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The Secret of Sarek   By: (1864-1941)

The Secret of Sarek by Maurice Leblanc

First Page:

THE SECRET OF SAREK

by

MAURICE LEBLANC

Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

[Illustration: "We're Done For! They Are Aiming At Us!"]

[Illustration]

FRONTISPIECE

A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York

Published by arrangement with The Macaulay Company

Copyright, 1920 By The Macaulay Company

Printed in U. S. A.

FOREWORD

The war has led to so many upheavals that not many people now remember the Hergemont scandal of seventeen years ago. Let us recall the details in a few lines.

One day in July 1902, M. Antoine d'Hergemont, the author of a series of well known studies on the megalithic monuments of Brittany, was walking in the Bois with his daughter Véronique, when he was assaulted by four men, receiving a blow in the face with a walking stick which felled him to the ground.

After a short struggle and in spite of his desperate efforts, Véronique, the beautiful Véronique, as she was called by her friends, was dragged away and bundled into a motor car which the spectators of this very brief scene saw making off in the direction of Saint Cloud.

It was a plain case of kidnapping. The truth became known next morning. Count Alexis Vorski, a young Polish nobleman of dubious reputation but of some social prominence and, by his own account, of royal blood, was in love with Véronique d'Hergemont and Véronique with him. Repelled and more than once insulted by the father, he had planned the incident entirely without Véronique's knowledge or complicity.

Antoine d'Hergemont, who, as certain published letters showed, was a man of violent and morose disposition and who, thanks to his capricious temper, his ferocious egoism and his sordid avarice, had made his daughter exceedingly unhappy, swore openly that he would take the most ruthless revenge.

He gave his consent to the wedding, which took place two months later, at Nice. But in the following year a series of sensational events transpired. Keeping his word and cherishing his hatred, M. d'Hergemont in his turn kidnapped the child born of the Vorski marriage and set sail in a small yacht which he had bought not long before.

The sea was rough. The yacht foundered within sight of the Italian coast. The four sailors who formed the crew were picked up by a fishing boat. According to their evidence M. d'Hergemont and the child had disappeared amid the waves.

When Véronique received the proof of their death, she entered a Carmelite convent.

These are the facts which, fourteen years later, were to lead to the most frightful and extraordinary adventure, a perfectly authentic adventure, though certain details, at first sight, assume a more or less fabulous aspect. But the war has complicated existence to such an extent that events which happen outside it, such as those related in the following narrative, borrow something abnormal, illogical and at times miraculous from the greater tragedy. It needs all the dazzling light of truth to restore to those events the character of a reality which, when all is said, is simple enough.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I THE DESERTED CABIN 11 II ON THE EDGE OF THE ATLANTIC 25 III VORSKI'S SON 43 IV THE POOR PEOPLE OF SAREK 67 V "FOUR WOMEN CRUCIFIED" 87 VI ALL'S WELL 113 VII FRANÇOIS AND STÉPHANE 133 VIII ANGUISH 149 IX THE DEATH CHAMBER 167 X THE ESCAPE 181 XI THE SCOURGE OF GOD 200 XII THE ASCENT OF GOLGOTHA 221 XIII "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI!" 243 XIV THE ANCIENT DRUID 262 XV THE HALL OF THE UNDERGROUND SACRIFICES 283 XVI THE HALL OF THE KINGS OF BOHEMIA 309 XVII "CRUEL PRINCE, OBEYING DESTINY" 328 XVIII THE GOD STONE 349

THE SECRET OF SAREK

CHAPTER I

THE DESERTED CABIN

Into the picturesque village of Le Faouet, situated in the very heart of Brittany, there drove one morning in the month of May a lady whose spreading grey cloak and the thick veil that covered her face failed to hide her remarkable beauty and perfect grace of figure... Continue reading book >>




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