I at once laughed genially at the mistake made, and explained to him that I was not a German at all. He replied that that would not avail me—I should be arrested all the same if I went on to the end of the journey.
“But,” he suggested, “I shall be getting out myself at the very next station to go back to my farm, and my advice to you is to get out there also. You will find a good inn where you can put up for the night, and to-morrow morning the early train will take you on clean through that very station where the military commandant will be on the look-out for you to-night.”
I replied that, as an Englishman, I had nothing to fear, and I should go on.
At the next station accordingly he got out, and after an affectionate farewell, I went on. But there was yet another station between this and the night stop, and on arrival there I took the hint of my friend and got out and spent the night at the little inn of the place. Following his advice still further, I took the early train next morning and ran through the place where they had been looking out for me. I had not got out when he invited me to at his station lest his invitation might merely have been a trap to test whether I was a spy; had I accepted it, no doubt he might have had friends at hand to arrange my arrest. As it was, I came away scot free with all the information I wanted about the new gun.
HOODWINKING A TURKISH SENTRY.
A big new Turkish fort had been recently built, and my business was to get some idea of its plan and construction. From my inn in the town I sauntered out early one morning before sunrise, hoping to find no sentries awake, so that I could take the necessary angles and pace the desired bases in order to plot in a fairly accurate plan of it.
To some extent I had succeeded when I noticed among the sandhills another fellow looking about, and, it seemed to me, trying to dodge me. This was rather ominous, and I spent some of my time trying to evade this “dodger,” imagining that he was necessarily one of the guard attempting my capture.
In evading him, unfortunately, I exposed myself rather more than usual to view from the fort, and presently was challenged by one of the sentries. I did not understand his language, but I could understand his gesture well enough when he presented his rifle and took deliberate aim at me. This induced me to take cover as quickly as might be behind a sandhill, where I sat down and waited for a considerable time to allow the excitement to cool down.
Presently, who should I see creeping round the corner of a neighbouring sandhill but my friend the “dodger”! It was too late to avoid him, and the moment he saw me he appeared to wish to go away rather than to arrest me. We then recognised that we were mutually afraid of each other, and therefore came together with a certain amount of diffidence on both sides.