6.4 On the Look Out

They liked the name John so much it was given to their second child. His surname was Lincoln, after a deed poll change by his father. His father’s occupation was listed as unemployed, residence Hampton.


A different Trebitsch Lincoln stalked the carriages bound for London. Fuller eyebrows, the curls disappearing in a centre parted fringe accentuating jug ears. February’s papers reported on the new Liberal government; the funeral of Dorothy Grey, the Foreign Secretary’s Wife.

This might not take me where I’m supposed to go, he assured himself. He saw the conductor and ducked into the toilet. On exit, again on the look-out. The train shifted and shoved as he went. As was his ritual he picked apart the faces and their expressions. He flashed a polite smile at the pretty blond with pert breasts and roguish tan, and stepped aside for a city fellow.

Commuters behind papers were a mixed blessing: hidden yet marked as of significant intelligence for Trebitsch’s requirements. The Daily Mirror ran a front page photo headlined, ‘Women Who Want A Vote Raid The Premier’s House’.  A new carriage and a first long glance, and on this one his eye’s brightened. He coughed and saw around his face a space full of silver.

He approached the gentleman modestly. When the carriage shifted, Trebitsch took it to balance opposite his mark.

“Pardon me sir, is this seat free?”

The old gent smiled. Trebtisch sat down opposite.

“What a day,” he said. “Our work never stops.”

“Quite. What do you do for a living?” asked the Englishman.

“Regretfully, I am between jobs. I was offered a sterling vacancy within the temperance movement. A good time for it now the Brewers have left office. You see, I was previously been employed as a missionary, then a curate.”

“Oh very good!” said the gent, warmly.

“I fear they have withdrawn the post,” said Trebitsch. “A shame as I have an extended family to support. My father-in-law recently passed away.”

“My condolences.”

“Thank you. We’ve managed to get by on his legacy but well,  the mother-in-law is lodging with us, which is good for the grandchildren, yes?”

”It’s a virtue in a man to provide. I come from a large family myself,” he said. “We are blessed.”

Trebitsch made a show of widening his eyes. “Pardon me, sir, but I know you don’t I?”

The older man laughed and bowed his head momentarily.

“Mr. Seebohm Rowntree: good sir, what an honour! Your study on poverty was a great resource to me in my mission to help the homeless of Montreal.”

Trebitsch took Rowntree’s hand.  “I am sorry to make you blush but your legacy has been to help so many who you do not know. Had you and I the time to tell of it! Oh then, then…”

“Thank you. It is nice to be reminded of it,” said Rowntree.

“I am glad the government have listened to you also, and with Mr. Campbell-Bannerman in Number 10…they are implementing your findings?”

“I am most happy to say so,” said Rowntree. “Ah, your name?”

“Trebitsch Lincoln.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Mr. Lincoln,” said Rowntree.

“Fantastic!” he said.


Featured image attribution: St. Bride Library/New Transport.

Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.


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