"He certainly is expert in eluding shadowers," admitted Dean. "Every day he has been followed, but always he manages to give the operatives the slip. He must know he is being watched."
"I'm anxious to know what the nephew will say to me to-day," said Jane.
"I know he knows what I am doing. He looks at me in such an amusedly superior way every time he sees me."
"Be careful about trying to pump him," cautioned Dean. "He strikes me as by far the more intelligent of the two. It would not surprise me in the least if he were not old Hoff's nephew at all, but really his superior, sent over especially by Wilhelmstrasse to take charge of the plotters.
He doesn't in the least resemble old Hoff."
"No indeed, he doesn't," admitted Jane. "He certainly is clever, too.
We haven't learned a single thing that incriminates him, have we?"
"Nothing definite, yet everything taken together looks damaging enough.
Here is a young German of military age and appearance, who arrived from Sweden just before we went into the war. He has plenty of money and spends his time idling about New York, in frequent communication with at least one navy officer. He selects a home overlooking the river from which our soldiers are departing for France. You yourself saw him pursuing K-19--the other K-19--who a few hours afterward was found murdered."
"Things don't look right," Jane agreed, yet a few hours later as she sat opposite the young man at tea, she found herself doubting. It seemed incredible, impossible, that Frederic Hoff could be a murderer. Her instinctive sense of justice forced her to admit that it was hard for her to believe him even a spy. He seemed so cultured, so clean, so straightforward, so nice. If she had not seen that unforgettable look of hate on his face that night as she watched him from the window she could not, she would not have believed evil of him.
The tremor of nervous excitement in which she met him quickly passed, and she found herself once more chatting intimately with him and enjoying it. He talked well on practically all subjects, showing reserve only when she tried to draw him out about himself. Her previous experiences with the opposite sex had taught her that most men's favorite topic of conversation is themselves, but Mr. Hoff appeared to be the exception. Adroitly he baffled all her efforts to get him to discuss his family, his achievements, or his past, even when she sought to encourage intimacy by telling about her brother who was abroad in Pershing's army.