that day I travelled to the north. The train stopped at Leeds
station where I bought a basket of food and the morning
newspapers. Another ticket-collector came in and told me that I
had to change trains at Dumfries.
I read the papers, but of course there was nothing in them about
Scudder's death. It was too early for that. Then I took out
Scudder's little book. It was full of figures but there were
also a few strange names. I noticed the words 'Hofgaard',
'Luneville', 'Avocado' and 'Pavia'. 'Pavia' appeared several
It was clearly some kind of code and I have always been
interested in codes. I looked carefully at this one. Scudder had
written numbers instead of letters. But what did the names mean?
I knew that some of them were towns. But had he used them
instead of People's names? There is usually
a key-word in codes like this, and I tried to guess it.
'Hofgaard' was clearly not the key-word because it did not suit
the rest of the code. I tried the other words too but none
suited the code.
I slept for an
hour or two, and then the ticket-collector's voice woke me up.
'Be quick, sir. I mean that you have to change here.'I looked
out of the window. We were at Dumfries, and the train had
stopped. I got out and crossed the station to the Galloway
The train was quite full, and I had an interesting
conversation with a farmer. He thought that I was a farmer too! We talked about
cattle and crops and prices. Many people got out at different
stations, but I continued. At five o'clock the train stopped at
a small place which suited
me very well. I cannot remember its name, but it was
quiet. And it was a long way from London.
I got out and a
child took my ticket. It was such a fine evening that I felt
quite happy. I followed the road for a mile perhaps and then
took a path along a valley. It was not long
before I reached a cottage. There was a woman at the door of the
cottage and I spoke to her. She answered me very politely, and I
said, 'May I stay here tonight?'
'You're welcome,' she replied. 'Please come in.'
Very soon she laid a fine meal in front of me, and I drank
several glasses of thick sweet milk.
When it grew dark, her husband came home. He was a big man with
a thick black moustache. We talked politely for an hour or more,
and smoked some of my tobacco. They did not ask me any questions
but guessed perhaps that I was a farmer.
In the morning I enjoyed a large breakfast. But when I offered
half a sovereign to the woman, she would not take it. It was a
warm day, so she gave me a small can of milk to take with me. It
was nine o'clock when I left the cottage.
I walked a few miles to the south because I wanted to return to
the railway. But of course I could not go back to the same
little station. The railway men and the child would recognize me
if they saw me again. And then they would remember me.
So I went towards the next station and on my way there made a
plan. The safest way was to return to Dumfries. The police might
be searching for me, and I should be safer in a big town.
When I reached the station, I bought a ticket to Dumfries. I did
not have long to wait until a train came in. I got in with an
old man and his dog, and the man soon went to sleep. I borrowed
his morning paper which lay beside him.
The story of the murder was on the first page. Big letters said
'MURDER IN A LONDON FLAT'.
The milkman had waited for me for half an hour. Then he had
called the police. They had got into my flat and found Scudder's
body. The milkman had been arrested and taken to prison! I felt
very sorry for the poor man.
The story was continued on the back page. And the latest news
was that the milkman had been released. The police
were now looking for a man named Richard Hannay! They thought
that he had escaped by train and gone to Scotland.
I was glad that the milkman had been released. He knew nothing
about the murder, and I had only given him a sovereign. He had
been arrested and sent to prison for that!
The train stopped at a station which I recognized. It was the
place where I had got out the night before. Another train had
just arrived from Dumfries, and three men had got out of it.
They were talking to the railway men and the child. I watched
them carefully. The child was pointing along the road which I
The train started again. While it was moving out of the station,
I covered my face with the newspaper. It had gone a mile perhaps
when it suddenly stopped again. We were not at a station. The
train was near a bridge over a river.
This was my chance, and I changed my plan at once. I opened the
door and jumped out. It would have been a good idea if I had not
forgotten the dog. When I jumped, the dog tried to follow me.
The old man woke up and rushed to the door.
'Help! help!' he cried.
I ran down to the river bank and hid among some bushes there.
The ticket-collector and several people had come along and were
standing at the open door. A man was pointing towards the river
But a lucky chance saved me. I had not noticed that the dog was
tied to the man. Suddenly the dog jumped out and pulled the old
man out too. They rolled down the bank, and everybody forgot me
for a moment. The old man was rescued, but in the excitement the
dog bit somebody. I took my chance and ran away through the
When I looked back, the excitement was over. The people were
climbing into the train again, and soon it began to move.
I walked along the river bank and thought about my problem. I was safe but I was
also afraid. I do not mean that I was afraid of the police. I
was thinking about Scudder's enemies and their plans which I
knew. I felt sure that they would try to kill me or have me sent
to prison. They were a danger to me, and I could not hide my
fear. My troubles were not over yet.
I climbed away from the river until I reached the top of a hill.
There were other hills around me, and I could see clearly for
several miles. There were the railway station and one or two
cottages. Dust was rising over towards the east and that meant a
road. Then I looked up into the blue sky, and my heart almost
A small plane was flying towards me. And I knew at once that
Scudder's enemies were in that plane. The British police never
used aircraft to look for people.
I rolled behind a rock and watched the machine. It flew along
the river bank in narrow circles. It was so low that I could see
the pilot. But I was sure that he did not see me. Then it
climbed and turned. It flew over the river again and went back
to the south.
I decided at once to leave those hills. There was no place for
me to hide. And my enemies would soon find me if they could look
down on me from the sky.
At six o'clock I reached the road. I followed it for a few
miles. It was beginning to get dark when I came to a house
beside a bridge. I was surprised to see one house standing alone
in that wild country.
A young man was standing on the bridge
'Good evening,' he said. 'It's a fine evening, isn't it?'
'Yes, indeed,' I replied. 'Is this house an inn?'
'Yes, sir, and I'm the inn-keeper. Would you like to stay here
'You're a very young inn-keeper, aren't you?'
'Well, my father died last year and left me this inn. I'm living
here with my mother but I don't like the work at all. I'd rather
write stories, but what can I write about? I don't meet many
I suddenly got the idea that this young man could help me. 'I'll
tell you a story,' I said, 'and it's true too. I need a friend.
And I'll tell you this story in order to get your help. I'll
give you permission to write it, but don't do anything before
June 15th. That's a very important date.'
Then I sat on the bridge and told him a story. He listened
carefully, and his eyes were bright with excitement.
'I'm a farmer from Rhodesia,' I said, 'and,I came to Britain a
few weeks ago. I travelled by ship from German West Africa. The
Germans there thought that I was a spy. And they followed me all
the way to Britain. They've already killed my best friend, and
now they're trying to kill me. Have you read the newspaper
'Well then, you know about the murder of Franklin Scudder.'
'He was my best friend, and he was killed in my own flat.'
I told him that Scudder had worked for the Foreign Office. And I
explained that he had known some of the Germans' secrets. It was
quite a long story, and I made it very exciting.
At the end I said, 'You're looking for adventure, aren't you?
Well, you've found it now. These German spies may come here, and
I want to hide from them.'
He took my arm politely and pulled me towards the inn. 'You'll
be safe here, sir,' he said. 'You must tell me your adventures
again, and I'll write them down.'
'All right. But I have some work to do first. Scudder gave me a
long message in code. And I must find out what it means.'
While we were going into the inn, I heard the plane again. It
was flying low towards the bridge.
I had a quiet room at the back of the house. The inn-keeper's
mother brought me my meals. The place suited me very well.
The next morning I took out Scudder's note-book and began to
work. The code was a difficult one, and I had to try many
possible key-words. By noon I had found the spaces between the
words but I could not discover the letters.
After dinner I tried again and worked hard until three o'clock.
Then suddenly I had an idea. I was lying back in my chair when a
woman's name came into my head. It was Julia Czechenyi. Scudder
had told me that she was one of his worst enemies. Perhaps her
name was the key-word. I tried it quickly on the code and it was
'Julia' has five letters, and Scudder had used these letters
instead of a, e, i, o and u. J
is the tenth letter in English, and so he used the number io
instead of a. The letter e was the u of 'Julia', and u
is the twenty-first letter. So Scudder had written 21 instead of
The name 'Czechenyi' gave me nine other numbers, and I could
soon read Scudder's notes. I sat in my room working quietly for
the rest of the afternoon.
The facts in Scudder's little book were terrible. Indeed, when
the woman brought my tea, I was a very nervous man. My face
looked pale, and I did not want to eat anything.
'Are you all right, sir?' she asked. 'You look very pale.'
'Oh, it's nothing,' I said. 'Please put the things on the
There was a sudden noise outside the inn, and the woman left my
room. I heard a motor-car stopping and then there were several
A few minutes later the inn-keeper rushed into my room. 'Two men
have just arrived,' he said, 'and they're looking for you. They
described you very well.'
'What did you tell them?'
'I told them that you had stayed here last night but had left
early this morning.'
'Can you describe them?'
'One is a thin fellow with dark eyes, and the other is rather
'Do they talk like Englishmen?'
He nodded. 'Oh, yes, I think so.'
I picked up a bit of paper and wrote quickly in German:
'. . . Black Stone. Scudder had heard about this., but, he could
not do anything until June 15th. Karolides' plans are uncertain,
and I may not be able to help. But if Mr. T. advises, I will try
. . .'
When I had written the message, I tore the edges of the paper.
It was like a part of a torn-up letter.
'Give this to them,' I said. 'Tell them that it was found in my
Three minutes later the men drove away in the car. The
inn-keeper appeared in great excitement.
'Your paper gave them a surprise,' he said. 'The dark fellow
turned pale, and the fat one looked very ugly. They paid for
their drinks and left at once.'
'Now I want you to do something for me,' I said. 'Get on your
bicycle and go to the police at Newton-Stewart. Describe the two
men and talk about the London murder. You can invent reasons.
You can say that you heard a conversation between them. One man
told the other that he had just been released from prison.. And
say that you also heard Scudder's name. The hunt isn't over yet.
Those two fellows will come back tomorrow morning, and the
police must be here to arrest them.'
He went off at once, and I continued my work on Scudder's notes.
It was six o'clock when he came back.
'It's all right,' he said. 'The police will be here at eight
o'clock in the morning.'
We had a meal together, and I had to tell him my adventures
again. He made notes about them during the meal. I could not
sleep that night. I finished Scudder's book and then sat up in
my chair until morning. I was thinking about Scudder's terrible
At eight o'clock three policemen arrived at the inn. The
inn-keeper met them and showed them the garage. They left their
car there and then came into the inn.
Twenty minutes later another car appeared and stopped two
hundred yards from the inn. I was watching from a window above
the front-door. The car was driven under some trees and left
there. Two men got out of it and walked towards the inn.
The plan which I had made was not a very good one. I hoped that
the police would arrest the men. If they did so, I should be
But now I had a better idea. I wrote a note to the inn-keeper
and left it in my room. Then I opened my window and dropped
quietly into some bushes in the garden. I ran across the garden
and along the edge of a field. A few minutes later I reached the
I did not waste a moment. The car was standing there, and I got
into it. I started the engine and drove away.
The wind carried the sound of angry voices to my ears. But soon
I was travelling along that road at fifty miles an hour.