Declare

9,043
07.03.2019

And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,

Fretted to dulcet jars

And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon…

Elena frowned deeply, but nodded, and in a whisper recited the next line-"I said to Dawn: be sudden-to Eve: be soon…"

"Finish your drink, young man," said Cassagnac, briskly tapping ash from his cigarette, "the hour grows late, and-"

A rich, plummy voice interrupted from behind Hale, in English: "Those sh-shoes I left out this afternoon weren't c-c-cleaned," said Kim Philby's well-remembered voice, "and yet I find you here d-drinking, Andrew?"

Hale was jolted by the bench being pulled out, and then Kim Philby had sat down heavily beside him, smelling of tobacco and whiskey and some British after-shave lotion, and crinkling his eyes and showing his teeth in a smile.

Philby's gaze fell on the mug of pink beer. "And what are you d-drinking, Andrew?" He picked it up in one brown hand and sniffed it. "Is this s-some boche digestive aid? Have you got an upset st-stomach, my boy?"

Cassagnac leaned forward and tossed his cigarette butt under Philby's nose into the pink beer. "It was someone else's," he said in a bored tone. The waiter had walked up at Philby's arrival, and now Cassagnac said to him in German, "Where is the brandy our friend ordered?" as he pointed at Hale. Turning to Philby, he added, "And for you, sir?"

"A brandy as well. N-no, two glasses of b-brandy for me." He squinted speculatively at Hale. "You can't have flown here," he said. "It was hard enough for me to get a f-flight into the Gatow airport, with our Soviet allies l-laying claim to all altitudes and all directions and all ow-hours for their own scanty flights. Did you d-drive down the hole? Is this more of J-Jimmie's n-n-nonsense?" Less jovially, he asked, "What is the name and number of your passport here?"

"The name on it?" asked Hale, certain that Theodora would not want Philby to know about the Conway identity. "My own name." He tried to return Philby's gaze as if he were expecting, instead of fearing, some further question.

"We have thought it best," said Cassagnac, "not to discuss our jobs."

Philby frowned at Hale for another moment, then turned to Cassagnac with a smile. "Oh, that's all right, Andrew here is just a j-junior f-fetch-and-c-c-errand-boy, in my firm. A c-custodian, actually." Then Philby glanced back at Hale with mock concern and smacked his forehead. "Oh, I say, I'm sorry-you've probably been h-hinting to your friends about b-big secret g-government work! I should have considered your-your fragile young man's pride."

Hale took a deep breath, then just leaned back and smiled tiredly at Philby. "I'll thank you to leave my fragile young man out of this."

Cassagnac laughed. "Doubtless he has no pride," he said.

Philby's gaze fixed on the old Frenchman. "I'm Kim," he said, reaching across the table to shake hands. "And you are…?"

"Louis Pasteur," said Cassagnac, smiling.

Philby nodded ponderously and swung his face toward Elena, opening his mouth as if to say something more in the same bantering tone; but then he just exhaled, frowning with what seemed to be surprised and tentative recognition. After two full seconds of staring at her, he closed his mouth, then looked away from her and said to Cassagnac, "And th-this lovely g-girl-is she your w-wife, Mr. Pasteur?"

"Bless me, no!" said Elena suddenly. "Actually I am not married. My name is…Marie Curie."

The waiter walked up then with a tray and set one glass in front of Hale and two in front of Philby-who emptied one of the glasses in a single gulp.

Hale's breathing had suddenly gone shallow and a smile was tugging at his lips, and in his head her words were still echoing: Bless me, no! Actually I am not married.

But Philby was still frowning at Elena, and now he said to her, abruptly, "Nineteen-forty…one! New Year's Eve. I d-do remember you-viv-viva-vividly." He smiled, then went on quickly, "Who were you with, on that night?"

Hale's face tingled in sudden alarm, and he concentrated on taking hold of his brandy glass, and lifting it to his lips, and not glancing at Elena. New Year's Eve of '41 had been their last night together in Paris, the night he had thought of ever since as their wedding night. What intelligence sources did horrible old Philby have access to? Had he somehow been in Paris then?

Hale heard Elena's breezy reply: "On New Year's Eve?-I am sure I was with some handsome young man."

Peripherally Hale could see Philby nod and turn toward him; but the choppy murmur of conversation in the long room was muted then by the sudden roar of rain falling outside the building, and Hale saw dark lines of water begin to streak the boards across the glassless windows.

Philby shifted on the bench to look toward the leaking windows, and Hale heard him mutter, "Constant to the old covenant." Philby glanced back and smiled faintly as he met Hale's startled gaze. " St. Paul 's epistle to the Crustaceans," he said lightly. From his pocket Philby took a corked bottle of some clear fluid, and then he popped it open and poured the liquid into the brandy glass he'd emptied. Hale caught a whiff of something like turpentine and ether. "Flit," Philby said. "A sample of bug killer, fr-from our American c-cousins."

Other diners in the room had turned to look at the rain-streaked boards over the windows, and now an unshaven man in a baggy old business suit came shuffling diffidently up to the table. In German he said, "Rain washes away blood."

Philby frowned at him, and answered in English. "You wish it were so, mein H-Herr Schimpf. I've t-told you before to s-sell your f-f-filthy old secrets to the Om-Om-Americans." He pointed sharply to the street door, and the man shambled away in evident confusion.

Hale knew that schimpf meant disgrace or insult, and he was intrigued to see a dew of sweat on Philby's forehead.

"The city's f-full of ex-Abwehr who've t-turned into freelance intelligence agents," said Philby to the table in general, "and the American Counter-Intelligence Corps and OSS are p-paying them; the British s-simply arrest them. Creatures like that f-fellow will sell you a Soviet code book on Monday, and then c-come back on Wednesday to sell you the news that the relevant coded traffic will be all d-deception now, since on Tuesday he sold word of the original tr-transaction to the Russians; and then on Thursday he'll go b-back to the Russians again." He scowled in the direction the diffident man had taken. "It's a g-g-good way to achieve abrupt, total retirement at the hands of some double-crossed g-government agency. 'There is truth to be found on the unknown shore, and many will find what few would seek.'" With that he snatched up a glass and drained it-and then grimaced and spat, for it had been the glass of insecticide.

"Hah!" he coughed. "That wasn't brandy!" He blinked through watering eyes at Hale. "Better than the l-local g-ggin, at least, hey?"

"I-haven't tried the local gin," said Hale blankly, wondering if Philby had seriously poisoned himself just now. He looked at Elena and Cassagnac, and they were both staring at Philby in moderate alarm. "I guess I won't," Hale added, just to be saying something. But Philby's action had reminded him of something from his Section One archival researches, and he wanted to get away from the man's physical presence for a moment, away from the intrusive insecticide smell, and pin down the memory. Hale sneaked a glance at his wristwatch below the table edge; it was nearly ten o'clock. "How does one get food here?" he asked.

"There is a table by the kitchen wall," spoke up Elena in French, "and they will serve you a plate of potato pancakes or lung hash or Sturdy Max."

"Sturdy Max sounds good," said Hale, who didn't know what it might be. He stood up and walked through the tobacco and cooking smoke toward the indicated far table, where two big moustached men were stirring pots and clanking ladles on plates; and he wondered if he were drunk, for he felt an almost centrifugal resistance to progress away from the table, as if he were walking uphill.

Intrusive. That was it-six months ago Hale had been reading a file of brittle 1916 Secret Service telegrams from the Arab Bureau in Cairo, whose telegraphic address had been INTRUSIVE CAIRO; the group had included Gertrude Bell and the young T. E. Lawrence, and Hale had read about a controversial initiation ritual which had consisted of drinking a half-and-half shot of gin and insecticide, a concoction they had reportedly referred to as "Gin, Repellent."

Hale stumbled up to the serving table and blinked at the pots and platters laid out on it. Sturdy Max appeared to be ham and eggs on black bread, and he was about to ask for some-

–  But at that moment the music on the radio was drowned out in a sudden barrage of static, and for a moment Hale thought lightning must have struck somewhere nearby; then the roar of the static began to flail itself into a wild drop-and-double-beat momentum, an articulated cacophony that was tantalizingly almost a coherent rhythm. As in that Paris garret nearly four years ago, the effect of drumming and chanting seemed totally free of any organic or rational source, but it was nevertheless urgent, and quickened with an "emotion" at once so alien and so strong that it could only be comprehended, inadequately, as rage.

Rain washes away blood.

True enough, Hale thought dizzily. This downpour will soon disperse the blood of that man who was shot by the Brandenburg Gate.

The Russian soldiers seemed to herd the fugitive to that spot, before killing him. And there was a crane nearby, useful for lifting a large stone. This is early, two hours ahead of schedule-but so were the flights Elena caught in Paris and Lisbon, three and a half years ago.

It's at the Brandenburg Gate, he thought with sudden total certainty, and it's right now.

When it appears to be starting up, you instantly go into total evasion procedures, am I understood?

Hale glanced back at the table, trying to catch Elena's gaze. But I can't just disappear now, he thought desperately. If I leave right now, when will I ever see her again?

But even if I go back to the table, when will I ever see her again?

…the king's men. They deserve our obedience.

…working for the Crown.

And too he felt again the vertiginous temptation he had felt in that Paris garret, the fascination that he imagined had led Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

…and I hid myself.

He walked around behind the serving table, and then sidestepped through the arch into the kitchen.

He hurried past the busy cooks and the flaring stoves to a door in the back, and when he had pushed it open and stepped out into the darkness, he was in the cold rain, on a porch railed with broken iron posts. He skipped down the steps to the lightless street pavement, and then sprinted away south, toward the lacy Reichstag dome that showed in lines of darker black against the black sky, and toward the Brandenburg Gate beyond.

It was a night for irrational speculation, and fleetingly he wondered if Elena had caught his image in her old broken pocket mirror, so that as he now ran away from her toward a bloody hole in the Berlin pavement, a semblance of himself might still be sitting at the table, laughing and looking into her eyes.

Chapter Ten

Berlin, 1945

A specter is haunting Europe -the specter of communism.

–  Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

The Reichstag had been the German Parliament building until it burned in 1933-in Broadway Hale had been assured that Goebbels had organized the arson in order to blame it on Communists-and until recently its ruined profile must have been a grotesque flaw in the stately Berlin skyline. Now the rest of the city had caught up to it. And Hale, having walked away from Elena, running now across dark squares in the rain with a gun bouncing in his pocket, had the uneasy feeling that he was on his way to catching up to it as well.

Big trucks were moving in the rain on the east side of the towering Brandenburg Gate, their glaring headlamps throwing brief sequential flashes between the pillars to the western side, and in the darkness at the southwest corner of the square Hale could hear the thudding of a big piston engine. The expanse of pavement on this side of the pillars glittered with rain splashes in the sweeps of headlamp glow, and Hale could clearly see the patch of darkness out in the middle of it that was the crater where the man had been killed this afternoon.

He could also see, spaced around this western perimeter of the square, the hooded silhouettes of soldiers carrying rifles-he counted four such figures, then saw four more, and concluded nervously that there were simply very many of them.

With his collar up and his head down, Hale hurried diagonally away from the broad square. He strode south across the lanes of the Charlottenburg Chaussee to the curb a good hundred yards within the British Sector, and then he walked still further south, down the Siegesalle, the old Avenue of Victory, below the stone statues of long-dead German kings. Several times he doubled back briefly in his course, but he saw no figures behind him at all. His plan was to walk back up the western sidewalk of the Koniggratzer Strasse to the broken wall from which he had watched the man killed-from that point he should be able to get bearings on landmarks so as to fix the hole's precise location later.

The Bratwurst stand was closed now, the fringe of uncooked sausages taken down from the dripping wooden roof, but Hale saw the falling rain glitter in yellow electric light around a high scaffold on the western side of the Potsdamer Platz square, and when he walked out to the curb and looked back he saw that the British had erected a huge sign across which thousands of light bulbs spelled out current news headlines for the benefit of the Berliners in the darkness of the Soviet Sector; before striding north up the splashing sidewalk, away from the lights, Hale read that Australian troops had captured Brunei Bay in Borneo from the Japanese.

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