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A Queen's Error   By: (1860-)

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E text prepared by Al Haines

A QUEEN'S ERROR

by

CAPTAIN HENRY CURTIES

Author of

"The Blood Bond" "The Idol of the King" "Tears of Angels" "The Queen's Gate Mystery" "Out of the Shadows" Etc. Etc.

London F. V. White & Co. Ltd. 17 Buckingham Street, Strand, W.C. 1911

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I. A STRANGE VISIT II. THE MAN WITH THE GLASS EYE III. THE SECOND VISIT AND ITS RESULT IV. I AM DETAINED V. ARRESTED VI. PUT TO THE TORTURE VII. CRUFT'S FOLLY VIII. SANDRINGHAM IX. THE DUKE OF RITTERSHEIM X. THE PLOT THAT FAILED XI. THE OCEANA XII. HELD UP XIII. DON JUAN D'ALTA XIV. THE CASKET XV. THE ABBOT OF SAN JUAN XVI. THE CONFESSION OF BROOKS XVII. THE STEEL SAFE XVIII. THE OLD GRAVEYARD XIX. THE STRUGGLE IN THE TUNNEL XX. THE DEPARTURE OF THE DUKE XXI. MADAME LA COMTESSE XXII. THE QUEEN'S ERROR XXIII. THE QUEEN'S ATONEMENT

TO

SWEET KATHLEEN

OF

BATH

A QUEEN'S ERROR

CHAPTER I

A STRANGE VISIT

I turned the corner abruptly and found myself in a long, dreary street; looking in the semi fog and drizzle more desolate than those dismal old world streets of Bath I had passed through already in my aimless wandering; I turned sharply and came almost face to face with her.

She was standing on the upper step, and the door stood open; the house itself looked neglected and with the general appearance of having been shut up for years. The windows were grimed with dirt, and there was that little accumulation of dust, pieces of straw, and little scraps of paper, under the two steps which tells of long disuse.

She stood on the step, a figure slightly over the middle height, leaning one hand on a walking stick, and her face fascinated me.

It was the face of an old lady of perhaps seventy, hale and healthful, with fresh colour on the cheeks, and bands of perfectly white hair falling over the ears. But it was the expression which attracted me; it was peculiarly sweet and winning.

My halt could only have been momentary. I recollected myself and was passing on, when she spoke to me.

"Would you be so kind as to do me a favour, sir?" she asked.

The voice was as sweet and winning as her expression; though she spoke perfect English, yet there was the very slightest soup├žon of a foreign accent. Of what country, I could not tell.

I stopped again as she spoke, and having perhaps among my friends a little reputation for politeness to the weaker sex, especially the older members of it for I am not by way of being a Lothario, be it said I answered her as politely as I could.

"In what way may I be of service to you?"

She brought her walking stick round in front of her and leant upon it with both hands as she made her request. She then appeared, in the fuller light of the yellow flamed old fashioned gas lamp opposite, to be much older than I first thought.

"I want you, if you will," she said, "to come into this house for a few minutes. I wish to ask a further favour of you which I shall then have an opportunity of explaining, but, on the other hand, the service I shall ask will not go unrewarded."

Prepossessing though her appearance and address were, yet I hesitated.

I took another long look at her open face, white hair, and very correct old lady's black hat secured by a veil tied under her chin. It was just such a hat as my own dear mother used to wear.

"You seem to hesitate," she remarked, noting, I suppose, my delay in answering her; "but I assure you you have nothing to fear."

I took a sudden resolve, despite the many tragedies I had read of in connection with empty houses; I would trust her.

There was something about her face which conveyed confidence.

"Very well," I replied, "if I can be of any use to you, I will come in."

"Thank you," she said, "then kindly follow me."

She turned and held the door for me to pass in; when I was inside she closed it, and we stood almost in complete darkness, except for the glimmering reflected light of the yellow street lamp opposite, which struggled in through the dirty pane of glass over the door... Continue reading book >>




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