Mata Hari (Zelle) has just found out that her Russian lover has been wounded at the front and she must find a way to get to him. She cannot say why she is going and so must explain that she is for her health much like we would go to the blue mountains today for the fresh air. In exchange for the permit she must promise to be of service to France. If you have been following up to this point you will be aware that Zelle has already made a similar promise to military attache Von Kramer in exchange for the return of her furs and jewels which have been confiscated by the Germans. We find her at the duxieme bureau asking for the necessary papers.
Officer Ladoux is at his desk and concentrating very hard on some official papers before him. He does not acknowledge her entrance immediately. Zelle, agitated,shifts from one foot to the other.
Ladoux: Ah so the great Mata Hari has come for a visit .
(Surveys her from head to foot) How may I help you madame? (Motions to a chair opposite the desk.) Please make yourself comfortable.
Zelle: ( Summoning up her courage.) I need papers monsieur.
Ladoux: Indeed? And what sort of papers would they be hmmm?
Zelle: Travel documents.
Ladoux: Bored with Paris already.
Zelle: Oh no monsieur on the contrary. It is just that I have been feeling a little fatigued lately and I thought I would take the waters. I hear there is a natural spring near Vittel and that is where I should like to go. I understand I must have a permit to go there.
Ladoux: Yes indeed this is true but you must understand that even if I were to grant your request it would take some time. I could not possibly have a permit for you until the end of the week.
Zelle: Oh but that is too long. I must be there by tomorrow at the latest.
Ladoux: (Feigning sympathy.) I had no idea it was that serious. (Thinks) There might be a way …
Zelle: What is it?
Ladoux: If you were to agree to help France in some small way …
Zelle: But of course it would be a great honour.
Ladoux: There is, I believe, a small military hospital in Vittel and many of our war weary soldiers are in need of some …. er…diversion. (Watches Zelle’s face for a reaction.) Maybe you could … dance… for them.
Zelle: (Relieved.) Certainly.
Ladoux: Then it is settled. I will organise your permit this very afternoon. As I have important matters to attend to I shall leave shall leave the permit and all other necessary documents with my assistant ready for you to collect at your disposal. I shall be most anxious to meet with you on your return and discuss ways in which you can further contribute to our cause.
Zelle: I am in your debt monsieur.