Chapter Thirty-six

At this time of morning Primrose Hill was deserted. He peered ahead, glimpsing the bench at the top before it was shrouded again in fog, his footsteps loud in the chill air.

When he was close enough to see the bench again, a figure was seated there, silhouetted against the glow of the lamps, which were still lit.

The figure stood as Denham approached, a tall, dark stovepipe.

‘Mr Denham,’ David Wyn Evans said, tipping his hat. ‘I wasn’t expecting to meet you again.’

Denham glanced about. No sign of Bowler Hat Man.

‘Let’s walk,’ Evans said. ‘The bench is damp.’

They set off along a path beneath the trees, their footsteps waking a crow, which began a harsh cry above them.

‘I assume you didn’t arrange this meeting for the benefit of my health,’ Evans said. Beads of dew glistened on the black felt of his homburg.

‘I’ve got it,’ Denham said. ‘Here, in London.’

Evans came to a halt. A stunned pause, before he began walking again at a slower pace. ‘How?’

Denham explained briefly the sequence of events. ‘For now, it’s secure in the bank.’

‘When can we collect it from that bank?’ Evans said.

‘Give me a few days.’

‘My God, man. Do you realise-’

‘I said, a few days.’

Evans nodded reluctantly.

‘Who else knows?’ he said.

‘Only one other person-and she can be relied upon.’

Evans sighed. ‘The sooner it’s in our hands, the safer for both of you.’

They were quiet for a minute; then he said, ‘You’ve heard that Sir Eric Phipps has been recalled from Berlin?’

‘I saw that.’

‘He’s been replaced with someone more… accommodating.’

‘I hear the new ambassador goes hunting with Goring…’

‘Yes, quite,’ Evans muttered. ‘Well, replacing our knight with a pawn is not considered the wisest move by some.’

‘You mean Winston Churchill and the SIS.’

Evans looked ahead into the fog and gave a signal with his hand. Some thirty yards away the outline of a man in a bowler hat acknowledged him.

‘What I mean is that it’s more vital than ever that we get our hands on that dossier, Mr Denham, and as soon as possible.’

David John

Flight from Berlin