Best books online Library

Your last book:

You dont read books at this site.

Total books on site: 11 280

You can read and download its for free!

Browse books by author: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Text on one page: Few Medium Many
(This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)









THE

RED SYMBOL

BY

JOHN IRONSIDE

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
F. C. YOHN

BOSTON
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY
1910




_Copyright, 1909, 1910_,
BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

_All rights reserved._

Published, April, 1910

THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.




[Illustration: _I heard him mutter in French: "The symbol! Then it is
she!"_ FRONTISPIECE. See p. 16]




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE MYSTERIOUS FOREIGNER 1
II. THE SAVAGE CLUB DINNER 9
III. THE BLOOD-STAINED PORTRAIT 17
IV. THE RIVER STEPS 26
V. THE MYSTERY THICKENS 33
VI. "MURDER MOST FOUL" 41
VII. A RED-HAIRED WOMAN 48
VIII. A TIMELY WARNING 55
IX. NOT AT BERLIN 62
X. DISQUIETING NEWS 68
XI. "LA MORT OU LA VIE!" 74
XII. THE WRECKED TRAIN 82
XIII. THE GRAND DUKE LORIS 89
XIV. A CRY FOR HELP 96
XV. AN UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE 103
XVI. UNDER SURVEILLANCE 110
XVII. THE DROSHKY DRIVER 115
XVIII. THROUGH THE STORM 122
XIX. NIGHT IN THE FOREST 128
XX. THE TRIBUNAL 133
XXI. A FORLORN HOPE 139
XXII. THE PRISON HOUSE 145
XXIII. FREEMAN EXPLAINS 152
XXIV. BACK TO ENGLAND 158
XXV. SOUTHBOURNE'S SUSPICIONS 164
XXVI. WHAT JIM CAYLEY KNEW 172
XXVII. AT THE POLICE COURT 179
XXVIII. WITH MARY AT MORWEN 186
XXIX. LIGHT ON THE PAST 192
XXX. A BYGONE TRAGEDY 198
XXXI. MISHKA TURNS UP 204
XXXII. BACK TO RUSSIA ONCE MORE 211
XXXIII. THE ROAD TO ZOSTROV 217
XXXIV. THE OLD JEW 223
XXXV. A BAFFLING INTERVIEW 229
XXXVI. STILL ON THE ROAD 235
XXXVII. THE PRISONER OF ZOSTROV 241
XXXVIII. THE GAME BEGINS 247
XXXIX. THE FLIGHT FROM ZOSTROV 254
XL. A STRICKEN TOWN 260
XLI. LOVE OR COMRADESHIP? 268
XLII. THE DESERTED HUNTING LODGE 274
XLIII. THE WOMAN FROM SIBERIA 281
XLIV. AT VASSILITZI'S 287
XLV. THE CAMPAIGN AT WARSAW 294
XLVI. THE BEGINNING OF THE END 301
XLVII. THE TRAGEDY IN THE SQUARE 308
XLVIII. THE GRAND DUCHESS PASSES 315
XLIX. THE END OF AN ACT 322
L. ENGLAND ONCE MORE 329
LI. THE REAL ANNE 336
LII. THE WHOLE TRUTH 344




ILLUSTRATIONS


I heard him mutter in French: "The symbol! Then it is
she!" _Frontispiece_

The rooms were in great disorder, and had been
subjected to an exhaustive search _Page 51_

His stern face, seen in the light of the blazing
wreckage, was ghastly " 87

In that instant I had caught a glimpse of a white
face " 102

Then, in a flash, I knew him " 228

"My God, how they hate me!" I heard Loris say
softly " 259

"I knew thou wouldst come," she said " 268

Some one comes behind my chair " 354




THE RED SYMBOL




CHAPTER I

THE MYSTERIOUS FOREIGNER


"Hello! Yes--I'm Maurice Wynn. Who are you?"

"Harding. I've been ringing you up at intervals for hours. Carson's ill,
and you're to relieve him. Come round for instructions to-night. Lord
Southbourne will give them you himself. Eh? Yes, Whitehall Gardens.
Ten-thirty, then. Right you are."

I replaced the receiver, and started hustling into my dress clothes,
thinking rapidly the while.

For the first time in the course of ten years' experience as a special
correspondent, I was dismayed at the prospect of starting off at a
moment's notice--to St. Petersburg, in this instance.

To-day was Saturday, and if I were to go by the quickest route--the Nord
express--I should have three days' grace, but the delay at this end
would not compensate for the few hours saved on the journey. No,
doubtless Southbourne would expect me to get off to-morrow or Monday
morning at latest. He was--and is--the smartest newspaper man in
England.

Well, I still had four hours before I was due at Whitehall Gardens; and
I must make the most of them. At least I should have a few minutes alone
with Anne Pendennis, on our way to the dinner at the Hotel Cecil,--the
Savage Club "ladies" dinner, where she and my cousin Mary would be
guests of Jim Cayley, Mary's husband.

Anne had promised to let me escort her,--the Cayley's brougham was a
small one, in which three were emphatically a crowd,--and the drive from
Chelsea to the Strand, in a hansom, would provide me with the
opportunity I had been wanting for days past, of putting my fate to the
test, and asking her to be my wife.

I had thought to find that opportunity to-day, at the river picnic Mary
had arranged; but all my attempts to secure even a few minutes alone
with Anne had failed; though whether she evaded me by accident or design
I could not determine, any more than I could tell if she loved me.
Sometimes, when she was kind, my hopes rose high, to fall below zero
next minute.

"Steer clear of her, my boy," Jim Cayley had said to me weeks ago, when
Anne first came to stay with Mary. "She's as capricious as she's
imperious, and a coquette to her finger-tips. A girl with hair and eyes
like that couldn't be anything else."

I resented the words hotly at the time, and he retracted them, with a
promptitude and good humor that disarmed me. Jim was a man with whom it
was impossible to quarrel. Still, I guessed he had not changed his
opinion of his wife's guest, though he appeared on excellent terms with
her.

As for Mary, she was different. She loved Anne,--they had been fast
friends ever since they were school-girls together at Neuilly,--and if
she did not fully understand her, at least she believed that her
coquetry, her capriciousness, were merely superficial, like the hard,
glittering quartz that enshrines and protects the pure gold,--and has to
be shattered before the gold can be won.

Mary, I knew, wished me well, though she was far too wise a little woman
to attempt any interference.

Yes, I would end my suspense to-night, I decided, as I wrestled with a
refractory tie.

Ting ... ting ... tr-r-r-ing! Two short rings and a long one. Not the
telephone this time, but the electric bell at the outer door of my
bachelor flat.

Who on earth could that be? Well, he'd have to wait.

As I flung the tie aside and seized another, I heard a queer scratching
noise outside, stealthy but distinct. I paused and listened, then
crossed swiftly and silently to the open door of the bedroom. Some one
had inserted a key in the Yale lock of the outer door, and was vainly
endeavoring to turn it.

I flung the door open and confronted an extraordinary figure,--an old
man, a foreigner evidently, of a type more frequently encountered in the
East End than Westminster.

"Well, my friend, what are you up to?" I demanded.

The man recoiled, bending his body and spreading his claw-like hands in
a servile obeisance, quaint and not ungraceful; while he quavered out
what was seemingly an explanation or apology in some jargon that was
quite unintelligible to me, though I can speak most European languages.
I judged it to be some Russian patois.

I caught one word, a name that I knew, and interrupted his flow of
eloquence.

"You want Mr. Cassavetti?" I asked in Russian. "Well, his rooms are on
the next floor."

I pointed upwards as I spoke, and the miserable looking old creature
understood the gesture at least, for, renewing his apologetic
protestations, he began to shuffle along the landing, supporting himself
by the hand-rail.

I knew my neighbor Cassavetti fairly well. He was supposed to be a
press-man, correspondent to half a dozen Continental papers, and gave
himself out as a Greek, but I had a notion that Russian refugee was
nearer the mark, though hitherto I had never seen any suspicious
characters hanging around his place.

But if this picturesque stranger wasn't a Russian Jew, I never saw one.
He certainly was no burglar or sneak-thief, or he would have bolted when
I opened the door. The key with which he had attempted to gain ingress
to my flat was doubtless a pass-key to Cassavetti's rooms. He seemed a
queer person to be in possession of such a thing, but that was
Cassavetti's affair, and not mine.

"Here, you'd better have your key," I called, jerking it out of my lock.
It was an ordinary Yale key, with a bit of string tied to it, and a
fragment of dirty red stuff attached to that.

The stranger had paused, and was clinging to the rail, making a queer
gasping sound; and now, as I spoke, he suddenly collapsed in a heap, his
dishevelled gray head resting against the balustrade.

I guessed I'd scared him pretty badly, and as I looked down at him I
thought for a moment he was dead.

I went up the stairs, and rang Cassavetti's bell.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | Next |