Copy Book Archive

Mr Ivery Gets Away Richard Hannay tracks a German spy down to a French château, but Hannay’s sense of fair play gives his enemy a chance.

In two parts

King George V 1910-1936
Music: Camille Saint-Saens

© Reivax670, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0. Source

About this picture …

The Château d’Havrincourt‎ in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, looking cold and forbidding in the snow. In Buchan’s story, the action plays out at the fictional town of Eaucourt-St-Anne, where the château is being used by the Germans as a laboratory for manufacturing anthrax biological weapons.

Mr Ivery Gets Away

Part 1 of 2

Richard Hannay and Mary Lamington are on the tail of a German spy, who has been posing as an English gentleman named Moxon Ivery during the Great War. The chase has led to a French château, where Mary has uncovered a cache of biological weapons, and now Hannay has surprised the man himself.

“HULLO, Mr Ivery,” I said. “This is an odd place to meet again!”

In his amazement he fell back a step, while his hungry eyes took in my face. There was no mistake about the recognition. I saw something I had seen once before in him, and that was fear. Out went the light and he sprang for the door.

I fired in the dark, but the shot must have been too high. In the same instant I heard him slip on the smooth parquet and the tinkle of glass as the broken window swung open. Hastily I reflected that his car must be at the moat end of the terrace, and that therefore to reach it he must pass outside this very room. Seizing the damaged escritoire, I used it as a ram, and charged the window nearest me. The panes and shutters went with a crash, for I had driven the thing out of its rotten frame.

Jump to Part 2


In John Buchan’s wartime adventure tale Mr Srandfast, Richard Hannay accosts his mortal enemy, German spy Moxon Ivery, in a French château. Ivery makes a sudden dash for safety, and though Hannay gets off a shot, Ivery eludes him. Anticipating his opponent’s next move, Hannay seizes a hefty piece of furniture and smashes his way quickly out through a window. (61 / 60 words)

Part Two

© Reivax670, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0. Source

About this picture …

The gates of the Château d’Havrincourt‎ in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. It was on a snowy day such as this, in Buchan’s face-paced wartime adventure tale, that Richard Hannay went in pursuit of the dangerous German spy calling himself Moxon Ivery, hoping the gates would cut off his escape – and was bitterly disappointed.

THE next second I was on the moonlit snow.

I got a shot at him as he went over the terrace, and again I went wide. I never was at my best with a pistol. Still I reckoned I had got him, for the car which was waiting below must come back by the moat to reach the highroad. But I had forgotten the great closed park gates. Somehow or other they must have been opened, for as soon as the car started it headed straight for the grand avenue. I tried a couple of long-range shots after it, and one must have damaged either Ivery or his chauffeur, for there came back a cry of pain.

I turned in deep chagrin to find Mary beside me. She was bubbling with laughter.

“Were you ever a cinema actor, Dick? The last two minutes have been a really high-class performance. ‘Featuring Mary Lamington.’ How does the jargon go?”

Copy Book


Hannay assumes that the park gates are closed and that his enemy’s car must come right past him to get out, but his assumption proves ill-founded. He must watch Ivery driving off in the opposite direction; and knowing that he has winged either Ivery or his driver, and that the watching Mary Lamington was greatly entertained, is scant consolation. (59 / 60 words)


From ‘Mr Standfast’ by John Buchan.

Suggested Music

1 2

Danse Macabre

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)

Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit.

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Carnival des Animaux


Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)

Performed by the Symphony Orchestra of The Stanisław Moniuszko Music School in Wałbrzych, Poland, conducted by Małgorzata Sapiecha.

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How To Use This Passage

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IRead it aloud, twice or more. IISummarise it in one sentence of up to 30 words. IIISummarise it in one paragraph of 40-80 words. IVMake notes on the passage, and reconstruct the original from them later on. VJot down any unfamiliar words, and make your own sentences with them later. VIMake a note of any words that surprise or impress you, and ask yourself what meaning they add to the words you would have expected to see. VIITurn any old-fashioned English into modern English. VIIITurn prose into verse, and verse into prose. IXAsk yourself what the author is trying to get you to feel or think. XHow would an artist or a photographer capture the scene? XIHow would a movie director shoot it, or a composer write incidental music for it?

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