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    Chapter 10

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    Chapter 10
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    The upbuilding of the Boundary gang had neither been an accident, nor was it exactly designed on the lines which it ultimately followed.

    The main structure was Boundary himself, with his extraordinary financial genius, his plausibility, his lightning exploitation of every advantage which offered. Outwardly he was the head of three trading corporations which complied with the laws, paid small but respectable dividends and cloaked other operations which never appeared in the official records of the companies.

    The sidelines of the gang came through force of circumstances. Men--good, bad and indifferent--were drawn into the orbit of its activities, as extraordinary circumstances arose or dire necessities dictated. Throughout the length and breadth of Britain, through France, Italy, and in the days before the war, and even during the war, in Germany, in Russia and in the United States, were men who, if they could not be described as agents, were at least ready tools.

    He had a finger in every unsavoury pie. The bank robber discharged from gaol did not ask Colonel Boundary to finance him in the purchase of a new kit of tools--an up-to date burglar's kit costs something over two hundred pounds--but there were people who would lend the money, which eventually came out of the colonel's pocket. Some of the businesses he financed were on the border line of respectability. Some into which his money was sunk were frankly infamous. But it was a popular fiction that he knew nothing of these. Or, if he did know, that he was financing or at the back of a scoundrel, it was insisted that that scoundrel was engaged in (so far as the colonel knew) legitimate enterprise.

    Paul Phillopolis was a small Greek merchant, who had an office in Mincing Court--a tiny room at the top of four flights of stairs. On the glass panel of its door was the announcement: "General Exporter."

    Mr. Phillopolis spent three or four hours at his office daily and for the rest of the time, particularly towards the evening, was to be found in a brasserie in Soho. He was a dark little man, with fierce moustachios and a set of perfect white teeth which he displayed readily, for he was easily amused. His most intimate acquaintances knew him to be an exporter of Greek produce to South America, and he was, in the large sense of the word, eminently respectable.

    Occasionally he would be seen away from his customary haunt, discussing with a compatriot some very urgent business, which few knew about. For there were ships which cleared from the Greek ports, carrying cargoes to the order of Mr. Phillopolis, which did not appear in any bill of lading. Dazed-looking Armenian girls, girls from South Russia, from Greece, from Smyrna, en route to a promised land, looked forward to the realisation of those wonderful visions which the Greek agent had so carefully sketched.

    In half a dozen South American towns the proprietors of as many dance halls would look over the new importations approvingly and remit their bank drafts to the merchant of Mincing Court. It was a profitable business, particularly in pre-war days.

    The colonel departed from his usual practice and met the Greek himself, the place of meeting being a small hotel in Aldgate. Whatever other pretences the colonel made, he did not attempt to continue the fiction that he was ignorant of the Greek's trade.

    "Paul," he said after the first greetings were over, "I've been a good friend to you."

    "You have indeed, colonel," said the man gratefully.

    He spoke English with a very slight accent, for he had been born and educated in London.

    "If ever I can render you a service----"

    "You can," said the colonel, "but it is not going to be easy."

    The Greek eyed him curiously.

    "Easy or hard," he said, "I'll go through with it."

    The colonel nodded.

    "How is the business in South America?" he asked suddenly.

    The Greek spread out his hands in deprecation.

    "The war!" he said tragically, "you can imagine what it has been like. All those girls waiting for music-hall engagements and impossible to ship them owing to the fleets. I must have lost thousands of pounds."

    "The demand hasn't slackened off, eh?" asked the colonel, and the Greek smiled.

    "South America is full of money. They have millions--billions. Almost every other man is a millionaire. The music-halls have patrons but no talent."

    The colonel smiled grimly.

    "There's a girl in London of exceptional ability," he said. "She has appeared in a music-hall here, and she's as beautiful as a dream."

    "English?" asked the Greek eagerly.

    "Irish, which is better," said the other; "as pretty as a picture, I tell you. The men will rave about her."

    The Greek looked puzzled.

    "Does she want to go?" he asked.

    The colonel snarled round at him:

    "Do you think I should come and ask you to book her passage if she wanted to go?" he demanded. "Of course she doesn't want to go, and she doesn't know she's going. But I want her out of the way, you understand?"

    Mr. Phillopolis pulled a long face.

    "To take her from England?"

    "From London," said the colonel.

    The Greek shook his head.

    "It is impossible," he said; "passports are required and unless she was willing to go it would be impossible to take her. You can't kidnap a girl and rush her out of the country except in storybooks, colonel."

    Boundary interrupted him impatiently.

    "Don't you think I know that?" he asked; "your job is, when she's in a fit state of mind, to take her across and put her somewhere where she's not coming back for a long time. Do you understand?"

    "I understand that part of it very well," said the Greek.

    "I'm not to be mixed up in it," said Boundary. "The only thing I can promise you is that she'll go quietly. I'll have her passports fixed. She'll be travelling for her health--you understand? When you get to South America I want you to take her into the interior of the country. You're not to leave her in the music-halls in one of the coast towns where English and American tourists are likely to see her."

    "But how are you going to----"

    "That's my business," said the colonel. "You understand what you have to do. I'll send you the date you leave and I'll pay her passage and yours. For any out-of-pocket expenses you can send the bill to me, you understand?"

    Obviously it was not a job to the liking of Phillopolis, but he had good reason to fear the colonel and acquiesced with a nod. Boundary went back to where he had left Pinto and found the Portuguese biting his finger-nails--a favourite spare-time occupation of his.

    "Did you fix it?" he asked in a low voice.

    "Of course, I fixed it," said the colonel sharply.

    "I'm not going to have anything to do with it," said the other, and the colonel smiled.

    "Maybe you'll change your mind," he said significantly.

    There was a knock at the door and the colonel himself answered it. He took the card from the servant's hand and read:


    "Criminal Intelligence Department."

    He looked from the card to Pinto, then

    "Show him in."
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