In the crosshairs: One of Betty Pack’s earliest seductions. An excerpt from The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal.
“On the chosen weekend, she proceeded carefully; her tradecraft was very deliberate. The first day she had been flirtatious, but not ostentatiously so. She wanted him to get comfortable with the idea of her. When she brushed carelessly against him, she was hoping it would send his thoughts racing. But she did not want him to grow too confident.
On the second day, she had spent a good deal of time over pre-dinner cocktails talking intently to another boy, laughing loudly at his jokes. At dinner, as luck had it, he was on the opposite side of the table and it would have been easy to have shot him an occasional glance. But she refused to bestow that blessing. Instead Betty talked with great animation to the man on her right; and then with even greater concentration to the man on her left. Betty never looked at him, but all the time she hoped he was watching her, and growing envious as she seemed to become more and more remote. She wanted him to tingle with disappointment.
After dinner, while the others played bridge or sat with their brandies in front of the fire, Betty excused herself. She said she was exhausted and wanted to lay down in her room.
That morning she had risen at first light, hours before breakfast, and begun her surveillance. Her observation post was the door well of her room; with a look to either the left or the right, she could effectively survey the entire corridor. If another early riser emerged from one of the bedrooms, she had her cover story ready: Oh, I just forget my comb. You go ahead. I’ll be down in a minute. Then she’d hurry back into her room until the house guest made his way down the stairs to the dining room. When she was certain he was out of sight, she resumed her post.
Still there were several close calls; at one tricky point, two very confident young men had spotted her and had pestered Betty to join them for breakfast. It took all her tact to turn them down without causing a scene. Then she finally saw him leave his room.
His gait as he headed downstairs was brisk as usual; he was a man who perpetually conveyed the impression that he was hurrying off on some important affair of state. Betty now had the crucial intelligence: She knew which of the many doors that lined the corridor was the one to his room.
By the time dinner was over that evening, it had been a long day’s patient wait. She’d done what had been necessary to coax her plan along. Betty now launched her mission.
She headed directly to his room, put her hand on the door knob, only to be seized by a moment’s panic. What if it’s locked? shouted the sudden question in her head. That possibility had never occurred to her, and the would-be secret agent filed away another early lesson: all contingencies must be considered before the plunge is taken.
But this evening luck was once more with her and the door opened easily to her touch. Her clothes flew off, and she hopped into his bed. Alone with her thoughts in the big bed, she willed him to come soon.”