The Nature Faker
Richard Harding Davis could have done justice to this story.
In December of 1917 we had been eight months at war. We would be an innocent and purposely ignorant nation if we did not acknowledge that even after we had been eight months at war there were German spies in the United States practising their quiet trade in order to make our waging of war as difficult as possible, just as for three years they had practised to keep us out of the war entirely. It would be as absurd to assume that there are not German spies in America to-day who have been here throughout our part in the war, and who have done their utmost to cripple us.
But there is one who will not be here indefinitely. . . . In December, 1917, I received a complaint that valuable papers had been stolen from a certain Captain Claude Staughton, who lived at 137 West 75th Street, Manhattan. The Captain himself said that the lives of thousands of American soldiers were in jeopardy, and that neither they nor he would rest in conscious security until those papers were found. So two other Thomases of the Bomb Squad, Sergeant Thomas J. Ford and Detective Thomas J. Cavanagh, were sent to investigate the theft.
They found that Captain Staughton lived in an apartment on the second floor of the premises at 137 West 75th Street and that his rooms were shared by a Captain Horace D. Ashton. Staughton, they learned, was a captain of West Australia Light Horse — or was supposed to be — and a photograph they found of the captain in his uniform revealed four gold wound-stripes on his sleeve, which suggested an interesting and heroic experience overseas. The detectives' first assumption was that the missing papers had had to do with British war work on which the captain was detailed to the United States. Then they found several photographic prints in which he was dressed in the uniforms of other nations than Great Britain, and their second assumption was that he might be another of the nervy little band of counterfeit officers which had done all its fighting in the restaurants and sympathetic check-books of New York during the war.
The detectives learned that Ashton had his mail forwarded to the "Argus Laboratories" at 220 West 42d Street. They called upon Ashton, and inquired about his room-mate. Duquesne was all right, Ashton said -- was employed by an engineering company downtown as an inspector of airplanes, was in Pittsburg at the-moment, but was expected shortly to return. Duquesne returned, and was placed under arrest on the charge (we had no better one at the moment) of unlawfully masquerading in the uniform of one of our allies, a uniform to which he had no title. A thousand questions sprang up in our minds about the man: why was he in disguise, how long had he been posing, how could he carry out the bluff without being discovered, especially by the highly reputable firm which employed him? — those were a few. We began to investigate, and from Ashton and other sources we pieced together the checkered pattern of his career. Many of the fragments are missing, and some of them are probably in the wrong places, but this is the picture we found.
He had applied for work at the J. G. White Engineering Company on September 18, 1917, and in his rather detailed application for employment set forth that his name was Fred du Quesne. He stated further that he was 39 years old, married, and a United States citizen, though born in a British colony. His nearest relative was " A. Jocelyn du Quesne," in Los Angeles, and he had evidently had some trouble in parting the name in the middle, for it was written over an erasure. His next nearest relative was set down as Viscount Francois de Rancogne, Prisoner of War, Germany,"— an address safe enough from prompt investigation. Last of all his relatives was cited Edward Wortley, "Colonial Secretary, Jamaica, B. W. I." The three names were impressive, and with the possible exception of Los Angeles, the addresses were too remote to enable the J. G. White Company to find out quickly what sort of man this du Quesne might be.
He described himself as a graduate of St. Cyr, the French West Point, as master of French and English (not German or Portuguese or Spanish), and as having lived in England, France, Africa, Australia, Central America, Brazil, Argentine, and the United States (but not Germany). Present position he had none, but he would like one as "Inspector of military devices, purchasing agent for same, or army supplies transportation." You or I, were we working for the Kaiser, would have liked just such a position. He gave as references the name of Thomas O'Connell, a relative employed by the J. G. White Company in Nicaragua; Ashton, Senator Robert Broussard of Washington, and the Marquis (not "viscount" this time) de Rancogne, "Lieutenant General of Cavalry, France."
He then set forth his previous experience, which I may quote direct in the light of later events:
"1898 to 1899. Secretary to board of selection on military devices and contracts. South Africa reporting Genr. de Villiers. (salary) £10 weekly.
"1899 to 1902. South African War. Was inspector of military communication and reported secretary of war." (He does not state which secretary of war) £12.2.6 weekly.
"1902 to 1903. Lived in United States to start residence. Had an experience job in the subway looking on. $25.00.
"1903 to 1904. Went on tour of Congo Free State in the interests of making favorable publicity in this country for King Leopold. Gerard Harry in charge of campaign for the King. Received $10,000 for the job, with expenses.
"1904-5-6. Headed Eldu expedition and industrial research party in Australia. Sir Arthur Jones financed me. Received £2,000 yearly.
"1907-8. Toured Russia for Petit Bleu. Publicity. 1,000 florins weekly.
"1908-9-10. Organized and built string of theatres in British West Indies. Financed and erected hydro-electric plant for S. S. Wortley & Co., Kingston, Jamaica. Made percentages.
"1911—12. Lived in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Was with Mr. Thomas O'Connell in Nicaragua for one year. Made industrial and investment investigations, especially ore, fibre, rubber. $5,000 and expenses yearly. Mr. Hite financed. Address New Rochelle.
"1913-14-15-16. Explored and travelled in South America, Brazil, Argentine, Peru, and Bolivia, on own account. Also conducted special expedition for Horace Ashton of 220 W. 42d St., New York."
An eventful record, certainly. We asked Ash- ton to cast a little light on it. Captain Fritz Joubert Duquesne, he said, was a scout in the Boer war—"the leading scout" were his exact words — but not for the British, but the Boers. There may have been a touch of irony in Du- quesne's description of himself as " inspector of military communications " for he had been captured eight or nine times in his migrations through the British lines and had escaped each time — until the last, when he was made a prisoner of war at Cape Town, and according to an entry in the records of Scotland Yard, " was sent to Bermuda, whence he escaped after the declaration of Peace." The same records say: "The man Duquesne was acting as correspondent for a Belgian paper, the Petit Bleu; he was however in reality working for the Boers. . . ." Duquesne fancied photographs of himself, as he made up rather dashingly, and an old print which the Bomb Squad men found in his effects bore out the fact of his imprisonment, for there he stood in his Bermuda jail with the shackles on his ankles and a grim, martyred expression on his face.
The lure of Africa called to him, evidently, and he went back. We need not take too seriously his statement that he made a junket for King Leopold through the Belgian Congo, but anyone who remembers the uproar over the slavery by which the depraved old monarch was turning his colony into gold to pay for his excesses will also recall the international complications which the Congo threatened. It was a likely spot for an international spy. During his survey of the publicity possibilities of the jungle Duquesne conceived a few publicity possibilities for himself, and he came to America as a mighty hunter of big game.
"I ran across him first," said Ashton, " in 1909. --At that time he was writing an article for Hampton's Magazine called 'Hunting Big Game in Africa.' In publishing his articles he needed photographs, and he came to me. I was interested in his conversation and I said to him: 'Why don't you lecture?' So he went down to the Pond Lyceum Bureau. He went on a lecture tour for the Lyceum and later on a tour of the Keith circuit. . . ."
We found in his effects a program of the lectures he gave, its cover decorated with a small round photograph of Colonel Roosevelt in hunting costume and a large studio photograph of Duquesne in khaki, wearing boots and a revolver, and looking sternly out of the picture as tradition says a lion-hunter should look. Page two carried a synopsis of his lecture, of which one topic was "Hunting with Roosevelt," and a reproduction of a number of newspapers which were then publishing his " Hunting Ahead of Roosevelt," an article written for Hampton's Magazine. On page three Captain Duquesne figured again in effigy, this time standing beside the prostrate form of " A Rare Specimen — the ' White Rhinoceros,' " and we are to believe that he killed the beast. Page four (and last), reproduced a cartoon from the Washington Star of January 26, 1909, which portrayed President Roosevelt pointing to a picture of an elephant, and enthusiastically inquiring of a hairy hunter labelled "Duquesne": "I want to know his vital spot!" A quotation from Hampton's Magazine, also printed in this program, gives a new vision of the man's life from 1900 to 1909. It is probably as truthful as any — here it is:
"When the British succeeded in cutting cable communications between the Boer Republic and the rest of the world, Duquesne carried the news of the Boer victories over the Mozambique border, and from there he wrote his despatches to the Petit Bleu, the official European organ of the Boer Government. He was once captured by the Portuguese and thrown into prison at Lorenzo Marques;. Later he was taken a prisoner to Europe at the request of the British Government. When the ship that conveyed him and his guard touched at Naples, he was suffering from a fever and in consequence was placed in an Italian hospital. On his recovery he was allowed to go free. He went to Brussels and was sent back to the front by Doctor Leyds, with plans for the seizure of Cape Town by the Boer commandos then mobilized in Cape Colony.
"Everything was ready for the taking of the city when, a traitor having revealed the plot, Duquesne and a number of others were captured in Cape Town inside the British defenses. This was the climax of what has come to be known as the ' Cape Town Plot.' Some of the prisoners were shot and some sentenced to death who later had their sentences changed to life imprisonment. Captain Duquesne was among the latter. Ten months later he escaped from the Bermuda prisons, got aboard the American yacht Margaret of New York while she was coaling at the dock, and was conveyed to Baltimore.
"Back to Europe he went again, as war correspondent and military writer on the Petit Bleu; thence to Africa, where he took a commission on the Congo. In East Africa he hunted big game for sport and profit, and finally he came to New York to do newspaper and magazine work."
He cut a figure in America as a hunter. Back in 1910, when Congress amused itself with light diversions, when President Taft was in the White House and when President Roosevelt was in Africa, the eyes of the nation were turned perforce toward that great preserve of wild game. On March 24, 1910, the House of Representatives' Committee on Agriculture went into session with the Honorable Charles F. Scott in the chair.
Late March in Washington has a hint of spring, and that Thursday was probably an off-day, with nothing much to do, for the committee's business was the consideration of H. R. 23261 — a bill " to import into the United States wild and domestic animals whose habitat is similar to government reservations and lands at present unoccupied and unused. . . . Provided, that such animals will thrive and propagate and prove useful either as food or as beasts of burden, and that two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ... be appropriated for this purpose." The bill was Representative Broussard's, of Louisiana; he had in mind the re-population of the unyielding backwaters of his constituency with happy families of — what? Foreign sheep, or parrots, or egrets, or fish? Not at all. Families of hippopotamuses.
The Gentleman from Louisiana addressed the meeting briefly, saying that he had brought to the hearing three distinguished specialists in the matter of wild beasts, Dr. Irwin of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, a fine old pioneer whom Richard Harding Davis did describe in his "Real Soldiers of Fortune," and "Captain Fritz Duquesne, formerly in the Boer army, who is lecturing and writing on this subject. . . ." Dr. Irwin spoke earnestly for the introduction of the hippo, Major Burnham made an absorbing address on the habits of wild animals he had known — and a herd of camels he once pursued in Texas — and our bright and voluble Captain Fritz then told the committee extraordinary things of the home of the hippopotamus, the delicacy of its flesh, the amiability of its temperament, and the carelessness of its appetite." During my boyhood," he said at one stage of the proceedings, "the French soap manufacturers used to come down there and pay us all sorts of prices, competing with one another, to get the fat of the hippopotamus; and we made a considerable amount of money from saving the fat when we killed a hippo. The Boers were in the habit of going down to the river and killing a hippo and bringing it in and dividing it among the different families in the district. It is pretty hard to get rid of four and a half tons of meat. In the case of the bones of the animal, we would take an ordinary wood saw and saw them in halves, and make a great big pot of soup for a large number of the people, including the Kaffir servants on the ranch, or the farm, as we call it." Again:
"My father was instrumental in sending the camel to Australia from Africa, and also in introducing it into the Kalahari desert. The German Government now uses the camel exclusively for its cavalry in the Kalahari desert, which is practically the counterpart of the deserts in this country. My father had the contract to take them over to Australia for the West Australian Government and I took them over there. To-day camels and ostriches from Africa are being raised in Australia."
Mr. Chapman asked: "Do you think animals such as you have mentioned would become acclimated here without difficulty?" Duquesne replied: "Yes, I was over there recently in one place where Colonel Roosevelt passed through, and the frost was that thick (indicating about one inch). That is where he went to get some of his best animals. . . ." In discussing the zebra he said: " There is nothing wrong with the animal. The English in Africa want to get percentage, you know. They put an animal out and they want to break it in right away, and they want to get some money for it right on the spot. That is what they are in Africa for. They want to take on the animals and break them in at once. The Germans are more scientific than the English. In German East Africa they are making a great success of domesticating these animals I have spoken of, and crossing the zebra. . . . The Germans in Germany, France, and Belgium, not to mention those in the United States, tried scientifically to make the leopard change his spots, too."
The man really exhibited an unusual acquaintance with wild beasts, and he summed up the picturesque argument for the bill when he said: "If there is vegetation in a river, the hippopotamus will never leave the river. If you had the hippopotamus in Louisiana and it ate up all your water plants you would be quite willing to let the hippo live down there. You see the water plants have to live on a certain amount of air, and the fish live on a certain amount of air. Neither the plant nor the fish can live on air that is riot there. As the plant is the stronger, and is able to take the air from above, it will draw it at the bottom and draw it from the top, and the fish is suffocated in the water. Then when a storm comes and blows the water plants, which are floating, all to one side, the fish are netted up against them and kept in one place until they die. These plants exhaust the air in the water that is passing through the fishes' gills and that .destroys the fish." I wish there were space here to reproduce all the proceedings of that hearing—it is historic vaudeville: a German spy teaching a class of American congressmen about the hippo, and suggesting subtly that when they purchase a fleet of the great beasts for the Louisiana bayous, they let him round them up. He would have done it if there had been American money in it. American money appeared from another source, however, in 19n. Duquesne had been working in a desultory way for the moving pictures, and he interested one Hite, a functionary in the Thanhouser Film Company, in a plan to explore Central America with a moving-picture camera. Ashton said he also obtained financial support from Frank Seiberling of the Goodyear Rubber Company of Akron, a great patron of- sports, and the financier of the ill-fated balloon" Akron "in which Walter Wellman once tried to cross the Atlantic. He set sail in 1911 for Jamaica, where he enlisted the finances of his father-in-law, Wortley, in the project, and then moved on to Guatemala. There he was suspected of revolutionary activities, and after cabling Washington and receiving a satisfactory report from the state department, he was released, and made his way through Honduras to Nicaragua. There he spent some time, and saw something of O'Connell, the railroad man — enough to receive a pass over all lines of the Nicaraguan railroad.
In 1913 he returned to the United States. Among the papers which we discovered was a record of an insurance policy for a maximum of $80,000 worth of moving picture film at $4 a foot, which Duquesne took out with the Mannheim Insurance Company in New York on December 17. He was setting out on another expedition, and he wished to insure his reels of film on shipboard from
"seas, fires, pirates, rovers, assailing thieves, jettison, barratry of the master and mariners, and all other perils, losses and misfortunes that have or shall come to the hurt, detriment or damage of the said goods and merchandise or any part thereof."
By a separate certificate the company also insured Duquesne against further risk, thus:
"It is agreed that this insurance covers only the risk of capture, seizure or destruction by men-of-war, by letters of marque, by taking at sea, arrests, restraints, detainments or acts of kings, princes and people authorized by and in prosecution of hostilities between belligerent nations. . . ."
and off to the Spanish Main and the pirates and the assailing thieves sailed Fritz Duquesne.
His migrations during the years of 1914 and 1915 are not clear. This much is certain: that on June 16, 1915, Sir C. Mallet, the British minister at Panama, wrote to the foreign office in London the following note, setting forth an observation he had made that day in the Zone:
"Through a Canal Zone detective I learnt confidentially that a passenger named Captain F. Duquesne, travelling with a passport issued by the United States Consul at Manaos, Brazil, had embarked for Trinidad on the R. M. S. Panama on the 14th instant."
My informant stated that Captain Duquesne poses as an American officer but in reality is an intelligence officer in the service of the German Government."
I have warned the Governor of Trinidad by telegraph so that a watch may be kept on Captain Duquesne's movements."
The wily captain had been cruising rather busily through the Caribbean, over the Isthmus, and into South America. His passport connected him with Manaos, the British message established his presence at Panama and Trinidad, a German war communique dated " December 20," and signed by the German consul, Lehmann, in Guatemala, showed that he was an acceptable guest at the outposts of the German Empire. And he had visited Nicaragua before he entered Panama in 1915, for we found in his possession this letter:
"Managua, May 5, 1915." Imperial German Consulate for Nicaragua:
"It is a pleasure for me to recommend to you, my countrymen, the bearer of this, Mr. Fritz Duquesne, Captain of Engineers to the Boer army, very warmly. " The same gentleman has on many occasions given many notable services to our good German cause."
The Imperial German Consul, "UEBERSEXIG."
Enclosed in the envelope was Uebersexig's personal card, reinforcing his recommendation of Duquesne as an accredited German agent. Trinidad is a good jumping-off place into the far tropics, and it is quite possible that as Ashton said Duquesne disappeared into the interior of Brazil, and " explored the unknown regions of Brazil and the Amazon." It is not hard to find unknown regions of Brazil within a few miles of the coast. He probably did not penetrate far into the interior, for in January of 1916, he showed up in lower Brazil.
He emerged from the interior as a valiant explorer, preceded by native carriers whom he had hired to transport his precious movie-film. As he approached the port of Bahia Duquesne's personality underwent a perceptible change. Duquesne suddenly became George Fordham.
Among his papers we found an application for shipment by a Brazilian broker which read as follows:
"Honorable Superintendent." Francisco Figuerado requests a permit to ship for New York via steamer Verdi to sail on January 28, 1916, a case as described below: "Bahia, January 27, 1916. "Raul E. de Oliveira, Custom House Broker. "1 case weighing 80 kilos... .i.... oo$5oo"
One case of potter's earth in dust (sampies)"
Potter's earth may have been included in the materials in the case, but that is doubtful, for on October 4, 1916, " Mrs. Alice Duquesne being duly sworn deposes and says that she accompanied her husband, Captain Fritz Duquesne, during his trip through Central America in the Spring and Summer of 1914. That in the baggage was an iron trunk used to carry moving picture films and negatives which she presumes to be the same trunk that was subsequently shipped by Capt. Duquesne per the S. S. Tennyson from Bahia to New York sailing in January, 1916. That the said trunk was about 1/2 inch thick, and made of iron about 45 inches in length by 30 inches in height by 26 inches in depth . . . had a hinged cover that overlapped the sides of same, and fastened down with two thumb screws and a lock. That two iron bands went around the trunk and were riveted to same. That the cover was lined with packing where it overlapped the sides of the trunk. That the said trunk was of very solid construction, painted a dark green, almost black, and that two men were required to lift same." Hardly a suitable receptacle for potter's earth. Furthermore, George Fordham, whose handwriting is identical with that of Fritz Duquesne for the simple reason that the two men were the same, on February 11 signed an invoice at the American consulate in Bahia stating that he solemnly and truly declared that the 28,000 feet of moving picture film and the 4100 negatives which he was shipping back to the United States were to the best of his knowledge and belief of the manufacture of the United States and had been exported from the United States in 1913.
The Tennyson sailed quietly out of the river- mouth into the Atlantic and Duquesne vanished just as quietly. On February 26, when the ship was coasting along the Brazilian forest toward the Equator, a terrific explosion occurred in her hold, and three sailors were killed. The iron trunk never reached New York. The news of the catastrophe set fire to the British in South America and the English press seethed with such paragraphs as this — which we found in Du- quesne's papers, clipped from an Argentine newspaper:
"Rio de Janeiro. "The confession of the clerk Bauer, arrested in connection with the Tennyson outrage, which led to the discovery of the papers and funds of the band of German bombers in an English safe deposit institution reveals a plot of far-reaching consequences fraught with danger to the neutrality of a number of South American republics, as well as peril to the lives of their citizens. " Besides a number of important documents, the police seized $6,740 in American bills, which were in an envelope marked 'On His Majesty's Service' and addressed: 'Piet Naciud.' When this name was published it caused quite a shock in the Allied circles here, as this man always cultivated their society and even recited at their benefits. He was ever loud in his denunciations of the Germans, and as he was a Boer, or pretended to be one, was doubly liked for his seemingly praiseworthy attitude. Little did the English dream that they were harbouring a blackhearted spy in their midst whom they now know as one of the leading plotters whose audacity is beyond belief. The safe deposit was in his own name, and he gave his home address as Cape Town. Neither he nor the agent Niewirth and his fellow conspirators have yet been arrested. It is believed that they left with Naciud in a powerful motorboat that he owned."
How Captain Fritz Duquesne, alias Fordham, alias Naciud, must have chuckled as he sat safely in the neutral Argentine and read this flattering tribute to his audacity. For he did turn up presently in Buenos Aires, and embarked on a new audacity — nothing less than collecting the insurance of $80,000 for the loss of the film which he claimed to have shipped in the iron box I Let Ashton take up the story: ". . . his wife . . . tried to collect the insurance, but was advised that she would have better chances ... if he would disappear. He then assumed the name of Fredericks. In 1916 a report was published in the New York Evening Post and the New York Times that he had been assassinated by Indians in the interior of Bolivia, and being interested I called at the office of the N. Y. Post and asked Mr. A. D. H. Smith, editor, to look this report up, and he found that the report came from the Associated Press, the same being signed ' Fredericks.' They also had a cablegram signed, ' Captain Duquesne,' and it said: ' I am still alive.' The report also said that he was the sole survivor of an attack from the Indians and that he was somewhere in Bolivia recovering in a hospital, the location being unknown. He sent the message signed 'Fredericks' himself from Buenos Aires.
"He then became connected with the Board of Education of the Argentine, supplying films for the schools, and a certain politician in Buenos Aires claims he gave him $24,000 with which to purchase films (certain educational films). He claims to have come to New York with a man named Williamson and purchased the films, paying $24,000 in cash."
Mrs. Duquesne was already in New York, having a hard time collecting her claim against the German-owned Mannheim Insurance Company for the " sympathy verdict" for damage to the films. He stored the new films he claims to have purchased in the Fulton and Flatbush Warehouse, 437 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn — stored them as " statuary," and used to visit the warehouse frequently. On one occasion he arrived after hours, and tried unsuccessfully to bribe the watchman to admit him. He moved to a small hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and about two weeks after the storage of the cases of " statuary" in the Brooklyn warehouse, the warehouse mysteriously caught fire.
By a queer coincidence the "films" — Duquesne has never proved that he did buy them — which of course were destroyed in this fire too, had been insured by their purchaser, " Mr. Frederick Fredericks," for $33,000 by the Stuyvesant Insurance Company, and he set out to collect the $33,000 for the total loss of his property. If both claims proved successful, he and his wife would have gathered in some $n3,000. But they found it one thing to be insured and another thing entirely to get the money. Times were not treating Duquesne well.
Along in July, 1917, when the United States was in the throes of buckling down to the business of war, and Washington was sweltering under its increased load of war-time population and business, Ashton, Duquesne's old friend, happened to have business in the capital. He dropped in to call on Robert F. Broussard, of New Iberia, Louisiana, who in 1915 had been elected senator from this state . . . the same Broussard who had been the author of the hippopotamus bill. Ashton asked the United States Senator from Louisiana if he had heard from Captain Duquesne. Ashton continues: "his secretary overheard the conversation (his secretary is a charming young lady) and I took her out to dinner, and about five days later she wrote, me and said, ' You may be interested to know that Captain Duquesne is in Washington, but does not want it known.' I immediately became interested and concluded that if Captain Duquesne was in Washington and did not want it known, especially to me, I ... would investigate. So I went to Washington . . ." and learned something of Duquesne's whereabouts and circumstances.
"After hearing this story in Washington," Ashton continues, " I learned that this man was in desperate need of assistance and I offered to help him in any way that I could. . . . Senator Broussard was trying to secure a position for him with General Goethals, . . . also at this time he had plans on file with the Secretary of the Navy, of an invention to destroy mines in harbors, and was hoping that he might secure a position with the Navy Department. I had been offered a position with George Creel, and I also introduced Duquesne to him, and I then got in touch with Major Kendall Barnelli. I advised him to listen to Duquesne and to give him a position. I also advised Barnelli that I was investigating Du- quesne's story."
Damon Ashton then brought Pythias Duquesne back to New York and put him up in the apartment in which the Bomb Squad men had first been called to investigate the theft of papers. Duquesne begged his friend not to make him known under his own name, as the insurance case for the warehouse fire was still pending. So Duquesne continued to masquerade as " Fredericks." His health was poor, and he did not go to work at once. At times Ashton's charity seemed to irk Duquesne, and he even went to the telephone and called up an agency to discuss a lecture tour. The lecture agents told him that only war lectures were making money. There was a real inspiration, and after working for several days to assemble a uniform of the West Australia Light Horse, correct in every detail, he dressed up in it and called at the lecture bureau as Captain Claude Staughton. His Australian experience as chaperone to the camels stood him in good stead, and he went about town mixing with British Army officers without arousing suspicion. He even got on famously with the late Sir George Reed, prime minister of Australia, whom he met one night at the Hotel Astor.
The Pond lecture folk took him up and arranged a tour for him. Consciously or unconsciously, they swallowed Duquesne whole. They had him photographed in his new uniform, with the ribbons of three decorations over his heart, and they reproduced the natty figure on the cover of a publicity folder announcing the subjects on which Captain Claude Staughton was prepared to talk. "Captain Staughton," read the folder, "has perhaps seen more of the war than any man at present before the public. . . . He wears ribbons showing that he has received five medals: two of these the King's and Queen's for service in the Boer war, carrying seven clasps; one is for service in Natal, and two for bravery in saving lives. A sixth French medal for which he has been cited is yet to be awarded. At the outbreak of the Boer war, Captain, then Lieutenant, Staughton, was an officer in one of Australia's crack horse regiments, to Africa, and served in Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Natal and Basuto Land. He was with Kitchener at the Battle of Paarde- burg when General Cronje was captured; was with Lord Roberts at the Capture of Bloemfon- tein; at the fall of Johannesburg and the seizure of Pretoria. Later, in pursuit of DeWet's army, he was attached to General Knox's flying column as intelligence officer and commandeering officer for the Australian Bushmen. He later entered the Cape forces and took active part in the clearing up of Basuto Land, and in the last Natal insurrection he fought with the Natal forces."
That is a mere fragment of the fighting in which this eulogy proceeded to sketch Captain Staugh- ton's modest part. New Guinea, Gallipoli, Flanders, the Somme, Arras (illustrated by motion pictures), four times gassed, three times bayoneted, once pronged by a German trench-hook — those were the high lights of the career which, the folder assured the public, had finally brought him face to face with the most fearless lecture audience in the world — the United States. He would be pleased to lecture on the story of the Anzacs, underground warfare — or, on " German Spy Methods," of which " he had learned much in Egypt."
One of the sub-topics in this lecture on German spy methods was this: " Germany pays nothing for its spying on us.—> We pay it all.— How long will we stand it?"
Well, we stood it for a long time — too long a time by half. But not long enough to permit Captain Staughton to lecture before many audiences, nor to ask this question too frequently. He gulled a few suburban Sunday schools, but his arrest put an end at least to his attempt to pick up a bit of odd change by collecting insurance.
For the steamship Tennyson was British territory, and, as this is written, the report comes that this picturesque charlatan is going back across the Atlantic, to be tried for the murder of a British sailor. So begins the last chapter in the story of Fritz Duquesne.