As was naturally to be supposed, also, at such a time, it was not long before Craig found himself entangled in the marvelous spy system of the warring European nations. These systems revealed their devious and dark ways, ramifying as they did tentacle-like even across the ocean in their efforts to gain their ends in neutral America. Not only so, but, as I shall some day endeavor to show later, when the ban of silence imposed by neutrality is raised after the war, many of the horrors of the war were brought home intimately to us.
I have, after mature consideration, decided that even at present nothing but good can come from the publication at least of some part of the strange series of adventures through which Kennedy and I have just gone, especially those which might, if we had not succeeded, have caused most important changes in current history. As for the other adventures, no question can be raised about the propriety of their publication.
At any rate, it came about that early in August, when the war cloud was just beginning to loom blackest, Kennedy was unexpectedly called into one of the strangest, most dangerous situations in which his peculiar and perilous profession had ever involved him.
THE WAR TERROR
“I must see Professor Kennedy—where is he?—I must see him, for God’s sake!”
I was almost carried off my feet by the inrush of a wild-eyed girl, seemingly half crazed with excitement, as she cried out Craig’s name.
Startled by my own involuntary exclamation of surprise which followed the vision that shot past me as I opened our door in response to a sudden, sharp series of pushes at the buzzer, Kennedy bounded swiftly toward me, and the girl almost flung herself upon him.
“Why, Miss—er—Miss—my dear young lady—what’s the matter?” he stammered, catching her by the arm gently.
As Kennedy forced our strange visitor into a chair, I observed that she was all a-tremble. Her teeth fairly chattered. Alternately her nervous, peaceless hands clutched at an imaginary something in the air, as if for support, then, finding none, she would let her wrists fall supine, while she gazed about with quivering lips and wild, restless eyes. Plainly, there was something she feared. She was almost over the verge of hysteria.
She was a striking girl, of medium height and slender form, but it was her face that fascinated me, with its delicately molded features, intense unfathomable eyes of dark brown, and lips that showed her idealistic, high-strung temperament.
“Please,” he soothed, “get yourself together, please—try! What is the matter?”
She looked about, as if she feared that the very walls had eyes and ears. Yet there seemed to be something bursting from her lips that she could not restrain.
“My life,” she cried wildly, “my life is at stake. Oh—help me, help me! Unless I commit a murder to-night, I shall be killed myself!”