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Bellamy Is Outwitted
Bellamy was a man used to all hazards, whose supreme effort of life it was to meet
success and disaster with unvarying mien. But this was disaster too appalling even for his
self-control. He felt his knees shake so that he caught at the edge of the table before
which he was standing. There was no possible doubt about it, he had been tricked. Von
Behrling, after all, - Von Behrling, whom he had looked upon merely as a stupid,
infatuated Austrian, ready to sell his country for the sake of a woman, had fooled him
The man who sat at the head of the table - the only other occupant of the room - was in
Court dress, with many orders upon his coat. He had just been attending a Court function,
from which Bellamy's message had summoned him. Before him on the table was an
envelope, hastily torn open, and several sheets of blank paper. It was upon these that
Bellamy's eyes were fixed with an expression of mingled horror and amazement. The
Cabinet Minister had already pushed them away with a little gesture of contempt.
"Bellamy," he said gravely, "it is not like you to make so serious an error.
"I hope not, sir," Bellamy answered. "I - yes, I have been deceived."
The Minister glanced at the clock.
"What is to be done?" he asked.
Bellamy, with an effort, pulled himself together. He caught up the envelope, looked once
more inside, held up the blank sheets of paper to the lamp and laid them down. Then with
clenched fists he walked to the other side of the room and returned. He was himself
"Sir James, I will not waste your time by saying that I am sorry. Only an hour ago I met
Von Behrling in a little restaurant in the city, and gave him twenty thousand pounds for
"You paid him the money," the Minister remarked slowly, "without opening the
Bellamy admitted it.
"In such transactions as these," he declared, "great risks are almost inevitable. I took what
must seem to you now to be an absurd risk. To tell you the honest truth, sir, and I have
had experience in these things, I thought it no risk at all when I handed over the money.
Von Behrling was there in disguise. The men with whom he came to this country are
furious with him. To all appearance, he seemed to have broken with them absolutely.
Even now -