Heine is an agent with German Intelligence.
The information we have of this interesting operative who ran agents in both England and America in the days leading up to and through the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of World War I comes from a series of short recounts of his activities. It is important to note before one begins to read these accounts that they are written by Heine himself and therefore describes events and motives and, most of all, results from his point of view.
When we first meet him, he has been recently assigned to London, a relief because he feared he would be sent to France and he is quite vocal about his distaste for the French. That and his grasp of their language is less than desirable. English, on the other hand, he is natively competent with it, though in truth his attitude towards the English is really not that much better than that towards the French.
The tales available are introduced with the words: "This narrative of a German spy, who lived and had his being in our midst, is based upon irrefutable facts, which are offered to our readers for the first time. The series is compiled from notes and memoranda which were made by Hermann Gallwitz, aka Heine, an agent of Captain Karl von Rintellen, the mysterious banker-spy who was arrested while travelling to Europe under the name of ""Von Gasche". Gallwitz never intended his private diary to be published, and because of this our readers will have a much better insight into the vain and conceited mind of the German spy, who fondly believed that a British Secret Service did not exist. For reasons which will be obvious fictitious names are given, and codes, signals and identification systems have been altered."
For his new role as London Station chief, Heine adopted the occupation of reporter working for a Chinese News Bureau with a sideline as "an agent for a firm of importers in Shanghai". The former gave him excuses to go to all sorts of public gatherings to report of events and thus to ask any number of questions. The latter was because through it it would be "only natural that I should be called up all hours of the day and night with offers of goods", such messages containing instructions in code.
His passport clearly indicates he is of Chilean nationality, that nation chosen because it was felt extremely unlikely any European country would decide to declare war on Chile. He will on many occasions fall back on his supposed Chilean origin. Luckily for him he is asked nothing of his previous life there, which is good because he visited there only once and not for very long.
Heine is, according to himself, the epitome of what a spy should be and certainly everything a true German should aspire to. His actions as the former would make one question his veracity and by extension would cast considerable doubt on the latter. Through all his trials and ordeals, however, he very seldom wavers in his convictions about himself and wants it made known that his need to leave London during those times when danger neared were all totally justified and regretful as he would love nothing more than to prove his unbridled German courage.
Despite Heine's insistence that there was no organized English intelligence apparatus, he does admit, slowly and sadly, that the ever-increasingly annoying Mister Haynes, later known to be Major Haynes, might possibly be involved in such as vocation as Haynes proves over and again to be a foil for the ingenious schemes of Heine. The relationship between Heine and Haynes grows steadily over time and it does, Heine's loathing of Haynes will evolve. For his part, Haynes will admit at one point to Heine that he actually "doesn't dislike him". Mind you, it was said with a smile which for Haynes can mean any number of things.
Some of Heine's observations and thoughts which are of interest are:
- Advice to one of the agents working under him in England, "You must exercise the greatest care. Even though these English are very stupid, they may easily blunder into a discovery."
- "The English are the most stupid liars in the world."
- "The English Army is almost as insignificant a factor as -- as well -- the American army, which only exists on paper."
- Regarding his sentimentality which he forces subdued, "Sentiment does not live in an agent's pocket".