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The Woman of Mystery   By: (1864-1941)

The Woman of Mystery by Maurice Leblanc

First Page:

[Illustration: Unmasked and helpless, she maintained an attitude of challenge and defiance]

THE WOMAN OF MYSTERY

BY MAURICE LEBLANC

AUTHOR OF "CONFESSIONS OF ARSÈNE LUPIN," "THE TEETH OF THE TIGER," ETC.

NEW YORK THE MACAULAY COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1916.

BY THE MACAULAY COMPANY

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. THE MURDER 9 II. THE LOCKED ROOM 23 III. THE CALL TO ARMS 39 IV. A LETTER FROM ÉLISABETH 59 V. THE PEASANT WOMAN AT CORVIGNY 77 VI. WHAT PAUL SAW AT ORNEQUIN 94 VII. H. E. R. M. 108 VIII. ÉLISABETH'S DIARY 126 IX. A SPRIG OF EMPIRE 141 X. 75 OR 155? 156 XI. "YSERY, MISERY" 167 XII. MAJOR HERMANN 182 XIII. THE FERRYMAN'S HOUSE 198 XIV. A MASTERPIECE OF KULTUR 220 XV. PRINCE CONRAD MAKES MERRY 236 XVI. THE IMPOSSIBLE STRUGGLE 258 XVII. THE LAW OF THE CONQUEROR 277 XVIII. HILL 132 292 XIX. HOHENZOLLERN 310 XX. THE DEATH PENALTY AND A CAPITAL PUNISHMENT 330

THE WOMAN OF MYSTERY

CHAPTER I

THE MURDER

"Suppose I were to tell you," said Paul Delroze, "that I once stood face to face with him on French. . . ."

Élisabeth looked up at him with the fond expression of a bride to whom the least word of the man she loves is a subject of wonder:

"You have seen William II. in France?"

"Saw him with my own eyes; and I have never forgotten a single one of the details that marked the meeting. And yet it happened very long ago."

He was speaking with a sudden seriousness, as though the revival of that memory had awakened the most painful thoughts in his mind.

"Tell me about it, won't you, Paul?" asked Élisabeth.

"Yes, I will," he said. "In any case, though I was only a child at the time, the incident played so tragic a part in my life that I am bound to tell you the whole story."

The train stopped and they got out at Corvigny, the last station on the local branch line which, starting from the chief town in the department, runs through the Liseron Valley and ends, fifteen miles from the frontier, at the foot of the little Lorraine city which Vauban, as he tells us in his "Memoirs," surrounded "with the most perfect demilunes imaginable."

The railway station presented an appearance of unusual animation. There were numbers of soldiers, including many officers. A crowd of passengers tradespeople, peasants, workmen and visitors to the neighboring health resorts served by Corvigny stood amid piles of luggage on the platform, awaiting the departure of the next train for the junction.

It was the last Thursday in July, the Thursday before the mobilization of the French army.

Élisabeth pressed up against her husband:

"Oh, Paul," she said, shivering with anxiety, "if only we don't have war!"

"War! What an idea!"

"But look at all these people leaving, all these families running away from the frontier!"

"That proves nothing."

"No, but you saw it in the paper just now. The news is very bad. Germany is preparing for war. She has planned the whole thing. . . . Oh, Paul, if we were to be separated! . . . I should know nothing about you . . . and you might be wounded . . . and . . ."

He squeezed her hand:

"Don't be afraid, Élisabeth. Nothing of the kind will happen. There can't be war unless somebody declares it... Continue reading book >>




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