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The Man with the Clubfoot   By: (1883-1946)

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THE MAN WITH THE CLUBFOOT

BY VALENTINE WILLIAMS

AUTHOR OF "THE SECRET HAND," "THE YELLOW STREAK," "THE RETURN OF CLUBFOOT," "THE ORANGE DIVAN," "CLUBFOOT THE AVENGER"

1918

WHAT THIS STORY IS ABOUT

"The Man with the Clubfoot" is one of the most ingenious and sinister secret agents in Europe. It is to him that the task is assigned of regaining possession of an indiscreet letter written by the Kaiser.

Desmond Okewood, a young British officer with a genius for secret service work, sets out to thwart this man and, incidentally, discover the whereabouts of his brother.

He penetrates into Germany disguised, and meets with many thrilling adventures before he finally achieves his mission.

In "The Man with the Clubfoot," Valentine Williams has written a thrilling romance of mystery, love and intrigue, that in every sense of the word may be described as "breathless."

CHAPTER

I. I seek a Bed in Rotterdam

II. The Cipher with the Invoice

III. A Visitor in the Night

IV. Destiny knocks at the Door

V. The Lady of the Vos in't Tuintje

VI. I board the Berlin Train and leave a Lame Gentleman on the Platform

VII. In which a Silver Star acts as a Charm

VIII. I hear of Clubfoot and meet his Employer

IX. I encounter an old Acquaintance who leads me to a delightful Surprise

X. A Glass of Wine with Clubfoot

XI. Miss Mary Prendergast risks her Reputation

XII. His Excellency the General is worried

XIII. I find Achilles in his Tent

XIV. Clubfoot comes to Haase's

XV. The Waiter at the Café Regina

XVI. A Hand clasp by the Rhine

XVII. Francis takes up the Narrative

XVIII. I go on with the Story

XIX. We have a Reckoning with Clubfoot

XX. Charlemagne's Ride

XXI. Red Tabs explains

The Man with the Clubfoot

CHAPTER I

I SEEK A BED IN ROTTERDAM

The reception clerk looked up from the hotel register and shook his head firmly. "Very sorry, saire," he said, "not a bed in ze house." And he closed the book with a snap.

Outside the rain came down heavens hard. Every one who came into the brightly lit hotel vestibule entered with a gush of water. I felt I would rather die than face the wind swept streets of Rotterdam again.

I turned once more to the clerk who was now busy at the key rack.

"Haven't you really a corner? I wouldn't mind where it was, as it is only for the night. Come now..."

"Very sorry, saire. We have two gentlemen sleeping in ze bathrooms already. If you had reserved..." And he shrugged his shoulders and bent towards a visitor who was demanding his key.

I turned away with rage in my heart. What a cursed fool I had been not to wire from Groningen! I had fully intended to, but the extraordinary conversation I had had with Dicky Allerton had put everything else out of my head. At every hotel I had tried it had been the same story Cooman's, the Maas, the Grand, all were full even to the bathrooms. If I had only wired....

As I passed out into the porch I bethought myself of the porter. A hotel porter had helped me out of a similar plight in Breslau once years ago. This porter, with his red, drink sodden face and tarnished gold braid, did not promise well, so far as a recommendation for a lodging for the night was concerned. Still...

I suppose it was my mind dwelling on my experience at Breslau that made me address the man in German. When one has been familiar with a foreign tongue from one's boyhood, it requires but a very slight mental impulse to drop into it. From such slight beginnings do great enterprises spring. If I had known the immense ramification of adventure that was to spread its roots from that simple question, I verily believe my heart would have failed me and I would have run forth into the night and the rain and roamed the streets till morning.

Well, I found myself asking the man in German if he knew where I could get a room for the night... Continue reading book >>




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