Paul Greene Tomlinson.

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Author of "To the Land of the Caribou," "The Trail of Black Hawk," etc.


Every one knows that Germany is famous for her spy system. Scarcely a
land on earth but is, or was, honeycombed with the secret agents of the
German Government. Ever since this country began to send war munitions to
the Allies an organized band of men has plotted and schemed against the
peace and welfare of the United States. When America itself declared war
their efforts naturally were redoubled. Our Secret Service has been
wonderfully efficient, but it has not been humanly possible to apprehend
every spy and plotter at once. It is a big task to unravel all the
secrets of this great German organization.

We are at war with Germany now and it is the duty of every American to
help his government in every way he can. This book is the story of how
two boys, too young to enlist, did "their bit" right in their own home
town. It is not an exaggerated tale, but presents in story form what has
actually happened all around us. Due allowance is made for the fact that
the most of our citizens of German birth and descent are good Americans.
No one whose motto is, "America First," need fear offense from anything
contained in the story of "Bob Cook and The German Spy." Two boys loved
their country and did their duty by it. May we all do as well.


Elizabeth, N. J.







"Well," said Mr. Cook, "I see that the United States has declared war on
Germany. I am glad of it, too."

"Why, Robert!" exclaimed Mrs. Cook. "How can you say such a thing? Just
think of all the fine young American boys who may be killed."

"I realize all that," said her husband. "At the same time I agree with
President Wilson that the German Government has gone mad, and as a
civilized nation it is our duty to defend civilization. The only way left
for us is to go in and give Germany a good beating."

"And I shall enlist and get a commission," cried Harold, their eldest
boy. "I am twenty-three years old. I have been at Plattsburg two summers,
and I have done a lot of studying; I know I can pass the examinations."

"What will you be if you do pass?" inquired his father. "A lieutenant?"

"Well," said Harold, "a second-lieutenant."

"I wish I could enlist," sighed Bob.

"Huh!" snorted his older brother. "You can't enlist. What military
training have you had? And besides, you're only seventeen; they wouldn't
take you."

The Cook family were seated at the dinner table, mother, father, and
three children, the two boys referred to above and a young daughter,
Louise, just thirteen years of age. Congress had that day declared war on
Germany, and naturally that was the one thing in every one's mind. Crowds
in front of the newspaper offices had greeted the news from Washington
with wild enthusiasm, patriotic parades had been organized, and from
almost every house and office streamed the Stars and Stripes.

Bob Cook had been among the crowds, and his young mind and heart were
fired with patriotism and enthusiasm. A company of soldiers from the
Thirty-ninth Infantry called out the week before had caused him to
cheer and hurl his cap high in the air, while all the time he envied
the men in khaki.

"I hate to think of you enlisting, Harold," said Mrs. Cook sadly.

"Why?" demanded Harold earnestly. "Don't you think it is my duty to
offer my services to my country! I'm free; no one is dependent upon me."

"I know," agreed his mother, "but somehow I don't like to have my boy go
over to France and be killed. Let some one else go."

"Suppose every one said that," exclaimed Harold. "We shouldn't have much
of an army and our country wouldn't be very well defended, would it?"

"Let him go," said Mr. Cook quietly to his wife. "I don't want him killed
any more than you do, but there are some things worse than that. Suppose
he was afraid to go; you'd be ashamed of your son then I know."

"How do you know I'm going to get killed anyway?" demanded Harold. "Every
one that goes to war doesn't get killed. At any rate it's sort of
gruesome to sit up and hear your family talk as if you were just as good
as dead already."

"True enough," laughed Mr. Cook. "When does your examination come?"

"Next Monday."

"Will you wear a uniform?" asked Louise.

"Why, certainly," said Harold, swelling out his chest at the thought.

"I wish I could enlist," sighed Bob.

"You're too young, I told you," said Harold scornfully.

"I'll bet I could fight as well as you could," said Bob stoutly.
"Besides, I'm big for my age and maybe if I told them I was older than I
really am they might take me."

"Don't do that, Bob," said his father earnestly. "Don't lie about it."

"They'd find you out anyway," exclaimed Harold. "You can't fool these
recruiting officers."

"I'd like to get to France and see the trenches, and see the soldiers,
and the guns, and the fighting," Bob insisted.

"Do you realize that Harold may never get to France even if he does
enlist and get a commission?" remarked Mr. Cook.

"Why not?"

"First of all on account of Mexico."

"Do you think the Mexicans will make trouble?" inquired Harold.

"I shouldn't be at all surprised," said Mr. Cook. "If they think we have
our hands full with Germany those bandits may stir up a fuss and then
troops would have to be sent down there."

"And Harold might be one of them," laughed Bob. "That would be a joke,
wouldn't it?"

"I don't see why," cried Harold warmly. "If troops were needed in Mexico
and I was one of those sent, I'd be serving my country just the same."

"Of course you would," his father agreed. "It might be though that you
wouldn't even get out of High Ridge."

"You think they'd keep us right here?" demanded Harold, his face falling.

"Possibly," said Mr. Cook. "It might be that you'd have your hands
full too."

"Do you think the Germans could land an army and invade this country?"
exclaimed Mrs. Cook in alarm.

"Not for a minute do I think that," said Mr. Cook.

"Then what do you mean?"

"Aren't there lots of Germans in the country already?"

"Do you think they'd make trouble?"

"Most of them would be peaceable enough, but some of them would only be
too glad to blow up some factories, or railroads, or things like that."

"They've been doing that for the last two years," said Harold, "but I
don't see what there is in High Ridge."

"There's my company," said Mr. Cook. He was president of the High Ridge
Steel Company.

"But you don't make war supplies," exclaimed Mrs. Cook. "Why should they
want to blow up your plant?"

"Up until now we haven't manufactured war supplies," Mr. Cook corrected.
"This afternoon, however, we took a contract from the Government to make
high explosive shells. And, what is more, we are going to do it at cost
price so we shan't make a cent out of it."

"I think that's fine," said Bob enthusiastically. "Perhaps you'll have to
stay home and guard father's factory, Harold."

"Do you think there'll be any danger to it?" Harold asked his father.

"I don't know," replied Mr. Cook. "There are a lot of rabid Germans in
High Ridge and you can't be sure just what they will do."

The telephone rang at that moment and Bob excused himself to go into the
next room and answer it. Dinner was now over and the rest of his family
shortly followed. As they entered the sitting-room where the telephone
was located, Bob was in the act of hanging up the receiver.

"Who was it, Bob?" asked his mother.

"I don't know; it sounded like a German's voice. At any rate he had the
wrong number. He said, 'Iss dis Mr. Vernberg?'"

"Oh, Wernberg," exclaimed Mr. Cook. "He's the man who moved into that
house down on the corner about two years ago. Karl Wernberg is his full
name and he's one of the worst of the Germans; he used to be an officer
in the German army, I understand."

"What do you mean 'he's one of the worst of the Germans'?" asked Harold.

"Why, the way he talks against the United States and for Germany. He's
made all his money here, too."

"What's his business?"

"Some kind of chemicals, I believe."

"Perhaps he's making bombs," laughed Harold, and the rest of the family
joined in the laugh. That is, all but Bob, who took the suggestion
seriously, and his heart thumped a beat faster at the thought.

In fact, as he went to bed that night his mind was filled with thoughts
of spies, and plotters, and the hundred and one other things connected
with the war that he and his family had discussed that evening. He went
to the closet and took out the .22 caliber rifle that he owned; it was
in good condition and Bob assured himself that he had plenty of
cartridges, though he knew so small a gun would be of but little use in
time of trouble.

As he undressed he thought over the events of the day. Never had he
experienced such excitement. War had been declared, and many of the young
men, not much older than he, had enlisted. He, too, wanted to go in the
worst way, but he knew that his father and brother were right when they
said he would not be accepted.

"Why not?" muttered Bob to himself. "I'm big enough and strong enough
too; I could stand it as well as most of those fellows, even if they are
older. Besides I weigh a hundred and fifty-three and I'm five feet nine
inches tall. Perhaps they won't take me because I've got light hair and
blue eyes," he murmured bitterly. "They think I look like a German."

Stripped to the skin he stood in front of the mirror and looked at
himself. Certainly he was big and strong. He had always lived a clean,
outdoor life, he had been active in athletics and right now was captain
of the high school baseball team. The muscles played and rippled under
his white skin, as he moved his lithe young body to and fro.

A few breathing exercises before he jumped into bed, and then he was
under the covers. And all night long he dreamed of chasing big fat
Germans up and down the streets, over fences, and across fields, and even
up the steep sides of houses. Usually just as he had caught up with them
he awoke. Most of all he dreamed he was pursuing Karl Wernberg, who was a
middle-aged German and not hard to overtake. But Bob did not catch him
because he always woke up too soon.



The following morning Bob was in the trolley car on his way to school.
The car was full, and every one was eagerly scanning a newspaper or
discussing the war with his neighbor. Words of praise for the President
were to be heard on all sides, and enthusiasm was everywhere in evidence.
Old men wished they were young enough to enlist.

All at once Bob heard voices raised in dispute. The trouble was at the
opposite end of the car, but he could hear plainly what was said.

"It is wrong, all wrong," exclaimed a florid-faced man with a light
mustache, who plainly was of German blood. "What has Germany done to
this country?"

"They've sunk our ships when they had no right to, and they've murdered
our peaceful citizens," said the man next to him. "Isn't that enough?"

"They were forced to do it," the German insisted.

"Oh, no, they weren't," said his neighbor calmly. "Any one can play the
game according to the rules if he wants to; there is never any excuse
for dirty work."

"Germany wants peace with the United States," said the German loudly.

"Well, if they do, they take a strange method of showing it," replied the
other man with a grim smile. "Personally it's my opinion that we've been
patient with Germany far too long. Now they've forced war upon us and for
my part I'm ready to go out and fight for my country."

Every one in the car was now listening to the discussion, and perhaps the
most interested listener of all was young Robert Cook.

"Well, I won't fight for the United States!" exclaimed the big German,
rising to his feet. "I won't fight for Germany either, but I'll fight all
right." He started toward the door of the car, while Bob pondered over
his last remark and wondered what it could mean.

As the German approached the door, a man dressed in a neat black suit and
soft hat got up out of his seat. Bob was watching the German and also
noticed this man, though not particularly; he did see that he had a
square jaw and a determined look in his gray eyes.

The German started to crowd past the stranger who stood squarely in the
aisle. "Don't be in such a hurry," said the man quietly. "You stay here."

"I want to get off this car," shouted the German angrily. "Get out
of my way."

"I want you to come with me," said the man still in the same quiet tone.
As the German started to protest once more he drew back his coat slightly
and Bob saw the gleam of a badge on his coat. "Sit down," he said to the
German, who obeyed without further question.

There was a mild flurry of excitement in the car, and there were smiles
of amusement on the faces of many of the passengers as they glanced at
the German sitting meekly in the corner of the seat. He seemed entirely
cowed now, and kept his eyes fixed upon the floor, save for an occasional
look he stole at the secret service man standing in front of him. The
latter seemed entirely at his ease and acted as if not a thing out of the
ordinary had taken place.

Bob was greatly impressed, and looked with marked respect at the
quiet-mannered detective standing near him. He wondered what it was all
about, and his father's words of the evening before concerning plotters
and spies came again to his mind. He wondered if he could join the secret
service and help his country in that way. Then he remembered that he was
only seventeen and sighed to think that there was probably less chance of
that than there was of being taken into the army.

What was the detective going to do with the German, wondered Bob. The
car was approaching the high school, and he would have to get off soon
and he did not want to miss any of the drama. Suddenly he remembered the
police station on the block adjoining the school building and decided
that that must be the detective's destination. Bob decided to stay on the
car long enough to see anyway.

They passed the high school, and sure enough, as they came to the next
corner, the secret service agent motioned to the German to follow him
out. Bob decided to go along. They got off the trolley car and entered
the police station. Behind the desk sat the sergeant, a man named Riley,
well known to Bob. The detective led his prisoner up to the rail.

"I want you to take care of this man for me, Sergeant," he said, at the
same time displaying his badge.

"Certainly," said Sergeant Riley quickly. "Here, Donovan," he called to a
policeman standing near by. "Take this man and lock him up."

Officer Donovan beckoned to the German who was standing sullenly by the
side of the policeman; his face was white and his eyes gleamed wickedly
while he opened and closed his hands nervously. He even started to
protest, but before he could say anything Sergeant Riley quickly
silenced him. Without further ado he joined the policeman, and together
they disappeared through the door leading out to the room where the
cells were located.

Satisfied that his prisoner was taken in charge, the secret service agent
turned and without further ado left the building.

Bob was much excited and interested. "Who was that secret service man?"
he inquired of the sergeant.

"Dunno," said Riley. "I never saw him before."

"He didn't even make a charge against the man," said Bob.

"I know it," said Riley. "He don't have to."

"I thought you couldn't lock up a man unless there was some charge
against him," exclaimed Bob.

"We have orders to lock up every man them fellers bring in here," said
Sergeant Riley. "We keep 'em here until we get word to do something else
with 'em. It's not for us to ask questions, you know."

"Have you got any more here?" demanded Bob.

"That's the first; we have accommodations for seventy-five though."

"Whew," exclaimed Bob. "Do you think there'll be much trouble with the
Germans here in High Ridge?"

"Can't say. Some of them are a crazy lot. At any rate we're ready for
'em. And what are you doing here at this time o' day anyhow? You'll be
late for school; your visiting hour here is usually in the afternoon."

"I saw that fellow on the trolley," Bob explained. "I wanted to see what
happened to him."

"Well, you better run along," advised the sergeant. "Come in and see
me later."

Bob hurried out and ran down the block toward the high school. His mind
was not on his lessons, however. War was uppermost in his thoughts, and
he still pondered over what his father had said the evening before, and
the recent arrest of the German in the trolley car. Probably after all
there was something in this scare about spies and plotters.

He arrived at school fifteen minutes late, but nothing was said to him.
School discipline was greatly relaxed that morning and instead of
recitations the first period, the principal gave a talk on patriotism and
what the declaration of war would mean. He especially warned the pupils
against acting differently toward any of their number who might be of
German blood.

"They may be just as good and loyal citizens as we are," he said. "At
any rate we must act as though they were until they convince us

Bob considered this good advice, but he still thought of his father's
words and his experience of that morning. "Suppose anything should happen
to father's steel works," he thought. They were making shells for the
Government and could afford to run no risks. "I'll see if I can be of any
help in protecting them," he told himself.

He tried to concentrate his mind on his tasks, but it seemed hopeless.
The words of the German in the trolley came back to him continually - "I
won't fight for Germany. I won't fight for the United States either, but
I'll fight all right." What could he have meant? Did he mean that he
wouldn't try to enlist in either the German or American armies, but that
he'd do his fighting on his own account? How could that be? Bob wondered
if the fighting he would do would be for this country or Germany. If for
this country, it seemed queer that the secret service officer should have
arrested him. The thought of bombs returned insistently to Bob's mind.

Recess came at last and he sought out Hugh Reith, his best friend. Hugh
was a boy of Bob's own age, almost exactly his size, and as they both
liked to do the same things they were bosom companions. Bob was light and
Hugh was dark, his hair was almost raven black, and his eyes a deep
brown. He had large hands and several crooked fingers owing to the fact
that he had broken them playing base ball. He was stronger than Bob,
though not so agile or quick on his feet, and while he could defeat his
light-haired friend in tests of strength he was not a match for him when
it came to speed.

"What do you think of this war, Hugh?" Bob asked eagerly.

"I wish I could enlist," said Hugh.

"So do I, but I guess we can't."

"We're too young, I suppose. Isn't there anything we can do to help?"

"My father thinks we may have trouble with the Germans here in town. If
anything starts you can be sure I'm going to get in it if possible."

"Say," exclaimed Hugh, "did you see young Frank Wernberg this morning
when the principal was making his speech about patriotism?"

"No, what was he doing?"

"Oh, he was snickering and making side remarks to Jim Scott, and making
himself generally objectionable."

"If I'd been Jim I'd have told him to keep quiet," said Bob warmly.

"That's just what he did do finally."

"Did he stop?"

"Oh, for a little while," said Hugh. "He was awful, I thought."

"You know," said Bob, "my father says that Mr. Wernberg is about the most
rabid German in High Ridge. He's crazy on the subject."

"Who, your father?"

"No, Mr. Wernberg. He's crazy on the subject of Germany. He thinks it is
the greatest country in the world and that every one in the United States
is a fool or something."

"Why doesn't he go back to Germany then?" demanded Hugh angrily.

"That's what I - "

"Sh," hissed Hugh. "Here comes Frank Wernberg now."



Frank Wernberg was a stocky, light-haired boy with blue eyes and a pink
and white complexion; that is, it was usually pink and white, though this
morning his face was flushed and red. His eyes had a glint in them not
usually apparent and his mouth was drawn down at the corners into a
scowl. His hair, close-cropped, seemed to bristle more than was its wont;
in fact his usual mild-mannered appearance had given way to one of

"Hello, Frank," said Bob pleasantly.

"Hello," said Frank shortly.

"What's the matter?" inquired Hugh. "You seem to have a grouch."

Something was in the air and the boys felt uneasy in one another's
presence. Usually they laughed and joked incessantly, and Frank Wernberg
was one of the jolliest boys in the school. He was inclined to be stout
and like most fat people was full of fun as a rule. This morning,
however, his demeanor was far from happy.

"Why shouldn't I have a grouch?" he demanded angrily. "I've just been
talking to that chump, Jim Scott. He seems to think that any one who
disagrees with him must be wrong."

Bob nudged Hugh. "What was the argument?" he asked.

"The war," said Frank bitterly. "I said I thought Germany was all
right, and he tried to lecture me about it. Hasn't a fellow a right to
his own opinion?"

"Sure he has," exclaimed Bob. "Any one can think Germany is all right if
he wants to, but no one who is an American can side with Germany against
the United States at a time like this."

"Who says they can't?" demanded Frank flaring up.

"I say so," exclaimed Bob.

"Who are you to tell others what they can do?"

"I'm an American, anyway."

"Well, I'm a better American than you are," cried Frank hotly.

"And you stand up for Germany now?"

"I do, because Germany is right and America is wrong."

The three boys were standing in one corner of the school yard, removed
from all the others so that the rapidly rising tones of their voices
passed unheard. Their faces were now white and their breath came fast.
Hugh had taken no part in the argument thus far, but he stood shoulder to
shoulder with Bob, prepared for any emergency.

"And what's more," exclaimed Frank, "this country was forced into war by
a lot of men who want to make money out of it."

"You're crazy," said Bob.

"No, I'm not crazy either. Some of those men live right in this town too.
I guess you know who I mean all right."

"What do you mean?" demanded Bob in a tense voice. "Name somebody. I
suppose the fact that Germany has murdered a lot of Americans has nothing
to do with our going to war."

"Certainly not," said Frank. "It's the men who want to make money."

"Who says so?"

"I say so, and so does my father."

"Huh!" sniffled Bob. "Name one of the men."

"They may get fooled," said Frank darkly. "Something might happen to
their factories and they'd lose money instead of making it."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, you know all right."

"He hasn't named anybody yet," Hugh reminded his friend.

"That's right," exclaimed Bob. "Who are they, Frank?"

"Well," said Frank, "one of the men who thinks he is going to make a lot
of money but who may get fooled is - "

"Go on," urged Bob, as Frank hesitated.

"Your father!" snapped Frank suddenly.

Quick as a flash Bob's right arm shot out and his clenched fist caught
Frank squarely on the nose. Hugh started forward as if to help his
friend, but Bob waved him aside. "This is my affair," he panted.

Whatever else he was, Frank was no coward. Blood was already trickling
from his nose and the force of the blow he had received brought tears to
his eyes. He recovered himself almost immediately, however, and with head

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Online LibraryPaul Greene TomlinsonBob Cook and the German Spy → online text (page 1 of 11)