The Brownsville Herald from Brownsville, Texas on May 31, 1932 · Page 6
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The Brownsville Herald from Brownsville, Texas · Page 6

Brownsville, Texas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 31, 1932
Page 6
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HIillillllll^ 01 so By GILBERT SWAN T HE attractive and charming young woman of 29, wearing a smartly tailored afternoon dress, turned quietly from the window where she had been studying the New York crowds rushing past the fashionable Fifty-seventh street shops. She walked to a table decorated with a huge vase of tea roses. Impetuously she selected one bud, and chatting lightly in the calm and poised manner of the continental drawing rooms, stooped to pin the flower on the lapel of the reporter who had come to interview her. Despite the girlishly engaging gesture, the reporter shuddered just a little. "Just a few years ago," he suggested, "had I but smclled this bud—there would have been sudden sleep—I would have awakened hours later from drugged dreams—" ""V7"ES, that's quite true!" came the calm •*• reply. "And if you had accepted one of my cigarcts something similar might have happened. Had you wooed me, and been a man who held secrets of state or information I wanted—well, you might have fallen in love with me. At least, I should have pretended to be a seductress. "And when a man kissed me—again mor- phia! For coated on my lips, on my teeth and on the roof of the mouth was a certain lethal preparation. W6 who were in the service and were women were trained to apply it, with a thin coating to protect ourselves. "When men kissed, the coating came off—and then I wou'd search their rooms, thci-. baggage and their clothes until I found what I wanted." "And," the reporter interrupted, "three roses in certain arrangement when pinned on & woman's dress were a sign to others that she was a fellow spy—is that not so?" "Y«>—some of us used that as a tip—" A hotel flunky arrived with tea and dainties. The roar of New York came up from the street. •'•"'HIS young woman had ;•*• played one of the most dangerous games that a girl can p!ay-rr-a secret agent, and a sircnesque decoy for her g o v e r nment's espionage department. A scythe- shaped scar on the forehead, covered by a shock of hair, and two bullet wounds in the body are mementos of her dangerous trade. She is the Baroness Carla Jenssen, late of the British secret service 1 Now she has arrived in America but recently from London to discuss arrangements for a prosaic lecture tour, to look over the American radio broadcast prospects and check up on the filming of a book, "I Spy," which she wrote concerning her adventures. After such exploits as echo of the old perilous one-reel thrillers of the cinema, how does a young woman face the everyday encounters 'of the future? After pitting wits against brilliant men of many lands and playing a flaming enchantress, can one easily consider the routines cf home life and married life? "I do not expect ever to "i7;.;rry again," says ( the baroness who, by the way, is a baroness by birth and not by marriage, and who was born in Denmark. "Here I am in America—for a short stay this time, to be sure. But my affection is centered on my daughter who is at the family place in South Africa. Shortly after spring, I will return to London and fly from there to my child. *'T AM going to bring her back to America •*• and hope to become a citizen. Friends have been trying to interest me in certain work they say could be found in Washington with official commissions for me. But 1 have said goodby—at least temporarily—to the secret •ervice work to which I gave my youth. "I have given more than that: my girlhood was enlisted in a cause that for some time wrecked my health, sunk my fortune, tossed away my social position, did something to my affections and left me chiefly my spirit. "I have said that even if I could arrange e wai -Hifiiiiiniriiiiiriiniiiiiffniiiiiiniiiiiiiiiii with the Maker to turn out my male ideal, I would hesitate at marriage. I have been hurt at the heart too often and I have hurt the hearts of others—I do not care for another such experience. And, again, I have had reason to doubt my own faithfulness over periods of time! Too many things happened to forget overnight, or to recover from. "Yes, it's true that I have kissed men "and made love to them and been made love to for the sole purpose of getting certain documents and papers. Was I attracted? . . Well, yes, to some. Most of them were'charming people. "But we all know how it is when a job is to be clone; when work is involved. This was work, and I could not allow the woman or the individual to figure in it. 44 /~\NLY once did I meet the wrong man. I ^-*. had met him socially before, and suddenly I had to meet him as a spy. 1 succeeded in getting him into a stupor—and then—well, I couldn't go through with it. There was nothing to do then but quit. Which I did. "Another time, the potion did not take full effect. The man was but partially drugged. "He caught me while I was ransacking his place, and he shot me. That accounts for one of my wounds. "The scar on my forehead came from being exposed during a Bolshevist gathering in Dieppe. You see, I was a post-war spy," live dignitariet going about the fashionable London and .Paris spots on secret errands; there were drug smuggling deals of vast proportions; there were dozens of routine tasks that had to do with business and trading and the like. COME involved ihe" risk of death; ^ some were matters of detail and routine. "As for the scar on my forehead," she -relates, "I had joined a Bblshevist group and been accepted. There were two men on the same case. One had gone in ahead of me. There was a meeting in Dieppe when plans for a great riot and demonstration were to be agreed upon. '"In the course of it I suddenly realized a finger was being pointed at me. The word 'spy' ran through the hall.. I had been discovered. My male assistant helped me out, but not before a knife had been drawn. I was slashed across the head, but got away." When the baroness was a girl her Aunt Belle, a favorite relative, had prophesied, "It will be your fate to bring ruin to many." "Yet," explains the gay and girlish baroness, "I have never considered that I have been responsible for any ruin. How beautiful Carla Jenssen played the siren s role, drugged men with her kisses, and stole their secrets The Baroness Jenssen, it seems, had been taken as a small child to Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father was the conr sul. An extremely attractive girl, men flocked about her in early adolescence. She was reared among men. She was "her father's child." "And he raised me like a boy—a son,"' she adds. "To-this clay, I often feel uncomfortable when loo many women are about—or even when certain catty, feminine discussions are under way." f\ T an early age she had observed the male •^"*- attitude. She could go about with men as "one of their fellows." When she grew older she took a job as secretary and typist to Major French Lloyd, commissioner for military pensions in Pretoria. This was too humdrum a life for this lass. And being attached to a government office, she .soon got a chance with the Union of, South Africa Intelligence Department. The natives were, somehow, being supplied with firearms. Hints of revolt spread about. Where was the ammunition coming from? The baroness was one of those put on the job—and the plot was run down. Some time later she graduated, to commissions in a dozen sections of the world. And she picked up about a dozen languages in the process. There were the post-war "red" movements in Europe; there were the,rumblings of revolt in Morocco and Asia and elsewhere, with na- "One time the poison did not ia/?e full effect, and -the man r»as only partially drugged. . . •. He caught me while I ttas. ransacking his place — and he shot, me." My experience has been that the fault, if any, lies with the person. "It has been my lot to encourage men in their follies. But the follies were always .there. I didn't originate them. If they squandered their money and were otherwise indiscreet, that was not of my making. It was my task toilet them make pitiful fools of themselves—and get my information. ...... 44 T HAVE had adventure, but I cannot claim •*• the title of adventuress. I have been in a life game with hundreds of men in all walks of life, but I have never had a lover. I have taken a thousand pounds from a man in the morning and refused to let him kiss me in the afternoon." Yes, hers was a world of strange melodrama, with wit playing against wit and the stakes matters of life and death. ' * "Still, I might never have done any of the things I did but for an unhappy incident in my early life," she goes on. "I married while very young. When my baby was barely born, my husband vanished." It-was then that the Baroness Jemsen deler- (Copjrtfht 1932, by EveryWwk Magazin*—Printed In ,tr. S. A.) mined to engage in "the dangerous life: to forget and build a new life." ' Then, for a time, a third romance seemed possible. It was after the last appearance when she found she had had to drug a friend with poisoned kisses. TV7HEN he awakened, the victim, was still * ' fascinated, searched for her, but the baroness had returned to South Africa. There he trailed her and asked her to marry—but it was no go. He was, it seems, a certain Baron Sergei, met upon a boat when she was returning from a nerve-wracking job in the Kafir belt and other parts of Africa, tracking down gun-runneni. There had been marty romantic episodes aboard ship—and then the years went by. She had loved him, after her fashion. On a telegraphed tip that indicated certain Red activities, she tracked Sergei, a fine vocalist, to the rooms of an old music teacher in London. There she found the old man—tall, bent, with .white whiskers. But he was playing the songs she had heard Sergei play. It must be, she decided, disguise. After feign- The woman r»ho poisoned her lipt to trap international spies . . . Baroness Carla Jenssen, late of the British secret service. ing a musician's interest she unmasked him one afternoon. He, too, it seemed, had turned to playing the spy. Then, put of love, she too confessed that she was spying, for hi» "kisses had flamed an affection almost to a passion. . . •." Some days later, she administered the drug — remained miserably through the night and when morning came and Sergei awakened, she thrust his papers back into his numbed hand—and fled I CO the baroness, after many hurts, bc- ^ lieves—at the moment, at least—that she will never again take • the marriage vows. "Where, by the way, do men with secret papers hide them?" she was asked. "Generally in the most obvious places," answered the ex-spy. "The tales of agents who put papers in the soles of their shoes or sewed them in their clothes refer chiefly to those who are trying to gel out of the country. Under ordinary circumstance*, important papers are to be found in trunks, suitcases, pockets and even bill folders. "The hiding places selected by men are sometimes funny. Once I turned up a most important paper by merely opening n pocket comb case. A small paper had been folded around the comb several times. It was lying openly on a hotel table where' maids and valets could have taken it at any time. In fact, one maid did—and I was that onel" Incidentally, Baroness Jenssen said that in all of the work she did she never once met such a thing as an uninteresting man. "I do not mean," she explained, "that alt the men I have met were attractive or that they were interested in me. No—but everyone, whether he were a Russian general or a Parisian taxicab driver had either enough vanity, idealism, brute strength or humanity to make him worth talking to, for a little time at least. "My work forced me to study the men -I was ordered to get state secrets from. I found that vanity was the greatest weakness in every single one of them. "Most of them did think logically, seemed to have a code vastly more honorable than the code of women I have met, and seemed far less capable of petty jealousy. But flattery usually won away their secrets. I wonder why so many American women overlook the power of flattery on men." " The baroness noticed that the tea had become cold on the table. She glimpsed at her wristwatch. Then she rose, and turned her mind from international espionage to New York, society. "Pardon me, I have a bridge and dinner engagement. I must be getting dressed,": site said politely. II.'. /

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