Revisiting Ashenden

During World War-I, British Intelligence sent W Somerset Maugham (He later got the Nobel Prize for Literature) to run a spy ring in Switzerland. Based on his experiences as a spy Maugham published a set of short stories in his novel Ashenden. I narrate here a small incident that Maugham did not include in his famous novel.
Prompt  ….

Photo prompt provided by Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode. Thank you Louise!
Ashenden received an invitation to a weekly concert organized by an anglicized German family and was ordered by R to attend it. The order was followed by a letter that contained detailed instructions.
Ashenden reached the concert and occupied a sofa-chair near the pianist and his helper who appeared to be his daughter but in fact was an orphan adopted by the lady of the house who liked to sing and was fond of the applause that followed.
The pianist fumbled during the concert and all the music-sheets fell to the floor. The pianist was at his wits end and his helper thinking it was her fault ran in to the house to hide her tears.
Ashenden collected the sheets and placed them on the sheet-holder. The guests were busy voicing their opinions and nobody noticed that Ashenden had pocketed the original sheets and replaced them with another set. He had no knowledge if the task had anything to do with the ongoing war.
Words <175
More than a decade after the war ended, R told him that his efforts had saved a compromised British agent and his family from certain death.

Thank you Priceless Joy



15 thoughts on “Revisiting Ashenden

    • The original music sheets contained coded military secrets that the family was transferring to the British. It was important to remove them so that the evidence for their espionage activities could be removed from the scene.
      Thanks for the read and the interest.

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