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By Wit of Woman   By: (1852-1923)

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First Page:

BY WIT OF WOMAN

By

ARTHUR W. MARCHMONT

Author of "When I was Czar" "By Snare of Love" "A Dash for a Throne" etc etc

ILLUSTRATIONS BY S. H. VEDDER

LONDON

WARD LOCK & CO. LIMITED

1906

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I FROM BEYOND THE PALE II A CHESS OPENING III MY PLAN OF CAMPAIGN IV MADAME D'ARTELLE V A NIGHT ADVENTURE VI GARETH VII GARETH'S FATHER VIII COUNT KARL IX I COME TO TERMS WITH MADAME X A DRAMATIC STROKE XI PLAIN TALK XII HIS EXCELLENCY AGAIN XIII GETTING READY XIV I ELOPE XV AN EMBARRASSING DRIVE XVI A WISP OF RIBBON XVII IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT XVIII THE COST OF VICTORY XIX A TRAGI COMEDY XX MY ARREST XXI HIS EXCELLENCY TO THE RESCUE XXII COLONEL KATONA SPEAKS XXIII A GREEK GIFT XXIV WHAT THE DUKE MEANT XXV ON THE THRESHOLD XXVI FACE TO FACE XXVII "THIS IS GARETH" XXVIII THE COLONEL'S SECRET XXIX A SINGULAR TRUCE XXX THE END

ILLUSTRATIONS

"He held out his hand when Madame presented him."

"The two scoundrels pulled up at the sight of it."

"Throwing herself on her knees at the Duke's feet."

CHAPTER I

FROM BEYOND THE PALE

"To John P. Gilmore, Jefferson City, Missouri, U.S.A.

"MY DEAR BROTHER IN LAW, For years you have believed me dead, and I have made no effort to disturb that belief.

"I am dying now, alone in Paris, far from my beloved country; unjustly degraded, dishonoured and defamed. This letter and its enclosure will not be despatched until the grave has closed over me.

"To you I owe a debt of deep gratitude. You have taken and cared for my darling child, Christabel; you have stood between her and the world, and have spared her from the knowledge and burden of her father's unmerited shame. You can yet do something more give her your name, so that mine with its disgrace may be forgotten; unless it is a wild thought that has come to me in my last hours, the offspring of my hopeless melancholy unless she should ever prove to have the strength, the courage, the wit and the will to essay that which I have endeavoured fruitlessly the clearance of my name and honour.

"When ruin first fell upon me, I made a vow never to reveal myself to her until I had cleared my name and hers from the stain of this disgrace. I have kept the vow God knows at what sorrow to myself and against what temptation in these last lonely years and shall keep it now to the end.

"The issue I leave to you. If you deem it best, let her continue to believe that I died years ago. If otherwise, give her the enclosed paper the story of my cruel wrong and tell her that during the last years of my life my thoughts were all of her, that my heart yearned for her, and that my last conscious breath will be spent in uttering her name and blessing her.

"Such relics of my once great fortune as I have, I am sending to you for my Christabel.

"Adieu. "ERNST VON DRESCHLER, COUNT MELNIK."

"To my Daughter, Christabel von Dreschler.

"MY DEAREST CHILD, If you are ever to read these lines it will be because your uncle believes you are fitted to take up the task of clearing our name, from the stain of crime which the villainy of others has put upon it. But whether you will make the effort must be decided finally by yourself alone. For two years I have tried, with such strength as was left to me by those who did me this foul wrong, and I have failed. Were you a son, I should lay this task upon you as a solemn charge; but you are only a girl, and left in your hands, it would be all but hopeless, because of both its difficulty and probable danger. I leave you free to decide: for the reason that if you have not the personal capacity to make the decision, you will not have in you the power to succeed. One thing only I enjoin upon you. If you cannot clear my name, do not bear it... Continue reading book >>




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