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High Noon A New Sequel to 'Three Weeks'   By: (1864-1943)

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From a miniature in the Verdayne collection. ]











I must make a confession.

It will not be needed by the many thousands who have lived with me the wonderful sunrise of Paul's love, and the sad gray morning of his bereavement. To these friends who, with Paul, loved and mourned his beautiful Queen and their dear son, the calm peace and serenity of the high noon of Paul's life will seem but well deserved happiness.

It is to the others I speak.

In life it is rarely given us to learn the end as well as the beginning. To tell the whole story is only an author's privilege.

Of the events which made Paul's love idyl possible, but a mere hint has been given. If at some future time it seems best, I may tell you more of them. As far as Paul himself is concerned, you have had but the first two chapters of his story. Here is the third of the trilogy, his high noon. And with the sun once more breaking through the clouds in Paul's heart, we will leave him.

You need not read any more of this book than you wish, since I claim the privilege of not writing any more than I choose. But if you do read it through, you will feel with me that the great law of compensation is once more justified. As sorrow is the fruit of our mistakes, so everlasting peace should be the reward of our heart's best endeavor.

Sadness is past; joy comes with High Noon.

"The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen!"




It was Springtime in Switzerland! Once more the snow capped mountains mirrored their proud heads in sapphire lakes; and on the beeches by the banks of Lake Lucerne green buds were bursting into leaves. Everywhere were bright signs of the earth's awakening. Springtime in Switzerland! And that , you know you young hearts to whom the gods are kind is only another way of saying Paradise !

Towards Paradise, then, thundered the afternoon express from Paris, bearing the advance guard of the summer seekers after happiness. But if the cumbrous coaches carried swiftly onward some gay hearts, some young lovers to never to be forgotten scenes, one there was among the throng to whom the world was gray an English gentleman this, who gazed indifferently upon the bright vistas flitting past his window. The London Times reposed unopened by his side; Punch , Le Figaro , Jugend had pleased him not and tumbled to the floor unnoticed.

There seemed scant reason for such deep abstraction in one who bore the outward signs of so vigorous a manhood. Tall, well formed, muscular as his faultless clothes half revealed, half hid, his bronzed face bearing the clear eyes and steady lips of a man much out of doors, this thoughtful Englishman was indeed a man to catch and hold attention. No callow youth, was he, but in the prime of life strong, clean, distinguished in appearance, with hair slightly silvered at the temples; a man who had lived fully, women would have said, but who was now a bit weary of the world.

Small wonder that the smart American girl sitting opposite in the compartment stared at him with frank interest, or an elegantly gowned Parisienne demi mondaine (travelling incognito as the Comtesse de Boistelle) eyed him tentatively through her lorgnette.

So Sir Paul Verdayne sat that afternoon in a compartment of the through express, all unconscious of the scrutiny of his fellow travellers; his heart filled with the dogged determination to face the future and make the best of it like a true Englishman; somewhat saddened yes but still unbroken in spirit by the sorrows that had been his... Continue reading book >>

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