Mata Hari (Clever tactics) : ‘Eye Of The Dawn’: By Renee Dallow

Als-Puerta-del sol Madrid

Lights come up on Zelle in Von Kalle’s apartment in Madrid. It is evening and they are waiting for dinner  to be served in Von Kalle’s drawing room.

Von Kalle: You have no idea what a thrill it  is for me to meet the great Mata Hari.  So when I received your letter I saw an opportunity no to be missed.I was so excited I called Karl at The Hague and he told me that he’d been very much impressed with your talents. My curiosity got the better of me and here you are. I regret that I have never found the time to attend one of your performances but as you can see I am a very busy man. ( Points to a pile of papers on his desk.) Even in one’s own home there is no escape. Maybe we could arrange a little impromptue performance after dinner.

dinner with Von Kalle

Zelle: It would be my pleasure. ( Looks over at the pile of papers on the desk. ) You poor man. So many papers. What on earth could be so important that you are forced to bring them home?

A servant arrives to set the table. Von kalle takes a bottle of chilled wine from the bucket on the side table and fills two glasses. He hands one to Zelle and pulls out a chair for her. Kalle sits opposite her. The servant leaves the room to fetch the first course.

Dinner table servant

Kalle:  (In reference to the papers) Oh just military manouvers, maps, strategies, instructions and the like but I do not wish to bore you with details.

Zelle:  There is nothing about you that could possibly bore me monsieur. In fact I am never bored with the Germans. They are such considerate, charming people.


Kalle: Ah but you were not of the same mind when they cancelled your performance at The Metropole was cancelled and your jewellry confiscated.

Zelle: It’s not the fault of the German people. It’s the war in general. Such an inconvenience. As a matter of fact I have some very dear military aquaintances in Berlin who went out of their way to show me the sights of that beautiful city.  Alfred Keipert, whom I believe you know quite well, even allowed me to attend some training manouvers. They  looked so handsome in their uniforms and so proud. This was befor the war was declared of course.  And then there is my benefactor Baron Capellan. Without the baron there would be no Mata Hari.

Berlin postcard 1910

Kalle:  ( Savouring her words ) You underestimate yourself madame.

The servant returns and begins serving the first course.

Zelle: I find everything to do with the military quite fascinating.  Maybe you would allow me to give you some advice on tactics. I’ve become quite an expert you know.

German soldiers

Kalle: Perhaps. All in good time my dear. But for now I think we should eat. Don’t you? ( He begins the first course.)

Zelle: Oh how inconsiderate of me. War does seem to wet the appetite doesn’t it? ( Zelle tastes the food and registers her approval.)

Kalle: Madame it is true. Consider this … I have just finished arranging for a group of German and Turkish officers to land from a submarine on the coast of Morocco in the French zone and then spent the better part of the day in a meeting with Baron Roland the officer in charge of the intelligence network here in Madrid.

lovers in Madrid

Zelle: How astonishing! ( Sips her wine.)

Kalle: The meeting concerned some new information that has come to light on a French airfield near The Vosges. Apparently they are planning to bomb our factories. We are now in the process of recruiting French airmen to fly our soldiers into allied territory. ( Waits for reaction. )

Zelle: How clever you are. I happen to know the French are concocting a similar plan. I hear they are planning to land spies behind German lines also with the help of aircraft. French morale is at a very low ebb due to lack of food supplies. They will do anything to have food in their bellies. There is also the difficulty of arranging transportation to help them rejoin their units. So disorganised.

France & Belgium unite

Kalle: (Pause.) You are quite right. War does indeed wet the appetite. In fact I may even be revitalised enough to manage desert. What do you say to that?

Zelle: It all depends on the menu.

Kalle: Well I always say that the first course is a fair indication of what’s to come.

Zelle:  Then I shall certainly look forward to the next installments ….. including the dessert.

While Zelle and Von Kalle concentrate on devouring the meal the servant enters with the second course and hands Von Kalle a note.

Newspaper collage, gouache andn ink on card

Kalle: ( reads the message. )  Ah such dreadful timing.

Zelle: Is it something serious?

Kalle: Just a little business that needs sorting out. Please  go on with your meal.  I shall be back shortly.

He then motions to the servant to exit behind him. Whilst out of the room he sends a coded message to Ladoux concerning agent H.2.1.  Zelle cannot resist and moves over to the desk to look at the papers.  She is studying them intently when Kalle returns. He pretends not to notice and moves up behind her . He takes some money from the inside pocket of his jacket. He gently leans over and places the money inside Zelle’s brassier. 

Kalle: I do apologise for the intrusion. Now shall we enjoy our dessert?

© Renee Dallow 4/5/ 2013


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