Clubfoot, after casting a cursory glance round the room, strode its length towards the bar where Haase stood, a crowd of plain-clothes men and policemen at his heels. Then quite suddenly the light went out, plunging the place into darkness. Instantly the room was in confusion; women screamed; a voice, which I recognized as Clubfoot’s, bawled stentorianly for lights ... the moment had come to act.
I grabbed a hat and coat from the hall, got into them somehow, and darted to the door. In the dim light shining down the stairs from a street lamp outside, I saw a man at the door. Apparently he was guarding it.
“Back!” he cried, as I stepped up to him.
I flashed in his eyes the silver star I held in my hand.
“The Chief wants lanterns!” I said low in his ear.
He grabbed my hand holding the badge and lowered it to the light.
“All right, comrade,” he replied. “Drechsler has a lantern, I think! You’ll find him outside!”
I rushed up the stairs right into a group of three policemen.
“The Chief wants Drechsler at once with the lantern,” I shouted, and showed my star. The three dispersed in different directions calling for Drechsler.
I walked quickly away.
THE WAITER AT THE CAFE REGINA
I calculated that I had at least two hours, at most three, in which to get clear of Berlin. However swiftly Clubfoot might act, it would take him certainly an hour and a half, I reckoned, from the discovery of my flight from Haase’s to warn the police at the railway stations to detain me. If I could lay a false trail I might at the worst prolong this period of grace; at the best I might mislead him altogether as to my ultimate destination, which was, of course, Duesseldorf. The unknown quantity in my reckonings was the time it would take Clubfoot to send out a warning all over Germany to detain Julius Zimmermann, waiter and deserter, wherever and whenever apprehended.
At the first turning I came to after leaving Haase’s, tram-lines ran across the street. A tram was waiting, bound in a southerly direction, where the centre of the city lay. I jumped on to the front platform beside the woman driver. It is fairly dark in front and the conductor cannot see your face as you pay your fare through a trap in the door leading to the interior of the tram. I left the tram at Unter den Linden and walked down some side streets until I came across a quiet-looking cafe. There I got a railway guide and set about reviewing my plans.