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The Thousandth Woman   By: (1866-1921)

The Thousandth Woman by Ernest William Hornung

First Page:

THE THOUSANDTH WOMAN

[Illustration: "I wonder who can have done it."]

THE THOUSANDTH WOMAN

By ERNEST W. HORNUNG

Author of THE AMATEUR CRACKSMAN, RAFFLES, ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY FRANK SNAPP

INDIANAPOLIS THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1913 THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

PRESS OF BRAUNWORTH & CO. BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS BROOKLYN, N. Y.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I A SMALL WORLD 1

II SECOND SIGHT 16

III IN THE TRAIN 29

IV DOWN THE RIVER 42

V AN UNTIMELY VISITOR 64

VI VOLUNTARY SERVICE 83

VII AFTER MICHELANGELO 98

VIII FINGER PRINTS 117

IX FAIR WARNING 134

X THE WEEK OF THEIR LIVES 146

XI IN COUNTRY AND IN TOWN 156

XII THE THOUSANDTH MAN 169

XIII QUID PRO QUO 181

XIV FAITH UNFAITHFUL 205

XV THE PERSON UNKNOWN 214

THE THOUSANDTH WOMAN

I

A SMALL WORLD

Cazalet sat up so suddenly that his head hit the woodwork over the upper berth. His own voice still rang in his startled ears. He wondered how much he had said, and how far it could have carried above the throb of the liner's screws and the mighty pounding of the water against her plates. Then his assembling senses coupled the light in the cabin with his own clear recollection of having switched it off before turning over. And then he remembered how he had been left behind at Naples, and rejoined the Kaiser Fritz at Genoa, only to find that he no longer had a cabin to himself.

A sniff assured Cazalet that he was neither alone at the moment nor yet the only one awake; he pulled back the swaying curtain, which he had taken to keeping drawn at night; and there on the settee, with the thinnest of cigarettes between his muscular fingers, sat a man with a strong blue chin and the quizzical solemnity of an animated sphinx.

It was his cabin companion, an American named Hilton Toye, and Cazalet addressed him with nervous familiarity.

"I say! Have I been talking in my sleep?"

"Why, yes!" replied Hilton Toye, and broke into a smile that made a human being of him.

Cazalet forced a responsive grin, as he reached for his own cigarettes. "What did I say?" he asked, with an amused curiosity at variance with his shaking hand and shining forehead.

Toye took him in from crown to fingertips, with something deep behind his kindly smile. "I judge," said he, "you were dreaming of some drama you've been seeing ashore, Mr. Cazalet."

"Dreaming!" said Cazalet, wiping his face. "It was a nightmare! I must have turned in too soon after dinner. But I should like to know what I said."

"I can tell you word for word. You said, 'Henry Craven dead!' and then you said, 'Dead dead Henry Craven!' as if you'd got to have it both ways to make sure."

"It's true," said Cazalet, shuddering. "I saw him lying dead, in my dream."

Hilton Toye took a gold watch from his waistcoat pocket. "Thirteen minutes to one in the morning," he said, "and now it's September eighteenth. Take a note of that, Mr. Cazalet. It may be another case of second sight for your psychical research society."

"I don't care if it is." Cazalet was smoking furiously.

"Meaning it was no great friend you dreamed was dead?"

"No friend at all, dead or alive!"

"I'm kind of wondering," said Toye, winding his watch up slowly, "if he's by way of being a friend of mine. I know a Henry Craven over in England. Lives along the river, down Kingston way, in a big house."

"Called Uplands?"

"Yes, sir! That's the man. Little world, isn't it?"

The man in the upper berth had to hold on as his curtains swung clear; the man tilted back on the settee, all attention all the time, was more than ever an effective foil to him. Without the kindly smile that went as quickly as it came, Hilton Toye was somber, subtle and demure... Continue reading book >>




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