: 

"Typical of this form of degeneracy these drawings, 
I mean." 

"You would call that lad a degenerate, would you?" 
mumbled Mr. Verloc. 

Comrade Alexander Ossipon nicknamed the Doctor, 
ex-medical student without a degree; afterwards wander- 
ing lecturer to working-men's associations upon the so- 
cialistic aspects of hygiene; author of a popular quasi- 
medical study (in the form of a cheap pamphlet seized 
promptly by the police) entitled "The Corroding Vices of 
the Middle Classes;" special delegate of the more or less 



THE SECRET AGENT. 49 

mysterious Red Committee, together with Karl Yundt and 
Michaelis for the work of literary propaganda turned 
upon the obscure familiar of at least two Embassies that 
glance of insufferable, hopelessly dense sufficiency which 
nothing but the frequentation of science can give to the 
dulness of common mortals. 

"That's what he may be called scientifically. Very 
good type too, altogether, of that sort of degenerate. It's 
enough to glance at the lobes of his ears. If you read 
Lombroso " 

Mr. Verloc, moody and spread largely on the sofa, 
continued to look down the row of his waistcoat buttons; 
but his cheeks became tinged by a faint blush. Of late 
even the merest derivative of the word sience (a term in 
itself inoffensive and of indefinite meaning) had the curious 
power of evoking a definitely offensive mental vision of 
Mr. Vladimir, in his body as he lived, with an almost 
supernatural clearness. And this phenomenon, deserving 
justly to be classed amongst the marvels of science, in- 
duced in Mr. Verloc an emotional state of dread and 
exasperation tending to express itself in violent swearing. 
But he said nothing. It was Karl Yundt who was heard, 
implacable to his last breath. 

"Lombroso is an ass." 

Comrade Ossipon met the shock of this blasphemy 
by an awful, vacant stare. And the other, his extinguished 
eyes without gleams blackening the deep shadows under 
the great, bony forehead, mumbled, catching the tip of 
;his tongue between his lips at every second word as 
though he were chewing it angrily: 

"Did you ever see such an idiot? For him the 
criminal is the prisoner. Simple,yis it not? What about 
those who shut him up there -V- forced him in there? 

The Secret Agent. % 4 



50 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Exactly. Forced him in there. And what is crime? 
Does he know that, this imbecile who has made his way 
in this world of gorged fools by looking at the ears and 
teeth of a lot of poor, luckless devils? Teeth and ears 
mark the criminal? Do they? And what about the law 
that marks him still better the pretty branding instru- 
ment invented by the overfed to protect themselves against 
the hungry? Red-hot applications on their vile skins 
hey? Can't you smell and hear from here the thick hide 
of the people burn and sizzle? That's how criminals are 
made for your Lombrosos to write their silly stuff about." 
The knob of his stick and his legs shook together 
with passion, whilst the trunk, draped in the wings of the 
havelock, preserved his historic attitude of defiance. He 
seemed to sniff the tainted air of social cruelty, to strain 
his ear for its atrocious sounds. There was an extra- 
ordinary force of suggestion in this posturing. The all 
but moribund veteran of dynamite wars had been a great 
actor in his time actor on platforms, in secret assemblies, 
in private interviews. The famous terrorist had never 
in his life raised personally as much as his little finger 
against the social edifice. He was no man of action; he 
was not even an orator of torrential eloquence, sweeping 
the masses along in the rushing noise and foam of a great 
enthusiasm. With a more subtle intention, he took the 
part of an insolent and venomous evoker of sinister im- 
pulses which lurk in the blind envy and exasperated 
vanity of ignorance, in the suffering and misery of poverty, 
in all the hopeful and noble illusions of righteous anger, 
pity, and revolt. The shadow of his evil gift clung to him 
yet like the smell of a deadly drug in an old vial of 
poison, emptied now, useless, ready to be thrown away 
upon the rubbish-heap of things that had served their time. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 5 I 

Michaelis, the ticket-of-leave apostle, smiled vaguely 
with his glued lips; his pasty moon face drooped under 
the weight of melancholy assent. He had been a prisoner 
himself. His own skin had sizzled under the red-hot 
brand, he murmured softly. But Comrade Ossipon, nick- 
named the Doctor, had got over the shock by that time. 

"You don't understand," he began disdainfully, but 
stopped short, intimidated by the dead blackness of the 
cavernous eyes in the face turned slowly towards him 
with a blind stare, as if guided only by the sound. He 
gave the discussion up, with a slight shrug of the shoulders. 

Stevie, accustomed to move about disregarded, had 
got up from the kitchen table, carrying off his drawing 
to bed with him. He had reached the parlour door in 
time to receive in full the shock of Karl Yundt's eloquent 
imagery. The sheet of paper covered with circles dropped 
out of his fingers, and he remained staring at the old 
terrorist, as if rooted suddenly to the spot by his morbid 
horror and dread of physical pain. Stevie knew very 
well that hot iron applied to one's skin hurt very much. 
His scared eyes blazed with indignation: it would hurt 
terribly. His mouth dropped open. 

Michaelis by staring unwinkingly at the fire had re- 
gained that sentiment of isolation necessary for the con- 
tinuity of his thought. His optimism had begun to flow 
from his lips. He saw Capitalism doomed in its cradle, 
born with the poison of the principle of competition in its 
system. The great capitalists devouring the little capitalists, 
concentrating the power and the tools of production in 
great masses, perfecting industrial processes, and in the 
madness of self-aggrandisement only preparing, organising, 
enriching, making ready the lawful inheritance of the 
suffering proletariat. Michaelis pronounced the great 



52 THE SECRET AGENT. 

word "Patience" and his clear blue glance, raised to 
the low ceiling of Mr. Verloc's parlour, had a character of 
seraphic trustfulness. In the doorway Stevie, calmed, 
seemed sunk in hebetude. 

Comrade Ossipon's face twitched with exasperation. 

"Then it's no use doing anything no use whatever." 

"I don't say that," protested Michaelis gently. His 
vision of truth had grown so intense that the sound of a 
strange voice failed to rout it this time. He continued to 
look down at the red coals. Preparation for the future 
was necessary, and he was willing to admit that the great 
change would perhaps come in the upheaval of a revolu- 
tion. But he argued that revolutionary propaganda was 
a delicate work of high conscience. It was the education 
of the masters of the world. It should be as careful as 
the education given to kings. He would have it advance 
its tenets cautiously, even timidly, in our ignorance of the 
effect that may be produced by any given economic 
change upon the happiness, the morals, the intellect, the 
history of mankind. For history is made with tools, not 
with ideas; and everything is changed by economic con- 
ditions art, philosophy, love, virtue truth itself! 

The coals in the grate settled down with a slight 
crash; and Michaelis, the hermit of visions in the desert 
of a penitentiary, got up impetuously. Round like a 
distended balloon, he opened his short, thick arms, as if 
in a pathetically hopeless attempt to embrace and hug to 
his breast a self-regenerated universe. He gasped with 
ardour. 

"The future is as certain as the past slavery, feu- 
dalism, individualism, collectivism. This is the statement 
of a law, not an empty prophecy." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 53 

The disdainful pout of Comrade Ossipon's thick lips 
accentuated the negro type of his face. 

"Nonsense," he said calmly enough. "There is no 
law and no certainty. The teaching propaganda be hanged. 
What the people knows does not matter, were its know- 
ledge ever so accurate. The only thing that matters to 
us is the emotional state of the masses. Without emotion 
there is no action." 

He paused, then added with modest firmness: 

"I am speaking now to you scientifically scienti- 
fically Eh? What did you say, Verloc?" 

"Nothing," growled from the sofa Mr. Verloc, who, 
provoked by the abhorrent sound, had merely muttered a 
"Damn." 

The venomous spluttering of the old terrorist without 
teeth was heard. 

"Do you know how I would call the nature of 'the 
present economic conditions? I would call it cannibalistic. 
That's what it is! They are nourishing their greed on 
the quivering flesh and the warm blood of the people 
nothing else." 

Stevie swallowed the terrifying statement with an 
audible gulp, and at once, as though it had been swift 
poison, sank limply in a sitting posture on the steps of 
the kitchen door. 

Michaelis gave no sign of having heard anything. His 
lips seemed glued together for good; not a quiver passed 
over his heavy cheeks. With troubled eyes he looked for 
his round, hard hat, and put it on his round head. His 
round and obese body seemed to float low between the 
chairs under the sharp elbow of Karl Yundt. The old 
terrorist, raising an uncertain and clawlike hand, gave a 
swaggering tilt to a black felt sombrero shading the hoi- 



54 THE SECRET AGENT. 

lows and ridges of his wasted face. He got in motion 
slowly, striking the floor with his stick at every step. It 
was rather an affair to get him out of the house because, 
now and then, he would stop, as if to think, and did not 
offer to move again till impelled forward by Michaelis. 
The gentle apostle grasped his arm with brotherly care; 
and behind them, his hands in his pockets, the robust 
Ossipon yawned vaguely. A blue cap with a patent 
leather peak set well at the back of his yellow bush of 
hair gave him the aspect of a Norwegian sailor bored 
with the world after a thundering spree. Mr. Verloc saw 
his guests off the premises, attending them bareheaded, 
his heavy overcoat hanging open, his eyes on the ground. 

He closed the door behind their backs with restrained 
violence, turned the key, shot the bolt. He was not satis- 
fied with his friends. In the light of Mr. Vladimir's 
ph'ilosophy of bomb throwing they appeared hopelessly 
futile. The part of Mr. Verloc in revolutionary politics 
having been to observe, he could not all at once, either 
in his own home or in larger assemblies, take the 
initiative of action. He had to be cautious. Moved by 
the just indignation of a man well over forty, menaced in 
what is dearest to him his repose and his security he 
asked himself scornfully what else could have been ex- 
pected from such a lot, this Karl Yundt, this Michaelis 
this Ossipon. 

Pausing in his intention to turn off the gas burning 
in the middle of the shop, Mr. Verloc descended into the 
abyss of moral reflections. With the insight of a kindred 
temperament he pronounced his verdict. A lazy lot 
this Karl Yundt, nursed by a blear-eyed old woman, 
a woman he had years ago enticed away from a friend, 
and afterwards had tried more than once to shake off 



THE SECRET AGENT. 55 

into the gutter. Jolly lucky for Yundt that she had 
persisted in coming up time after time, or else there 
would have been no one now to help him out of the 
'bus by the Green Park railings, where that spectre took 
its constitutional crawl every fine morning. When that 
indomitable snarling old witch died the swaggering 
spectre would have to vanish too there would be an 
end to fiery Karl Yundt. And Mr. Verloc's morality 
was offended also by the optimism of Michaelis, an- 
nexed by his wealthy old lady, who had taken lately to 
sending him to a cottage she had in the country. The 
ex-prisoner could moon about the shady lanes for days 
together in a delicious and humanitarian idleness. As 
to Ossipon, that beggar was sure to want for nothing as 
long as there were silly girls with savings-bank books in 
the world. And Mr. Verloc, temperamentally identical 
with his associates, drew fine distinctions in his mind on 
the strength of insignificant differences. He drew them 
with a certain complacency, because the instinct of con- 
ventional respectability was strong within him, being only 
overcome by his dislike of all kinds of recognised labour 
a temperamental defect which he shared with a large 
proportion of revolutionary reformers of a given social 
state. For obviously one does not revolt against the ad- 
vantages and opportunities of that state, but against the 
price which must be paid for the same in the coin of ac- 
cepted morality, self-restraint, and toil. The majority 
of revolutionists are the enemies of discipline and fatigue 
mostly. There are natures too, to whose sense of justice 
the price exacted looms up monstrously enormous, odious, 
oppressive, worrying, humiliating, extortionate, intolerable. 
Those are the fanatics. The remaining portion of social 
rebels is accounted for by vanity, the mother of all noble 



56 THE SECRET AGENT. 

and vile illusions, the companion of poets, reformers, 
charlatans, prophets, and incendiaries. 

Lost for a whole minute in the abyss of meditation, 
Mr. Verloc did not reach the depth of these abstract 
considerations. Perhaps he was not able. In any case 
he had not the time. He was pulled up painfully by 
the sudden recollection of Mr. Vladimir, another of his 
associates, whom in virtue of subtle moral affinities he 
was capable of judging correctly. He considered him as 
dangerous. A shade of envy crept into his thoughts. 
Loafing was all very well for these fellows, who knew not 
Mr. Vladimir, and had women to fall back upon; whereas 
he had a woman to provide for 

At this point, by a simple association of ideas, Mr. 
Verloc was brought face to face with the necessity of 
going to bed some time or other that evening. Then 
why not go now at once? He sighed. The necessity 
was not so normally pleasurable as it ought to have been 
for a man of his age and temperament. He dreaded the 
demon of sleeplessness, which he felt had marked him 
for its own. He raised his arm, and turned off the 
flaring gas-jet above his head. 

A bright band of light fell through the parlour door 
into the part of the shop behind the counter. It enabled 
Mr. Verloc to ascertain at a glance the number of silver 
coins in the till. These were but few; and for the first 
time since he opened his shop he took a commercial 
survey of its value. This survey was unfavourable. 
He had gone into trade for no commercial reasons. He 
had been guided in the selection of this peculiar line of 
business by an instinctive leaning towards shady trans- 
actions, where money is picked up easily. Moreover, it 
did not take him out of his own sphere the sphere 



THE SECRET AGENT. 57 

which is watched by the police. On the contrary, it 
gave him a publicly confessed standing in that sphere, 
and as Mr. Verloc had unconfessed relations which made 
him familiar with yet careless of the police, there was a 
distinct advantage in such a situation. But as a means 
of livelihood it was by itself insufficient. 

He took the cash-box out of the drawer, and turning 
to leave the shop, became aware that Stevie was still 
downstairs. 

What on earth is he doing there? Mr. Verloc asked 
himself. What's the meaning of these antics? He looked 
dubiously at his brother-in-law, but he did not ask him 
for information. Mr. Verloc's intercourse with Stevie was 
limited to the casual mutter of a morning, after breakfast, 
"My boots," and even that was more a communication at 
large of a need than a direct order or request. Mr. 
Verloc perceived with some surprise that he did not know 
really what to say to Stevie. He stood still in the middle 
of the parlour, and looked into the kitchen in silence. 
Nor yet did he know what would happen if he did say 
anything. And this appeared very queer to Mr. Verloc 
in view of the fact, borne upon him suddenly, that he had 
to provide for this fellow too. He had never given a 
moment's thought till then to that aspect of Stevie's 
existence. 

Positively he did not know how to speak to the lad. 
He watched him gesticulating and murmuring in the 
kitchen. Stevie prowled round the table like an excited 
animal in a cage. A tentative "Hadn't you better go to 
bed now?" produced no effect whatever; and Mr. Verloc, 
abandoning the stony contemplation of his brother-in- 
law's behaviour, crossed the parlour wearily, cash-box in 
hand. The cause of the general lassitude he felt while 



58 THE SECRET AGENT. 

climbing the stairs being purely mental, he became 
alarmed by its inexplicable character. He hoped he was 
not sickening for anything. He stopped on the dark 
landing to examine his sensations. But a slight and con- 
tinuous sound of snoring pervading the obscurity inter- 
fered with their clearness. The sound came from his 
mother-in-law's room. Another one to provide for, he 
thought and on this thought walked into the bedroom. 

Mrs. Verloc had fallen asleep with the lamp (no gas 
was laid upstairs) turned up full on the table by the side 
of the bed. The light thrown down by the shade fell 
dazzlingly on the white pillow sunk by the weight of her 
head reposing with closed eyes and dark hair done up in 
several plaits for the night. She woke up with the sound 
of her name in her ears, and saw her husband standing 
over her. 

"Winnie! Winnie!" 

At first she did not stir, lying very quiet and looking 
at the cash-box in Mr. Verloc's hand. But when she 
understood that her brother was "capering all over the 
place downstairs" she swung out in one sudden movement 
onto the edge of the bed. Her bare feet, as if poked 
through the bottom of an unadorned, sleeved calico sack 
buttoned tightly at neck and wrists, felt over the rug for 
the slippers while she looked upward into her hus- 
band's face. 

"I don't know how to manage him," Mr. Verloc ex- 
plained peevishly. "Won't do to leave him downstairs 
alone with the lights." 

She said nothing, glided across the room swiftly, and 
the door closed upon her white form. 

Mr. Verloc deposited the cash-box on the night table, 
and began the operation of undressing by flinging his 



THE SECRET AGENT. 59 

overcoat onto a distant chair. His coat and waistcoat 
followed. He walked about the room in his stockinged 
feet, and his burly figure, with the hands worrying 
nervously at his throat, passed and repassed across the 
long strip of looking-glass in the door of his wife's ward- 
robe. Then after slipping his braces off his shoulders he 
pulled up violently the Venetian blind, and leaned his 
forehead against the cold window-pane a fragile film of 
glass stretched between him and the enormity of cold, 
black, wet, muddy, inhospitable accumulation of bricks, 
slates, and stones, things in themselves unlovely and un- 
friendly to man. 

Mr. Verloc felt the latent unfriendliness of all out of 
doors with a force approaching to positive bodily anguish. 
There is no occupation that fails a man more completely 
than that of a secret agent of police. It's like your horse 
suddenly falling dead under you in the midst of an un- 
inhabited and thirsty plain. The comparison occurred to 
Mr. Verloc because he had sat astride various army horses 
in his time, and had now the sensation of an incipient 
fall. The prospect was as black as the window-pane 
against which he was leaning his forehead. And suddenly 
the face of Mr. Vladimir, clean-shaved and witty, ap- 
peared enhaloed in the glow of its rosy complexion like 
a sort of pink seal impressed on the fatal darkness. 

This luminous and mutilated vision was so ghastly 
physically that Mr. Verloc started away from the window, 
letting down the Venetian blind with a great rattle. Dis- 
composed and speechless with the apprehension of more 
such visions, he beheld his wife re-enter the room and get 
into bed in a calm business-like manner which made him 
feel hopelessly lonely in the world. Mrs. Verloc expressed 
her surprise at seeing him up yet. 



6O THE SECRET AGENT. 

"I don't feel very well," he muttered, passing his 
hands over his moist brow. 

"Giddiness?" 

"Yes. Not at all well." 

Mrs. Verloc, with all the placidity of an experienced 
wife, expressed a confident opinion as to the cause, and 
suggested the usual remedies; but her husband, rooted in 
the middle of the room, shook his lowered head sadly. 

"You'll catch cold standing there," she observed. 

Mr. Verloc made an effort, finished undressing, and 
got into bed. Down below in the quiet, narrow street 
measured footsteps approached the house, then died away 
unhurried and firm, as if the passer-by had started to 
pace out all eternity, from gas-lamp to gas-lamp in a 
night without end; and the drowsy ticking of the old 
clock on the landing became distinctly audible in the 
bedroom. 

Mrs. Verloc, on her back, and staring at the ceiling, 
made a remark. 

"Takings very small to-day." 

Mr. Verloc, in the same position, cleared his throat as 
if for an important statement, but merely inquired: 

"Did you turn off the gas downstairs?" 

"Yes; I did," answered Mrs. Verloc conscientiously. 
"That poor boy is in a very excited state to-night," she 
murmured, after a pause which lasted for three ticks of 
the clock. 

Mr. Verloc cared nothing for Stevie's excitement, but 
he felt horribly wakeful, and dreaded facing the darkness 
and silence that would follow the extinguishing of the lamp. 
This dread led him to make the remark that Stevie had 
disregarded his suggestion to go to bed. Mrs. Verloc, 
falling into the trap, started to demonstrate at length to 



THE SECRET AGENT. 6 1 

her husband that this was not "impudence" of any sort, 
but simply "excitement." There was no young man of 
his age in London more willing and docile than Stephen, 
she affirmed; none more affectionate and ready to please, 
and even useful, as long as people did not upset his poor 
head. Mrs. Verloc, turning towards her recumbent hus- 
band, raised herself on her elbow, and hung over him in 
her anxiety that he should believe Stevie to be a useful 
member of the family. That ardour of protecting com- 
passion exalted morbidly in her childhood by the misery 
of another child tinged her sallow cheeks with a faint 
dusky blush, made her big eyes gleam under the dark 
lids. Mrs. Verloc then looked younger; she looked as 
young as Winnie used to look, and much more animated 
than the Winnie of the Belgravian mansion days had ever 
allowed herself to appear to gentlemen lodgers. Mr. 
Verloc's anxieties had prevented him from attaching any 
sense to what his wife was saying. It was as if her voice 
were talking on the other side of a very thick wall. It 
was her aspect that recalled him to himself. 

He appreciated this woman, and the sentiment of this 
appreciation, stirred by a display of something resembling 
emotion, only added another pang to his mental anguish. 
When her voice ceased he moved uneasily, and said: 
"I haven't been feeling well for the last few days." 
He might have meant this as an opening to a com- 
plete confidence; but Mrs. Verloc laid her head on the 
pillow again, and staring upward, went on: 

"That boy hears too much of what is talked about 
here. If I had known they were coming to-night I would 
have seen to it that he went to bed at the same time I 
did. He was out of his mind with something he over- 



62 THE SECRET AGENT. . 

heard about eating people's flesh and drinking blood. 
What's the good of talking like that?" 

There was a note of indignant scorn in her voice. 
Mr. Verloc was fully responsive now. 

"Ask Karl Yundt," he growled savagely. 

Mrs. Verloc, with great decision, pronounced Karl 
Yundt "a disgusting old man." She declared openly her 
affection for Michaelis. Of the robust Ossipon, in whose 
presence she always felt uneasy behind an attitude of 
stony reserve, she said nothing whatever. And continuing 
to talk of that brother, who had been for so many years 
an object of care and fears: 

"He isn't fit to hear what's said here. He believes 
it's all true. He knows no better. He gets into his pas- 
sions over it." 

Mr. Verloc made no comment. 

"He glared at me, as if he didn't know who I was, 
when I went downstairs. His heart was going like a ham- 
mer. He can't help being excitable. I woke mother up, 
and asked her to sit with him till he went to sleep. It 
isn't his fault. He's no trouble when he's left alone." 

Mr. Verloc made no comment. 

"I wish he had never been to school," Mrs. Verloc 
began again brusquely. "He's always taking away those 
newspapers from the window to read. He gets a red face 
poring over them. We don't get rid of a dozen numbers 
in a month. They only take up room in the front window. 
And Mr. Ossipon brings every week a pile of these F. P. 
tracts to sell at a halfpenny each. I wouldn't give a half- 
penny for the whole lot. It's silly reading that's what 
it is. There's no sale for it. The other day Stevie got 
hold of one, and there was a story in it of a German 
soldier officer tearing half-off the ear of a recruit, and 



THE SECRET AGENT. 63 

nothing was done to him for it. The brute! I couldn't 
do anything with Stevie that afternoon. The story was 
enough, too, to make one's blood boil. But what's the 
use of printing things like that? We aren't German slaves 
here, thank God. It's not our business is it?" 

Mr. Verloc made no reply. 

"I had to take the carving knife from the boy," Mrs. 
Verloc continued, a little sleepily now. "He was shout- 
ing and stamping and sobbing. He can't stand the notion 
of any cruelty. He would have stuck that officer like a 
pig if he had seen him then. It's true, too ! Some people 
don't deserve much mercy." Mrs. Verloc's voice ceased, 
and the expression of her motionless eyes became more 
and more contemplative and veiled during the long pause. 
"Comfortable, dear?" she asked in a faint, far-away voice. 
"Shall I put out the light now?" 

The dreary conviction that there was no sleep for him 
held Mr. Verloc mute and hopelessly inert in his fear of 
darkness. He made a great effort. 

"Yes. Put it out," he said at last in a hollow tone. 



IV. 

MOST of the thirty or so little tables covered by red 
cloths with a white design stood ranged at right angles 
to the deep brown wainscoting of the underground hall. 
Bronze chandeliers with many globes depended from the 
low, slightly vaulted ceiling, and the fresco paintings ran 
flat and dull all round the walls without windows, repre- 
senting scenes of the chase and of outdoor revelry in 
mediaeval costumes. Varkts .in green jerkins brandished 
hunting-knives and raised on high tankards of foaming beer. 

"Unless I am very much mistaken, you are the man 



64 THE SECRET AGENT. 

who would know the inside of this confounded affair," 
said the robust Ossipon, leaning over, his elbows far out 
on the table and his feet tucked back completely under 
his chair. His eyes stared with wild eagerness. 

An upright semi-grand piano near the door, flanked 
by two palms in pots, executed suddenly all by itself a 
valse tune with aggressive virtuosity. The din it raised 
was deafening. When it ceased, as abruptly as it had 
started, the be spectacled, dingy little man who faced Os- 
sipon behind a heavy glass mug full of beer emitted 
calmly what had the sound of a general proposition. 

"In principle what one of us may or may not know 
as to any given fact can't be a matter for inquiry to the 
others." 

"Certainly not," Comrade Ossipon agreed in a quiet 
undertone. "In principle." 

With his big florid face held between his hands he 
continued to stare hard, while the dingy little man in 
spectacles coolly took a drink of beer and stood the glass 
mug back on the table. His flat, large ears departed 
widely from the sides of his skull, which looked frail 
enough for Ossipon to crush between thumb and fore- 
finger; the dome of the forehead seemed to rest on the 
rim of the spectacles; the flat cheeks, of a greasy, un- 
healthy complexion, were merely smudged by the miserable 
poverty of a thin dark whisker. The lamentable inferiority 
of the whole physique was made ludicrous by the supremely 
self-confident bearing of the individual. His speech was 
curt, and he had a particularly impressive manner of keep- 
ing silent. 

Ossipon spoke again from between his hands in a 
mutter. 

"Have you been out much to-day?" 



THE SECRET AGENT. 65 

"No. I stayed in bed all the morning," answered the 
other. "Why?" 

"Oh! Nothing," said Ossipon, gazing earnestly and 
quivering inwardly with the desire to find out something, 
but obviously intimidated by the little man's overwhelm- 
ing air of unconcern. When talking with this comrade 
which happened but rarely the big Ossipon suffered 
from a sense of moral and even physical insignificance. 
However, he ventured another question. "Did you walk 
down here?" 

"No; omnibus," the little man answered readily enough. 
He lived far away in Islington, in a small house down a 
shabby street, littered with straw and dirty paper, where 
out of school hours a troop of assorted children ran and 
squabbled with a shrill, joyless, rowdy clamour. His single 
back room, remarkable for having an extremely large cup- 
board, he rented furnished from two elderly spinsters, 
dressmakers in a humble way with a clientele of servant 
girls mostly. He had a heavy padlock put on the cup- 
board, but otherwise he was a model lodger, giving no 
trouble, and requiring practically no attendance. His 
oddities were that he insisted on being present when his 
room was being swept, and that when he went out he 
locked his door, and took the key away with him. 

Ossipon had a vision of these round black-rimmed 
spectacles progressing along the streets on the top of an 
omnibus, their self-confident glitter falling here and there 
on the walls of houses or lowered upon the heads of the 
unconscious stream of people on the pavements. The 
ghost of a sickly smile altered the set of Ossipon's thick 
lips at the thought of the walls nodding, of people run- 
ning for life at the sight of those spectacles. If they had 

The Secret Agent. 5 



66 THE SECRET AGENT. 

only known! What a panic! He murmured interroga- 
tively: "Been sitting long here?" 

"An hour or more," answered the other negligently, 
and took a pull at the dark beer. All his movements 
the way he grasped the mug, the act of drinking, the way 
he set the heavy glass down and folded his arms had 
a firmness, an assured precision which made the big and 
muscular Ossipon, leaning forward with staring eyes and 
protruding lips, look the picture of eager indecision. 

"An hour," he said. "Then it may be you haven't 
heard yet the news I've heard just now in the street. 
Have you?" 

The little man shook his head negatively the least bit. 
But as he gave no indication of curiosity Ossipon ventured 
to add that he had heard it just outside the place. A 
newspaper boy had yelled the thing under his very nose, 
and not being prepared for anything of that sort, he was 
very much startled and upset. He had to come in there 
with a dry mouth. "I never thought of finding you here," 
he added, murmuring steadily, with his elbows planted on 
the table. 

"I come here sometimes," said the other, preserving 
his provoking coolness of demeanour. 

"It's wonderful that you of all people should have 
heard nothing of it," the big Ossipon continued. His 
eyelids snapped nervously upon the shining eyes. "You 
of all people," he repeated tentatively. This obvious re- 
straint argued an incredible and inexplicable timidity of 
the big fellow before the calm little man, who again lifted 
the glass mug, drank, and put it down with brusque and 
assured movements. And that was all. 

Ossipon after waiting for something, word or sign, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 67 

that did not come, made an effort to assume a sort of 
indifference. 

"Do you," he said, deadening his voice still more, 
"give your stuff to anybody who's up to asking you for it?" 

"My absolute rule is never to refuse anybody as 
long as I have a pinch by me," answered the little man 
with decision. 

"That's a principle?" commented Ossipon. 

"It's a principle." 

"And you think it's sound?" 

The large round spectacles, which gave a look of 
staring self-confidence to the sallow face, confronted Ossi- 
pon like sleepless, unwinking orbs flashing a cold fire. 

"Perfectly. Always. Under every circumstance. What 
could stop me? Why should I not? Why should I think 
twice about it?" 

Ossipon gasped, as it were, discreetly. 

"Do you mean to say you would hand it over to a 
'teck' if one came to ask you for your wares?" 

The other smiled faintly. 

"Let them come and try it on, and you will see," he 
said. "They know me, but I know also every one of them. 
They won't come near me not they." 

His thin livid lips snapped together firmly. Ossipon 
began to argue. 

"But they could send someone rig a plant on you. 
Don't you see? Get the stuff from you in that way, and 
then arrest you with the proof in their hands." 

"Proof of what? Dealing in explosives without a 
licence perhaps." This was meant for a contemptuous 
jeer, though the expression of the thin, sickly face re- 
mained unchanged, and the utterance was negligent, "I 
don't think there's one of them anxious to make that 

5* 



68 THE SECRET AGENT. 

arrest. I don't think they could get one of them to ap- 
ply for a warrant. I mean one of the best. Not one." 

"Why?" Ossipon asked. 

"Because they know very well I take care never to 
part with the last handful of my wares. I've it always by 
me." He touched the breast of his coat lightly. "In a 
thick glass flask," he added. 

"So I have been told," said Ossipon, with a shade of 
wonder in his voice. "But I didn't know if 

"They know," interrupted the little man crisply, lean- 
ing against the straight chair back, which rose higher than 
his fragile head. "I shall never be arrested. The game 
isn't good enough for any policeman of them all. To deal 
with a man like me you require sheer, naked, inglorious 
heroism." 

Again his lips closed with a self-confident snap. 
Ossipon repressed a movement of impatience. 

"Or recklessness or simply ignorance," he retorted. 
"They've only to get somebody for the job who does not 
know you carry enough stuff in your pocket to blow your- 
self and everything within sixty yards of you to pieces." 

"I never affirmed I could not be eliminated," rejoined 
the other. "But that wouldn't be an arrest. Moreover, 
it's not so easy as it looks." 

"Bah!" Ossipon contradicted. "Don't be too sure of 
that. What's to prevent half-a-dozen of them jumping 
upon you from behind in the street? With your arms 
pinned to your sides you could do nothing could you?" 

"Yes; I could. I am seldom out in the streets after 
dark," said the little man impassively, "and never very 
late. I walk always with my right hand closed round the 
india-rubber ball which I have in my trouser pocket. The 
pressing of this ball actuates a detonator inside the flask 



THE SECRET AGENT. 69 

I carry in my pocket. It's the principle of the pneumatic 
instantaneous shutter for a camera lens. The tube leads 
up " 

With a swift disclosing gesture he gave Ossipon a 
glimpse of an india-rubber tube, resembling a slender 
brown worm, issuing from the armhole of his waistcoat 
and plunging into the inner breast pocket of his jacket. 
His clothes, of a nondescript brown mixture, were thread- 
bare and marked with stains, dusty in the folds, with 
ragged buttonholes. "The detonator is partly mechanical, 
partly chemical," he explained, with casual condescension. 

"It is instantaneous, of course?" murmured Ossipon, 
with a slight shudder. 

"Far from it," confessed the other, with a reluctance 
which seemed to twist his mouth dolorously. "A full 
twenty seconds must elapse from the moment I press the 
ball till the explosion takes place." 

"Phew!" whistled Ossipon, completely appalled. 
"Twenty seconds! Horrors! You mean to say that you 
could face that? I should go crazy 

"Wouldn't matter if you did. Of course, it's the 
weak point of this special system, which is only for my 
own use. The worst is that the manner of exploding is 
always the weak point with us. I am trying to invent a 
detonator that would adjust itself to all conditions of 
action, and even to unexpected changes of conditions. 
A variable and yet perfectly precise mechanism. A really 
intelligent detonator." 

"Twenty seconds," muttered Ossipon again. "Ough! 
And then " 

AVith a slight turn of the head the glitter of the spec- 
tacles seemed to gauge the size of the beer-saloon in the 
basement of the renowned Silenus Restaurant, 



JO THE SECRET AGENT. 



"Nobody in this room could hope to escape," was the 
verdict of that survey. "Nor yet this couple goir.g up the 
stairs now." 

The piano at the foot of the staircase clanged through 
a mazurka with brazen impetuosity, as though a vulgar 
and impudent ghost were showing off. The keys sank 
and rose mysteriously. Then all became still. For a 
moment Ossipon imagined the overlighted place changed 
into a dreadful black hole belching horrible fumes choked 
with ghastly rubbish of smashed brickwork and mutilated 
corpses. He had such a distinct perception of ruin and 
death that he shuddered again. The other observed, with 
an air of calm sufficiency: 

"In the last instance it is character alone that makes 
for one's safety. There are very few people in the world 
whose character is as well established as mine." 

"I wonder how you managed it," growled Ossipon. 

"Force of personality," said the other, without raising 
his voice; and coming from the mouth of that obviously 
miserable organism the assertion caused the robust Ossi- 
pon to bite his lower lip. "Force of personality," he re- 
peated, with ostentatious calm. "I have the means to 
make myself deadly, but that by itself, you understand, 
is absolutely nothing in the way of protection. What is 
effective is the belief those people have in my will to use 
the means. That's their impression. It is absolute. There- 
fore I am deadly." 

"There are individuals of character amongst that lot 
too," muttered Ossipon ominously. 

"Possibly. But it is a matter of degree obviously, 
since, for instance, I am not impressed by them. There- 
fore they are inferior. They cannot be otherwise. Their 
character is built upon conventional morality. It leans on 



THE SECRET AGENT. JI 

the social order. Mine stands free from everything arti- 
ficial. They are bound in all sorts of conventions. They 
depend on life, which, in this connection, is a historical 
fact surrounded by all sorts of restraints and considera- 
tions, a complex organised fact open to attack at every 
point; whereas I depend on death, which knows no re- 
straint and cannot be attacked. My superiority is evident." 

"This is a transcendental way of putting it," said Os- 
sipon, watching the cold glitter of the round spectacles. 
"I've heard Karl Yundt say much the same thing not very 
long ago." 

"Karl Yundt," mumbled the other contemptuously, 
"the delegate of the International Red Committee, has 
been a posturing shadow all his life. There are three of 
you delegates, aren't there? I won't define the other two, 
as you are one of them. But what you say means no- 
thing. You are the worthy delegates for revolutionary 
propaganda, but the trouble is not only that you are as 
unable to think independently as any respectable grocer 
or journalist of them all, but that you have no character 
whatever." 

Ossipon could not restrain a start of indignation. 

"But what do you want from us?" he exclaimed in a 
deadened voice. "What is it you are after yourself?" 

"A perfect detonator," was the peremptory answer. 
"What are you making that face for? You see, you can't 
even bear the mention of something conclusive." 

"I am not making a face," growled the annoyed Os- 
sipon bearishly. 

"You revolutionists," the other continued, with leisurely 
self-confidence, "are the slaves of the social convention, 
which is afraid of you; slaves of it as much as the very 
police that stands up in the defence of that convention. 



72 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Clearly you are, since you want to revolutionise it. It 
governs your thought, of course, and your action too, and 
thus neither your thought nor your action can ever be 
conclusive." He paused, tranquil, with that air of close, 
endless silence, then almost immediately went on. "You 
are not a bit better than the forces arrayed against you 
than the police, for instance. The other day I came 
suddenly upon Chief Inspector Heat at the corner of 
Tottenham Court Road. He looked at me very steadily. 
But I did not look at him. Why should I give him more 
than a glance? He was thinking of many things of his 
superiors, of his reputation, of the law courts, of his 
salary, of newspapers of a hundred things. But I was 
thinking of my perfect detonator only. He meant nothing 
to me. He was as insignificant as I can't call to mind 
anything insignificant enough to compare him with ex- 
cept Karl Yundt perhaps. Like to like. The terrorist 
and the policeman both come from the same basket. 
Revolution, legality counter moves in the same game; 
forms of idleness at bottom identical. He plays his little 
game so do you propagandists. But I don't play; I 
work fourteen hours a day, and go hungry sometimes. 
My experiments cost money now and again, and then I 
must do without food for a day or two. You're looking 
at my beer. Yes. I have had two glasses already, and 
shall have another presently. This is a little holiday, and 
I celebrate it alone. Why not? I've the grit to work 
alone, quite alone, absolutely alone. I've worked alone 
for years." 

Ossipon's face had turned dusky red. 

"At the perfect detonator eh?" he sneered, very low. 

"Yes," retorted the other. "It is a good definition. 
You couldn't find anything half so precise to define the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 73 

nature of your activity with all your committees and dele- 
gations. It is I who am the true propagandist." 

"We won't discuss that point," said Ossipon, with an 
air of rising above personal considerations. "I am afraid 
I'll have to spoil your holiday for you, though. There's 
a man blown up in Greenwich Park this morning." 

"How do you know?" 

"They have been yelling the news in the streets since 
two o'clock. I bought the paper, and just ran in here. 
Then I saw you sitting at this table. I've got it in my 
pocket now." 

He pulled the newspaper out. It was a good-sized 
rosy sheet, as if flushed by the warmth of its own con- 
victions, which were optimistic. He scanned the pages 
rapidly. 

"Ah! Here it is. Bomb in Greenwich Park. There 
isn't much so far. Half-past eleven. Foggy morning. 
Effects of explosion felt as far as Romney Road and Park 
Place. Enormous hole in the ground under a tree filled 
with smashed roots and broken branches. All round frag- 
ments of a man's body blown to pieces. That's all. The 
rest's mere newspaper gup. No doubt a wicked attempt 
to blow up the Observatory, they say. H'm. That's hardly 
credible." 

He looked at the paper for a while longer in silence, 
then passed it to the other, who after gazing abstractedly 
at the print laid it down without comment. 

It was Ossipon who spoke first still resentful. 

"The fragments of only one man, you note. Ergo: 
blew himself up. That spoils your day off for you don't 
it? Were you expecting that sort of move? I hadn't the 
slightest idea not the ghost of a notion of anything of 
the sort being planned to come off here in this country. 



74 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Under the present circumstances it's nothing short of 
criminal." 

The little man lifted his thin black eyebrows with 
dispassionate scorn. 

"Criminal! What is that? What is crime? What 
can be the meaning of such an assertion?" 

"How am I to express myself? One must use the 
current words," said Ossipon impatiently. "The mean- 
ing of this assertion is that this business may affect our 
position very adversely in this country. Isn't that crime 
enough for you? I am convinced you have been giving 
away some of your stuff lately." 

Ossipon stared hard. The other, without flinching, 
lowered and raised his head slowly. 

"You have!" burst out the editor of the F. P. leaflets 
in an intense whisper. "No! And are you really hand- 
ing it over at large like this, for the asking, to the first 
fool that comes along?" 

"Just so! The condemned social order has not been 
built up on paper and ink, and I don't fancy that a com- 
bination of paper and ink will ever put an end to it, 
whatever you may think. Yes, I would give the stuff with 
both hands to every man, woman, or fool that likes to 
come along. I know what you are thinking about. But 
I am not taking my cue from the Red Committee. I 
would see you all hounded out of here, or arrested or 
beheaded for that matter without turning a hair. What 
happens to us as individuals is not of the least con- 
sequence." 

He spoke carelessly, without heat, almost without feel- 
ing, and Ossipon, secretly much affected, tried to copy 
this detachment 

"If the police here knew their business they would 



THE SECRET AGENT. 75 

shoot you full of holes with revolvers, or else try to sand- 
bag you from behind in broad daylight." 

The little man seemed already to have considered that 
point of view in his dispassionate self-confident manner. 

"Yes," he assented with the utmost readiness. "But 
for that they would have to face their own institutions. 
Do you see? That requires uncommon grit. Grit of a 
special kind." 

Ossipon blinked. 

"I fancy that's exactly what would happen to you if 
you were to set up your laboratory in the States. They 
don't stand on ceremony with their institutions there." 

"I am not likely to go and see. Otherwise your re- 
mark is just," admitted the other. "They have more 
character over there, and their character is essentially 
anarchistic. Fertile ground for us, the States very good 
ground. The great Republic has the root of the destruc- 
tive matter in her. The collective temperament is lawless. 
Excellent. They may shoot us down, but " 

"You are too transcendental for me," growled Ossipon, 
with moody concern. 

"Logical," protested the other. "There are several 
kinds of logic. This is the enlightened kind. America 
is all right. It is this country that is dangerous, with her 
idealistic conception of legality. The social spirit of this 
people is wrapped up in scrupulous prejudices, and that 
is fatal to our work. You talk of England being our only 
refuge! So much the worse. Capua! What do we want 
with refuges? Here you talk, print, plot, and do nothing. 
I daresay it's very convenient for such Karl Yundts." 

He shrugged his shoulders slightly, then added with 
the same leisurely assurance: "To break up the super- 
stition and worship of legality should be our aim. No- 



76 THE SECRET AGENT. 

thing would please me more than to see Inspector Heat 
and his likes take to shooting us down in broad daylight 
with the approval of the public. Half our battle would 
be won then; the disintegration of the old morality would 
have set in in its very temple. That is what you ought 
to aim at But you revolutionists will never understand 
that You plan the future, you lose yourselves in reveries 
of economical systems derived from what is; whereas 
what's wanted is a clean sweep and a clear start for a 
new conception of life. That sort of future will take care 
of itself if you will only make room for it. Therefore I 
would shovel my stuff in heaps at the corners of the 
streets if I had enough for that; and as I haven't, I do 
my best by perfecting a really dependable detonator." 

Ossipon, who had been mentally swimming in deep 
waters, seized upon the last word as if it were a saving 
plank. 

"Yes. Your detonators. I shouldn't wonder if it 
weren't one of your detonators that made a clean sweep 
of the man in the park." 

A shade of vexation darkened the determined sallow 
face confronting Ossipon. 

"My difficulty consists precisely in experimenting 
practically with the various kinds. They must be tried 
after all. Besides " 

Ossipon interrupted. 

"Who could that fellow be? I assure you that we in 
London had no knowledge Couldn't you describe 
the person you gave the stuff to?" 

The other turned his spectacles upon Ossipon like a 
pair of searchlights. 

"Describe him," he repeated slowly. "I don't think 



THE SECRET AGENT. 77 

there can be the slightest objection now. I will describe 
him to you in one word Verloc." 

Ossipon, whom curiosity had lifted a few inches off 
his seat, dropped back, as if hit in the face. 

"Verloc! Impossible." 

The self-possessed little man nodded slightly once. 

"Yes. He's the person. You can't say that in this 
case I was giving my stuff to the first fool that came 
along. He was a prominent member of the group as far 
as I understand." 

"Yes," said Ossipon. "Prominent. No, not exactly. 
He was the centre for general intelligence, and usually 
received comrades coming over here. More useful than 
important. Man of no ideas. Years ago he used to 
speak at meetings in France, I believe. Not very well, 
though. He was trusted by such men as Latorre, Moser 
and all that old lot. The only talent he showed really 
was his ability to elude the attentions of the police some- 
how. Here, for instance, he did not seem to be looked 
after very closely. He was regularly married, you know. 
I suppose it's with her money that he started that shop. 
Seemed to make it pay, too." 

Ossipon paused abruptly, muttered to himself "I 
wonder what that woman will do now?" and fell into 
thought. 

The other waited with ostentatious indifference. His 
parentage was obscure, and he was generally known only 
by his nickname of Professor. His title to that designa- 
tion consisted in his having been once assistant demon- 
strator in chemistry at some technical institute. He 
quarrelled with the authorities upon a question of unfair 
treatment. Afterwards he obtained a post in the labora- 
tory of a manufactory of dyes. There too he had been 



78 THE SECRET AGENT. 

treated with revolting injustice. His struggles, his priva- 
tions, his hard work to raise himself in the social scale, 
had filled him with such an exalted conviction of his 
merits that it was extremely difficult for the world to treat 
him with justice the standard of that notion depending 
so much upon the patience of the individual. The Pro- 
fessor had genius, but lacked the great social virtue of 
resignation. 

"Intellectually a nonentity," Ossipon pronounced aloud, 
abandoning suddenly the inward contemplation of Mrs. 
Verloc's bereaved person and business. " Quite an ordinary 
personality. You are wrong in not keeping more in touch 
with the comrades, Professor," he added in a reproving 
tone. "Did he say anything to you give you some idea 
of his intentions? I hadn't seen him for a month. It 
seems impossible that he should be gone." 

"He told me it was going to be a demonstration 
against a building," said the Professor. "I had to know 
that much to prepare the missile. I pointed out to him 
that I had hardly a sufficient quantity for a completely 
destructive result, but he pressed me very earnestly to do 
my best. As he wanted something that could be carried 
openly in the hand, I proposed to make use of an old 
one-gallon copal varnish can I happened to have by me. 
He was pleased at the idea. It gave me some trouble, 
because I had to cut out the bottom first and solder it 
on again afterwards. When prepared for use, the can 
enclosed a wide-mouthed, well-corked jar of thick glass 
packed around with some wet clay and containing six- 
teen ounces of X2 green powder. The detonator was 
connected with the screw top of the can. It was ingenious 
a combination of time and shock. I explained the 
system to him. It was a thin tube of tin enclosing a " 



THE SECRET AGENT. 7Q 

Ossipon's attention had wandered. 

"What do you think has happened?" he interrupted. 

"Can't tell. Screwed the top on tight, which would 
make the connection, and then forgot the time. It was 
set for twenty minutes. On the other hand, the time 
contact being made, a sharp shock would bring about the 
explosion at once. He either ran the time too close, or 
simply let the thing fall. The contact was made all right 
that's clear to me at any rate. The system's worked 
perfectly. And yet you would think that a common fool 
in a hurry would be much more likely to forget to make 
the contact altogether. I was worrying myself about that 
sort of failure mostly. But there are more kinds of fools 
than one can guard against. You can't expect a de- 
tonator to be absolutely fool-proof." 

He beckoned to a waiter. Ossipon sat rigid, with the 
abstracted gaze of mental travail. After the man had 
gone away with the money he roused himself, with an air 
of profound dissatisfaction. 

"It's extremely unpleasant for me," he mused. 'fKarl 
has been in bed with bronchitis for a week. There's an 
even chance that he will never get up again. Michaelis 
is luxuriating in the country somewhere. A fashionable 
publisher has offered him five hundred pounds for a book. 
It will be a ghastly failure. He has lost the habit of 
consecutive thinking in prison, you know." 

The Professor on his feet, now buttoning his coat, 
looked about him with perfect indifference. 

"What are you going to do?" asked Ossipon wearily. 
He dreaded the blame of the Central Red Committee, a 
body which had no permanent place of abode, and of 
whose membership he was not exactly informed. If this 



8O THE SECRET AGENT. 

affair eventuated in the stoppage of the modest subsidy 
allotted to the publication of the F. P. pamphlets, then in- 
deed he would have to regret Verloc's inexplicable folly. 

"Solidarity with the extremest form of action is one 
thing, and silly recklessness is another," he said, with a 
sort of moody brutality. "I don't know what came to 
Verloc. There's some mystery there. However, he's 
gone. You may take it as you like, but under the cir- 
cumstances the only policy for the militant revolutionary 
group is to disclaim all connection with this damned freak 
of yours. How to make the disclaimer convincing enough 
is what bothers me." 

The little man on his feet, buttoned up and ready to 
go, was no taller than the seated Ossipon. He levelled 
his spectacles at the latter's face point-blank. 

"You might ask the police for a testimonial of good 
conduct. They know where every one of you slept last 
night. Perhaps if you asked them they would consent to 
publish some sort of official statement." 

"No doubt they are aware well enough that we had 
nothing to do with this," mumbled Ossipon bitterly. 
"What they will say is another thing." He remained 
thoughtful, disregarding the short, owlish, shabby figure 
standing by his side. "I must lay hands on Michaelis at 
once, and get him to speak from his heart at one of our 
gatherings. The public has a sort of sentimental regard 
for that fellow. His name is known. And I am in touch 
with a few reporters on the big dailies. What he would 
say would be utter bosh, but he has a turn of talk that 
makes it go down all the same." 

"Like treacle," interjected the Professor, rather low, 
keeping an impassive expression. 

The perplexed Ossipon went on communing with him- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 8t 

self half audibly, after the manner of a man reflecting in 
perfect solitude. 

"Confounded ass! To leave such an imbecile busi- 
ness on my hands. And I don't even know if 

He sat with compressed lips. The idea of going for 
news straight to the shop lacked charm. His notion was 
that Verloc's shop might have been turned already into 
a police trap. They will be bound to make some arrests, 
he thought, with something resembling virtuous indigna- 
tion, for the even tenor of his revolutionary life was 
menaced by no fault of his. And yet unless he went 
there he ran the risk of remaining in ignorance of what 
perhaps it would be very material for him to know. Then 
he reflected that, if the man in the park had been so very 
much blown to pieces as the evening papers said, he 
could not have been identified. And if so, the police 
could have no special reason for watching Verloc's shop 
more closely than any other place known to be frequented 
by marked anarchists no more reason, in fact, than for 
watching the doors of the Silenus. There would be a lot 
of watching all round, no matter where he went. Still 

"I wonder what I had better do now?" he muttered, 
taking counsel with himself. 

A rasping voice at his elbow said, with sedate scorn: 

"Fasten yourself upon the woman for all she's worth." 

After uttering these words the Professor walked away 

from the table. Ossipon, whom that piece of insight had 

taken unawares, gave one ineffectual start, and remained 

still, with a helpless gaze, as though nailed fast to the 

seat of his chair. The lonely piano, without as much as 

a music-stool to help it, struck a few chords courageously, 

and beginning a selection of national airs, played him out 

The Sfcret Agent, 6 



82 THE SECRET AGENT. 

at last to the tune of "Blue Bells of Scotland." The pain- 
fully detached notes grew faint behind his back while he 
went slowly upstairs, across the hall, and into the street. 
In front of the great doorway a dismal row of news- 
paper sellers standing clear of the pavement dealt out 
their wares from the gutter. It was a raw, gloomy day 
of the early spring; and the grimy sky, the mud of the 
streets, the rags of the dirty men, harmonised excellently 
with the eruption of the damp, rubbishy sheets of paper 
soiled with printers' ink. The posters, maculated with 
filth, garnished like tapestry the sweep of the curbstone. 
The trade in afternoon papers was brisk, yet, in com- 
parison with the swift, constant march of foot traffic, the 
effect was of indifference, of a disregarded distribution. 
Ossipon looked hurriedly both ways before stepping out 
into the cross-currents, but the Professor was already out 
of sight. 

V. 

THE Professor had turned into a street, to the left, 
and walked along, with his head carried rigidly erect, in 
a crowd whose every individual almost overtopped his 
stunted stature. It was vain to pretend to himself that 
he was not disappointed. But that was mere feeling; the 
stoicism of his thought could not be disturbed by this or 
any other failure. Next time, or the time after next, a 
telling stroke would be delivered something really 
startling a blow fit to open the first crack in the im- 
posing front of the great edifice of legal conceptions 
sheltering the atrocious injustice of society. Of humble 
origin, and with an appearance really so mean as to stand 
in the way of his considerable natural abilities, his 
imagination had been fired early by the tales of men ris- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 83 

ing from the depths of poverty to positions of authority 
and affluence. The extreme, almost ascetic purity of his 
thought, combined with an astounding ignorance of worldly 
conditions, had set before him a goal of power and 
prestige to be attained without the medium of arts, graces, 
tact, wealth by sheer weight of merit alone. On that 
view he considered himself entitled to undisputed success. 
His father, a delicate dark enthusiast with a sloping 
forehead, had been an itinerant and rousing preacher of 
some obscure but rigid Christian sect a man supremely 
confident in the privileges of his righteousness. In the 
son, individualist by temperament, once the science of 
colleges had replaced thoroughly the faith of conventicles, 
this moral attitude translated itself into a frenzied puri- 
tanism of ambition. He nursed it as something secularly 
holy. To see it thwarted opened his eyes to the true 
nature of the world, whose morality was artificial, corrupt, 
and blasphemous. The way of even the most justifiable 
revolutions is prepared by personal impulses disguised 
into creeds. The Professor's indignation found in itself a 
final cause that absolved him from the sin of turning to 
destruction as the agent of his ambition. To destroy 
public faith in legality was the imperfect formula of his 
pedantic fanaticism; but the subconscious conviction that 
the framework of an established social order cannot be 
effectually shattered except by some form of collective or 
individual violence was precise and correct. He was a 
moral agent that was settled in his mind. By exercising 
his agency with ruthless defiance he procured for himself 
the appearances of power and personal prestige. That 
was undeniable to his vengeful bitterness. It pacified its 
unrest; and in their own way the most ardent of re- 
volutionaries are perhaps doing no more but seeking for 

6* 



84 THE SECRET AGENT. 

peace in common with the rest of mankind the peace of 
soothed vanity, of satisfied appetites, or perhaps of ap- 
peased conscience. 

Lost in the crowd, miserable and undersized, he 
meditated confidently on his power, keeping his hand in 
the left pocket of his trousers, grasping lightly the india- 
rubber ball, the supreme guarantee of his sinister freedom ; 
but after awhile he became disagreeably affected by the 
sight of the roadway thronged with vehicles and of the 
pavement crowded with men and women. He was in a 
long, straight street, peopled by a mere fraction of an 
immense multitude; but all round him, on and on, even 
to the limits of the horizon hidden by the enormous piles 
of bricks, he felt the mass of mankind mighty in its 
numbers. They swarmed numerous like locusts, industrious 
like ants, thoughtless like a natural force, pushing on 
blind and orderly and absorbed, impervious to sentiment, 
to logic, to terror too perhaps. 

That was the form of doubt he feared most Impervious 
to fear! Often while walking abroad, when he happened 
also to come out of himself, he had such moments of 
dreadful and sane mistrust of mankind. What if nothing 
could move them? Such moments come to all men whose 
ambition aims at a direct grasp upon humanity to artists, 
politicians, thinkers, reformers, or saints. A despicable 
emotional state this, against which solitude fortifies a 
superior character; and with severe exultation the Professor 
thought of the refuge of his room, with its padlocked cup- 
board, lost in a wilderness of poor houses, the hermitage 
of the perfect anarchist. In order to reach sooner the 
point where he could take his omnibus, he turned brusquely 
out of the populous street into a narrow and dusky alley 
paved with flagstones. On one side the low brick houses 



THE SECRET AGENT. 85 

had in their dusty windows the sightless, moribund look 
of incurable decay empty shells awaiting demolition. 
From the other ride life had not departed wholly as yet. 
Facing the only gas-lamp yawned the cavern of a second- 
hand furniture dealer, where, deep in the gloom of a sort 
of narrow avenue winding through a bizarre forest of 
wardrobes, with an undergrowth tangle of table legs, a 
tall pier-glass glimmered like a pool of water in a wood. 
An unhappy, homeless couch, accompanied by two un- 
related chairs, stood in the open. The only human being 
making use of the alley besides the Professor, coming 
stalwart and erect from the opposite direction, checked 
his swinging pace suddenly. 

"Hallo!" he said, and stood a little on one side watch- 
fully. 

The Professor had already stopped, with a ready half 
turn which brought his shoulders very near the other wall. 
His right hand fell lightly on the back of the outcast 
couch, the left remained purposefully plunged deep in the 
trousers pocket, and the roundness of the heavy-rimmed 
spectacles imparted an owlish character to his moody, 
unperturbed face. 

It was like a meeting in a side corridor of a mansion 
full of life. The stalwart man was buttoned up in a dark 
overcoat, and carried an umbrella. His hat, tilted back, 
uncovered a good deal of forehead, which appeared very 
white in the dusk. . In the dark patches of the orbits the 
eyeballs glimmered piercingly. Long, drooping moustaches, 
the colour of ripe corn, framed with their points the square 
block of his shaved chin. 

"I am not looking for you," he said curtly. 

The Professor did not stir an inch. The blended 
noises of the enormous town sank down to an inarticulate 



86 THE SECRET AGENT. 

low murmur. Chief Inspector Heat of the Special Crimes 
Department changed his tone. 

"Not in a hurry to get home?" he a^ked, with mock- 
ing simplicity. 

The unwholesome-looking little moral agent of de- 
struction exulted silently in the possession of personal 
prestige, keeping in check this man armed with the 
defensive mandate of a menaced society. More fortunate 
than Caligula, who wished that the Roman Senate had 
only one head for the better satisfaction of his cruel lust, 
he beheld in that one man all the forces he had set at 
defiance: the force of law, property, oppression, and in- 
justice. He beheld all his enemies, and fearlessly con- 
fronted them all in a supreme satisfaction of his vanity. 
They stood perplexed before him as if before a dreadful 
portent. He gloated inwardly over the chance of this 
meeting affirming his superiority over all the multitude of 
mankind. 

It was in reality a chance meeting. Chief Inspector 
Heat had had a disagreeably busy day since his depart- 
ment received the first telegram from Greenwich a little 
before eleven in the morning. First of all, the fact of the 
outrage being attempted less than a week after he had 
assured a high official that no outbreak of anarchist 
activity was to be apprehended was sufficiently annoying. 
If he ever thought himself safe in making a statement, it 
was then. He had made that statement with infinite 
satisfaction to himself, because it was clear that the high 
official desired greatly to hear that very thing. He had 
affirmed that nothing of the sort could even be thought 
of without the department being aware of it within twenty- 
four hours; and he had spoken thus in his consciousness 
of being the great expert of his department He had 



THE SECRET AGENT. 87" 

gone even so far as to utter words which true wisdom 
would have kept back. But Chief Inspector Heat was 
not very wise at least not truly so. True wisdom, which 
is not certain of anything in this world of contradictions, 
would have prevented him from attaining his present 
position. It would have alarmed his superiors, and done 
away with his chances of promotion. His promotion had 
been very rapid. 

"There isn't one of them, sir, that we couldn't lay our 
hands on at any time of night and day. We know what 
each of them is doing hour by hour," he had declared. 
And the high official had deigned to smile. This was so 
obviously the right thing to say for an officer of Chief 
Inspector Heat's reputation that it was perfectly delight- 
ful. The high official believed the declaration, which 
chimed in with his idea of the fitness of things. His 
wisdom was of an official kind, or else he might have re- 
flected upon a matter not of theory but of experience that 
in the close-woven stuff of relations between conspirator 
and police there occur unexpected solutions of continuity, 
sudden holes in space and time. A given anarchist may 
be watched inch by inch and minute by minute, but a 
moment always comes when somehow all sight and touch 
of him are lost for a few hours, during which something 
(generally an explosion) more or less deplorable does 
happen. But the high official, carried away by his sense 
of the fitness of things, had smiled, and now the re- 
collection of that smile was very annoying to Chief In- 
spector Heat, principal expert in anarchist procedure. 

This was not the only circumstance whose recollection 
depressed the usual serenity of the eminent specialist. 
There was another dating back only to that very morning. 
The thought that when called urgently to his Assistant 



88 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Commissioner's private room he had been unable to con- 
ceal his astonishment was distinctly vexing. His instinct 
of a successful man had taught him long ago that, as a 
general rule, a reputation is built on manner as much as 
on achievement And he felt that his manner when con- 
fronted with the telegram had not been impressive. He 
had opened his eyes widely, and had exclaimed "Im- 
possible!" exposing himself thereby to the unanswerable 
retort of a finger-tip laid forcibly on the telegram which 
the Assistant Commissioner, after reading it aloud, had 
flung on the desk. To be crushed, as it were, under the 
tip of a forefinger was an unpleasant experience. Very 
damaging, too! Furthermore, Chief Inspector Heat was 
conscious of not having mended matters by allowing him- 
self to express a conviction. 

"One thing I can tell you at once: none of our lot 
had anything to do with this." 

He was strong in his integrity of a good detective, 
but he saw now that an impenetrably attentive reserve 
towards this incident would have served his reputation 
better. On the other hand, he admitted to himself that 
it was difficult to preserve one's reputation if rank out- 
siders were going to take a hand in the business. Out- 
siders are the bane of the police as of other professions. 
The tone of the Assistant Commissioner's remarks had 
been sour enough to set one's teeth on edge. 

And since breakfast Chief Inspector Heat had not 
managed to get anything to eat. 

Starting immediately to begin his investigation on the 
spot, he had swallowed a good deal of raw, unwholesome 
fog in the park. Then he had walked over to the hos- 
pital; and when the investigation in Greenwich was con- 
cluded at last he had lost his inclination for food. Not 



THE SECRET AGENT. 89 

accustomed, as the doctors are, to examine closely the 
mangled remains of human beings, he had been shocked 
by the sight disclosed to his view when a waterproof sheet 
had been lifted off a table in a certain apartment of the 
hospital. 

Another waterproof sheet was spread over that table 
in the manner of a table-cloth, with the corners turned 
up over a sort of mound a heap of rags, scorched and 
bloodstained, half concealing what might have been an 
accumulation of raw material for a cannibal feast. It re- 
quired considerable firmness of mind not to recoil before 
that sight. Chief Inspector Heat, an efficient officer of 
his department, stood his ground, but for a whole minute 
he did not advance. A local constable in uniform cast 
a sidelong glance, and said, with stolid simplicity: 

"He's all there. Every bit of him. It was a job." 

He had been the first man on the spot after the ex- 
plosion. He mentioned the fact again. He had seen 
something like a heavy flash of lightning in the fog. At 
that time he was standing at the door of the King William 
Street Lodge talking to the keeper. The concussion made 
him tingle all over. He ran between the trees towards 
the Observatory. "As fast as my legs would carry me," 
he repeated twice. 

Chief Inspector Heat, bending forward over the table 
in a gingerly and horrified manner, let him run on. The 
hospital porter and another man turned down the corners 
of the cloth, and stepped aside. The Chief Inspector's 
eyes searched the gruesome detail of that heap of mixed 
things, which seemed to have been collected in shambles 
and rag shops. 

"You used a shovel," he remarked, observing a 



go THE SECRET AGENT. 

sprinkling of small gravel, tiny brown bits of bark, and 
particles of splintered wood as fine as needles. 

"Had to in one place," said the stolid constable. "I 
sent a keeper to fetch a spade. When he heard me 
scraping the ground with it he leaned his forehead against 
a tree, and was as sick as a dog." 

The Chief Inspector, stooping guardedly over the table, 
fought down the unpleasant sensation in his throat. The 
shattering violence of destruction which had made of that 
body a heap of nameless fragments affected his feelings 
with a sense of ruthless cruelty, though his reason told 
him the effect must have been as swift as a flash of light- 
ning. The man, whoever he was, had died instantaneously; 
and yet it seemed impossible to believe that a human 
body could have reached that state of disintegration with- 
out passing through the pangs of inconceivable agony. No 
physiologist, and still less of a metaphysician, Chief In- 
spector Heat rose by the force of sympathy, which is a 
form of fear, above the vulgar conception of time. In- 
stantaneous! He remembered all he had ever read in 
popular publications of long and terrifying dreams dreamed 
in the instant of waking; of the whole past life lived with 
frightful intensity by a drowning man as his doomed head 
bobs up, streaming, for the last time. The inexplicable 
mysteries of conscious existence beset Chief Inspector Heat 
till he evolved a horrible notion that ages of atrocious 
pain and mental torture could be contained between two 
successive winks of an eye. And meantime the Chief In- 
spector went on peering at the table with a calm face 
and the slightly anxious attention of an indigent customer 
bending over what may be called the by-products of a 
butcher's shop with a view to an inexpensive Sunday 
dinner. All the time his trained faculties of an excellent 



THE SECRET AGENT. QI 

investigator, who scorns no chance of information, followed 
the self-satisfied, disjointed loquacity of the constable. 

"A fair-haired fellow," the last observed in a placid 
tone, and paused. "The old woman who spoke to the 
sergeant noticed a fair-haired fellow coming out of Maze 
Hill Station." He paused. "And he was a fair-haired 
fellow. She noticed two men coming out of the station 
after the uptrain had gone on," he continued slowly. "She 
couldn't tell if they were together. She took no particular 
notice of the big one, but the other was a fair, slight 
chap, carrying a tin varnish can in one hand." The con- 
stable ceased. 

"Know the woman?" muttered the Chief Inspector, 
with his eyes fixed on the table, and a vague notion in 
his mind of an inquest to be held presently upon a 
person likely to remain for ever unknown. 

"Yes. She's housekeeper to a retired publican, and 
attends the chapel in Park Place sometimes," the constable 
uttered weightily, and paused, with another oblique glance 
at the table. Then suddenly: "Well, here he is all of 
him I could see. Fair. Slight slight enough. Look at 
that foot there. I picked up the legs first, one after an- 
other. He was that scattered you didn't know where to 
begin." 

The constable paused; the least flicker of an innocent 
self-laudatory smile invested his round face with an in- 
fantile expression. 

"Stumbled," he announced positively. "I stumbled 
once myself, and pitched on my head too, while running 
up. Them roots do stick out all about the place. Stumbled 
against the root of a tree and fell, and that thing he was 
carrying must have gone off right under his chest, I 
expect." 



0,2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

The echo of the words "Person unknown" repeating 
itself in his inner consciousness bothered the Chief Inspec- 
tor considerably. He would have liked to trace this affair 
back to its mysterious origin for his own information. He 
was professionally curious. Before the public he would 
have liked to vindicate the efficiency of his department by 
establishing the identity of that man. He was a loyal 
servant. That, however, appeared impossible. The first 
term of the problem was unreadable lacked all sugges- 
tion but that of atrocious cruelty. 

Overcoming his physical repugnance, Chief Inspector 
Heat stretched out his hand without conviction for the 
salving of his conscience, and took up the least soiled of 
the rags. It was a narrow strip of velvet with a larger 
triangular piece of dark-blue cloth hanging from it He 
held it up to his eyes; and the police-constable spoke. 

"Velvet collar. Funny the old woman should have 
noticed the velvet collar. Dark -blue overcoat with a 
velvet collar, she has told us. He was the chap she saw, 
and no mistake. And here he is all complete, velvet 
collar and all. I don't think I missed a single piece as 
big as a postage stamp." 

At this point the trained faculties of the Chief Inspec- 
tor ceased to hear the voice of the constable. He moved 
to one of the windows for better light. His face, averted 
from the room, expressed a startled intense interest while 
he examined closely the triangular piece of broadcloth. 
By a sudden jerk he detached it, and only after stuffing 
it into his pocket turned round to the room, and flung 
the velvet collar back on the table. 

"Cover up," he directed the attendants curtly, without 
another look, and, saluted by the constable, carried off his 
spoil hastily. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 93 

A convenient train whirled him up to town, alone and 
pondering deeply, in a third-class compartment. That 
singed piece of cloth was incredibly valuable, and he 
could not defend himself from astonishment at the casual 
manner it had come into his possession. It was as if 
Fate had thrust that clue into his hands. And after the 
manner of the average man, whose ambition is to com- 
mand events, he began to mistrust such a gratuitous and 
accidental success just because it seemed forced upon 
him. The practical value of success depends not a little 
on the way you look at it. But Fate looks at nothing. 
It has no discretion. He no longer considered it eminently 
desirable all round to establish publicly the identity of the 
man who had blown himself up that morning with such 
horrible completeness. But he was not certain of the 
view his department would take. A department is to 
those it employs a complex personality with ideas and 
even fads of its own. It depends on the loyal devotion 
of its servants, and the devoted loyalty of trusted servants 
is associated with a certain amount of affectionate con- 
tempt, which keeps it sweet, as it were. By a benevolent 
provision of Nature no man is a hero to his valet, or else 
the heroes would have to brush their own clothes. Like- 
wise no department appears perfectly wise to the intimacy 
of its workers. A department does not know so much as 
some of its servants. Being a dispassionate organism, it 
can never be perfectly informed. It would not be good 
for its efficiency to know too much. Chief Inspector 
Heat got out of the train in a state of thoughtfulness 
entirely untainted with disloyalty, but not quite free of 
that jealous mistrust which so often springs on the 
ground of perfect devotion, whether to women or to in- 
stitutions. 



Q4 THE SECRET AGENT. 

It was in this mental disposition, physically very empty, 
but still nauseated by what he had seen, that he had come 
upon the Professor. Under these conditions which make 
for irascibility in a sound, normal man, this meeting was 
specially unwelcome to Chief Inspector Heat. He had 
not been thinking of the Professor; he had not been think- 
ing of any individual anarchist at all. The complexion of 
that case had somehow forced upon him the general idea 
of the absurdity of things human, which in the abstract 
is sufficiently annoying to an unphilosophical temperament, 
and in concrete instances becomes exasperating beyond 
endurance. At the beginning of his career Chief Inspec- 
tor Heat had been concerned with the more energetic 
forms of thieving. He had gained his spurs in that sphere, 
and naturally enough had kept for it, after his promotion 
to another department, a feeling not very far removed 
from affection. Thieving was not a sheer absurdity. It 
was a form of human industry, perverse indeed, but still 
an industry exercised in an industrious world; it was work 
undertaken for the same reason as the work in potteries, 
in coal mines, in fields, in tool-grinding shops. It was 
labour, whose practical difference from the other forms of 
labour consisted in the nature of its risk, which did not 
lie in ankylosis, or lead poisoning, or fire-damp, or gritty 
dust, but in what may be briefly defined in its own special 
phraseology as "Seven years hard." Chief Inspector Heat 
was, of course, not insensible to the gravity of moral dif- 
ferences. But neither were the thieves he had been look- 
ing after. They submitted to the severe sanctions of a 
morality familiar to Chief Inspector Heat with a certain 
resignation. They were his fellow-citizens gone wrong be- 
cause of imperfect education, Chief Inspector Heat be- 
lieved; but allowing for that difference, he could under- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 95 

stand the mind of a burglar, because, as a matter of fact, 
the mind and the instincts of a burglar are of the same 
kind as the mind and the instincts of a police officer. 
Both recognise the same conventions, and have a working 
knowledge of each other's methods and of the routine of 
their respective trades. They understand each other, 
which is advantageous to both, and establishes a sort of 
amenity in their relations. Products of the same machine, 
one classed as useful and the other as noxious, they take 
the machine for granted in different ways, but with a 
seriousness essentially the same. The mind of Chief In- 
spector Heat was inaccessible to ideas of revolt. But his 
thieves were not rebels. His bodily vigour, his cool in- 
flexible manner, his courage and his fairness, had secured 
for him much respect and some adulation in the sphere 
of his early successes. He had felt himself revered and 
admired. And Chief Inspector Heat, arrested within six 
paces of the anarchist nicknamed the Professor, gave a 
thought of regret to the world of thieves sane, without 
morbid ideals, working by routine, respectful of constituted 
authorities, free from all taint of hate and despair. 

After paying this tribute to what is normal in the con- 
stitution of society (for the idea of thieving appeared to 
his instinct as normal as the idea of property), Chief In- 
spector Heat felt very angry with himself for having 
stopped, for having spoken, for having taken that way at 
all on the ground of it being a short cut from the station 
to the headquarters. And he spoke again in his big 
authoritative voice, which, being moderated, had a threaten- 
ing character. 

"You are not wanted, I tell you," he repeated. 

The anarchist did not stir. An inward laugh of deri- 
sion uncovered not only his teeth but his gums as well, 



6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

shook him all over, without the slightest sound. Chief 
Inspector Heat was led to add, against his better judg- 
ment: 

"Not yet. When I want you I will know where to 
find you." 

Those were perfectly proper words, within the tradi- 
tion and suitable to his character of a police officer ad- 
dressing one of his special flock. But the reception they 
got departed from tradition and propriety. It was out- 
rageous. The stunted, weakly figure before him spoke 
at last. 

"I've no doubt the papers would give you an obituary 
notice then. You know best what that would be worth 
to you. I should think you can imagine easily the sort of 
stuff that would be printed. But you may be exposed to 
the unpleasantness of being buried together with me, 
though I suppose your friends would make an effort to 
sort us out as much as possible." 

With all his healthy contempt for the spirit dictating 
such speeches, the atrocious allusiveness of the words had 
its effect on Chief Inspector Heat. He had too much in- 
sight, and too much exact information as well, to dismiss 
them as rot. The dusk of this narrow lane took on a 
sinister tint from the dark, frail little figure, its back to 
the wall, and speaking with a weak, self-confident voice. 
To the vigorous, tenacious vitality of the Chief Inspector, 
the physical wretchedness of that being, so obviously not 
fit to live, was ominous; for it seemed to him that if he 
had the misfortune to be such a miserable object he would 
not have cared how soon he died. Life had such a strong 
hold upon him that a fresh wave of nausea broke out in 
slight perspiration upon his brow. The murmur of town 
life, the subdued rumble of wheels in the two invisible 



THE SECRET AGENT. Q7 

streets to the right and left, came through the curve of 
the sordid lane to his ears with a precious familiarity and 
an appealing sweetness. He was human. But Chief In- 
spector Heat was also a man, and he could not let such 
words pass. 

"All this is good to frighten children with," he said. 
"I'll have you yet." 

It was very well said, without scorn, with an almost 
austere quietness. 

"Doubtless," was the answer; "but there's no time like 
the present, believe me. For a man of real convictions 
this is a fine opportunity of self-sacrifice. You may not 
find another so favourable, so humane. There isn't even 
a cat near us, and these condemned old houses would 
make a good heap of bricks where you stand. You'll 
never get me at so little cost to life and property, which 
you are paid to protect." 

"You don't know who you're speaking to," said Chief 
Inspector Heat firmly. "If I were to lay my hands on 
you now I would be no better than yourself." 

"Ah! The game!" 

"You may be sure our side will win in the end. It 
may yet be necessary to make people believe that some 
of you ought to be shot at sight like mad dogs. Then 
that will be the game. But I'll be damned if I know 
what yours is. I don't believe you know yourselves. 
You'll never get anything by it." 

"Meantime it's you who get something from it so 
far. And you get it easily, too. I won't speak of your 
salary, but haven't you made your name simply by not 
understanding what we are after?" 

"What are you after, then?" asked Chief Inspector 

The Secret Agent. ^ 



g 8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Heat, with scornful haste, like a man in a hurry who 
perceives he is wasting his time. 

The perfect anarchist answered by a smile which did 
not part his thin colourless lips; and the celebrated Chief 
Inspector felt a sense of superiority which induced him to 
raise a warning finger. 

"Give it up whatever it is," he said in an admonish- 
ing tone, but not so kindly as if he were condescending 
to give good advice to a cracksman of repute. "Give it 
up. You'll find we are too many for you." 

The fixed smile on the Professor's lips wavered, as if 
the mocking spirit within had lost its assurance. Chief 
Inspector Heat went on: 

"Don't you believe me eh? Well, you've only got 
to look about you. We are. And anyway, you're not 
doing it well. You're always making a mess of it. Why, 
if the thieves didn't know their work better they would 
starve." 

The hint of an invincible multitude behind that man's 
back roused a sombre indignation in the breast of the 
Professor. He smiled no longer his enigmatic and mocking 
smile. The resisting power of numbers, the unattackable 
stolidity of a great multitude, was the haunting fear of 
his sinister loneliness. His lips trembled for some time 
before he managed to say in a strangled voice: 

"I am doing my work better than you're doing yours." 

"That'll do now," interrupted Chief Inspector Heat 
hurriedly; and the Professor laughed right out this time. 
While still laughing he moved on; but he did not laugh 
long. It was a sad-faced, miserable little man who 
emerged from the narrow passage into the bustle of the 
broad thoroughfare. He walked with the nerveless gait 
of a tramp going on, still going on, indifferent to rain or 



THE SECRET AGENT. QQ 

sun in a sinister detachment from the aspects of sky and 
earth. Chief Inspector Heat, on the other hand, after 
watching him for awhile, stepped out with the purpose- 
ful briskness of a man disregarding indeed the inclemencies 
of the weather, but conscious of having an authorised 
mission on this earth and the moral support of his kind. 
All the inhabitants of the immense town, the population 
of the whole country, and even the teeming millions 
struggling upon the planet, were with him down to the 
very thieves and mendicants. Yes, the thieves themselves 
were sure to be with him in his present work. The 
conciousness of universal support in his general activity 
heartened him to grapple with the particular problem. 

The problem immediately before the Chief Inspector 
was that of managing the Assistant Commissioner of his 
department, his immediate superior. This is the perennial 
problem of trusty and loyal servants; anarchism gave it 
its particular complexion, but nothing more. Truth to 
say, Chief Inspector Heat thought but little of anarchism. 
He did not attach undue importance to it, and could 
never bring himself to consider it seriously. It had more 
the character of disorderly conduct; disorderly without 
the human excuse of drunkenness, which at any rate im- 
plies good feeling and an amiable leaning towards festivity. 
As criminals, anarchists were distinctly no class no class 
at all. And recalling the Professor, Chief Inspector Heat, 
without checking his swinging pace, muttered through his 
teeth: 

"Lunatic." 

Catching thieves was another matter altogether. It 
had that quality of seriousness belonging to every form of 
open sport where the best man wins under perfectly com- 
prehensible rules. There were no rules for dealing with 



IOO THE SECRET AGENT. 

anarchists. And that was distasteful to the Chief Inspector. 
It was all foolishness, but that foolishness excited the 
public mind, affected persons in high places, and touched 
upon international relations. A hard, merciless contempt 
settled rigidly on the Chief Inspector's face as he walked 
on. His mind ran over all the anarchists of his flock. 
Not one of them had half the spunk of this or that burglar 
he had known. Not half not one-tenth. 

At headquarters the Chief Inspector was admitted at 
once to the Assistant Commissioner's private room. He 
found him, pen in hand, bent over a great table bestrewn 
with papers, as if worshipping an enormous double ink- 
stand of bronze and crystal. Speaking tubes resembling 
snakes were tied by the heads to the back of the Assistant 
Commissioner's wooden armchair, and their gaping mouths 
seemed ready to bite his elbows. And in this attitude 
he raised only his eyes, whose lids were darker than his 
face and very much creased. The reports had come in: 
every anarchist had been exactly accounted for. 

After saying this he lowered his eyes, signed rapidly 
two single sheets of paper, and only then laid down his 
pen, and sat well back, directing an inquiring gaze at his 
renowned subordinate. The Chief Inspector stood it well, 
deferential but inscrutable. 

"I daresay you were right," said the Assistant Com- 
missioner, "in telling me at first that the London anarchists 
had nothing to do with this. I quite appreciate the ex- 
cellent watch kept on them by your men. On the other 
hand, this, for the public, does not amount to more than 
a confession of ignorance." 

The Assistant Commissioner's delivery was leisurely, 
as it were cautious. His thought seemed to rest poised 
on a word before passing to another, as though words 



THE SECRET AGENT. IOI 

had been the stepping-stones for his intellect picking its 
way across the waters of error. "Unless you have brought 
something useful from Greenwich," he added. 

The Chief Inspector began at once the account of his 
investigation in a clear matter-of-fact manner. His superior 
turning his chair a little, and crossing his thin legs, leaned 
sideways on his elbow, with one hand shading his eyes. 
His listening attitude had a sort of angular and sorrowful 
grace. Gleams as of highly burnished silver played on 
the sides of his ebony black head when he inclined it 
slowly at the end. 

Chief Inspector Heat waited with the appearance of 
turning over in his mind all he had just said, but, as a 
matter of fact, considering the advisability of saying some- 
thing more. The Assistant Commissioner cut his hesita- 
tion short. 

"You believe there were two men?" he asked, with- 
out uncovering his eyes. 

The Chief Inspector thought it more than probable. 
In his opinion, the two men had parted from each other 
within a hundred yards from the Observatory walls. He 
explained also how the other man could have got out of 
the park speedily without being observed. The fog, 
though not very dense, was in his favour. He seemed to 
have escorted the other to the spot, and then to have left 
him there to do the job single-handed. Taking the time 
those two were seen coming out of Maze Hill Station by 
the old woman, and the time when the explosion was 
heard, the Chief Inspector thought that the other man 
might have been actually at the Greenwich Park Station, 
ready to catch the next train up, at the moment his 
comrade was destroying himself so thoroughly. 



IO2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"Very thoroughly eh?" murmured the Assistant Com- 
missioner from under the shadow of his hand. 

The Chief Inspector in a few vigorous words described 
the aspect of the remains. "The coroner's jury will have 
a treat," he added grimly. 

The Assistant Commissioner uncovered his eyes. 

"We shall have nothing to tell them," he remarked 
languidly. 

He looked up, and for a time watched the markedly 
non-committal attitude of his Chief Inspector. His nature 
was one that is not easily accessible to illusions. He 
knew that a department is at the mercy of its subordinate 
officers, who have their own conceptions of loyalty. His 
career had begun in a tropical colony. He had liked his 
work there. It was police work. He had been very suc- 
cessful in tracking and breaking up certain nefarious 
secret societies amongst the natives. Then he took his 
long leave, and got married rather impulsively. It was a 
good match from a worldly point of view, but his wife 
formed an unfavourable opinion of the colonial climate on 
hearsay evidence. On the other hand, she had influential 
connections. It was an excellent match. But he did not 
like the work he had to do now. He felt himself de- 
pendent on too many subordinates and too many masters. 
The near presence of that strange emotional phenomenon 
called public opinion weighed upon his spirits, and 
alarmed him by its irrational nature. No doubt that 
from ignorance he exaggerated to himself its power for 
good and evil especially for evil; and the rough east 
winds of the English spring (which agreed with his wife) 
augmented his general mistrust of men's motives and of 
the efficiency of their organisation. The futility of office 



THE SECRET AGENT. 1 03 

work especially appalled him on those days so trying to 
his sensitive liver. 

He got up, unfolding himself to his full height, and 
with a heaviness of step remarkable in so slender a man, 
moved across the room to the window. The panes streamed 
with rain, and the short street he looked down into lay 
wet and empty, as if swept clear suddenly by a great 
flood. It was a very trying day, choked in raw fog to 
begin with, and now drowned in cold rain. The flicker- 
ing, blurred flames of gas-lamps seemed to be dissolving 
in a watery atmosphere. And the lofty pretensions of a 
mankind oppressed by the miserable indignities of the 
weather appeared as a colossal and hopeless vanity de- 
serving of scorn, wonder, and compassion. 

"Horrible, horrible!" thought the Assistant Commis- 
sioner to himself, with his face near the window-pane. 
"We have been having this sort of thing now for ten days; 
no, a fortnight a fortnight." He ceased to think com- 
pletely for a time. That utter stillness of his brain lasted 
about three seconds. Then he said perfunctorily: "You 
have set inquiries on foot for tracing that other man up 
and down the line?" 

He had no doubt that everything needful had been 
done. Chief Inspector Heat knew, of course, thoroughly 
the business of man-hunting. And these were the routine 
steps, too, that would be taken as a matter of course by 
the merest beginner. A few inquiries amongst the ticket 
collectors and the porters of the two small railway stations 
would give additional details as to the appearance of the 
two men; the inspection of the collected tickets would 
show at once where they came from that morning. It 
was elementary, and could not have been neglected. Ac- 
cordingly the Chief Inspector answered that all this had 



IO4 THE SECRET AGENT. 

been done directly the old woman had come forward with 
her deposition. And he mentioned the name of a station. 
"That's where they came from, sir," he went on. "The 
porter who took the tickets at Maze Hill remembers two 
chaps answering to the description passing the barrier. 
They seemed to him two respectable working men of a 
superior sort sign painters or house decorators. The 
big man got out of a third-class compartment backward, 
with a bright tin can in his hand. On the platform he 
gave it to carry to the fair young fellow who followed him. 
All this agrees exactly with what the old woman told the 
police sergeant in Greenwich." 

The Assistant Commissioner, still with his face turned 
to the window, expressed his doubt as to these two men 
having had anything to do with the outrage. All this 
theory rested upon the utterances of an old charwoman 
who had been nearly knocked down by a man in a hurry. 
Not a very substantial authority indeed, unless on the 
ground of sudden inspiration, which was hardly tenable. 

"Frankly now, could she have been really inspired?" 
he queried, with grave irony, keeping his back to the 
room, as if entranced by the contemplation of the town's 
colossal forms half lost in the night. He did not even 
look round when he heard the mutter of the word "Pro- 
vidential" from the principal subordinate of his depart- 
ment, whose name, printed sometimes in the papers, was 
familiar to the great public as that of one of its zealous 
and hard-working protectors. Chief Inspector Heat raised 
his voice a little. 

"Strips and bits of bright tin were quite visible to 
me," he said. "That's a pretty good corroboration." 

"And these men came from that little country station," 
the Assistant Commissioner mused aloud, wondering. He 



THE SECRET AGENT. 1 05 

was told that such was the name on two tickets out of 
three given up out of that train at Maze Hill. The third 
person who got out was a hawker from Gravesend well 
known to the porters. The Chief Inspector imparted that 
information in a tone of finality with some ill humour, as 
loyal servants will do in the consciousness of their fidelity 
and with the sense of the value of their loyal exertions. 
And still the Assistant Commissioner did not turn away 
from the darkness outside, as vast as a sea. 

"Two foreign anarchists coming from that place," he 
said, apparently to the window-pane. "It's rather unac- 
countable." 

"Yes, sir. But it would be still more unaccountable 
if that Michaelis weren't staying in a cottage in the neigh- 
bourhood." 

At the sound of that name, falling unexpectedly into 
this annoying affair, the Assistant Commissioner dismissed 
brusquely the vague remembrance of his daily whist party 
at his club. It was the most comforting habit of his life, 
in a mainly successful display of his skill without the as- 
sistance of any subordinate. He entered his club to play 
from five to seven, before going home to dinner, forgetting 
for those two hours whatever was distasteful in his life, 
as though the game were a beneficent drug for allaying 
the pangs of moral discontent. His partners were the 
gloomily humorous editor of a celebrated magazine; a 
silent, elderly barrister with malicious little eyes; and a 
highly martial, simple-minded old Colonel with nervous 
brown hands. They were his club acquaintances merely. 
He never met them elsewhere except at the card-table. 
But they all seemed to approach the game in the spirit 
of co-sufferers, as if it were indeed a drug against the 
secret ills of existence; and every day as the sun declined 



IO6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

over the countless roofs of the town, a mellow, pleasur- 
able impatience, resembling the impulse of a sure and 
profound friendship, lightened his professional labours. 
And now this pleasurable sensation went out of him with 
something resembling a physical shock, and was replaced 
by a special kind of interest in his work of social protec- 
tion an improper sort of interest, which may be defined 
best as a sudden and alert mistrust of the weapon in his 
hand. 

VI. 

THE lady patroness of Michaelis, the ticket-of-leave 
apostle of humanitarian hopes, was one of the most in- 
fluential and distinguished connections of the Assistant 
Commissioner's wife, whom she called Annie, and treated 
still rather as a not very wise and utterly inexperienced 
young girl. But she had consented to accept him on a 
friendly footing, which was by no means the case with all 
of his wife's influential connections. Married young and 
splendidly at some remote epoch of the past, she had had 
for a time a close view of great affairs and even of some 
great men. She herself was a great lady. Old now in 
the number of her years, she had that sort of exceptional 
temperament which defies time with scornful disregard, 
as if it were a rather vulgar convention submitted to by 
the mass of inferior mankind. Many other conventions 
easier to set aside, alas! failed to obtain her recognition, 
also on temperamental grounds either because they bored 
her, or else because they stood in the way of her scorns 
and sympathies. Admiration was a sentiment unknown 
to her (it was one of the secret griefs of her most noble 
husband against her) first, as always more or less tainted 
with mediocrity, and next as being in a way an admission 



THE SECRET AGENT. 107 

of inferiority. And both were frankly inconceivable to her 
nature. To be fearlessly outspoken in her opinions came 
easily to her, since she judged solely from the standpoint 
of her social position. She was equally untrammelled in 
her actions; and as her tactfulness proceeded from genuine 
humanity, her bodily vigour remained remarkable and her 
superiority was serene and cordial, three generations had 
admired her infinitely, and the last she was likely to see 
had pronounced her a wonderful woman. Meantime in- 
telligent, with a sort of lofty simplicity, and curious at 
heart, but not like many women merely of social gossip, 
she amused her age by attracting within her ken through 
the power of her great, almost historical, social prestige 
everything that rose above the dead level of mankind, 
lawfully or unlawfully, by position, wit, audacity, fortune 
or misfortune. Royal Highnesses, artists, men of science, 
young statesmen, and charlatans of all ages and condi- 
tions, who, unsubstantial and light, bobbing up like corks, 
show best the direction of the surface currents, had been 
welcomed in that house, listened to, penetrated, under- 
stood, appraised, for her own edification. In her own 
words, she liked to watch what the world was coming to. 
And as she had a practical mind her judgment of men 
and things, though based on special prejudices, was seldom 
totally wrong, and almost never wrong-headed. Her draw- 
ing-room was probably the only place in the wide world 
where an Assistant Commissioner of Police could meet a 
convict liberated on a ticket-of-leave on other than pro- 
fessional and official ground. Who had brought Michaelis 
there one afternoon the Assistant Commissioner did not 
remember very well. He had a notion it must have been 
a certain Member of Parliament of illustrious parentage 
and unconventional sympathies, which were the standing 



IO8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

joke of the comic papers. The notabilities and even the 
simple notorieties of the day brought each other freely to 
that temple of an old woman's not ignoble curiosity. You 
never could guess whom you were likely to come upon 
being received in semi-privacy within the faded blue silk 
and gilt frame screen, making a cosy nook for a couch 
and a few armchairs in the great drawing-room, with its 
hum of voices and the groups of people seated or stand- 
ing in the light of six tall windows. 

Michaelis had been the object of a revulsion of popular 
sentiment, the same sentiment which years ago had ap- 
plauded the ferocity of the life sentence passed upon him 
for complicity in a rather mad attempt to rescue some 
prisoners from a police van. The plan of the conspirators 
had been to shoot down the horses and overpower the es- 
cort. Unfortunately, one of the police constables got shot 
too. He left a wife and three small children, and the 
death of that man aroused through the length and breadth 
of a realm for whose defence, welfare, and glory men die 
every day as matter of duty, an outburst of furious in- 
dignation, of a raging implacable pity for the victim. Three 
ringleaders got hanged. Michaelis, young and slim, lock- 
smith by trade, and great frequenter of evening schools, 
did not even know that anybody had been killed, his part 
with a few others being to force open the door at the 
back of the special conveyance. When arrested he had 
a bunch of skeleton keys in one pocket, a heavy chisel in 
another, and a short crowbar in his hand: neither more 
nor less than a burglar. But no burglar would have re- 
ceived such a heavy sentence. The death of the constable 
had made him miserable at heart, but the failure of the 
plot also. He did not conceal either of these sentiments 
from his empanelled countrymen, and that sort of com- 



THE SECRET AGENT. IOQ 

punction appeared shockingly imperfect to the crammed 
court. The judge on passing sentence commented feel- 
ingly upon the depravity and callousness of the young 
prisoner. 

That made the groundless fame of his condemnation; 
the fame of his release was made for him on no better 
grounds by people who wished to exploit the sentimental 
aspect of his imprisonment either for purposes of their 
own or for no intelligible purpose. He let them do so in 
the innocence of his heart and the simplicity of his mind. 
Nothing that happened to him individually had any im- 
portance. He was like those saintly men whose personality 
is lost in the contemplation of their faith. His ideas were 
not in the nature of convictions. They were inaccessible 
to reasoning. They formed in all their contradictions and 
obscurities an invincible and humanitarian creed, which 
he confessed rather than preached, with an obstinate 
gentleness, a smile of pacific assurance on his lips, and 
his candid blue eyes cast down because the sight of faces 
troubled his inspiration developed in solitude. In that 
characteristic attitude, pathetic in his grotesque and in- 
curable obesity which he had to drag like a galley slave's 
bullet to the end of his days, the Assistant Commissioner 
of Police beheld the ticket-of-leave apostle filling a privi- 
leged armchair within the screen. He sat there by the 
head of the old lady's couch, mild-voiced and quiet, with 
no more self-consciousness than a very small child, and 
with something of a child's charm the appealing charm 
of trustfulness. Confident of the future, whose secret ways 
had been revealed to him within the four walls of a well- 
known penitentiary, he had no reason to look with suspicion 
upon anybody. If he could not give the great and curious 
lady a very definite idea as to what the world was com- 



I I O THE SECRET AGENT. 

ing to, he had managed without effort to impress her by 
his unembittered faith, by the sterling quality of his op- 
timism. 

A certain simplicity of thought is common to serene 
souls at both ends of the social scale. The great lady was 
simple in her own way. His views and beliefs had nothing 
in them to shock or startle her, since she judged them 
from the standpoint of her lofty position. Indeed, her 
sympathies were easily accessible to a man of that sort. 
She was not an exploiting capitalist herself; she was, as it 
were, above the play of economic conditions. And she 
had a great capacity of pity for the more obvious forms of 
common human miseries, precisely because she was such 
a complete stranger to them that she had to translate her 
conception into terms of mental suffering before she could 
grasp the notion of their cruelty. The Assistant Commis- 
sioner remembered very well the conversation between 
these two. He had listened in silence. It was something 
as exciting in a way, and even touching in its foredoomed 
futility, as the efforts at moral intercourse between the in- 
habitants of remote planets. But this grotesque incarna- 
tion of humanitarian passion appealed somehow to one's 
imagination. At last Michaelis rose, and taking the great 
lady's extended hand, shook it, retained it for a moment 
in his great cushioned palm with unembarrassed friendli- 
ness, and turned upon the semi-private nook of the draw- 
ing-room his back, vast and square, and as if distended 
under the short tweed jacket. Glancing about in serene 
benevolence, he waddled along to the distant door between 
the knots of other visitors. The murmur of conversations 
paused on his passage. He smiled innocently at a tall, 
brilliant girl, whose eyes met his accidentally, and went 
out unconscious of the glances following him across the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 1 1 I 

room. Michaelis' first appearance in the world was a 
success a success of esteem unmarred by a single mur- 
mur of derision. The interrupted conversations were re- 
sumed in their proper tone, grave or light. Only a well- 
set-up, long-limbed, active-looking man of forty talking 
with two ladies near a window remarked aloud, with an 
unexpected depth of feeling: "Eighteen stone, I should 
say, and not five foot six. Poor fellow! It's terrible 
terrible." 

The lady of the house, gazing absently at the Assistant 
Commissioner, left alone with her on the private side of 
the screen, seemed to be rearranging her mental impres- 
sions behind her thoughtful immobility of a handsome old 
face. Men with grey moustaches and full, healthy, vaguely 
smiling countenances approached, circling round the screen; 
two mature women with a matronly air of gracious resolu- 
tion; a clean-shaved individual with sunken cheeks, and 
dangling a gold-mounted eyeglass on a broad black ribbon 
with an old-world, dandified effect. A silence deferential, 
but full of reserves, reigned for a moment, and then the 
great lady exclaimed, not with resentment, but with a sort 
of protesting indignation : 

"And that officially is supposed to be a revolutionist! 
What nonsense." She looked hard at the Assistant Com- 
missioner, who murmured apologetically: 

"Not a dangerous one perhaps." 

"Not dangerous I should think not indeed. He is a 
mere believer. It's the temperament of a saint," declared 
the great lady in a firm tone. "And they kept him shut 
up for twenty years. One shudders at the stupidity of it. 
And now they have let him out everybody belonging to 
him is gone away somewhere or dead. His parents are 
dead; the girl he was to marry has died while he was in 



112 THE SECRET AGENT. 

prison; he has lost the skill necessary for his manual oc- 
cupation. He told me all this himself with the sweetest 
patience; but then, he said, he had had plenty of time to 
think out things for himself. A pretty compensation! If 
that's the stuff revolutionists are made of some of us may 
well go on their knees to them," she continued in a slightly 
bantering voice, while the banal society smiles hardened 
on the worldly faces turned towards her with conventional 
deference. "The poor creature is obviously no longer in 
a position to take care of himself. Somebody will have 
to look after him a little." 

"He should be recommended to follow a treatment 
of some sort," the soldierly voice of the active-looking man 
was heard advising earnestly from a distance. He was in 
the pink of condition for his age, and even the texture 
of his long frock-coat had a character of elastic sound- 
ness, as if it were a living tissue. "The man is virtually 
a cripple," he added with unmistakable feeling. 

Other voices, as if glad of the opening, murmured 
hasty compassion. "Quite startling," "Monstrous," "Most 
painful to see." The lank man, with the eyeglass on a 
broad ribbon, pronounced mincingly the word " Grotesque," 
whose justness was appreciated by those standing near 
him. They smiled at each other. 

The Assistant Commissioner had expressed no opinion 
either then or later, his position making it impossible for 
him to ventilate any independent view of a ticket-of-leave 
convict But, in truth, he shared the view of his wife's 
friend and patron that Michaelis was a humanitarian sen- 
timentalist, a little mad, but upon the whole incapable of 
hurting a fly intentionally. So when that name cropped 
up suddenly in this vexing bomb affair he realised all the 
danger of it for the ticket-of-leave apostle, and his mind 



THE SECRET AGENT. 113 

reverted at once to the old lady's well-established infatua- 
tion. Her arbitrary kindness would not brook patiently 
any interference with Michaelis' freedom. It was a deep, 
calm, convinced infatuation. She had not only felt him 
to be inoffensive, but she had said so, which last by a 
confusion of her absolutist mind became a sort of incon- 
trovertible demonstration. It was as if the monstrosity of 
the man, with his candid infant's eyes and a fat angelic 
smile, had fascinated her. She had come to believe al- 
most his theory of the future, since it was not repugnant 
to her prejudices. She disliked the new element of pluto- 
cracy in the social compound, and industrialism as a 
method of human development appeared to her singularly 
repulsive in its mechanical and unfeeling character. The 
humanitarian hopes of the mild Michaelis tended not to- 
wards utter destruction, but merely towards the complete 
economic ruin of the system. And she did not really see 
where was the moral harm of it. It would do away with 
all the multitude of the "parvenus," whom she disliked 
and mistrusted, not because they had arrived anywhere 
(she denied that), but because of their profound unintel- 
ligence of the world, which was the primary cause of the 
crudity of their perceptions and the aridity of their hearts. 
With the annihilation of all capital they would vanish too; 
but universal ruin (providing it was universal, as it was 
revealed to Michaelis) would leave the social values un- 
touched. The disappearance of the last piece of money 
could not affect people of position. She could not con- 
ceive how it could affect her position, for instance. She 
had developed these discoveries to the Assistant Commis- 
sioner with all the serene fearlessness of an old woman 
who had escaped the blight of indifference. He had made 

The Secret Agent. 



I 1 4 THE SECRET AGENT. 

for himself the rule to receive everything of that sort in a 
silence which he took care from policy and inclination not 
to make offensive. He had an affection for the aged dis- 
ciple of Michaelis, a complex sentiment depending a little 
on her prestige, on her personality, but most of all on the 
instinct of flattered gratitude. He felt himself really liked 
in her house. She was kindness personified. And she 
was practically wise too, after the manner of experienced 
women. She made his married life much easier than it 
would have been without her generously full recognition 
of his rights as Annie's husband. Her influence upon his 
wife, a woman devoured by all sorts of small selfishnesses, 
small envies, small jealousies, was excellent. Unfortunately, 
both her kindness and her wisdom were of unreasonable 
complexion, distinctly feminine, and difficult to deal with. 
She remained a perfect woman all along her full tale of 
years, and not as some of them do become a sort of 
slippery, pestilential old man in petticoats. And it was 
as of a woman that he thought of her the specially choice 
incarnation of the feminine, wherein is recruited the ten- 
der, ingenuous, and fierce bodyguard for all sorts of men 
who talk under the influence of an emotion, true or frau- 
dulent; for preachers, seers, prophets, or reformers. 

Appreciating the distinguished and good friend of his 
wife, and himself, in that way, the Assistant Commissioner 
became alarmed at the convict Michaelis' possible fate. 
Once arrested on suspicion of being in some way, how- 
ever remote, a party to this outrage, the man could hardly 
escape being sent back to finish his sentence at least 
And that would kill him; he would never come out alive. 
The Assistant Commissioner made a reflection extremely 
unbecoming his official position without being really cre- 
ditable to his humanity. 



THE SECRET AGENT. I I 5 

"If the fellow is laid hold of again," he thought, "she 
will never forgive me." 

The frankness of such a secretly outspoken thought 
could not go without some derisive self-criticism. No man 
engaged in a work he does not like can preserve many 
saving illusions about himself. The distaste, the absence 
of glamour, extend from the occupation to the personality. 
It is only when our appointed activities seem by a lucky 
accident to obey the particular earnestness of our tempera- 
ment that we can taste the comfort of complete self- 
deception. The Assistant Commissioner did not like his 
work at home. The police work he had been engaged 
on in a distant part of the globe had the saving char- 
acter of an irregular sort of warfare or at least the risk 
and excitement of open-air sport. His real abilities, which 
were mainly of an administrative order, were combined 
with an adventurous disposition. Chained to a desk in 
the thick of four millions of men, he considered himself 
the victim of an ironic fate the same, no doubt, which 
had brought about his marriage with a woman exception- 
ally sensitive in the matter of colonial climate, besides 
other limitations testifying to the delicacy of her nature 
and her tastes. Though he judged his alarm sardonic- 
ally he did not dismiss the improper thought from his 
mind. The instinct of self-preservation was strong within 
him. On the contrary, he repeated it mentally with pro- 
fane emphasis and a fuller precision: "Damn it! If that 
infernal Heat has his way the fellow'll die in prison 
smothered in his fat, and she'll never forgive me." 

His black, narrow figure, with the white band of the 
collar under the silvery gleams on the close-cropped hair 
at the back of the head, remained motionless. The 
silence had lasted such a long time that Chief Inspector 

8* 



I I 6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Heat ventured to clear his throat. This noise produced 
its effect. The zealous and intelligent officer was asked 
by his superior, whose back remained turned to him im- 
movably : 

"You connect Michaelis with this affair?" 

Chief Inspector Heat was very positive, but cautious. 

"Well, sir," he said, "we have enough to go upon. A 
man like that has no business to be at large, anyhow." 

"You will want some conclusive evidence," came the 
observation in a murmur. 

Chief Inspector Heat raised his eyebrows at the black, 
narrow back, which remained obstinately presented to his 
intelligence and his zeal. 

"There will be no difficulty in getting up sufficient 
evidence against him," he said, with virtuous complacency. 
"You may trust me for that, sir," he added, quite un- 
necessarily, out of the fulness of his heart; for it seemed 
to him an excellent thing to have that man in hand to 
be thrown down to the public should it think fit to roar 
with any special indignation in this case. It was impos- 
sible to say yet whether it would roar or not That in 
the last instance depended, of course, on the newspaper 
press. But in any case, Chief Inspector Heat, purveyor 
of prisons by trade, and a man of legal instincts, did 
logically believe that incarceration was the proper fate for 
every declared enemy of the law. In the strength of that 
conviction he committed a fault of tact. He allowed him- 
self a little conceited laugh, and repeated: 

"Trust me for that, sir." 

This was too much for the forced calmness under 
which the Assistant Commissioner had for upwards of 
eighteen months concealed his irritation with the system 
and the subordinates of his office. A square peg forced 



THE SECRET AGENT. I I 7 

into a round hole, he had felt like a daily outrage that 
long established smooth roundness into which a man of 
less sharply angular shape would have fitted himself, with 
voluptuous acquiescence, after a shrug or two. What he 
resented most was just the necessity of taking so much on 
trust. At the little laugh of Chief Inspector Heat's he 
spun swiftly on his heels, as if whirled away from the 
window-pane by an electric shock. He caught on the 
latter's face not only the complacency proper to the oc- 
casion lurking under the moustache, but the vestiges of 
experimental watchfulness in the round eyes, which had 
been, no doubt, fastened on his back, and now met his 
glance for a second before the intent character of their 
stare had the time to change to a merely startled ap- 
pearance. 

The Assistant Commissioner of Police had really some 
qualifications for his post. Suddenly his suspicion was 
awakened. It is but fair to say that his suspicions of the 
police methods (unless the police happened to be a semi- 
military body organised by himself) was not difficult to 
arouse. If it ever slumbered from sheer weariness, it was 
but lightly; and his appreciation of Chief Inspector Heat's 
zeal and ability, moderate in itself, excluded all notion of 
moral confidence. "He's up to something," he exclaimed 
mentally, and at once became angry. Crossing over to 
his desk with headlong strides, he sat down violently. 
"Here I am stuck in a litter of paper," he reflected, with 
unreasonable resentment, "supposed to hold all the threads 
in my hand, and yet I can but hold what is put in my 
hand, and nothing else. And they can fasten the other 
ends of the threads where they please." 

He raised his head, and turned towards his sub- 



I I 8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

ordinate a long, meagre face with the accentuated features 
of an energetic Don Quixote. 

"Now what is it you've got up your sleeve?" 

The other stared. He stared without winking in a 
perfect immobility of his round eyes, as he was used to 
stare at the various members of the criminal class when, 
after being duly cautioned, they made their statements in 
the tones of injured innocence, or false simplicity, or 
sullen resignation. But behind that professional and stony 
fixity there was some surprise too, for in such a tone, 
combining nicely the note of contempt and impatience, 
Chief Inspector Heat, the right-hand man of the depart- 
ment, was not used to be addressed. He began in a 
procrastinating manner, like a man taken unawares by a 
new and unexpected experience. 

"What I've got against that man Michaelis you mean, 
sir?" 

The Assistant Commissioner watched the bullet head; 
the points of that Norse rover's moustache, falling below 
the line of the heavy jaw; the whole full and pale phy- 
siognomy, whose determined character was marred by too 
much flesh; at the cunning wrinkles radiating from the 
outer corners of the eyes and in that purposeful con- 
templation of the valuable and trusted officer he drew a 
conviction so sudden that it moved him like an inspiration. 

"I have reason to think that when you came into this 
room," he said in measured tones, "it was not Michaelis 
who was in your mind; not principally perhaps not 
at all." 

"You have reason to think, sir?" muttered Chief In- 
spector Heat, with every appearance of astonishment, 
which up to a certain point was genuine enough. He 
had discovered in this affair a delicate and perplexing 



THE SECRET AGENT. I I O, 

side, forcing upon the discoverer a certain amount of in- 
sincerity that sort of insincerity which, under the names 
of skill, prudence, discretion, turns up at one point or an- 
other in most human affairs. He felt at the moment like 
a tight-rope artist might feel if suddenly, in the middle of 
the performance, the manager of the Music Hall were to 
rush out of the proper managerial seclusion and begin to 
shake the rope. Indignation, the sense of moral insecurity 
engendered by such a treacherous proceeding joined to 
the immediate apprehension of a broken neck, would, in 
the colloquial phrase, put him in a state. And there 
would be also some scandalised concern for his art too, 
since a man must identify himself with something more 
tangible than his own personality, and establish his pride 
somewhere, either in his social position, or in the quality 
of the work he is obliged to do, or simply in the supe- 
riority of the idleness he may be fortunate enough to 
enjoy. 

"Yes," said the Assistant Commissioner; "I have. I 
do not mean to say that you have not thought of Michaelis 
at all. But you are giving the fact you've mentioned a 
prominence which strikes me as not quite candid, In- 
spector Heat. If that is really the track of discovery, 
why haven't you followed it up at once, either personally 
or by sending one of your men to that village?" 

"Do you think, sir, I have failed in my duty there?" 
the Chief Inspector asked, in a tone which he sought to 
make simply reflective. Forced unexpectedly to concen- 
trate his faculties upon the task of preserving his balance, 
he had seized upon that point, and exposed himself to a 
rebuke; for, the Assistant Commissioner frowning slightly, 
observed that this was a very improper remark to 
make. 



I 2O THE SECRET AGENT. 

"But since you've made it," he continued coldly, "I'll 
tell you that this is not my meaning." 

He paused, with a straight glance of his sunken eyes 
which was a full equivalent of the unspoken termination 
"and you know it." The head of the so-called Special 
Crimes Department debarred by his position from going 
out of doors personally in quest of secrets locked up in 
guilty breasts, had a propensity to exercise his consider- 
able gifts for the detection of incriminating truth upon 
his own subordinates. That peculiar instinct could hardly 
be called a weakness. It was natural. He was a born 
detective. It had unconsciously governed his choice of a 
career, and if it ever failed him in life it was perhaps in 
the one exceptional circumstance of his marriage which 
was also natural. It fed, since it could not roam abroad, 
upon the human material which was brought to it in its 
official seclusion. We can never cease to be ourselves. 

His elbow on the desk, his thin legs crossed, and 
nursing his cheek in the palm of his meagre hand, the 
Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Special Crimes 
branch was getting hold of the case with growing interest. 
His Chief Inspector, if not an absolutely worthy foeman of 
his penetration, was at any rate the most worthy of all 
within his reach. A mistrust of established reputations 
was strictly in character with the Assistant Commissioner's 
ability as detector. His memory evoked a certain old fat 
and wealthy native chief in the distant colony whom it 
was a tradition for the successive Colonial Governors to 
trust and make much of as a firm friend and supporter 
of the order and legality established by white men; where- 
as, when examined sceptically, he was found out to be 
principally his own good friend, and nobody else's. Not 
precisely a traitor, but still a man of many dangerous re- 



THE SECRET AGENT. I 2 I 

servations in his fidelity, caused by a due regard for his 
own advantage, comfort, and safety. A fellow of some 
innocence in his naive duplicity, but none the less danger- 
ous. He took some finding out He was physically a 
big man, too, and (allowing for the difference of colour, 
of course) Chief Inspector Heat's appearance recalled him 
to the memory of his superior. It was not the eyes nor 
yet the lips exactly. It was bizarre. But does not Alfred 
Wallace relate in his famous book on the Malay Archipelago 
how, amongst the Aru Islanders, he discovered in an old 
and naked savage with a sooty skin a peculiar resemblance 
to a dear friend at home? 

For the first time since he took up his appointment 
the Assistant Commissioner felt as if he were going to do 
some real work for his salary. And that was a pleasur- 
able sensation. "I'll turn him inside out like an old 
glove," thought the Assistant Commissioner, with his eyes 
resting pensively upon Chief Inspector Heat. 

"No, that was not my thought," he began again. 
"There is no doubt about you knowing your business 

no doubt at all; and that's precisely why I " He 

stopped short, and changing his tone: "What could you 
bring up against Michaelis of a definite nature? I mean 
apart from the fact that the two men under suspicion 
you're certain there were two of them came last from a 
railway station within three miles of the village where 
Michaelis is living now." 

"This by itself is enough for us to go upon, sir, with 
that sort of man," said the Chief Inspector, with return- 
ing composure. The slight approving movement of the 
Assistant Commissioner's head went far to pacify the re- 
sentful astonishment of the renowned officer. For Chief 
Inspector Heat was a kind man, an excellent husband, a 



122 THE SECRET AGENT. 

devoted father; and the public and departmental con- 
fidence he enjoyed acting favourably upon an amiable 
nature, disposed him to feel friendly towards the succes- 
sive Assistant Commissioners he had seen pass through 
that very room. There had been three in his time. The 
first one, a soldierly, abrupt, red-faced person, with white 
eyebrows and an explosive temper, could be managed 
with a silken thread. He left on reaching the age limit. 
The second, a perfect gentleman, knowing his own and 
everybody else's place to a nicety, on resigning to take up 
a higher appointment out of England got decorated for 
(really) Inspector Heat's services. To work with him had 
been a pride and a pleasure. The third, a bit of a dark 
horse from the first, was at the end of eighteen months 
something of a dark horse still to the department. Upon 
the whole Chief Inspector Heat believed him to be in the 
main harmless odd-looking, but harmless. He was speak- 
ing now, and the Chief Inspector listened with outward 
deference (which means nothing, being a matter of duty) 
and inwardly with benevolent toleration. 

"Michaelis reported himself before leaving London for 
the country?" 

"Yes, sir. He did." 

"And what may he be doing there?" continued the 
Assistant Commissioner, who was perfectly informed on 
that point. Fitted with painful tightness into an old 
wooden armchair, before a worm-eaten oak table in an 
upstairs room of a four-roomed cottage with a roof of 
moss-grown tiles, Michaelis was writing night and day in 
a shaky, slanting hand that "Autobiography of a Prisoner" 
which was to be like a book of Revelation in the history 
of mankind. The conditions of confined space, seclusion, 
and solitude in a small four-roomed cottage were favour- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 123 

able to his inspiration. It was like being in prison, ex- 
cept that one was never disturbed for the odious purpose 
of taking exercise according to the tyrannical regulations 
of his old home in the penitentiary. He could not tell 
whether the sun still shone on the earth or not. The 
perspiration of the literary labour dropped from his brow. 
A delightful enthusiasm urged him on. It was the libera- 
tion of his inner life, the letting out of his soul into the 
wide world. And the zeal of his guileless vanity (first 
awakened by the offer of five hundred pounds from a 
publisher) seemed something predestined and holy. 

"It would be, of course, most desirable to be in- 
formed exactly," insisted the Assistant Commissioner un- 
candidly. 

Chief Inspector Heat, conscious of renewed irritation 
at this display of scrupulousness, said that the county 
police had been notified from the first of Michaelis' ar- 
rival, and that a full report could be obtained in a few 
hours. A wire to the superintendent 

Thus he spoke, rather slowly, while his mind seemed 
already to be weighing the consequences. A slight knit- 
ting of the brow was the outward sign of this. But he 
was interrupted by a question. 

"You've sent that wire already?" 

"No, sir," he answered, as if surprised. 

The Assistant Commissioner uncrossed his legs sud- 
denly. The briskness of that movement contrasted with 
the casual way in which he threw out a suggestion. 

"Would you think that Michaelis had anything to do 
with the preparation of that bomb, for instance?" 

The Chief Inspector assumed a reflective manner. 

"I wouldn't say so. There's no necessity to say any- 
thing at present. He associates with men who are classed 



124 THE SECRET AGENT. 

as dangerous. He was made a delegate of the Red Com- 
mittee less than a year after his release on licence. A 
sort of compliment, I suppose." 

And the Chief Inspector laughed a little angrily, a 
little scornfully. With a man of that sort scrupulousness 
was a misplaced and even an illegal sentiment. The ce- 
lebrity bestowed upon Michaelis on his release two years 
ago by some emotional journalists in want of special copy 
had rankled ever since in his breast. It was perfectly 
legal to arrest that man on the barest suspicion. It was 
legal and expedient on the face of it. His two former 
chiefs would have seen the point at once; whereas this 
one, without saying either yes or no, sat there, as if lost 
in a dream. Moreover, besides being legal and expedient, 
the arrest of Michaelis solved a little personal difficulty 
which worried Chief Inspector Heat somewhat. This dif- 
ficulty had its bearing upon his reputation, upon his com- 
fort, and even upon the efficient performance of his duties. 
For, if Michaelis no doubt knew something about this out- 
rage, the Chief Inspector was fairly certain that he did 
not know too much. This was just as well. He knew 
much less the Chief Inspector was positive than certain 
other individuals he had in his mind, but whose arrest 
seemed to him inexpedient, besides being a more com- 
plicated matter, on account of the rules of the game. The 
rules of the game did not protect so much Michaelis, who 
was an ex-convict. It would be stupid not to take ad- 
vantage of legal facilities, and the journalists who had 
written him up with emotional gush would be ready to 
write him down with emotional indignation. 

This prospect, viewed with confidence, had the attrac- 
tion of a personal triumph for Chief Inspector Heat. And 
deep down in his blameless bosom of an average married 



THE SECRET AGENT. 125 

citizen, almost unconscious but potent nevertheless, the 
dislike of being compelled by events to meddle with the 
desperate ferocity of the Professor had its say. This dis- 
like had been strengthened by the chance meeting in the 
lane. The encounter did not leave behind with Chief In- 
spector Heat that satisfactory sense of superiority the mem- 
bers of the police force get from the unofficial but intimate 
side of their intercourse with the criminal classes, by which 
the vanity of power is soothed, and the vulgar love of 
domination over our fellow- creatures is flattered as worthily 
as it deserves. 

The perfect anarchist was not recognised as a fellow- 
creature by Chief Inspector Heat. He was impossible a 
mad dog to be left alone. Not that the Chief Inspector 
was afraid of him; on the contrary, he meant to have him 
some day. But not yet; he meant to get hold of him in 
his own time, properly and effectively according to the 
rules of the game. The present was not the right time 
for attempting that feat, not the right time for many 
reasons, personal and of public service. This being the 
strong feeling of Inspector Heat, it appeared to him just 
and proper that this affair should be shunted off its ob- 
scure and inconvenient track, leading goodness knows 
where, into a quiet (and lawful) siding called Michaelis. 
And he repeated, as if reconsidering the suggestion con- 
scientiously: 

"The bomb. No, I would not say that exactly. We 
may never find that out. But it's clear that he is con- 
nected with this in some way, which we can find out 
without much trouble." 

His countenance had that look of grave, overbearing 
indifference once well known and much dreaded by the 
better sort of thieves. Chief Inspector Heat, though what 



126 THE SECRET AGENT. 

is called a man, was not a smiling animal. But his in- 
ward state was that of satisfaction at the passively re- 
ceptive attitude of the Assistant Commissioner, who mur- 
mured gently: 

"And you really think that the investigation should 
be made in that direction?" 

"I do, sir." 

"Quite convinced?" 

"I am, sir. That's the true line for us to take." 

The Assistant Commissioner withdrew the support of 
his hand from his reclining head with a suddenness that, 
considering his languid attitude, seemed to menace his 
whole person with collapse. But, on the contrary, he sat 
up, extremely alert, behind the great writing-table on 
which his hand had fallen with the sound of a sharp blow. 

"What I want to know is what put it out of your 
head till now." 

"Put it out of my head," repeated the Chief Inspector 
very slowly. 

"Yes. Till you were called into this room you know." 

The Chief Inspector felt as if the air between his 
clothing and his skin had become unpleasantly hot. It 
was the sensation of an unprecedented and incredible ex- 
perience. 

"Of course," he said, exaggerating the deliberation of 
his utterance to the utmost limits of possibility, "if there 
is a reason, of which I know nothing, for not interfering 
with the convict Michaelis, perhaps it's just as well I didn't 
start the county police after him." 

This took such a long time to say that the unflagging 
attention of the Assistant Commissioner seemed a wonder- 
ful feat of endurance. His retort came without delay. 

"No reason whatever that I know of. Come, Chief 



THE SECRET AGENT. 127 

Inspector, this finessing with me is highly improper on 
your part highly improper. And it's also unfair, you 
know. You shouldn't leave me to puzzle things out for 
myself like this. Really, I am surprised." 

He paused, then added smoothly: "I need scarcely 
tell you that this conversation is altogether unofficial." 

These words were far from pacifying the Chief In- 
spector. The indignation of a betrayed tight-rope per- 
former was strong within him. In his pride of a trusted 
servant he was affected by the assurance that the rope 
was not shaken for the purpose of breaking his neck, as 
by an exhibition of impudence. As if anybody were 
afraid! Assistant Commissioners come and go, but a 
valuable Chief Inspector is not an ephemeral office phe- 
nomenon. He was not afraid of getting a broken neck. 
To have his performance spoiled was more than enough 
to account for the glow of honest indignation. And as 
thought is no respecter of persons, the thought of Chief 
Inspector Heat took a threatening and prophetic shape. 
"You, my boy," he said to himself, keeping his round 
and habitually roving eyes fastened upon the Assistant 
Commissioner's face "you, my boy, you don't know your 
place, and your place won't know you very long either, 
I bet." 

As if in provoking answer to that thought, something 
like the ghost of an amiable smile passed on the lips of 
the Assistant Commissioner. His manner was easy and 
business-like while he persisted in administering another 
shake to the tight rope. 

"Let us come now to what you have discovered on 
the spot, Chief Inspector," he said. 

"A fool and his job are soon parted," went on the 
train of prophetic thought in Chief Inspector Heat's head. 



128 THE SECRET AGENT. 

But it was immediately followed by the reflection that a 
higher official, even when "fired out" (this was the pre- 
cise image), has still the time as he flies through the door 
to launch a nasty kick at the shin-bones of a subordinate. 
Without softening very much the basilisk nature of his 
stare, he said impassively: 

"We are coming to that part of my investigation, sir." 

"That's right Well, what have you brought away 
from it?" 

The Chief Inspector, who had made up his mind to jump 
off the rope, came to the ground with gloomy frankness. 

"I've brought away an address," he said, pulling out 
of his pocket without haste a singed rag of dark -blue 
cloth. "This belongs to the overcoat the fellow who got 
himself blown to pieces was wearing. Of course, the over- 
coat may not have been his, and may even have been 
stolen. But that's not at all probable if you look at this." 

The Chief Inspector, stepping up to the table, smoothed 
out carefully the rag of blue cloth. He had picked it up 
from the repulsive heap in the mortuary, because a tailor's 
name is found sometimes under the collar. It is not often 

of much use, but still He only half expected to find 

anything useful, but certainly he did not expect to find 
not under the collar at all, but stitched carefully on the 
under side of the lapel a square piece of calico with an 
address written on it in marking ink. 

The Chief Inspector removed his smoothing hand. 

"I carried it off with me without anybody taking 
notice," he said. "I thought it best. It can always be 
produced if required." 

The Assistant Commissioner, rising a little in his chair, 
pulled the cloth over to his side of the table. He sat 
looking at it in silence. Only the number 32 and the 



THE SECRET AGENT. I2Q 

name of Brett Street were written in marking ink on a 
piece of calico slightly larger than an ordinary cigarette 
paper. He was genuinely surprised. 

"Can't understand why he should have gone about 
labelled like this," he said, looking up at Chief Inspector 
Heat. "It's a most extraordinary thing." 

"I met once in the smoking-room of a hotel an old 
gentleman who went about with his name and address 
sewn on in all his coats in case of an accident or sudden 
illness," said the Chief Inspector. "He professed to be 
eighty-four years old, but he didn't look his age. He told 
me he was also afraid of losing his memory suddenly, like 
those people he has been reading of in the papers." 

A question from the Assistant Commissioner, who 
wanted t<3 know what was No. 32 Brett Street, inter- 
rupted that reminiscence abruptly. The Chief Inspector, 
driven down to the ground by unfair artifices, had elected 
to walk the path of unreserved openness. If he believed 
firmly that to know too much was not good for the de- 
partment, the judicious holding back of knowledge was 
as far as his loyalty dared to go for the good of the ser- 
vice. If the Assistant Commissioner wanted to mismanage 
this affair nothing, of course, could prevent him. But, on 
his own part, he now saw no reason for a display of 
alacrity. So he answered concisely: 

"It's a shop, sir." 

The Assistant Commissioner, with his eyes lowered 
on the rag of blue cloth, waited for more information. 
As that did not come he proceeded to obtain it by a 
series of questions propounded with gentle patience. Thus 
he acquired an idea of the nature of Mr. Verloc's com- 
merce, of his personal appearance, and heard at last his 

The Secret Agent. 9 



130 THE SECRET AGENT. 

name. In a pause the Assistant Commissioner raised his 
eyes, and discovered some animation on the Chief In- 
spector's face. They looked at each other in silence. 

"Of course," said the latter, '-the department has no 
record of that man." 

"Did any of my predecessors have any knowledge of 
what you have told me now?" asked the Assistant Com- 
missioner, putting his elbows on the table and raising his 
joined hands before his face, as if about to offer prayer, 
only that his eyes had not a pious expression. 

"No, sir; certainly not. What would have been the 
object? That sort of man could never be produced 
publicly to any good purpose. It was sufficient for me 
to know who he was, and to make use of him in a way 
that could be used publicly." 

"And do you think that sort of private knowledge 
consistent with the official position you occupy?" 

"Perfectly, sir. I think it's quite proper. I will take 
the liberty to tell you, sir, that it makes me what I am 
and I am looked upon as a man who knows his work. It's 
a private affair of my own. A personal friend of mine in 
the French police gave me the hint that the fellow was 
an Embassy spy. Private friendship, private information, 
private use of it that's how I look upon it" 

The Assistant Commissioner after remarking to him- 
self that the mental state of the renowned Chief Inspector 
seemed to affect the outline of his lower jaw, as if the 
lively sense of his high professional distinction had been 
located in that part of his anatomy, dismissed the point 
for the moment with a calm "I see." Then leaning his 
cheek on his joined hands: 

"Well then speaking privately if you like how long 
have you been in private touch with this Embassy spy?" 



THE SECRET AGENT. 13! 

To this inquiry the private answer of the Chief In- 
spector, so private that it was never shaped into audible 
words, was: 

"Long before you were even thought of for your place 
here." 

The so-to-speak public utterance was much more pre- 
cise. 

"I saw him for the first time in my life a little more 
than seven years ago, when two Imperial Highnesses and 
the Imperial Chancellor were on a visit here. I was put 
in charge of all the arrangements for looking after them. 
Baron Stott-Wartenheim was Ambassador then. He was 
a very nervous old gentleman. One evening, three days 
before the Guildhall Banquet, he sent word that he wanted 
to see me for a moment. I was downstairs, and the car- 
riages were at the door to take the Imperial Highnesses 
and the Chancellor to the opera. I went up at once. I 
found the Baron walking up and down his bedroom in a 
pitiable state of distress, squeezing his hands together. 
He assured me he had the fullest confidence in our police 
and in my abilities, but he had there a man just come 
over from Paris whose information could be trusted im- 
plicitly. He wanted me to hear what that man had to 
say. He took me at once into a dressing-room next 
door, where I saw a big fellow in a heavy overcoat sit- 
ting all alone on a chair, and holding his hat and stick 
in one hand. The Baron said to him in French 'Speak, 
my friend.' The light in that room was not very good. 
I talked with him for some five minutes perhaps. He 
certainly gave me a piece of very startling news. Then 
the Baron took me aside nervously to praise him up to 
me, and when I turned round again I discovered that the 
fellow had vanished like a ghost. Got up and sneaked 

9* 



132 THE SECRET AGENT. 

out down some back stairs, I suppose. There was no 
time to run after him, as I had to hurry off after the 
Ambassador down the great staircase, and see the party 
started safe for the opera. However, I acted upon 
the information that very night. Whether it was perfectly 
correct or not, it did look serious enough. Very likely it 
saved us from an ugly trouble on the day of the Imperial 
visit to the City. 

"Some time later, a month or so after my promotion 
to Chief Inspector, my attention was attracted to a big 
burly man, I thought I had seen somewhere before, com- 
ing out in a hurry from a jeweller's shop in the Strand. 
I went after him, as it was on my way towards Charing 
Cross, and there seeing one of our detectives across the 
road, I beckoned him over, and pointed out the fellow to 
him, with instructions to watch his movements for a couple 
of days, and then report to me. No later than next 
afternoon my man turned up to tell me that the fellow 
had married his landlady's daughter at a registrar's office 
that very day at 11.30 A.M., and had gone off with her 
to Margate for a week. Our man had seen the luggage 
being put on the cab. There were some old Paris labels 
on one of the bags. Somehow I couldn't get the fellow 
out of my head, and the very next time I had to go to 
Paris on service I spoke about him to that friend of mine 
in the Paris police. My friend said: 'From what you tell 
me I think you must mean a rather well-known hanger-on 
and emissary of the Revolutionary Red Committee. He 
says he is an Englishman by birth. We have an idea 
that he has been for a good few years now a secret agent 
of one of the foreign Embassies in London.' This woke 
up my memory completely. He was the vanishing fellow 
I saw sitting on a chair in Baron Stott-Wartenheim's 



THE SECRET AGENT. 133 

bath-room. I told my friend that he was quite right. 
The fellow was a secret agent to my certain knowledge. 
Afterwards my friend took the trouble to ferret out the 
complete record of that man for me. I thought I had 
better know all there was to know; but I don't suppose 
you want to hear his history now, sir?" 

The Assistant Commissioner shook his supported head. 
"The history of your relations with that useful personage 
is the only thing that matters just now," he said, closing 
slowly his weary, deep-set eyes, and then opening them 
swiftly with a greatly refreshed glance. 

"There's nothing official about them," said the Chief 
Inspector bitterly. "I went into his shop one evening, 
told him who I was, and reminded him of our first meet- 
ing. He didn't as much as twitch an eyebrow. He said 
that he was married and settled now, and that all he 
wanted was not to be interfered with in his little business. 
I took it upon myself to promise him that, as long as he 
didn't go in for anything obviously outrageous, he would 
be left alone by the police. That was worth something 
to him, because a word from us to the Custom- House 
people would have been enough to get some of these 
packages he gets from Paris and Brussels opened in 
Dover, with confiscation to follow for certain, and perhaps 
a prosecution as well at the end of it." 

"That's a very precarious trade," murmured the As- 
sistant Commissioner. "Why did he go in for that?" 

The Chief Inspector raised scornful eyebrows dispas- 
sionately. 

"Most likely got a connection friends on the Con- 
tinent amongst people who deal in such wares. They 
would be just the sort he would consort with. He's a lazy 
dog, too like the rest of them." 



134 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"What do you get from him in exchange for your 
protection?" 

The Chief Inspector was not inclined to enlarge on 
the value of Mr. Verloc's services. 

"He would not be much good to anybody but my- 
self. One has got to know a good deal beforehand to 
make use of a man like that. I can understand the sort 
of hint he can give. And when I want a hint he can 
generally furnish it to me." 

The Chief Inspector lost himself suddenly in a dis- 
creet reflective mood; and the Assistant Commissioner 
repressed a smile at the fleeting thought that the reputa- 
tion of Chief Inspector Heat might possibly have been 
made in a great part by the Secret Agent Verloc. 

"In a more general way of being of use, all our men 
of the Special Crimes section on duty at Charing Cross 
and Victoria have orders to take careful notice of any- 
body they may see with him. He meets the new arrivals 
frequently, and afterwards keeps track of them. He 
seems to have been told off for that sort of duty. When 
I want an address in a hurry, I can always get it from 
him. Of course, I know how to manage our relations. I 
haven't seen him to speak to three times in the last two 
years. I drop him a line, unsigned, and he answers me 
in the same way at my private address." 

From time to time the Assistant Commissioner gave 
an almost imperceptible nod. The Chief Inspector added 
that he did not suppose Mr. Verloc to be deep in the 
confidence of the prominent members of the Revolutionary 
International Council, but that he was generally trusted 
of that there could be no doubt. "Whenever I've had 
reason to think there was something in the wind," he 



THE SECRET AGENT. 135 

concluded, "I've always found he could tell me something 
worth knowing." 

The Assistant Commissioner made a significant re- 
mark. 

"He failed you this time." 

"Neither had I wind of anything in any other way," 
retorted Chief Inspector Heat. "I asked him nothing, so 
he could tell me nothing. He isn't one of our men. It 
isn't as if he were in our pay." 

"No," muttered the Assistant Commissioner. "He's 
a spy in the pay of a foreign government. We could 
never confess to him." 

"I must do my work in my own way," declared the 
Chief Inspector. "When it comes to that I would deal 
with the devil himself, and take the consequences. There 
are things not fit for everybody to know." 

"Your idea of secrecy seems to consist in keeping the 
chief of your department in the dark. That's stretching 
it perhaps a little too far, isn't it? He lives over his shop?" 

"Who Verloc? Oh yes. He lives over his shop. 
The wife's mother, I fancy, lives with them." 

"Is the house watched?" 

"Oh, dear, no. It wouldn't do. Certain people who 
come there are watched. My opinion is that he knows 
nothing of this affair." 

"How do you account for this?" The Assistant 
Commissioner nodded at the cloth rag lying before him 
on the table. 

"I don't account for it at all, sir. It's simply un- 
accountable. It can't be explained by what I know." 
The Chief Inspector made those admissions with the 
frankness of a man whose reputation is established as if 
on a rock. "At any rate not at this present moment I 



136 THE SECRET AGENT. 

think that the man who had most to do with it will turn 
out to be Michaelis." 

"You do?" 

"Yes, sir; because I can answer for all the others." 

"What about that other man supposed to have 
escaped from the park?" 

"I should think he's far away by this time," opined 
the Chief Inspector. 

The Assistant Commissioner looked hard at him, and 
rose suddenly, as though having made up his mind to 
some course of action. As a matter of fact, he had that 
very moment succumbed to a fascinating temptation. The 
Chief Inspector heard himself dismissed with instructions 
to meet his superior early next morning for further con- 
sultation upon the case. He listened with an impenetrable 
face, and walked out of the room with measured steps. 

Whatever might have been the plans of the Assistant 
Commissioner they had nothing to do with that desk work, 
which was the bane of his existence because of its con- 
fined nature and apparent lack of reality. It could not 
have had, or else the general air of alacrity that came upon 
the Assistant Commissioner would have been inexplicable. 
As soon as he was left alone he looked for his hat im- 
pulsively, and put it on his head. Having done that, he 
sat down again to reconsider the whole matter. But as 
his mind was already made up, this did not take long. 
And before Chief Inspector Heat had gone very far on 
the way home, he also left the building. ^ 

VII. 

THE Assistant Commissioner walked along a short and 
narrow street like a wet, muddy trench, then crossing a 
very broad thoroughfare entered a public edifice, and 



THE SECRET AGENT. 137 

sought speech with a young private secretary (unpaid) of 
a great personage. 

This fair, smooth-faced young man, whose symmetric- 
ally arranged hair gave him the air of a large and neat 
schoolboy, met the Assistant Commissioner's request with 
a doubtful look, and spoke with bated breath. 

"Would he see you? I don't know about that He 
has walked over from the House an hour ago to talk with 
the permanent Under-Secretary, and now he's ready to 
walk back again. He might have sent for him; but he 
does it for the sake of a little exercise, I suppose. It's 
all the exercise he can find time for while this session 
lasts. I don't complain; I rather enjoy these little strolls. 
He leans on my arm, and doesn't open his lips. But, I 
say, he's very tired, and well not in the sweetest of 
tempers just now." 

"It's in connection with that Greenwich affair." 

"Oh! I say! He's very bitter against you people. 
But I will go and see, if you insist" 

"Do. That's a good fellow," said the Assistant Com- 
missioner. 

The unpaid secretary admired this pluck. Composing 
for himself an innocent face, he opened a door, and went 
in with the assurance of a nice and privileged child. 
And presently he reappeared, with a nod to the Assistant 
Commissioner, who passing through the same door left 
open for him, found himself with the great personage in 
a large room. 

Vast in bulk and stature, with a long white face, 
which, broadened at the base by a big double chin, ap- 
peared egg-shaped in the fringe of thin greyish whisker, 
the great personage seemed an expanding man. Unfor- 
tunate from a tailoring point of view, the cross-folds in the 



138 THE SECRET AGENT. 

middle of a buttoned black coat added to the impression, 
as if the fastenings of the garment were tried to the ut- 
most. From the head, set upward on a thick neck, the 
eyes, with puffy lower lids, stared with a haughty droop 
on each side of a hooked aggressive nose, nobly salient 
in the vast pale circumference of the face. A shiny silk 
hat and a pair of worn gloves lying ready on the end of 
a long table looked expanded too, enormous. 

He stood on the hearthrug in big, roomy boots, and 
uttered no word of greeting. 

"I would like to know if this is the beginning of an- 
other dynamite campaign," he asked at once in a deep, 
very smooth voice. "Don't go into details. I have no 
time for that" 

The Assistant Commissioner's figure before this big 
and rustic Presence had the frail slenderness of a reed 
addressing an oak. And indeed the unbroken record of 
that man's descent surpassed in the number of centuries 
the age of the oldest oak in the country. 

"No. As far as one can be positive about anything 
I can assure you that it is not." 

"Yes. But your idea of assurances over there," said 
the great man, with a contemptuous wave of his hand 
towards a window giving on the broad thoroughfare, "seems 
to consist mainly in making the Secretary of State look a 
fool. I have been told positively in this very room less 
than a month ago that nothing of the sort was even 
possible." 

The Assistant Commissioner glanced in the direction 
of the window calmly. 

"You will allow me to remark, Sir Ethelred, that so 
far I have had no opportunity to give you assurances of 
any kind." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 139 

The haughty droop of the eyes was focussed now 
upon the Assistant Commissioner. 

"True," confessed the deep, smooth voice. "I sent 
for Heat. You are still rather a novice in your new berth. 
And how are you getting on over there?" 

"I believe I am learning something every day." 

"Of course, of course. I hope you will get on." 

"Thank you, Sir Ethelred. I've learned something 
to-day, and even within the last hour or so. There is 
much in this affair of a kind that does not meet the eye 
in a usual anarchist outrage, even if one looked into it as 
deep as can be. That's why I am here." 

The great man put his arms akimbo, the backs of his 
big hands resting on his hips. 

"Very well. Go on. Only no details, pray. Spare 
me the details." 

"You shall not be troubled with them, Sir Ethelred," 
the Assistant Commissioner began, with a calm and un- 
troubled assurance. While he was speaking the hands on 
the face of the clock behind the great man's back a 
heavy, glistening affair of massive scrolls in the same dark 
marble as the mantelpiece, and with a ghostly, evanescent 
tick had moved through the space of seven minutes. He 
spoke with a studious fidelity to a parenthetical manner, 
into which every little fact that is, every detail fitted 
with delightful ease. Not a murmur nor even a move- 
ment hinted at interruption. The great Personage might 
have been the statue of one of his own princely ancestors 
stripped of a crusader's war harness, and put into an ill- 
fitting frock-coat. The Assistant Commissioner felt as 
though he were at liberty to talk for an hour. But he 
kept his head, and at the end of the time mentioned 
above he broke off with a sudden conclusion, which, re- 



140 THE SECRET AGENT. 

producing the opening statement, pleasantly surprised Sir 
Ethelred by its apparent swiftness and force. 

"The kind of thing which meets us under the surface 
of this affair, otherwise without gravity, is unusual in this 
precise form at least and requires special treatment." 

The tone of Sir Ethelred was deepened, full of con- 
viction. 

"I should think so involving the Ambassador of a 
foreign power!" 

"Oh! The Ambassador!" protested the other, erect 
and slender, allowing himself a mere half smile. "It would 
be stupid of me to advance anything of the kind. And 
it is absolutely unnecessary, because if I am right in my 
surmises, whether ambassador or hall porter it's a mere 
detail." 

Sir Ethelred opened a wide mouth, like a cavern, into 
which the hooked nose seemed anxious to peer; there 
came from it a subdued rolling sound, as from a distant 
organ with the scornful indignation stop. 

"No! These people are too impossible. What do 
they mean by importing their methods of Crim-Tartary 
here? A Turk would have more decency." 

"You forget, Sir Ethelred, that strictly speaking we 
know nothing positively as yet." 

"No! But how would you define it? Shortly?" 

"Barefaced audacity amounting to childishness of a 
peculiar sort." 

"We can't put up with the innocence of nasty little 
children," said the great and expanded personage, ex- 
panding a little more, as it were. The haughty drooping 
glance struck crushingly the carpet at the Assistant Com- 
missioner's feet. "They'll have to get a hard rap on the 
knuckles over this affair. We must be in a position to 



THE SECRET AGENT. 14! 

What is your general idea, stated shortly? No need to 
go into details." 

"No, Sir Ethelred. In principle, I should lay it down 
that the existence of secret agents should not be tolerated, 
as tending to augment the positive dangers of the evil 
against which they are used. That the spy will fabricate 
his information is a mere commonplace. But in the 
sphere of political and revolutionary action, relying partly 
on violence, the professional spy has every facility to 
fabricate the very facts themselves, and will spread the 
double evil of emulation in one direction, and of panic, 
hasty legislation, unreflecting hate, on the other. However, 
this is an imperfect world 

The deep-voiced Presence on the hearthrug, motionless, 
with big elbows stuck out, said hastily: 

"Be lucid, please." 

"Yes, Sir Ethelred - An imperfect world. There- 
fore directly the character of this affair suggested itself to 
me, I thought it should be dealt with with special secrecy, 
and ventured to come over here." 

"That's right," approved the great Personage, glancing 
down complacently over his double chin. "I am glad 
there's somebody over at your shop who thinks that the 
Secretary of State may be trusted now and then." 

The Assistant Commissioner had an amused smile. 

"I was really thinking that it might be better at this 
stage for Heat to be replaced by 

"What! Heat? An ass eh?" exclaimed the great 
man, with distinct animosity. 

"Not at all. Pray, Sir Ethelred, don't put that unjust 
interpretation on my remarks." 

"Then what? Too clever by half?" 

"Neither at least not as a rule. All the grounds of 



142 THE SECRET AGENT. 

my surmises I have from him. The only thing I've 
discovered by myself is that he has been making use of 
that man privately. Who could blame him? He's an 
old police hand. He told me virtually that he must have 
tools to work with. It occurred to me that this tool should 
be surrendered to the Special Crimes division as a whole, 
instead of remaining the private property of Chief In- 
spector Heat I extend my conception of our depart- 
mental duties to the suppression of the secret agent. But 
Chief Inspector Heat is an old departmental hand. He 
would accuse me of perverting its morality and attacking 
its efficiency. He would define it bitterly as protection 
extended to the criminal class of revolutionists. It would 
mean just that to him." 

"Yes. But what do you mean?" 

"I mean to say, first, that there's but poor comfort in 
being able to declare that any given act of violence 
damaging property or destroying life is not the work of 
anarchism at all, but of something else altogether some 
species of authorised scoundrelism. This, I fancy, is much 
more frequent than we suppose. Next, it's obvious that 
the existence of these people in the pay of foreign govern- 
ments destroys in a measure the efficiency of our super- 
vision. A spy of that sort can afford to be more reckless 
than the most reckless of conspirators. His occupation is 
free from all restraint He's without as much faith as is 
necessary for complete negation, and without that much 
law as is implied in lawlessness. Thirdly, the existence 
of these spies amongst the revolutionary groups, which we 
are reproached for harbouring here, does away with all 
certitude. You have received a reassuring statement from 
Chief Inspector Heat some time ago. It was by no means 
groundless and yet this episode happens. I call it an 



THE SECRET AGENT. 143 

episode, because this affair, I make bold to say, is episodic; 
it is no part of any general scheme, however wild. The 
very peculiarities which surprise and perplex Chief In- 
spector Heat establish its character in my eyes. I am 
keeping clear of details, Sir Ethelred." 

The Personage on the hearthrug had been listening 
with profound attention. 

"Just so. Be as concise as you can." 

The Assistant Commissioner intimated by an earnest 
deferential gesture that he was anxious to be concise. 

"There is a peculiar stupidity and feebleness in the 
conduct of this affair which gives me excellent hopes of 
getting behind it and finding there something else than an 
individual freak of fanaticism. For it is a planned thing, 
undoubtedly. The actual perpetrator seems to have been 
led by the hand to the spot, and then abandoned hurriedly 
to his own devices. The inference is that he was im- 
ported from abroad for the purpose of committing this 
outrage. At the same time one is forced to the con- 
clusion that he did not know enough English to ask his 
way, unless one were to accept the fantastic theory that 
he was a deaf mute. I wonder now But this is 
idle. He has destroyed himself by an accident, obviously. 
Not an extraordinary accident. But an extraordinary little 
fact remains: the address on his clothing discovered by 
the merest accident, too. It is an incredible little fact, so 
incredible that the explanation which will account for it 
is bound to touch the bottom of this affair. Instead of 
instructing Heat to go on with this case, my intention is 
to seek this explanation personally by myself, I mean 
where it may be picked up. That is in a certain shop 
in Brett Street, and on the lips of a certain secret agent 
once upon a time the confidential and trusted spy of the 



144 THE SECRET AGENT. 

late Baron Stott-Wartenheim, Ambassador of a Great 
Power to the Court of St. James." 

The Assistant Commissioner paused, then added: 
"Those fellows are a perfect pest." In order to raise his 
drooping glance to the speaker's face, the Personage on 
the hearthrug had gradually tilted his head farther back, 
which gave him an aspect of extraordinary haughtiness. 

"Why not leave it to Heat?" 

"Because he is an old departmental hand. They 
have their own morality. My line of inquiry would appear 
to him an awful perversion of duty. For him the plain 
duty is to fasten the guilt upon as many prominent 
anarchists as he can on some slight indications he had 
picked up in the course of his investigation on the spot; 
whereas I, he would say, am bent upon vindicating their 
innocence. I am trying to be as lucid as I can in present- 
ing this obscure matter to you without details." 

"He would, would he?" muttered the proud head of 
Sir Ethelred from its lofty elevation. 

"I am afraid so with an indignation and disgust of 
which you or I can have no idea. He's an excellent 
servant. We must not put an undue strain on his loyalty. 
That's always a mistake. Besides, I want a free hand 
a freer hand than it would be perhaps advisable to give 
Chief Inspector Heat. I haven't the slightest wish to 
spare this man Verloc. He will, I imagine, be extremely 
startled to find his connection with this affair, whatever it 
may be, brought home to him so quickly. Frightening 
him will not be very difficult. But our true objective lies 
behind him somewhere. I want your authority to give 
him such assurances of personal safety as I may think 
proper." 

"Certainly," said the Personage on the hearthrug. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 145 

"Find out as much as you can; find it out in your own 
way." 

"I must set about it without loss of time, this very 
evening," said the Assistant Commissioner. 

Sir Ethelred shifted one hand under his coat tails, and 
tilting back his head, looked at him steadily. 

"We'll have a late sitting to-night," he said. "Come 
to the House with your discoveries if we are not gone 
home. I'll warn Toodles to look out for you. He'll take 
you into my room." 

The numerous family and the wide connections of the 
youthful-looking Private Secretary cherished for him the 
hope of an austere and exalted destiny. Meantime the 
social sphere he adorned in his hours of idleness chose to 
pet him under the above nickname. And Sir Ethelred, 
hearing it on the lips of his wife and girls every day 
(mostly at breakfast-time), had conferred upon it the 
dignity of unsmiling adoption. 

The Assistant Commissioner was surprised and gratified 
extremely. 

"I shall certainly bring my discoveries to the House on 
the chance of you having the time to " 

"I won't have the time," interrupted the great 
Personage. "But I will see you. I haven't the time now 
And you are going yourself?" 

"Yes, Sir Ethelred. I think it the best way." 

The Personage had tilted his head so far back that, 
in order to keep the Assistant Commissioner under his 
observation, he had to nearly close his eyes. 

"H'm! Ha! And how do you propose Will you 

assume a disguise?" 

"Hardly a disguise! I'll change my clothes, of course." 

"Of course," repeated the great man, with a sort of 

The Secret Agent. 1O 



146 THE SECRET AGENT. 

absent-minded loftiness. He turned his big head slowly, 
and over his shoulder gave a haughty oblique stare to the 
ponderous marble timepiece with the sly, feeble tick. 
The gilt hands had taken the opportunity to steal through 
no less than five and twenty minutes behind his back. 

The Assistant Commissioner, who could not see them, 
grew a little nervous in the interval. But the great man 
presented to him a calm and undismayed face. 

"Very well," he said, and paused, as if in deliberate 
contempt of the official clock. "But what first put you 
in motion in this direction?" 

"I have been always of opinion," began the Assistant 
Commissioner. 

"Ah! Yes! Opinion. That's of course. But the 
immediate motive?" 

"What shall I say, Sir Ethelred? A new man's anta- 
gonism to old methods. A desire to know something at 
first hand. Some impatience. It's my old work, but the 
harness is different. It has been chafing me a little in 
one or two tender places." 

"I hope you'll get on over there," said the great man 
kindly, extending his hand, soft to the touch, but broad 
and powerful like the hand of a glorified farmer. The 
Assistant Commissioner shook it, and withdrew. 

In the outer room Toodles, who had been waiting 
perched on the edge of a table, advanced to meet him, 
subduing his natural buoyancy. 

"Well? Satisfactory?" he asked, with airy importance. 

"Perfectly. You've earned my undying gratitude," 
answered the Assistant Commissioner, whose long face 
looked wooden in contrast with the peculiar character of 
the other's gravity, which seemed perpetually ready to 
break into ripples and chuckles. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 147 

"That's all right. But seriously, you can't imagine 
how irritated he is by the attacks on his Bill for the 
Nationalisation of Fisheries. They call it the beginning 
of social revolution. Of course, it is a revolutionary mea- 
sure. -But these fellows have no decency. The personal 
attacks 

"I read the papers," remarked the Assistant Commis- 
sioner. 

"Odious? Eh? And you have no notion what a 
mass of work he has got to get through every day. He 
does it all himself. Seems unable to trust anyone with 
these Fisheries." 

"And yet he's given a whole half hour to the con- 
sideration of my very small sprat," interjected the Assistant 
Commissioner. 

"Small! Is it? I'm glad to hear that. But it's a 
pity you didn't keep away, then. This fight takes it out 
of him frightfully. The man's getting exhausted. I feel 
it by the way he leans on my arm as we walk over. 
And, I say, is he safe in the streets? Mullins has been 
marching his men up here this afternoon. There's a con- 
stable stuck by every lamp-post, and every second person 
we meet between this and Palace Yard is an obvious 
'tec.' It will get on his nerves presently. I say, these 
foreign scoundrels aren't likely to throw something at him 
are they? It would be a national calamity. The 
country can't spare him." 

"Not to mention yourself. He leans on your arm," 
suggested the Assistant Commissioner soberly. "You 
would both go." 

"It would be an easy way for a young man to go 
down into history. Not so many British Ministers have 



148 THE SECRET AGENT. 

been assassinated as to make it a minor incident. But 
seriously now " 

"I am afraid that if you want to go down into his- 
tory you'll have to do something for it. Seriously, there's 
no danger whatever for both of you but from overwork." 

The sympathetic Toodles welcomed this opening for 
a chuckle. 

"The Fisheries won't kill me. I am used to late 
hours," he declared, with ingenuous levity. But, feeling 
an instant compunction, he began to assume an air of 
statesman-like moodiness, as one draws on a glove. "His 
massive intellect will stand any amount of work. It's his 
nerves that I am afraid of. The reactionary gang, with 
that abusive brute Cheeseman at their head, insult him 
every night." 

"If he will insist on beginning a revolution!" mur- 
mured the Assistant Commissioner. 

"The time has come, and he is the only man great 
enough for the work," protested the revolutionary Toodles, 
flaring up under the calm, speculative gaze of the As- 
sistant Commissioner. Somewhere in a corridor a distant 
bell tinkled urgently, and with devoted vigilance the young 
man pricked up his ears at the sound. "He's ready to 
go now," he exclaimed in a whisper, snatched up his 
hat, and vanished from the room. 

The Assistant Commissioner went out by another 
door in a less elastic manner. Again he crossed the wide 
thoroughfare, walked along a narrow street, and re-entered 
hastily his own departmental buildings. He kept up this 
accelerated pace to the door of his private room. Before 
he had closed it fairly his eyes sought his desk. He 
stood still for a moment, then walked up, looked all round 
on the floor, sat down in his chair, rang a bell, and waited. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 149 

"Chief Inspector Heat gone yet?" 
"Yes, sir. Went away half-an-hour ago." 
He nodded. "That will do." And sitting still, with 
his hat pushed off his forehead, he thought that it was 
just like Heat's confounded cheek to carry off quietly the 
only piece of material evidence. But he thought this 
without animosity. Old and valued servants will take 
liberties. The piece of overcoat with the address sewn on 
was certainly not a thing to leave about. Dismissing from 
his mind this manifestation of Chief Inspector Heat's mis- 
trust, he wrote and despatched a note to his wife, charging 
her to make his apologies to Michaelis' great lady, with 
whom they were engaged to dine that evening. 

The short jacket and the low, round hat he assumed 
in a sort of curtained alcove containing a washstand, a 
row of wooden pegs and a shelf, brought out wonderfully 
the length of his grave, brown face. He stepped back 
into the full light of the room, looking like the vision of a 
cool, reflective Don Quixote, with the sunken eyes of a 
dark enthusiast and a very deliberate manner. He left 
the scene of his daily labours quickly like an unobtrusive 
shadow. His descent into the street was like the descent 
into a slimy aquarium from which the water had been 
run off. A murky, gloomy dampness enveloped him. 
The walls of the houses were wet, the mud of the road- 
way glistened with an effect of phosphorescence, and 
when he emerged into the Strand out of a narrow street 
by the side of Charing Cross Station the genius of the 
locality assimilated him. He might have been but one 
more of the queer foreign fish that can be seen of an 
evening about there flitting round the dark corners. 

He came to a stand on the very edge of the pave- 
ment, and waited. His exercised eyes had made out in. 



I5O THE SECRET AGENT. 

the confused movements of lights and shadows thronging 
the roadway the crawling approach of a hansom. He gave 
no sign; but when the low step gliding along the curb- 
stone came to his feet he dodged in skilfully in front of 
the big turning wheel, and spoke up through the little 
trap door almost before the man gazing supinely ahead 
from his perch was aware of having been boarded by a fare. 

It was not a long drive. It ended by signal abruptly, 
nowhere in particular, between two lamp-posts before a 
large drapery establishment a long range of shops al- 
ready lapped up in sheets of corrugated iron for the night. 
Tendering a coin through the trap door the fare slipped 
out and away, leaving an effect of uncanny, eccentric 
ghostliness upon the driver's mind. But the size of the 
coin was satisfactory to his touch, and his education not 
being literary, he remained untroubled by the fear of 
finding it presently turned to a dead leaf in his pocket. 
Raised above the world of fares by the nature of his 
calling, he contemplated their actions with a limited 
interest. The sharp pulling of his horse right round ex- 
pressed his philosophy. 

Meantime the Assistant Commissioner was already 
giving his order to a waiter in a little Italian restaurant 
round the corner one of those traps for the hungry, long 
and narrow, baited with a perspective of mirrors and 
white napery ; without air, but with an atmosphere of their 
own an atmosphere of fraudulent cookery mocking an 
abject mankind in the most pressing of its miserable 
necessities. In this immoral atmosphere the Assistant 
Commissioner, reflecting upon his enterprise, seemed to 
lose some more of his identity. He had a sense of loneli- 
ness, of evil freedom. It was rather pleasant. When, after 
paying for his short meal, he stood up and waited for his 



THE SECRET AGENT. 15! 

change, he saw himself in the sheet of glass, and was 
struck by his foreign appearance. He contemplated his 
own image with a melancholy and inquisitive gaze, then 
by sudden inspiration raised the collar of his jacket. This 
arrangement appeared to him commendable, and he com- 
pleted it by giving an upward twist to the ends of his 
black moustache. He was satisfied by the subtle modi- 
fication of his personal aspect caused by these small 
changes. "That'll do very well," he thought. "I'll get a 
little wet, a little splashed " 

He became aware of the waiter at his elbow and of 
a small pile of silver coins on the edge of the table be- 
fore him. The waiter kept one eye on it, while his other 
eye followed the long back of a tall, not very young girl, 
who passed up to a distant table looking perfectly sight- 
less and altogether unapproachable. She seemed to be 
a habitual customer. 

On going out the Assistant Commissioner made to 
himself the observation that the patrons of the place had 
lost in the frequentation of fraudulent cookery all their 
national and private characteristics. And this was strange, 
since the Italian restaurant is such a peculiarly British in- 
stitution. But these people were as denationalised as the 
dishes set before them with every circumstance of un- 
stamped respectability. Neither was their personality 
stamped in any way, professionally, socially or racially. 
They seemed created for the Italian restaurant, unless the 
Italian restaurant had been perchance created for them. 
But that last hypothesis was unthinkable, since one could 
not place them anywhere outside those special establish- 
ments. One never met these enigmatical persons else- 
where. It was impossible to form a precise idea what 
occupations they followed by day and where they went 



152 THE SECRET AGENT. 

to bed at night. And he himself had become unplaced. 
It would have been impossible for anybody to guess his 
occupation. As to going to bed, there was a doubt even 
in his own mind. Not indeed in regard to his domicile 
itself, but very iriuch so in respect of the time when he 
would be able to return there. A pleasurable feeling of 
independence possessed him when he heard the glass 
doors swing to behind his back with a sort of imperfect 
baffled thud. He advanced at once into an immensity 
of greasy slime and damp plaster interspersed with lamps, 
and enveloped, oppressed, penetrated, choked, and suffo- 
cated by the blackness of a wet London night, which is 
composed of soot and drops of water. 

Brett Street was not very far away. It branched off, 
narrow, from the side of an open triangular space sur- 
rounded by dark and mysterious houses, temples of petty 
commerce emptied of traders for the night. Only a 
fruiterer's stall at the corner made a violent blaze of light 
and colour. Beyond all was black, and the few people 
passing in that direction vanished at one stride beyond 
the glowing heaps of oranges and lemons. No footsteps 
echoed. They would never be heard of again. The ad- 
venturous head of the Special Crimes Department watched 
these disappearances from a distance with an interested 
eye. He felt light-hearted, as though he had been am- 
bushed all alone in a jungle many thousands of miles 
away from departmental desks and official inkstands. This 
joyousness and dispersion of thought before a task of 
some importance seems to prpve that this world of ours 
is not such a very serious affair after all. For the Assistant 
Commissioner was not constitutionally inclined to levity. 

The policeman on the beat projected his sombre and 
moving form against the luminous glory of oranges and 



THE SECRET AGENT. 153 

lemons, and entered Brett Street without haste. The As- 
sistant Commissioner, as though he were a member of the 
criminal classes, lingered out of sight, awaiting his return. 
But this constable seemed to be lost for ever to the force. 
He never returned: must have gone out at the other end 
of Brett Street. 

The Assistant Commissioner, reaching this conclusion, 
entered the street in his turn, and came upon a large van 
arrested in front of the dimly lit window-panes of a 
carter's eating-house. The man was refreshing himself 
inside, and the horses, their big heads lowered to the 
ground, fed out of nose-bags steadily. Farther on, on the 
opposite side of the street, another suspect patch of dim 
light issued from Mr. Verloc's shop front, hung with 
papers, heaving with vague piles of cardboard boxes and 
the' shapes of books. The Assistant Commissioner stood 
observing it across the roadway. There could be no mis- 
take. By the side of the front window, encumbered by 
the shadows of nondescript things, the door, standing 
ajar, let escape on the pavement a narrow, clear streak 
of gas-light within. 

Behind the Assistant Commissioner the van and horses, 
merged into one mass, seemed something alive a square- 
backed black monster blocking half the street, with sudden 
iron-shod stampings, fierce jingles, and heavy, blowing 
sighs. The harshly festive, ill-omened glare of a large 
and prosperous public-house faced the other end of Brett 
Street across a wide road. This barrier of blazing lights, 
opposing the shadows gathered about the humble abode 
of Mr. Verloc's domestic happiness, seemed to drive the 
obscurity of the street back upon itself, make it more 
sullen, brooding, and sinister. 



154 THE SECRET AGENT. 



VIII. 

HAVING infused by persistent importunities some sort 
of heat into the chilly interest of several licensed victuallers 
(the acquaintances once upon a time of her late unlucky 
husband), Mrs. Verloc's mother had at last secured her 
admission to certain almshouses founded by a wealthy 
innkeeper for the destitute widows of the trade. 

This end, conceived in the astuteness of her uneasy 
heart, the old woman had pursued with secrecy and deter- 
mination. That was the time when her daughter Winnie 
could not help passing a remark to Mr. Verloc that 
"mother has been spending half-crowns and five shillings 
almost every day this last week in cab fares." But the 
remark was not made grudgingly. Winnie respected her 
mother's infirmities. She was only a little surprised at 
this sudden mania for locomotion. Mr. Verloc, who was 
sufficiently magnificent in his way, had grunted the re- 
mark impatiently aside as interfering with his meditations. 
These were frequent, deep, and prolonged; they bore 
upon a matter more important than five shillings. Distinctly 
more important, and beyond all comparison more difficult 
to consider in all its aspects with philosophical serenity. 

Her object attained in astute secrecy, the heroic old 
woman had made a clean breast of it to Mrs. Verloc. 
Her soul was triumphant and her heart tremulous. In- 
wardly she quaked, because she dreaded and admired the 
calm, self-contained character of her daughter Winnie, 
whose displeasure was made redoubtable by a diversity 
of dreadful silences. But she did not allow her inward 
apprehensions to rob her of the advantage of venerable 
placidity conferred upon her outward person by her triple 



THE SECRET AGENT. 155 

chin, the floating ampleness of her ancient form, and the 
impotent condition of her legs. 

The shock of the information was so unexpected that 
Mrs. Verloc, against her usual practice when addressed, 
interrupted the domestic occupation she was engaged 
upon. It was the dusting of the furniture in the parlour 
behind the shop. She turned her head towards her mother. 

"Whatever did you want to do that for?" she ex- 
claimed, in scandalised astonishment. 

The shock must have been severe to make her depart 
from that distant and uninquiring acceptance of facts 
which was her force and her safeguard in life. 

"Weren't you made comfortable enough here?" 

She had lapsed into these inquiries, but next moment 
she saved the consistency of her conduct by resuming her 
dusting, while the old woman sat scared and dumb under 
her dingy white cap and lustreless dark wig. 

Winnie finished the chair, and ran the duster along 
the mahogany at the back of the horsehair sofa on which 
Mr. Verloc loved to take his ease in hat and overcoat. 
She was intent on her work, but presently she permitted 
herself another question. 

"How in the world did you manage it, mother?" 

As not affecting the inwardness of things, which it was 
Mrs. Verloc's principle to ignore, this curiosity was ex- 
cusable. It bore merely on the methods. The old woman 
welcomed it eagerly as bringing forward something that 
could be talked about with much sincerity. 

She favoured her daughter by an exhaustive answer, 
full of names and enriched by side comments upon the 
ravages of time as observed in the alteration of human 
countenances. The names were principally the names of 
licensed victuallers "poor daddy's friends, my dear." 



156 THE SECRET AGENT. 

She enlarged with special appreciation on the kindness 
and condescension of a large brewer, a Baronet and an 
M.P., the Chairman of the Governors of the Charity. She 
expressed herself thus warmly because she had been 
allowed to interview by appointment his Private Secretary 
"a very polite gentleman, all in black, with a gentle, 
sad voice, but so very, very thin and quiet. He was like 
a shadow, my dear." 

Winnie, prolonging her dusting operations till the tale 
was told to the end, walked out of the parlour into the 
kitchen (down two steps) in her usual manner, without 
the slightest comment. 

Shedding a few tears in sign of rejoicing at her 
daughter's mansuetude in this terrible affair, Mrs. Verloc's 
mother gave play to her astuteness in the direction of her 
furniture,- because it was her own; and sometimes she 
wished it hadn't been. Heroism is all very well, but 
there are circumstances when the disposal of a few tables 
and chairs, brass bedsteads, and so on, may be big with 
remote and disastrous consequences. She required a few 
pieces herself, the Foundation which, after many im- 
portunities, had gathered her to its charitable breast, giv- 
ing nothing but bare planks and cheaply papered bricks 
to the objects of its solicitude. The delicacy guiding her 
choice to the least valuable and most dilapidated articles 
passed unacknowledged, because Winnie's philosophy con- 
sisted in not taking notice of the inside of facts; she as- 
sumed that mother took what suited her best. As to 
Mr. Verloc, his intense meditation, like a sort of Chinese 
wall, isolated him completely from the phenomena of this 
world of vain effort and illusory appearances. 

Her selection made, the disposal of the rest became 
a perplexing question in a particular way. She was leav^ 



THE SECRET AGENT. 157 

ing it in Brett Street, of course. But she had two 
children. Winnie was provided for by her sensible union 
with that excellent husband, Mr. Verloc. Stevie was 
destitute and a little peculiar. His position had to be 
considered before the claims of legal justice and even the 
promptings of partiality. The possession of the furniture 
would not be in any sense a provision. He ought to have 
it the poor boy. But to give it to him would be like 
tampering with his position of complete dependence. It 
was a sort of claim which she feared to weaken. More- 
over, the susceptibilities of Mr. Verloc would perhaps not 
brook being beholden to his brother-in-law for the chairs 
he sat on. In a long experience of gentlemen lodgers, 
Mrs. Verloc's mother had acquired a dismal but resigned 
notion of the fantastic side of human nature. What if 
Mr. Verloc suddenly took it into his head to tell Stevie 
to take his blessed sticks somewhere out of that? A 
division, on the other hand, however carefully made, might 
give some cause of offence to Winnie. No. Stevie must 
remain destitute and dependent. And at the moment of 
leaving Brett Street she had said to her daughter: "No 
use waiting till I am dead, is there? Everything I leave 
here is altogether your own now, my dear." 

Winnie, with her hat on, silent behind her mother's 
back, went on arranging the collar of the old woman's 
cloak. She got her hand-bag, an umbrella, with an im- 
passive face. The time had come for the expenditure of 
the sum of three-and-sixpence on what might well be 
supposed the last cab drive of Mrs. Verloc's mother's life. 
They went out at the shop door. 

The conveyance awaiting them would have illustrated 
the proverb that "truth can be more cruel than cari- 
cature," if such a proverb existed. Crawling behind an 



158 THE SECRET AGENT. 

infirm horse, a metropolitan hackney carriage drew up on 
wobbly wheels and with a maimed driver on the box. 
This last peculiarity caused some embarrassment. Catch- 
ing sight of a hooked iron contrivance protruding from 
the left sleeve of the man's coat, Mrs. Verloc's mother 
lost suddenly the heroic courage of these days. She really 
couldn't trust herself. "What do you think, Winnie?" 
She hung back. The passionate expostulations of the 
big-faced cabman seemed to be squeezed out of a blocked 
throat Leaning over from his box, he whispered with 
mysterious indignation. What was the matter now? Was 
it possible to treat a man so? His enormous and un- 
washed countenance flamed red in the muddy stretch of 
the street. Was it likely they would have given him a 
licence, he inquired desperately, if 

The police constable of the locality quieted him by' a 
friendly glance; then addressing himself to the two women 
without marked consideration, said: 

"He's been driving a cab for twenty years. I never 
knew him to have an accident" 

"Accident!" shouted the driver in a scornful whisper. 

The policeman's testimony settled it The modest 
assemblage of seven people, mostly under age, dispersed. 
Winnie followed her mother into the cab. Stevie climbed 
on the box. His vacant mouth and distressed eyes de- 
picted the state of his mind in regard to the transactions 
which were taking place. In the narrow streets the pro- 
gress of the journey was made sensible to those within 
by the near fronts of the houses gliding past slowly and 
shakily, with a great rattle and jingling of glass, as if about 
to collapse behind the cab; and the infirm horse, with the 
harness hung over his sharp backbone flapping very loose 
about his thighs, appeared to be dancing mincingly on his 



THE SECRET AGENT. I5Q 

toes with infinite patience. Later on, in the wider space 
of Whitehall, all visual evidences of motion became im- 
perceptible. The rattle and jingle of glass went on in- 
definitely in front of the long Treasury building and 
time itself seemed to stand still. 

At last Winnie observed: "This isn't a very good horse." 

Her eyes gleamed in the shadow of the cab straight 
ahead, immovable. On the box, Stevie shut his vacant 
mouth first, in order to ejaculate earnestly: "Don't." 

The driver, holding high the reins twisted around the 
hook, took no notice. Perhaps he had not heard. Stevie's 
breast heaved. 

"Don't whip." 

The man turned slowly his bloated and sodden face 
of many colours bristling with white hairs. His little red 
eyes glistened with moisture. His big lips had a violet 
tint. They remained closed. With the dirty back of his 
whip-hand he rubbed the stubble sprouting on his enor- 
mous chin. 

"You mustn't," stammered out Stevie violently. "It 
hurts." 

"Mustn't whip," queried the other in a thoughtful 
whisper, and immediately whipped. He did this, not be- 
cause his soul was cruel and his heart evil, but because 
he had to earn his fare. And for a time the walls of St. 
Stephen's, with its towers and pinnacles, contemplated in 
immobility and silence a cab that jingled. It rolled too, 
however. But on the bridge there was a commotion. 
Stevie suddenly proceeded to get down from the box. 
There were shouts on the pavement, people ran forward, 
the driver pulled up, whispering curses of indignation and 
astonishment. W T innie lowered the window, and put her 
head out, white as a ghost. In the depths of the cab, her 



l6o THE SECRET AGENT. 

mother was exclaiming, in tones of anguish: "Is that boy 
hurt? Is that boy hurt?" 

Stevie was not hurt, he had not even fallen, but ex- 
citement as usual had robbed him of the power of con- 
nected speech. He could do no more than stammer at 
the window: "Too heavy. Too heavy." Winnie put out 
her hand onto his shoulder. 

"Stevie! Get up on the box directly, and don't try 
to get down again." 

"No. No. Walk. Must walk." 

In trying to state the nature of that necessity he 
stammered himself into utter incoherence. No physical 
impossibility stood in the way of his whim. Stevie could 
have managed easily to keep pace with the infirm, dan- 
cing horse without getting out of breath. But his sister with- 
held her consent decisively. "The idea! Who ever heard 
of such a thing! Run after a cab!" Her mother, fright- 
ened and helpless in the depths of the conveyance, en- 
treated : 

"Oh, don't let him, Winnie. He'll get lost. Don't 
let him." 

"Certainly not What next! Mr. Verloc will be sorry 
to hear of this nonsense, Stevie, I can tell you. He 
won't be happy at all." 

The idea of Mr. Verloc's grief and unhappiness acting 
as usual powerfully upon Stevie's fundamentally docile 
disposition, he abandoned all resistance, and climbed up 
again on the box, with a face of despair. 

The cabby turned at him his enormous and inflamed 
countenance truculently. "Don't you go for trying this 
silly game again, young fellow." 

After delivering himself thus in a stern whisper, strained 
almost to extinction, he drove on, ruminating solemnly. To 



THE SECRET AGENT. l6l 

his mind the incident remained somewhat obscure. But 
his intellect, though it had lost its pristine vivacity in the 
benumbing years of sedentary exposure to the weather, 
lacked not independence or sanity. Gravely he dismissed 
the hypothesis of Stevie being a drunken young nipper. 

Inside the cab the spell of silence, in which the two 
women had endured shoulder to shoulder the jolting, 
rattling, and jingling of the journey, had been broken by 
Stevie's outbreak. Winnie raised her voice. 

"You've done what you wanted, mother. You'll have 
only yourself to thank for it if you aren't happy afterwards. 
And I don't think you'll be. That I don't. Weren't you 
comfortable enough in the house? Whatever people'll 
think of us you throwing yourself like this on a Charity?" 

"My dear," screamed the old woman earnestly above 
the noise, "you've been the best of daughters to me. As 
to Mr. Verloc there " 

Words failing her on the subject of Mr. Verloc's ex- 
cellence, she turned her old tearful eyes to the roof of the 
cab. Then she averted her head on the pretence of look- 
ing out of the window, as if to judge of their progress. It 
was insignificant, and went on close to the curbstone. 
Night, the early dirty night, the sinister, noisy, hopeless 
and rowdy night of South London, had overtaken her on 
her last cab drive. In the gas-light of the low-fronted 
shops her big cheeks glowed with an orange hue under 
a black and mauve bonnet. 

Mrs. Verloc's mother's complexion had become yellow 
by the effect of age and from a natural predisposition to 
biliousness, favoured by the trials of a difficult and worried 
existence, first as wife, then as widow. It was a com- 
plexion, that under the influence of a blush would take 
on an orange tint And this woman, modest indeed but 

The Secret Agent. 1 1 



I 62 THE SECRET AGENT. 

hardened in the fires of adversity, of an age, moreover, 
when blushes are not expected, had positively blushed 
before her daughter. In the privacy of a four-wheeler, 
on her way to a charity cottage (one of a row) which by 
the exiguity of its dimensions and the simplicity of its 
accommodation, might well have been devised in kindness 
as a place of training for the still more straitened circum- 
stances of the grave, she was forced to hide from her 
own child a blush of remorse and shame. 

Whatever people will think? She knew very well what 
they did think, the people Winnie had in her mind the 
old friends of her husband, and others too, whose interest 
she had solicited with such flattering success. She had 
not known before what a good beggar she could be. But 
she guessed very well what inference was drawn from her 
application. On account of that shrinking delicacy, which 
exists side by side with aggressive brutality in masculine 
nature, the inquiries into her circumstances had not been 
pushed very far. She had checked them by a visible 
compression of the lips and some display of an emotion 
determined to be eloquently silent. And the men would 
become suddenly incurious, after the manner of their kind. 
She congratulated herself more than once on having no- 
thing to do with women, who being naturally more callous 
and avid of details, would have been anxious to be exactly 
informed by what sort of unkind conduct her daughter 
and son-in-law had driven her to that sad extremity. It 
was only before the Secretary of the great brewer M.P. 
and Chairman of the Charity, who, acting for his principal, 
felt bound to be conscientiously inquisitive as to the real 
circumstances of the applicant, that she had burst into 
tears outright and aloud, as a cornered woman will weep. 
The thin and polite gentleman, after contemplating her 



THE SECRET AGENT. 163 

with an air of being "struck all of a heap," abandoned 
his position under the cover of soothing remarks. She 
must not distress herself. The deed of the Charity did 
not absolutely specify "childless widows." In fact, it did 
not by any means disqualify her. But the discretion of 
the Committee must be an informed discretion. One could 
understand very well her unwillingness to be a burden, etc. etc. 
Thereupon, to his profound disappointment, Mrs. Verloc's 
mother wept some more with an augmented vehemence. 

The tears of that large female in a dark, dusty wig, 
and ancient silk dress festooned with dingy white cotton 
lace, were the tears of genuine distress. She had wept 
because she was heroic and unscrupulous and full of love 
for both her children. Girls frequently get sacrificed to 
the welfare of the boys. In this case she was sacrificing 
Winnie. By the suppression of truth she was slandering 
her. Of course, Winnie was independent, and need not 
care for the opinion of people that she would never see 
and who would never see her; whereas poor Stevie had 
nothing in the world he could call his own except his 
mother's heroism and unscrupulousness. 

The first sense of security following on Winnie's mar- 
riage wore off in time (for nothing lasts), and Mrs. Verloc's 
mother, in the seclusion of the back bedroom, had recalled 
the teaching of that experience which the world im- 
presses upon a widowed woman. But she had recalled it 
without vain bitterness; her store of resignation amounted 
almost to dignity. She reflected stoically that everything 
decays, wears out, in this world; that the way of kindness 
should be made easy to the well disposed; that her 
daughter Winnie was a most devoted sister, and a very 
self-confident wife indeed. As regards Winnie's sisterly 
devotion, her stoicism flinched. She excepted that senti- 

n* 



164 THE SECRET AGENT. 

ment from the rule of decay affecting all things human 
and some things divine. She could not help it; not to 
do so would have frightened her too much. But in con- 
sidering the conditions of her daughter's married state, 
she rejected firmly all flattering illusions. She took the 
cold and reasonable view that the less strain put on Mr. 
Verloc's kindness the longer its effects were likely to last 
That excellent man loved his wife, of course, but he 
would, no doubt, prefer to keep as few of her relations as 
was consistent with the proper display of that sentiment. 
It would be better if its whole effect were concentrated on 
poor Stevie. And the heroic old woman resolved on going 
away from her children as an act of devotion and as a 
move of deep policy. 

The "virtue" of this policy consisted in this (Mrs. 
Verloc's mother was subtle in her way), that Stevie's moral 
claim would be strengthened. The poor boy a good, 
useful boy, if a little peculiar had not a sufficient stand- 
ing. He had been taken over with his mother, somewhat 
in the same way as the furniture of the Belgravian man- 
sion had been taken over, as if on the ground of belong- 
ing to her exclusively. What will happen, she asked her- 
self (for Mrs. Verloc's mother was in a measure imagina- 
tive), when I die? And when she asked herself that 
question it was with dread. It was also terrible to think 
that she would not then have the means of knowing what 
happened to the poor boy. But by making him over to 
his sister, by going thus away, she gave him the advan- 
tage of a directly dependent position. This was the more 
subtle sanction of Mrs. Verloc's mother's heroism and un- 
scrupulousness. Her act of abandonment was really an 
arrangement for settling her son permanently in life. 
Other people made material sacrifices for such an ob- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 165 

ject, she in that way. It was the only way. Moreover, 
she would be able to see how it worked. Ill or well she 
would avoid the horrible incertitude on the death-bed. 
But it was hard, hard, cruelly hard. 

The cab rattled, jingled, jolted; in fact, the last was 
quite extraordinary. By its disproportionate violence and 
magnitude it obliterated every sensation of onward move- 
ment; and the effect was of being shaken in a stationary 
apparatus like a mediaeval device for the punishment of 
crime, or some very new-fangled invention for the cure of 
a sluggish liver. It was extremely distressing; and the 
raising of Mrs. Verloc's mother's voice sounded like a wail 
of pain. 

"I know, my dear, you'll come to see me as often as 
you can spare the time. Won't you?" 

"Of course," answered Winnie shortly, staring straight 
before her. 

And the cab jolted in front of a steamy, greasy shop 
in a blaze of gas and in the smell of fried fish. 

The old woman raised a wail again. 

"And, my dear, I must see that poor boy every Sun- 
day. He won't mind spending the day with his old 
mother 

Winnie screamed out stolidly: 

"Mind! I should think not. That poor boy will miss 
you something cruel. I wish you had thought a little of 
that, mother." 

Not think of it! The heroic woman swallowed a play- 
ful and inconvenient object like a billiard ball, which had 
tried to jump out of her throat. Winnie sat mute for 
awhile, pouting at the front of the cab, then snapped 
out, which was an unusual tone with her: 



1 66 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"I expect I'll have a job with him at first, he'll be 
that restless " 

"Whatever you do, don't let him worry your husband, 
my dear." 

Thus they discussed on familiar lines the bearings of 
a new situation. And the cab jolted. Mrs. Verloc's mother 
expressed some misgivings. Could Stevie be trusted to 
come all that way alone? Winnie maintained that he was 
much less "absent-minded" now. They agreed as to that. 
It could not be denied. Much less hardly at all. They 
shouted at each other in the jingle with comparative cheer- 
fulness. But suddenly the maternal anxiety broke out 
afresh. There were two omnibuses to take, and a short 
walk between. Is was too difficult! The old woman gave 
way to grief and consternation. 

Winnie stared forward. 

"Don't you upset yourself like this, mother. You 
must see him, of course." 

"No, my dear. I'll try not to." 

She mopped her streaming eyes. 

"But you can't spare the time to come with him, and 
if he should forget himself and lose his way and some- 
body spoke to him sharply, his name and address may slip 
his memory, and he'll remain lost for days and days 

The vision of a workhouse infirmary for poor Stevie 
if only during inquiries wrung her heart. For she was 
a proud woman. Winnie's stare had grown hard, intent, 
inventive. 

"I can't bring him to you myself every week," she 
cried. "But don't you worry, mother. I'll see to it that 
he don't get lost for long." 

They felt a peculiar bump; a vision of brick pillars 
lingered before the rattling windows of the cab; a sudden 



THE SECRET AGENT. 167 

cessation of atrocious jolting and uproarious jingling dazed 
the two women. What had happened? They sat motion- 
less and scared in the profound stillness, till the door came 
open, and a rough, strained whispering was heard: 

"Here you are!" 

A range of gabled little houses, each with one dim 
yellow window, on the ground floor, surrounded the dark 
open space of a grass plot planted with shrubs and railed 
off from the patchwork of lights and shadows in the wide 
road, resounding with the dull rumble of traffic. Before 
the door of one of these tiny houses one without a light 
in the little downstairs window the cab had come to a 
standstill. Mrs. Verloc's mother got out first, backwards, 
with a key in her hand. Winnie lingered on the flag- 
stone path to pay the cabman. Stevie, after helping to 
carry inside a lot of small parcels, came out and stood 
under the light of a gas-lamp belonging to the Charity. 
The cabman looked at the pieces of silver, which, appear- 
ing very minute in his big, grimy palm, symbolised the 
insignificant results which reward the ambitious courage 
and toil of a mankind whose day is short on this earth 
of evil. 

He had been paid decently four one-shilling pieces 
and he contemplated them in perfect stillness, as if 
they had been the surprising terms of a melancholy 
problem. The slow transfer of that treasure to an inner 
pocket demanded much laborious groping in the depths 
of decayed clothing. His form was squat and without 
flexibility. Stevie, slender, his shoulders a little up, and 
his hands thrust deep in the side pockets of his warm 
overcoat, stood at the edge of the path, pouting. 

The cabman, pausing in his deliberate movements, 
seemed struck by some misty recollection. 



1 68 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"Oh! 'Ere you are, young fellow," he whispered. 
"You'll know him again won't you?" 

Stevie was staring at the horse, whose hind quarters 
appeared unduly elevated by the effect of emaciation. 
The little stiff tail seemed to have been fitted in for a 
heartless joke; and at the other end the thin, flat neck, 
like a plank covered with old horse-hide, drooped to the 
ground under the weight of an enormous bony head. The 
ears hung at different angles, negligently; and the macabre 
figure of that mute dweller on the earth steamed straight 
up from ribs and backbone in the muggy stillness of 
the air. 

The cabman struck lightly Stevie's breast with the iron 
hook protruding from a ragged, greasy sleeve. 

"Look 'ere, young feller. 'Ow'd you like to sit behind 
this 'oss up to two o'clock in the morning p'raps?" 

Stevie looked vacantly into the fierce little eyes with 
red-edged lids. 

"He ain't lame," pursued the other, whispering with 
energy. "He ain't got no sore places on 'im. 'Ere he is. 
'Ow would you like " 

His strained, extinct voice invested his utterance with 
a character of vehement secrecy. Stevie's vacant gaze 
was changing slowly into dread. 

"You may well look! Till three and four o'clock in 
the morning. Cold and 'ungry. Looking for fares. Drunks." 

His jovial purple cheeks bristled with white hairs; 
and like Virgil's Silenus, who, his face smeared with the 
juice of berries, discoursed of Olympian Gods to the in- 
nocent shepherds of Sicily, he talked to Stevie of domestic 
matters and the affairs of men whose sufferings are great 
and immortality by no means assured. 

"I am a night cabby, I am," he whispered, with a 



THE SECRET AGENT. 1 69 

sort of boastful exasperation. "I've got to take out what 
they will blooming well give me at the yard. I've got 
my missus and four kids at 'ome." 

The monstrous nature of that declaration of paternity 
seemed to strike the world dumb. A silence reigned, 
during which the flanks of the old horse, the steed of 
apocalyptic misery, smoked upwards in the light of the 
charitable gas-lamp. 

The cabman grunted, then added in his mysterious 
whisper: 

"This ain't an easy world." 

Stevie's face had been twitching for some time, and 
at last his feelings burst out in their usual concise form. 

"Bad! Bad!" 

His gaze remained fixed on the ribs of the horse, self- 
conscious and sombre, as though he were afraid to look 
about him at the badness of the world. And his slender- 
ness, his rosy lips and pale, clear complexion, gave him 
the aspect of a delicate boy, notwithstanding the fluffy 
growth of golden hair on his cheeks. He pouted in a 
scared way like a child. The cabman, short and broad, 
eyed him with his fierce little eyes that seemed to smart 
in a clear and corroding liquid. 

"'Ard on 'osses, but dam' sight 'arder on poor chaps 
like me," he wheezed just audibly. 

"Poor! Poor!" stammered out Stevie, pushing his 
hands deeper into his pockets with convulsive sympathy. 
He could say nothing; for the tenderness to all pain and 
all misery, the desire to make the horse happy and the 
cabman happy, had reached the point of a bizarre long- 
ing to take them to bed with him. And that, he knew, 
was impossible. For Stevie was not mad. It was, as it 
were, a symbolic longing; and at the same time it was 



170 THE SECRET AGENT. 

very distinct, because springing from experience, the mother 
of wisdom. Thus when as a child he cowered in a dark 
corner scared, wretched, sore, and miserable with the 
black, black misery of the soul, his sister Winnie used to 
come along, and carry him off to bed with her, as into a 
heaven of consoling peace. Stevie, though apt to forget 
mere facts, such as his name and address for instance, 
had a faithful memory of sensations. To be taken into a 
bed of compassion was the supreme remedy, with the only 
one disadvantage of being difficult of application on a 
large scale. And looking at the cabman, Stevie perceived 
this clearly, because he was reasonable. 

The cabman went on with his leisurely preparations 
as if Steevie had not existed. He made as if to hoist 
himself on the box, but at the last moment from some 
obscure motive, perhaps merely from disgust with carriage 
exercise, desisted. He approached instead the motionless 
partner of his labours, and stooping to seize the bridle, 
lifted up the big, weary head to the height of his shoulder 
with one effort of his right arm, like a feat of strength. 

"Come on," he whispered secretly. 

Limping, he led the cab away. There was an air of 
austerity in this departure, the scrunched gravel of the 
drive crying out under the slowly turning wheels, the 
horse's lean thighs moving with ascetic deliberation away 
from the light into the obscurity of the open space bor- 
dered dimly by the pointed roofs and the feebly shining 
windows of the little alms-houses. The plaint of the 
gravel travelled slowly all round the drive. Between the 
lamps of the charitable gateway the slow cortege reap- 
peared, lighted up for a moment, the short, thick man 
limping busily, with the horse's head held aloft in his fist, 
the lank animal walking in stiff and forlorn dignity, the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 17 I 

dark, low box on wheels rolling behind comically with an 
air of waddling. They turned to the left. There was a 
pub down the street, within fifty yards of the gate. 

Stevie left alone beside the private lamp-post of the 
Charity, his hands thrust deep into his pockets, glared 
with vacant sulkiness. At the bottom of his pockets his 
incapable weak hands were clinched hard into a pair of 
angry fists. In the face of anything which affected 
directly or indirectly his morbid dread of pain, Stevie 
ended by turning vicious. A magnanimous indignation 
swelled his frail chest to bursting, and caused his candid 
eyes to squint. Supremely wise in knowing his own 
powerlessness, Stevie was not wise enough to restrain his 
passions. The tenderness of his universal charity had two 
phases as indissolubly joined and connected as the reverse 
and obverse sides of a medal. The anguish of immo- 
derate compassion was succeeded by the pain of an in- 
nocent but pitiless rage. Those two states expressing 
themselves outwardly by the same signs of futile bodily 
agitation, his sister Winnie soothed his excitement without 
ever fathoming its twofold character. Mrs. Verloc wasted 
no portion of this transient life in seeking for fundamental 
information. This is a sort of economy having all the 
appearances and some of the advantages of prudence. 
Obviously it may be good for one not to know too much. 
And such a view accords very well with constitutional 
indolence. 

On that evening on which it may be said that Mrs. 
Verloc's mother having parted for good from her children 
had also departed this life, Winnie Verloc did not in- 
vestigate her brother's psychology. The poor boy was 
excited, of course. After once more assuring the old 
woman on the threshold that she would know how to 



172 THE SECRET AGENT. 

guard against the risk of Stevie losing himself for very 
long on his pilgrimages of filial piety, she took her brother's 
arm to walk away. Stevie did not even mutter to himself, 
but with the special sense of sisterly devotion developed 
in her earliest infancy, she felt that the boy was very 
much excited indeed. Holding tight to his arm, under 
the appearance of leaning on it, she thought of some words 
suitable to the occasion. 

"Now, Stevie, you must look well after me at the 
crossings, and get first into the 'bus, like a good brother." 

This appeal to manly protection was received by 
Stevie with his usual docility. It flattered him. He 
raised his head and threw out his chest. 

"Don't be nervous, Winnie. Mustn't be nervous! 
'Bus all right," he answered in a brusque, slurring stammer 
partaking of the timorousness of a child and the resolu- 
tion of a man. He advanced fearlessly with the woman 
on his arm, but his lower lip dropped. Nevertheless, on 
the pavement of the squalid and wide thoroughfare, whose 
poverty in all the amenities of life stood foolishly exposed 
by a mad profusion of gas-lights, their resemblance to 
each other was so pronounced as to strike the casual 
passers-by. 

Before the doors of the public-house at the corner, 
where the profusion of gas-light reached the height of 
positive wickedness, a four-wheeled cab standing by the 
curbstone with no one on the box, seemed cast out into 
the gutter on account of irremediable decay. Mrs. Verloc 
recognised the conveyance. Its aspect was so profoundly 
lamentable, with such a perfection of grotesque misery 
and weirdness of macabre detail, as if it were the Cab of 
Death itself, that Mrs. Verloc, with that ready compas- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 173 

sion of a woman for a horse (when she is not sitting be- 
hind him), exclaimed vaguely: 

"Poor brute!" 

Hanging back suddenly, Stevie inflicted an arresting 
jerk upon his sister. 

"Poor! Poor!" he ejaculated appreciatively. "Cab- 
man poor too. He told me himself." 

The contemplation of the infirm and lonely steed over- 
came him. Jostled, but obstinate, he would remain there, 
trying to express the view newly opened to his sympathies 
of the human and equine misery in close association. But 
it was very difficult. "Poor brute, poor people!" was all 
he could repeat. It did not seem forcible enough, and 
he came to a stop with an angry splutter: "Shame!" 
Stevie was no master of phrases, and perhaps for that very 
reason his thoughts lacked clearness and precision. But 
he felt with greater completeness and some profundity. 
That little word contained all his sense of indignation and 
horror at one sort of wretchedness having to feed upon 
the anguish of the other at the poor cabman beating 
the poor horse in the name, as it were, of his poor kids 
at home. And Stevie knew what it was to be beaten. 
He knew it from experience. It was a bad world. Bad! 
Bad! 

Mrs. Verloc, his only sister, guardian, and protector, 
could not pretend to such depths of insight. Moreover, 
she had not experienced the magic of the cabman's 
eloquence. She was in the dark as to the inwardness of 
the word "Shame." And she said placidly: 

"Come along, Stevie. You can't help that." 

The docile Stevie went along; but now he went along 
without pride, shamblingly, and muttering half words, and 
even words that would have been whole if they had not 



174 THE SECRET AGENT. 

been made up of halves that did not belong to each 
other. It was as though he had been trying to fit all the 
words he could remember to his sentiments in order to 
get some sort of corresponding idea. And, as a matter 
of fact, he got it at last. He hung back to utter it at 
once. 

"Bad world for poor people." 

Directly he had expressed that thought he became 
aware that it was familiar to him already in all its con- 
sequences. This circumstance strengthened his conviction 
immensely, but also augmented his indignation. Some- 
body, he felt, ought to be punished for it punished with 
great severity. Being no sceptic, but a moral creature, 
he was in a manner at the mercy of his righteous passions. 

"Beastly!" he added concisely. 

It was clear to Mrs. Verloc that he was greatly ex- 
cited. 

"Nobody can help that," she said. "Do come along. 
Is that the way you're taking care of me?" 

Stevie mended his pace obediently. He prided him- 
self on being a good brother. His morality, which was 
very complete, demanded that from him. Yet he was 
pained at the information imparted by his sister Winnie 
who was good. Nobody could help that! He came 
along gloomily, but presently he brightened up. Like the 
rest of mankind, perplexed by the mystery of the universe, 
he had his moments of consoling trust in the organised 
powers of the earth. 

"Police," he suggested confidently. 

"The police aren't for that," observed Mrs. Verloc 
cursorily, hurrying on her way. 

Stevie's face lengthened considerably. He was think- 
ing. The more intense his thinking, the slacker was the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 175 

droop of his lower jaw. And it was with an aspect of 
hopeless vacancy that he gave up his intellectual enter- 
prise. 

"Not for that?" he mumbled, resigned but surprised. 
"Not for that?" He had formed for himself an ideal 
conception of the metropolitan police as a sort of bene- 
volent institution for the suppression of evil. The notion 
of benevolence especially was very closely associated with 
his sense of the power of the men in blue. He had liked 
all police constables tenderly, with a guileless trustfulness. 
And he was pained. He was irritated, too, by a suspicion 
of duplicity in the members of the force. For Stevie was 
frank and as open as the day himself. What did they 
mean by pretending then? Unlike his sister, who put her 
trust in face values, he wished to go to the bottom of the 
matter. He carried on his inquiry by means of an angry 
challenge. 

"What for are they then, Winn? What are they for? 
Tell me." 

Winnie disliked controversy. But fearing most a fit 
of black depression consequent on Stevie missing his 
mother very much at first, she did not altogether decline 
the discussion. Guiltless of all irony, she answered yet 
in a form which was not perhaps unnatural in the wife 
of Mr. Verloc, Delegate of the Central Red Committee, 
personal friend of certain anarchists, and a votary of social 
revolution. 

"Don't you know what the police are for, Stevie? They 
are there so that them as have nothing shouldn't take 
anything away from them who have." 

She avoided using the verb "to steal," because it 
always made her brother uncomfortable. For Stevie was 
delicately honest. Certain simple principles had been in- 



176 THE SECRET AGENT. 

stilled into him so anxiously (on account of his "queer- 
ness") that the mere names of certain transgressions filled 
him with horror. He had been always easily impressed 
by speeches. He was impressed and startled now, and 
his intelligence was very alert. 

"What?" he asked at once anxiously. "Not even if 
they were hungry? Mustn't they?" 

The two had paused in their walk. 

"Not if they were ever so," said Mrs. Verloc, with the 
equanimity of a person untroubled by the problem of the 
distribution of wealth, and exploring the perspective of 
the roadway for an omnibus of the right colour. "Cer- 
tainly not. But what's the use of talking about all that? 
You aren't ever hungry." 

She cast a swift glance at the boy, like a young man, 
by her side. She saw him amiable, attractive, affectionate, 
and only a little, a very little, peculiar. And she could 
not see him otherwise, for he was connected with what 
there was of the salt of passion in her tasteless life the 
passion of indignation, of courage, of pity, and even of 
self-sacrifice. She did not add: "And you aren't likely 
ever to be as long as I live." But she might very well 
have done so, since she had taken effectual steps to that 
end. Mr. Verloc was a very good husband. It was her 
honest impression that nobody could help liking the boy. 
She cried out suddenly: 

"Quick, Stevie. Stop that green 'bus." 

And Stevie, tremulous and important with his sister 
Winnie on his arm, flung up the other high above his 
head at the approaching 'bus, with complete success. 

An hour afterwards Mr. Verloc raised his eyes from a 
newspaper he was reading, or at any rate looking at, be- 
hind the counter, and in the expiring clatter of the door- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 177 

bell beheld Winnie, his wife, enter and cross the shop on 
her way upstairs, followed by Stevie, his brother-in-law. 
The sight of his wife was agreeable to Mr. Verloc. It 
was his idiosyncrasy. The figure of his brother-in-law re- 
mained imperceptible to him because of the morose thought- 
fulness that lately had fallen like a veil between Mr. Verloc 
and the appearances of the world of senses. He looked 
after his wife fixedly, without a word, as though she had 
been a phantom. His voice for home use was husky and 
placid, but now it was heard not at all. It was not heard 
at supper, to which he was called by his wife in the usual 
brief manner: "Adolf." He sat down to consume it with- 
out conviction, wearing his hat pushed far back on his 
head. It was not devotion to an outdoor life, but the 
frequentation of foreign cafe's which was responsible for 
that habit, investing with a character of unceremonious 
impermanency Mr. Verloc's steady fidelity to his own fire- 
side. Twice at the clatter of the cracked bell he arose 
without a word, disappeared into the shop, and came 
back silently. During these absences Mrs. Verloc, be- 
coming acutely aware of the vacant place at her right 
hand, missed her mother very much, and stared stonily; 
while Stevie, from the same reason, kept on shuffling his 
feet, as though the floor under the table were uncomfort- 
ably hot. When Mr. Verloc returned to sit in his place, 
like the very embodiment of silence, the character of Mrs. 
Verloc's stare underwent a subtle change, and Stevie 
ceased to fidget with his feet, because of his great and 
awed regard for his sister's husband. He directed at him 
glances of respectful compassion. Mr. Verlor was sorry. 
His sister Winnie had impressed upon him (in the omni- 
bus) that Mr. Verloc would be found at home in a state 
of sorrow, and must not be worried. His father's anger, 

The Secret Agent. I 2 



178 THE SECRET AGENT. 

the irritability of gentlemen lodgers, and Mr. Verloc's pre- 
disposition to immoderate grief, had been the main sanc- 
tions of Stevie's self-restraint. Of these sentiments, all 
easily provoked, but not always easy to understand, the 
last had the greatest moral efficiency because Mr. Verloc 
was good. His mother and his sister had established that 
ethical fact on an unshakable foundation. They had 
established, erected, consecrated it behind Mr. Verloc's 
back, for reasons that had nothing to do with abstract 
morality. And Mr. Verloc was not aware of it. It is but 
bare justice to him to say that he had no notion of ap- 
pearing good to Stevie. Yet so it was. He was even the 
only man so qualified in Stevie's knowledge, because the 
gentlemen lodgers had been too transient and too remote 
to have anything very distinct about them but perhaps 
their boots; and as regards the disciplinary measures of 
his father, the desolation of his mother and sister shrank 
from setting up a theory of goodness before the victim. 
It would have been too cruel. And it was even possible 
that Stevie would not have believed them. As far as Mr. 
Verloc was concerned, nothing could stand in the way of 
Stevie's belief. Mr. Verloc was obviously yet mysteriously 
good. And the grief of a good man is august. 

Stevie gave glances of reverential compassion to his 
brother-in-law. Mr. Verloc was sorry. The brother of 
Winnie had never before felt himself in such close com- 
munion with the mystery of that man's goodness. It was 
an understandable sorrow. And Stevie himself was sorry. 
He was very sorry. The same sort of sorrow. And his 
attention being drawn to this unpleasant state, Stevie 
shuffled his feet. His feelings were habitually manifested 
by the agitation of his limbs. 

"Keep your feet quiet, dear," said Mrs. Verloc, with 



THE SECRET AGENT. 179 

authority and tenderness; then turning towards her hus- 
band in an indifferent voice, the masterly achievement of 
instinctive tact: "Are you going out to-night?" she 
asked. 

The mere suggestion seemed repugnant to Mr. Verloc. 
He shook his head moodily, and then sat still with down- 
cast eyes, looking at the piece of cheese on his plate for 
a whole minute. At the end of that time he got up, and 
went out went right out in the clatter of the shop-door 
bell. He acted thus inconsistently, not from any desire 
to make himself unpleasant, but because of an unconquer- 
able restlessness. It was no earthly good going out. He 
could not find anywhere in London what he wanted. 
But he went out. He led a cortege of dismal thoughts 
along dark streets, through lighted streets, in and out of 
two flash bars, as if in a half-hearted attempt to make a 
night of it, and finally back again to his menaced home, 
where he sat down fatigued behind the counter, and they 
crowded urgently round him, like a pack of hungry black 
hounds. After locking up the house and putting out the 
gas he took them upstairs with him a dreadful escort 
for a man going to bed. His wife had preceded him 
some time before, and with her ample form defined vaguely 
under the counterpane, her head on the pillow, and a 
hand under the cheek, offered to his distraction the view 
of early drowsiness arguing the possession of an equable 
soul. Her big eyes stared wide open, inert and dark 
against the snowy whiteness of the linen. She did not 
move. 

She had an equable soul. She felt profoundly that 
things do not stand much looking into. She made her 
force and her wisdom of that instinct. But the taciturnity 
of Mr. Verloc had been lying heavily upon her for a good 

12* 



l8o THE SECRET AGEI*T. 

many days. It was, as a matter of fact, affecting her 
nerves. Recumbent and motionless, she said placidly: 

"You'll catch cold walking about in your socks like 
this." 

This speech, becoming the solicitude of the wife and 
the prudence of the woman, took Mr. Verloc unawares. 
He had left his boots downstairs, but he had forgotten to 
put on his slippers, and he had been turning about the 
bedroom on noiseless pads like a bear in a cage. At the 
sound of his wife's voice he stopped and stared at her 
with a somnambulistic, expressionless gaze so long that 
Mrs. Verloc moved her limbs slightly under the bed- 
clothes. But she did not move her black head sunk in 
the white pillow, one hand under her cheek, and the big, 
dark, unwinking eyes. 

Under her husband's expressionless stare, and re- 
membering her mother's empty room across the landing, 
she felt an acute pang of loneliness. She had never been 
parted from her mother before. They had stood by each 
other. She felt that they had, and she said to herself that 
now mother was gone gone for good. Mrs. Verloc had 
no illusions. Stevie remained, however. And she said: 

"Mother's done what she wanted to do. There's no 
sense in it that I can see. I'm sure she couldn't have 
thought you had enough of her. It's perfectly wicked, 
leaving us like that." 

Mr. Verloc was not a well-read person; his range of 
allusive phrases was limited, but there was a peculiar apt- 
ness in circumstances which made him think of rats 
leaving a doomed ship. He very nearly said so. He had 
grown suspicious and embittered. Could it be that the 
old woman had such an excellent nose? But the un- 
reasonableness of such a suspicion was patent, and Mr. 



THE SECRET AGENT. l8l 

Verloc held his tongue. Not altogether, however. He 
muttered heavily: 

"Perhaps it's just as well." 

He began to undress. Mrs. Verloc kept very still, 
perfectly still, with her eyes fixed in a dreamy, quiet stare. 
And her heart for the fraction of a second seemed to 
stand still too. That night she was "not quite herself," 
as the saying is, and it was borne upon her with some 
force that a simple sentence may hold several diverse 
meanings mostly disagreeable. How was it just as well? 
And why ? But she did not allow herself to fall into the 
idleness of barren speculation. She was rather confirmed 
in her belief that things did not stand being looked into. 
Practical and subtle in her way, she brought Stevie to the 
front without loss of time, because in her the singleness 
of purpose had the unerring nature and the force of an 
instinct. 

"What I am going to do to cheer up that boy for 
the first few days I'm sure I don't know. He'll be worry- 
ing himself from morning till night before he gets used to 
mother being away. And he's such a good boy. I couldn't 
do without him." 

Mr. Verloc went on divesting himself of his clothing 
with the unnoticing inward concentration of a man un- 
dressing in the solitude of a vast and hopeless desert. 
For thus inhospitably did this fair earth, our common in- 
heritance, present itself to the mental vision of Mr. Verloc. 
All was so still without and within that the lonely ticking 
of the clock on the landing stole into the room as if for 
the sake of company. 

Mr. Verloc, getting into bed on his own side, re- 
mained prone and mute behind Mrs. Verloc's back. His 
thick arms rested abandoned on the outside of the counter- 



I 82 THE SECRET AGENT. 

pane like dropped weapons, like discarded tools. At that 
moment he was within a hair's breadth of making a 
clean breast of it all to his wife. The moment seemed 
propitious. Looking out of the corners of his eyes, he 
saw her ample shoulders draped in white, the back of her 
head, with the hair done for the night in three plaits tied 
up with black tapes at the ends. And he forbore. Mr. 
Verloc loved his wife as a wife should be loved that is, 
maritally, with the regard one has for one's chief pos- 
session. This head arranged for the night, those ample 
shoulders, had an aspect of familiar sacredness the 
sacredness of domestic peace. She moved not, massive and 
shapeless like a recumbent statue in the rough; he re- 
membered her wide-open eyes looking into the empty 
room. She was mysterious, with the mysteriousness of 
living beings. The far-famed secret agent A of the late 
Baron Stott-Wartenheim's alarmist despatches was not the 
man to break into such mysteries. He was easily in- 
timidated. And he was also indolent, with the indolence 
which is so often the secret of good nature. He forbore 
touching that mystery out of love, timidity, and indolence. 
There would be always time enough. For several minutes 
he bore his sufferings silently in the drowsy silence of the 
room. And then he disturbed it by a resolute declaration. 
"I am going on the Continent to-morrow." 
His wife might have fallen asleep already. He could 
not tell. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Verloc had heard 
him. Her eyes remained very wide open, and she lay 
very still, confirmed in her instinctive conviction that 
things don't bear looking into very much. And yet it was 
nothing very unusual for Mr. Verloc to take such a trip. 
He 'renewed his stock from Paris and Brussels. Often he 
went over to make his purchases personally. A little 



THE SECRET AGENT. 183 

select connection of amateurs was forming around the 
shop in Brett Street, a secret connection eminently proper 
for any business undertaken by Mr. Verloc, who, by a 
mystic accord of temperament and necessity, had been 
set apart to be a secret agent all his life. 

He waited for awhile, then added: "I'll be away a 
week or perhaps a fortnight. Get Mrs. Neale to come 
for the day." 

Mrs. Neale was the charwoman of Brett Street. Victim 
of her marriage with a debauched joiner, she was op- 
pressed by the needs of many infant children. Red- 
armed, and aproned in coarse sacking up to the arm- 
pits, she exhaled the anguish of the poor in a breath of 
soap-suds and rum, in the uproar of scrubbing, in the 
clatter of tin pails. 

Mrs. Verloc, full of deep purpose, spoke in the tone 
of the shallowest indifference. 

"There is no need to have the woman here all day. 
I shall do very well with Stevie." 

She let the lonely clock on the landing count off fif- 
teen ticks into the abyss of eternity, and asked: 

"Shall I put the light out?" 

Mr. Verloc snapped at his wife huskily. 

"Put it out." 

IX. 

MR. VERLOC, returning from the Continent at the end 
of ten days, brought back a mind evidently unrefreshed 
by the wonders of foreign travel and a countenance un- 
lighted by the joys of home-coming. He entered in the 
clatter of the shop bell with an air of sombre and vexed 
exhaustion. His bag in hand, his head lowered, he 
strode straight behind the counter, and let himself fall 



184 THE SECRET AGENT. 

into the chair, as though he had tramped all the way 
from Dover. It was early morning. Stevie, dusting 
various objects displayed in the front windows, turned to 
gape at him with reverence and awe. 

"Here!" said Mr. Verloc, giving a slight kick to the 
gladstone bag on the floor; and Stevie flung himself upon 
it, seized it, bore it off with triumphant devotion. He 
was so prompt that Mr. Verloc was distinctly surprised. 

Already at the clatter of the shop bell Mrs. Neale, 
blackleading the parlour grate, had looked through the 
door, and rising from her knees had gone, aproned, and 
grimy with everlasting toil, to tell Mrs. Verloc in the 
kitchen that "there was the master come back." 

Winnie came no farther than the inner shop door. 

"You'll want some breakfast," she said from a dis- 
tance. 

Mr. Verloc moved his hands slightly, as if overcome 
by an impossible suggestion. But once enticed into the 
parlour he did not reject the food set before him. He 
ate as if in a public place, his hat pushed off his fore- 
head, the skirts of his heavy overcoat hanging in a triangle 
on each side of the chair. And across the length of the 
table covered with brown oil-cloth Winnie, his wife, talked 
evenly at him the wifely talk, as artfully adapted, no 
doubt, to the circumstances of this return as the talk of 
Penelope to the return of the wandering Odysseus. Mrs. 
Verloc, however, had done no weaving during her hus- 
band's absence. But she had had all the upstairs room 
cleaned thoroughly, had sold some wares, had seen Mr. 
Michaelis several times. He had told her the last time 
that he was going away to live in a cottage in the country, 
somewhere on the London, Chatham, and Dover line. 
Karl Yundt had come too, once, led under the arm by 



THE SECRET AGENT. 185 

that "wicked old housekeeper of his." He was "a dis- 
gusting old man." Of Comrade Ossipon, whom she had 
received curtly, entrenched behind the counter with a 
stony face and a far-away gaze, she said lathing, her 
mental reference to the robust anarchist being marked by 
a short pause, with the faintest possible blush. And 
bringing in her brother Stevie as soon as she could into 
the current of domestic events, she mentioned that the 
boy had moped a good deal. 

"It's all along of mother leaving us like this." 
Mr. Verloc neither said "Damn!" nor yet "Stevie 
be hanged!" And Mrs. Verloc, not let into the secret 
of his thoughts, failed to appreciate the generosity of this 
restraint. 

"It isn't that he doesn't work as well as ever," she 
continued. "He's been making himself very useful. You'd 
think he couldn't do enough for us." 

Mr. Verloc directed a casual and somnolent glance 
at Stevie, who sat on his right, delicate, pale-faced, his 
rosy mouth open vacantly. It was not a critical glance. 
It had no intention. And if Mr. Verloc thought for a 
moment that his wife's brother looked uncommonly use- 
less, it was only a dull and fleeting thought, devoid of 
that force and durability which enables sometimes a 
thought to move the world. Leaning back, Mr. Verloc 
uncovered his head. Before his extended arm could put 
down the hat Stevie pounced upon it, and bore it off 
reverently into the kitchen. And again Mr. Verloc was 
surprised. 

"You could do anything with that boy, Adolf," Mrs. 
Verloc said, with her best air of inflexible calmness. "He 
would go through fire for you. He 



I 86 THE SECRET AGENT. 

She paused attentive, her ear turned towards the door 
of the kitchen. 

There Mrs. Neale was scrubbing the floor. At Stevie's 
appearance 1 she groaned lamentably, having observed that 
he could be induced easily to bestow for the benefit of 
her infant children the shilling his sister Winnie presented 
him with from time to time. On all fours amongst the 
puddles, wet and begrimed, like a sort of amphibious and 
domestic animal living in ash-bins and dirty water, she 
uttered the usual exordium: "It's all very well for you, 
kept doing nothing like a gentleman." And she followed 
it with the everlasting plaint of the poor, pathetically 
mendacious, miserably authenticated by the horrible breath 
of cheap rum and soap-suds. She scrubbed hard, snuf- 
fling all the time, and talking volubly. And she was 
sincere. And on each side of her thin red nose her 
bleared, misty eyes swam in tears, because she felt really 
the want of some sort of stimulant in the morning. 

In the parlour Mrs. Verloc observed, with knowledge: 

"There's Mrs. Neale at it again with her harrowing 
tales about her little children. They can't be all so little 
as she makes them out. Some of them must be big 
enough by now to try to do something for themselves. It 
only makes Stevie angry." 

These words were confirmed by a thud as of a fist 
striking the kitchen table. In the normal evolution of 
his sympathy Stevie had become angry on discovering 
that he had no shilling in his pocket. In his inability to 
relieve at once Mrs. Neale's "little 'uns'" privations he 
felt that somebody should be made to suffer for it. Mrs. 
Verloc rose, and went into the kitchen to "stop that non- 
sense." And she did it firmly but gently. She was well 
aware that directly Mrs. Neale received her money she 



THE SECRET AGENT. 187 

went round the corner to drink ardent spirits in a mean 
and musty public-house the unavoidable station on the 
via dolorosa of her life. Mrs. Verloc's comment upon this 
practice had an unexpected profundity, as timing from 
a person disinclined to look under the surface of things. 
"Of course, what is she to do to keep up? If I were 
like Mrs. Neale I expect I wouldn't act any different." 

In the afternoon of the same day, as Mr. Verloc, 
coming with a start out of the last of a long series of 
dozes before the parlour fire, declared his intention of 
going out for a walk, Winnie said from the shop: 

"I wish you would take that boy out with you, Adolf." 

For the third time that day Mr. Verloc was surprised. 
He stared stupidly at his wife. She continued in her 
steady manner. The boy, whenever he was not doing 
anything, moped in the house. It made her uneasy; it 
made her nervous, she confessed. And that from the 
calm Winnie sounded like exaggeration. But, in truth, 
Stevie moped in the striking fashion of an unhappy do- 
mestic animal. He would go up on the dark landing, to 
sit on the floor at the foot of the tall clock, with his knees 
drawn up and his head in his hands. To come upon his 
pallid face, with its big eyes gleaming in the dusk, was 
discomposing; to think of him up there was uncomfortable. 

Mr. Verloc got used to the startling novelty of the 
idea. He was fond of his wife as a man should be that 
is, generously. But a weighty objection presented itself to 
his mind, and he formulated it. 

"He'll lose sight of me perhaps, and get lost in the 
street," he said. 

Mrs. Verloc shook her head competently. 

"He won't. You don't know him. That boy just 
worships you. But if you should miss him " 



I 88 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Mrs. Verloc paused for a moment, but only for a 
moment 

"You just go on, and have your walk out. Don't 
worry. He'll be all right. He's sure to turn up safe 
here before very long." 

This optimism procured for Mr. Verloc his fourth sur- 
prise of the day. 

"Is he?" he grunted doubtfully. But perhaps his 
brother-in-law was not such an idiot as he looked. His 
wife would know best. He turned away his heavy eyes, 
saying huskily: "Well, let him come along, then," and 
relapsed into the clutches of black care, that perhaps 
prefers to sit behind a horseman, but knows also how to 
tread close on the heels of people not sufficiently well off 
to keep horses like Mr. Verloc, for instance. 

Winnie, at the shop door, did not see this fatal at- 
tendant upon Mr. Verloc's walks. She watched the two 
figures down the squalid street, one tall and burly, the 
other slight and short, with a thin neck, and the peaked 
shoulders raised slightly under the large semi-transparent 
ears. The material of their overcoats was the same, their 
hats were black and round in shape. Inspired by the 
similarity of wearing apparel, Mrs. Verloc gave rein to 
her fancy. 

"Might be father and son," she said to herself. She 
thought also that Mr. Verloc was as much of a father as 
poor Stevie ever had in his life. She was aware also that 
it was her work. And with peaceful pride she congra- 
tulated herself on a certain resolution she had taken a 
few years before. It had cost her some effort, and even 
a few tears. 

She congratulated herself still more on observing in 
the course of days that Mr. Verloc seemed to be taking 



THE SECRET AGENT. I 89 

kindly to Stevie's companionship. Now, when ready to 
go out for his walk, Mr. Verloc called aloud to the boy, 
in the spirit, no doubt, in which a man invites the attend- 
ance of the household dog, though, of course, in a dif- 
ferent manner. In the house Mr. Verloc could be detected 
staring curiously at Stevie a good deal. His own de- 
meanour had changed. Taciturn still, he was not so 
listless. Mrs. Verloc thought that he was rather jumpy at 
times. It might have been regarded as an improvement. 
As to Stevie, he moped no longer at the foot of the clock, 
but muttered to himself in corners instead in a threaten- 
ing tone. When asked "What is it you're saying, Stevie?" 
he merely opened his mouth, and squinted at his sister. 
At odd times he clenched his fists without apparent cause, 
and when discovered in solitude would be scowling at the 
wall, with the sheet of paper and the pencil given him 
for drawing circles lying blank and idle on the kitchen 
table. This was a change, but it was no improvement. 
Mrs. Verloc including all these vagaries under the general 
definition of excitement, began to fear that Stevie was 
hearing more than was good for him of her husband's 
conversations with his friends. During his "walks" Mr. 
Verloc, of course, met and conversed with various persons. 
It could hardly be otherwise. His walks were an integral 
part of his outdoor activities, which his wife had never 
looked deeply into. Mrs. Verloc felt that the position was 
delicate, but she faced it with the same impenetrable 
calmness which impressed and even astonished the cus- 
tomers of the shop and made the other visitors keep their 
distance a little wonderingly. No! She feared that there 
were things not good for Stevie to hear of, she told her 
husband. It only excited the poor boy, because he could 
not help them being so. Nobody could. 



1QO THE SECRET AGENT. 

It was in the shop. Mr. Verloc made no comment. 
He made no retort, and yet the retort was obvious. But 
he refrained from pointing out to his wife that the idea 
of making Stevie the companion of his walks was her 
own, and nobody else's. At that moment, to an impartial 
observer, Mr. Verloc would have appeared more than 
human in his magnanimity. He took down a small card- 
board box from a shelf, peeped in to see that the con- 
tents were all right, and put it down gently on the 
counter. Not till that was done did he break the silence, 
to the effect that most likely Stevie would profit greatly 
by being sent out of town for awhile; only he supposed 
his wife could not get on without him. 

"Could not get on without him!" repeated Mrs. Verloc 
slowly. "I couldn't get on without him if it were for his 
good! The idea! Of course, I can get on without him. 
But there's nowhere for him to go." 

Mr. Verloc got out some brown paper and a ball of 
string; and meanwhile he muttered that Michaelis was 
living in a little cottage in the country. Michaelis wouldn't 
mind giving Stevie a room to sleep in. There were no 
visitors and no talk there. Michaelis was writing a book. 

Mrs. Verloc declared her affection for Michaelis; men- 
tioned her abhorrence of Karl Yundt, "nasty old man;" 
and of Ossipon she said nothing. As to Stevie, he could 
be no other than very pleased. Mr. Michaelis was always 
so nice and kind to him. He seemed to like the boy. 
Well, the boy was a good boy. 

"You too seem to have grown quite fond of him of 
late," she added, after a pause, with her inflexible assur- 
ance. 

Mr. Verloc tying up the cardboard box into a parcel 
for the post, broke the string by an injudicious jerk, and 



THE SECRET AGENT. ^ IQf 

muttered several swear words confidentially to himself. 
Then raising his tone to the usual husky mutter, he an- 
nounced his willingness to take Stevie into the country 
himself, and leave him all safe with Michaelis. 

He carried out this scheme on the very next day. 
Stevie offered no objection. He seemed rather eager, in 
a bewildered sort of way. He turned his candid gaze in- 
quisitively to Mr. Verloc's heavy countenance at frequent 
intervals, especially when his sister was not looking at 
him. His expression was proud, apprehensive, and con- 
centrated, like that of a small child entrusted for the first 
time with a box of matches and the permission to strike 
a light. But Mrs. Verloc, gratified by her brother's doci- 
lity, recommended him not to dirty his clothes unduly in 
the country. At this Stevie gave his sister, guardian and 
protector a look, which for the first time in his life seemed 
to lack the quality of perfect childlike trustfulness. It was 
haughtily gloomy. Mrs. Verloc smiled. 

"Goodness me! You needn't be offended. You know 
you do get yourself very untidy when you get a chance, 
Stevie." 

Mr. Verloc was already gone some way down the street 

Thus in consequence of her mother's heroic proceed- 
ings, and of her brother's absence on this villegiature, 
Mrs. Verloc found herself oftener than usual all alone not 
only in the shop, but in the house. For Mr. Verloc had 
to take his walks. She was alone longer than usual on 
the day of the attempted bomb outrage in Greenwich 
Park, because Mr. Verloc went out very early that morn- 
ing and did not come back till nearly dusk. She did not 
mind being alone. She had no desire to go out The 
weather was too bad, and the shop was cosier than the 
streets. Sitting behind the counter with some sewing, she 



*9 2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

did not raise her eyes from her work when Mr. Verloc 
entered in the aggressive clatter of the bell. She had 
recognised his step on the pavement outside. 

She did not raise her eyes, but as Mr. Verloc, silent, 
and with his hat rammed down upon his forehead, made 
straight for the parlour door, she said serenely: 

"What a wretched day. You've been perhaps to see 
Stevie?" 

"No! I haven't," said Mr. Verloc softly, and slammed 
the glazed parlour door behind him with unexpected energy. 

For some time Mrs. Verloc remained quiescent, with 
her work dropped in her lap, before she put it away under 
the counter and got up to light the gas. This done, she 
went into the parlour on her way to the kitchen. Mr. 
Verloc would want his tea presently. Confident of the 
power of her charms, Winnie did not expect from her 
husband in the daily intercourse of their married life a 
ceremonious amenity of address and courtliness of manner; 
vain and antiquated forms at best, probably never very 
exactly observed, discarded nowadays even in the highest 
spheres, and always foreign to the standards of her class. 
She did not look for courtesies from him. But he was a 
good husband, and she had a loyal respect for his rights. 

Mrs. Verloc would have gone through the parlour and 
on to her domestic duties in the kitchen with the perfect 
serenity of a woman sure of the power of her charms. 
But a slight, very slight, and rapid rattling sound grew 
upon her hearing. Bizarre and incomprehensible, it 
arrested Mrs. Verloc's attention. Then as its character 
became plain to the ear she stopped short, amazed and 
concerned. Striking a match on the box she held in her 
hand, she turned on and lighted, above the parlour table, 
one of the two gas-burners, which, being defective, first 



THE SECRET AGENT. IQ3 

whistled as if astonished, and then went on purring com- 
fortably like a cat. 

Mr. Verloc, against his usual practice, had thrown off 
his overcoat. It was lying on the sofa. His hat, which 
he must also have thrown off, rested overturned under the 
edge of the sofa. He had dragged a chair in front of the 
fireplace, and his feet planted inside the fender, his 
head held between his hands, he was hanging low over 
the glowing grate. His teeth rattled with an ungovern- 
able violence, causing his whole enormous back to 
tremble at the same rate. Mrs. Verloc was startled. 

"You've been getting wet," she said. 

"Not very," Mr. Verloc managed to falter out, in a 
profound shudder. By a great effort he suppressed the 
rattling of his teeth. 

"I'll have you laid up on my hands," she said, with 
genuine uneasiness. 

"I don't think so," remarked Mr. Verloc, snuffling 
huskily. 

He had certainly contrived somehow to catch an 
abominable cold between seven in the morning and five 
in the afternoon. Mrs. Verloc looked at his bowed back. 

"Where have you been to-day?" she asked. 

"Nowhere," answered Mr. Verloc in a low, choked 
nasal tone. His attitude suggested aggrieved sulks or a 
severe headache. The unsufficiency and uncandidness of 
his answer became painfully apparent in the dead silence 
of the room. He snuffled apologetically, and added: "I've 
been to the bank." 

Mrs. Verloc became attentive. 

"You have!" she said dispassionately. "What for?" 

Mr. Verloc mumbled, with his nose over the grate, 
and with marked unwillingness. 

The Secret Agent. 1 3 



1 94 I" SECRET AGENT. 

"Draw the money out!" 

"What do you mean? All of it?" 

"Yes. All of it." 

Mrs. Verloc spread out with care the scanty table- 
cloth, got two knives and two forks out of the table drawer, 
and suddenly stopped in her methodical proceedings. 

"What did you do that for?" 

"May want it soon," snuffled vaguely Mr. Verloc, who 
was coming to the end of his calculated indiscretions. 

"I don't know what you mean," remarked his wife in 
a tone perfectly casual, but standing stock-still between 
the table and the cupboard. 

"You know you can trust me," Mr. Verloc remarked 
to the grate, with hoarse feeling. 

Mrs. Verloc turned slowly towards the cupboard, say- 
ing with deliberation: 

"Oh yes. I can trust you." 

And she went on with her methodical proceedings. 
She laid two plates, got the bread, the butter, going to 
and fro quietly between the table and the cupboard in 
the peace and silence of her home. On the point of tak- 
ing out the jam, she reflected practically: "He will be 
feeling hungry, having been away all day," and she re- 
turned to the cupboard once more to get the cold beef. 
She set it under the purring gas-jet, and with a passing 
glance at her motionless husband hugging the fire, she 
went (down two steps) into the kitchen. It was only when 
coming back, carving-knife and fork in hand, that she 
spoke again. 

"If I hadn't trusted you I wouldn't have married you." 

Bowed under the overmantel, Mr. Verloc, holding his 
head in both hands, seemed to have gone to sleep. 
Winnie made the tea, and called out in an undertone: 



THE SECRET AGENT. 1 95 

"Adolf." 

Mr. Verloc got up at once, and staggered a little be- 
fore he sat down at the table. His wife examining the 
sharp edge of the carving-knife, placed it on the dish, 
and called his attention to the cold beef. He remained 
insensible to the suggestion, with his chin on his breast. 

"You should feed your cold," Mrs. Verloc said dog- 
matically. 

He looked up, and shook his head. His eyes were 
bloodshot and his face red. His fingers had ruffled his 
hair into a dissipated untidiness. Altogether he had a 
disreputable aspect, expressive of the discomfort, the irri- 
tation and the gloom following a heavy debauch. But 
Mr. Verloc was not a debauched man. In his conduct 
he was respectable. His appearance might have been the 
effect of a feverish cold. He drank three cups of tea, but 
abstained from food entirely. He recoiled from it with 
sombre aversion when urged by Mrs. Verloc, who said 
at last: 

"Aren't your feet wet? You had better put on your 
slippers. You aren't going out any more this evening." 

Mr. Verloc intimated by morose grunts and signs that 
his feet were not wet, and that anyhow he did not care. 
The proposal as to slippers was disregarded as beneath 
his notice. But the question of going out in the evening 
received an unexpected development. It was not of going 
out in the evening that Mr. Verloc was thinking. His 
thoughts embraced a vaster scheme. From moody and 
incomplete phrases it became apparent that Mr. Verloc 
had been considering the expediency of emigrating. It 
was not very clear whether he had in his mind France or 
California. 

The utter unexpectedness, improbability, and incon- 

13* 



196 THE SECRET AGENT. 

ceivableness of such an event robbed this vague declara- 
tion of all its effect. Mrs. Verloc, as placidly as if her 
husband had been threatening her with the end of the 
world, said: 

"The idea!" 

Mr. Verloc declared himself sick and tired of every- 
thing, and besides She interrupted him. 

"You've a bad cold." 

It was indeed obvious that Mr. Verloc was not in his 
usual state, physically and even mentally. A sombre ir- 
resolution held him silent for awhile. Then he murmured 
a few ominous generalities on the theme of necessity. 

"Will have to," repeated Winnie, sitting calmly back, 
with folded arms, opposite her husband. "I should like 
to know who's to make you. You ain't a slave. No one 
need be a slave in this country and don't you make 
yourself one." She paused, and with invincible and 
steady candour, "The business isn't so bad," she went 
on. "You've a comfortable home." 

She glanced all round the parlour, from the corner 
cupboard to the good fire in the grate. Ensconced cosily 
behind the shop of doubtful wares, with the mysteriously 
dim window, and its door suspiciously ajar in the obscure 
and narrow street, it was in all essentials of domestic pro- 
priety and domestic comfort a respectable home. Her 
devoted affection missed out of it her brother Stevie, now 
enjoying a damp villegiature in the Kentish lanes under 
the care of Mr. Michaelis. She missed him poignantly, 
with all the force of her protecting passion. This was the 
boy's home too the roof, the cupboard, the stoked grate. 
On this thought Mrs. Verloc rose, and walking to the other 
end of the table, said in the fulness of her heart: 

"And you are not tired of me." 



THE SECRET AGENT. IQ7 

Mr. Verloc made no sound. Winnie leaned on his 
shoulder from behind, and pressed her lips to his forehead. 
Thus she lingered. Not a whisper reached them from the 
outside world. The sound of footsteps on the pavement 
died out in the discreet dimness of the shop. Only the 
gas-jet above the table went on purring equably in the 
brooding silence of the parlour. 

During the contact of that unexpected and lingering 
kiss Mr. Verloc, gripping with both hands the edges of his 
chair, preserved a hieratic immobility. When the pressure 
was removed he let go the chair, rose, and went to stand 
before the fireplace. He turned no longer his back to 
the room. With his features swollen and an air of being 
drugged, he followed his wife's movements with his eyes. 

Mrs. Verloc went about serenely, clearing up the table. 
Her tranquil voice commented the idea thrown out in a 
reasonable and domestic tone. It wouldn't stand examina- 
tion. She condemned it from every point of view. But 
her only real concern was Stevie's welfare. He appeared 
to her thought in that connection as sufficiently "peculiar" 
not to be taken rashly abroad. And that was all. But 
talking round that vital point, she approached absolute 
vehemence in her delivery. Meanwhile, with brusque 
movements, she arrayed herself in an apron for the wash- 
ing up of cups. And as if excited by the sound of her 
uncontradicted voice, she went so far as to say in a tone 
almost tart: 

"If you go abroad you'll have to go without me." 

"You know I wouldn't," said Mr. Verloc huskily, and 
the unresonant voice of his private life trembled with an 
enigmatical emotion. 

Already Mrs. Verloc was regretting her words. They 
had sounded more unkind than she meant them to be. 



198 THE SECRET AGENT. 

They had also the unwisdom of unnecessary things. In 
fact, she had not meant them at all. It was a sort of 
phrase that is suggested by the demon of perverse in- 
spiration. But she knew a way to make it as if it had 
not been. 

She turned her head over her shoulder and gave that 
man planted heavily in front of the fireplace a glance, 
half arch, half cruel, out of her large eyes a glance of 
which the Winnie of the Belgravian mansion days would 
have been incapable, because of her respectability and 
her ignorance. But the man was her husband now, and 
she was no longer ignorant. She kept it on him for a 
whole second, with her grave face motionless like a mask, 
while she said playfully: 

"You couldn't. You would miss me too much." 

Mr. Verloc started forward. 

"Exactly," he said in a louder tone, throwing his arms 
out and making a step towards her. Something wild and 
doubtful in his expression made it appear uncertain 
whether he meant to strangle or to embrace his wife. 
But Mrs. Verloc's attention was called away from that 
manifestation by the clatter of the shop bell. 

"Shop, Adolf. You go." 

He stopped, his arms came down slowly. 

"You go," repeated Mrs. Verloc. "I've got my apron on." 

Mr. Verloc obeyed woodenly, stony-eyed, and like an 
automaton whose face had been painted red. And this 
resemblance to a mechanical figure went so far that he 
had an automaton's absurd air of being aware of the 
machinery inside of him. 

He closed the parlour door, and Mrs. Verloc moving 
briskly, carried the tray into the kitchen. She washed 
the cups and some other things before she stopped in her 



THE SECRET AGENT. IQQ 

work to listen. No sound reached her. The customer 
was a long time in the shop. It was a customer, because 
if he had not been Mr. Verloc would have taken him in- 
side. Undoing the strings of her apron with a jerk, she 
threw it on a chair, and walked back to the parlour slowly. 

At that precise moment Mr. Verloc entered from the shop. 

He had gone in red. He came out a strange papery 
white. His face, losing its drugged, feverish stupor, had 
in that short time acquired a bewildered and harassed 
expression. He walked straight to the sofa, and stood 
looking down at his overcoat lying there, as though he 
were afraid to touch it. 

"What's the matter?" asked Mrs. Verloc in a subdued 
voice. Through the door left ajar she could see that the 
customer was not gone yet. 

"I find I'll have to go out this evening," said Mr. Verloc. 
He did not attempt to pick up his outer garment. 

Without a word Winnie made for the shop, and shut- 
ting the door after her, walked in behind the counter. She 
did not look overtly at the customer till she had established 
herself comfortably on the chair. But by that time she 
had noted that he was tall and thin, and wore his 
moustaches twisted up. In fact, he gave the sharp points 
a twist just then. His long, bony face rose out of a 
turned-up collar. He was a little splashed, a little wet. 
A dark man, with the ridge of the cheek-bone well defined 
under the slightly hollow temple. A complete stranger. 
Not a customer either. 

Mrs. Verloc looked at him placidly. 

"You came over from the Continent?" she said after 
a time. 

The long, thin stranger, without exactly looking at 
Mrs. Verloc, answered only by a faint and peculiar smile. 



2OO THE SECRET AGENT. 

Mrs. Verloc's steady, incurious gaze rested on him. 

"You understand English, don't you?" 

"Oh yes. I understand English." 

There was nothing foreign in his accent, except that 
he seemed in his slow enunciation to be taking pains with 
it. And Mrs. Verloc, in her varied experience, had come 
to the conclusion that some foreigners could speak better 
English than the natives. She said, looking at the door 
of the parlour fixedly: 

"You don't think perhaps of staying in England for 
good?" 

The stranger gave her again a silent smile. He had 
a kindly mouth and probing eyes. And he shook his head 
a little sadly, it seemed. 

"My husband will see you through all right. Meantime 
for a few days you couldn't do better than take lodgings 
with Mr. Giugliani. Continental Hotel it's called. Private. 
It's quiet. My husband will take you there." 

"A good idea," said the thin, dark man, whose glance 
had hardened suddenly. 

"You knew Mr. Verloc before didn't you? Perhaps 
in France?" 

"I have heard of him," admitted the visitor in his 
slow, painstaking tone, which yet had a certain curtness 
of intention. 

There was a pause. Then he spoke again, in a far 
less elaborate manner. 

"Your husband has not gone out to wait for me in 
the street by chance?" 

"In the street!" repeated Mrs. Verloc, surprised. "He 
couldn't. There's no other door to the house." 

For a moment she sat impassive, then left her seat to 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2OI 

go and peep through the glazed door. Suddenly she 
opened it, and disappeared into the parlour. 

Mr. Verloc had done no more than put on his 
overcoat. But why he should remain afterwards leaning 
over the table propped up on his two arms as though he 
were feeling giddy or sick, she could not understand. 
"Adolf," she called out half aloud; and when he had 
raised himself: 

"Do you know that man?" she asked rapidly. 

"I've heard of him," whispered uneasily Mr. Verloc, 
darting a wild glance at the door. 

Mrs. Verloc's fine, incurious eyes lighted up with a 
flash of abhorrence. 

"One of Karl Yundt's friends beastly old man." 

"No! No!" protested Mr. Verloc, busy fishing for his 
hat. But when he got it from under the sofa he held it 
as if he did not know the use of a hat. 

"Well he's waiting for you," said Mrs. Verloc at last. 
"I say, Adolf, he ain't one of them Embassy people you 
have been bothered with of late?" 

"Bothered with Embassy people," repeated Mr. Verloc, 
with a heavy start of surprise and fear. "Who's been 
talking to you of the Embassy people?" 

"Yourself." 

"I! I! Talked of the Embassy to you!" 

Mr. Verloc seemed scared and bewildered beyond 
measure. His wife explained: 

"You've been talking a little in your sleep of late, Adolf." 

"What what did I say? What do you know?" 

"Nothing much. It seemed mostly nonsense. Enough 
to let me guess that something worried you." 

Mr. Verloc rammed his hat on his head. A crimson 
flood of anger ran over his face, 



2O2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"Nonsense eh? The Embassy people! I would cut 
their hearts out one after another. But let them look out. 
I've got a tongue in my head." 

He fumed, pacing up and down between the table 
and the sofa, his open overcoat catching against the angles. 
The red flood of anger ebbed out, and left his face all 
white, with quivering nostrils. Mrs. Verloc, for the pur- 
poses of practical existence, put down these appearances 
to the cold. 

"Well," she said, "get rid of the man, whoever he is, 
as soon as you can, and come back home to me. You 
want looking after for a day or two." 

Mr. Verloc calmed down, and, with resolution imprinted 
on his pale face, had already opened the door, when his 
wife called him back in a whisper: 

"Adolf! Adolf!" He came back startled. "What 
about that money you drew out?" she asked. "You've got 
it in your pocket? Hadn't you better 

Mr. Verloc gazed stupidly into the palm of his wife's 
extended hand for some time before he slapped his brow. 

"Money! Yes! Yes! I didn't know what you meant." 

He drew out of his breast pocket a new pigskin 
pocket-book. Mrs. Verloc peceived it without another 
word, and stood still till the bell, clattering after Mr. 
Verloc and Mr. Verloc's visitor, had quieted down. Only 
then she peeped in at the amount, drawing the notes out 
for the purpose. After this inspection she looked round 
thoughtfully, with an air of mistrust in the silence and 
solitude of the house. This abode of her married life 
appeared to her as lonely and unsafe as though it had 
been situated in the midst of a forest No receptacle 
she could think of amongst the solid, heavy furniture 
seemed other but flimsy and particularly tempting to her 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2CVJ 

conception of a house-breaker. It was an ideal con- 
ception, endowed with sublime faculties and a miraculous 
insight. The till was not to be thought of. It was the 
first spot a thief would make for. Mrs. Verloc unfasten- 
ing hastily a couple of hooks, slipped the pocket-book 
under the bodice of her dress. Having thus disposed of 
her husband's capital, she was rather glad to hear the 
clatter of the door bell, announcing an arrival. Assuming 
the fixed, unabashed stare and the stony expression 
reserved for the casual customer, she walked in behind 
the counter. 

A man standing in the middle of the shop was in- 
specting it with a swift, cool, all-round glance. His eyes 
ran over the walls, took in the ceiling, noted the floor 
all in a moment The points of a long fair moustache 
fell below the line of the jaw. He smiled the smile of 
an old if distant acquaintance, and Mrs. Verloc remembered 
having seen him before. Not a customer. She softened 
her "customer stare" to mere indifference, and faced him 
across the counter. 

He approached, on his side, confidentially, but not too 
markedly so. 

"Husband at home, Mrs. Verloc?" he asked in an 
easy, full tone. 

"No. He's gone out." 

"I am sorry for that. I've called to get from him a 
little private information." 

This was the exact truth. Chief Inspector Heat had 
been all the way home, and had even gone so far as to 
think of getting into his slippers, since practically he was, 
he told himself, chucked out of that case. He indulged 
in some scornful and in a few angry thoughts, and found 
the occupation so unsatisfactory that he resolved to seek 



2O4 THE SECRET AGENT. 

relief out of doors. Nothing prevented him paying a 
friendly call to Mr. Verloc, casually as it were. It was in 
the character of a private citizen that walking out privately 
he made use of his customary conveyances. Their general 
direction was towards Mr. Verloc's home. Chief Inspector 
Heat respected his own private character so consistently 
that he took especial pains to avoid all the police con- 
stables on point and patrol duty in the vicinity of Brett 
Street. This precaution was much more necessary for a 
man of his standing than for an obscure. Assistant Com- 
missioner. Private Citizen Heat entered the street, 
manoeuvring in a way which in a member of the criminal 
classes would have been stigmatised as slinking. The 
piece of cloth picked up in Greenwich was in his pocket. 
Not that he had the slightest intention of producing it in 
his private capacity. On the contrary, he wanted to know 
just what Mr. Verloc would be disposed to say voluntarily. 
He hoped Mr. Verloc's talk would be of a nature to in- 
criminate Michaelis. It was a conscientiously professional 
hope in the main, but not without its moral value. For 
Chief Inspector Heat was a servant of justice. Finding 
Mr. Verloc from home, he felt disappointed. 

"I would wait for him a little if I were sure he 
wouldn't be long," he said. 

Mrs. Verloc volunteered no assurance of any kind. 

"The information I need is quite private," he repeated. 
"You understand what I mean? I wonder if you could 
give me a notion where he's gone to?" 

Mrs. Verloc shook her head. 

"Can't say." 

She turned away to range some boxes on the shelves 
behind the counter. Chief Inspector Heat looked at her 
thoughtfully for a time, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 205 

"I suppose you know who I am?" he said. 

Mrs. Verloc glanced over her shoulder. Chief In- 
spector Heat was amazed at her coolness. 

"Come! You know I am in the police," he said 
sharply. 

"I don't trouble my head much about it," Mrs. Verloc 
remarked, returning to the ranging of her boxes. 

"My name is Heat. Chief Inspector Heat of the 
Special Crimes section." 

Mrs. Verloc adjusted nicely in its place a small card- 
board box, and turning round, faced him again, heavy- 
eyed, with idle hands hanging down. A silence reigned 
for a time. 

"So your husband went out a quarter of an hour ago! 
And he didn't say when he would be back?" 

"He didn't go out alone," Mrs. Verloc let fall negligently. 

"A friend?" 

Mrs. Verloc touched the back of her hair. It was in 
perfect order. 

"A stranger who called." 

"I see. What sort of man was that stranger? Would 
you mind telling me?" 

Mrs. Verloc did not mind. And when Chief Inspector 
Heat heard of a man dark, thin, with a long face and 
turned up moustaches, he gave signs of perturbation, and 
exclaimed: 

"Dash me if I didn't think so! He hasn't lost any 
time." 

He was intensely disgusted in the secrecy of his heart 
at the unofficial conduct of his immediate chief. But he 
was not quixotic. He lost all desire to await Mr. Verloc's 
return. What they had gone out for he did not know, 
but he imagined it possible that they would return to- 



2O6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

gather. "The case is not followed properly, it's being 
tampered with," he thought bitterly. 

"I am afraid I haven't time to wait for your husband," 
he said. 

Mrs. Verloc received this declaration listlessly. Her 
detachment had impressed Chief Inspector Heat all along. 
At this precise moment it whetted his curiosity. Chief 
Inspector Heat hung in the wind, swayed by his passions 
like the most private of citizens. 

"I think," he said, looking at her steadily, "that you 
could give me a pretty good notion of what's going on if 
you liked." 

Forcing her fine, inert eyes to return his gaze, Mrs. 
Verloc murmured: 

"Going on! What is going on?" 

"Why, the affair I came to talk about a little with 
your husband." 

That day Mrs. Verloc had glanced at a morning paper 
as usual. But she had not stirred out of doors. The 
newsboys never invaded Brett Street. It was not a street 
for their business. And the echo of their cries drifting 
along the populous thoroughfares, expired between the 
dirty brick walls without reaching the threshold of the 
shop. Her husband had not brought an evening paper 
home. At any rate she had not seen it. Mrs. Verloc 
knew nothing whatever of any affair. And she said so, 
with a genuine note of wonder in her quiet voice. 

Chief Inspector Heat did not believe for a moment in 
so much ignorance. Curtly, without amiability, he stated 
the bare fact. 

Mrs. Verloc turned away her eyes. 

"I call it silly," she pronounced slowly. She paused. 
"We ain't downtrodden slaves here." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2OJ 

The Chief Inspector waited watchfully. Nothing more 
came. 

"And your husband didn't mention anything to you 
when he came home?" 

Mrs. Verloc simply turned her face from right to left 
in sign of negation. A languid, baffling silence reigned 
in the shop. Chief Inspector Heat felt provoked beyond 
endurance. 

"There was another small matter," he began in a de- 
tached tone, "which I wanted to speak to your husband 
about. There came into our hands a a what we be- 
lieve is a stolen overcoat." 

Mrs. Verloc, with her mind specially aware of thieves 
that evening, touched lightly the bosom of her dress. 

"We have lost no overcoat," she said calmly. 

"That's funny," continued Private Citizen Heat. "I 
see you keep a lot of marking ink here 

He took up a small bottle, and looked at it against 
the gas-jet in the middle of the shop. 

"Purple isn't it?" he remarked, setting it down again. 
"As I said, it's strange. Because the overcoat has got a 
label sewn on the inside with your address written in 
marking ink." 

Mrs. Verloc leaned over the counter with a low ex- 
clamation. 

"That's my brother's, then." 

"Where's your brother? Can I see him?" asked the 
Chief Inspector briskly. Mrs. Verloc leaned a little more 
over the counter. 

"No. He isn't here. I wrote that label myself." 

"Where's your brother now?" 

"He's been away living with a friend in the 
country." 



2O8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"The overcoat comes from the country. And what's 
the name of the friend?" 

"Michaelis," confessed Mrs. Verloc in an awed whisper. 

The Chief Inspector let out a whistle. His eyes snapped. 

"Just so. Capital. And your brother now, what's he 
like a sturdy, darkish chap eh?" 

"Oh no," exclaimed Mrs. Verloc fervently. "That 
must be the thief. Stevie's slight and fair." 

"Good," said the Chief Inspector in an approving 
tone. And while Mrs. Verloc, wavering between alarm 
and wonder, stared at him, he sought for information. 
Why have the address sewn like this inside the coat? 
And he heard that the mangled remains he had inspected 
that morning with extreme repugnance were those of a 
youth, nervous, absent-minded, peculiar, and also that the 
woman who was speaking to him had had the charge of 
that boy since he was a baby. 

"Easily excitable?" he suggested. 

"Oh yes. He is. But how did he come to lose his 
coat " 

Chief Inspector Heat suddenly pulled out a pink 
newspaper he had bought less than half-an-hour ago. He 
was interested in horses. Forced by his calling into an 
attitude of doubt and suspicion towards his fellow-citizens, 
Chief Inspector Heat relieved the instinct of credulity im- 
planted in the human breast by putting unbounded faith 
in the sporting prophets of that particular evening publica- 
tion. Dropping the extra special onto the counter, he 
plunged his hand again into his pocket, and pulling out 
the piece of cloth fate had presented him with out of a 
heap of things that seemed to have been collected in 
shambles and rag shops, he offered it to Mrs. Verloc for 
inspection. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2OQ 

"I suppose you recognise this?" 

She took it mechanically in both her hands. Her 
eyes seemed to grow bigger as she looked. 

"Yes," she whispered, then raised her head, and 
staggered backward a little. 

"Whatever for is it torn out like this?" 

The Chief Inspector snatched across the counter the 
cloth out of her hands, and she sat heavily on the chair. 
He thought: identification's perfect. And in that moment 
he had a glimpse into the whole amazing truth. Verloc 
was the "other man." 

"Mrs. Verloc," he said, "it strikes me that you know 
more of this bomb affair than even you yourself are 
aware of." 

Mrs. Verloc sat still, amazed, lost in boundless astonish- 
ment. What was the connection? And she became so 
rigid all over that she was not able to turn her head at 
the clatter of the bell, which caused the private investiga- 
tor Heat to spin round on his heel. Mr. Verloc had shut 
the door, and for a moment the two men looked at each 
other. 

Mr. Verloc, without looking at his wife, walked up to 
the Chief Inspector, who was relieved to see him return 
alone. 

"You here!" muttered Mr. Verloc heavily. "Who are 
you after?" 

"No one," said Chief Inspector Heat in a low tone. 
"Look here, I would like a word or two with you." 

Mr. Verloc, still pale, had brought an air of resolution 
with him. Still he didn't look at his wife. He said: 

"Come in here, then." And he led the way into the 
parlour. 

The door was hardly shut when Mrs. Verloc, jumping 

The Secret Agent. l<f 



2IO THE SECRET AGENT. 

up from the chair, ran to it as if to fling it open, but in- 
stead of doing so fell on her knees, with her ear to the 
keyhole. The two men must have stopped directly they 
were through, because she heard plainly the Chief In- 
spector's voice, though she could not see his finger pressed 
against her husband's breast emphatically. 

"You are the other man, Verloc. Two men were seen 
entering the park." 

And the voice of Mr. Verloc said: 

"Well, take me now. What's to prevent you? You 
have the right." 

"Oh no! I know too well who you have been giving 
yourself away to. He'll have to manage this little affair 
all by himself. But don't you make a mistake, it's I who 
found you out." 

Then she heard only muttering. Inspector Heat must 
have been showing to Mr. Verloc the piece of Stevie's 
overcoat, because Stevie's sister, guardian, and protector 
heard her husband a little louder. 

"I never noticed that she had hit upon that dodge." 

Again for a time Mrs. Verloc heard nothing but mur- 
murs, whose mysteriousness was less nightmarish to her 
brain than the horrible suggestions of shaped words. Then 
Chief Inspector Heat, on the other side of the door, raised 
his voice. 

"You must have been mad." 

And Mr. Verloc's voice answered, with a sort of gloomy 
fury: 

"I have been mad for a month or more, but I am not 
mad now. It's all over. It shall all come out of my head, 
and hang the consequences." 

There was a silence, and then Private Citizen Heat 
murmured: 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2 I I 

"What's coming out?" 

"Everything," exclaimed the voice of Mr. Verloc, and 
then sank very low. 

After awhile it rose again. 

"You have known me for several years now, and 
you've found me useful, too. You know I was a straight 
man. Yes, straight." 

This appeal to old acquaintance must have been ex- 
tremely distasteful to the Chief Inspector. 

His voice took on a warning note. 

"Don't you trust so much to what you have been 
promised. If I were you I would clear out. I don't think 
we will run after you." 

Mr. Verloc was heard to laugh a little. 

"Oh yes; you hope the others will get rid of me for 
you don't you? No, no; you don't shake me off now. 
I have been a straight man to those people too long, and 
now everything must come out." 

"Let it come out, then," the indifferent voice of Chief 
Inspector Heat assented. "But tell me now how did you 
get away." 

"I was making for Chesterfield Walk," Mrs. Verloc 
heard her husband's voice, "when I heard the bang. I 
started running then. Fog. I saw no one till I was past the 
end of George Street. Don't think I met anyone till then." 

" So easy as that ! " marvelled the voice of Chief In- 
spector Heat. "The bang startled you, eh?" 

"Yes; it came too soon," confessed the gloomy, husky 
voice of Mr. Verloc. 

Mrs. Verloc pressed her ear to the keyhole; her lips 
were blue, her hands cold as ice, and her pale face, in 
which the two eyes seemed like two black holes, felt to 
her as if it were enveloped in flames. 

14* 



212 THE SECRET AGENT. 

On the other side of the door the voices sank very 
low. She caught words now and then, sometimes in her 
husband's voice, sometimes in the smooth tones of the 
Chief Inspector. She heard this last say : 

"We believe he stumbled against the root of a tree?" 
There was a husky, voluble murmur, which lasted for 
some time, and then the Chief Inspector, as if answering 
some inquiry, spoke emphatically. 

"Of course. Blown to small bits: limbs, gravel, cloth- 
ing, bones, splinters all mixed up together. I tell you 
they had to fetch a shovel to gather him up with." 

Mrs. Verloc sprang up suddenly from her crouching 
position, and stopping her ears, reeled to and fro between 
the counter and the shelves on the wall towards the chair. 
Her crazed eyes noted the sporting sheet left by the 
Chief Inspector, and as she knocked herself against the 
counter she snatched it up, fell into the chair, tore the 
optimistic, rosy sheet right across in trying to open it, 
then flung it on the floor. On the other side of the door, 
Chief Inspector Heat was saying to Mr. Verloc, the secret 
agent: 

"So your defence will be practically a full confession?" 
"It will. I am going to tell the whole story." 
"You won't be believed as much as you fancy you 
will." 

And the Chief Inspector remained thoughtful. The 
turn this affair was taking meant the disclosure of many 
things the laying waste of fields of knowledge, which, 
cultivated by a capable man, had a distinct value for the 
individual and for the society. It was sorry, sorry meddling. 
It would leave Michaelis unscathed; it would drag to light 
the Professor's home industry; disorganise the whole system 
of supervision; make no end of a row in the papers, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 213 

which, from that point of view, appeared to him by a 
sudden illumination as invariably written by fools for the 
reading of imbeciles. Mentally he agreed with the words 
Mr. Verloc let fall at last in answer to his last remark. 

"Perhaps not. But it will upset many things. I have 
been a straight man, and I shall keep straight in this " 

"If they let you," said the Chief Inspector cynically. 
"You will be preached to, no doubt, before they put you 
into the dock. And in the end you may yet get let in 
for a sentence that will surprise you. I wouldn't trust too 
much the gentleman who's been talking to you." 

Mr. Verloc listened, frowning. 

"My advice to you is to clear out while you may. I 
have no instructions. There are some of them," con- 
tinued Chief Inspector Heat, laying a peculiar stress on 
the word "them," "who think you are already out of the 
world." 

"Indeed!" Mr. Verloc was moved to say. Though 
since his return from Greenwich he had spent most of his 
time sitting in the tap-room of an obscure little public- 
house, he could hardly have hoped for such favourable news. 

"That's the impression about you." The Chief In- 
spector nodded at him. "Vanish. Clear out." 

"Where to?" snarled Mr. Verloc. He raised his head, 
and gazing at the closed door of the parlour, muttered 
feelingly: "I only wish you would take me away to-night. 
I would go quietly." 

"I daresay," assented sardonically the Chief Inspector, 
following the direction of his glance. 

The brow of Mr. Verloc broke into slight moisture. 
He lowered his husky voice confidentially before the un- 
moved Chief Inspector. 

"The lad was half-witted, irresponsible. Any court 



214 THE SECRET AGENT. 

would have seen that at once. Only fit for the asylum. 
And that was the worst that would've happened to him 
if " 

The Chief Inspector, his hand on the door handle, 
whispered into Mr. Verloc's face. 

"He may've been half-witted, but you must have been 
crazy. What drove you off your head like this?" 

Mr. Verloc, thinking of Mr. Vladimir, did not hesitate 
in the choice of words. 

"A Hyperborean swine," he hissed forcibly. "A what 
you might call a a gentleman." 

The Chief Inspector, steady-eyed, nodded briefly his 
comprehension, and opened the door. Mrs. Verloc, be- 
hind the counter, might have heard but did not see his 
departure, pursued by the aggressive clatter of the bell. 
She sat at her post of duty behind the counter. She sat 
rigidly erect in the chair with two dirty pink pieces of 
paper lying spread out at her feet. The palms of her 
hands were pressed convulsively to her face, with the tips 
of the fingers contracted against the forehead, as though 
the skin had been a mask which she was ready to tear 
off violently. The perfect immobility of her pose ex- 
pressed the agitation of rage and despair, all the potential 
violence of tragic passions, better than any shallow dis- 
play of shrieks, with the beating of a distracted head 
against the walls, could have done. Chief Inspector Heat, 
crossing the shop at his busy, swinging pace, gave her 
only a cursory glance. And when the cracked bell ceased 
to tremble on its curved ribbon of steel nothing stirred 
near Mrs. Verloc, as if her attitude had the locking power 
of a spell. Even the butterfly-shaped gas flames posed 
on the ends of the suspended T-bracket burned without 
a quiver. In that shop of shady wares fitted with deal 



THE SECRET A ENT. 215 

shelves painted a dull brown, which seemed to devour the 
sheen of the light, the gold circlet of the wedding ring on 
Mrs. Verloc's left hand glittered exceedingly with the un- 
tarnished glory of a piece from some splendid treasure of 
jewels, dropped in a dust-bin. 

X. 

THE Assistant Commissioner, driven rapidly in a han- 
som from the neighbourhood of Soho in the direction of 
Westminster, got out at the very centre of the Empire on 
which the sun never sets. Some stalwart constables, who 
did not seem particularly impressed by the duty of watch- 
ing the august spot, saluted him. Penetrating through a 
portal by no means lofty into the precincts of the House 
which is the House, par excellence, in the minds of many 
millions of men, he was met at last by the volatile and 
revolutionary Toodles. 

That neat and nice young man concealed his astonish- 
ment at the early appearance of the Assistant Commis- 
sioner, whom he had been told to look out for some time 
about midnight. His turning up so early he concluded 
to be the sign that things, whatever they were, had gone 
wrong. With an extremely ready sympathy, which in 
nice youngsters goes often with a joyous temperament, he 
felt sorry for the great Presence he called "The Chief," 
and also for the Assistant Commissioner, whose face ap- 
peared to him more ominously wooden than ever before, 
and quite wonderfully long. "What a queer, foreign- 
looking chap he is," he thought to himself, smiling from 
a distance with friendly buoyancy. And directly they 
came together he began to talk with the kind intention of 
burying the awkwardness of failure under a heap of words. 
It looked as if the great assault threatened for that night 



2l6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

were going to fizzle out. An inferior henchman of "that 
brute Cheeseman" was up boring mercilessly a very thin 
House with some shamelessly cooked statistics. He, Toodles, 
hoped he would bore them into a count out every minute. 
But then he might be only marking time to let that 
guzzling Cheeseman dine at his leisure. Anyway, the 
Chief could not be persuaded to go home. 

"He will see you at once, I think. He's sitting all 
alone in his room thinking of all the fishes of the sea," 
concluded Toodles airily. "Come along." 

Notwithstanding the kindness of his disposition, the 
young private secretary (unpaid) was accessible to the 
common failings of humanity. He did not wish to harrow 
the feelings of the Assistant Commissioner, who looked to 
him uncommonly like a man who has made a mess of 
his job. But his curiosity was too strong to be restrained 
by mere compassion. He could not help, as they went 
along, to throw over his shoulder lightly: 

"And your sprat?" 

"Got him," answered the Assistant Commissioner with 
a concision which did not mean to be repellent in the 
least. 

"Good. You've no idea how these great men dislike 
to be disappointed in small things." 

After this profound observation the experienced 
Toodles seemed to reflect. At anyrate he said nothing 
for quite two seconds. Then: 

"I'm glad. But I say is it really such a very small 
thing as you make it out?" 

"Do you know what may be done with a sprat?" the 
Assistant Commissioner asked in his turn. 

"He's sometimes put into a sardine box," chuckled 
Toodles, whose erudition on the subject of the fishing in- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 217 

dustry was fresh and, in comparison with his ignorance of 
all other industrial matters, immense. "There are sardine 
canneries on the Spanish coast which " 

The Assistant Commissioner interrupted the apprentice 
statesman. 

"Yes. Yes. But a sprat is also thrown away some- 
times in order to catch a whale." 

"A whale. Phew!" exclaimed Toodles, with bated 
breath. "You're after a whale, then?" 

"Not exactly. What I am after is more like a dog- 
fish. You don't know perhaps what a dog-fish is like." 

"Yes; I do. We're buried in special books up to our 
necks whole shelves full of them with plates. . . . It's 
a noxious, rascally-looking, altogether detestable beast, 
with a sort of smooth face and moustaches." 

"Described to a T," commended the Assistant Com- 
missioner. "Only mine is clean-shaven altogether. You've 
seen him. It's a witty fish." 

"I have seen him!" said Toodles incredulously. "I 
can't conceive where I could have seen him." 

"At the Explorers', I should say," dropped the As- 
sistant Commissioner calmly. At the name of that ex- 
tremely exclusive club Toodles looked scared, and stopped 
short. 

"Nonsense," he protested, but in an awestruck tone. 
"What do you mean? A member?" 

"Honorary," muttered the Assistant Commissioner 
through his teeth. 

"Heavens!" 

Toodles looked so thunderstruck that the Assistant 
Commissioner smiled faintly. 

"That's between ourselves strictly," he said. 

"That's the beastliest thing I've ever heard in my 



2l8 THE SECRET AGENT. 

life," declared Toodles feebly, as if astonishment had 
robbed him of all his buoyant strength in a second. 

The Assistant Commissioner gave him an unsmiling 
glance. Till they came to the door of the great man's 
room, Toodles preserved a scandalised and solemn silence, 
as though he were offended with the Assistant Commis- 
sioner for exposing such an unsavoury and disturbing 
fact. It revolutionised his idea of the Explorers' Club's 
extreme selectness, of its social purity. Toodles was re- 
volutionary only in politics; his social beliefs and per- 
sonal feelings he wished to preserve unchanged through 
all the years allotted to him on this earth which, upon 
the whole, he believed to be a nice place to live on. 

He stood aside. 

"Go in without knocking," he said. 

Shades of green silk fitted low over all the lights im- 
parted to the room something of a forest's deep gloom. 
The haughty eyes were physically the great man's weak 
point. This point was wrapped up in secrecy. When an 
opportunity offered, he rested them conscientiously. The 
Assistant Commissioner entering saw at first only a big 
pale hand supporting a big head, and concealing the 
upper part of a big pale face. An open despatch-box 
stood on the writing-table near a few oblong sheets of 
paper and a scattered handful of quill pens. There was 
absolutely nothing else on the large flat surface except a 
little bronze statuette draped in a toga, mysteriously watch- 
ful in its shadowy immobility. The Assistant Commis- 
sioner, invited to take a chair, sat down. In the dim light, 
the salient points of his personality, the long face, the black 
hair, his lankness, made him look more foreign than ever. 

The great man manifested no surprise, no eagerness, 
no sentiment whatever. The attitude in which he rested 



THE SECRET AGENT. 



2IQ 



his menaced eyes was profoundly meditative. He did not 
alter it the least bit. But his tone was not dreamy. 

"Well! What is it that you've found out already? 
You came upon something unexpected on the first step." 

"Not exactly unexpected, Sir Ethelred. What I 
mainly came upon was a psychological state." 

The Great Presence made a slight movement. 

"You must be lucid, please." 

"Yes, Sir Ethelred. You know no doubt that most 
criminals at some time or other feel an irresistible need 
of confessing of making a clean breast of it to some- 
body to anybody. And they do it often to the police. 
In that Verloc whom Heat wished so much to screen I've 
found a man in that particular psychological state. The 
man, figuratively speaking, flung himself on my breast It 
was enough on my part to whisper to him who I was and 
to add 'I know that you are at the bottom of this affair.' 
It must have seemed miraculous to him that we should 
know already, but he took it all in the stride. The 
wonderfulness of it never checked him for a moment. 
There remained for me only to put to him the two ques- 
tions: Who put you up to it? and Who was the man who 
did it? He answered the first with remarkable emphasis. 
As to the second question, I gather that the fellow with 
the bomb was his brother-in-law quite a lad a weak- 
minded creature. ... It is rather a curious affair too 
long perhaps to state fully just now." 

"What then have you learned?" asked the great man. 

"First, I've learned that the ex-convict Michaelis had 
nothing to do with it, though indeed the lad had been 
living with him temporarily in the country up to eight 
o'clock this morning. It is more than likely that Michaelis 
knows nothing of it to this moment." 



22O THE SECRET AGENT. 

"You are positive as to that?" asked the great man. 

"Quite certain, Sir Ethelred. This fellow Verloc went 
there this morning, and took away the lad on the pretence 
of going out for a walk in the lanes. As it was not the 
first time that he did this, Michaelis could not have the 
slightest suspicion of anything unusual. For the rest, 
Sir Ethelred, the indignation of this man Verloc had left 
nothing in doubt nothing whatever. He had been driven 
out of his mind almost by an extraordinary performance, 
which for you or me it would be difficult to take as 
seriously meant, but which produced a great impression 
obviously on him." 

The Assistant Commissioner then imparted briefly to 
the great man, who sat still, resting his eyes under the 
screen of his hand, Mr. Verloc's appreciation of Mr. 
Vladimir's proceedings and character. The Assistant Com- 
missioner did not seem to refuse it a certain amount of 
competency. But the great personage remarked: 

"All this seems very fantastic." 

"Doesn't it? One would think a ferocious joke. But 
our man took it seriously, it appears. He felt himself 
threatened. In the time, you know, he was in direct com- 
munication with old Stott-Wartenheim himself, and had 
come to regard his services as indispensable. It was an 
extremely rude awakening. I imagine that he lost his 
head. He became angry and frightened. Upon my word, 
my impression is that he thought these Embassy people 
quite capable not only to throw him out but, to give him 
away too in some manner or other " 

"How long were you with him," interrupted the Pre- 
sence from behind his big hand. 

"Some forty minutes, Sir Ethelred, in a house of bad 
repute called Continental Hotel, closeted in a room which 



THE SECRET AGENT. 221 

by-the-bye I took for the night. I found him under the 
influence of that reaction which follows the effort of crime. 
The man cannot be defined as a hardened criminal. It 
is obvious that he did not plan the death of that wretched 
lad his brother-in-law. That was a shock to him I 
could see that. Perhaps he is a man of strong sensibili- 
ties. Perhaps he was even fond of the lad who knows? 
He might have hoped that the fellow would get clear 
away; in which case it would have been almost impossible 
to bring this thing home to anyone. At any rate he risked 
consciously nothing more but arrest for him." 

The Assistant Commissioner paused in his specula- 
tions to reflect for a moment. 

"Though how, in that last case, he could hope to have 
his own share in the business concealed is more than I 
can tell," he continued, in his ignorance of poor Stevie's 
devotion to Mr. Verloc (who was good), and of his truly 
peculiar dumbness, which in the old affair of fireworks on 
the stairs had for many years resisted entreaties, coaxing, 
anger, and other means of investigation used by his be- 
loved sister. For Stevie was loyal. . . . "No, I can't 
imagine. It's possible that he never thought of that at 
all. It sounds an extravagant way of putting it, Sir 
Ethelred, but his state of dismay suggested to me an im- 
pulsive man who, after committing suicide with the notion 
that it would end all his troubles, had discovered that it 
did nothing of the kind." 

The Assistant Commissioner gave this definition in an 
apologetic voice. But in truth there is a sort of lucidity 
proper to extravagant language, and the great man was 
not offended. A slight jerky movement of the big body 
half lost in the gloom of the green silk shades, of the big 
head leaning on the big hand, accompanied an intermit- 



222 THE SECRET AGENT. 

tent stifled but powerful sound. The great man had 
laughed. 

"What have you done with him?" 

The Assistant Commissioner answered very readily: 

"As he seemed very anxious to get back to his wife 
in the shop I let him go, Sir Ethelred." 

"You did? But the fellow will disappear." 

"Pardon me. I don't think so. Where could he go 
to? Moreover, you must remember that he has got to 
think of the danger from his comrades too. He's there 
at his post. How could he explain leaving it? But even 
if there were no obstacles to his freedom of action he 
would do nothing. At present he hasn't enough moral 
energy to take a resolution of any sort. Permit me also 
to point out that if I had detained him we would have 
been committed to a course of action on which I wished 
to know your precise intentions first." 

The great personage rose heavily, an imposing shadowy 
form in the greenish gloom of the room. 

"I'll see the Attorney-General to-night, and will send 
for you to-morrow morning. Is there anything more you'd 
wish to tell me now?" 

The Assistant Commissioner had stood up also, slender 
and flexible. 

"I think not, Sir Ethelred, unless I were to enter into 
details which " 

"No. No details, please." 

The great shadowy form seemed to shrink away as if 
in physical dread of details; then came forward, expanded, 
enormous, and weighty, offering a large hand. "And you 
say that this man has got a wife?" 

"Yes, Sir Ethelred," said the Assistant Commissioner, 
pressing deferentially the extended hand. "A genuine 



THE SECRET AGENT. 223 

wife and a genuinely, respectably, marital relation. He 
told me that after his interview at the Embassy he would 
have thrown everything up, would have tried to sell his 
shop, and leave the country, only he felt certain that his 
wife would not even hear of going abroad. Nothing could 
be more characteristic of the respectable bond than that," 
went on, with a touch of grimness, the Assistant Commis- 
sioner, whose own wife too had refused to hear of going 
abroad. "Yes, a genuine wife. And the victim was a 
genuine brother-in-law. From a certain point of view we 
are here in the presence of a domestic drama." 

The Assistant Commissioner laughed a little; but the 
great man's thoughts seemed to have wandered far away, 
perhaps to the questions of his country's domestic policy, 
the battleground of his crusading valour against the paynim 
Cheeseman. The Assistant Commissioner withdrew quietly, 
unnoticed, as if already forgotten. 

He had his own crusading instincts. This affair, which, 
in one way or another, disgusted Chief Inspector Heat, 
seemed to him a providentially given starting-point for a 
crusade. He had it much at heart to begin. He walked 
slowly home, meditating that enterprise on the way, and 
thinking over Mr. Verloc's psychology in a composite mood 
of repugnance and satisfaction. He walked all the way 
home. Finding the drawing-room dark, he went upstairs, 
and spent some time between the bedroom and the dress- 
ing-room, changing his clothes, going to and fro with the 
air of a thoughtful somnambulist. But he shook it off be- 
fore going out again to join his wife at the house of the 
great lady patroness of Michaelis. 

He knew he would be welcomed there. On entering 
the smaller of the two drawing-rooms he saw his wife in 
a small group near the piano. A youngish composer in 



224 THE SECRET AGENT. 

pass of becoming famous was discoursing from a music- 
stool to two thick men whose backs looked old, and three 
slender women whose backs looked young. Behind the 
screen the great lady had only two persons with her: a 
man and a woman, who sat side by side on armchairs at 
the foot of her couch. She extended her hand to the 
Assistant Commissioner. 

"I never hoped to see you here to-night. Annie told 
me " 

"Yes. I had no idea myself that my woik would be 
over so soon." 

The Assistant Commissioner added in a low tone. "I 
am glad to tell you that Michaelis is altogether clear of 
this " 

The patroness of the ex-convict received this assur- 
ance indignantly. 

"Why? Were your people stupid enough to connect 
him with " 

"Not stupid," interrupted the Assistant Commissioner, 
contradicting deferentially. "Clever enough quite clever 
enough for that." 

A silence fell. The man at the foot of the couch had 
stopped speaking to the lady, and looked on with a faint 
smile. 

"I don't know whether you ever met before," said the 
great lady. 

Mr. Vladimir and the Assistant Commissioner, in- 
troduced, acknowledged each other's existence with punc- 
tilious and guarded courtesy. 

"He's been frightening me," declared suddenly the 
lady who sat by the side of Mr. Vladimir, with an inclina- 
tion of the head towards that gentleman. The Assistant 
Commissioner knew the lady. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 225 

"You do not look frightened," he pronounced, after 
surveying her conscientiously with his tired and equable 
gaze. He was thinking meantime to himself that in this 
house one met everybody sooner or later. Mr. Vladimir's 
rosy countenance was wreathed in smiles, because he was 
witty, but his eyes remained serious, like the eyes of a con- 
vinced man. 

"Well, he tried to at least," amended the lady. 

"Force of habit perhaps," said the Assistant Commis- 
sioner, moved by an irresistible inspiration. 

"He has been threatening society with all sorts of 
horrors," continued the lady, whose enunciation was ca- 
ressing and slow, "apropos of this explosion in Greenwich 
Park. It appears we all ought to quake in our shoes at 
what's coming if those people are not suppressed all over 
the world. I had no idea this was such a grave affair." 

Mr. Vladimir, affecting not to listen, leaned towards 
the couch, talking amiably in subdued tones, but he heard 
the Assistant Commissioner say: 

"I've no doubt that Mr. Vladimir has a very precise 
notion of the true importance of this affair." 

Mr. Vladimir asked himself what that confounded and 
intrusive policeman was driving at. Descended from genera- 
tions victimised by the instruments of an arbitrary power, 
he was racially, nationally, and individually afraid of the 
police. It was an inherited weakness, altogether inde- 
pendent of his judgment, of his reason, of his experience. 
He was born to it. But that sentiment, which resembled 
the irrational horror some people have of cats, did not 
stand in the way of his immense contempt for the Eng- 
lish police. He finished the sentence addressed to the 
great lady, and turned slightly in his chair. 

"You mean that we have a great experience of these 

The Secret Agent. 1 5 



226 THE SECRET AGENT. 

people. Yes; indeed, we suffer greatly from their activity, 
while you" Mr. Vladimir hesitated for a moment, in 
smiling perplexity "while you suffer their presence gladly 
in your midst," he finished, displaying a dimple on each 
clean-shaven cheek. Then he added more gravely: "I 
may even say because you do." 

When Mr. Vladimir ceased speaking the Assistant Com- 
missioner lowered his glance, and the conversation dropped. 
Almost immediately afterwards Mr. Vladimir took his leave. 
Directly his back was turned on the couch the Assistant 
Commissioner rose too. 

"I thought you were going to stay and take Annie 
home," said the lady patroness of Michaelis. 

"I find that I've yet a little work to do to-night." 

"In connection ?" 

"Well, yes in a way." 

"Tell me, what is it really this horror?" 

"It's difficult to say what it is, but it may yet be a 
cause celebre," said the Assistant Commissioner. 

He left the drawing-room hurriedly, and found Mr. 
Vladimir still in the hall, wrapping up his throat carefully 
in a large silk handkerchief. Behind him a footman waited, 
holding his overcoat. Another stood ready to open the 
door. The Assistant Commissioner was duly helped into 
his coat, and let out at once. After descending the front 
steps he stopped, as if to consider the way he should take. 
On seeing this through the door held open, Mr. Vladimir 
lingered in the hall to get out a cigar and asked for a 
light. It was furnished to him by an elderly man out of 
livery with an air of calm solicitude. But the match went 
out; the footman then closed the door, and Mr. Vladimir 
lighted his large Havana with leisurely care. When at 
last he got out of the house, he saw with disgust the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 227 

"confounded policeman" still standing on the pave- 
ment. 

"Can he be waiting for me," thought Mr. Vladimir, 
looking up and down for some signs of a hansom. He 
saw none. A couple of carriages waited by the curbstone, 
their lamps blazing steadily, the horses standing perfectly 
still, as if carved in stone, the coachmen sitting motionless 
under the big fur capes, without as much as a quiver 
stirring the white thongs of their big whips. Mr. Vladimir 
walked on, and the "confounded policeman" fell into step 
at his elbow. He said nothing. At the end of the fourth 
stride Mr. Vladimir felt infuriated and uneasy. This could 
not last. 

"Rotten weather," he growled savagely. 

"Mild," said the Assistant Commissioner without pas- 
sion. He remained silent for a little while. "We've got 
hold of a man called Verloc," he announced casually. 

Mr. Vladimir did not stumble, did not stagger back, 
did not change his stride. But he could not prevent him- 
self from exclaiming: "What?" The Assistant Commis- 
sioner did not repeat his statement. "You know him," 
he went on in the same tone. 

Mr. Vladimir stopped, and became guttural. 

"What makes you say that?" 

"I don't. It's Verloc who says that." 

"A lying dog of some sort," said Mr. Vladimir in 
somewhat Oriental phraseology. But in his heart he was 
almost awed by the miraculous cleverness of the English 
police. The change of his opinion on the subject was so 
violent that it made him for a moment feel slightly sick. 
He threw away his cigar, and moved on. 

"What pleased me most in this affair," the Assistant Com- 
missioner went on, talking slowly, "is that it makes such an 

15* 



228 THE SECRET AGENT. 

excellent starting-point for a piece of work which I've felt 
must be taken in hand that is, the clearing out of this 
country of all the foreign political spies, police, and that 
sort of of dogs. In my opinion they are a ghastly 
nuisance; also an element of danger. But we can't very 
well seek them out individually. The only way is to make 
their employment unpleasant to their employers. The thing's 
becoming indecent. And dangerous too, for us, here." 

Mr. Vladimir stopped again for a moment. 

"What do you mean?" 

"The prosecution of this Verloc will demonstrate to 
the public both the danger and the indecency." 

"Nobody will believe what a man of that sort says," 
said Mr. Vladimir contemptuously. 

"The wealth and precision of detail will carry con- 
viction to the great mass of the public," advanced the 
Assistant Commissioner gently. 

"So that is seriously what you mean to do." 

"We've got the man; we have no choice." 

"You will be only feeding up the lying spirit of these 
revolutionary scoundrels," Mr. Vladimir protested. "What 
do you want to make a scandal for? from morality or 
what?" 

Mr. Vladimir's anxiety was obvious. The Assistant 
Commissioner having ascertained in this way that there 
must be some truth in the summary statements of Mr. 
Verloc, said indifferently: 

"There's a practical side too. We have really enough 
to do to look after the genuine article. You can't say we 
are not effective. But we don't intend to let ourselves be 
bothered by shams under any pretext whatever." 

Mr. Vladimir's tone became lofty. 

"For my part, I can't share your view. It is selfish. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 22Q 

My sentiments for my own country cannot be doubted; 
but I've always felt that we ought to be good Europeans 
besides I mean governments and men." 

"Yes," said the Assistant Commissioner simply. "Only 
you look at Europe from its other end. But," he went 
on in a good-natured tone, "the foreign governments can- 
not complain of the inefficiency of our police. Look at 
this outrage; a case specially difficult to trace inasmuch 
as it was a sham. In less than twelve hours we have 
established the identity of a man literally blown to shreds, 
have found the organiser of .the attempt, and have had a 
glimpse of the inciter behind him. And we could have 
gone further; only we stopped at the limits of our territory." 

"So this instructive crime was planned abroad," Mr. 
Vladimir said quickly. "You admit it was planned 
abroad?" 

"Theoretically. Theoretically only, on foreign terri- 
tory; abroad only by a fiction," said the Assistant Com- 
missioner, alluding to the character of Embassies, which 
are supposed to be part and parcel of the country to 
which they belong. "But that's a detail. I talked to you 
of this business because it's your government that grumbles 
most at our police. You see that we are not so bad. I 
wanted particularly to tell you of our success." 

"I'm sure I'm very grateful," muttered Mr. Vladimir 
through his teeth. 

"We can put our finger on every anarchist here," went 
on the Assistant Commissioner, as though he were quoting 
Chief Inspector Heat. "All that's wanted now is to do 
away with the agent provocateur to make everything safe." 

Mr. Vladimir held up his hand to a passing hansom. 

"You're not going in here," remarked the Assistant 
Commissioner, looking at a building of noble proportions 



230 THE SECRET AGENT. 

and hospitable aspect, with the light of a great hall fall- 
ing through its glass doors on a broad flight of steps. 

But Mr. Vladimir, sitting, stony-eyed, inside the han- 
som, drove off without a word. 

The Assistant Commissioner himself did not turn into 
the noble building. It was the Explorers' Club. The 
thought passed through his mind that Mr. Vladimir, 
honorary member, would not be seen very often there in 
the future. He looked at his watch. It was only half- 
past ten. He had had a very full evening. 

XL 

AFTER Chief Inspector Heat had left him Mr. Verloc 
moved about the parlour. From time to time he eyed 
his wife through the open door. "She knows all about 
it now," he thought to himself with commiseration for her 
sorrow and with some satisfaction as regarded himself. 
Mr. Verloc's soul, if lacking greatness perhaps, was capable 
of tender sentiments. The prospect of having to break 
the news to her had put him into a fever. Chief In- 
spector Heat had relieved him of the task. That was 
good as far as it went. It remained for him now to face 
her grief. 

Mr. Verloc had never expected to have to face it on 
account of death, whose catastrophic character cannot 
be argued away by sophisticated reasoning or persuasive 
eloquence. Mr. Verloc never meant Stevie to perish with 
such abrupt violence. He did not mean him to perish 
at all. Stevie dead was a much greater nuisance than 
ever he had been when alive. Mr. Verloc had augured 
a favourable issue to his enterprise, basing himself not 
on Stevie's intelligence, which sometimes plays queer tricks 
with a man, but on the blind docility and on the blind 



THE SECRET AGENT. 23! 

devotion of the boy. Though not much of a psychologist, 
Mr. Verloc had gauged the depth of Stevie's fanaticism. 
He dared cherish the hope of Stevie walking away from 
the walls of the Observatory as he had been instructed 
to do, taking the way shown to him several times pre- 
viously, and rejoining his brother-in-law, the wise and 
good Mr. Verloc, outside the precincts of the park. Fif- 
teen minutes ought to have been enough for the veriest 
fool to deposit the engine and walk away. And the 
Professor had guaranteed more than fifteen minutes. But 
Stevie had stumbled within five minutes of being left to 
himself. And Mr. Verloc was shaken morally to pieces. 
He had foreseen everything but that. He had foreseen 
Stevie distracted and lost sought for found in some 
police station or provincial workhouse in the end. He 
had foreseen Stevie arrested, and was not afraid, because 
Mr. Verloc had a great opinion of Stevie's loyalty, which 
had been carefully indoctrinated with the necessity of 
silence in the course of many walks. Like a peripatetic 
philosopher, Mr. Verloc, strolling along the streets of 
London, had modified Stevie's view of the police by con- 
versations full of subtle reasonings. Never had a sage 
a more attentive and admiring disciple. The submission 
and worship were so apparent that Mr. Verloc had come 
to feel something like a liking for the boy. In any case, 
he had not foreseen the swift bringing home of his connec- 
tion. That his wife should hit upon the precaution of 
sewing the boy's address inside his overcoat was the last 
thing Mr. Verloc would have thought of. One can't 
think of everything. That was what she meant when she 
said that he need not worry if he lost Stevie during their 
walks. She had assured him that the boy would turn 
up all right. Well, he had turned up with a vengeance! 



232 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"Well, well," muttered Mr. Verloc in his wondei. 
What did she mean by it? Spare him the trouble of 
keeping an anxious eye on Stevie? Most likely she had 
meant well. Only she ought to have told him of the pre- 
caution she had taken. 

Mr. Verloc walked behind the counter of the shop. 
His intention was not to overwhelm his wife with bitter 
reproaches. Mr. Verloc felt no bitterness. The unex- 
pected march of events had converted him to the doc- 
trine of fatalism. Nothing could be helped now. He said : 

"I didn't mean any harm to come to the boy." 

Mrs. Verloc shuddered at the sound of her husband's 
voice. She did not uncover her face. The trusted secret 
agent of the late Baron Stott-Wartenheim looked at her 
for a time with a heavy, persistent, undiscerning glance. 
The torn evening paper was lying at her feet. It could 
not have told her much. Mr. Verloc felt the need of 
talking to his wife. 

"It's that damned Heat eh?" he said. "He upset 
you. He's a brute, blurting it out like this to a woman. 
I made myself ill thinking how to break it to you. I sat 
for hours in the little parlour of Cheshire Cheese thinking 
over the best way. You understand I never meant any 
harm to come to that boy." 

Mr. Verloc, the Secret Agent, was speaking the truth. 
It was his marital affection that had received the greatest 
shock from the premature explosion. He added: 

"I didn't feel particularly gay sitting there and think- 
ing of you." 

He observed another slight shudder of his wife, which 
affected his sensibility. As she persisted in hiding her 
face in her hands, he thought he had better leave her 
alone for awhile. On this delicate impulse Mr. Verloc 



THE SECRET AGENT. 233 

withdrew into the parlour again, where the gas-jet purred 
like a contented cat. Mrs. Verloc's wifely forethought 
had left the cold beef on the table with carving-knife and 
fork and half a loaf of bread for Mr. Verloc's supper. 
He noticed all these things now for the first time, and 
cutting himself a piece of bread and meat, began to eat. 

His appetite did not proceed from callousness. Mr. 
Verloc had not eaten any breakfast that day. He had 
left his home fasting. Not being an energetic man, he 
found his resolution in nervous excitement, which seemed 
to hold him mainly by the throat. He could not have 
swallowed anything solid. Michaelis' cottage was as 
destitute of provisions as the cell of a prisoner. The 
ticket-of-leave apostle lived on a little milk and crusts of 
stale bread. Moreover, when Mr. Verloc arrived he had 
already gone upstairs after his frugal meal. Absorbed 
in the toil and delight of literary composition, he had not 
even answered Mr. Verloc's shout up the little staircase. 

"I am taking this young fellow home for a day or 
two." 

And, in truth, Mr. Verloc did not wait for an answer, 
but had marched out of the cottage at once, followed by 
the obedient Stevie. 

Now that all action was over and his fate taken out 
of his hands with unexpected swiftness, Mr. Verloc felt 
terribly empty physically. He carved the meat, cut the 
bread, and devoured his supper standing by the table, 
and now and then casting a glance towards his wife. 
Her prolonged immobility disturbed the comfort of his 
refection. He walked again into the shop, and came up 
very close to her. This sorrow with a veiled face made 
Mr. Verloc uneasy. He expected, of course, his wife to 
be very much upset, but he wanted her to pull herself 



234 THE SECRET AGENT. 

together. He needed all her assistance and all her loyalty 
in these new conjunctures his fatalism had already ac- 
cepted. 

" Can't be helped," he said in a tone of gloomy sym- 
pathy. "Come, Winnie, we've got to think of to-morrow. 
You'll want all your wits about you after I am taken away." 

He paused. Mrs. Verloc's breast heaved convulsively. 
This was not reassuring to Mr. Verloc, in whose view the 
newly created situation required from the two people most 
concerned in it calmness, decision, and other qualities in- 
compatible with the mental disorder of passionate sor- 
row. Mr. Verloc was a humane man; he had come home 
prepared to allow every latitude to his wife's affection 
for her brother. Only he did not understand either the 
nature or the whole extent of that sentiment. And in 
this he was excusable, since it was impossible for him to 
understand it without ceasing to be himself. He was 
startled and disappointed, and his speech conveyed it by 
a certain roughness of tone. 

"You might look at a fellow," he observed after wait- 
ing awhile. 

As if forced through the hands covering Mrs. Verloc's 
face the answer came, deadened, almost pitiful. 

"I don't want to look at you as long as I live." 

"Eh? What?" Mr. Verloc was merely startled by 
the superficial and literal meaning of this declaration. It 
was obviously unreasonable, the mere cry of exaggerated 
grief. He threw over it the mantle of his marital in- 
dulgence. The mind of Mr. Verloc lacked profundity. 
Under the mistaken impression that the value of in- 
dividuals consists in what they are in themselves, he could 
not possibly comprehend the value of Stevie in the eyes 
of Mrs. Verloc. She was taking it confoundedly hard, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 235 

he thought to himself. It was all the fault of that 
damned Heat. What did he want to upset the woman 
for? But she mustn't be allowed, for her own good, to 
carry on so till she got quite beside herself. 

"Look here! You can't sit like this in the shop," 
he said with affected severity, in which there was some 
real annoyance; for urgent practical matters must be 
talked over if they had to sit up all night. "Somebody 
might come in at any minute," he added, and waited 
again. No effect was produced, and the idea of the 
finality of death occurred to Mr. Verloc during the pause. 
He changed his tone. "Come. This won't bring him 
back," he said gently, feeling ready to take her in his 
arms and press her to his breast, where impatience and 
compassion dwelt side by side. But except for a short 
shudder Mrs. Verloc remained apparently unaffected by 
the force of that terrible truism. It was Mr. Verloc him- 
self who was moved. He was moved in his simplicity to 
urge moderation by asserting the claims of his own per- 
sonality. 

"Do be reasonable, Winnie. What would it have been 
if you had lost me!" 

He had vaguely expected to hear her cry out. But 
she did not budge. She leaned back a little, quieted 
down to a complete unreadable stillness. Mr. Verloc's 
heart began to beat faster with exasperation and some- 
thing resembling alarm. He laid his hand on her shoul- 
der, saying: 

"Don't be a fool, Winnie." 

She gave no sign. It was impossible to talk to any 
purpose with a woman whose face one cannot see. Mr. 
Verloc caught hold of his wife's wrists. But her hands 
seemed glued fast. She swayed forward bodily to his 



236 THE SECRET AGENT. 

tug, and nearly went off the chair. Startled to feel her 
so helplessly limp, he was trying to put her back on the 
chair when she stiffened suddenly all over, tore herself 
out of his hands, ran out of the shop, across the parlour, 
and into the kitchen. This was very swift. He had just 
a glimpse of her face and that much of her eyes that he 
knew she had not looked at him. 

It all had the appearance of a struggle for the pos- 
session of a chair, because Mr. Verloc instantly took his 
wife's place in it. Mr. Verloc did not cover his face 
with his hands, but a sombre thoughtfulness veiled his 
features. A term of imprisonment could not be avoided. 
He did not wish now to avoid it. A prison was a place 
as safe from certain unlawful vengeances as the grave, 
with this advantage, that in a prison there is room for 
hope. What he saw before him was a term of imprison- 
ment, an early release, and then life abroad somewhere, 
such as he had contemplated already, in case of failure. 
Well, it was a failure, if not exactly the sort of failure he 
had feared. It had been so near success that he could 
have positively terrified Mr. Vladimir out of his ferocious 
scoffing with this proof of occult efficiency. So at least 
it seemed now to Mr. Verloc. His prestige with the Em- 
bassy would have been immense if if his wife had not 
had the unlucky notion of sewing on the address inside 
Stevie's overcoat Mr. Verloc, who was no fool, had soon 
perceived the extraordinary character of the influence he 
had over Stevie, though he did not understand exactly 
its origin the doctrine of his supreme wisdom and good- 
ness inculcated by two anxious women. In all the even- 
tualities he had foreseen Mr. Verloc had calculated with 
correct insight on Stevie's instinctive loyalty and blind 
discretion. The eventuality he had not foreseen had ap- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 237 

palled him as a humane man and a fond husband. From 
every other point of view it was rather advantageous. No- 
thing can equal the everlasting discretion of death. Mr. 
Verloc, sitting perplexed and frightened in the small par- 
lour of the Cheshire Cheese, could not help acknowledg- 
ing that to himself, because his sensibility did not stand 
in the way of his judgment. Stevie's violent disintegra- 
tion, however disturbing to think about, only assured the 
success; for, of course, the knocking down of a wall was 
not the aim of Mr. Vladimir's menaces, but the produc- 
tion of a moral effect. With much trouble and distress 
on Mr. Verloc's part the effect might be said to have 
been produced. When, however, most unexpectedly, it 
came home to roost in Brett Street, Mr. Verloc, who had 
been struggling like a man in a nightmare for the pre- 
servation of his position, accepted the blow in the spirit 
of a convinced fatalist. The position was gone through 
no one's fault really. A small, tiny fact had done it. It 
was like slipping on a bit of orange peel in the dark and 
breaking your leg. 

Mr. Verloc drew a weary breath. He nourished no 
resentment against his wife. He thought: She will have 
to look after the shop while they keep me locked up. 
And thinking also how cruelly she would miss Stevie at 
first, he felt greatly concerned about her health and 
spirits. How would she stand her solitude absolutely 
alone in that house? It would not do for her to break 
down while he was locked up? What would become of 
the shop then? The shop was an asset. Though Mr. 
Verloc's fatalism accepted his undoing as a secret agent, 
he had no mind to be utterly ruined, mostly, it must be 
owned, from regard for his wife. 

Silent, and out of his line of sight in the kitchen, she 



238 THE SECRET AGENT. 

frightened him. If only she had had her mother with 
her. But that silly old woman An angry dismay 
possessed Mr. Verloc. He must talk with his wife. He 
could tell her certainly that a man does get desperate 
under certain circumstances. But he did not go incon- 
tinently to impart to her that information. First of all, 
it was clear to him that this evening was no time for 
business. He got up to close the street door and put 
the gas out in the shop. 

Having thus assured a solitude around his hearth-stone 
Mr. Verloc walked into the parlour, and glanced down 
into the kitchen. Mrs. Verloc was sitting in the place 
where poor Stevie usually established himself of an even- 
ing with paper and pencil for the pastime of drawing 
these coruscations of innumerable circles suggesting chaos 
and eternity. Her arms were folded on the table, and 
her head was lying on her arms. Mr. Verloc contem- 
plated her back and the arrangement of her hair for a 
time, then walked away from the kitchen door. Mrs. Ver- 
loc's philosophical, almost disdainful incuriosity, the founda- 
tion of their accord in domestic, life made it extremely 
difficult to get into contact with her, now this tragic 
necessity had arisen. Mr. Verloc felt this difficulty 
acutely. He turned around the table in the parlour with 
his usual air of a large animal in a cage. 

Curiosity being one of the forms of self-revelation, a 
systematically incurious person remains always partly mys- 
terious. Every time he passed near the door Mr. Verloc 
glanced at his wife uneasily. It was not that he was 
afraid of her. Mr. Verloc imagined himself loved by that 
woman. But she had not accustomed him to make con- 
fidences. And the confidence he had to make was of a 
profound psychological order. How with his want of 



THE SECRET AGENT. 239 

practice could he tell her what he himself felt but vaguely : 
that there are conspiracies of fatal destiny, that a notion 
grows in a mind sometimes till it acquires an outward 
existence, an independent power of its own, and even a 
suggestive voice? He could not inform her that a man 
may be haunted by a fat, witty, clean-shaved face till the 
wildest expedient to get rid of it appears a child of wis- 
dom. 

On this mental reference to a First Secretary of a great 
Embassy, Mr. Verloc stopped in the doorway, and looking 
down into the kitchen with an angry face and clenched 
fists, addressed his wife. 

"You don't know what a brute I had to deal with." 

He started off to make another perambulation of the 
table; then when he had come to the door again he stop- 
ped, glaring in from the height of two steps. 

"A silly, jeering, dangerous brute, with no more sense 

than After all these years! A man like me! And 

I have been playing my head at that game. You didn't 
know. Quite right, too. What was the good of telling 
you that I stood the risk of having a knife stuck into me 
any time these seven years we've been married? I am 
not a chap to worry a woman that's fond of me. You 
had no business to know." 

Mr. Verloc took another turn round the parlour, fuming. 

"A venomous beast," he began again from the door- 
way. "Drive me out into a ditch to starve for a joke. I 
could see he thought it was a damned good joke. A man 
like me! Look here! Some of the highest in the world 
got to thank me for walking on their two legs to this day. 
That's the man you've got married to, my girl!" 

He perceived that his wife had sat up. Mrs. Verloc's 
arms remained lying stretched on the table. Mr. Verloc 



240 THE SECRET AGENT. 

watched her back as if he could read there the effect of 
his words. 

"There isn't a murdering plot for the last eleven years 
that I hadn't my finger in at the risk of my life. There's 
scores of these revolutionists I've sent off, with their bombs 
in their blamed pockets, to get themselves caught on the 
frontier. The old Baron knew what I was worth to his 
country. And here suddenly a swine comes along an 
ignorant, overbearing swine." 

Mr. Verloc, stepping slowly down two steps, entered 
the kitchen, took a tumbler off the dresser, and holding 
it in his hand, approached the sink, without looking at his 
wife. 

"It wasn't the old Baron who would have had the 
wicked folly of getting me to call on him at eleven in the 
morning. There are two or three in this town that, if 
they had seen me going in, would have made no bones 
about knocking me on the head sooner or later. It was 
a silly, murderous trick to expose for nothing a man 
like me." 

Mr. Verloc, turning on the tap above the sink, poured 
three glasses of water, one after another, down his throat 
to quench the fires of his indignation. Mr. Vladimir's 
conduct was like a hot brand which set his internal 
economy in a blaze. He could not get over the disloyalty 
of it. This man, who would not work at the usual hard 
tasks which society sets to its humbler members, had exer- 
cised his secret industry with an indefatigable devotion. 
There was in Mr. Verloc a fund of loyalty. He had been 
loyal to his employers, to the cause of social stability, 
and to his affections too as became apparent when, after 
standing the tumbler in the sink, he turned about, saying: 

"If I hadn't thought of you I would have taken the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 24! 

bullying brute by the throat and rammed his head into 
the fireplace. I'd have been more than a match for that 
pink-faced, smooth-shaved 

Mr. Verloc neglected to finish the sentence, as if there 
could be no doubt of the terminal word. For the first 
time in his life he was taking that incurious woman into 
his confidence. The singularity of the event, the force 
and importance of the personal feelings aroused in the 
course of this confession, drove Stevie's fate clean out of 
Mr. Verloc's mind. The boy's stuttering existence of fears 
and indignations, together with the violence of his end, 
had passed out of Mr. Verloc's mental sight for a time. 
For that reason, when he looked up he was startled by 
the inappropriate character of his wife's stare. It was not 
a wild stare, and it was not inattentive, but its attention 
was peculiar and not satisfactory, inasmuch that it seemed 
concentrated upon some point beyond Mr. Verloc's person. 
The impression was so strong that Mr. Verloc glanced 
over his shoulder. There was nothing behind him: there 
was just the whitewashed wall. The excellent husband 
of Winnie Verloc saw no writing on the wall. He turned 
to his wife again, repeating, with some emphasis: 

"I would have taken him by the throat. As true as 
I stand here, if I hadn't thought of you then I would have 
half choked the life out of the brute before I let him get 
up. And don't you think he would have been anxious to 
call the police either. He wouldn't have dared. You 
understand why don't you?" 

He blinked at his wife knowingly. 

"No," said Mrs. Verloc in an unresonant voice, and 
without looking at him at all. "What are you talking 
about?" 

A great discouragement, the result of fatigue, came 

The Secret Jgent. 1 6 



242 THE SECRET AGENT. 

upon Mr. Verloc. He had had a very full day, and his 
nerves had been tried to the utmost. After a month of 
maddening worry, ending in an unexpected catastrophe, 
the storm-tossed spirit of Mr. Verloc longed for repose. 
His career as a secret agent had come to an end in a 
way no one could have foreseen; only, now, perhaps he 
could manage to get a night's sleep at last But looking 
at his wife, he doubted it. She was taking it very hard 
not at all like herself, he thought. He made an effort 
to speak. 

"You'll have to pull yourself together, my girl," he 
said sympathetically. "What's done can't be undone." 

Mrs. Verloc gave a slight start, though not a muscle 
of her white face moved in the least. Mr. Verloc, who 
was not looking at her, continued ponderously. 

"You go to bed now. What you want is a good cry." 

This opinion had nothing to recommend it but the 
general consent of mankind. It is universally understood 
that, as if it were nothing more substantial than vapour 
floating in the sky, every emotion of a woman is bound 
to end in a shower. And it is very probable that had 
Stevie died in his bed under her despairing gaze, in her 
protecting arms, Mrs. Verloc's grief would have found re- 
lief in a flood of bitter and pure tears. Mrs. Verloc, in 
common with other human beings, was provided with a 
fund of unconscious resignation sufficient to meet the 
normal manifestation of human destiny. Without "trou- 
bling her head about it," she was aware that it "did not 
stand looking into very much." But the lamentable cir- 
cumstances of jStevie's end, which to Mr. Verloc's mind 
had only an episodic character, as part of a greater dis- 
aster, dried her tears at their very source. It was the 
effect of a white-hot iron drawn across her eyes; at the 



THE SECRET AGENT. 243 

same time her heart, hardened and chilled into a lump of 
ice, kept her body in an inward shudder, set her features 
into a frozen contemplative immobility addressed to a 
whitewashed wall with no writing on it. The exigencies 
of Mrs. Verloc's temperament, which, when stripped of its 
philosophical reserve, was maternal and violent, forced her 
to roll a series of thoughts in her motionless head. These 
thoughts were rather imagined than expressed. Mrs. 
Verloc was a woman of singularly few words, either for 
public or private use. With the rage and dismay of a 
betrayed woman, she reviewed the tenor of her life in 
visions concerned mostly with Stevie's difficult existence 
from its earliest days. It was a life of single purpose 
and of a noble unity of inspiration, like those rare lives 
that have left their mark on the thoughts and feelings of 
mankind. But the visions of Mrs. Verloc lacked nobility 
and magnificence. She saw herself putting the boy to 
bed by the light of a single candle on the deserted top 
floor of a "business house," dark under the roof and 
scintillating exceedingly with lights and cut glass at the 
level of the street like a fairy palace. That meretricious 
splendour was the only one to be met in Mrs. Verloc's 
visions. She remembered brushing the boy's hair and 
tying his pinafores herself in a pinafore still; the conso- 
lations administered to a small and badly scared creature 
by another creature nearly as small but not quite so badly 
scared; she had the vision of the blows intercepted (often 
with her own head), of a door held desperately shut 
against a man's rage (not for very long); of a poker flung 
once (not very far), which stilled that particular storm into 
the dumb and awful silence which follows a thunder-clap. 
And all these scenes of violence came and went accom- 
panied by the unrefined noise of deep vociferations pro- 

16* 



244 THE SECRET AGENT. 

ceeding from a man wounded in his paternal pride, de- 
claring himself obviously accursed since one of his kids 
was a "slobbering idjut and the other a wicked she-de- 
vil." It was of her that this had been said many years 
ago. 

Mrs. Verloc heard the words again in a ghostly 
fashion, and then the dreary shadow of the Belgravian 
mansion descended upon her shoulders. It was a crush- 
ing memory, an exhausting vision of countless breakfast 
trays carried up and down innumerable stairs, of endless 
haggling over pence, of the endless drudgery of sweeping, 
dusting, cleaning, from basement to attics; while the im- 
potent mother, staggering on swollen legs, cooked in a 
grimy kitchen, and poor Stevie, the unconscious presiding 
genius of all their toil, blacked the gentlemen's boots in 
the scullery. But this vision had a breath of a hot Lon- 
don summer in it, and for a central figure a young man 
wearing his Sunday best, with a straw hat on his dark 
head and a wooden pipe in his mouth. Affectionate and 
jolly, he was a fascinating companion for a voyage down 
the sparkling stream of life; only his boat was very small. 
There was room in it for a girl-partner at the oar, but no 
accommodation for passengers. He was allowed to drift 
away from the threshold of the Belgravian mansion while 
Winnie averted her tearful eyes. He was not a lodger. 
The lodger was Mr. Verloc, indolent, and keeping late 
hours, sleepily jocular of a morning from under his bed- 
clothes, but with gleams of infatuation in his heavy-lidded 
eyes, and always with some money in his pockets. There 
was no sparkle of any kind on the lazy stream of his life. 
It flowed through secret places. But his barque seemed 
a roomy craft, and his taciturn magnanimity accepted as 
a matter of course the presence of passengers. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 245 

Mrs. Verloc pursued the visions of seven years' security 
for Stevie, loyally paid for on her part; of security grow- 
ing into confidence, into a domestic feeling, stagnant and 
deep like a placid pool, whose guarded surface hardly 
shuddered on the occasional passage of Comrade Ossipon, 
the robust anarchist with shamelessly inviting eyes, whose 
glance had a corrupt clearness sufficient to enlighten any 
woman not absolutely imbecile. 

A few seconds only had elapsed since the last word 
had been uttered aloud in the kitchen, and Mrs. Verloc 
was staring already at the vision of an episode not more 
than a fortnight old. With eyes whose pupils were ex- 
tremely dilated she stared at the vision of her husband 
and poor Stevie walking up Brett Street side by side away 
from the shop. It was the last scene of an existence 
created by Mrs. Verloc's genius; an existence foreign to 
all grace and charm, without beauty and almost without 
decency, but admirable in the continuity of feeling and 
tenacity of purpose. And this last vision had such plastic 
relief, such nearness of form, such a fidelity of suggestive 
detail, that it wrung from Mrs. Verloc an anguished and 
faint murmur, reproducing the supreme illusion of her 
life, an appalled murmur that died out on her blanched lips. 

"Might have been father and son." 

Mr. Verloc stopped, and raised a care-worn face. 
"Eh? What did you say?" he asked. Receiving no 
reply, he resumed his sinister tramping. Then with a 
menacing flourish of a thick, fleshy fist, he burst out: 

"Yes. The Embassy people. A pretty lot, ain't they! 
Before a week's out I'll make some of them wish them- 
selves twenty feet underground. Eh? What?" 

He glanced sideways, with his head down. Mrs. 
Verloc gazed at the whitewashed wall. A blank wall 



246 THE SECRET AGENT. 

perfectly blank. A blankness to run at and dash your 
head against. Mrs. Verloc remained immovably seated. 
She kept still as the population of half the globe would 
keep still in astonishment and despair, were the sun sud- 
denly put out in the summer sky by the perfidy of a 
trusted providence. 

"The Embassy," Mr. Verloc began again, after a 
preliminary grimace which bared his teeth wolfishly. "I 
wish I could get loose in there with a cudgel for half-an- 
hour. I would keep on hitting till there wasn't a single 
unbroken bone left amongst the whole lot. But never 
mind, I'll teach them yet what it means trying to throw 
out a man like me to rot in the streets. I've a tongue in 
my head. All the world shall know what I've done for 
them. I am not afraid. I don't care. Everything'll come 
out Every damned thing. Let them look out!" 

In these terms did Mr. Verloc declare his thirst for 
revenge. It was a very appropriate revenge. It was in 
harmony with the promptings of Mr. Verloc's genius. It 
had also the advantage of being within the range of his 
powers and of adjusting itself easily to the practice of his 
life, which had consisted precisely in betraying the secret 
and unlawful proceedings of his fellow-men. Anarchists 
or diplomats were all one to him. Mr. Verloc was tem- 
peramentally no respecter of persons. His scorn was 
equally distributed over the whole field of his operations. 
But as a member of a revolutionary proletariat which 
he undoubtedly was he nourished a rather inimical senti- 
ment against social distinction. 

"Nothing on earth can stop me now," he added, and 
paused, looking fixedly at his wife, who was looking fixedly 
at a blank wall. 

The silence in the kitchen was prolonged, and Mr. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 247 

Verloc felt disappointed. He had expected his wife to 
say something. But Mrs. Verloc's lips, composed in their 
usual form, preserved a statuesque immobility like the rest 
of her face. And Mr. Verloc was disappointed. Yet the 
occasion did not, he recognised, demand speech from her. 
She was a woman of very few words. For reasons in- 
volved in the very foundation of his psychology, Mr. Verloc 
was inclined to put his trust in any woman who had given 
herself to him. Therefore he trusted his wife. Their 
accord was perfect, but it was not precise. It was a tacit 
accord, congenial to Mrs. Verloc's incuriosity and to Mr. 
Verloc's habits of mind, which were indolent and secret. 
They refrained from going to the bottom of facts and 
motives. 

This reserve, expressing, in a way, their profound con- 
fidence in each other, introduced at the same time a cer- 
tain element of vagueness into their intimacy. No system 
of conjugal relations is perfect. Mr. Verloc presumed that 
his wife had understood him, but he would have been glad 
to hear her say what she thought at the moment. It 
would have been a comfort. 

There were several reasons why this comfort was 
denied him. There was a physical obstacle: Mrs. Verloc 
had no sufficient command over her voice. She did not 
see any alternative between screaming and silence, and 
instinctively she chose the silence. Winnie Verloc was 
temperamentally a silent person. And there was the 
paralysing atrocity of the thought which occupied her. 
Her cheeks were blanched, her lips ashy, her immobility 
amazing. And she thought without looking at Mr. 
Verloc: "This man took the boy away to murder him. 
He took the boy away from his home to murder him. He 
took the boy away from me to murder him!" 



248 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Mrs. Verloc's whole being was racked by that incon- 
clusive and maddening thought. It was in her veins, in 
her bones, in the roots of her hair. Mentally she assumed 
the biblical attitude of mourning the covered face, the 
rent garments; the sound of wailing and lamentation filled 
her head. But her teeth were violently clenched, and her 
tearless eyes were hot with rage, because she was not a 
submissive creature. The protection she had extended 
over her brother had been in its origin of a fierce and 
indignant complexion. She had to love him with a mili- 
tant love. She had battled for him even against herself. 
His loss had the bitterness of defeat, with the anguish of 
a baffled passion. It was not an ordinary stroke of death. 
Moreover, it was not death that took Stevie from her. It 
was Mr. Verloc who took him away. She had seen him. 
She had watched him, without raising a hand, take the 
boy away. And she had let him go, like like a fool 
a blind fool. Then after he had murdered the boy he 
came home to her. Just came home like any other man 
would come home to his wife. . . . 

Through her set teeth Mrs. Verloc muttered at the wall : 

"And I thought he had caught a cold." 

Mr. Verloc heard these words and appropriated them. 

"It was nothing," he said moodily. "I was upset. I 
was upset on your account." 

Mrs. Verloc, turning her head slowly, transferred her 
stare from the wall to her husband's person. Mr. Verloc, 
with the tips of his fingers between his lips, was looking 
on the ground. 

"Can't be helped," he mumbled, letting his hand fall. 
"You must pull yourself together. You'll want all your 
wits about you. It is you who brought the police about 
our ears. Never mind, I won't say anything more about 



THE SECRET AGENT. 249 

it," continued Mr. Verloc magnanimously. "You couldn't 
know." 

"I couldn't," breathed out Mrs. Verloc. It was as if 
a corpse had spoken. Mr. Verloc took up the thread of 
his discourse. 

"I don't blame you. I'll make them sit up. Once 
under lock and key it will be safe enough for me to talk 
you understand. You must reckon on me being two 
years away from you," he continued, in a tone of sincere 
concern. "It will be easier for you than for me. You'll 
have something to do, while I Look here, Winnie, 
what you must do is to keep this business going for two 
years. You know enough for that. You've a good head 
on you. I'll send you word when it's time to go about 
trying to sell. You'll have to be extra careful. The com- 
rades will be keeping an eye on you all the time. You'll 
have to be as artful as you know how, and as close as the 
grave. No one must know what you are going to do. I 
have no mind to get a knock on the head or a stab in 
the back directly I am let out." 

Thus spoke Mr. Verloc, applying his mind with in- 
genuity and forethought to the problems of the future. 
His voice was sombre, because he had a correct sentiment 
of the situation. Everything which he did not wish to 
pass had come to pass. The future had become pre- 
carious. His judgment, perhaps, had been momentarily 
obscured by his dread of Mr. Vladimir's truculent folly. 
A man somewhat over forty may be excusably thrown into 
considerable disorder by the prospect of losing his employ- 
ment, especially if the man is a secret agent of political 
police, dwelling secure in the consciousness of his high 
value and in the esteem of high personages. He was 
excusable. 



25O THE SECRET AGENT. 

Now the thing had ended in a crash. Mr. Verloc 
was cool; but he was not cheerful. A secret agent who 
throws his secrecy to the winds from desire of vengeance, 
and flaunts his achievements before the public eye, be- 
comes the mark for desperate and bloodthirsty indigna- 
tions. Without unduly exaggerating the danger, Mr. Ver- 
loc tried to bring it clearly before his wife's mind. He 
repeated that he had no intention to let the revolutionists 
do away with him. 

He looked straight into his wife's eyes. The enlarged 
pupils of the woman received his stare into their un- 
fathomable depths. 

"I am too fond of you for that," he said, with a little 
nervous laugh. 

A faint flush coloured Mrs. Verloc's ghastly and mo- 
tionless face. Having done with the visions of the past, 
she had not only heard, but had also understood the 
words uttered by her husband. By their extreme dis- 
accord with her mental condition these words produced 
on her a slightly suffocating effect. Mrs. Verloc's mental 
condition had the merit of simplicity; but it was not 
sound. It was governed too much by a fixed idea. Every 
nook and cranny of her brain was filled with the thought 
that this man, with whom she had lived without distaste 
for seven years, had taken the "poor boy" away from her 
in order to kill him the man to whom she had grown 
accustomed in body and mind; the man whom she had 
trusted, took the boy away to kill him! In its form, in 
its substance, in its effect, which was universal, altering 
even the aspect of inanimate things, it was a thought to 
sit still and marvel at for ever and ever. Mrs. Verloc 
sat still. And across that thought (not across the kitchen) 
the form of Mr. Verloc went to and fro, familiarly in hat 



THE SECRET AGENT. 25! 

and overcoat, stamping with his boots upon her brain. 
He was probably talking too; but Mrs. Verloc's thought 
for the most part covered the voice. 

Now and then, however, the voice would make itself 
heard. Several connected words emerged at times. Their 
purport was generally hopeful. On each of these occasions 
Mrs. Verloc's dilated pupils, losing their far-off fixity, fol- 
lowed her husband's movements with the effect of black 
care and impenetrable attention. Well informed upon all 
matters relating to his secret calling, Mr. Verloc augured 
well for the success of his plans and combinations. He 
really believed that it would be upon the whole easy for 
him to escape the knife of infuriated revolutionists. He 
had exaggerated the strength of their fury and the length 
of their arm (for professional purposes) too often to have 
many illusions one way or the other. For to exaggerate 
with judgment one must begin by measuring with nicety. 
He knew also how much virtue and how much infamy is 
forgotten in two years two long years. His first really 
confidential discourse to his wife was optimistic from con- 
viction. He also thought it good policy to display all the 
assurance he could muster. It would put heart into the 
poor woman. On his liberation, which, harmonising with 
the whole tenor of his life, would be secret, of course, 
they would vanish together without loss of time. As to 
covering up the tracks, he begged his wife to trust him 
for that. He knew how it was to be done so that the 
devil himself 

He waved his hand. He seemed to boast. He wished 
only to put heart into her. It was a benevolent intention, 
but Mr. Verloc had the misfortune not to be in accord 
with his audience. 

The self-confident tone grew upon Mrs. Verloc's ear 



252 THE SECRET AGENT. 

which let most of the words go by; for what were words 
to her now? What could words do to her for good or 
evil in the face of her fixed idea? Her black glance fol- 
lowed that man who was asserting his impunity the man 
who had taken poor Stevie from home to kill him some- 
where. Mrs. Verloc could not remember exactly where, 
but her heart began to beat very perceptibly. 

Mr. Verloc, in a soft and conjugal tone, was now ex- 
pressing his firm belief that there were yet a good few 
years of quiet life before them both. He did not go into 
the question of means. A quiet life it must be and, as 
it were, nestling in the shade, concealed among men whose 
flesh is grass; modest, like the life of violets. The words 
used by Mr. Verloc were: "Lie low for a bit" And far 
from England, of course. It was not clear whether Mr. 
Verloc had in his mind Spain or South America; but at 
any rate somewhere abroad. 

This last word, falling into Mrs. Verloc's ear, produced 
a definite impression. This man was talking of going abroad. 
The impression was completely disconnected; and such is 
the force of mental habit that Mrs. Verloc at once and 
automatically asked herself: "And what of Stevie?" 

It was a sort of forgetfulness; but instantly she became 
aware that there was no longer any occasion for anxiety 
on that score. There would never be any occasion any 
more. The poor boy had been taken out and killed. 
The poor boy was dead. 

This shaking piece of forgetfulness stimulated Mrs. 
Verloc's intelligence. She began to perceive certain con- 
sequences which would have surprised Mr. Verloc. There 
was no need for her now to stay there, in that kitchen, 
in that house, with that man since the boy was gone for 
ever. No need whatever. And on that Mrs. Verloc rose 



THE SECRET AGENT. 253 

as if raised by a spring. But neither could she see what 
there was to keep her in the world at all. And this in- 
ability arrested her. Mr. Verloc watched her with marital 
solicitude. 

"You're looking more like yourself," he said uneasily. 
Something peculiar in the blackness of his wife's eyes 
disturbed his optimism. At that precise moment Mrs. 
Verloc began to look upon herself as released from all 
earthly ties. She had her freedom. Her contract with 
existence, as represented by that man standing over there, 
was at an end. She was a free woman. Had this view 
become in some way perceptible to Mr. Verloc he would 
have been extremely shocked. In his affairs of the heart 
Mr. Verloc had been always carelessly generous, yet always 
with no other idea than that of being loved for himself. 
Upon this matter, his ethical notions being in agreement 
with his vanity, he was completely incorrigible. That this 
should be so in the case of his virtuous and legal con- 
nection he was perfectly certain. He had grown older, 
fatter, heavier, in the belief that he lacked no fascination 
for being loved for his own sake. When he saw Mrs. 
Verloc starting to walk out of the kitchen without a word 
he was disappointed. 

"Where are you going to?" he called out rather 
sharply. "Upstairs?" 

Mrs. Verloc in the doorway turned at the voice. An 
instinct of prudence born of fear, the excessive fear of 
being approached and touched by that man, induced her 
to nod at him slightly (from the height of two steps), with 
a stir of the lips which the conjugal optimism of Mr. Ver- 
loc took for a wan and uncertain smile. 

"That's right," he encouraged her gruffly. "Rest and 



254 E SECRET AGENT. 

quiet's what you want. Go on. It won't be long before I 
am with you." 

Mrs. Verloc, the free woman who had had really no 
idea where she was going to, obeyed the suggestion with 
rigid steadiness. 

Mr. Verloc watched her. She disappeared up the 
stairs. He was disappointed. There was that within him 
which would have been more satisfied if she had been 
moved to throw herself upon his breast. But he was 
generous and indulgent. Winnie was always undemon- 
strative and silent. Neither was Mr. Verloc himself prodi- 
gal of endearments and words as a rule. But this was 
not an ordinary evening. It was an occasion when a man 
wants to be fortified and strengthened by open proofs of 
sympathy and affection. Mr. Verloc sighed, and put out 
the gas in the kitchen. Mr. Verloc's sympathy with his 
wife was genuine and intense. It almost brought tears 
into his eyes as he stood in the parlour reflecting on the 
loneliness hanging over her head. In this mood Mr. Ver- 
loc missed Stevie very much out of a difficult world. He 
thought mournfully of his end. If only that lad had not 
stupidly destroyed himself! 

The sensation of unappeasable hunger, not unknown 
after the strain of a hazardous enterprise to adventurers 
of tougher fibre than Mr. Verloc, overcame him again. 
The piece of roast-beef, laid out in the likeness of funereal 
baked meats for Stevie's obsequies, offered itself largely 
to his notice. And Mr. Verloc again partook. He partook 
ravenously, without restraint and decency, cutting thick 
slices with the sharp carving-knife, and swallowing them 
without bread. In the course of that refection it occurred 
to Mr. Verloc that he was not hearing his wife move 
about the bedroom as he should have done. The thought 



THE SECRET AGENT. 255 

of finding her perhaps sitting on the bed in the dark not 
only cut Mr. Verloc's appetite, but also took from him the 
inclination to follow her upstairs just yet. Laying down 
the carving-knife, Mr. Verloc listened with careworn at- 
tention. 

He was comforted by hearing her move at last. She 
walked suddenly across the room, and threw the window 
up. After a period of stillness up there, during which he 
figured her to himself with her head out, he heard the 
sash being lowered slowly. Then she made a few steps, 
and sat down. Every resonance of his house was familiar 
to Mr. Verloc, who was thoroughly domesticated. When 
next he heard his wife's footsteps overhead he knew, as 
well as if he had seen her doing it, that she had been 
putting on her walking shoes. Mr. Verloc wriggled his 
shoulders slightly at this ominous symptom, and moving 
away from the table, stood with his back to the fireplace, 
his head on one side, and gnawing perplexedly at the 
tips of his fingers. He kept track of her movements by 
the sound. She walked here and there violently, with 
abrupt stoppages, now before the chest of drawers, then 
in front of the wardrobe. An immense load of weariness, 
the harvest of a day of shocks and surprises, weighed 
Mr. Verloc's energies to the ground. 

He did not raise his eyes till he heard his wife de- 
scending the stairs. It was as he had guessed. She was 
dressed for going out. 

Mrs. Verloc was a free woman. She had thrown open 
the window of the bedroom either with the intention of 
screaming Murder! Help! or of throwing herself out. 
For she did not exactly know what use to make of her 
freedom. Her personality seemed to have been torn into 
two pieces, whose mental operations did not adjust them- 



256 THE SECRET AGENT. 

selves very well to each other. The street, silent and 
deserted from end to end, repelled her by taking sides 
with that man who was so certain of his impunity. She 
was afraid to shout lest no one should come. Obviously 
no one would come. Her instinct of self-preservation re- 
coiled from the depth of the fall into that sort of slimy, 
deep trench. Mrs. Verloc closed the window, and dressed 
herself to go out into the street by another way. She was 
a free woman. She had dressed herself thoroughly, down 
to the tying of a black veil over her face. As she ap- 
peared before him in the light of the parlour, Mr. Verloc 
observed that she had even her little handbag hanging 
from her left wrist. . . . Flying off to her mother, of course. 

The thought that women were wearisome creatures 
after all presented itself to his fatigued brain. But he 
was too generous to harbour it for more than an instant. 
This man, hurt cruelly in his vanity, remained magnani- 
mous in his conduct, allowing himself no satisfaction of 
a bitter smile or of a contemptuous gesture. With true 
greatness of soul, he only glanced at the wooden clock on 
the wall, and said in a perfectly calm but forcible manner: 

"Five and twenty minutes past eight, Winnie. There's 
no sense in going over there so late. You will never 
manage to get back to-night" 

Before his extended hand Mrs. Verloc had stopped 
short. He added heavily: "Your mother will be gone to 
bed before you get there. This is the sort of news that 
can wait" 

Nothing was further from Mrs. Verloc's thoughts than 
going to her mother. She recoiled at the mere idea, and 
feeling a chair behind her, she obeyed the suggestion of 
the touch, and sat down. Her intention had been simply 
to get outside the door for ever. And if this feeling was 



THE SECRET AGENT. 257 

correct, its mental form took an unrefined shape cor- 
responding to her origin and station. "I would rather 
walk the streets all the days of my life," she thought. 
But this creature, whose moral nature had been subjected 
to a shock of which, in the physical order, the most 
violent earthquake of history could only be a faint and 
languid rendering, was at the mercy of mere trifles, of 
casual contacts. She sat down. With her hat and veil 
she had the air of a visitor, of having looked in on Mr. 
Verloc for a moment. Her instant docility encouraged 
him, whilst her aspect of only temporary and silent ac- 
quiescence provoked him a little. 

"Let me tell you, Winnie," he said with authority, 
"that your place is here this evening. Hang it all! you 
brought the damned police high and low about my ears. 
I don't blame you but it's your doing all the same. 
You'd better take this confounded hat off. I can't let you 
go out, old girl," he added in a softened voice. 

Mrs. Verloc's mind got hold of that declaration with 
morbid tenacity. The man who had taken Stevie out 
from under her very eyes to murder him in a locality 
whose name was at the moment not present to her memory 
would not allow her to go out. Of course he wouldn't. Now 
he had murdered Stevie he would never let her go. He 
would want to keep her for nothing. And on this char- 
acteristic reasoning, having all the force of insane logic, 
Mrs. Verloc's disconnected wits went to work practically. 
She could slip by him, open the door, run out. But he 
would dash out after her, seize her round the body, drag 
her back into the shop. She could scratch, kick, and 
bite and stab too; but for stabbing she wanted a knife. 
Mrs. Verloc sat still under her black veil, in her own 

The Secret Agent. I? 



258 THE SECRET AGENT. 

house, like a masked and mysterious visitor of impenetrable 
intentions. 

Mr. Verloc's magnanimity was not more than human. 
She had exasperated him at last. 

"Can't you say something? You have your own 
dodges for vexing a man. Oh yes! I know your deaf- 
and-dumb trick. I've seen you at it before to-day. But 
just now it won't do. And to begin with, take this damned 
thing off. One can't tell whether one is talking to a dummy 
or to a live woman." 

He advanced, and stretching out his hand, dragged 
the veil off, unmasking a still, unreadable face, against 
which his nervous exasperation was shattered like a glass 
bubble flung against a rock. "That's better," he said, to 
cover his momentary uneasiness, and retreated back to 
his old station by the mantelpiece. It never entered his 
head that his wife could give him up. He felt a little 
ashamed of himself, for he was fond and generous. What 
could he do? Everything had been said already. He 
protested vehemently. 

"By heavens! You know that I hunted high and 
low. I ran the risk of giving myself away to find somebody 
for that accursed job. And I tell you again I couldn't 
find anyone crazy enough or hungry enough. What do 
you take me for a murderer, or what? The boy is gone. 
Do you think I wanted him to blow himself up? He's 
gone. His troubles are over. Ours are just going to^ 
begin, I tell you, precisely because he did blow himself 
up. I don't blame you. But just try to understand that \ 
it was a pure accident; as much an accident as if he had j 
been run over by a 'bus while crossing the street." 

His generosity was not infinite, because he was a 
human being and not a monster, as Mrs. Verloc believed 



THE SECRET AGENT. 259 

him to be. He paused, and a snarl lifting his moustaches 
above a gleam of white teeth gave him the expression of 
a reflective beast, not very dangerous a slow beast with 
a sleek head, gloomier than a seal, and with a husky voice. 

"And when it comes to that, it's as much your doing 
as mine. That's so. You may glare as much as you 
like. I know what you can do in that way. Strike me 
dead if I ever would have thought of the lad for that 
purpose. It was you who kept on shoving him in my 
way when I was half distracted with the worry of keeping 
the lot of us out of trouble. What the devil made you? 
One would think you were doing it on purpose. And I 
am damned if I know that you didn't. There's no saying 
how much of what's going on you have got hold of on 
the sly with your infernal don't-care-a-damn way of look- 
ing nowhere in particular, and saying nothing at all. . . ." 

His husky domestic voice ceased for awhile. Mrs. 
Verloc made no reply. Before that silence he felt ashamed 
of what he had said. But as often happens to peaceful 
men in domestic tiffs, being ashamed he pushed another 
point. 

"You have a devilish way of holding your tongue 
sometimes," he began again, without raising his voice. 
"Enough to make some men go mad. It's lucky for you 
that I am not so easily put out as some of them would 
be by your deaf-and-dumb sulks. I am fond of you. But 
don't you go too far. This isn't the time for it. We 
ought to be thinking of what we've got to do. And I 
can't let you go out to-night, galloping off to your mother 
with some crazy tale or other about me. I won't have it. 
Don't you make any mistake about it: if you will have it 
that I killed the boy, then you've killed him as much as I." 

In sincerity of feeling and openness of statement, 

17* 



26O THE SECRET AGENT. 

these words went far beyond anything that had ever been 
said in this home, kept up on the wages of a secret 
industry eked out by the sale of more or less secret wares : 
the poor expedients devised by a mediocre mankind for 
preserving an imperfect society from the dangers of moral 
and physical corruption, both secret too of their kind. 
They were spoken because Mr. Verloc had felt himself 
really outraged; but the reticent decencies of this home 
life, nestling in a shady street behind a shop where the 
sun never shone, remained apparently undisturbed. Mrs. 
Verloc heard him out with perfect propriety, and then 
rose from her chair in her hat and jacket like a visitor at 
the end of a call. She advanced towards her husband, 
one arm extended as if for a silent leave-taking. Her net 
veil dangling down by one end on the left side of her 
face gave an air of disorderly formality to her restrained 
movements. But when she arrived as far as the hearth- 
rug, Mr. Verloc was no longer standing there. He had 
moved off in the direction of the sofa, without raising his 
eyes to watch the effect of his tirade. He was tired, 
resigned in a truly marital spirit. But he felt hurt in the 
tender spot of his secret weakness. If she would go on 
sulking in that dreadful overcharged silence why then 
she must. She was a master in that domestic art Mr. 
Verloc flung himself heavily upon the sofa, disregarding 
as usual the fate of his hat, which, as if accustomed to 
take care of itself, made for a safe shelter under the table. 
He was tired. The last particle of his nervous force 
had been expended in the wonders and agonies of this 
day full of surprising failures coming at the end of a 
harassing month of scheming and insomnia. He was 
tired. A man isn't made of stone. Hang everything! 
Mr. Verloc reposed characteristically, clad in his outdoor 



THE SECRET AGENT. 26 1 

garments. One side of his open overcoat was lying partly 
on the ground. Mr. Verloc wallowed on his back. But 
he longed for a more perfect rest for sleep for a few 
hours of delicious forgetfulness. That would come later. 
Provisionally he rested. And he thought: "I wish she 
would give over this damned nonsense. It's exasperating." 

There must have been something imperfect in Mrs. 
Verloc's sentiment of regained freedom. Instead of taking 
the way of the door she leaned back, with her shoulders 
against the tablet of the mantelpiece, as a wayfarer rests 
against a fence. A tinge of wildness in her aspect was 
derived from the black veil hanging like a rag against her 
cheek, and from the fixity of her black gaze where the 
light of the room was absorbed and lost without the trace 
of a single gleam. This woman, capable of a bargain the 
mere suspicion of which would have been infinitely shock- 
ing to Mr. Verloc's idea of love, remained irresolute, as if 
scrupulously aware of something wanting on her part for 
the formal closing of the transaction. 

On the sofa Mr. Verloc wriggled his shoulders into 
perfect comfort, and from the fulness of his heart emitted 
a wish which was certainly as pious as anything likely to 
come from such a source. 

"I wish to goodness," he growled huskily, "I had 
never seen Greenwich Park or anything belonging to it" 

The veiled sound filled the small room with its moderate 
volume, well adapted to the modest nature of the wish. 
The waves of air of the proper length, propagated in ac- 
cordance with correct mathematical formulas, flowed 
around all the inanimate things in the room, lapped 
against Mrs. Verloc's head as if it had been a head of 
stone. And incredible as it may appear, the eyes of Mrs. 
Verloc seemed to grow still larger. The audible wish of 



262 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Mr. Verloc's overflowing heart flowed into an empty place 
in his wife's memory. Greenwich Park. A park! That's 
where the boy was killed. A park smashed branches, 
torn leaves, gravel, bits of brotherly flesh and bone, all 
spouting up together in the manner of a firework. She 
remembered now what she had heard, and she remem- 
bered it pictorially. They had to gather him up with the 
shovel. Trembling all over with irrepressible shudders, 
she saw before her the very implement with its ghastly 
load scraped up from the ground. Mrs. Verloc closed her 
eyes desperately, throwing upon that vision the night of 
her eyelids, where after a rainlike fall of mangled limbs 
the decapitated head of Stevie lingered suspended alone, 
and fading out slowly like the last star of a pyrotechnic 
display. Mrs. Verloc opened her eyes. 

Her face was no longer stony. Anybody could have 
noted the subtle change on her features, in the stare of 
her eyes, giving her a new and startling expression; an 
expression seldom observed by competent persons under 
the conditions of leisure and security demanded for tho- 
rough analysis, but whose meaning could not be mistaken 
at a glance. Mrs. Verloc's doubts as to the end of the 
bargain no longer existed; her wits, no longer disconnected, 
were working under the control of her will. But Mr. Ver- 
loc observed nothing. He was reposing in that pathetic 
condition of optimism induced by excess of fatigue. He 
did not want any more trouble with his wife too of all 
people in the world. He had been unanswerable in his 
vindication. He was loved for himself. The present phase 
of her silence he interpreted favourably. This was the 
time to make it up with her. The silence had lasted long 
enough. He broke it by calling to her in an undertone. 

"Winnie." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 263 

"Yes," answered obediently Mrs. Verloc the free woman. 
She commanded her wits now, her vocal organs; she felt 
herself to be in an almost preternatural ly perfect control 
of every fibre of her body. It was all her own, because 
the bargain was at an end. She was clear-sighted. She 
had become cunning. She chose to answer him so readily 
for a purpose. She did not wish that man to change his 
position on the sofa which was very suitable to the circum- 
stances. She succeeded. The man did not stir. But 
after answering him she remained leaning negligently against 
the mantelpiece in the attitude of a resting wayfarer. She 
was unhurried. Her brow was smooth. The head and 
shoulders of Mr. Verloc were hidden from her by the high 
side of the sofa. She kept her eyes fixed on his feet. 

She remained thus mysteriously still and suddenly 
collected till Mr. Verloc was heard with an accent of 
marital authority, and moving slightly to make room for 
her to sit on the edge of the sofa. 

" Come here," he said in a peculiar tone, which might 
have been the tone of brutality, but was intimately known 
to Mrs. Verloc as the note of wooing. 

She started forward at once, as if she were still a loyal 
woman bound to that man by an unbroken contract. Her 
right hand skimmed slightly the end of the table, and 
when she had passed on towards the sofa the carving- 
knife had vanished without the slightest sound from the 
side of the dish. Mr. Verloc heard the creaky plank in 
the floor, and was content. He waited. Mrs. Verloc was 
coming. As if the homeless soul of Stevie had flown for 
shelter straight to the breast of his sister, guardian and 
protector, the resemblance of her face with that of her 
brother grew at every step, even to the droop of the lower 
lip, even to the slight divergence of the eyes. But Mn 



264 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Verloc did not see that. He was lying on his back and 
staring upwards. He saw partly on the ceiling and partly 
on the wall the moving shadow of an arm with a clenched 
hand holding a carving-knife. It flickered up and down. 
Its movements were leisurely. They were leisurely enough 
for Mr. Verloc to recognise the limb and the weapon. 

They were leisurely enough for him to take in the full 
meaning of the portent, and to taste the flavour of death 
rising in his gorge. His wife had gone raving mad 
murdering mad. They were leisurely enough for the first 
paralysing effect of this discovery to pass away before a 
resolute determination to come out victorious from the 
ghastly struggle with that armed lunatic. They were 
leisurely enough for Mr. Verloc to elaborate a plan of 
defence involving a dash behind the table, aud the felling 
of the woman to the ground with a heavy wooden chair. 
But they were not leisurely enough to allow Mr. Verloc 
the time to move either hand or foot. The knife was al- 
ready planted in his breast. It met no resistance on its 
way. Hazard has such accuracies. Into that plunging 
blow, delivered over the side of the couch, Mrs. Verloc 
had put all the inheritance of her immemorial and obscure 
descent, the simple ferocity of the age of caverns, and the 
unbalanced nervous fury of the age of bar-rooms. Mr. 
Verloc, the Secret Agent, turning slightly on his side with 
the force of the blow, expired without stirring a limb, in 
the muttered sound of the word "Don't" by way of protest. 

Mrs. Verloc had let go the knife, and her extraordinary 
resemblance to her late brother had faded, had become 
.very ordinary now. She drew a deep breath, the first 
easy breath since Chief Inspector Heat had exhibited to 
her the labelled piece of Stevie's overcoat. She leaned 
forward on her folded arms over the side of the sofa, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 265 

She adopted that easy attitude not in order to watch or 
gloat over the body of Mr. Verloc, but because of the 
undulatory and swinging movements of the parlour, which 
for some time, behaved as though it were at sea in a 
tempest. She was giddy but calm. She had become a 
free woman with a perfection of freedom which left her 
nothing to . desire and absolutely nothing to do, since 
Stevie's urgent claim on her devotion no longer existed. 
Mrs. Verloc, who thought in images, was not troubled 
now by visions, because she did not think at all. And 
she did not move. She was a woman enjoying her com- 
plete irresponsibility and endless leisure, almost in the 
manner of a corpse. She did not move, she did not think. 
Neither did the mortal envelope of the late Mr. Verloc re- 
posing on the sofa. Except for the fact that Mrs. Verloc 
breathed these two would have been perfect in accord: 
that accord of prudent reserve without superfluous words, 
and sparing of signs, which had been the foundation of 
their respectable home life. For it had been respectable, 
covering by a decent reticence the problems that may 
arise in the practice of a secret profession and the com- 
merce of shady wares. To the last its decorum had re- 
mained undisturbed by unseemly shrieks and other mis- 
placed sincerities of conduct. And after the striking of 
the blow, this respectability was continued in immobility 
and silence. 

Nothing moved in the parlour till Mrs. Verloc raised 
her head slowly and looked at the clock with inquiring 
mistrust. She had become aware of a ticking sound in 
the room. It grew upon her ear, while she remembered 
clearly that the clock on the wall was silent, had no 
audible tick. What did it mean by beginning to tick so 
loudly all of a sudden? Its face indicated ten minutes to 



266 THE SECRET AGENT. 

nine. Mrs. Verloc cared nothing for time, and the ticking 
went on. She concluded it could not be the clock, and 
her sullen gaze moved along the walls, wavered, and be- 
came vague, while she strained her hearing to locate the 
sound. Tic, tic, tic. 

After listening for some time Mrs. Verloc lowered her 
gaze deliberately on her husband's body. Its attitude of 
repose was so homelike and familiar that she could do so 
without feeling embarrassed by any pronounced novelty in 
the phenomena of her home life. Mr. Verloc was taking 
his habitual ease. He looked comfortable. 

By the position of the body the face of Mr. Verloc 
was not visible to Mrs. Verloc, his widow. Her fine, 
sleepy eyes, travelling downward on the track of the sound, 
became contemplative on meeting a flat object of bone 
which protruded a little beyond the edge of the sofa. It 
was the handle of the domestic carving-knife with nothing 
strange about it but its position at right angles to Mr. 
Verloc's waistcoat and the fact that something dripped 
from it. Dark drops fell on the floor-cloth one after an- 
other, with a sound of ticking growing fast and furious 
like the pulse of an insane clock. At its highest speed 
this ticking changed into a continuous sound of trickling. 
Mrs. Verloc watched that transformation with shadows of 
anxiety coming and going on her face. It was a trickle, 
dark, swift, thin. . . . Blood! 

At this unforeseen circumstance Mrs. Verloc abandoned 
her pose of idleness and irresponsibility. 

With a sudden snatch at her skirts and a faint shriek 
she ran to the door, as if the trickle had been the first 
sign of a destroying flood. Finding the table in her way 
she gave it a push with both hands as though it had 
been alive, with such force that it went for some distance 



THE SECRET AGENT. 267 

on its four legs, making a loud, scraping racket, whilst 
the big dish with the joint crashed heavily on the floor. 

Then all became still. Mrs. Verloc on reaching the 
door had stopped. A round hat disclosed in the middle 
of the floor by the moving of the table rocked slightly on 
its crown in the wind of her flight. 

XII. 

WINNIE VERLOC, the widow of Mr. Verloc, the sister 
of the late faithful Stevie (blown to fragments in a state 
of innocence and in the conviction of being engaged in a 
humanitarian enterprise), did not run beyond the door of 
the parlour. She had indeed run away so far from a 
mere trickle of blood, but that was a movement of in- 
stinctive repulsion. And there she had paused, with star- 
ing eyes and lowered head. As though she had run 
through long years in her flight across the small parlour, 
Mrs. Verloc by the door was quite a different person from 
the woman who had been leaning over the sofa, a little 
swimmy in her head, but otherwise free to enjoy the 
profound calm of idleness and irresponsibility. Mrs. Verloc 
was no longer giddy. Her head was steady. On the 
other hand, she was no longer calm. She was afraid. 

If she avoided looking in the direction of her reposing 
husband it was not because she was afraid of him. Mr. 
Verloc was not frightful to behold. He looked comfort- 
able. Moreover, he was dead. Mrs. Verloc entertained 
no vain delusions on the subject of the dead. Nothing 
brings them back, neither love nor hate. They can do 
nothing to you. They are as nothing. Her mental state 
was tinged by a sort of austere contempt for that man 
who had let himself be killed so easily. He had been the 
master of a house, the husband of a woman, and the 



268 THE SECRET AGENT. 

murderer of her Stevie. And now he was of no account 
in eveiy respect. He was of less practical account than 
the clothing on his body, than his overcoat, than his boots 
than that hat lying on the floor. He was nothing. He 
was not worth looking at He was even no longer the 
murderer of poor Stevie. The only murderer that would 
be found in the room when people came to look for Mr. 
Verloc would be herself! 

Her hands shook so that she failed twice in the task 
of refastening her veil. Mrs. Verloc was no longer a 
person of leisure and responsibility. She was afraid. The 
stabbing of Mr. Verloc had been only a blow. It had 
relieved the pent-up agony of shrieks strangled in her 
throat, of tears dried up in her hot eyes, of the madden- 
ing and indignant rage at the atrocious part played by 
that man, who was less than nothing now, in robbing her 
of the boy. It had been an obscurely prompted blow. 
The blood trickling on the floor off the handle of the 
knife had turned it into an extremely plain case of murder. 
Mrs. Verloc, who always refrained from looking deep into 
things, was compelled to look into the very bottom of this 
thing. She saw there no haunting face, no reproachful 
shade, no vision of remorse, no sort of ideal conception. 
She saw there an object That object was the gallows. 
Mrs. Verloc was afraid of the gallows. 

She was terrified of them ideally. Having never set 
eyes on that last argument of men's justice except in 
illustrative woodcuts to a certain type of tales, she first 
saw them erect against a black and stormy background, 
festooned with chains and human bones, circled about by 
birds that peck at dead men's eyes. This was frightful 
enough, but Mrs. Verloc, though not a well-informed 
woman, had a sufficient knowledge of the institutions of 



THE SECRET AGENT. 269 

her country to know that gallows are no longer erected 
romantically on the banks of dismal rivers or on wind- 
swept headlands, but in the yards of jails. There within 
four high walls, as if into a pit, at dawn of day, the 
murderer was brought out to be executed, with a horrible 
quietness and, as the reports in the newspapers always 
said, "in the presence of the authorities." With her eyes 
staring on the floor, her nostrils quivering with anguish 
and shame, she imagined herself all alone amongst a lot 
of strange gentlemen in silk hats who were calmly proceed- 
ing about the business of hanging her by the neck. That 
never! Never! And how was it done? The im- 
possibility of imagining the details of such quiet execution 
added something maddening to her abstract terror. The 
newspapers never gave any details except one, but that 
one with some affection was always there at the end of a 
meagre report. Mrs. Verloc remembered its nature. It 
came with a cruel burning pain into her head, as if the 
words "The drop given was fourteen feet" had been 
scratched on her brain with a hot needle. "The drop 
given was fourteen feet." 

These words affected her physically too. Her throat 
became convulsed in waves to resist strangulation; and 
the apprehension of the jerk was so vivid that she seized 
her head in both hands as if to save it from being torn 
off her shoulders. "The drop given was fourteen feet." 
No! that must never be. She could not stand that. The 
thought of it even was not bearable. She could not stand 
thinking of it. Therefore Mrs. Verloc formed the re- 
solution to go at once and throw herself into the river off 
one of the bridges. 

This time she managed to refasten her veil. With 
her face as if masked, all black from head to foot except 



27O THE SECRET AGENT. 

for some flowers in her hat, she looked up mechanically 
at the clock. She thought it must have stopped. She 
could not believe that only two minutes had passed since 
she had looked at it last. Of course not. It had been 
stopped all the time. As a matter of fact, only three 
minutes had elapsed from the moment she had drawn 
the first deep, easy breath after the blow, to this moment 
when Mrs. Verloc formed the resolution to drown herself 
in the Thames. But Mrs. Verloc could not believe that. 
She seemed to have heard or read that clocks and 
watches always stopped at the moment of murder for the 
undoing of the murderer. She did not care. "To the 
bridge and over I go." . . . But her movements were 
slow. 

She dragged herself painfully across the shop, and 
had to hold on to the handle of the door before she found 
the necessary fortitude to open it. The street frightened 
her, since it led either to the gallows or to the river. 
She floundered over the doorstep head forward, arms 
thrown out, like a person falling over the parapet of a 
bridge. This entrance into the open air had a foretaste 
of drowning; a slimy dampness enveloped her, entered 
her nostrils, clung to her hair. It was not actually rain- 
ing, but each gas-lamp had a rusty little halo of mist. 
The van and horses were gone, and in the black street 
the curtained window of the carters' eating-house made a 
square patch of soiled blood-red light glowing faintly very 
near the level of the pavement. Mrs. Verloc, dragging 
herself slowly towards it, thought that she was a very 
friendless woman. It was true. It was so true that, in 
a sudden longing to see some friendly face, she could 
think of no one else but of Mrs. Neale, the charwoman. 
She had no acquaintances of her own. Nobody would 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2JI 

miss her in a social way. It must not be imagined that 
the Widow Verloc had forgotten her mother. This was 
not so. Winnie had been a good daughter because she 
had been a devoted sister. Her mother had always leaned 
on her for support. No consolation or advice could be 
expected there. Now that Stevie was dead the bond 
seemed to be broken. She could not face the old woman 
with the horrible tale. Moreover, it was too far. The 
river was her present destination. Mrs. Verloc tried to 
forget her mother. 

Each step cost her an effort of will which seemed the 
last possible. Mrs. Verloc had dragged herself past the 
red glow of the eating-house window. "To the bridge 
and over I go," she repeated to herself with fierce ob- 
stinacy. She put out her hand just in time to steady 
herself against a lamp-post. "I'll never get there before 
morning," she thought. The fear of death paralysed her 
efforts to escape the gallows. It seemed to her she had 
been staggering in that street for hours. "I'll never get 
there," she thought. "They'll find me knocking about the 
streets. It's too far." She held on, panting under her 
black veil. 

"The drop given was fourteen feet." 

She pushed the lamp-post away from her violently, 
and found herself walking. But another wave of faintness 
overtook her like a great sea, washing away her heart 
clean out of her breast. "I shall never get there," she 
muttered, suddenly arrested, swaying lightly where she 
stood. " Never." 

And perceiving the utter impossibility of walking as 
far as the nearest bridge, Mrs. Verloc thought of a flight 
abroad. 

It came to her suddenly. Murderers escaped. They 



272 THE SECRET AGENT. 

escaped abroad. Spain or California. Mere names. The 
vast world created for the glory of man was only a vast 
blank to Mrs. Verloc. She did not know which way to 
turn. Murderers had friends, relations, helpers they had 
knowledge. She had nothing. She was the most lonely 
of murderers that ever struck a mortal blow. She was 
alone in London: and the whole town of marvels and mud, 
with its maze of streets and its mass of lights, was sunk 
in a hopeless night, rested at the bottom of a black abyss 
from which no unaided woman could hope to scramble 
out. 

She swayed forward, and made a fresh start blindly, 
with an awful dread of falling down; but at the end of 
a few steps, unexpectedly, she found a sensation of sup- 
port, of security. Raising her head, she saw a man's face 
peering closely at her veil. Comrade Ossipon was not 
afraid of strange women, and no feeling of false delicacy 
could prevent him from striking an acquaintance with a 
woman apparently very much intoxicated. Comrade Ossipon 
was interested in women. He held up this one between 
his two large palms, peering at her in a business-like way 
till he heard her say faintly "Mr. Ossipon!" and then he 
very nearly let her drop to the ground. 

"Mrs. Verloc!" he exclaimed. "You here!" 
It seemed impossible to him that she should have 
been drinking. But one never knows. He did not go 
into that question, but attentive not to discourage kind 
fate surrendering to him the widow of Comrade Verloc, 
he tried to draw her to his breast. To his astonishment 
she came quite easily, and even rested on his arm for a 
moment before she attempted to disengage herself. Com- 
rade Ossipon would not be brusque with kind fate. He 
withdrew his arm in a natural way. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 273 

"You recognised me," she faltered out, standing be- 
fore him, fairly steady on her legs. 

"Of course I did," said Ossipon with perfect readiness. 
"I was afraid you were going to fall. I've thought of you 
too often lately not to recognise you anywhere, at any 
time. I've always thought of you ever since I first set 
eyes on you." 

Mrs. Verloc seemed not to hear. "You were coming 
to the shop?" she said nervously. 

"Yes; at once," answered Ossipon. "Directly I read 
the paper." 

In fact, Comrade Ossipon had been skulking for a 
good two hours in the neighbourhood of Brett Street, 
unable to make up his mind for a bold move. The robust 
anarchist was not exactly a bold conqueror. He remem- 
bered that Mrs. Verloc had never responded to his glances 
by the slightest sign of encouragement. Besides, he 
thought the shop might be watched by the police, and 
Comrade Ossipon did not wish the police to form an 
exaggerated notion of his revolutionary sympathies. Even 
now he did not know precisely what to do. In comparison 
with his usual amatory speculations this was a big and 
serious undertaking. He ignored how much there was in 
it and how far he would have to go in order to get hold 
of what there was to get supposing there was a chance 
at all. These perplexities checking his elation imparted 
to his tone a soberness well in keeping with the circum- 
stances. 

"May I ask you where you were going?" he inquired 
in a subdued voice. 

"Don't ask me!" cried Mrs. Verloc with a shuddering, 
repressed violence. All her strong vitality recoiled from 
the idea of death. "Never mind where I was going. . . ." 

The Secret Agent, itf 



274 THE SECRET AGENT. 

Ossipon concluded that she was very much excited 
but perfectly sober. She remained silent by his side for a 
moment, then all at once she did something which he did 
not expect. She slipped her hand under his arm. He 
was startled by the act itself certainly, and quite as much 
too by the palpably resolute character of this movement. 
But this being a delicate affair, Comrade Ossipon behaved 
with delicacy. He contented himself by pressing the hand 
slightly against his robust ribs. At the same time he felt 
himself being impelled forward, and yielded to the impulse. 
At the end of Brett Street he became aware of being directed 
to the left. He submitted. 

The fruiterer at the corner had put out the blazing 
glory of his oranges and lemons, and Brett Place was all 
darkness, interspersed with the misty halos of the few 
lamps defining its triangular shape, with a cluster of three 
lights on one stand in the middle. The dark forms of 
the man and woman glided slowly arm in arm along the 
walls with a lover-like and homeless aspect in the miser- 
able night. 

"What would you say if I were to tell you that I was 
going to find you?" Mrs. Verloc asked, gripping his arm 
with force. 

"I would say that you couldn't find anyone more 
ready to help you in your trouble," answered Ossipon, 
with a notion of making tremendous headway. In fact, 
the progress of this delicate affair was almost taking his 
breath away. 

"In my trouble!" Mrs. Verloc repeated slowly. 

"Yes." 

'And do you know what my trouble is?" she whispered 
with strange intensity. 

"Ten minutes after seeing the evening paper," ex- 






THE SECRET AGENT. 275 

plained Ossipon with ardour, "I met a fellow whom you 
may have seen once or twice at the shop perhaps, and I 
had a talk with him which left no doubt whatever in my 

mind. Then I started for here, wondering whether you 

I've been fond of you beyond words ever since I set eyes 
on your face," he cried, as if unable to command his 
feelings. 

Comrade Ossipon assumed correctly that no woman 
was capable of wholly disbelieving such a statement. But 
he did not know that Mrs. Verloc accepted it with all the 
fierceness the instinct of self-preservation puts into the 
grip of a drowning person. To the widow of Mr. Verloc 
the robust anarchist was like a radiant messenger of life. 

They walked slowly, in step. "I thought so," Mrs. 
Verloc murmured faintly. 

"You've read it in my eyes," suggested Ossipon with 
great assurance. 

"Yes," she breathed out into his inclined ear. 

"A love like mine could not be concealed from a 
woman like you," he went on, trying to detach his mind 
from material considerations such as the business value of 
the shop, and the amount of money Mr. Verloc might 
have left in the bank. He applied himself to the senti- 
mental side of the affair. In his heart of hearts he was 
a little shocked at his success. Verloc had been a good 
fellow, and certainly a very decent husband as far as one 
could see. However, Comrade Ossipon was not going to 
quarrel with his luck for the sake of a dead man. Re- 
solutely he suppressed his sympathy for the ghost of 
Comrade Verloc, and went on. 

"I could not conceal it. I was too full of you. I 
daresay you could not help seeing it in my eyes. But I 
could not guess it. You were always so distant. . . ." 

18* 



276 THE SECRET AGENT. 

"What else did you expect?" burst out Mrs. Verloc. 
"I was a respectable woman " 

She paused, then added, as if speaking to herself, in 
sinister resentment: "Till he made me what I am." 

Ossipon let that pass, and took up his running. 

"He never did seem to me to be quite worthy of 
you," he began, throwing loyalty to the winds. "You 
were worthy of a better fate." 

Mrs. Verloc interrupted bitterly: 

"Better fate! He cheated me out of seven years of 
life." 

"You seemed to live so happily with him." Ossipon 
tried to exculpate the lukewarmness of his past conduct. 
"It's that what's made me timid. You seemed to love 
him. I was surprised and jealous," he added. 

"Love him!" Mrs. Verloc cried out in a whisper full 
of scorn and rage. "Love him! I was a good wife to 
him. I am a respectable woman. You thought I loved 
him! You did! Look here, Tom " 

The sound of this name thrilled Comrade Ossipon 
with pride. For his name was Alexander, and he was 
called Tom by arrangement with the most familiar of his 
intimates. It was a name of friendship of moments of 
expansion. He had no idea that she had ever heard it 
used by anybody. It was apparent that she had not 
only caught it, but had treasured it in her memory 
perhaps in her heart 

"Look here, Tom! I was a young girl. I was done 
up. I was tired. I had two people depending on what 
I could do, and it did seem as if I couldn't do any more. 
Two people mother and the boy. He was much more 
mine than mother's. I sat up nights and nights with him 
on my lap, all alone upstairs, when I wasn't more than 



THE SECRET AGENT. Z/7 

eight years old myself. And then He was mine, I 
tell you. . . . You can't understand that. No man can 
understand it. What was I to do? There was a young 
fellow " 

The memory of the early romance with the young 
butcher survived, tenacious, like the image of a glimpsed 
ideal in that heart quailing before the fear of the gallows 
and full of revolt against death. 

"That was the man I loved then," went on the widow 
of Mr. Verloc. "I suppose he could see it in my eyes 
too. Five -and -twenty shillings a week, and his father 
threatened to kick him out of the business if he made 
such a fool of himself as to marry a girl with a crippled 
mother and a crazy idiot of a boy on her hands. But 
he would hang about me, till one evening I found the 
courage to slam the door in his face. I had to do it. I 
loved him dearly. Five -and -twenty shillings a week! 
There was that other man a good lodger. What is a 
girl to do? Could I've gone on the streets? He seemed 
kind. He wanted me, anyhow. What was I to do with 
mother and that poor boy? Eh? I said yes. He seemed 
good-natured, he was freehanded, he had money, he never 
said anything. Seven years seven years a good wife to 

him, the kind, the good, the generous, the And he 

loved me. Oh yes. He loved me till I sometimes wished 
myself Seven years. Seven years a wife to him. 
And do you know what he was, that dear friend of yours? 
Do you know what he was? . . . He was a devil!" 

The superhuman vehemence of that whispered state- 
ment completely stunned Comrade Ossipon. Winnie 
Verloc turning about held him by both arms, facing him 
under the falling mist in the darkness and solitude of 
Brett Place, in which all sounds of life seemed lost as if 



270 THE SECRET AGENT. 

in a triangular well of asphalt and bricks, of blind houses 
and unfeeling stones. 

"No; I didn't know," he declared, with a sort of 
flabby stupidity, whose comical aspect was lost upon a 
woman haunted by the fear of the gallows, "but I do 
now. I I understand," he floundered on, his mind spe- 
culating as to what sort of atrocities Verloc could have 
practised under the sleepy, placid appearances of his 
married estate. It was positively awful. "I understand," 
he repeated, and then by a sudden inspiration uttered an 
"Unhappy woman!" of lofty commiseration instead of the 
more familiar "Poor darling!" of his usual practice. This 
was no usual case. He felt conscious of something ab- 
normal going on, while he never lost sight of the great- 
ness of the stake. "Unhappy, brave woman!" 

He was glad to have discovered that variation; but 
he could discover nothing else. "Ah, but he is dead 
now," was the best he could do. And he put a remark- 
able amount of animosity into his guarded exclamation. 
Mrs. Verloc caught at his arm with a sort of frenzy. 
"You guessed then he was dead," she murmured, as if 
beside herself. "You! You guessed what I had to do. 
Had to!" 

There were suggestions of triumph, relief, gratitude 
in the indefinable tone of these words. It engrossed the 
whole attention of Ossipon to the detriment of mere 
literal sense. He wondered what was up with her, why 
she had worked herself into this state of wild excitement. 
He even began to wonder whether the hidden causes of 
that Greenwich Park affair did not lie deep in the un- 
happy circumstances of the Verlocs' married life. He 
went so far as to suspect Mr. Verloc of having selected 
that extraordinary manner of committing suicide. By 



THE SECRET AGENT. 27Q 

Jove! that would account for the utter inanity and wrong- 
headedness of the thing. No anarchist manifestation was 
required by the circumstances. Quite the contrary; and 
Verloc was as well aware of that as any other revolutionist 
of his standing. What an immense joke if Verloc had 
simply made fools of the whole of Europe, of the revolu- 
tionary world, of the police, of the press, and of the cock- 
sure Professor as well. Indeed, thought Ossipon, in 
astonishment, it seemed almost certain that he did! Poor 
beggar ! It struck him as very possible that of that house- 
hold of two it wasn't precisely the man who was the devil. 

Alexander Ossipon, nicknamed the Doctor, was naturally 
inclined to think indulgently of his men friends. He eyed 
Mrs. Verloc hanging on his arm. Of his women friends 
he thought in a specially practical way. Why Mrs. Verloc 
should exclaim at his knowledge of Mr. Verloc's death, 
which was no guess at all, did not disturb him beyond 
measure. They often talked like lunatics. But he was 
curious to know how she had been informed. The papers 
could tell her nothing beyond the mere fact: the man 
blown to pieces in Greenwich Park not having been 
identified. It was inconceivable on any theory that Verloc 
should have given her an inkling of his intention what- 
ever it was. This problem interested Comrade Ossipon 
immensely. He stopped short. They had gone then 
along the three sides of Brett Place, and were near the 
end of Brett Street again. 

"How did you first come to hear of it?" he asked 
in a tone he tried to render appropriate to the character 
of the revelations which had been made to him by the 
woman at his side. 

She shook violently for awhile before she answered in 
a listless voice. 



28O THE SECRET AGENT. 

"From the police. A chief inspector came. Chief 
Inspector Heat he said he was. He showed me 

Mrs. Verloc choked. "Oh, Tom, they had to gather 
him up with a shovel." 

Her breast heaved with dry sobs. In a moment 
Ossipon found his tongue. 

"The police! Do you mean to say the police came 
already? That Chief Inspector Heat himself actually came 
to tell you." 

"Yes," she confirmed in the same listless tone. "He 
came. Just like this. He came. I didn't know. He 

showed me a piece of overcoat, and Just like that. 

Do you know this? he says." 

"Heat! Heat! And what did he do?" 

Mrs. Verloc's head dropped. "Nothing. He did 
nothing. He went away. The police were on that man's 
side," she murmured tragically. "Another one came too." 

"Another another inspector, do you mean?" asked 
Ossipon, in great excitement, and very much in the tone 
of a scared child. 

"I don't know. He came. He looked like a foreigner. 
He may have been one of them Embassy people." 

Comrade Ossipon nearly collapsed under this new 
shock. 

"Embassy! Are you aware what you are saying? 
What Embassy ? What on earth do you mean by Embassy ? " 

"It's that place in Chesham Square. The people he 
cursed so. I don't know. What does it matter!" 

"And that fellow, what did he do or say to you?" 

"I don't remember . . . Nothing ... I don't care. 
Don't ask me," she pleaded in a weary voice. 

"All right. I won't," assented Ossipon tenderly. And 
he meant it too, not because he was touched by the pathos 



THE SECRET AGENT. 28 1 

of the pleading voice, but because he felt himself losing 
his footing in the depths of this tenebrous affair. Police! 
Embassy! Phew! For fear of adventuring his intelligence 
into ways where its natural lights might fail to guide it 
safely he dismissed resolutely all suppositions, surmises, 
and theories out of his mind. He had the woman there, 
absolutely flinging herself at him, and that was the prin- 
cipal consideration. But after what he had heard nothing 
could astonish him any more. And when Mrs. Verloc, as 
if startled suddenly out of a dream of safety, began to 
urge upon him wildly the necessity of an immediate flight 
on the Continent, he did not exclaim in the least. He 
simply said with unaffected regret that there was no train 
till the morning, and stood looking thoughtfully at her 
face, veiled in black net, in the light of a gas-lamp veiled 
in a gauze of mist. 

Near him, her black form merged in the night, like 
a figure half chiselled out of a block of black stone. It 
was impossible to say what she knew, how deep she was 
involved with policemen and Embassies. But if she 
wanted to get away, it was not for him to object. He 
was anxious to be off himself. He felt that the business, 
the shop so strangely familiar to chief inspectors and 
members of foreign Embassies, was not the place for him. 
That must be dropped. But there was the rest. These 
savings. The money! 

"You must hide me till the morning somewhere," she 
said in a dismayed voice. 

"Fact is, my dear, I can't take you where I live. I 
share the room with a friend." 

He was somewhat dismayed himself. In the morning 
the blessed 'tecs would be out in all the stations, no doubt. 



2 82 THE SECRET AGENT. 

And if they once got hold of her, for one reason or an- 
other she would be lost to him indeed. 

"But you must. Don't you care for me at all at 
all? What are you thinking of?" 

She said this violently, but she let her clasped hands 
fall in discouragement. There was a silence, while the 
mist fell, and darkness reigned undisturbed over Brett 
Place. Not a soul, not even the vagabond, lawless, and 
amorous soul of a cat, came near the man and the woman 
facing each other. 

"It would be possible perhaps to find a safe lodg- 
ing somewhere," Ossipon spoke at last. "But the truth 
is, my dear, I have not enough money to go and try with 
only a few pence. We revolutionists are not rich." 

He had fifteen shillings in his pocket. He added: 

"And there's the journey before us, too first thing 
in the morning at that." 

She did not move, made no sound, and Comrade 
Ossipon's heart sank a little. Apparently she had no 
suggestion to offer. Suddenly she clutched at her breast, 
as if she had felt a sharp pain there. 

"But I have," she gasped. "I have the money. I 
have enough money. Tom! Let us go from here." 

"How much have you got?" he inquired, without 
stirring to her tug; for he was a cautious man. 

"I have the money, I tell you. All the money." 

"What do you mean by it? All the money there was 
in the bank, or what?" he asked incredulously, but ready 
not to be surprised at anything in the way of luck. 

"Yes, yes!" she said nervously. "All there was. I've 
it all." 

"How on earth did you manage to get hold of it 
already?" he marvelled. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 283 

"He gave it to me," she murmured, suddenly subdued 
and trembling. Comrade Ossipon put down his rising 
surprise with a firm hand. 

"Why, then we are saved," he uttered slowly. 

She leaned forward, and sank against his breast. He 
welcomed her there. She had all the money. Her hat 
was in the way of very marked effusion; her veil too. He 
was adequate in his manifestations, but no more. She 
received them without resistance and without abandon- 
ment, passively, as if only half-sensible. She freed her- 
self from his lax embraces without difficulty. 

"You will save me, Tom," she broke out, recoiling, 
but still keeping her hold on him by the two lapels of 
his damp coat. "Save me. Hide me. Don't let them 
have me. You must kill me first. I couldn't do it my- 
self I couldn't, I couldn't not even for what I am 
afraid of." 

She was confoundedly bizarre, he thought. She was 
beginning to inspire him with an indefinite uneasiness. He 
said surlily, for he was busy with important thoughts: 

"What the devil are you afraid of?" 

"Haven't you guessed what I was driven to do!" 
cried the woman. Distracted by the vividness of her 
dreadful apprehensions, her head ringing with forceful 
words, that kept the horror of her position before her 
mind, she had imagined her incoherence to be clearness 
itself. She had no conscience of how little she had 
audibly said in the disjointed phrases completed only in 
her thought. She had felt the relief of a full confession, 
and she gave a special meaning to every sentence spoken 
by Comrade Ossipon, whose knowledge did not in the 
least resemble her own. "Haven't you guessed what I 
was driven to do!" Her voice fell. "You needn't be 



284 THE SECRET AGENT. 

long in guessing then what I am afraid of," she continued, 
in a bitter and sombre murmur. "I won't have it. I 
won't. I won't. I won't. You must promise to kill me 
first!" She shook the lapels of his coat. "It must 
never be!" 

He assured her curtly that no promises on his part 
were necessary, but he took good care not to contradict 
her in set terms, because he had had much to do with 
excited women, and he was inclined in general to let his 
experience guide his conduct in preference to applying 
his sagacity to each special case. His sagacity in this 
case was busy in other directions. Women's words fell 
into water, but the shortcomings of time-tables remained. 
The insular nature of Great Britain obtruded itself upon 
his notice in an odious form. "Might just as well be put 
under lock and key every night," he thought irritably, as 
nonplussed as though he had a wall to scale with the 
woman on his back. Suddenly he slapped his forehead. 
He had by dint of cudgelling his brains just thought of 
the Southampton-St. Malo service. The boat left about 
midnight. There was a train at 10.30. He became cheery 
and ready to act. 

"From Waterloo. Plenty of time. We are all right 
after all .... What's the matter now? This isn't the 
way," he protested. 

Mrs. Verloc, having hooked her arm into his, was 
trying to drag him into Brett Street again. 

"I've forgotten to shut the shop door as I went out," 
she whispered, terribly agitated. 

The shop and all that was in it had ceased to interest 
Comrade Ossipon. He knew how to limit his desires. 
He was on the point of saying "What of that? Let it 
be," but he refrained. He disliked argument about trifles. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 285 

He even mended his pace considerably on the thought 
that she might have left the money in the drawer. But 
his willingness lagged behind her feverish impatience. 

The shop seemed to be quite dark at first. The 
door stood ajar. Mrs. Verloc, leaning against the front, 
gasped out: 

"Nobody has been in. Look! The light the light 
in the parlour." 

Ossipon, stretching his head forward, saw a faint 
gleam in the darkness of the shop. 

"There is," he said. 

"I forgot it" Mrs. Verloc's voice came from behind 
her veil faintly. And as he stood waiting for her to 
enter first, she said louder: "Go in and put it out or 
I'll go mad." 

He made no immediate objection to this proposal, so 
strangely motived. "Where's all that money?" he asked. 

"On me! Go, Tom. Quick! Put it out. ... Go 
in ! " she cried, seizing him by both shoulders from behind. 

Not prepared for a display of physical force, Comrade 
Ossipon stumbled far into the shop before her push. He 
was astonished at the strength of the woman and scan- 
dalised by her proceedings. But he did not retrace his 
steps in order to remonstrate with her severely in the 
street. He was beginning to be disagreeably impressed 
by her fantastic behaviour. Moreover, this or never was 
the time to humour the woman. Comrade Ossipon avoided 
easily the end of the counter, and approached calmly the 
glazed door of the parlour. The curtain over the panes 
being drawn back a little he, by a very natural impulse, 
looked in, just as he made ready to turn the handle. He 
looked in without a thought, without intention, without 
curiosity of any sort. He looked in because he could not 



286 THE SECRET AGENT. 

help looking in. He looked in, and discovered Mr. Verloc 
reposing quietly on the sofa. 

A yell coming from the innermost depths of his chest 
died out unheard and transformed into a sort of greasy, 
sickly taste on his lips. At the same time the mental 
personality of Comrade Ossipon executed a frantic leap 
backward. But his body, left thus without intellectual 
guidance, held on to the door handle with the unthinking 
force of an instinct. The robust anarchist did not even 
totter. And he stared, his face close to the glass, his eyes 
protruding out of his head. He would have given any- 
thing to get away, but his returning reason informed him 
that it would not do to let go the door handle. What 
was it madness, a nightmare, or a trap into which he 
had been decoyed with fiendish artfulness? Why what 
for? He did not know. Without any sense of guilt in 
his breast, in the full peace of his conscience as far as 
these people were concerned, the idea that he would be 
murdered for mysterious reasons by the couple Verloc 
passed not so much across his mind as across the pit of 
his stomach, and went out, leaving behind a trail of sickly 
faintness an indisposition. Comrade Ossipon did not feel 
very well in a very special way for a moment a long 
moment. And he stared. Mr. Verloc lay very still mean- 
while, simulating sleep for reasons of his own, while that 
savage woman of his was guarding the door invisible 
and silent in the dark and deserted street. Was all this 
some sort of terrifying arrangement invented by the 
police for his especial benefit? His modesty shrank from 
that explanation. 

But the true sense of the scene he was beholding came 
to Ossipon through the contemplation of the hat. It seemed 
an extraordinary thing, an ominous object, a sign. Black, 



THE SECRET AGENT. 287 

and rim upward, it lay on the floor before the couch as 
if prepared to receive the contributions of pence from 
people who would come presently to behold Mr. Verloc 
in the fullness of his domestic ease reposing on a sofa. 
From the hat the eyes of the robust anarchist wandered 
to the displaced table, gazed at the broken dish for a 
time, received a kind of optical shock from observing a 
white gleam under the imperfectly closed eyelids of the 
man on the couch. Mr. Verloc did not seem so much 
asleep now as lying down with a bent head and looking 
insistently at his left breast. And when Comrade Ossipon 
had made out the handle of the knife he turned away 
from the glazed door, and retched violently. 

The crash of the street door flung to made his very 
soul leap in a panic. This house with its harmless tenant 
could still be made a trap of a trap of a terrible kind. 
Comrade Ossipon had no settled conception now of what 
was happening to him. Catching his thigh against the 
end of the counter, he spun round, staggered with a cry 
of pain, felt in the distracting clatter of the bell his arms 
pinned to his side by a convulsive hug, while the cold 
lips of a woman moved creepily on his very ear to form 
the words: 

"Policeman! He has seen me!" 

He ceased to struggle; she never let him go. Her 
hands had locked themselves with an inseparable twist of 
fingers on his robust back. While the footsteps approached, 
they breathed quickly, breast to breast, with hard, laboured 
breaths, as if theirs had been the attitude of a deadly 
struggle, while, in fact, it was the attitude of deadly fear. 
And the time was long. 

The constable on the beat had in truth seen something 
of Mrs. Verloc; only coming from the lighted thorough- 



288 THE SECRET AGENT. 

fare at the other end of Brett Street, she had been no 
more to him than a flutter in the darkness. And he was 
not even quite sure that there had been a flutter. He had 
no reason to hurry up. On coming abreast of the shop 
he observed that it had been closed early. There was 
nothing very unusual in that. The men on duty had spe- 
cial instructions about that shop: what went on about 
there was not to be meddled with unless absolutely dis- 
orderly, but any observations made were to be reported. 
There were no observations to make; but from a sense of 
duty and for the peace of his conscience, owing also to 
that doubtful flutter of the darkness, the constable crossed 
the road, and tried the door. The spring latch, whose 
key was reposing for ever off" duty in the late Mr. Verloc's 
waistcoat pocket, held as well as usual. While the con- 
scientious officer was shaking the handle, Ossipon felt the 
cold lips of the woman stirring again creepily against his 
very ear: 

"If he comes in kill me kill me, Tom." 

The constable moved away, flashing as he passed the 
light of his dark lantern, merely for form's sake, at the 
shop window. For a moment longer the man and the 
woman inside stood motionless, panting, breast to breast; 
then her fingers came unlocked, her arms fell by her side 
slowly. Ossipon leaned against the counter. The robust 
anarchist wanted support badly. This was awful. He was 
almost too disgusted for speech. Yet he managed to utter 
a plaintive thought, showing at least that he realised his 
position. 

"Only a couple of minutes later and you'd have made 
me blunder against the fellow poking about here with his 
damned dark lantern." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 289 

The widow of Mr. Verloc, motionless in the middle of 
the shop, said insistently: 

" Go in and put that light out, Tom. It will drive me 
crazy." 

She saw vaguely his vehement gesture of refusal. No- 
thing in the world would have induced Ossipon to go into 
the parlour. He was not superstitious, but there was too 
much blood on the floor; a beastly pool of it all round 
the hat. He judged he had been already far too near 
that corpse for his peace of mind for the safety of his 
neck, perhaps! 

"At the meter then! There. Look. In that corner." 

The robust form of Comrade Ossipon, striding brusque 
and shadowy across the shop, squatted in a corner obe- 
diently; but this obedience was without grace. He fumbled 
nervously and suddenly in the sound of a muttered 
curse the light behind the glazed door flicked out to a 
gasping, hysterical sigh of a woman. Night, the inevitable 
reward of men's faithful labours on this earth, night had 
fallen on Mr. Verloc, the tried revolutionist "one of the 
old lot" the humble guardian of society; the invaluable 
Secret Agent A of Baron Stott-Wartenheim's despatches; 
a servant of law and order, faithful, trusted, accurate, ad- 
mirable, with perhaps one single amiable weakness: the 
idealistic belief in being loved for himself. 

Ossipon groped his way back through the stuffy at- 
mosphere, as black as ink now, to the counter. The voice 
of Mrs. Verloc, standing in the middle of the shop, vibrated 
after him in that blackness with a desperate protest. 

"I will not be hanged, Tom. I will not " 

She broke off. Ossipon from the counter issued a 
warning: "Don't shout like this," then seemed to reflect 
profoundly. "You did this thing quite by yourself?" he 

The Secret Agent. 19 



2 QO THE SECRET AGENT. 

inquired in a hollow voice, but with an appearance of 
masterful calmness which filled Mrs. Verloc's heart with 
grateful confidence in his protecting strength. 

"Yes," she whispered, invisible. 

"I wouldn't have believed it possible," he muttered. 
"Nobody would." She heard him move about and the 
snapping of a lock in the parlour door. Comrade Ossipon 
had turned the key on Mr. Verloc's repose; and this he 
did not from reverence for its eternal nature or any other 
obscurely sentimental consideration, but for the precise 
reason that he was not at all sure that there was not 
someone else hiding somewhere in the house. He did not 
believe the woman, or rather he was incapable by now of 
judging what could be true, possible, or even probable in 
this astounding universe. He was terrified out of all 
capacity for belief or disbelief in regard of this extra- 
ordinary affair, which began with police inspectors and 
Embassies and would end goodness knows where on the 
scaffold for someone. He was terrified at the thought that 
he could not prove the use he made of his time ever since 
seven o'clock, for he had been skulking about Brett Street 
He was terrified at this savage woman who had brought 
him in there, and would probably saddle him with com- 
plicity, at least if he were not careful. He was terrified 
at the rapidity with which he had been involved in such 
dangers decoyed into it. It was some twenty minutes 
since he had met her not more. 

The voice of Mrs. Verloc rose subdued, pleading pite- 
ously: "Don't let them hang me, Tom! Take me out of 
the country. I'll work for you. I'll slave for you. I'll 
love you. I've no one in the world. . . . Who would 
look at me if you don't!" She ceased for a moment; 
then in the depths of the loneliness made round her by 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2QI 

an insignificant thread of blood trickling off the handle of 
a knife, she found a dreadful inspiration to her who had 
been the respectable girl of the Belgravian mansion, the 
loyal, respectable wife of Mr. Verloc. "I won't ask you 
to marry me," she breathed out in shamefaced accents. 

She moved a step forward in the darkness. He was 
terrified at her. He would not have been surprised if she 
had suddenly produced another knife destined for his 
breast. He certainly would have made no resistance. He 
had really not enough fortitude in him just then to tell 
her to keep back. But he inquired in a cavernous, 
strange tone: "Was he asleep?" 

"No," she cried, and went on rapidly. "He wasn't. 
Not he. He had been telling me that nothing could 
touch him. After taking the boy away from under my 
very eyes to kill him the loving, innocent, harmless lad. 
My own, I tell you. He was lying on the couch quite 
easy after killing the boy my boy. I would have gone 
on the streets to get out of his sight. And he says to 
me like this: 'Come here,' after telling me I had helped 
to kill the boy. You hear, Tom? He says like this: 
'Come here,' after taking my very heart out of me along 
with the boy to smash in the dirt." 

She ceased, then dreamily repeated twice: "Blood and 
dirt. Blood and dirt." A great light broke upon Com- 
rade Ossipon. It was that half-witted lad then who had 
perished in the park. And the fooling of everybody all 
round appeared more complete than ever colossal. He 
exclaimed scientifically, in the extremity of his astonish- 
ment: "The degenerate by heavens!" 

" Come here." The voice of Mrs. Verloc rose again. 
"What did he think I was made of? Tell me, Tom. 
Come here ! Me ! Like this ! I had been looking at the 

19* 



2Q2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

knife, and I thought I would come then if he wanted me 
so much. Oh yes! I came for the last time. . . . 
With the knife." 

He was excessively terrified at her the sister of the 
degenerate a degenerate herself of a murdering type . . . 
or else of the lying type. Comrade Ossipon might have 
been said to be terrified scientifically in addition to all 
other kinds of fear. It was an immeasurable and com- 
posite funk, which from its very excess gave him in the 
dark a false appearance of calm and thoughtful delibera- 
tion. For he moved and spoke with difficulty, being as 
if half frozen in his will and mind and no one could 
see his ghastly face. He felt half dead. 

He leaped a foot high. Unexpectedly Mrs. Verloc 
had desecrated the unbroken reserved decency of her 
home by a shrill and terrible shriek. 

"Help, Tom! Save me. I won't be hanged!" 

He rushed forward, groping for her mouth with a 
silencing hand, and the shriek died out But in his rush 
he had knocked her over. He felt her now clinging round 
his legs, and his terror reached its culminating point, be- 
came a sort of intoxication, entertained delusions, ac- 
quired the characteristics of delirium tremens. He 
positively saw snakes now. He saw the woman twined 
round him like a snake, not to be shaken off. She was 
not deadly. She was death itself the companion of life. 

Mrs. Verloc, as if relieved by the outburst, was very 
far from behaving noisily now. She was fitful. 

"Tom, you can't throw me off now," she murmured 
from the floor. "Not unless you crush my head under 
your heel. I won't leave you." 

"Get up," said Ossipon. 

His face was so pale as to be quite visible in the pro- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2Q3 

found black darkness of the shop; while Mrs. Verloc, 
veiled, had no face, almost no discernible form. The 
trembling of something small and white, a flower in her 
hat, marked her place, her movements. 

It rose in the blackness. She had got up from the 
floor, and Ossipon regretted not having run out at once 
into the street. But he perceived easily that it would not 
do. It would not do. She would run after him. She 
would pursue him shrieking till she sent every policeman 
within hearing in chase. And then goodness only knew 
what she would say of him. He was so frightened that 
for a moment the insane notion of strangling her in the 
dark passed through his mind. And he became more 
frightened than ever! She had him! He saw himself 
living in abject terror in some obscure hamlet in Spain or 
Italy; till some fine morning they found him dead too, 
with a knife in his breast like Mr. Verloc. He sighed 
deeply. He dared not move. And Mrs. Verloc waited 
in silence the good pleasure of her saviour, deriving com- 
fort from his reflective silence. 

Suddenly he spoke up in an almost natural voice. 
His reflections had come to an end. 

"Let's get out, or we shall lose the train." 

"Where are we going to, Tom?" she asked timidly. 
Mrs. Verloc was no longer a free woman. 

"Let's get to Paris first, the best way we can. . . . 
Go out first, and see if the way's clear." 

She obeyed. Her voice came subdued through the 
cautiously opened door. 

"It's all right." 

Ossipon came out. Notwithstanding his endeavours 
to be gentle, the cracked bell clattered behind the closed 
door in the empty shop, as if trying in vain to warn the 



2Q4 THE SECRET AGENT. 

reposing Mr. Verloc of the final departure of his wife 
accompanied by his friend. 

In the hansom they presently picked up, the robust 
anarchist became explanatory. He was still awfully pale, 
with eyes that seemed to have sunk a whole half-inch 
into his tense face. But he seemed to have thought of 
everything with extraordinary method. 

"When we arrive," he discoursed in a queer, monoton- 
ous tone, "you must go into the station ahead of me, as 
if we did not know each other. I will take the tickets, 
and slip yours into your hand as I pass you. Then 
you will go into the first-class ladies' waiting-room, and 
sit there till ten minutes before the train starts. Then 
you come out. I will be outside. You go in first on the 
platform, as if you did not know me. There may be eyes 
watching there that know what's what Alone you are 
only a woman going off by train. I am known. With 
me, you may be guessed at as Mrs. Verloc running away. 
Do you understand, my dear?" he added, with an effort. 

"Yes," said Mrs. Verloc, sitting there against him in 
the hansom all rigid with the dread of the gallows and 
the fear of death. "Yes, Tom." And she added to her- 
self, like an awful refrain: "The drop given was fourteen 
feet." 

Ossipon, not looking at her, and with a face like a 
fresh plaster cast of himself after a wasting illness, said: 
" By-the-bye, I ought to have the money for the tickets now." 

Mrs. Verloc, undoing some hooks of her bodice, while 
she went on staring ahead beyond the splashboard, handed 
over to him the new pigskin pocket-book. He received it 
without a word, and seemed to plunge it deep somewhere 
into his very breast. Then he slapped his coat on the 
outside. 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2Q5 

All this was done without the exchange of a single 
glance; they were like two people looking out for the first 
sight of a desired goal. It was not till the hansom swung 
round a corner and towards the bridge that Ossipon 
opened his lips again. 

"Do you know how much money there is in that 
thing?" he asked, as if addressing slowly some hobgoblin 
sitting between the ears of the horse. 

"No," said Mrs. Verloc. "He gave it to me. I didn't 
count. I thought nothing of it at the time. Afterwards " 

She moved her right hand a little. It was so expres- 
sive that little movement of that right hand which had 
struck the deadly blow into a man's heart less than an 
hour before that Ossipon could not repress a shudder. 
He exaggerated it then purposely, and muttered: 

"I am cold. I got chilled through." 

Mrs. Verloc looked straight ahead at the perspective 
of her escape. Now and then, like a sable streamer blown 
across a road, the words "The drop given was fourteen 
feet" got in the way of her tense stare. Through her 
black veil the whites of her big eyes gleamed lustrously 
like the eyes of a masked woman. 

Ossipon's rigidity had something business-like, a queer 
official expression. He was heard again all of a sudden, 
as though he had released a catch in order to speak. 

"Look here! Do you know whether your whether 
he kept his account at the bank in his own name or in 
some other name." 

Mrs. Verloc turned upon him her masked face and 
the big white gleam of her eyes. 

"Other name?" she said thoughtfully. 

"Be exact in what you say," Ossipon lectured in the 
swift motion of the hansom. "It's extremely important. 



2Q6 THE SECRET AGENT. 

I will explain to you. The bank has the numbers of 
these notes. If they were paid to him in his own name, 
then when his his death becomes known, the notes may 
serve to track us since we have no other money. You 
have no other money on you?" 

She shook her head negatively. 

"None whatever?" he insisted. 

"A few coppers." 

"It would be dangerous in that case. The money 
would have then to be dealt specially with. Very specially. 
We'd have perhaps to lose more than half the amount in 
order to get these notes changed in a certain safe place 
I know of in Paris. In the other case I mean if he had 
his account and got paid out under some other name 
say Smith, for instance the money is perfectly safe to use. 
You understand? The bank has no means of knowing that 
Mr. Verloc and, say, Smith are one and the same person. 
Do you see how important it is that you should make no 
mistake in answering me? Can you answer that query at 
all? Perhaps not. Eh?" 

She said composedly: 

"I remember now! He didn't bank in his own name. 
He told me once that it was on deposit in the name of 
Prozor." 

"You are sure?" 

"Certain." 

"You don't think the bank had any knowledge of his 
real name? Or anybody in the bank or 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

"How can I know? Is it likely, Tom?" 

"No. I suppose it's not likely. It would have been 
more comfortable to know. . . . Here we are. Get out 
first, and walk straight in. Move smartly." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2Q7 

He remained behind, and paid the cabman out of his 
own loose silver. The programme traced by his minute 
foresight was carried out. When Mrs. Verloc, with her 
ticket for St. Malo in her hand, entered the ladies' wait- 
ing-room, Comrade Ossipon walked into the bar, and in 
seven minutes absorbed three goes of hot brandy and water. 

"Trying to drive out a cold," he explained to the 
barmaid, with a friendly nod and a grimacing smile. Then 
he came out, bringing out from that festive interlude the 
face of a man who had drunk at the very Fountain of 
Sorrow. He raised his eyes to the clock. It was time. 
He waited. 

Punctual, Mrs. Verloc came out, with her veil down, 
and all black black as commonplace death itself, crowned 
with a few cheap and pale flowers. She passed close to 
a little group of men who were laughing, but whose laughter 
could have been struck dead by a single word. Her walk 
was indolent, but her back was straight, and Comrade 
Ossipon looked after it in terror before making a start 
himself. 

The train was drawn up, with hardly anybody about 
its row of open doors. Owing to the time of the year 
and to the abominable weather there were hardly any 
passengers. Mrs. Verloc walked slowly along the line of 
empty compartments till Ossipon touched her elbow from 
behind. 

"In here." 

She got in, and he remained on the platform looking 
about. She bent forward, and in a whisper: 

"What is it, Tom? Is there any danger?" 

"Wait a moment. There's the guard." 

She saw him accost the man in uniform. They talked 
for awhile. She heard the guard say "Very well, sir," 



2 go THE SECRET AGENT. 

and saw him touch his cap. Then Ossipon came back, 
saying: "I told him not to let anybody get into our com- 
partment." 

She was leaning forward on her seat. "You think of 
everything. . . . You'll get me off, Tom?" she asked in a 
gust of anguish, lifting her veil brusquely to look at her 
saviour. 

She had uncovered a face like adamant. And out of 
this face the eyes looked on, big, dry, enlarged, lightless, 
burnt out like two black holes in the white, shining globes. 

"There is no danger," he said, gazing into them with 
an earnestness almost rapt, which to Mrs. Verloc, flying 
from the gallows, seemed to be full of force and tender- 
ness. This devotion deeply moved her and the ada- 
mantine face lost the stern rigidity of its terror. Comrade 
Ossipon gazed at it as no lover ever gazed at his mistress's 
face. Alexander Ossipon, anarchist, nicknamed the Doctor, 
author of a medical (and improper) pamphlet, late lecturer 
on the social aspects of hygiene to working men's clubs, 
was free from the trammels of conventional morality but 
he submitted to the rule of science. He was scientific, 
and he gazed scientifically at that woman, the sister of a 
degenerate, a degenerate herself of a murdering type. 
He gazed at her, and invoked Lombroso, as an Italian 
peasant recommends himself to his favourite saint. He 
gazed scientifically. He gazed at her cheeks, at her nose, 
at her eyes, at her ears. . . . Bad! . . . Fatal! Mrs. Verloc's 
pale lips parting, slightly relaxed under his passionately 
attentive gaze, he gazed also at her teeth. . . . Not a doubt 
remained ... a murdering type. ... If Comrade Ossipon 
did not recommend his terrified soul to Lombroso, it was 
only because on scientific grounds he could not believe 
that he carried about him such a thing as a soul. But 



THE SECRET AGENT. 2QQ 

he had in him the scientific spirit, which moved him to 
testify on the platform of a railway station in nervous 
jerky phrases. 

"He was an extraordinary lad, that brother of yours. 
Most interesting to study. A perfect type in a way. 
Perfect!" 

He spoke scientifically in his secret fear. And Mrs. 
Verloc, hearing these words of commendation vouchsafed 
to her beloved dead, swayed forward with a flicker of 
light in her sombre eyes, like a ray of sunshine heralding 
a tempest of rain. 

"He was that indeed," she whispered softly, with 
quivering lips. "You took a lot of notice of him, Tom. 
I loved you for it." 

"It's almost incredible the resemblance there was be- 
tween you two," pursued Ossipon, giving a voice to his 
abiding dread, and trying to conceal his nervous, sickening 
impatience for the train to start. "Yes; he resembled you." 

These words were not especially touching or sym- 
pathetic. But the fact of that resemblance insisted upon 
was enough in itself to act upon her emotions powerfully. 
With a little faint cry, and throwing her arms out, Mrs. 
Verloc burst into tears at last. 

Ossipon entered the carriage, hastily closed the door 
and looked out to see the time by the station clock. 
Eight minutes more. For the first three of these Mrs. 
Verloc wept violently and helplessly without pause or in- 
terruption. Then she recovered somewhat, and sobbed 
gently in an abundant fall of tears. She tried to talk to 
her saviour, to the man who was the messenger of life. 

"Oh, Tom! How could I fear to die after he was 
taken away from me so cruelly! How could I! How 
could I be such a coward!" 



3OO THE SECRET AGENT. 

She lamented aloud her love of life, that life without 
grace or charm, and almost without decency, but of an 
exalted faithfulness of purpose, even unto murder. And, 
as often happens in the lament of poor humanity, rich in 
suffering but indigent in words, the truth the very cry 
of truth was found in a worn and artificial shape picked 
up somewhere among the phrases of sham sentiment. 

"How could I be so afraid of death! Tom, I tried. 
But I am afraid. I tried to do away with myself. And 
I couldn't. Am I hard? I suppose the cup of horrors 
was not full enough for such as me. Then when you 
came. . . ." 

She paused. Then in a gust of confidence and grati- 
tude, "I will live all my days for you, Tom!" she sobbed out. 

"Go over into the other corner of the carriage, away 
from the platform," said Ossipon solicitously. She let her 
saviour settle her comfortably, and he watched the com- 
ing on of another crisis of weeping, still more violent than 
the first He watched the symptoms with a sort of med- 
ical air, as if counting seconds. He heard the guard's 
whistle at last. An involuntary contraction of the upper 
lip bared his teeth with all the aspect of savage resolu- 
tion as he felt the train beginning to move. Mrs. Verloc 
heard and felt nothing, and Ossipon, her saviour, stood 
still. He felt the train roll quicker, rumbling heavily to 
the sound of the woman's loud sobs, and then crossing 
the carriage in two long strides he opened the door de- 
liberately, and leaped out. 

He had leaped out at the very end of the platform: 
and such was his determination in sticking to his des- 
perate plan that he managed by a sort of miracle, per- 
formed almost in the air, to slam to the door of the car- 
riage. Only then did he find himself rolling head over 



THE SECRET AGENT. 30 1 

heels like a shot rabbit. He was bruised, shaken, pale 
as death, and out of breath when he got up. But he 
was calm, and perfectly able to meet the excited crowd 
of railway men who had gathered round him in a mo- 
ment. He explained, in gentle and convincing tones, 
that his wife had started at a moment's notice for Brit- 
tany to her dying mother; that, of course, she was greatly 
upset, and he considerably concerned at her state; that 
he was trying to cheer her up, and had absolutely failed 
to notice at first that the train was moving out. To the 
general exclamation "Why didn't you go on to South- 
ampton, then, sir?" he objected the inexperience of a 
young sister-in-law left alone in the house with three small 
children, and her alarm at his absence, the telegraph 
offices being closed. He had acted on impulse. "But I 
don't think I'll ever try that again," he concluded; 
smiled all round; distributed some small change, and 
marched without a limp out of the station. 

Outside, Comrade Ossipon, flush of safe banknotes 
as never before in his life, refused the offer of a cab. 

"I can walk," he said, with a little friendly laugh to 
the civil driver. 

He could walk. He walked. He crossed the bridge. 
Later on the towers of the Abbey saw in their massive 
immobility the yellow bush of his hair passing under the 
lamps. The lights of Victoria saw him too, and Sloane 
Square, and the railings of the park. And Comrade Os- 
sipon once more found himself on a bridge. The river, 
a sinister marvel of still shadows and flowing gleams 
mingling below in a black silence, arrested his attention. 
He stood looking over the parapet for a long time. The 
clock tower boomed a brazen blast above his drooping 



3O2 THE SECRET AGENT. 

head. He looked up at the dial. . . . Half-past twelve of 
a wild night in the Channel. 

And again Comrade Ossipon walked. His robust 
form was seen that night in distant parts of the enormous 
town slumbering monstrously on a carpet of mud under 
a veil of raw mist. It was seen crossing the streets with- 
out life and sound, or diminishing in the interminable 
straight perspectives of shadowy houses bordering empty 
roadways lined by strings of gas -lamps. He walked 
through Squares, Places, Ovals, Commons, through mono- 
tonous streets with unknown names where the dust of 
humanity settles inert and hopeless out of the stream of 
life. He walked. And suddenly turning into a strip of 
a front garden with a mangy grass plot, he let himself 
into a small grimy house with a latchkey he took out of 
his pocket. 

He threw himself down on his bed all dressed, and 
lay still for a whole quarter of an hour. Then he sat up 
suddenly, drawing up his knees, and clasping his legs. 
The first dawn found him open-eyed, in that same posture. 
This man who could walk so long, so far, so aimlessly, 
without showing a sign of fatigue, could also remain sit- 
ting still for hours without stirring a limb or an eyelid. 
But when the late sun sent its rays into the room he un- 
clasped his hands, and fell back on the pillow. His eyes 
stared at the ceiling. And suddenly they closed. Com- 
rade Ossipon slept in the sunlight. 

XIII. 

THE enormous iron padlock on the doors of the wall 
cupboard was the only object in the room on which the 
eye could rest without becoming afflicted by the miserable 
unloveliness of forms and the poverty of material. Un- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 303 

saleable in the ordinary course of business on account of 
its noble proportions, it had been ceded to the Professor 
for a few pence by a marine dealer in the east of London. 
The room was large, clean, respectable, and poor with 
that poverty suggesting the starvation of every human 
need except mere bread. There was nothing on the walls 
but the paper, an expanse of arsenical green, soiled with 
indelible smudges here and there, and with stains re- 
sembling faded maps of uninhabited continents. 

At a deal table near a window sat Comrade Ossipon, 
holding his head between his fists. The Professor, dressed 
in his only suit of shoddy tweeds, but flapping to and fro 
on the bare boards a pair of incredibly dilapidated 
slippers, had thrust his hands deep into the overstrained 
pockets of his jacket. He was relating to his robust guest 
a visit he had lately been paying to the Apostle Michaelis. 
The Perfect Anarchist had even been unbending a little. 

"The fellow didn't know anything of Verloc's death. 
Of course! He never looks at the newspapers. They 
make him too sad, he says. But never mind. I walked 
into his cottage. Not a soul anywhere. I had to shout 
half-a-dozen times before he answered me. I thought he 
was fast asleep yet, in bed. But not at all. He had 
been writing his book for four hours already. He sat in 
that tiny cage in a litter of manuscript. There was a 
half-eaten raw carrot on the table near him. His break- 
fast. He lives on a diet of raw carrots and a little milk now." 

"How does he look on it?" asked Comrade Ossipon 
listlessly. 

"Angelic. ... I picked up a handful of his pages from 
the floor. The poverty of reasoning is astonishing. He 
has no logic. He can't think consecutively. But that's 
nothing. He has divided his biography into three parts, 



304 THE SECRET AGENT. 

entitled 'Faith, Hope, Charity.' He is elaborating now 
the idea of a world planned out like an immense and nice 
hospital, with gardens and flowers, in which the strong are 
to devote themselves to the nursing of the weak." 

The Professor paused. 

"Conceive you this folly, Ossipon? The weak! The 
source of all evil on this earth!" he continued with his 
grim assurance. "I told him that I dreamt of a world 
like shambles, where the weak would be taken in hand 
for utter extermination. 

"Do you understand, Ossipon? The source of all 
evil! They are our sinister masters the weak, the flabby, 
the silly, the cowardly, the faint of heart, and the slavish 
of mind. They have power. They are the multitude. 
Theirs is the kingdom of the earth. Exterminate, ex- 
terminate! That is the only way of progress. It is! 
Follow me, Ossipon. First the great multitude of the weak 
must go, then the only relatively strong. You see? First 
the blind, then the deaf and the dumb, then the halt and 
the lame and so on. Every taint, every vice, every pre- 
judice, every convention must meet its doom." 

"And what remains?" asked Ossipon in a stifled voice. 

"I remain if I am strong enough," asserted the sallow 
little Professor, whose large ears, thin like membranes, 
and standing far out from the sides of his frail skull, took 
on suddenly a deep red tint. 

"Haven't I suffered enough from this oppression of the 
weak?" he continued forcibly. Then tapping the breast- 
pocket of his jacket: "And yet / am the force," he went 
on. "But the time! The time! Give me time! Ah! that 
multitude, too stupid to feel either pity or fear. Sometimes 
I think they have everything on their side. Everything 
even death my own weapon." 



THE SECRET AGENT. 305 

"Come and drink some beer with me at the Silenus," 
said the robust Ossipon after an interval of silence pervaded 
by the rapid flap, flap of the slippers on the feet of the Per- 
fect Anarchist. This last accepted. He was jovial that day 
in his own peculiar way. He slapped Ossipon's shoulder. 

"Beer! So be it! Let us drink and be merry, for we 
are strong, and to-morrow we die." 

He busied himself with putting on his boots, and talked 
meanwhile in his curt, resolute tones. 

"What's the matter with you, Ossipon? You look glum 
and seek even my company. I hear that you are seen con- 
stantly in places where men utter foolish things over glasses 
of liquor. Why? Have you abandoned your collection of 
women? They are the weak who feed the strong eh?" 

He stamped one foot, and picked up his other laced 
boot, heavy, thick-soled, unblacked, mended many times. 
He smiled to himself grimly. 

"Tell me, Ossipon, terrible man, has ever one of your 
victims killed herself for you or are your triumphs so far 
incomplete for blood alone puts a seal on greatness? 
Blood. Death. Look at history." 

"You be damned," said Ossipon, without turning his 
head. 

"Why? Let that be the hope of the weak, whose 
theology has invented hell for the strong. Ossipon, my feel- 
ing for you is amicable contempt. You couldn't kill a fly." 

But rolling to the feast on the top of the omnibus the 
Professor lost his high spirits. The contemplation of the 
multitudes thronging the pavements extinguished his assur- 
ance under a load of doubt and uneasiness which he could 
only shake off after a period of seclusion in the room with 
the large cupboard closed by an enormous padlock. 

"And so," said over his shoulder Comrade Ossipon, 

The Secret Agent, 2O 



306 THE SECRET AGENT. 

who sat on the seat behind. "And so Michaclis dreams 
of a world like a beautiful and cheery hospital." 

"Just so. An immense charity for the healing of the 
weak," assented the Professor sardonically. 

"That's silly," admitted Ossipon. "You can't heal 
weakness. But after all Michaelis may not be so far wrong. 
In two hundred years doctors will rule the world. Science 
reigns already. It reigns in the shade maybe but it reigns. 
And all science must culminate at last in the science of 
healing not the weak, but the strong. Mankind wants to 
live to live." 

"Mankind," asserted the Professor with a self-confident 
glitter of his iron-rimmed spectacles, "does not know what 
it wants." 

"But you do," growled Ossipon. "Just now you've 
been crying for time time. Well ! The doctors will serve 
you out your time if you are good. You profess yourself 
to be one of the strong because you carry in your pocket 
enough stuff to send yourself and, say, twenty other people 
into eternity. But eternity is a damned hole. It's time that 
you need. You if you met a man who could give you for 
certain ten years of time, you would call him your master." 

"My device is: No God! No master," said the Pro- 
fessor sententiously as he rose to get off the 'bus. 

Ossipon followed. "Wait till you are lying flat on your 
back at the end of your time," he retorted, jumping off the 
footboard after the other. "Your scurvy, shabby, mangy 
little bit of time," he continued across the street, and 
hopping onto the curbstone. 

"Ossipon, I think that you are a humbug," the Pro- 
fessor said, opening masterfully the doors of the renowned 
Silenus. And when they had established themselves at a 
little table he developed further this gracious thought. "You 



THE SECRET AGENT. 307 

are not even a. doctor. But you are funny. Your notion 
of a humanity universally putting out the tongue and taking 
the pill from pole to pole at the bidding of a few solemn 
jokers is worthy of the prophet. Prophecy! What's the 
good of thinking of what will be!" He raised his glass. 
"To the destruction of what is," he said calmly. 

He drank and relapsed into his peculiarly close manner 
of silence. The thought of a mankind as numerous as 
the sands of the sea-shore, as indestructible, as difficult to 
handle, oppressed him. The sound of exploding bombs 
was lost in their immensity of passive grains without an 
echo. For instance, this Verloc affair. Who thought of it 
now? 

Ossipon, as if suddenly compelled by some mysterious 
force, pulled a much-folded newspaper out of his pocket. 
The Professor raised his head at the rustle. 

"What's that paper? Anything in it?" he asked. 

Ossipon started like a scared somnambulist. 

"Nothing. Nothing whatever. The thing's ten days 
old. I forgot it in my pocket, I suppose." 

But he did not throw the old thing away. Before re- 
turning it to his pocket he stole a glance at the last lines 
of a paragraph. They ran thus: "An impenetrable mystery 
seems destined to hang for ever over this act of madness or 
despair." 

Such were the end words of an item of news headed : 
"Suicide of Lady Passenger from a cross-Channel Boat." 
Comrade Ossipon was familiar with the beauties of its 
journalistic style. "An impenetrable mystery seems destined 
to hang for ever. . . ." He knew every word by heart. "An 
impenetrable mystery " And the robust anarchist, hang- 
ing his head on his breast, fell into a long reverie. 

He was menaced by this thing in the very sources of 

20* 



308 THE SECRET AGENT. 

his existence. He could not issue forth to meet his various 
conquests, those that he courted on benches in Kensington 
Gardens, and those he met near area railings, without the 
dread of beginning to talk to them of an impenetrable 
mystery destined. . . . He was becoming scientifically afraid 
of insanity lying in wait for him amongst these lines. " To 
hang for ever over." It was an obsession, a torture. He 
had lately failed to keep several of these appointments, 
whose note used to be an unbounded trustfulness in the 
language of sentiment and manly tenderness. The con- 
fiding disposition of various classes of women satisfied the 
needs of his self-love, and put some material means into 
his hand. He needed it to live. It was there. But if he 
could no longer make use of it, he ran the risk of starving 
his ideals and his body. . . . " This act of madness or de- 
spair." 

"An impenetrable mystery" was sure "to hang for 
ever" as far as all mankind was concerned. But what of 
that if he alone of all men could never get rid of the 
cursed knowledge? And Comrade Ossipon's knowledge 
was as precise as the newspaper man could make it up 
to the very threshold of the "mystery destined to hang for 
ever. . . " 

Comrade Ossipon was well informed. He knew what 
the gangway man of the steamer had seen: "A lady in a 
black dress and a black veil, wandering at midnight along- 
side, on the quay. 'Are you going by the boat, ma'am,' 
he had asked her encouragingly. 'This way.' She seemed 
not to know what to do. He helped her on board. She 
seemed weak." 

And he knew also what the stewardess had seen: A 
lady in black with a white face standing in the middle of 
the empty ladies' cabin. The stewardess induced her to 



THE SECRET AGENT. 309 

lie down there. The lady seemed quite unwilling to speak, 
and as if she were in some awful trouble. The next the 
stewardess knew she was gone from the ladies' cabin. The 
stewardess then went on deck to look for her, and Com- 
rade Ossipon was informed that the good woman found 
the unhappy lady lying down in one of the hooded seats. 
Her eyes were open, but she would not answer anything 
that was said to her. She seemed very ill. The stewardess 
fetched the chief steward, and those two people stood by 
the side of the hooded seat consulting over their extra- 
ordinary and tragic passenger. They talked in audible 
whispers (for she seemed past hearing) of St. Malo and the 
Consul there, of communicating with her people in Eng- 
land. Then they went away to arrange for her removal 
down below, for indeed by what they could see of her face 
she seemed to them to be dying. But Comrade Ossipon 
knew that behind that white mask of despair there was 
struggling against terror and despair a vigour of vitality, a 
love of life that could resist the furious anguish which drives 
to murder and the fear, the blind, mad fear of the gallows. 
He knew. But the stewardess and the chief steward knew 
nothing, except that when they came back for her in less 
than five minutes the lady in black was no longer in the 
hooded seat. She was nowhere. She was gone. It was 
then five o'clock in the morning, and it was no accident 
either. An hour afterwards one of the steamer's hands 
found a wedding ring left lying on the seat. It had stuck 
to the wood in a bit of wet, and its glitter caught the man's 
eye. There was a date, 24th June 1879, engraved inside. 
"An impenetrable mystery is destined to hang for ever. . . ." 
And Comrade Ossipon raised his bowed head, beloved 
of various humble women of these isles, Apollo-like in the 
sunniness of its bush of hah". 



3IO THE SECRET AGENT. 

The Professor had grown restless meantime. He rose. 

"Stay," said Ossipon hurriedly. "Here, what do you 
know of madness and despair?" 

The Professor passed the tip of his tongue on his dry, 
thin lips, and said doctorally: 

"There are no such things. All passion is lost now. 
The world is mediocre, limp, without force. And madness 
and despair are a force. And force is a crime in the eyes 
of the fools, the weak and the silly who rule the roost. You 
are mediocre. Verloc, whose affair the police has managed 
to smother so nicely, was mediocre. And the police mur- 
dered him. He was mediocre. Everybody is mediocre. 
Madness and despair! Give me that for a lever, and I'll 
move the world. Ossipon, you have my cordial scorn. You 
are incapable of conceiving even what the fat-fed citizen 
would call a crime. You have no force." He paused, 
smiling sardonically under the fierce glitter of his thick 
glasses. 

"And let me tell you that this little legacy they say 
you've come into has not improved your intelligence. You 
sit at your beer like a dummy. Good-bye." 

"Will you have it?" said Ossipon, looking up with an 
idiotic grin. 

"Have what?" 

"The legacy. All of it." 

The incorruptible Professor only smiled. His clothes 
were all but falling off him, his boots, shapeless with repairs, 
heavy like lead, let water in at every step. He said: 

"I will send you by-and-by a small bill for certain 
chemicals which I shall order to-morrow. I need them 
badly. Understood eh?" 

Ossipon lowered his head slowly. He was alone. "An 
impenetrable mystery, . . ." It seemed to him that sus- 



THE SECRET AGENT. 3 I I 

pended in the air before him he saw his own brain pul- 
sating to the rhythm of an impenetrable mystery. It was 
diseased clearly. . . . " This act of madness or despair." 

The mechanical piano near the door played through 
a valse cheekily, then fell silent all at once, as if gone 
grumpy. 

Comrade Ossipon, nicknamed the Doctor, went out of 
the Silenus beer-hall. At the door he hesitated, blinking at 
a not too splendid sunlight and the paper with the report 
of the suicide of a lady was in his pocket. His heart was 
beating against it. The suicide of a lady this act of mad- 
ness or despair. 

He walked along the street without looking where he 
put his feet; and he walked in a direction which would not 
bring him to the place of appointment with another lady 
(an elderly nursery governess putting her trust in an Apollo- 
like ambrosial head). He was walking away from it. He 
could face no woman. It was ruin. He could neither think, 
work, sleep, nor eat. But he was beginning to drink with 
pleasure, with anticipation, with hope. It was ruin. His 
revolutionary career, sustained by the sentiment and trust- 
fulness of many women, was menaced by an impenetrable 
mystery the mystery of a human brain pulsating wrong- 
fully to the rhythm of journalistic phrases. ". . . Will hang 
for ever over this act. ... It was inclining towards the gutter 
. . . of madness or despair. ..." 

"I am seriously ill," he muttered to himself with scien- 
tific insight. Already his robust form, with an Embassy's 
secret-service money (inherited from Mr. Verloc) in his 
pockets, was marching in the gutter as if in training for 
the task of an inevitable future. Already he bowed his 
broad shoulders, his head of ambrosial locks, as if ready to 
receive the leather yoke of the sandwich board. As on that 



312 THE SECRET AGENT. 

night, more than a week ago, Comrade Ossipon walked 
without looking where he put his feet, feeling no fatigue, 
feeling nothing, seeing nothing, hearing not a sound. "An 
impenetrable mystery. . . ." He walked disregarded. . . . 
' ' This act of madness or despair." 

And the incorruptible Professor walked too, averting his 
eyes from the odious multitude of mankind. He had no 
future. He disdained it. He was a force. His thoughts 
caressed the images of ruin and destruction. He walked 
frail, insignificant, shabby, miserable and terrible in the 
simplicity of his idea calling madness and despair to the 
regeneration of the world. Nobody looked at him. He 
passed on unsuspected and deadly, like a pest in the street 
full of men. 

January- October, 1906. 



THE END. 



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Published with Continental Copyright by special agreement 
with the authors. Vide p. I. 

3993 Volumes. 400 British, 54 American Authors. 
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Adams, Rev. W., \ 1848. 
Sacred Allegories i v. 

Aguilar, Grace, f 1847. 
Home Influence 2 v. The Mother's 
Recompense 2 v. 

Aide, Hamilton. 

Rita iv. Carr of Carrlyon 2 v. The 
Marstons 2 v. In that State of Life I v. 
Morals and Mysteries i v. Penruddocke 
zv. "A nine Days' Wonder" i v. 
Poet and Peer 2 v. Introduced to Society 

1 v. 

Ainsworth,W. Harrison, j 1882. 
Windsor Castle i v. Saint James's i v. 
Jack Sheppard (with Portrait) i v. 
The Lancashire Witches 2V. The Star- 
Chamber 2 v. The Flitch of Bacon i v. 
The Spendthrift i v. Mervyn Clitheroe 
zv. Ovingdean Grange i v. The Con- 
stable of the Tower i v. The Lord 
Mayor of London 2 v. Cardinal Pole 

2 v. John Law 2 v. The Spanish 
Match 2 v. The Constable de Bourbon 
2 v. Old Court 2 v. Myddleton Pom- 
fret 2 v. The South-Sea Bubble 2 v. 
Hilary St. Ives 2 v. Talbot Harland 
i v. Tower Hill i v. Boscobel 2 v. 
The Good Old Times 2 v. Merry Eng- 
land 2 v. The Goldsmith's Wife 2 v. 
Preston Fight 2 v. Chetwynd Calverley 
av. The Leaguer of Latbom 2 v. 
The Fall of Somerset 2 v. Beatrice 
Tyldesley 2 v. Beau Nash 2 v. Stanley 
Brereton 2 v. 

Alcott, Louisa M. (Am.), j 1888. 
Little Women 2 v. Little Men I v. 
An Old-Fashioned Girl i v. Jo's Boys 
i v. 



Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (Am.).l 
Marjorie Daw and other Tales i v. \ 
The Stillwater Tragedy iv. 

Alexander, Mrs. (Hector), j 1902. 
A Second Life 3 v. By Woman's Wit ] 
i v. Mona's Choice 2 v. A Life In- j 
terest 2 v. A Crooked Path 2 v. Blind ] 
Fate 2v. A Woman's Heart 2 v. For ] 
His Sake 2v. The Snare of the Fowler 
2v. Found Wanting 2 v. A Ward in 
Chancery i v. A Choice of Evils a v. 
A Fight with Fate 2 v. A Winning 
Hazard i v. A Golden Autumn I v. 
Mrs. Crichton's Creditor I v. Barbara, 
Lady's Maid and Peeress i v. The Cost 
of Her Pride 2 v. Brown , V. C. i v. 
Through Fire to Fortune i v. A Missing 
Hero iv. The Yellow Fiend i v. 
Stronger than Love 2 v. KittyCostello i v. 

Alice, Grand-Duchess of Hesse, 

f 1878. 

Letters to Her Majesty the Queen (with 
Portrait). With a Memoir by H. R. 11. 
Princess Christian 2 v. 

Alldridge, Lizzie. 
By Love and Law 2 v. The World she 
awoke in 2 v. 

Allen, Grant, f 1899. 
The Woman who did i v. 

'All for Greed," Author of 

(Baroness de Bury). 
All for Greed i v. Love the Avenger 

2 V. 

Anstey, F. (Guthrie). 
The Giant's Robe 2 v. A Fallen Idol 
i v. The Pariah 3 v. The Talking 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Horse and other Tales i v. Voces 
Populi (First and Second S fries) I v. 
The Brass Bottle i v. A Bayard from 
Bengal i v. Salted Almonds i v. 

Argles, Mrs. : vide Mrs. Hunger- 
ford. 

"Aristocrats, the," Author of: 
vide Gertrude Atherton. 

Arnold, Sir Edwin, ) 1904. 

The Light of Asia (with Portrait) i v. 

Arnold, Matthew, f 1888. 
Essays in Criticism 2 v. Essays in Criti- 
cism (Second Series) I v. 

Atherton , Gertrude Franklin 

(Am.). 

American Wives and English Husbands 
iv. The Californians i v. Patience 
Sparhawk and her Times 2 v. Senator 
North 2 v. The Doomswoman i v. The 
Aristocrats i v. The Splendid Idle Forties 
iv. The Conqueror 2 v. A Daughter 
of the Vine i v. His Fortunate Grace, 
etc. iv. The Valiant Runaways i v. 
The Bell in the Fog, and Other Stories i v. 
The Travelling Thirds (in Spain) IT. 
Rezanov i v. 

Austen, Jane, | 1817. 
Sense and Sensibility i v. Mansfield 
Park iv. Pride and Prejudice i v. 
Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion I v. 
Emma i v. 

"Autobiography of Lutfullah," 
Author of: vide E. B. Eastwick. 

Avebury, Lord : vide Sir John 
Lubbock. 

Bagot, Richard. 

A Roman Mystery 2 v. Casting of Nets 
2v. The Just and the Unjust 2 v. 
Donna Diana 2 v. Love's Proxy i v. 
The Passport 2 v. Temptation 2 v. 

Baring- Gould, S. 
Ifehalah i v. John Herring 2 v. 
Court Royal z v. 

Barker, Lady : v. Lady Broorne. 
Barrett, Frank. 

The Smuggler's Secret I v. Out of the 
Jaws of Death 2 v. 



Barrie, J. M. 

Sentimental Tommy 2 v. Margaret 
Ogilvy iv. Tommy and Grizel 2 v. 
The Little White Bird i v. 

"Bayle's Romance, Miss," Au- 
thor of: vide W. Fraser Rae. 
Baynes, Rev. Robert H. 

Lyra Anglicana, Hymns and Sacred Songs 
i v. 

Beaconsfield, Lord: vide Dis- 
raeli. 

Beaumont, Averil (Mrs. Hunt). 
Thornicroft's Model 2 v. 

Bell, Currer (Charlotte Brontg 

Mrs. Nicholls), f 1855. 
Jane Eyre 2 v. Shirley a v. Villette 
zv. The Professor i v. 

Bell, Ellis & Acton (Emily, 
f 1848, and Anne, j 1849, 
Bronte). 
Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey 2 v. 

Bellamy, Edward (Am.), f 1898. 
Looking Backward i v. 

Benedict, Frank Lee (Am.). 
St. Simon's Niece 2 v. 

Bennett, Arnold. 

The Grand Babylon Hotel i v. The 
Gates of Wrath i v. A Great Man i v. 

Sacred and Profane Love i v. Whom 
God hath joined i v. The Ghost i v. 
The Grim Smile of the Five Towns i v. 

Bennett, A. & Phillpotts, Eden: 
vide Eden Phillpotts. 

Benson, E. F. 

Dodo iv. The Rubicon i v. Scarlet 
and Hyssop I v. The Book of Months i v. 

The Relentless City i v. Mammon 
& Co. 2v. The Challoners i v. An 
Act in a Backwater i v. The Image in 
the Sand 2 v. The Angel of Pain 2 v. 

Paul 2v. The House of Defence 2 v. 

Besant, Sir Walter, -J- 1901. 
The Revolt of Man i v. Dorothy 
Forster 2 v. Children of Gibeon 2 v. 
The World went very well then 2 v. 
Katharine Regina i v. Herr Paulus 2 v. 

The Inner House i v. The Bell of 
St. Paul's 2V. For Faith and Freedom 
2V. Armorel of Lyonesse 2 v. Ver- 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Bulwer, Henry Lytton (Lord 

Balling), f 1872. 

Historical Characters 2 v. The Life of 
Viscount Palmerston 3 v. 

Bunyan, John, j 1688. 

The Pilgrim's Progress i v. 

"Buried Alone," Author of 

(Charles Wood). 
Buried Alone i v. 

Burnett, Mrs. Frances Hodg- 
son (Am.). 

Through one Administration 2 v. Little 
Lord Fauntleroy I v. Sara Crewe, 
and Editha's Burglar i v. The Pretty 
Sister of Jose i v. A Lady of Quality 
av. His Grace of Osmonde 2 v. 

Burney, Miss (Madame D'Ar- 

blay), f 1840. 
Evelina i v. 

Burns, Robert, f 1796. 
Poetical Works (with Portrait) r v. 

Burton, Richard F., f 1890. 
A Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina 3 v. 

Bury, Baroness de: vide "All 
for Greed." 

Butler, A. J. 

Bismarck. His Reflections and Re- 
miniscences. Translated from the great 
German edition, under the supervision of 
A. J. Butler. With two Portraits. 3 v. 

Buxton, Mrs. B. H., j- 1881. 

Jennie of "The Prince's," 2 v. Won 
2v. Great Grenfell Gardens 2 v. 
Nell on and off the Stage 2 v. From 
the Wings 2 v. 

Byron, Lord, f 1824. 
Poetical Works (with Portrait) 3 v. 

Caffyn, Mrs.Mannington (Iota). 

A Yellow Aster i v. Children of Cir- 
cumstance a v. Anne Mauleverer 2 v. 

Caine, Hall. 

The Bondman 2 v. The Manxman 
2 v. The Christian 2 v. The Eternal 
City 3V. The Prodigal Son 2 v. 



Cameron, Verney Lovett 

Across Africa 2 v. 

Campbell Praed, Mrs.: -vide 
Praed. 

Carey, Rosa Nouchette. 
Not Like other Girls 2 v. " But Men 
must Work" I v. Sir Godfrey's Grand- 
daughters 2 v. The Old, Old Story 2 v. 

Herb of Grace 2 v. The Highway of 
Fate 2v. A Passage Perilous 2 v. At 
the Moorings 2 v. 

Carlyle, Thomas, f 1881. 
The French Revolution 3 v. Fre- 
derick the Great 13 v. Oliver Crom- 
well's Letters and Speeches 4 v. The 
Life of Schiller i v. 

Carr, Alaric. 
Treherne's Temptation 2 v. 

Castle, Agnes & Egerton. 

The Star Dreamer 2 v. Incomparable 
Bellairs I v. Rose of the World i v. 
French Nan i v. "If Youth but knew ! " 
i v. 

Castle, Egerton. 

Consequences 2 v. "La Bella," and 
Others i v. 

Charles, Mrs. Elizabeth Rundle, 
j- 1896: vide Author of "Chro- 
nicles of the Scho'nberg-Cotta 
Family." 

Charlesworth, Maria Louisa, 

f 1880. 
Oliver of the Mill i v. 

Cholmondeley, Mary. 
Diana Tempest 2 v. Red Pottage 2 v. 

Moth and Rust i v. Prisoners 2 v. 

Christian, Princess: -vide Alice, 
Grand Duchess of Hesse. 

"Chronicles of the Schonberg- 
Cotta Family," Author of (Mrs. 
E. Rundle Charles), f 1896. 
Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Fa- 
mily 2V. The Draytons and the 
Davenants 2 v. On Both Sides of 
the Sea 2 v. Winifred Bertram I v. 
Diary of Mrs. Kitty Trevylyan i v. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



The Victory of the Vanquished I v. 
The Cottage by the Cathedral and other 
Parables I v. Against the Stream 2 v. 
The Bertram Family 2 v. Conquer- 
ing and to Conquer i v. Lapsed, but not 
Lost i v. 

Clark, Alfred. 
The Finding of Lot's Wife i v. 

Clemens, Samuel L.: v. Twain. 

Clifford, Mrs. W. K. 
Love-Letters of a Worldly Woman I v. 
Aunt Anne 2 v. The Last Touches, and 
other Stories i v. Mrs. Keith's Crime 
i v. A Wild Proxy i v. A Flash of 
Summer i v. A Woman Alone i v. 
Woodside Farm I v. The Modern Way 
iv. The Getting Well of Dorothy i v. 

Clive, Mrs. Caroline, f 1873: 
vide Author of" Paul Ferroll." 

Cobbe, Frances Power, j 1904. 
Re-Echoes i v. 

Coleridge, C. R. 

An English Squire 2 v. 

Coleridge, M. E. 

The King with two Faces 2 v. 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 

t 1834. 
Poems i v. 

Collins, Charles Allston, -j- 1873. 
A Cruise upon Wheels 2 v. 

Collins, Mortimer, j 1876. 

Sweet and Twenty 2 v. A Fight with 
Fortune 2 v. 

Collins, Wilkie, f 1889. 
After Dark i v. Hide and Seek 2v. 
A Plot in Private Life, etc. I v. The 
Woman in White 2 v. Basil I v. No 
Name 3 v. The Dead Secret, and other 
Tales 2v. Antonina 2 v. Armadale 
3V. The Moonstone 2 v. Man and 
Wife 3V. Poor Miss Finch 2 v. Miss 
or Mrs. ? i v. The New Magdalen 2 v. 
The Frozen Deep i v. The Law and the 
Lady 2 v. The Two Destinies i v. My 
Lady's Money, and Percy and the Prophet 
iv. The Haunted Hotel i v. The 
Fallen Leaves 2 v. Jezebel's Daughter 
a v. The Black Robe 2 v, Heart and 



Science 2 v. "I say No," 2 v. The Evil 
Genius 2 v. The Guilty River, and The 
Ghost's Touch i v. The Legacy of Cain 
2 v. Blind Love 2 v. 

"Cometh up as a Flower," Au- 
thor of: -vide Rhoda Brough- 
ton. 

Conrad, Joseph. 

An Outcast of the Islands 2 v. Tales 
of Unrest i v. 

Conway, Hugh (F. J. Fargus), 

f 1885. 

Called Back i v. Bound Together 
2v. Dark Days i v. A Family Affair 
2V. Living or Dead 2 v. 

Cooper, James Fenimore (Am.), 
t 1851. 

The Spy (with Portrait) i v. The Two 
Admirals i v. The Jack O'Lantern I v. 

Cooper, Mrs.: -vide Katharine 

Saunders. 

Corelli, Marie. 

Vendetta 1 2 v. Thelma 2 v. A 
Romance of Two Worlds 2 v. " Ardath " 
3v. Wormwood. A Drama of Paris 
2v. The Hired Baby, with other Stories 
and Social Sketches i v. Barabbas ; A 
Dream of the World's Tragedy 2 v. 
The Sorrows of Satan 2 v. The Mighty 
Atom i v. The Murder of Delicia i v. 
Ziska iv. Boy. A Sketch. 2 v. The 
Master-Christian 2v. "Temporal Power" 
2v. God's Good Man 2 v. Free 
Opinions i v. Treasure of Heaven (with 
Portrait) 2 v. 

Cotes, Mrs. Everard. 

Those Delightful Americans i v. Set in 
Authority i v. 

"County, the," Author of. 
The County i v. 

Craik, George Lillie, f 1866. 
A Manual of Knglish Literature and of 
the History of the English Language 2 v. 

Craik, Mrs. (Miss Dinah M. 

Mulock), f 1887. 

John Halifax, Gentleman 2 v. The 
Head of the Family 2 v. A Life for a 
Life 2V. A Woman's Thoughts about 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Women I v. Agatha's Husband I v. 
Romantic Tales I v. Domestic Stories 
iv. Mistress and Maid i v. The 
Ogilvies iv. Lord Erlistoun I v. 
Christian's Mistake i v. Bread upon 
the Waters i v. A Noble Life i v. 
Olive 2 v. Two Marriages i v. Studies 
from Life i v. Poems i v. The 
Woman's Kingdom 2 v. The Unkind 
Word, and other Stories 2 v. A Brave 
Lady 2 v. Hannah 2 v. Fair France 
iv. My Mother and I iv. The Little 
Lame Prince i v. Sermons out of Church 
i v. The Laurel-Bush ; Two little Tinkers 
iv. A Legacy 2 v. Young Mrs. Jardine 
zv. His Little Mother, and other Tales 
and Sketches i v. Plain Speaking i v. 
Miss Tommy i v. King Arthur i v. 

Craik, Georgiana M. (Mrs. May). 
Lost and Won i v. Faith Unwin's 
Ordeal i v. Leslie Tyrrell i v. Wini- 
fred's Wooing, etc. iv. Mildred I v. 
Esther Hill's Secret 2 v. Hero Tre- 
velyan i v. Without Kith or Kin 2 v. 
Only a Butterfly i v. Sylvia's Choice ; 
Theresa 2 v. Anne Warwick i v. 
Dorcas 2 v. Two Women 2 v. 

Craik, Georgiana M., & M. C. 

Stirling. 

Two Tales of Married Life (Hard to 
Hear, by Miss Craik ; A True Man, by M. 
C. Stirling) 2 v. 

Craven, Mrs. Augustus: -vide 
Lady Fullerton. 

Crawford, F. Marion (Am.). 

Mr. Isaacs I v. Doctor Claudius iv. 
To Leeward i v. A Roman Singer 
iv. An American Politician i v. 
Zoroaster i v. A Tale of a Lonely Parish 
2v. Saracinesca 2 v. Marzio's Crucifix 

1 v. PaulPatoff 2 v. With thelmmortals 
iv. Greifenstein 2 v. Sant' llano 
2V. A Cigarette - Maker's Romance 
iv. Khaled i v. The Witch of Prague 
2v. The Three Fates 2 v. Don Orsino 
2v. The Children of the King i v. 
Pietro Ghisleri 2 v. Marion Darche i v. 
Katharine Lauderdale 2 v. The Ral- 
stons 2V. Casa Braccio 2 v. Adam 
Johnstone's Son i v. Taquisara 2 v. 
A Rose of Yesterday i v. Corleone 

2 v. Via Crucis 2 v. In the Palace of 
the King 2 v. Marietta, a Maid of 
Venice 2 v. Cecilia 2 v. The Heart 
of Rome 2v. Whosoever Shall Offend... 
2v. Soprano 2 v, A Lady of Rome 2 v. 



Crockett, S. R. 

The Raiders 2 v. Cleg Kelly 2 v. 
The Grey Man 2 v. Love Idylls I v. 
The Dark o' the Moon 2 v. 

Croker, B. M. 

Peggy of the Bartons 2 v. The Happy 
Valley i v. The Old Cantonment, with 
Other Stories of India and Elsewhere i v. 
A Nine Days' Wonder i v. The 
Youngest Miss Mowbray i v. 

Cross, J. W.: vide George 

Eliot's Life. 
Cudlip, Mrs. Fender: -vide A. 

Thomas. 

Cummins, Miss (Am.), f 1866. 
The Lamplighter i v. Mabel Vaughan 
i v. El Fureidis iv. Haunte Jilearis iv. 

Gushing, Paul. 
The Blacksmith of Voe 2 v. 

"Daily News." 

War Correspondence, 1877, by Archi- 
bald Forbes and others 3 v. 

"Dark," Author of. 
Dark i v. 

Davis, Richard Harding (Am.). 
Gallegher , etc. i v. Van Bibber and 
Others I v. Ranson's Folly i v. 

De Foe, Daniel, j 1731. 
Robinson Crusoe i v. 

Deland, Margaret (Ani.). 
John Ward, Preacher i v. 

De la Pasture, Mrs. Henry, vide 
Pasture. 

"Democracy," Author of (Am.). 
Democracy i v. 

" Demos," Author of : vide George 

Gissing. 
"Diary and Notes," Author 

of: vide Author of "Horace 

Templeton." 

Dickens, Charles, f 1870. 

The Pickwick Club (with Portrait) 2 v. 
American Notes i v. Oliver Twist I v. 
Nicholas Nickleby 2 v. Sketches i v. 
Martin Chuzzlewit 2 v. A Christmas 
Carol; The Chimes; The Cricket on the 
Hearth i v. Master Humphrey's Clock 



Tauchniiz Edition. Complete List. 



(OldCuriosityShop; BarnabyRudge, etc.) 
3v. Pictures from Italy i v. Dombey 
and Son 3 v. David Copperfield 3 v. 
Bleak House 4 v. A Child's History of 
England (2 v. 8M. 2,70.) Hard Times 

1 v. Little Dorrit (with Illustrations) 4 v. 
The Battle of Life; The Haunted Man 
iv. A Tale of two Cities 2 v. Hunted 
Down ; The Uncommercial Traveller i v. 
Great Expectations 2 v. Christmas 
Stories, etc. I v. Our Mutual Friend 
(with Illustrations) 4 v. Somebody's 
Luggage ; Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings ; Mrs. 
Lirriper's Legacy i v. Doctor Mari- 
gold's Prescriptions; Mugby Junction i v. 
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (with 
Illustrations) 2 v. The Mudfog Papers, 
iv. The Letters of Charles Dickens, ed. 
by his Sister-in-law and his eldestDaughter 
4V. Vide also Household Words, Novels 
and Tales, and John Forster. 

Dickens, Charles, & Wilkie 

Collins. 

No Thoroughfare; The Late Miss Hol- 
lingford I v. 

Disraeli, Benjamin, Lord Bea- 
consfield, \ 1881. 

Coningsby I v. Sybil i v. Contarini 
Fleming (with Portrait) i v. Alroy iv. 
Tancred 2 v. Venetia 2 v. Vivian 
Grey 2 v. Henrietta Temple i v. 
Lothair 2 v. Endymion 2 v. 

Dixon, Ella Hepworth. 
The Story of a Modern Woman i v. One 
Doubtful Hour i v. 

Dixon, W. Hepworth, f 1879. 
Personal History of Lord Bacon i v. 
The Holy Land zv. NewAmerica2 v. 
Spiritual Wives 2 v. Her Majesty's 
Tower 4 v. Free Russia 2 v. History 
of two Queens 6 v. White Conquest 
2V. Diana, Lady Lyle 2 v. 

Dixon, Jr., Thomas, (Am.). 
The Leopard's Spots 2 v. 

Dougall, L. (Am.). 
Beggars All 2 v. 

Dowie, Menie Muriel. 
A Girl in the Karpathians I v. 

Doyle, Sir A. Conan. 
The Sign of Four I v. Micah Clarice 

2 v. The Captain of the Pole-Star, and 
other Tales i v. The White Company 
S v. A Study in Scarlet i v. The 



Great Shadow, and Beyond the City i v. 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 2 v. 

The Refugees 2 v. The Firm of 
Girdlestone 2 v. The Memoirs of Sher- 
lock Holmes 2v. Round the Red Lamp 
i v. The Stark Munro Letters i v. 
The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard i v. 
Rodney Stone 2v. Uncle Bernac I v. 
The Tragedy of the Korosko i v. A 
Duet iv. The Green Flag i v. The 
Great Boer War 2 v. The War in South 
Africa i v. The Hound of the Basker- 
villes iv. Adventures of Gerard i v. 
The Return of Sherlock Holmes 2 v. Sir 
Nigel 2 v. 

Drummond, Professor Henry, 

t I897- 

The Greatest Thing in the World ; Pas 
Vobiscum ; The Changed Life i v. 

Dufferin, the Earl of. 
Letters from High Latitudes i v. 

Duncan, Sara Jeannette: vide 
Mrs. Cotes. 

Dunton: -vide Th. Watts-Dun- 
ton. 

Earl, the, and the Doctor. 
South Sea Bubbles i v. 

Eastwick, Edward B., \ 1883. 
Autobiography of Lutfullah i v. 

Edgeworth, Maria, -vide Series 
for the Young, p. 29. 

Edwardes, Mrs. Annie. 
Archie Lovell 2 v. Steven Lawrence, 
Yeoman 2 v. Ought we to visit her? 2 v. 

A Vagabond Heroine i v. Leah : A 
Woman of Fashion 2 v. A Blue-Stock- 
ing i v. Jet : Her Face or Her Fortune ? 
iv. Vivian the Beauty i v. A Ball- 
room Repentance 2 v. A Girton Girl 
2v. A Playwright's Daughter, and 
Bertie Griffiths I v. Pearl-Powder i v. 
The Adventuress i v. 

Edwards, Amelia B., f 1892. 
Barbara's History 2 v. Miss Carew 
zv. Hand and Glove i v. Half a Mil- 
lion of Money 2 v. Debenham's Vow 
2V. -In the Days of my Youth 2 v. 
Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Val- 
leys iv. Monsieur Maurice i v. A 
Night on the Borders of the Black Forest 
i v. A Poetry- Book of Elder Poets 



10 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



iv. A Thousand Miles up the Nile 2 v. 
A Poetry-Book of Modern Poets i v. 
Lord Brackenbury 2 v. 

Edwards, M. Betham-: -vide 
Betharn. 

Edward, Eggleston (Am.). 
The Faith Doctor 2 v. 

Elbon, Barbara (Am.). 
Bethesda 2 v. 

Eliot, George (Miss Evans 

Mrs. Cross), f 1 8 80. 
Scenes of Clerical Life 2 v. Adam 
Bede 2 v. The Mill on the Floss 2 v. 
Silas Marner I v. Romola 2 v. Felix 
Holt 2v. Daniel Deronda 4 v. The 
Lifted Veil , and Brother Jacob i v. 
Impressions of Theophrastus Such I v. 
Essays and Leaves from a Note-Book 
iv. George Eliot's Life, edited by her 
Husband, J. W. Cross 4 v. 

"Elizabeth and her German 
Garden," Author of. 

Elizabeth and her German Garden IT. 
The Solitary Summer i v. The Bene- 
factress 2v. Princess Priscilla's Fort- 
night iv. The Adventures of Elizabeth 
in Riigen i v. Fraulein Schmidt and Mr. 
Anstruther i v. 

Elliot, Mrs. Frances, f 1898. 

Diary of an Idle Woman in Italy 2 v. 
Old Court Life in France 2 v. The 
Italians 2 v. The Diary of an Idle 
Woman in Sicily I v. Pictures of Old 
Rome iv. The Diary of an Idle Woman in 
Spain 2v. The Red Cardinal i v. 
The Story of Sophia i v. Diary of an 
Idle Woman in Constantinople i v. 
Old Court Life in Spain 2 v. Roman 
Gossip i v. 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 71882. 
Representative Men i v. 

" Englishwoman's Love-Let- 
ters, an," Author of. 
An Englishwoman's Love-Letters i v. 

Erroll, Henry. 
An Ugly Duckling i v. 

Esler, E. Rentoul. 
The Way they loved at Grimpat i v. 

"Essays and Reviews," the 

Authors of. 

Essays and Reviews. By various Authors 
i v. 



"Estelle Russell," Author of. 
Estelle Russell 2 v. 

Esterre- Keeling, Elsa D'. 

Three Sisters i v. A Laughing Philo- 
sopher iv. The Professor's Wooing i v. 
In Thoughtland and in Dreamland 
iv. Orchardscroft I v. Appassionata 
iv. Old Maids and Young 2 v. The 
Queen's Serf i v. 

" Euthanasia," Author of. 
Euthanasia i v. 

Ewing, Juliana Horatia, j 1885. 
Jackanapes ; The Story of a Short Life ; 
Daddy Darwin's Dovecot I v. A Flat 
Iron for a Farthing i v. The Brownies, 
and other Tales i v. 

"Expiated," Author of. 
Expiated 2 v. 

Fargus, F. J.: vide Hugh Con- 
way. 

Farrar, F. W. (Dean), f 1903. 
Darkness and Dawn 3 v. 

"Fate of Fenella, the," Authors 

of. 
The Fate of Fenella, by 24 Authors i v. 

Felkin, Alfred Laurence: vide 
E. T. Fowler. 

Felkin, Mrs.: vide E. T. Fowler. 

Fendall, Percy: vide F. C. 
Philips. 

Fenn, George Manville. 
The Parson o' Dumford 2 v. The 
Clerk of Portwick 2 v. 

Fielding, Henry, 7 1754. 

Tom Jones 2 v. 

Findlater, Mary and Jane: vide 
Kate Douglas Wiggin. 

Five Centuries 

of the English Language and Literature: 
John Wycliffe. Geoffrey Chaucer. 
Stephen Hawes. Sir Thomas More. 
Edmund Spenser. Ben Jonson. John 
Locke. Thomas Gray (vol. 500, published 
1860) i v. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Fleming, George (Am.). 
Kismet I v. Andromeda 2 v. 

Forbes, Archibald, j 1900. 
My Experiences of the War between 
France and Germany 2 v. Soldiering 
and Scribbling i v. Memories and 
Studies of War and Peace 2 v. Vide also 
" Daily News," War Correspondence. 

Forrest, R. E. 
Eight Days 2 v. 

Forrester, Mrs. 

Viva av. Rhona '2 v. Roy and Viola 
2v. My Lord and My Lady 2 v. I 
have Lived and Loved 2 v. June 2 v. 
Orunia Vanitas i v. Although he was a 
Lord, and other Tales i v. Corisande, 
and other Tales I v. Once Again 2 v. 
Of the World, Worldly i v. Dearest 
2V. The Light of other Days I v. 
Too Late Repented i v. 

Forster, John, f 1876. 

The Life of Charles Dickens (with Illus- 
trations and Portraits) 6 v. Life and 
Times of Oliver Goldsmith 2 v. 

Fothergill, Jessie. 

The First Violin 2 v. Probation z v. 
Made or Marred, and "One of Three" 
iv. Kith and Kin 2 v. Peril a v. 
Borderland 2 v. 

" Found Dead," Author of: vide 
James Payn. 

Fowler, Ellen Thorneycroft 

(Mrs. Alfred Laurence Felkin). 

A Double Thread 2 v. The Farring- 

dons 2v. Fuel of Fire i v. Place and 

Power 2V. In Subjection 2 v. 

Fowler, Ellen Thorneycroft 
(Mrs. A. L. Felkin) & Alfred 
Laurence Felkin. 
Kate of Kate Hall 2 v. 

Fox* Caroline, j- 1871. 
Memories of Old Friends from her Jour- 
nals and Letters, edited by Horace N. 
Pym 2 v. 

"Frank Fairlegh," Author of 

(F. E. Smedley), j 1864. 
Frank Fairlegh 2 v. 

Francis, M. E. 
The Duenna of a Genius i v. 



Frederic, Harold (Am.), f 1898. 
Illumination 2 v. March Hares I v. 

Freeman, Edward A., j 1892. 

The Growth of the English Constitution 
iv. Select Historical Essays I v. 
Sketches from French Travel i v. 

Froude, James Anthony, -j- 1894. 
Oceana i v. The Spanish Story of the 
Armada, and other Essays i v. 

Fullerton , Lady Georgiana, 

t 1885. 

Ellen Middleton i v. Grantley Manor 
2V. Lady Bird 2 v. Too Strange not 
to be True 2 v. Constance Sherwood 
2V. A Stormy Life 2 v. Mrs. Geralds' 
Niece 2 v. The Notary 'sDaughten v. 
The Lilies of the Valley, and The House of 
Penarvan i v. TheCountess de Bonneval 
iv. Rose Leblanc x v. Seven Stories 

1 v. The Life of Luisa de Carvajal i v. 

A Will and a Way, and The Hand- 
kerchief at the Window 2 v. Eliane 

2 v. (by Mrs. Augustus Craven, translated 
by Lady Fullerton). Lain entia i v. 

Gardiner, Marguerite: vide 
Lady Blessington. 

Gaskell, Mrs., t 1865. 
Mary Barton i v. Ruth 2 v. North 
and South I v. Lizzie Leigh, and other 
Tales iv. The Life of Charlotte Bronte 
2v. Lois the Witch, etc. i v. Sylvia's 
Lovers 2 v. A Dark Night's Work 
iv. Wives and Daughters 3 v. Cran- 
ford iv. Cousin Phillis, and other Tales 
i v. 

" Geraldine Hawthorne," Author 
of: -vide Author of " Miss 
Molly." 

Gerard, Dorothea (Madame Lon- 

gard de Longgarde). 
Lady Baby 2 v. Recha I v. Ortho- 
dox iv. The Wrong Man i v. A Spot- 
less Reputation i v. A Forgotten Sin i v. 

One Year i v. The Supreme Crime i v. 

The Blood-Tax I v. Holy Matrimony 
iv. The Eternal Woman i v. Made 
of Money i v. The Bridge of Life i v. 

The Three Essentials i v. The Im- 
probable Idyl iv. The Compromise 2 v. 

Itinerant Daughters i v. 

Gerard, E. (Emily deiaszowska). 
A Secret Mission I v. A Foreigner 2 v. 

The Extermination of Love 2 v. 



Tanchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Giberne, Agnes. 
The Curate's Home i v. 

Gissing, George, f 1903. 

Demos. A Story of English Socialism 2 v. 
New Grub Street 2 v. 

Gladstone, Rt Hon. W. E., 

| 1898. 

Rome and the Newest Fashions in Re- 
ligion iv. Bulgarian Horrors, and 
Russia in Turkistan, with other Tracts 
iv. The Hellenic Factor in the Eastern 
Problem, with other Tracts i v. 

Glyn, Elinor. 

The Visits of Elizabeth i v. The Re- 
flections of Ambrosine i v. The Vicissi- 
tudes of Evangeline i v. Beyond the 
Rocks iv. Three Weeks i v. 

Godfrey, Hal: -vide Charlotte 
O'Conor Eccles. 

Goldsmith, Oliver, j 1774. 
Select Works (with Portrait) i v. 

Goodman, Edward J. 

Too Curious i v. 

Gordon, Julien (Am.). 
A Diplomat's Diary i v. 

Gordon, Major -Gen. C. G., 

1-1885. 

His Journals at Kartoum. Introduction 
and Notes by A. E. Hake (with eighteen 
Illustrations) 2 v. 

Gore, Mrs., \ 1861. 

Castles in the Air I v. The Dean's 
Daughter 2 v. Progress and Prejudice 
2v. Mammon 2 v. A Life's Lessons 
2v. The Two Aristocracies 2 v. Heck- 
ington 2 v. 

Grand, Sarah. 

Our Manifold Nature i v. Babs the 
Impossible 2 v. 

Grant, Miss. 

Victor Lescar 2 v. The Sun-Maid 2 v. 
My Heart's in the Highlands 2 v. 
Artiste 2 v. Prince Hugo 2 v. Cara 
Roma 2 v. 

Gray, Maxwell. 

The Silence of Dean Maitland 2 v. Th< 
Reproach of Annesley 2 v. 



Grenville: Murray, E. C. (Trois- 
Etoiles), j 1 88 1. 

The Member for Paris 2 v. Young 
Brown 2 v. The Boudoir Cabal 3 v. 
French Pictures in English Chalk (First 
Series) 2 v. The Russians of To-day 
iv. French Pictures in English Chalk 
(Second Series) 2 v. Strange Tales 
i v. That Artful Vicar 2 v. Six Months 
in the Ranks i v. People I have met i v. 

Grimwood, Ethel St. Clair. 
My Three Years in Manipur (with Por- 
trait) i v. 

Grohman, W. A. Baillie. 
Tyrol and the Tyrolese i v. 

Gunter , Archibald Clavering 
(Am.), f 1907. 

Mr. Barnes of New York i v. 

Guthrie, F. Anstey : -vide Anstey. 

"Guy Livingstone," Author of 
(George Alfred Laurence), 
f 1876. 

Guy Livingstone I v. Sword and 
Gown iv. Barren Honour i v. 
Border and Bastillei v. Maurice Dering 
iv. Sans Merci 2 v. Breaking a 
Butterfly 2 v. Anteros 2 v. Ha- 
garene 2 v. 

Habberton, John (Am.). 
Helen's Babies & Other People's Chil- 
dren iv. The Bowsham Puzzle i v. 
One Tramp ; Mrs. Mayburn's Twins i v. 

Haggard, H. Rider. 
King Solomon's Mines i v. She 2V. 
Jess 2v. Allan Quatermain 2 v. The 
Witch's Head 2 v. Maiwa's Revenge 
iv. Mr. Meeson's Will I v. Colonel 
Quaritch, V. C. 2 v. Cleopatra 2 v. 
Allan's Wife i v. Beatrice 2 v. Dawn 
2 v. Montezuma's Daughter 2 v. The 
People of the Mist 2 v. J oan Haste 2 v. 
Heart of the World 2 v. The Wizard 
iv. Doctor Theme i v. Swallow 
2v. Black Heart and White Heart, 
and Elissa I v. Lysbeth 2 v. A Winter 
Pilgrimage 2 v. Pearl-Maiden 2 v. 
Stella Fregelius 2 v. The Brethren 2 v. 
Ayesha. The Return of ' She ' 2 v. 
The Way of the Spirit 2 v. Benita i v. 

Haggard, H. Rider, & Andrew 

Lang. 
The World's Desire 2 v. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Hake, A. E. : vide Gen. Gordon. 

Hall, Mrs. S. C., f 1881. 
Can Wrong be Right? i v. Marian 2 v. 

Hamerton, Philip Gilbert, 

1 18 94- 
Marmorne i v. French and English 2 v. 

Hardy, Miss Iza: -vide Author of 
"Not Easily Jealous." 

Hardy, Thomas. 

The Hand of Ethelberta 2 v. Far 
from the Madding Crowd 2 v. The Re- 
turn of the Native 2 v. The Trumpet- 
Major 2v. A Laodicean 2 v. Two on 
a Tower 2 v. A Pair of Blue Eyes 2 v. 

A Group of Noble Dames i v. Tess 
of the D'Urbervilles 2v. Life's Little 
Ironies i v. Jude the Obscure 2 v. 

Harland, Henry, j 1905. 
The Cardinal's Snuff -Box i v. The 
Lady Paramount i v. My Friend Prospero 
i v. 

Harraden, Beatrice. 

Ships that pass in the Night I v. In 
Varying Moods i v. Hilda Straiford, 
and The Remittance Man i v. The 
Fowler 2v. Katharine Frensham 2 v. 

The Scholar's Daughter i v. 

Harrison, Agnes. 
Martin's Vineyard i v. 

Harrison, Mrs. Mary StLeger: 
vide Lucas Malet. 

Harte, Bret (Am.), j 1902. 
Prose and Poetry (Tales of the Argo- 
nauts: The Luck of Roaring Camp; 
The Outcasts of Poker Flat , etc. 
Spanish and American Legends; Con- 
densed Novels; Civic and Character 
Sketches; Poems) 2 v. Idyls of the 
Foothills iv. Gabriel Conroy 2 v. 
Two Men of Sandy Bar iv. Thankful 
Blossom, and other Tales i v. The 
Story of a Mine r v. Drift from Two 
Shores i v. An Heiress of Red Dog, 
and other Sketches i v. The Twins of 
Table Mountain, and other Tales i v. 
Jeff Briggs's Love Story, and other Tales 
iv. Flip, and other Stories I v. On 
the Frontier i v. By Shore and Sedge 
i v. Maruja i v, Snow-bound at 



Eagle's, and Devil's Ford i v. Tho 
Crusade of the "Excelsior" I v. A 
Millionaire of Rough -and -Ready, and 
other Tales i v. Captain Jim's Friend, 
and the Argonauts of North Liberty I v. 

Cressy i v. The Heritage of Dedlow 
Marsh, and other Tales i v. A Waif of 
the Plains i v. A Ward of the Golden 
Gate iv. A Sappho of Green Springs, 
and other Tales i v. A First Family of 
Tasajara I v. Colonel Starbottle's Client, 
and some other People i v. Susy i v. 
Sally Dows, etc. i v. A Protegee of 
Jack Hamlin's, etc. i v. The Bell- 
Ringer of Angel's, etc. I v. Clarence 

1 v. In a Hollow of the Hills, and The 
Devotion of Enriquez i v. The A ncestors 
of Peter Atherly, etc. iv. Three Partners 
iv. Tales of Trail and Town I v. 
Stories in Light and Shadow i v. Mr. 
JackHamlin'sMediation ,and otherStories 
iv. From Sand-Hill to Pine I v. 
Under the Redwoods i v. On the Old 
Trail i v. Trent's Trust I v. 

Havelock, Sir Henry: -vide Rev. 

W. Brock. 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel (Am.), 

f 1864. 

The Scarlet Letter i v. Transforma- 
tion (The Marble Faun) 2 v. Passages 
from the English Note-Books of Nathaniel 
Hawthorne 2 v. 

Hearn, Lafcadio, -j- 1906. 
Kokoro iv. Kwaidan i v. 

Hector, Mrs.: -vide Mrs. Alex- 
ander. 

" Heir of Redclyffe, the," Author 
of: vide Charlotte M. Yonge. 

Helps, Sir Arthur, f 1875. 
Friends in Council 2 v. Ivan de Biron 

2 v. 

Hemans, Mrs. Felicia, j 1835. 
Select Poetical Works i v. 

Hewlett, Maurice. 

The Forest Lovers i v. Little Novels 
of Italy iv. The Life and Death of 
Richard Yea-and-Nay 2 v. New Can- 
terbury Tales iv. The Queen's Quair ; 
or, The Six Years' Tragedy 2 v. Fond 
Adventures i v. The Fool Errant 2 v. 

Hichens, Robert. 

Flames 2 v. The Slave 2 v. Felix 2 v. 

The Woman with the Fan 2 v. The 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Garden of Allah 2 v. The Black Spaniel, 
and Other Stories i v. The Call of the 
Blood 2 v. 

Hobart Pasha, Admiral, f 1886. 
Sketches from my Life i v. 

Hobbes, John Oliver (Mrs. 

Craigie), | 1906. 

The Gods , Some Mortals and Lord 
Wickenham i v. The Serious Wooing 
iv. The Dream and the Business 2 v. 

Hoey, Mrs. Cashel. 
A Golden Sorrow 2 v. Out of Court 
2 v. 

Holdsworth, Annie E. 
The Years that the Locust hath Eaten 
i v. The Gods Arrive i v. The Val- 
ley of the Great Shadow i v. Great Low- 
lands iv. A Garden of Spinsters i v. 

Holme Lee : vide Harriet Parr. 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell (Am.), 

t 1894. 

The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table 
iv. The Professor at the Breakfast- 
Table i v. The Poet at the Breakfast- 
Table i v. Over the Teacups i v. 

Hope, Anthony (Hawkins). 
Mr. Witt's Widow i v. A Change 
of Air iv. Half a Hero i v. The In- 
discretion of the Duchess i v. The God 
in the Car i v. The Chronicles of Count 
Antonio I v. Comedies of Courtship 
iv. The Heartof Princess Osra i v. 
Phroso 2v. Simon Dale 2 v. Rupert 
of Hentzau i v. The King's Mirror 
2V. Quisante i v. Tristram of Blent 2 v. 

The Intrusions of Peggy 2 v. Double 
Harness 2 v. A Servant of the Public 2 v. 

Sophy of Kravonia 2 v. 

Hopkins, Tighe. 

An Idler in Old France i v. The Man 
in the Iron Mask i v. The Dungeons 
of Old Paris i v. The Silent Gate i v. 

" Horace Templeton," Author of. 
Diary and Notes i v. 

Hornung, Ernest William. 
A Bride from the Bush i v. Under 
Two Skies i v. Tiny Luttrell i v. 
The Boss of Taroomba i v. My Lord 
Duke iv. Young Blood i v. Some 
Persons Unknown i v. The Amateur 
Cracksman i v. The Rogue's March i v. 

The Belle of Toorak i v. Peccavi i v. 

The Black Mask i v. The Shadow of 



the Rope i v. No Hero i v. Denis 
Dent iv. Irralie's Bushranger and The 
Unbidden Guest i v. Stingaree i v. 
A Thief in the Night I v. 

"Household Words." 
Conducted by Charles Dickens. 1851-56. 
36 v. NOVHI.S and TALES reprinted from 
Household Words by Charles Dickens. 
1856-59. ii v. 

Houstoun, Mrs.: vide" Recom- 
mended to Mercy." 
"How to be Happy though 

Married," Author of. 
How to be Happy though Married i v. 
Howard, Blanche Willis (Am.), 

t l8 99- 

One Summer iv. Aunt Serena i v. 
Guenn 2 v. Tony, the Maid, etc. iv. 
The Open Door 2 v. 

Howard, BlancheWillis.f 1899, 

& William Sharp, j 1905. 
A Fellowe and His Wife i v. 

Howells, William Dean (Am.). 
A Foregone Conclusion i v. The 
Lady of the Aroostook i v. A Modern 
Instance 2v. The Undiscovered Country 
i v. Venetian Life (with Portrait) I v. 

Italian Journeys i v. A Chance Ac- 
quaintance iv. Their Wedding Journey 
i v. A Fearful Responsibility, and 
Tonelli's Marriage i v. A Woman's 
Reason 2 v. Dr. Breen's Practice i v. 
The Rise of Silas Lapham 2 v. A Pair 
of Patient Lovers i v. Miss Bellard's In- 
spiration i v. 

Hughes, Thomas, f 1898. 

Tom Brown's School-Days I v. 

Hungerford, Mrs. (Mrs. Argles), 

t 1897. 
Molly Bawn 2 v. Mrs. Geoffrey 2 v. 

Faith and Unfaith 2 v. Portia 2 v. 
Loys, Lord Berresford, and other Tales 
iv. Her First Appearance, and other 
Tales iv. Phyllis 2 v. Rossmoyne 
2v. Doris 2v. A Maiden all Forlorn, 
etc. iv. A Passive Crime, and other 
Stories i v. Green Pleasure and Grey 
Grief 2v. A Mental Struggle 2 v. 
Her Week's Amusement, and Ugly 
Barrington I v. Lady Branksmere 2 v. 

Lady Valworth's Diamonds i v. A 
Modern Circe 2 v. Marvel 2 v. The 



Tatichnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Hon. Airs. Vereker i v. Under-Cur- 
rents 2 v. In Durance Vile, etc. I v. A 
Troublesome Girl, and other Stories I v. 
A Life's Remorse 2 v. A Born Coquette 
2v. The Duchess i v. Lady Verner's 
Flight iv. A Conquering Heroine, 
and " When in Doubt" i v. Nora 
Creina 2 v. A Mad Prank, and other 
Stories i v. The Hoyden 2 v. The 
Red House Mystery i v. An Unsatis- 
factory Lover i v. Peter's Wife 2 v. 
The Three Graces i v. A Tug of War 
iv. The Professor's Experiment 2 v. 
A Point of Conscience 2 v. A Lonely 
Girl i v. Lovicc I v. The Coming of 
Chloe i v. 

Hunt, Mrs.: vide Averil Beau- 
mont. 

Hunt, Violet 
The Human Interest i v. 

Ingelow, Jean, f 1897. 
Off the Skelligs 3 v. Poems zv. 
Fated to be Free 2 v. Sarah de 
Berenger 2 v. Don John 2 v. 

Inglis, the Hon. Lady. 
The Siege of Lucknow i v. 

Ingram, John H.: vide E. A. 
Poe. 

Iota: -vide Mrs. Mannington 
Caffyn. 

Irving, Washington (Am.), 

t 1859. 

The Sketch Book (with Portrait) I v. 
The Life of Mahomet I v. Lives of the 
Successors of Mahomet i v. Oliver Gold- 
smith iv. Chronicles of Wolfert's Roost 
iv. Life of George Washington 5 v. 

Jackson, Mrs. Helen (H. H.) 

(Am.), t 1885. 
Ramona 2 v. 

Jacobs, W. W. 

Many Cargoes i v. The Skipper's 
Wooing, and The Brown Man's Servant 
i v. Sea Urchins i v. A Master of 
Craft iv. Light Freights i v. At Sun- 
wich Port iv. The Lady of the Barge i v. 

Odd Craft i v. Dialstone Lane i v. 

Captains All I v. Short Cruises i v. 

James, Charles T. C. 
Holy Wedlock i v. 



James, G. P. R., f 1860. 
Morley Ernstein (with Portrait) i v. 
Forest Days I v. The False Heir i v. 
Arabella Stuart I v. Rose d'Albret 

1 v. Arrah Neil I v. Agincourt i v. 
The Smuggler i v. The Step-Mother 
2v. Beauchamp i v. Heidelberg 
iv. The Gipsy i v. The Castle of 
Ehrenstein I v. Darnley i v. Russell 

2 v. The Convict 2 v. Sir Theodore 
Broughton 2 v. 

James, Henry (Am.). 
The American 2 v. The Europeans 
iv. Daisy Miller ; An International 
Episode ; Four Meetings i v. Roderick 
Hudson 2V. The Madonna of the 
Future, etc. i v. Eugene Pickering, 
etc. iv. Confidence i v. Washing- 
ton Square, etc. 2 v. The Portrait of a 
Lady 3 v. Foreign Parts I v. French 
Poets and Novelists i v. The Siege of 
London; The Point of View; A Pas- 
sionate Pilgrim iv. Portraits of Places 
iv. A Little Tour in France i v. 

Jeaffreson, J. Cordy. 
A Book about Doctors 2 v. A 
Woman in spite of Herself 2 v. The 
Real Lord Byron 3 v. 

Jenkin, Mrs. Charles, f 1885. 

"Who Breaks Pays" i v. Skir- 
mishing iv. Once and Again z v. 
Two French Marriages 2 v. Within an 
Ace iv. Jupiter's Daughters i v. 

Jenkins, Edward. 
Ginx's Baby, his Birth and other Mis- 
fortunes ; Lord Bantam 2 v. 

"Jennie of 'The Prince's,'" 
Author of: vide B. H. Buxton. 

Jerome, K. Jerome. 

The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow 
iv. Diary of a Pilgrimage, and Six 
Essays i v. Novel Notes i v. Sketches 
in Lavender, Blue and Green I v. 
The Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow 
iv. Three Men on the Bummel i v. 
Paul Kelver 2 v. Tea-Table Talk i v. 
Tommy and Co. i v. Idle Ideas in 1905 
i v. The Passing of the Third Floor Back 

1 v. 

Jerrold, Douglas, f 1857. 
History of St. Giles and St. James 

2 v. Men of Character 2 v. 

"John Halifax, Gentleman," 
Author of: vide Mrs. Craik. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Johnny Ludlow: -vide Mrs. 
Henry Wood. 

Johnson, Samuel, -j- 1784. 
Lives of the English Poets 2 v. 

Jolly, Emily. 

Colonel Dacre i v. 

"Joshua Davidson," Author of: 
vide Mrs. E. Lynn Linton. 

Kavanagh, Miss Julia, f 1877. 
Nathalie 2 v. Daisy Burns 2 v. 
Grace Lee 2 v. Rachel Gray i v. 
Adele 3 v. A Summer and Winter in 
the Two Sicilies 2 v. Seven Years, and 
other Tales 2 v. French Women of 
Letters i v. English Women of Letters 
iv. Queen Mab 2 v. Beatrice 2 v. 
Sybil's Second Love 2 v. Dora 2 v. 
Silvia 2v. Bessie 2 v. John Dorrien 
3v. Two Lilies 2 v. Forget-me-nots 
2v. Vide also Series for the Young, 
p. 29. 

Keary, Annie, f 1879. 
Oldbury 2 v. Castle Daly 2 v. 

Keeling, D'Esterre-: -vide Es- 
terre. 

Kempis, Thomas a. 
The Imitation of Christ. Translated 
from the Latin by W. Benham, B.D. I v. 

Kimball, Richard B. (Am.), f 
Saint Leger i v. Romance of Student 
Life Abroad i v. Undercurrents i v. 
Was he Successful? iv. To-Day in New 
York i v. 

Kinglake, Alexander William, 

f 1891. 

Eothen i v. The Invasion of the 
Crimea 14 v. 

Kingsley, Charles, y 1875. 
Yeast iv. Westward ho ! 2 v. Two 
Years ago 2 v. Hypatia 2 v. Alton 
Locke iv. Herewafd the Wake 2 v. 
At Last 2v. His Letters and Memories 
of his Life, edited by his Wife 2 v. 

Kingsley, Henry, -j- 1876. 
Ravenshoe 2 v. Austin Elliot i v. 
Geoffry Hamlyn 2 v. The Hillyars and 
the Burtons 2 v. Leighton Court i v. 
Valentin i v. Oakshott Castle i v. 



Reginald Hetherege 2 v. The Grange 
Garden 2 v. 

Kinross, Albert 
An Opera and Lady Grasmere i v. 

Kipling, Rudyard. 
Plain Tales from the Hills I v. The 
Second Jungle Book i v. The Seven 
Seas iv. "Captains Courageous" 
iv. The Day's Work i v. A Fleet 
in Being i v. Stalky & Co. x v. From 
Sea to Sea 2 v. The City of Dreadful 
Night iv. Kim i v. Just So Stories i v. 
The Five Nations i v. Traffics and 
Discoveries i v. Puck of Pook's Hill i v. 

Laffan, May. 

Flitters, Tatters, and the Counsellor, 
etc. i v. 

Lamb, Charles, f 1834. 
The Essays of Elia and Eliana i v. 

Lang, Andrew: vide H. Rider 
Haggard. 

Langdon, Mary (Am.). 
Ida May i v. 

"Last of the Cavaliers, the," 
Author of (Miss Piddington). 
The Last of the Cavaliers 2 v. The 
Gain of a Loss 2 v. 

isaszowska, M me de: "vide E. 
Gerard. 

Laurence, George Alfred, 
Author of: -vide " Guy Living- 
stone." 

Lawless, the Hon. Emily. 

Hurrish i v. 

"Leaves from the Journal of 
our Life in the Highlands:" 
vide Victoria R. I. 

Lee, Holme, \ 1 900 : -vide Harriet 
Parr. 

Lee, Vernon. 

Popejacynth, etc. i v. Genius Loci, and 
The Enchanted Woods i v. Hortus 
Vitae, and Limbo i v. 

Le Fanu, J. S., f 1873. 

Uncle Silas 2 v. Guy Deverell 2 v. 

Lemon, Mark, -j- 1870. 
Wait for the End 2 v. Loved at Last 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



2 v. Falkner Lyle 2 v. Leyton Hall, 
and other Tales 2 v. Golden Fetters 
2 v. 

"Letters of Her Mother to 
Elizabeth, the," Author of: 
vide W. R. H. Trowbridge. 

Lever, Charles, f 1872. 
The O'Donoghue i v. The Knight of 
Gwynne 3 v. Arthur O'Leary 2 v. 
Harry Lorrequer 2 v. Charles O'Mal- 
ley 3V. Tom Burke of " Ours" 3v. 
Jack Hinton 2 v. The Daltons 4 v. 
The Dodd Family Abroad 3 v. The 
Martins of Cro' Martin 3 v. The For- 
tunes of Glencore 2 v. Roland Cashel 
3v. Davenport Dunn 3 v. Confessions 
of Con Cregan 2 v. One of Them 2 v. 
Maurice Tiernay 2 v. Sir Jasper Carew 
2v. Barrington 2 v. A Day's Ride 
2V. Luttrell of Arran 2 v. Tony Butler 
2V. Sir Brook Fossbrooke 2 v. The 
Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly 2 v. A 
Rent in a Cloud i v. That Boy of Nor- 
cott's iv. St. Patrick's Eve ; Paul 
Gosslett's Confessions i v. Lord Kil- 
gobbin 2 v. 

Lev ett- Yeats, S. 

The Honour of Savelli i v. The 
Chevalier d'Auriac i v. The Traitor's 
Way iv. The Lord Protector i v. 
Orrain i v. 

Lewes, G. H., f 1878. 
Ranthorpe i v. Tha Physiology 01 
Common Life 2 v. On Actors and the 
Art of Acting i v. 

Linton, Mrs. E. Lynn, f 1898. 
The true History of Joshua Davidson 
iv. Patricia Kemball 2 v. The 
Atonement of Learn Dundas 2 v. The 
World well Lost 2 v. Under which 
Lord? 2v. With a Silken Thread, and 
other Stories i v. Todhunters' at Loan- 
in" Head, and other Stories i v. "My 
Love!" 2v. The Girl of the Period, 
and other Social Essays i v. lone 2 v. 

Lockhart, Laurence W. M., 

f 1882. 
Mine is Thine 2 v. 

Loftus, Lord Augustus. 
Diplomatic Reminiscences 1837 - 1862 
(with Portrait) 2 v. 

Longard, M me de: vide D. 
Gerard. 



Longfellow, Henry Wads- 
worth (Am.), f 1882. 
Poetical Works (with Portrait) 3 v. 
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri 
3v. The New-England Tragedies i v. 

The Divine Tragedy i v. Flower-de- 
Luce, and Three Books of Song i v. 
The Masque of Pandora, and other Poems 
i v. 

Lonsdale, Margaret 

Sister Dora (with a Portrait of Sister 
Dora) i v. 

Lorimer, George Horace (Am.). 
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to his 
Son iv. Old Gorgon Graham i v. 

"Lost Battle, a," Author of. 
A Lost Battle 2 v. 

Lubbock, Sir John (Lord Ave- 

bury). 

The Pleasures of Life i v. The Beau- 
ties of Nature (with Illustrations) I v. 
The Use of Life i v. Scenery of Switzer- 
land (with Illustrations) 2 v. Essays and 
Addresses 1900-1903 i v. 

"Lutfullah": vide Eastwick. 

Lyall, Edna, f 1903. 
We Two 2V. Donovan 2 v. In 
the Golden Days 2 v. Knight-Errant 
2v. Won by Waiting 2 v. Wayfaring 
Men 2v. Hope the Hermit 2 v. 
Doreen 2 v. In Spite of All 2 v. The 
Hinderers i v. 

Lytton, Lord: vide E. Bulwer. 

Lytton, Robert Lord (Owen 

Meredith), \ 1891. 
Poems 2v. Fables in Song 2 v. 

Maartens, Maarten. 
The Sin of Joost Avelingh i v. An 
Old Maid's Love 2 v. God's Fool 2 v. 

The Greater Glory 2 v. My Lady 
Nobody 2 v. Her Memory i v. Some 
Women I have known i v. My Poor 
Relations 2 v. Dorothea 2 v. The 
Healers 2 v. The Woman's Victory, and 
Other Stories 2 v. The New Religion 2 v. 

MAulay, Allan: vide Kate 

Douglas Wiggin. 
Macaulay, Lord, Thomas 

Babington, \ 1859. 
History of England (with Portrait) 10 v. 

Critical and Historical Essays 5 v. 



18 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Lays of Ancient Romo I v. Speeches 
2 v. Biographical Essays I v. Wil- 
liam Pitt, Atterbury i v. (Sec also 
Trevelyan). 

MCarthy, Justin. 
The Waterdale Neighbours 2 v. 
Dear Lady Disdain 2 v. Miss Misan- 
thrope 2 v. A History of our own Times 
5v. Donna Quixote -2 v. A short 
History of our own Times 2 v. A 
History of the Four Georges vols. i & 
2. A History of our own Times vols. 
6 & 7 (supplemental) . A History of the 
Four Georges and of William IV. Vols. 3, 
4 & 5 (supplemental). 

Mac Donald, George, j 1905. 
Alec Forbes of Howglen 2 v. Annals 
of a Quiet Neighbourhood 2 v. David 
Elginbrod 2 v. The Vicar's Daughter 
2V. Malcolm 2 v. St. George and 
St. Michael 2 v. The Marquis of 
Lossie 2v. Sir Gibbie 2 v. Mary 
Marston 2 v. The Gifts of the Child 
Christ, and other Tales i v. The Prin- 
cess and Curdie i v. 

Mackarness, Mrs., ( 1881. 
Sunbeam Stories i v. A Peerless 
Wife 2v. A Mingled Yarn 2 v. 

Mackay, Eric, f 1898. 
Love Letters of a Violinist, and other 
Poems i v. 

Me Knight, Charles (Am.). 
Old Fort Duquesne 2 v. 

Maclaren, Ian. 

Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush i v. 
The Days of Auld Langsyne i v. His 
Majesty Baby I v. 

Macleod, Fiona, -\ 1905. 
Wind and Wave i v. The Sunset of Old 
Tales i v. 

Macleod, Norman, f 1872. 
The Old Lieutenant and his Son i v. 

Macpherson, James, { 1796: 
vide Ossian. 

Macquoid, Mrs. 

Patty 2v. Miriam's Marriage 2 v. 
Pictures across the Channel 2 v. Too 
Soon iv. My Story 2 v. Diane 2 v. 
Beside the River 2 v. A Faithful 
Lover 2 v. 



"Mademoiselle Mori," Author 

of (Miss Roberts). 
Mademoiselle Mori 2 v. Denise i v. 
Madame Fontenoy i v. On the 
Edge of the Storm i v. The Atelier du 
Lys 2V. In the Olden Time 2 v. 

Mahon, Lord: -vide Stanhope. 
Maine, E. S. 
Scarscliff Rocks 2 v. 

Malet, Sir Edward, G.C.B., 

G.C.M.G. 
Shifting Scenes i v. 

Malet, Lucas (Mrs. Mary St. 

Leger Harrison). 

Colonel Enderby's Wife 2 v. The 
History of Sir Richard Calmady 3 v. The 
Far Horizon 2 v. 

Malmesbury, the Earl of, G.C.B. 

Memoirs of an Ex-Minister 3 v. 

Mann, Mary E. 
A Winter's Tale i v. The Cedar 
Star i v. ' 

Mansfield, Robert Blachford. 
The Log of the Water Lily i v. 

Mark Twain : vide Twain. 

"Marmorne," Author of: vide 
P. G. Hamerton. 

Marryat, Capt, f 1848. 
Jacob Faithful (with Portrait) i v. 
Percival Keene i v. Peter Simple i v. 
Japhet in Search of a Father i v. 
Monsieur Violet i v. The Settlers in 
Canada i v. The Mission i v. The 
Privateer's-Man i v. The Children ot 
the New-Forest i v. Valerie i v. 
Mr. Midshipman Easy i v. The King's 
Own i v. 

Marryat, Florence, f 1899. 

Love's Conflict 2 v. For Ever and 
Ever 2V. The Confessions of Gerald 
Estcourt 2V. Nelly Brooke 2 v. 
Veronique 2 v. Petronel 2 v. Her 
Lord and Master 2 v. The Prey of the 
Gods iv. Life and Letters of Captain 
Marryat i v. Mad Dumaresq 2 v. 
No Intentions 2 v. Fighting the Air 
2V. A Star and a Heart ; An Utter Im- 
possibility iv. The Poison of Asps, 
and other Stories i v. A Lucky Disap- 
pointment, and other Stories i v. " My 
own Child" 2 v. Her Father's Name 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



2 v. A Harvest of Wild Oats 2 v. 
A Little Stepson i v. Written in Fire 
2v. Her World against a Lie 2 v. 
A Broken Blossom 2 v. The Root of 
all Evil 2 v. The Fair-haired Alda 2 v. 
With Cupid's Eyes 2 v. My Sister the 
Actress 2 v. Fhyllida 2 v. How they 
loved Him 2 v. Facing the Footlights 
(with Portrait) 2 v. A Moment of Mad- 
ness, and other Stories i v. The Ghost 
of Charlotte Cray, and other Stories 
iv. Peeress and Player 2 v. Under 
the Lilies and Roses 2 v. The Heart 
of Jane Warner 2 v. The Heir Pre- 
sumptive 2v. The Master Passion 2 v. 

Spiders of Society 2 v. Driven to Bay 
2V. A Daughter of the Tropics 2 v. 
Gentleman and Courtier 2 v. On Cir- 
cumstantial Evidence 2 v. Mount Eden. 
A Romance 2 v. Blindfold 2 v. A 
Scarlet Sin i v. A Bankrupt Heart 2 v. 

The Spirit World i v. The Beautiful 
Soul i v. At Heart a Rake 2 v. 
The Strange Transfiguration of Hannah 
Stubbs iv. The Dream that Stayed 
2V. A Passing Madness i v. The 
Blood of the Vampire i v. A Soul on 
Fire i v. Iris the Avenger i v. 

Marsh, Mrs. Anne (Caldwell), 



Ravenscliffe 2 v. Emilia Wyndham 
2V. Castle Avon 2 v. Aubrey 2 v. 
The Heiress of Haughton 2 v. Evelyn 
Marston 2 v. The Rose of Ashurst 2 v. 

Marshall, Mrs. Emma, | 1899. 
Mrs. Mainwaring's Journal i v. 
Bcnvenuta I v. Lady Alice i v. 
Dayspring I v. Life's Aftermath i v. 
In the East Country i v. No. XIII; or, 
The Story of the Lost Vestal I v. In 
Four Reigns I v. On the Banks of the 
Ouse iv. In the City of Flowers i v. 
Alma iv. Under Salisbury Spire i v. 

The End Crowns All i v. Winchester 
Meads iv. Eventide Light i v. 
Winifrede's Journal i v. Bristol Bells 
iv. In the Service of Rachel Lady 
Russell iv. A Lily among Thorns i v. 

Penshurst Castle i v. Kensington 
Palace i v. The White King's Daughter 
iv. The Master of the Musicians i v. 

An Escape from the Tower i v. A 
Haunt of Ancient Peace I v. Castle 
Meadow i v. In the Choir of West- 
minster Abbey I v. The Young Queen 
of Hearts i v. Under the Dome of St. 
Paul's iv. The Parson's Daughter 
i v. 



Mason, A. E. W. 
The Four Feathers 2 v. Miranda of 
the Balcony i v. The Courtship of Mor- 
rice Buckler 2 v. The Truants 2 v. 
The Watchers i v. Running Water i v. 

Mathers, Helen (Mrs. Henry 
Reeves). 

"Cherry Ripe!" 2 v. "Land o' the 
Leal " iv. My Lady Green Sleeves 2 v. 
As he comes up the Stair, etc. i v. 
Sam's Sweetheart 2 v. Eyre's Acquittal 
2V. Found Out iv. Murder or Man- 
slaughter? iv. The Fashion of this 
World (80 Pf.) Blind Justice, and "Who, 
being dead, yet Speaketh " i v. What 
the Glass Told, and A Study of a Woman 
iv. Bam Wildfire 2 v. Becky 2 v. 
Cinders i v. " Honey" i v. Griff of 
Griffithscourt i v. The New Lady Teazle, 
and Other Stories and Essays i v. The 
Ferryman i v. Tally Ho ! 2 v. 

Maurice, Colonel. 
The Balance of Military Power in 
Europe i v. 

Maurier, George du, f 1896. 
Trilby 2V. The Martian 2 v. 

Maxwell, Mrs.: v.MissBraddon. 

Maxwell, W. B. 

The Ragged Messenger 2 v. TheGuarded 
Flame 2 v. 

"Mehalah," Author of: -vide 
Baring-Gould. 

Melville, George J. Whyte, 

f 1878. 

Kate Coventry i v. Holmby House 
2 v. Digby Grand I v. Good for No- 
thing 2V. The Queen's Maries 2 v. 
The Gladiators 2 v. The Brookes of 
Bridlemere 2 v. Cerise 2 v. The 
Interpreter 2 v. The White Rose 2 v. 
M. or N. I v. Contraband i v. 
Sarchedon 2 v. Unclejohn 2 v. 
Katerfelto I v. Sister Louise i v. 
Rosine I v. Roys' Wife 2 v. Black 
but Comely 2 v. Riding Recollections iv. 

Memorial Volumes: -vide Five 
Centuries (vol. 500) ; The New 
Testament (vol. 1000); Henry 
Morley (vol. 2000). 



2O 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Meredith, George. 
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel 2 v. 
Beauchamp's Career 2 v. The Tragic 
Comedians i v. Lord Orraont and his 
Aminta 2 v. The Amazing Marriage 

2 V. 

Meredith, Owen: -vide Robert 
Lord Lytton. 

Merrick, Leonard. 
The Man who was good i v. This 
Stage of Fools i v. Cynthia i v. One 
Man's View i v. The Actor-Manager 
iv. The Worldlings i v. When Love 
flics out o' the Window IV. Conrad in 
Quest of His Youth i v. The Quaint 
Companions i v. Whispers about Women 
i v. 

Merriman, Henry Seton.f 1903. 

Young Mistley i v. Prisoners and 
Captives 2 v. From One Generation to 
Another i v. With Edged Tools 2 v. 
The Sowers 2 v. Flotsam i v. In 
Kedar's Tents i v. Roden's Corner 
iv. The Isle of Unrest iv. The Velvet 
Glove i v. The Vultures i v. Barlasch 
of the Guard i v. Tomaso's Fortune, and 
Other Stories i v. The Last Hope 2 v. 

Merriman, H. S., & S. G. Tallen- 

tyre. 
The Money-Spinner, etc. i v. 

Milne, James. 
The Epistles of Atkins i v. 

Milton, John, j 1674. 
Poetical Works i v. 

"Molly, Miss," Author of. 
Gcraldine Hawthorne I v. 

"Molly Bawn," Author of: vide 

Mrs. Hungerford. 
Montgomery, Florence. 

Misunderstood I v. Thrown To- 
gether 2V. Thwarted i v. Wild Mike 
i v. Seaforth 2 v. The Blue Veil 
iv. Transformed i v. The Fisher- 
man's Daughter , etc. i v. Colonel 
Norton 2 v. Prejudged i v. An Un- 
shared Secret, and Other Tales i v. 

Moore, Frank Frankfort 
"I Forbid the Banns" 2 v. A Gray 
Eye or So 2 v. One Fair Daughter 
2v. They Call it Love 2 v. The 
Jessamy Bride i v. The Millionaires i v. 
NcllGwyn Comedian t v. A Damsel 



or Two iv. Castle Omeragh 2 v. Ship- 
mates in Sunshine 2 v. The Original 
Woman i v. The White Causeway i v. 

The Artful Miss Dill i v. The Mar- 
riage Lease i v. 

Moore, George. 

Celibates i v. Evelyn Innes 2 v. 
Sister Teresa 2 v. The Unfilled Field i v. 

Confessions of a Young Man i v. The 
Lake i v. Memoirs of my Dead Life i v. 

Moore, Thomas, f 1852. 

Poetical Works (with Portrait) 5 v. 

Morgan, Lady, j 1859. 
Memoirs 3 v. 

Morley, Henry, j- 1894. 
Of English Literature in the Reign of 
Victoria. With Facsimiles of the Signa- 
tures of Authors in the Tauchnitz Edition 
(v. 2000, published 1881) I v. 

Morris, William. 

A Selection from his Poems. Edited 
with a Memoir by F. HuefTer i v. 

Morrison, Arthur. 

Tales of Mean Streets i v. A Child 
of the Jago i v. To London Town i v. 

Cunning Murrell i v. The Hole in the 
Wall i v. The Green Eye of Goona i v. 

Divers Vanities i v. 
Muirhead, James Fullarton. 

The Land of Contrasts i v. 

Mulock, Miss: -vide Mrs. Craik. 

Murray, David Christie. 
Rainbow Gold 2 v. 

Murray, Grenville : v. Grenville. 

"My Little Lady," Author of: 

vide E. Frances Poynter. 

New Testament, the. 
The Authorised English Version , with 
Introduction and Various Readings from 
the three most celebrated Manuscripts of 
the Original Text, by Constantino Tischcn- 
dorf (vol. 1000, published 1869) i v. 

Newby, Mrs. C J. 
Common Sense 2 v. 

Newman, Dr. J. H. (Cardinal 

Newman), j 1890. 
Callista i v. 

Nicholls, Mrs. : z//</<; Currer Bell. 
"Nina Balatka," Author of: 
vide Anthony Trollope. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



21 



"No Church," Author of (F. 

Robinson). 
No Church 2 v. Owen : a Waif 2 v. 

Noel, Lady Augusta. 
From Generation to Generation i v. 
Hithersea Mere 2 v. 

N orris, Frank (Am.), f 1902. 
The Octopus 2 v. The Pit 2 v. 

N orris, W. E. 

My Friend Jim i v. A Bachelor's 
Blunder 2 v. Major and Minor 2 v. 
The Rogue 2 v. Miss Shafto 2 v. Mrs. 
Fenton I v. Misadventure 2 v. Saint 
Ann's iv. A Victim of Good Luck 
iv. The Dancer in Yellow i v. 
Clarissa Furiosa 2 v. Marietta's Mar- 
riage 2v. The Fight for the Crown 
iv. The Widower i v. Giles Ingilby i v. 

The Flower of the Flock i v. His 
Own Father i v. The Credit of the County 
iv. Lord Leonard the Luckless i v. 
Nature's Comedian i v. Nigel's Vo- 
cation iv. Barbara of Beltana I v. 
Harry and Ursula i v. 

Norton, Hon. Mrs., f 1877. 
Stuart of Dunleath 2 v. Lost and 
Saved 2v. Old Sir Douglas 2 v. 
" Not Easily Jealous," Author of 

(Miss Iza Hardy). 
Not Easily Jealous 2 v. 

"Novels and Tales": -vide 

" Household Words." 
O'Conor Eccles, Charlotte (Hal 

Godfrey). 
The Rejuvenation of Miss Semaphore i v. 

The Matrimonial Lottery i v. 
Oldmeadow, Ernest 

Susan i v. 

Oliphant, Laurence, j 1888. 
Altiora Peto 2 v. Masollam 2 v. 

Oliphant, Mrs., j 1897. 
The Last of the Mortimers 2 v. Mrs. 
Margaret Maitland i v. Agnes 2 v. 
Madonna Mary 2 v. The Minister's 
Wife 2V. The Rector and the Doctor's 
Family i v. Salem Chapel 2 v. The 
Perpetual Curate 2 v. Miss Marjori- 
banks 2 v. Ombra 2 v. Memoir of 
Count de Montalembert 2 v. May 2 v. 
Innocent 2 v. For Love and Life 2v. 
A Rose in June i v. The Story of 
Valentine and his Brother 2 v. White- 
ladies zv. The Curate in Charge I v. 
Phoebe, Junior 2 v. Mrs. Arthur 2 v. 



Carita 2 v. Young Musgrave 3 v. 
The Primrose Path 2 v. Within the 
Precincts 3 v. The Greatest Heiress in 
England 2 v. He that will not when he 
may 2 v. Harry Joscelyn 2 v. In 
Trust 2v. It was a Lover and bis Lass 
3v. The Ladies Lindores 3 v. Hester 
3v. The Wizard's Son 3 v. A 
Country Gentleman and his Family 2 v. 
Neighbours ontheGreen i v. TheDuke's 
Daughter i v. The Fugitives i v. 
Kirsteen 2 v. Life of Laurence Oliphant 
and of Alice Oliphant, hisWife 2 v. The 
Little Pilgrim in the Unseen i v. The 
Heir Presumptive and the Heir Apparent 
2v. The Sorceress 2 v. Sir Robert's 
Fortune 2 v. The Ways of Life i v. 
Old Mr. Tredgold 2 v. 

"One who has kept a Diary": 
vide George W. E. Russell. 

Osbourne, Lloyd (Am.). 
Baby Bullet i v. Wild Justice i v. The 
Motormaniacs i v. 

Ossian. 

The Poems of Ossian. Translated by 
James Macpherson I v. 

Ouida. 

Idalia 2v. Tricotrin 2v. Puck 2v. 
Chandos 2 v. Strathmore 2 v. Under 
two Flags 2v. Folle-Farine 2 v. A 
Leaf in the Storm; A Dog of Flanders; 
A Branch of Lilac; A Provence Rose 
iv. Cecil Castlemaine's Gage, and other 
Novelettes i v. Madame la Marquise, 
and other Novelettes i v. Pascarel 2 v. 

Held in Bondage 2 v. Two little 
Wooden Shoes i v. Signa(with Portrait) 
3v. InaWinterCity iv. Ariadne 2 v. 
Friendship 2 v. Moths 3 v. Pipistrello, 
and other Stories i v. A Village Com- 
mune 2V. In Maremma 3 v. Bimbi 
iv. Wanda 3 v. Frescoes and other 
Stories iv. Princess Napraxine 3 v. 
Othmar3v. ARainyJune(6oPf.). Don 
Gesualdo (6oPf.). A House Party I v. 
Guilderoy 2 v. Syrlin 3 v. Ruffino, and 
other Stories i v. Santa Barbara, etc. 
iv. Two Offenders i v. The Silver 
Christ, etc. iv. Toxin, and other Papers 
iv. Le Selve, and Tonia i v. The 
Massarenes 2 v. An Altruist, and Four 
Essays i v. La Strega, and other 
Stories iv. The Waters of Edera i v. 

Street Dust, and Other Stories i v. 
Critical Studies i v. 

"Outcasts, the," Author of: vide 
"Roy Tellet" 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Parker, Sir Gilbert 
The Battle of the Strong 2 v. Donovan 
Pasha, and Some People of Egypt i v. 
The Seats of the Mighty 2 v. 

Parr, Harriet (Holme Lee), 

f 1900. 

Basil Godfrey's Caprice 2 v. For 
Richer, for Poorer 2 v. The Beautiful 
Miss Barrington 2 v. Her Title of 
Honour I v. Echoes of a Famous 
Year i v. Katherine's Trial i v. The 
Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax 2 v. Ben 
Milner's Wooing I v. Straightforward 
2V. Mrs. DenysofCote 2V. A Poor 
Squire i v. 

Parr, Mrs. 

Dorothy Fox i v. The Prescotts of 
Pamphillon2v. The Gosau Smithy, etc. 
iv. Robin 2 v. Loyalty George 2 v. 

Paston, George. 

A Study in Prejudices i v. A Fair 
Deceiver i v. 

Pasture, Mrs. Henry de la. 
The Lonely Lady of Grosvenor Square i v. 

Paul, Mrs. : -vide Author of "Still 

Waters." 
" Paul Ferroll," Author of (Mrs. 

Caroline Clive), f 1873. 

Paul Ferroll I v. Year after Year i v. 
Why Paul Ferroll killed his Wife i v. 

Payn, James, f 1898. 
Found Dead i v. Gwendoline's Har- 
vest iv. Like Father, like Son 2 v. 
Not Wooed, but Won 2 v. Cecil's Tryst 

1 v. A Woman's Vengeance 2 v. 
Murphy's Master i v. In the Heart of 
a Hill, and other Stories i v. At Her 
Mercy 2 v. The Best of Husbands 2 v. 
Walter's Word 2 v. Halves 2 v. 
Fallen Fortunes 2 v. What He cost Her 
av. By Proxy 2 v. Less Black than 
we're Painted 2 v. Under one Roof 

2 v. High Spirits i v. High Spirits 
(Second Series) I v. A Confidential 
Agent 2v. From Exile 2 v. A Grape 
from a Thorn 2 v. Some Private Views 
iv. For Cash Only 2 v. Kit : A Me- 
mory 2v. The Canon's Ward (with 
Portrait) 2 v. Some Literarj' Re- 
collections iv. The Talk of the Town 
iv. The Luck of the Darrells 2 v. 
The Heir of the Ages 2 v. Holiday Tasks 
iv. Glow -Worm Tales (First Serifs) 
iv. Glow- Worm Tales (Second Series) 



iv. A Prince of the Blood 2 v. The 
Mystery of Mirbridge 2 v. The Burnt 
'Million 2 v. The Word and the Will 
2v. Sunny Stories, and some Shady 
Ones iv. A Modern Dick Whitting- 
ton 2v. A Stumble on the Threshold 
2v. A Trying Patient I v. Gleams 
of Memory, and The Eavesdropper i v. 
In Market Overt i v. The Disappear- 
ance of George Driffell, and other Talcs 
iv. Another's Burden etc. i v. The 
Backwater of Life, or Essays of a Literary 
Veteran i v. 

Peard, Frances Mary. 
One Year 2V. The Rose-Garden x v. 
Unawares i v. Thorpe Regis i v. A 
Winter Story i v. A Madrigal, and 
other Stories i v. Cartouche i v. 
Mother Molly i v. Schloss and Town 
2V. Contradictions 2 v. Near Neigh- 
bours iv. Alicia Tennant i v. Ma- 
dame's Granddaughter i v. Donna 
Teresa i v. Number One and Number 
Two iv. The Ring from Jaipur i v. 

Pemberton, Max. 
The Impregnable City i v. A Woman 
of Kronstadt i v. The Phantom Army 
iv. The Garden of Swords i v. The 
Footsteps of a Throne I v. Pro Patria i v. 

The Giant's Gate 2 v. I crown theo 
King i v. The House under the Sea i v. 

The Gold Wolf i v. Doctor Xavier i v. 

Red Morn i v. Beatrice of Venice 2 v. 

Mid the Thick Arrows 2 v. My Sword 
for Lafayette i v. The Lady Evelyn i v. 

The Diamond Ship i v. The Lodestar 
i v. 

Percy, Bishop Thomas, f 181 1. 
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry 3 v. 

Philips, F. C. 

As in a Looking Glass i v. The Dean 
and his Daughter i v. Lucy Smith i v. 
A Lucky Young Woman i v. Jack and 
Threejills I v. Little Mrs. Murray I v. 
Young Mr. Ainslie's Courtship iv. Social 
Vicissitudes i v. Extenuating Circum- 
stances, and A French Marriage I v. 
More Social Vicissitudes iv. Constance 
2V. That Wicked Mad'moiselle, etc. 
iv. A Doctor in Difficulties, etc. i v. 
Black and White i v. " One Never 
Knows" 2v. Of Course I v. Miss 
Ormerod's Protege i v. My little Hus- 
band iv. Mrs. Bouvcrie I v. A 
Question of Colour, and otherStories iv. 
A Devil in Nun's Veiling i v. A Full 
Confession, and other Stories i v. The 
Luckiest of Three i v. Poor Little Bella 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



iv. Eliza Clarke, Governess, and Other 
Stories i v. Marriage, etc. i v. School- 
girls of To-day, etc. I v. If Only , etc. i v. 
An Unfortunate Blend i v. A Bar- 
rister's Courtship i v. 

Philips, F. C. & Percy Fendall. 
A Daughter's Sacrifice iv. Margaret 
Byng i v. 

Philips, F. C. & C. J. Wills. 

The Fatal Phryneiv. The Scudainores 
iv. A Maiden Fair to See i v. Sybil 
Ross's Marriage i v. 

Phillpotts, Eden. 
Lying Prophets 2 v. The Human Boy 
iv. Sons of the Morning 2 v. The 
Good Red Earth i v. The Striking Hours 
iv. The Farm of the Dagger i v. 
The Golden Fetich i v. The Whirlwind 
2 v. 

Phillpotts, E. & Arnold Bennett 
The Sinews of War i v. 

Piddington, Miss: vide Author of 
"The Last of the Cavaliers." 

Poe, Edgar Allan (Am.),f 1849. 
Poems and Essays , edited with a new 
Memoir by John H. Ingram I v. Tales, 
edited by John H. Ingram I v. 

Pope, Alexander, j 1744- 
Select Poetical Works (with Portrait) i v. 

Poynter, Miss E. Frances. 
My Little Lady 2 v. Ersilia 2 v. 
Among the Hills i v. Madame de 
Presnel I v. 

Praed, Mrs. Campbell. 
Zero iv. Affinities i v. The Head 
Station 2 v. 

Prentiss, Mrs. E. (Am.), f 1878. 
Stepping Heavenward I v. 

Prince Consort, the, f 1861. 
His Principal Speeches and Addresses 
(with Portrait) I v. 

Pryce, Richard. 

Miss Maxwell's Affections i v. The 
Quiet Mrs. Fleming i v. Time and the 
Woman I v. 

Pym, Hor. N.: v. Caroline Fox. 

Queen, H. M. the: -vide Victoria 
R. I. 

Quiller-Couch, A. T. ("Q"). 

Noughts and Crosses I v. I Saw Three 
Ships iv. Dead Man's Rock iv. la 
and other Tales i v. The Ship of Stars 
iv. The Adventures of Harry Revel i v. 



Fort Amity i v. Shakespeare's Christ- 
mas, and Other Stories IT. The Mayor 
of Troy i v. Merry-Garden, and Other 
Stories i v. 

Rae, W. Fraser, ( 1905. 
Westward by Rail i v. Miss Bayle's 
Romance 2 v. The Business of Travel i v. 

Raimond, C. E. (Miss Robins). 
The Open Question 2 v. The Magnetic 
North 2v. A Dark Lantern 2 v. 

" Rajah's Heir, the," Author of. 
The Rajah's Heir 2 v. 

Reade, Charles, f 1884. 
"It is never too late to mend" 2 v. 
"Love me little, love me long" i v. 
The Cloister and the Hearth 2 v. Hard 
Cash 3v. Put Yourself in his Place 2 v. 
A Terrible Temptation 2 v. Peg Wof- 
fington iv. Christie Johnstone I v. 
A Simpleton 2 v. The Wandering Heir 
iv. -A Woman-Hater 2 v. Readiana 
IV. Singleheart and Doubleface I v. 

"Recommended to Mercy," 

Author of (Mrs. Houstoun). 
" Recommended to Mercy " 2 v. Zoe's 
" Brand" 2 v. 

Reeves, Mrs.: v. Helen Mathers. 

Rhys, Grace. 

Mary Dominic i v. The Wooing of 
Sheila I v. 

Rice, James: v. Walter Besant 

Richards, Alfred Bate, j 1876. 
So very Human 3 v. 

Richardson, S., j- 1761. 
Clarissa Harlowe 4 v. 

Ridden, Mrs. (F. G. Trafford). 
George Geith of Fen Court 2 v. Max- 
well Drewitt 2 v. The Race for Wealth 
2V. Far above Rubies 2 v. The Earl's 
Promise 2 v. Mortomley's Estate 2 v. 

Ridge, W. Pett 
Name of Garland i v. 

"Rita." 

Souls iv. The Testers i v. The Mas- 
queraders 2 v. Queer Lady Judas 2 v. 
Prince Charming i v. The Pointing 
Finger i v. A Man of no Importance i v. 
Ritchie, Mrs. Anne Thackeray: 

"vide Miss Thackeray. 
Roberts, Miss: -vide Author of 
"Mademoiselle Mori." 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



Robertson, Rev. Frederick W., 

t 1853. 
Sermons 4 v. 

Robins, Miss: -vide Raimond. 

Robinson, F.: -vide Author of 
"No Church." 

Roosevelt, Theodore (Am.). 
Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter 
(with Portrait) i v. 

Ross, Charles H. 
The Pretty Widow i v. A London 
Romance 2 v. 

Ross, Martin: vide Somerville. 

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, f 1882. 
Poems iv. Ballads and Sonnets i v. 

"Roy Tellet." 

The Outcasts i v. A Draught of 
Lethe iv. Pastor and Prelate 2 v. 

Ruffini, J., t 1 88 1. 
Lavinia 2 v. Doctor Antonio i v. 
Lorenzo Benoni i v. Vincenzo a v. 
A Quiet Nook in the Jura i v. The 
Paragreens on a Visit to Paris I v. 
Carlino, and other Stories i v. 

Ruskin, John, -j- 1902. 
Sesame and Lilies i v. The Stones of 
Venice (with Illustrations) 2 v. Unto this 
Last and Munera Pulveris i v. The Seven 
Lamps of Architecture (with 14 Illustra- 
tions) iv. Mornings in Florence i v. 

Russell, W. Clark. 
A Sailor's Sweetheart 2 v. The " Lady 
Maud" 2v. A Sea Queen 2 v. 

Russell, George W. E. 
Collections and Recollections. By One 
who has kept a Diary 2 v. A Londoner's 
Log-Book i v. 

Sala, George Augustus, -j- 1895. 
The Seven Sons of Mammon 2 v. 

Saunders, John. 

Israel Mort, Overman 2 v. The Ship- 
owner's Daughter 2 v. A Noble Wife 2 v. 

Saunders, Katherine (Mrs. 

Cooper). 

Joan Merryweather , and other Tales 
iv. Gideon's Rock, and other Tales 
iv. The High Mills 2 v. Sebastian t v. 



Savage, Richard Henry (Am.), 

t J 903- 

My Official Wife i v. The Little Lady 
of Lagunitas (with Portrait) 2 v. Prince 
Schamyl's Wooing I v. The Masked 
Venus 2 v. Delilah of Harlem 2 v. The 
Anarchist 2 v. A Daughter of Judas 
iv. In the Old Chateau i v. M iss 
Devereux of the Mariquita 2 v. Checked 
Through 2 v. A Modern Corsair 2 v. 
In the Swim 2 v. The White Lady of 
Khaminavatka 2 v. In the House of His 
Friends 2 v. The Mystery of a Shipyard 2 v. 
A Monte Cristo in Khaki i v. 

Schreiner, Olive. 
Trooper Peter Halket of Mashona- 
land i v. 

Scott, Sir Walter, f 1832. 

Waverley (with Portrait) I v. The 
Antiquary I v. Ivanhoe i v. Kenil- 
worth iv. Quentin Durward i v. Old 
Mortality I v. Guy Mannering I v. 
Rob Roy iv. The Pirate i v. The 
Fortunes of Nigel i v. The Black Dwarf ; 
A Legend of Montrose i v. The Bride 
of Lammermoor i v. The Heart of Mid- 
Lothian 2V. The Monastery i v. The 
Abbot iv. Peveril of the Peak 2 v. 
Poetical Works 2 v. Woodstock i v. 
The Fair Maid of Perth i v. Anne of 
Geierstein i v. 

Seeley, Prof.J.R., M.A.,f 1895. 
Life and Times of Stein (with a Portrait 
of Stein) 4 v. The Expansion of Eng- 
land iv. Goethe i v. 

Sewell, Elizabeth, f 1906. 
Amy Herbert 2 v. Ursula 2 v. A 
Glimpse of the World 2 v. The Journal 
of a Home Life 2 v. After Life 2 v. 
The Experience of Life 2 v. 

Shakespeare, William, f 1616. 

Plays and Poems (with Portrait) (Second 
Edition) 7 v. Doubtful Plays i v. 

Shakespeare 's Plays may also be had in 
37 numbers, at ./J 0,30. each number. 

Sharp, William: vide Miss 
Howard and Swinburne. 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, f 1822. 
A Selection from his Poems i v. 

Sheppard, Nathan (Am.), f 1888, 
Shut up in Paris i v. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List, 



Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 

f 1816. 
The Dramatic Works I v. 

Shorthouse, J. Henry. 
John Inglesant 2 v. Blanche, Lady 
Falaise i v. 

Slatin Pasha, Rudolf C, C.B. 

Fire and Sword in the Sudan (with 
two Maps in Colours) 3 v. 

Smedley, F. E. : -vide Author of 
"Frank Fairlegh." 

Smollett, Tobias, f 1771. 
Roderick Random i v. Humphry 
Clinker I v. Peregrine Pickle 2 v. 

" Society in London," Author of. 
Society in London. By a Foreign 
Resident i v. 

Somerville, E. CK, & Martin 

Ross. 

Naboth's Vineyard i v. All on the 
Irish Shore i v. 

"Spanish Brothers, the," Author 

of 
The Spanish Brothers 2 v. 

Stanhope, Earl (Lord Mahon), 

t 1875. 

The History of England 7 v. Reign 
of Queen Anne 2 v. 

Steel, Flora Annie. 
The Hosts of the Lord 2 v. In the 
Guardianship of God i v. 

Steevens, G. W., f 1900. 
From Capetown to Ladysmith i v. 

Sterne, Laurence, f 1768. 
Tristram Shandy i v. A Sentimental 
Journey (with Portrait) I v. 

Stevenson, Robert Louis, j 1 894. 
Treasure Island i v. Dr. Jekyll and 
Mr. Hyde, and An Inland Voyage I v. 
Kidnapped I v. The Black Arrow I v. 
The Master of Ballantrae iv. The Merry 
Men, etc. I v. Across the Plains, etc. i v. 
Island Nights' Entertainments i v. 
Catriona i v. Weir of Hermiston i v. 
St. Ives 2v. In the South Seas 2 v. 
Tales and Fantasies I T. 

"Still Waters," Author of (Mrs. 

Paul). 

Still Waters i v. Dorothy i v. De 
Crcssy iv. Uncle Ralph i v. Maiden i 



Sisters i v. Martha Brown i v. Vanessa 
i v. 

Stirling, M.C.: -vide G. M. Craik. 
Stockton, Frank R. (Am.). 
The House of Martha i v. 

" Story of a Penitent Soul, the," 

Author of. 
The Story of a Penitent Soul i v. 

" Story of Elizabeth, the," Author 

of: vide Miss Thackeray. 
Stowe, Mrs. Harriet Beecher 

(Am.), f 1896. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin (with Portrait) 2 v. 
A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin 2 v. Dred 
2v. The Minister's Wooing i v. Old- 
town Folks 2 v. 

"Sunbeam Stories," Author of: 

vide Mrs. Mackarness. 
Swift, Jonathan (Dean Swift), 

t 1745- 
Gulliver's Travels i v. 

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. 

Atalanta in Calydon : and Lyrical Poems 
(edited, with an Introduction, by William 
Sharp) iv. Love's Cross-Currents i v. 

Symonds , John Addington, 



Sketches in Italy i v. New Italian 
Sketches I v. 

Tallentyre, S. G. : v. H. S. Merri- 

man. 
Tasma. 
Uncle Piper of Piper's Hill 2 v. 

Tautphoeus, Baroness, f 1893. 
Cyrilla 2 v. The Initials 2 v. Quits 
2v. At Odds 2 v. 

Taylor, Col. Meadows, j 1876. 
Tara ; a Mahratta Tale 3 v. 

Templeton: -vide Author of 
"Horace Templeton." 

Tennyson, Alfred (Lord), f 1 892. 
Poetical Works 8 v. Queen Mary 
iv. Harold i v. Becket; The Cup ; 
The Falcon i v. Locksley Hall , sixty 
Years after ; The Promise of May ; Tiresias 
and other Poems i v. A Memoir. By 
His Son (with Portrait) 4 v. 

Testament, the New: vide New. 



26 



Taiichnitz Edition, Complete List. 



Thackeray, William Make- 
peace, f 1863. 

Vanity Fair 3 v. Pendennis 3 v. 
Miscellanies 8 v. Henry Esmond 2 v. 
The English Humourists of the Eighteenth 
Century i v. The Newcomes 4 v. The 
Virginians 4 v. The Four Georges ; 
Lovel the Widower i v. The Adventures 
of Philip 2v. Denis Duval i v. 
Roundabout Papers 2 v. Catherine 
i v. The Irish Sketch Book 2 v. The 
Paris Sketch Book (with Portrait) 2 v. 

Thackeray, Miss (Mrs. Ritchie). 
The Story of Elizabeth i v. The Village 
on the Cliff I v. Old Kensington 2 v. 
Bluebeard's Keys, and other Stories i v. 
Five Old Friends i v. Miss Angel i v. 
Out of the World, and other Tales i v. 
FulhamLawn, and other Tales iv. From 
an Island. A Story and some Essays I v. 
Da Capo, and other Tales i v. Madame 
de Sevigne ; From a Stage Box ; Miss 
Williamson's Divagations i v. A Book 
of Sibyls iv. Mrs. Dymond 2 v. 
Chapters from some Memoirs i T. 

Thomas a Kempis: v. Kempis. 

Thomas, A. (Mrs. Fender Cudlip). 
Denis Donne a v. On Guard 2 v. 
Walter Goring 2 v. Played Out 2 v. 
Called to Account 2 v. Only Herself 
2v. A Narrow Escape 2 v. 

Thomson, James, f 1748. 

Poetical Works (with Portrait) x v. 

"Thoth," Author of. 
Thoth i v. 

"Tim," Author of. 
Tim i v. 

Trafford, F. G.: v. Mrs. Riddell. 

Trevelyan, Right Hon. Sir 

George Otto. 

The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay 
(with Portrait) 4 v. Selections from the 
Writings of Lord Macaulay 2 v. The 
American Revolution (with a Map) 2 v. 

Trois-Etoiles , vide Grenville: 
Murray. 

Trollope, Anthony, f 1882. 
Doctor Thome 2 v. The Bertrams 
zv. The Warden I v. Barchester 
Towers 2 v. Castle Richmond 2 v. The 
West Indies i v. Framley Parsonage 2 v. 

North America 3 v. Orley Farm 3 v. 

Rachel Ray 2 v. The Small House 
at Allitijjton 3 v. Can you forgive her? 



3 v. The Belton Estate 2 v. Nina 
Balatka I v. The Last Chronicle of 
Barset 3 v. The Claverings 2 v. Phincas 
Finn 3 v. He knew he was right 3 v. 
The Vicar of Bullhampton 2 v. Sir Harry 
Hotspur of Humblethwaite i v. Ralph 
the Heir 2 v. The Golden Lion oi 
Granpere I v. Australia and New Zea- 
land 3v. Lady Anna 2 v. Harry 
Heathcote of Gangoil i v. The Way we 
live now 4 v. The Prime Minister 4 v. 
The American Senator 3 v. South Africa 
2V. Is He Popenjoy ? 3 v. An Eye for 
an Eye i v. John Caldigate 3 v. Cousin 
Henry I v. The Duke's Children 3 v. 
Dr.Wortle's School I v. Ayala's Angel 
3 v. The Fixed Period i v. Marion Fay 
2v. Kept in the Dark i v. Frau Froh- 
mann, and other Stories I v. Alice Du;;- 
dale, and other Stories i v. La Mere 
Bauche, and other Stories i v. The 
Mistletoe Bough, and other Stories I v. 
An Autobiography i v. An Old Man's 
Love i v. 

Trollope, T. Adolphus, f 1892. 

The Garstangs of Garstang Grange 2 v. 
A Siren 2 v. 

Trowbridge, W. R. H. 
The Letters of Her Mother to Elizabeth 
i v. A Girl oi the Multitude i v. That 
Little Marquis of Brandenburg i v. A 
Dazzling Reprobate I v. 

Twain, Mark (Samuel L. 

Clemens) (Am.). 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer i v. 
The Innocents Abroad ; or , Te New 
Pilgrims' Progress 2 v. A Tramp Abroad 
2v. "Roughing it" I v. The In- 
nocents at Home i v. The Prince and 
the Pauper 2 v. The Stolen White 
Elephant, etc. I v. Life on the Mis- 
sissippi 2V. Sketches (with Portrait) 
iv. Huckleberry Finn 2 v. Selections 
from American Humour i v. A Yankee 
at the Court of King Arthur 2 v. The 
American Claimant i v. The i ooo ooo 
Bank-Note and other new Stories i v. 
Tom Sawyer Abroad i v. Pudd'nliead 
Wilson iv. Personal Recollections of 
Joan of Arc 2 v. Tom Sawyer, Detective, 
and other Tales i v. More Trauips 
Abroad 2 v. The Man that corrupted 
Hadleyburg, etc. 2 v. A Double-Bar- 
relled Detective Story, etc. i v. The 
$30,000 Bequest, and Other Stories i v. 
Christian Science i v. 

"Two Cosmos, the," Author of. 
The Two Cosmos i v. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



27 



Vachell, Horace Annesley. 
Brothers 2 v. The Face of Clay i v. 
Her Son i v. The Hill i v. 

"Venus and Cupid," Author of. 
Venus and Cupid i v. 

"Vera," Author of. 
Vera i v. The Hotel du Petit St. 
Jean I v. Blue Roses 2 v. Within 
Sound of the Sea 2 v. The Maritime 
Alps and their Seaboard 2 v. Ninette i v. 

Victoria R. I. 

Leaves ftom the Journal of our Life in 
the Highlands from 1848 to 1861 I v. 
More Leaves, etc. from 1862 to 1882 i v. 

"Virginia," Author of. 
Virginia I v. 

Vizetelly, Ernest Alfred. 

With Zola in England i v. 

Walford, L. B. 

Mr. Smith 2 v. Pauline 2V. Cousins 
2V. Troublesome Daughters 2 v. 
Leddy Marget i v. 

'Wallace, D. Mackenzie. 

Russia 3 v. 

Wallace, Lew. (Am.), -j- 1905. 
Ben-Hur a v. 

Warburton, Eliot, f 1852. 
The Crescent and the Cross 2 v. 
Darien 2 v. 

Ward, Mrs. Humphry. 
Robert Elsmere 3 v. David Grieve 
3v. MissBretherton I v. Marcella 3 v. 
Bessie Costrell i v. Sir George Tressady 
2v. Helbeck of Bannisdale 2 v. 
Eleanor 2 v. Lady Rose's Daughter 2 v. 

The Marriage of William Ashe 2 v. 
Fenwick's Career 2 v. 

Warner, Susan vide: Wetherell. 

Warren, Samuel, \ 1877. 
Diary of a late Physician 2 v. Ten 
Thousand a- Year 3 v. Now and Then 
iv. The Lily and the Bee i v. 

"Waterdale Neighbours, the," 
Author of: v. Justin M c Carthy. 

Watts-Dunton, Theodore. 
Aylwin 2 v. 

Wells, H. G. 

The Stolen Bacillus, etc. i v. The War 
of the Worlds iv. The Invisible Man i v. 

The Time Machine, and The Island of 
Doctor Moreau i v. When the Sleeper 
Wakes i v. Tales of Space and Time I v. 

The Plattner Story, and Others i v. 
Love and Mr. Lewisham i v. TheWheels 



of Chance I v. Anticipations i v. The 
First Men in the Moon i v. The Sea Lady 
i v. Mankind in the Making 2 v. Twelve 
Stories and a Dream I v. The Food of 
the Gods iv. A Modern Utopia i v. 
Kipps 2v. In the Days of the Comet i v. 

The Future in America i v. 
Westbury, Hugh. 

Acte 2 v. 

Wetherell, Elizabeth (Susan 

Warner) (Am.), f 1885. 
The wide, wide World i v. Queechy 
2V. The Hills of the Shatemuc 2v. 
Say and Seal 2v. The Old Helmet 2 v. 

Weyman, Stanley J. 
The House of the Wolf i v. The Story 
of Francis Cludde 2 v. A Gentleman of 
France 2 v. The Man in Black I v. 
Under the Red Robe i v. My Lady 
Rotha 2 v. From the Memoirs of a Minis- 
ter of France i v. The Red Cockade 2 v. 

Shrewsbury 2 v. The Castle Inn 2 v. 

Sophia 2v. Count Hannibal 2 v. In 
Kings' Byways I v. The Long Night 2 v. 

The Abbess of Vlaye 2 v. Starvecrow 
Farm 2 v. Chippinge 2 v. 

Wharton, Edith (Am.). 
The House of Mirth 2 v. 

"Whim, a, and its Conse- 
quences," Author of. 
A Whim, and its Consequences i v. 

Whitby, Beatrice. 
The Awakening of Mary Fenwick 2 v. 
In the Suntime of her Youth 2 v. 

White, Percy. 

Mr. Bailey-Martin iv.-TheWestEnd2v. 
The New Christians i v. Park Lane 2 v. 

The Countess and The King's Diary i v. 

The Triumph of Mrs. St. George 2 v. 
A Millionaire's Daughter i v. A Pas- 
sionate Pilgrim I v. The System 2 v. 
The Patient Man I v. Mr. John Strood 
iv. The Eight Guests 2 v. 

White, Walter. 
Holidays in Tyrol I v. 

Wriiteing, Richard. 
The Island ; or, An Adventure of a Per- 
son of Quality iv. No. 5 John Street i v. 
-The Life of Paris i v.-TheYellowVan i v. 

Ring in the New i v. 
Whitman, Sidney. 

Imperial Germany i v. The Realm 
of the Habsburgs i v. Teuton Studies 
iv. Reminiscences of the King of 
Roumania, edited by Sidney Whitman i v. 

Conversations with Prince Bismarck, 



28 



Tauchnitz Edition. Complete List. 



edited by Sidney Whitman i v. Life of 
the Emperor Frederick 2 v. 

"Who Breaks Pays," Author 

of: vide Mrs. Jenkin. 
Whyte Melville, George J.r 

vide Melville. 

Wiggin, Kate Douglas (Am.). 
Timothy's Quest i v. A Cathedral 
Courtship, and Penelope's English Ex- 
periences iv. Penelope's Irish Experi- 
ences iv. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm 

1 v. The Affair at the Inn i v. (By K. D. 
'Wiggin, M. &J. Findlater, and Allan 
McAulay.) Rose o' the River i v. 
New Chronicles of Rebecca i v. 

Wilkins, Mary E. (Am.). 
Pembroke i v. Madelon i v. Jerome 
zv. Silence, and other Stories i v. 
The Love of Parson Lord, etc. i v. 

Williamson, C. N. & A. M. (Am.). 
The Lightning Conductor i v. 

Wills, C. J., vide F. C. Philips. 

Winter, Mrs. J. S. 
Regimental Legends i v. 

Wood, Charles: vide Author of 
"Buried Alone." 

Wood, H. F. 
The Passenger from Scotland Yard i v. 

Wood, Mrs. Henry (Johnny 
Ludlow), f 1887. . 

East Lynne 3 v. The Channings 2 v. 
Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles 2 v. 
Verner's Pride 3 v. The Shadow of Ash- 
lydyat 3 v. Trevlyn Hold 2 v. Lord 
Oakburn's Daughters 2 v. Oswald Cray 

2 v. Mildred Arkell 2 v. St. Martin's 
Eve 2V. Elster's Folly 2 v. Lady Ade- 
laide's Oath 2V. Orville College i v. 
A Life's Secret i v. The Red Court Farm 
2v. Anne Hereford 2 v. Roland 
Yorke 2 v. George Canterbury's Will 
2v. Bessy Rane 2 v. Dene Hollow 
2V. The Foggy Night at Offord; Martyn 
Ware's Temptation; The Nipht-Walk 
over the Mill Stream i v. Within the 
Maze 2v. The Master of Greylands 2 v. 
Johnny Ludlow 2 v. Told in the 
Twilight 2V. Adam Grainger i v. 
Edina 2 v. Pomeroy Abbey 2 v. Court 
Netherleigh 2 v. (The following by 
Johnny Ludlow): Lost in the Post, and 
Other Tales i v. ATale of Sin, and Other 
Tales i v. Anne, and Other Tales i v. 
The Mystery of Jessy Page, and Other 



Tales iv. Helen Whitney's Wedding, 
and Other Tales I v. The Story of 
Dorothy Grape, and Other Tales i v. 

Woodroffe, Daniel. 
Tangled Trinities i v. The Beauty-Shop 

1 v. 

Woods, Margaret L 
A Village Tragedy i v. The Vaga- 
bonds iv. Sons of the Sword 2 v. The 
Invader i v. 

Wordsworth, William, f 1850. 
Select Poetical Works 2 v. 

Wraxall, Lascelles, \ 1865. 
Wild Oats i v. 

Yates, Edmund, f 1894. 
Land at Last 2 v. Broken to Harness 2 v. 

The Forlorn Hope 2 v. Black Sheop 

2 v. The Rock Ahead 2 v. Wrecked 
in Port 2V. Dr. Wainwright's Patient 
2 v. Nobody's Fortune 2 v. Castaway 
2v. A Waiting Race 2 v. The yellow 
IHag 2v. The Impending Sword 2 v. 
Two, by Tricks i v. A Silent Witness 
2v. Recollections and Experiences 2 v. 

Yeats: vide Levett-Yeats. 

Yonge, Charlotte M., f 1901. 
The Heir of Redclyffe 2 v. Heartsease 
2v. The Daisy Chain 2 v. Dynevor 
Terrace 2 v. Hopes and Fears 2 v. 
The Young Step-Mother zv. The Trial 
2 v. The CleverWoman of the Family 
2 v. The Dove in the Eagle's Nest 2 v. 

The Danvers Papers ; The Prince and 
the Page I v. The Chaplet of Pearls 
2V. The two Guardians i v. TheCaged 
Lion 2v. The Pillars of the House 5 v. 

Lady Hester i v. My Young Alcides 
2V. The Three Brides 2 v. Woman- 
kind 2v. Magnum Bonum 2 v. Love 
and Life i v. Unknown to History 2 v. 

Stray Pearls (with Portrait) 2 v. The 
Armourer's Prentices 2 v. The Two 
Sides of the Shield 2 v. Nuttie's Father 
2v. Beechcroft at Rockstone 2 v. 
A Reputed Changeling 2 v. Two Penni- 
less Princesses i v. That Stick i v. 
Grisly Grisell i v. The Long Vacation 
av. Modern Broods i v. 

"Young Mistley," Author of: 
vide Henry Seton Merriman. 

Zangwill, I. 

Dreamers of the Ghetto 2 v. Ghetto 
Comedies 2 v. 

"Z. Z." 

The World and a Man 2 v. 



Series for the Young. 

30 Volumes. Published with Continental Copyright on the same 
conditions as the Collection of English and American Authors, Vide p. I. 

Price 1 M. 60 Pf. or 2 Fr. per Volume. 



Barker, Lady (Lady Broome). 
Stories About: i v. 

Charlesworth, Maria Louisa, 

f 1880. 
Ministering Children i v. 

Craik, Mrs. (MissMulock),f 1887. 
Our Year i v. Three Tales for Boys 
iv. Three Tales for Girls i v. 

Craik, Georgiana M. (Mrs. May) 
Cousin Trix, and her Welcome Tales i v. 

Edgeworth, Maria, | 1849. 
Moral Tales I v. Popular Tales 2 v. 

Kavanagh, Bridget & Julia, 



t 1877. 
be Pearl 



The Pearl Fountain , and other Fairy- 
Tales i v. 

Lamb, Charles & Mary, f 1834 

and 1847. 
Tales from Sbakspeare i v. 

Marryat, Captain, f 1848. 
Masterman Ready i v. 



Marshall, Mrs. Emma, j- 1899. 
Rex and Regina I v. 

Montgomery, Florence. 
The Town-Crier; to which is added: 
The Children with the Indian-Rubber 

Ball i v. 

"Ruth and her Friends," Author 

of. 
Ruth and her Friends. A Story for Girls iv. 

Wood, Mrs. Henry, -j- 1887. 
William Allair i v. 

Yonge, Charlotte M., f 1901. 
Kenneth; or, the Rear-Guard of the 
Grand Army I v. The Little Duke. 
Ben Sylvester's Word i v. The 
Stokesley Secret i v. Countess Kate i v. 
A Book of Golden Deeds 2 v. Friars- 
wood Post-Office iv. Henrietta's Wish 
iv Kings of England I v. The 
Lances of Lynwood ; the Pigeon Pie i v. 
P'sandQ'siv. AuntCharlotte'sStories 
of English History I v. Bye-Words iv. 
Lads and Lasses of Langley, etc. I v. 



Collection of German Authors. 

5/ Volumes. Translations from the German, published with universal 
copyright. These volumes may be imported into any country. 

Price 1 M. 60 Pf. or 2 Fr. per Volume. 



Auerbach, Berthold, f 1882. 
On the Heights, (Second Edition) 3v. 
Brigitta iv. Spinoza 2 v. 

Ebers, Georg, f 1898. 

An Egyptian Princess 2 v. Uarda 
2v. Homo Sum 2V. The Sisters [Die 
Schwestern] 2 v. Joshua a v. Per 
Aspera 2 v. 

Fouque, De la Motte, f 1843. 

Undine, Sintram, etc. I v. 

Freiligrath, Ferdinand, | 1876. 
Poems (Second Edition) i v. 

Gorlach, Wilhelm. 

Prince Bismarck (with Portrait) i v. 



Goethe, W. v., \ 1832. 

Faust iv. Wilhelm Meister's Ap- 
prenticeship 2 v. 

Gutzkow, Karl, f 1878. 
Through Night to Light i v. 

Hacklander, F. W., f 1877. 

Behind the Counter [Handel und 
Wandel] I v. 

Hauff, Wilhelm, f 1827. 

Three Tales i v. 

Heyse, Paul. 

L'Arrabiata, etc. i v. The Dead Lake, 
etc. iv. Barbarossa, etc. i v. 

Hillern, Wilhelmine von. 
The Vulture Maiden [die Geier-Wally] 
iv. The Hour will come 2 v. 



50 Tanchnitz Edition. Collection of German Authors, Students' Scries. 



Kohn, Salomon. 
Gabriel i v. 

Lessing, G. E., f 1781. 

Nathan the Wise and Emilia Galotti I v. 

Lewald, Fanny, -j- 1889. 
Stella 2 v. 

Marlitt, E., f 1887. 

The Princess of the Moor [das Haide- 
prinzcsschen] 2 v. 

Nalhusius, Maria, + 1857. 

Joachim v. Kamern, and Diary of a 
V>or Young Lady i v. 



Reuter, Fritz, j 1874. 
In the Year '13 i v. An old Story of 
my Fanning Days [UtmineStromtid] 3\-. 

Richter, J. P. Friedrich (Jean 
Paul), f 1825. 

Flower, Fruit and Thorn Pieces 2 v. 

Scheffel, Victor von, j 1886. 

Ekkehard 2 v. 

Taylor, George. 
Klytia 2 v. 

Zschokke, Heinrich, f 1848. 

The Princess of Brunswick- Wolfpn- 
biittel, etc. I v. 



Students' Series for School, College, and Home. 

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mit deutschen Anmerkungen und Special-Worterbiichern. 



Br. = Broschiert. Kart. = Kartoniert. 



Bulwer, Edward, Lord Lytton, 

t 1873- 

The Lady of Lyons. Von Dr. Fritz 
Bisckojf. Br. ./( 0,50. Kart. Jt 0,60. 

Burnett, Frances Hodgson 

(Am.). 

Little Lord Fauntleroy. Von Dr. Ernst 
Groth. Br. ^1,50. Kart. Jl 1,60. An- 
rnerkungen und Worterbuch. Br. Jt 0,40. 

Sara Crewe. Von Bertha Connell. Br. 
JH 0,50. Kart. Jt 0,60. Anmerkungen 
und Worterbuch. Br. Jt 0,40. 

Carlyle, Thomas, j 1881. 
The Reign of Terror (French Revo- 
lution). Von Dr. Ludiuig Herrig. Br. 

M 1,00. Kart. M 1,10. 

Craik, Mrs. (Miss Mulock), 

t 1887. 

A Hero. A Tale for Boys. Von Dr. 
Otto Dost. Br. jK, 0,80. Kart. Jt 0,90. 
Worterbuch. Br. Jt 0,40. 

Dickens, Charles, f 1870. 

Sketches. First Series. Von Dr. A. 
Hoppe. Br. Jt 1,20. Kart. M 1,30. 

Sketches. Second Series. Von Dr. A. 
Hoppe. Br. .^1,40. Kart.^i, 50. Worter- 
buch (First and Second Series). Br../5i,oo. 

A Christmas Carol in Prose. Being 
a Ghost Story of Christmas. Von Dr. 
G. 7'anffr. Br. M t,oo. Kart. jit 1,16. 



Eliot, George (Miss Evans 

Mrs. Cross), \ 1880. 
The Mill on the Floss. Von Dr. //. 
Conrad. Br. Jt 1,70. Kart. M 1,80. 

Ewing, Juliana Horatia, { 1885. 
Jackanapes. Von E. Roos. Br. ^0,50. 
Kart. M 0,60. Worterbuch. Br. jH 0,20. 

The Brownies; and The Land of Lost 
Toys. Von Dr. A. Miiller. Br. Jt 0,60. 
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Timothy's Shoes ; An Idyll of the 
Wood; Benjyin Beastland. Von E. Roos. 
Br. Jf, 0,70. Kart. M 0,80. Worter- 
buch. Br. jH 0,30. 

Franklin, Benjamin (Am.), 

t 179. 

His Autobiography. Von Dr. Karl 
Feyerabend. I. Teil. Die Jugendjahre 
(1706 1730). Br. M 1,00. Kart. ^(Si,io. 

II. Teil. Die Mannesjahre (1731 bis 
1757). Mit einer Beigabe : The Way to 
Wealth. Von Dr. Karl Feyerabend. 
Br. Jt> 1,20. Kart. M 1,30. 

Freeman, Edward A. f 1892. 
Three Historical Essays. Von Dr. C. 
Balzer. Br. Jt 0,70. 'Kart. Jt 0,80. 

Harte, Bret (Am.), -j- 1902. 
Tales of the Argonauts. Von Dr. G. 
Tanger. Br. M 1,40. Kart. M 1,50. 



Tauchnitz Edition. Sttidcnts' Scries, Manuals. 



Hawthorne, Nathaniel (Am.), 

f 1864. 

Wonder Book for Boys and Girls. Von 
E. Roos. Br. Jt 0,70. Kart. Jt 0,80. 
Anmerkungcn undWorterbuch. Br. Jt 0,40. 

Hughes, Thomas, f 1898. 
Tom Brown's School Days. Von Dr. /. 
Schmidt. 2 Tarts. Br. jH 3,00. Kart. 
Jt, 3,20. Part I. apart. Br. Jt 1,70. 
Kart. Jt 1,80. Part. II. apart. Br. Jt 1,30. 
Kart. Jt 1,40. 

Longfellow, Henry Wads- 
worth (Am.), | 1882. 
Tales of a Wayside Inn. Von Dr. H. 
Varnhagen. 2 Bande. Br. Jt 2,00. 
Kart. Jt 2,20. i. Band apart. Br. Jt 1,00. 
Kart.^1,10. 2.Bandapart. Br.^i.oo. 
Kart. Jt 1,10. 

Macaulay, Lord, Thomas 

Babington, j- 1859. 
England before the Restoration. (History 
of England. Chapter I.) Von Dr. IV. 
llinr. Br. Jt 0,70. Kart. Jt 0,80. 

England under Cliarles the Second. 
(History of England. Chapter II.) Von 
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The Rebellions of Argyle and Mon- 
mouth. (History of England. Chapter V.) 
Von Dr. Immanuel Schmidt. Br. ^1,00. 
Kart. M 1,10. 

LordClive. (Histor. Essay.) Von Prof. 
Dr. R. Thum. Br. Jt 1,40. Kart. Jt 1,50. 

Ranke's History of the Popes. (His- 
torical Essay.) Von Prof. Dr. R. Thum. 
Br. Jt 0,60. Kart. Jt 0,70. 

Warren Hastings. (Historical Essay.) 
Von Prof. Dr. R. Thum. Br. Jt 1,50. 
Kart. Jt i, 60. 

McCarthy, Justin. 
The Indian Mutiny. (Chap. 32 35 of "A 
History of our own Times.") Von Dr. A. 
Hamann. Br. Jt 0,60. Kart. Jt 0,70. 
Worterbuch. Br. Jt 0,20. 



Montgomery, Florence. 
Misunderstood. Von Dr. R. Palm. Br. 
Jt i, 60. Kart. Jt 1,70. Worterbuch. 
Br. Jt 0,40. 

Scott, Sir Walter, f 1832. 
The Talisman. Von Dr. R. Dressel. 
Br. Jt i, 60. Kart. Jt 1,70. 

Tales of a Grandfather. First Series. 
Von Dr. H. Lb'schkorn. Br. Jt, 1,50. 
Kart. J6 i, 60. Worterbuch. Br. ^0,50. 

Tales of a Grandfather. Second Series. 
Von Dr. H. Loschhorn. Br. M 1,70. 
Kart. Jt x,8o. 

Shakespeare, William, f 1616. 
Twelfth Night ; or, What you will. Von 
Dr. H. Conrad. Br. jH 1,40. Kart. M 1,50. 

Julius Caesar. Von Dr. Immanuel 
Schmidt. Br. jH, 1,00. Kart. Jb 1,10. 

Macbeth. Von Dr. Immanuel Schmidt. 
Br. J(, 1,00. Kart. M 1,10. 

Stanhope, Earl (Lord Mahon), 

t 1875. 

Prince Charles Stuart. (History of Eng- 
land from the Peace of Utrecht to the 
Peace of Versailles. 1713 1783.) Von 
Dr. Martin Krummacher. Br. jt 1,20. 
Kart. M 1,30. 

The Seven Years' War. Von Dr. M. 
Krummacher. Br. Jt 1,20. Kart. M 1,30. 

Tennyson, Alfred Lord, j 1892. 
Enoch Arden and other Poems. Von 
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Thackeray, W. M. f 1863. 
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Yonge, Charlotte M., f 1901. 
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Manuals of Conversation (same size as Tauchnitz Edition). 
Each Volume, bound ^ 2,25. 



Fur Deutsche. 
Englische Conversationssprache von 

A. Schlessing. 4. Stereotypaufl. 
Franzosische Conversationssprache 

von Z. Rollin. 2. Stereotypaufl. 
Russische Conversationssprache 

von Dr. Z. Koiransky. 



For English students. 
German Language of Conversation 
by A. Schlessing. 

A I' usage des etudiants francais. 
Conversation Allemande par MM. 
L. Rollin et Wolfgang Weber. 



Tauchnitz Dictionaries. 

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BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ, LEIPZIG. 



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