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The Frontier   By: (1864-1941)

Book cover

First Page:

THE FRONTIER

BY

MAURICE LEBLANC

AUTHOR OF "ARSENE LUPIN," "813," ETC.

TRANSLATED BY

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS

[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

HODDER & STOUGHTON NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

Copyright, 1912, By Maurice Leblanc

Copyright, 1912, By George H. Doran Company

CONTENTS

PART I

CHAPTER PAGE

I A HEAD BETWEEN THE BUSHES 3

II THE GIRL WITH THE BARE ARMS 17

III THE VIOLET PAMPHLET 30

IV PHILIPPE AND HIS WIFE 46

V THE SHEET OF NOTE PAPER 58

VI THE PLASTER STATUE 66

VII EVE TRIUMPHANT 76

VIII THE TRAP 94

PART II

I THE TWO WOMEN 107

II PHILIPPE TELLS A LIE 118

III FATHER AND SON 133

IV THE ENQUIRIES 150

V THE THUNDERCLAP 164

VI THE BUTTE AUX LOUPS 177

VII MARTHE ASKS A QUESTION 195

VIII THE STAGES TO CALVARY 208

PART III

I THE ARMED VIGIL 233

II THEY WHO GO TO THEIR DEATH 249

III IDEAS AND FACTS 268

IV THE SACRED SOIL 281

THE FRONTIER

PART I

CHAPTER I

A HEAD BETWEEN THE BUSHES

"They've done it!"

"What?"

"The German frontier post ... at the circus of the Butte aux Loups."

"What about it?"

"Knocked down."

"Nonsense!"

"See for yourself."

Old Morestal stepped aside. His wife came out of the drawing room and went and stood by the telescope, on its tripod, at the end of the terrace.

"I can see nothing," she said, presently.

"Don't you see a tree standing out above the others, with lighter foliage?"

"Yes."

"And, to the right of that tree, a little lower down, an empty space surrounded by fir trees?"

"Yes."

"That's the circus of the Butte aux Loups and it marks the frontier at that spot."

"Ah, I've got it!... There it is!... You mean on the ground, don't you? Lying flat on the grass, exactly as if it had been rooted up by last night's storm...."

"What are you talking about? It has been fairly felled with an axe: you can see the gash from here."

"So I can ... so I can...."

She stood up and shook her head:

"That makes the third time this year.... It will mean more unpleasantness."

"Fiddle de dee!" he exclaimed. "All they've got to do is to put up a solid post, instead of their old bit of wood." And he added, in a tone of pride, "The French post, two yards off, doesn't budge, you know!"

"Well, of course not! It's made of cast iron and cemented into the stone."

"Let them do as much then! It's not money they're wanting ... when you think of the five thousand millions they robbed us of!... No, but, I say ... three of them in eight months!... How will the people take it, on the other side of the Vosges?"

He could not hide the sort of gay and sarcastic feeling of content that filled his whole being and he walked up and down the terrace, stamping his feet as hard as he could on the ground.

But, suddenly going to his wife, he seized her by the arm and said, in a hollow voice:

"Would you like to know what I really think?"

"Yes."

"Well, all this will lead to trouble."

"No," said the old lady, quietly.

"How do you mean, no?"

"We've been married five and thirty years; and, for five and thirty years, you've told me, week after week, that we shall have trouble. So, you see...."

She turned away from him and went back to the drawing room again, where she began to dust the furniture with a feather broom.

He shrugged his shoulders, as he followed her indoors:

"Oh, yes, you're the placid mother, of course! Nothing excites you. As long as your cupboards are tidy, your linen all complete and your jams potted, you don't care!... Still, you ought not to forget that they killed your poor father."

"I don't forget it ... only, what's the good? It's more than forty years ago...."

"It was yesterday," he said, sinking his voice, "yesterday, no longer ago than yesterday... Continue reading book >>




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