E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM
AUTHOR OF "THE LIGHTED WAY," "THE TEMPTING OF TAVERNAKE," "HAVOC," ETC.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HANSON BOOTH
I SYMPATHY AND SELFISHNESS
II AN INDISCREET LETTER
III A RUINED CAREER
IV A BUNCH OF VIOLETS
V A SENTIMENTAL EPISODE
VI AT THE CAFE L'ATHENEE
VII COFFEE FOR THREE
VIII IN PARIS
IX MADAME CHRISTOPHOR
X BETTER ACQUAINTANCE
XI THE TOYMAKER FROM LEIPZIG
XII AT THE RAT MORT
XIII POLITICS AND PATRIOTISM
XIV THE MORNING AFTER
XV BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
XVI "HAVE YOU EVER LOVED?"
XVII KENDRICKS IS HOST
XVIII A MEETING OF SOCIALISTS
XIX AN OFFER
XX FALKENBERG ACTS
I THE FLIGHT OF LADY ANNE
II "TO OUR NEW SELVES"
III WORK FOR JULIEN
IV A STARTLING DISCLOSURE
V THE FIRST ARTICLE
VI FALKENBERG FAILS
VII LADY ANNE DECLINES
VIII A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
IX FOOLHARDY JULIEN
X THE SECOND ATTEMPT
XI BY THE PRINCE'S ORDERS
XII DISTRESSING NEWS
XIII ESTERMEN'S DEATH WARRANT
XV NEARING A CRISIS
XVI FALKENBERG'S LAST REPORT
XVII DEFEAT FOR FALKENBERG
XVIII THE ONE WAY OUT
XIX ALL ENDS WELL
"Really," he said, "I thought better of Herr Freudenberg"
"At least," she reminded him, "you are going to see Madame
"Splendid!" he muttered, rising to his feet. "If only I can do it!"
"Let me present to you Monsieur Bourgan of the French Detective
SYMPATHY AND SELFISHNESS
The girl who was dying lay in an invalid chair piled up with cushions
in a sheltered corner of the lawn. The woman who had come to visit her
had deliberately turned away her head with a murmured word about the
sunshine and the field of buttercups. Behind them was the little
sanitarium, a gray stone villa built in the style of a chateau,
overgrown with creepers, and with terraced lawns stretching down to the
sunny corner to which the girl had been carried earlier in the day.
There were flowers everywhere - beds of hyacinths, and borders of purple
and yellow crocuses. A lilac tree was bursting into blossom, the breeze
was soft and full of life. Below, beyond the yellow-starred field of
which the woman had spoken, flowed the Seine, and in the distance one
could see the outskirts of Paris.
"The doctor says I am better," the girl whispered plaintively. "This
morning he was quite cheerful. I suppose he knows, but it is strange
that I should feel so weak - weaker even day by day. And my cough - it
tears me to pieces all the time."
The woman who was bending over her gulped something down in her throat
and turned her head. Although older than the invalid whom she had come
to visit, she was young and very beautiful. Her cheeks were a trifle
pale, but even without the tears her eyes were almost the color of
"The doctor must know, dear Lucie," she declared. "Our own feelings so
often mean nothing at all."
The girl moved a little uneasily in her chair. She, also, had once been
pretty. Her hair was still an exquisite shade of red-gold, but her
cheeks were thin and pinched, her complexion had gone, her clothes fell
about her. She seemed somehow shapeless.
"Yes," she agreed, "the doctor knows - he must know. I see it in his
manner every time he comes to visit me. In his heart," she added,
dropping her voice, "he must know that I am going to die."
Her eyes seemed to have stiffened in their sockets, to have become
dilated. Her lips trembled, but her eyes remained steadfast.
"Oh! madame," she sobbed, "is it not cruel that one should die like
this! I am so young. I have seen so little of life. It is not just,
madame - it is not just!"
The woman who sat by her side was shaking. Her heart was torn with
pity. Everywhere in the soft, sunlit air, wherever she looked, she
seemed to read in letters of fire the history of this girl, the history
of so many others.
"We will not talk of death, dear," she said. "Doctors are so wonderful,
nowadays. There are so few diseases which they cannot cure. They seem
to snatch one back even from the grave. Besides, you are so young. One
does not die at nineteen. Tell me about this man - Eugene, you called
him. He has never once been to see you - not even when you were in the
The girl began to tremble.
"Not once," she murmured.
"You are sure that he had your letters? He knows that you are out here
"Yes, he knows!"
There was a short silence. The woman found it hard to know what to say.
Somewhere down along the white, dusty road a man was grinding the music
of a threadbare waltz from an ancient barrel-organ. The girl closed her
"We used to hear that sometimes," she whispered, "at the cafes. At one
where we went often they used to know that I liked it and they always
played it when we came. It is queer to hear it again - like this....
Oh, when I close my eyes," she muttered, "I am afraid! It is like
shutting out life for always."
The woman by her side got up. Lucie caught at her skirt.
"Madame, you are not going yet?" she pleaded. "Am I selfish? Yet you
have not stayed with me so long as yesterday, and I am so lonely."
The woman's face had hardened a little.
"I am going to find that man," she replied. "I have his address. I want
to bring him to you."
The girl's hold upon her skirt tightened.
"Sit down," she begged. "Do not leave me. Indeed it is useless. He
knows. He does not choose to come. Men are like that. Oh! madame, I
have learned my lesson. I know now that love is a vain thing. Men do
not often really feel it. They come to us when we please them, but
afterwards that does not count. I suppose we were meant to be
sacrificed. I have given up thinking of Eugene. He is afraid, perhaps,
of the infection. I think that I would sooner go out of life as I lie
here, cold and unloved, than have him come to me unwillingly."
The woman could not hide her tears any longer. There was something so
exquisitely fragile, so strangely pathetic, in that prostrate figure by
"But, my dear," she faltered, -
"Madame," the girl interrupted, "hold my hand for a moment. That is the
doctor coming. I hear his footstep. I think that I must sleep."
Madame Christophor - she had another name, but there were few occasions
on which she cared to use it - was driven back to Paris, in accordance
with her murmured word of instruction, at a pace which took little heed
of police regulations or even of safety. Through the peaceful lanes,
across the hills into the suburbs, and into the city itself she passed,
at a speed which was scarcely slackened even when she turned into the
Boulevard which was her destination. Glancing at the slip of paper
which she held in her hand, she pulled the checkstring before a tall
block of buildings. She hurried inside, ascended two flights of stairs,
and rang the bell of a door immediately opposite her. A very
German-looking manservant opened it after the briefest of delays - a man
with fair moustache, fat, stolid face and inquisitive eyes.
"Is your master in," she demanded, "Monsieur Estermen?"
The man stared at her, then bowed. The appearance of Madame Christophor
was, without doubt, impressive.
"I will inquire, madame," he replied.
"I am in a hurry," she said curtly. "Be so good as to let your master
A moment later she was ushered into a sitting-room - a man's apartment,
untidy, reeking of cigarette smoke and stale air. There were
photographs and souvenirs of women everywhere. The windows were
fast-closed and the curtains half-drawn. The man who stood upon the
hearthrug was of medium height, dark, with close-cropped hair and a
black, drooping moustache. His first glance at his visitor, as the door
opened, was one of impertinent curiosity.
"Madame?" he inquired.
"You are Monsieur Estermen?"
He bowed. He was very much impressed and he endeavored to assume a
"That is my name. Pray be seated."
She waved away the chair he offered.
"My automobile is in the street below," she said. "I wish you to come
with me at once to see a poor girl who is dying."
He looked at her in amazement.
"Are you serious, madame?"
"I am very serious indeed," she replied. "The girl's name is Lucie
For the moment he seemed perplexed. Then his eyebrows were slowly
"Lucie Renault," he repeated. "What do you know about her?"
"Only that she is a poor child who has suffered at your hands and who
is dying in a private hospital," Madame Christophor answered. "She has
been taken there out of charity. She has no friends, she is dying
alone. Come with me. I will take you to her. You shall save her at
least from that terror."
It was the aim of the man with whom she spoke to be considered modern.
A perfect and invincible selfishness had enabled him to reach the
topmost heights of callousness, and to remain there without
"If the little girl is dying," he said, "I am sorry, for she was pretty
and companionable, although I have lost sight of her lately. But as to
my going out to see her, why, that is absurd. I hate illness of all
The woman looked at him steadfastly, looked at him as though she had
come into contact with some strange creature.
"Do you understand what it is that I am saying?" she demanded. "This
girl was once your little friend, is it not so? It was for your sake
that she gave up the simple life she was living when you first knew
her, and went upon the stage. The life was too strenuous for her. She
broke down, took no care of herself, developed a cough and alas!
The man sighed. He had adopted an expression of abstract sympathy.
"A terrible disease," he murmured.
"A terrible disease indeed," Madame Christophor repeated. "Do you not
understand what I mean when I tell you that she is dying of it? Very
likely she will not live a week - perhaps not a day. She lies there
alone in the garden of the hospital and she is afraid. There are none
who knew her, whom she cares for, to take her into their arms and to
bid her have no fear. Is it not your place to do this? You have held
her in your arms in life. Don't you see that it is your duty to cheer
her a little way on this last dark journey?"
The man threw away his cigarette and moved to the mantelpiece, where he
helped himself to a fresh one from the box.
"Madame," he said, "I perceive that you are a sentimentalist."
She did not speak - she could not. She only looked at him.
"Death," he continued, lighting his cigarette, "is an ugly thing. If it
came to me I should probably be quite as much afraid - perhaps
more - than any one else. But it has not come to me just yet. It has
come, you tell me, to little Lucie. Well, I am sorry, but there is
nothing I can do about it. I have no intention whatever of making
myself miserable. I do not wish to see her. I do not wish to look upon
death, I simply wish to forget it. If it were not, madame," he added,
with a bow and a meaning glance from his dark eyes, "that you bring
with you something of your own so well worth looking upon, I could
almost find myself regretting your visit."
She still regarded him fixedly. There was in her face something of that
shrinking curiosity with which one looks upon an unclean and horrible
"That is your answer?" she murmured.
The man had little understanding and he replied boldly.
"It is my answer, without a doubt. Lucie, if what you tell me is true,
as I do not for a moment doubt, is dying from a disease the ravages of
which are hideous to watch, and which many people believe, too, to be
infectious. Let me advise you, madame, to learn also a little wisdom.
Let me beg of you not to be led away by these efforts of sentiment,
however picturesque and delightful they may seem. The only life that is
worth considering is our own. The only death that we need fear is our
own. We ought to live like that."
The woman stood quite still. She was tall and she was slim. Her figure
was exquisite. She was famous throughout the city for her beauty. The
man's eyes dwelt upon her and the eternal expression crept slowly into
his face. He seemed to understand nothing of the shivering horror with
which she was regarding him.
"If it were upon any other errand, madame," he continued, leaning
towards her, "believe, I pray you, that no one would leave this room to
become your escort more willingly than I."
She turned away.
"You will not leave me already?" he begged.
"Monsieur," she declared, as she threw open the door before he could
reach it, "if I thought that there were many men like you in the world,
if I thought - "
She never finished her sentence. The emotions which had seized her were
entirely inexpressible. He shrugged his shoulders.
"My dear lady," he said, "let me assure you that there is not a man of
the world in this city who, if he spoke honestly, would not feel
exactly as I do. Allow me at least to see you to your automobile."
"If you dare to move," she muttered, "if you dare - "
She swept past him and down the stairs into the street. She threw
herself into the corner of the automobile. The chauffeur looked around.
"Where to, madame?" he inquired.
She hesitated for a moment. She had affairs of her own, but the thought
of the child's eyes came up before her.
"Back to the hospital," she ordered. "Drive quickly."
They rushed from Paris once more into the country, with its spring
perfumes, its soft breezes, its restful green, but fast though they
drove another messenger had outstripped them. From the little chapel,
as the car rolled up the avenue, came the slow tolling of a bell.
Madame Christophor stood on the corner of the lawn alone. The invalid
chair was empty. The blinds of the villa were being slowly lowered. She
turned around and looked toward the city. It seemed to her that she
could see into the rooms of the man whom she had left a few minutes
ago. A lark was singing over her head. She lifted her eyes and looked
past him up to the blue sky. Her lips moved, but never a sound escaped
her. Yet the man who sat in his rooms at that moment, yawning and
wondering where to spend the evening, and which companion he should
summon by telephone to amuse him, felt a sudden shiver in his veins.
AN INDISCREET LETTER
The library of the house in Grosvenor Square was spacious, handsome and
ornate. Mr. Algernon H. Carraby, M.P., who sat dictating letters to a
secretary in an attitude which his favorite photographer had rendered
exceedingly familiar, at any rate among his constituents, was also, in
his way, handsome and ornate. Mrs. Carraby, who had just entered the
room, fulfilled in an even greater degree these same characteristics.
It was acknowledged to be a very satisfactory household.
"I should like to speak to you for a moment, Algernon," his wife
Mr. Carraby noticed for the first time that she was carrying a letter
in her hand. He turned at once to his secretary.
"Haskwell," he said, "kindly return in ten minutes."
The young man quitted the room. Mrs. Carraby advanced a few steps
further towards her husband. She was tall, beautifully dressed in the
latest extreme of fashion. Her movements were quiet, her skin a little
pale, and her eyebrows a little light. Nevertheless, she was quite a
famous beauty. Men all admired her without any reservations. The best
sort of women rather mistrusted her.
"Is that the letter, Mabel?" her husband asked, with an eagerness which
he seemed to be making some effort to conceal.
She nodded slowly. He held out his hand, but she did not at once part
"Algernon," she said quietly, "you know that I am not very scrupulous.
We both of us want success - a certain sort of success - and we have both
of us been content to pay the price. You have spent a good deal of
money and you have succeeded very well indeed. Somehow or other, I feel
to-day as though I were spending more than money."
He laughed a little uncomfortably.
"My dear Mabel!" he protested. "You are not going to back out, are
"No," she replied, "I do not think that I shall back out. There is
nothing in the whole world I want so much as to have you a Cabinet
Minister. If there had been any other way - "
"But there is no other way," her husband interrupted. "So long as
Julien Portel lives, I should never get my chance. He holds the post I
want. Every one knows that he is clever. He has the ear of the Prime
Minister and he hates me. My only chance is his retirement."
Mrs. Carraby looked at the letter.
"Well," she said, "I have played your game for you. I have gone even to
the extent of being talked about with Julien Portel."
Her husband moved uneasily in his chair.
"That will all blow over directly," he declared. "Besides, if - if
things go our way, we shan't see much more of Portel. Give me the
Still she hesitated. It was curious that throughout the slow evolution
of this scheme to break a man's life, for which she was mainly
responsible, she had never hesitated until this moment. Always it had
been fixed in her mind that Algernon was to be a Cabinet Minister; she
was to be the wife of a Cabinet Minister. That there were any other
things greater in life than the gratification of so reasonable an
ambition had never seemed possible. Now she hesitated. She looked at
her husband and she saw him with new eyes. He seemed suddenly a mean
little person. She thought of the other man and there was a strange
quiver in her heart - a very unexpected sensation indeed. There was a
difference in the breed. It came home to her at that moment. She found
herself even wondering, as she swung the letter idly between her thumb
and fore-finger, whether she would have been a different woman if she
had had a different manner of husband.
"The letter!" he repeated.
She laid it calmly on the desk before him.
"Of course," she said coldly, "if you find the contents affectionate
you must remember that I am in no way responsible. This was your
scheme. I have done my best."
The man's fingers trembled slightly as he broke the seal.
"Naturally," he agreed, pausing for an instant and looking up at her.
"I knew that I could trust you or I would never have put such an idea
into your head."
She laughed; a characteristic laugh it was, quite cold, quite
mirthless, apparently quite meaningless. Carraby turned back to the
letter, tore open the envelope and spread it out before them. He read
it out aloud in a sing-song voice.
_Downing Street. Tuesday_
MY DEAREST MABEL,
I had your sweet little note an hour ago. Of course I was disappointed
about luncheon, as I always am when I cannot see you. Your promise to
repay me, however, almost reconciles me.
The man looked up at his wife.
"Promise?" he repeated hoarsely. "What does he mean?"
"Go on," she said, with unchanged expression. "See if what you want is
The man continued to read:
I am going to ask you a very great favor, Mabel. When we are alone
together, I talk to you with absolute freedom. To write you on matters
connected with my office is different. I know very well how deep and
sincere your interest in politics really is, and it has always been one
of my greatest pleasures, when with you, to talk things over and hear
your point of view. Without flattery, dear, I have really more than
once found your advice useful. It is your understanding which makes our
companionship always a pleasure to me, and I rely upon that when I beg
you not to ask me to write you again on matters to which I have really
no right to allude. You do not mind this, dear? And having read you my
little lecture, I will answer your question. Yes, the Cabinet Council
was held exactly as you surmise. With great difficulty I persuaded
B - - to adopt my view of the situation. They are all much too
terrified of this war bogey. For once I had my own way. Our answer to
this latest demand from Berlin was a prompt and decisive negative.
Nothing of this is to be known for at least a week.
I am sorry your husband is such a bear. Perhaps on Monday we may meet
at Cardington House?
Please destroy this letter at once.
Ever affectionately yours,
The man's eyes, as he read, grew brighter.
"It is enough?" the woman asked.
"It is more than enough!"
Slowly he replaced it in its envelope and thrust it into the
breast-pocket of his coat.
"What are you going to do with it?" she inquired.
"I have made my plans," he answered. "I know exactly how to make the
best and most dignified use of it."
He rose to his feet. Something in his wife's expression seemed to
disturb him. He walked a few steps toward the door and came back again.
"Mabel," he said, "are you glad?"
"Naturally I am glad," she replied.
"You have no regrets?"
Again she laughed.
"Regrets?" she echoed. "What are they? One doesn't think about such
They stood quite still in the centre of that very handsome apartment.
They were almost alien figures in the world in which they moved,
Carraby, the rankest of newcomers, carried into political life by his
wife's ambitions, his own self-amassed fortune, and a sort of subtle
cunning - a very common substitute for brains; Mrs. Carraby, on whom had
been plastered an expensive and ultra-fashionable education, although
she was able perhaps more effectually to conceal her origin, the
daughter of a rich Yorkshire manufacturer, who had secured a paid
entrance into Society. They were purely artificial figures for the very
reason that they never admitted any one of these facts to themselves,
but talked always the jargon of the world to which they aspired, as
though they were indeed denizens therein by right. At that moment,
though, a single natural feeling shook the man, shook his faith in
himself, in life, in his destiny. There was Jewish blood in his veins
and it made itself felt.
"Mabel," he began, "this man Portel - you've flirted with him, you say?"
"I have most certainly flirted with him," she admitted quietly.
"He hasn't dared - "
A flash of scorn lit her cold eyes.
"I think," she said, "that you had better ask me no questions of that
Carraby went slowly out. Already the moment was passing. Of course he
could trust his wife! Besides, in his letter was the death warrant of
the man who stood between him and his ambitions. Mrs. Carraby listened
to his footsteps in the hall, heard his suave reply to his secretary,
heard his orders to the footman who let him out. From where she stood
she watched him cross the square. Already he had recovered his alert
bearing. His shoes and his hat were glossy, his coat was of an
excellent fit. The woman watched him without movement or any change of
A RUINED CAREER
Sir Julien Portel stood in the middle of his bedroom, dressed in shirt
and trousers only. The sofa and chairs around him were littered with
portions of the brilliant uniform which he had torn from his person a
few minutes before with almost feverish haste. His perplexed servant,
who had only just arrived, was doing his best to restore the room to
some appearance of order.
"You needn't mind those wretched things for the present, Richards," his
master ordered sharply. "Bring the rest of the tweed traveling suit
like the trousers I have on, and then see about packing some clothes."
The man ceased his task. He looked around, a little bewildered.
"Do I understand that you are going out of town tonight, Sir Julien?"
"I am going on to the continent by the nine o'clock train," was the
Richards was a perfectly trained servant, but the situation was too
much for him.
"You will excuse me, Sir Julien," he said, "but there is Lord
Cardington's dinner tonight, and the reception afterwards at the
Foreign Office. I have your court clothes ready."
His master laughed shortly.
"I am not attending the dinner or the reception, Richards. You can put
those things back again and get me the traveling clothes."
The man seemed a little dazed, but turned automatically towards the
"Shall you require me to accompany you, sir?" he inquired.
"Not at present," Sir Julien replied. "You will have to come on with
the rest of my luggage when I have decided what to do."
Richards was not more than ordinarily inquisitive, but the
circumstances were certainly unusual.
"Do you mean, sir, that you will not be returning to London at