The Seven Secrets

The Seven Secrets

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Seven Secrets, by William Le Queux This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Seven Secrets Author: William Le Queux Release Date: December 17, 2008 [EBook #27549] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE SEVEN SECRETS *** Produced by D Alexander and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive) The Seven Secrets BY WILLIAM LE QUEUX Author of “The Gamblers,” “The Under-Secretary,” “Whoso findeth a Wife,” “Of Royal Blood,” etc. Second Edition London: HUTCHINSON & CO. PATERNOSTER ROW 1903 A. C. FOWLER, PRINTER, MOORFIELDS, LONDON. WILLIAM LE QUEUX’S NOVELS. “As a recounter of stories of mingled mystery and adventure, Mr. William Le Queux is certainly among the best living writers.”—The Athenæum. “It is interesting that Queen Alexandra is a great reader of novels of mystery and adventure, and that she is one of Mr. Le Queux’s most ardent admirers. Long ago, when his ‘Zoraida’ was issued, she gave an order to a wellknown Piccadilly bookseller for all Mr. Le Queux’s books, past and future, and an early copy of each of that writer’s books reaches her.”—The Queen. “The name of William Le Queux is well known to novel-readers as that of one who can weave the most wonderful mysteries and elaborate the most thrilling plots that are to be met with in the fiction of to-day. His books are read with the avidity of intense curiosity, for the string of events described are of the kind that demand attention until the end is reached and everything made clear.” —Literary World. “Mr. William Le Queux’s name is favourably known to all readers of sensational fiction. He elaborates the most wonderful plots, and holds his reader breathless to the end, for it is only quite at the end that light is allowed to break through the entanglement of circumstance, or the perplexities brought about by the shock of temperament.”—Daily News. “Mr. William Le Queux’s novels are one of my chief foibles. I can always read his stories greedily, and ‘Free Lancers’ should buy his books.”—Mr. CLEMENT SCOTT in the Free Lance. Crown 8vo, 6s. THE UNDER-SECRETARY Third . Edition. THE GAMBLERS. Edition. Second OF ROYAL BLOOD. Third Edition. CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. INTRODUCES AMBLER JEVONS II. “A VERY UGLY SECRET” III. THE COURTENAYS IV. A NIGHT CALL V. DISCLOSES A MYSTERY VI. IN WHICH I MAKE A DISCOVERY VII. THE MAN SHORT AND HIS STORY VIII. AMBLER JEVONS IS INQUISITIVE IX. SHADOWS X. WHICH PUZZLES THE DOCTORS XI. CONCERNS MY PRIVATE AFFAIRS XII. I RECEIVE A VISITOR XIII. MY LOVE XIV. IS DISTINCTLY CURIOUS XV. I AM CALLED FOR CONSULTATION XVI. REVEALS AN ASTOUNDING FACT XVII. DISCUSSES SEVERAL MATTERS XVIII. WORDS OF THE DEAD XIX. JEVONS GROWS MYSTERIOUS XX. MY NEW PATIENT XXI. WOMAN’S WILES XXII. A MESSAGE XXIII. THE MYSTERY OF MARY XXIV. ETHELWYNN IS SILENT XXV. FORMS A BEWILDERING ENIGMA XXVI. AMBLER JEVONS IS BUSY XXVII. MR. LANE’S ROMANCE XXVIII. “POOR MRS. COURTENAY!” XXIX. THE POLICE ARE AT FAULT XXX. SIR BERNARD’S DECISION XXXI. CONTAINS THE PLAIN TRUTH PAGE 9 15 20 27 33 43 54 65 76 87 98 109 119 128 139 150 162 173 183 194 203 215 226 236 249 256 274 281 290 298 306 THE SEVEN SECRETS. CHAPTER I. INTRODUCES AMBLER JEVONS. “Ah! You don’t take the matter at all seriously!” I observed, a trifle annoyed. “Why should I?” asked my friend, Ambler Jevons, with a deep pull at his well-coloured briar. “What you’ve told me shows quite plainly that you have in the first place viewed one little circumstance with suspicion, then brooded over it until it has become magnified and now occupies your whole mind. Take my advice, old chap, and think nothing more about it. Why should you make yourself miserable for no earthly reason? You’re a rising man—hard up like most of us—but under old Eyton’s wing you’ve got a brilliant future before you. Unlike myself, a mere nobody, struggling against the tide of adversity, you’re already a long way up the medical ladder. If you climb straight you’ll end with an appointment of Physician-in-Ordinary and a knighthood thrown in as makeweight. Old Macalister used to prophesy it, you remember, when we were up at Edinburgh. Therefore, I can’t, for the life of me, discover any cause why you should allow yourself to have these touches of the blues—unless it’s liver, or some other internal organ about which you know a lot more than I do. Why, man, you’ve got the whole world before you, and as for Ethelwynn——” “Ethelwynn!” I ejaculated, starting up from my chair. “Leave her out of the question! We need not discuss her,” and I walked to the mantelshelf to light a fresh cigarette. [Pg 9] [Pg 10] “As you wish, my dear fellow,” said my merry, easy-going friend. “I merely wish to point out the utter folly of all this suspicion.” “I don’t suspect her,” I snapped. “I didn’t suggest that.” Then, after a pause during which he smoked on vigorously, he suddenly asked, “Well now, be frank, Ralph, whom do you really suspect?” I was silent. Truth to tell, his question entirely nonplussed me. I had suspicions—distinct suspicions—that certain persons surrounding me were acting in accord towards some sinister end, but which of those persons were culpable I certainly could not determine. It was that very circumstance which was puzzling me to the point of distraction. “Ah!” I replied. “That’s the worst of it. I know that the whole affair seems quite absurd, but I must admit that I can’t fix suspicion upon anyone in particular.” Jevons laughed outright. “In that case, my dear Boyd, you ought really to see the folly of the thing.” “Perhaps I ought, but I don’t,” I answered, facing him with my back to the fire. “To you, my most intimate friend, I’ve explained, in strictest confidence, the matter which is puzzling me. I live in hourly dread of some catastrophe the nature of which I’m utterly at a loss to determine. Can you define intuition?” My question held him in pensive silence. His manner changed as he looked me straight in the face. Unlike his usual careless self—for his was a curious character of the semi-Bohemian order and Savage Club type—he grew serious and thoughtful, regarding me with critical gaze after removing his pipe from his lips. “Well,” he exclaimed at last. “I’ll tell you what it is, Boyd. This intuition,