"In accordance with instructions," began Carter, as if he was making out a report, "I had operatives K-24 and K-11 shadow the party suspected. On two different occasions they followed her to a bookstore and back home again. She was accompanied on one occasion by her younger sister. Each time she went directly home and stopped there, neither she nor her sister coming out again, and no person visiting the apartment, but--"
"Here's the interesting part," interrupted Fleck.
"On both occasions within a couple of blocks of the bookstore she passed a man with a dachshund. She did not speak to the man, but each time she stopped to pet the dog."
"Was it the same man both times?" asked Dean.
"Apparently not," replied Carter, "but it may have been the same dog.
Dachshunds all look alike."
"Go on," said the chief.
"Now my theory is that that girl was instructed to walk north until she met the man with the dog. I'll bet anything that code message went under the dog's collar. The next time she gets a message I'm going to get that dog."
"It seems preposterous," scoffed Dean.
"Rather it shows," said Fleck, "that these spies all suspect they are being watched, and that they resort to the most extraordinary methods of communication to throw off shadowers. They have used dachshunds before.
There's a New England munition plant to which they used to send a messenger each week to learn how their plans for strikes and destruction were progressing. They put a different man on the job each time to avoid stirring up suspicion. At the station there would always be two children playing with a dachshund. The spy would simply follow them as if casually, and they would lead him to a rendezvous with the local plotters. Now, Miss Strong," he said, turning to Jane, "I brought you down here for two reasons. First, to give you an inkling of how important your task is, and second, to ask you to undertake still another task for us. Are you still willing to help?"
"More than ever," said the girl firmly.
"The one disappointment is that we are getting no evidence whatever to involve or incriminate young Hoff. To-morrow, while he and his uncle are away on their usual auto trip, I am going to have the apartment thoroughly searched."
Jane's face blanched. She recalled what a strain it had been on her nerves the day she watched on the roof while Dean installed the dictograph. She felt hardly equal to the task of ransacking desks and drawers.
"There will be no one at home but the old servant. She can be easily disposed of. It is imperative that the search be made at once. There is evidence that what they are planning--evidently some big coup--is nearing the time for its execution. We must find it out in order to thwart them. I have got to know what old Hoff meant by the 'wonder-worker!' He said that it was nearly ready. I suspect that it is some new engine of destruction. We must prevent any disaster to transports or munition factories, if that's what they have in mind."