Charles Goddard.

The Perils of Pauline online

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rose suddenly above the general talk.

"But, Mr. Summers, you have not told us yet of your new invention.
When shall the plans be ready? When shall you rise to the realization
of your true success?"

Summers beamed his happiness in the face of the brazen compliment, like
the good and silly boy he was.

"I'm supposed to keep this secret," he answered, "but I can trust every
one here, I know. The plans are going to be sent out day after

"You mean you will have them completed - all those intricate plans?"
queried Mlle. de Longeon in a tone of breathless admiration.

"I'll work all tonight and most of tomorrow; but, of course, it's only
a case of putting into words ideas that have already been put into
solid metal. My gun and torpedo are ready for work. It isn't so very
difficult, and it's - well, it's a lot of fun."

"And great honor," paid the woman he loved.

For a moment their eyes met, but only for a moment. The next, Catin,
the valet, who was taking charge of the luncheon, under pretense of
anticipating a waiter moved quickly to fill her wine glass. Even the
subtle eye of Owen was not sharp enough to see Mlle. de Longeon pass
him a crushed slip of paper, and she had been too long trained to
concealment of even the simplest emotions to betray uneasiness now.

Nevertheless, there was the possibility of surprising Mlle. de Longeon,
and that possibility was realized as she glanced at Raymond Owen. His
set, tense face reflected for the moment all his hatred of Harry and
Pauline, who were talking blithely with Ensign Summers, another naval
officer and two of the wives of the civilian visitors. She turned to
him with a suddenness that would have seemed abrupt in the manner of
one less beautiful.

"Mr. Owen, do come to see me," she said. "I am sure - at least I
think I am sure - that we have many matters of mutual interest."

In her softly modulated tones, the invitation had no significance
beyond the literal meaning of the words.

"It will be an honor," he answered.

"Tomorrow evening, then?"

"Delighted. And, later, the Naval Ball?"

"No, I'm afraid the Ensign will not permit any one else to take me to
the ball; but we shall meet there, afterward."

In a New York street, among the lower there was at that time a foreign
agency that was not a consulate, but was visited by diplomats of the
highest rank in a certain nation, the name of which, or the mystery of
whose suspicions, need not be touched upon.

There was no regular staff at the agency. The rooms were maintained
under the name of a certain foreign gentleman - or, rather, under the
name that he chose to assume. There were two servants, but they saw
little of the master of the house. He was seldom at home, but when he
was, he had many visitors.

An hour after the luncheon in the rooms of Ensign Summers, the master
of the mysterious dwelling was at home. And he had four guests. It
would have, greatly surprised Ensign Summers had he known that one of
the diplomat's guests was his own man servant, Catin.

"It is the worst duty I have ever had to perform," the diplomat said
solemnly. "It means, almost certainly, your death. But it is death
for your country. It is the command of your country. The submarine
must be destroyed and the plans - we shall get the plans through
another agent."

"I am not afraid to die," said Catin.

"Then here is the model of a submarine - not of the one you will
enter, of course, but it will give you an idea. I have marked the
place where you will secrete the explosive until the proper moment. I
have also indicated the position for you to take in order to have some
faint chance of reaching the surface and being saved."

One of the other men stepped forward and handed Catin a small square
box. "This is the explosive. You know how to handle it."

With a military salute, Catin turned and left the place. Within half
an hour he was carefully brushing Ensign Summers' clothes, as Summers
came in.

"Would it be too much to ask, sir," inquired the perfect valet, "that
I might accompany you in the submarine? I am afraid you will be very
uncomfortable without me."

Summers laughed good-naturedly.

"It's impossible, Catin. This boat is a government secret in itself,
and my new torpedo makes it a double secret. No one but a picked crew
will be allowed on it, except - "

"'Except, sir?"

"Well, I admit I could command it. But it would be very unwise, Catin,
and, I assure you, I shall get along all right."

Mlle. de Longeon's apartment was characteristic of the lady herself.
The artist would have found it a little too luxurious for good taste -
a little over-toned in the richness of draperies, the heavy scent of
flowers, the subtleties of half-screened divans - there was something
more than feminine - something feline. To Raymond Owen, however, it
was ideal. The dimmed ruby lights, the suggestive shadows of the
tapestries, were in tune with the surreptitious mind of the secretary.
But there remained for him a picture that he admired more - Mlle. de
Longeon coming through the portieres with a cry of pleasure.

"I am so glad you came - and so sorry I must send you away quickly,"
exclaimed Mlle. de Longeon. "The little ensign has telephoned that he
is coming early to take me for a drive before the ball."

"I can come again - if I may have the honor," said Owen, rising

"Oh, there is time for a word," she said, smiling.

"There was something you wished to say to me, was there not? Something
you did not care to say at the luncheon yesterday?"

"Yes. Why do you hate Miss Marvin?"

Owen was silent for a moment. "Why do you hate the little ensign, as
you call another?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that we can be of service to one another, in all likelihood,
and that, therefore, we should be frank friends. You wish to have
Pauline Marvin out of the way, do you not?"

"How did you find that out?"

"People engaged in similar business find out many things. Now I - "

"Wish to be rid of Ensign Summers."


"You are an international agent?"

"Yes. And I offer you my aid and the aid of the powerful men I control
in return for your aid to me and them. Is it a bargain?"

They were seated on one of the curtained divans, a low-turned light
above them. She leaned forward. Her long, delicate hand touched his.
A splendid jewel at her throat heightened the magic of her beauty.

"Because it is my business to hate him - and make love to him at the
same time. Come, Mr. Owen, let us be frank."

For the first time in his life Owen felt himself mastered by the sheer
fascination of a woman. "What am I to do?" he said breathlessly.

"I will tell you tonight at the ball. Now you must run away."

He arose instantly, but as she stood beside him, he turned, caught her
in his arms and kissed her passionately.

She protested with a little cry and a struggle not too violent to
damage her coiffure. He drew back from her. There was something of
astonishment in his eyes - astonishment at himself.

"You are the only woman in the world who ever made me do that," he

"Go, go," she pleaded.

"But you are angry? You break our agreement?"

"No, but I am overcome. I shall meet you tonight."

He caught her hand to his lips, and hurried from the house.

It was more than an hour after he observed her arrival at the Naval
Ball before Owen had the privilege of a greeting from Mlle. de Longeon,
and then it was only a smile as she passed him on the arm of a
distinguished looking foreign diplomat.

Owen saw that she spoke a quiet word to her escort, who turned and
looked at Owen. She beamed brightly at Owen, who smiled back at her,
and moved slowly toward the door of the conservatory into which she and
the diplomat had disappeared. He was surprised, a moment later, to see
Pauline rush by him, with a little laugh.

"Is anything the matter?" Owen called.

"Nothing you can help. Stay right where you are," she cried.

Owen laughed his understanding and moved over to where Harry and
Lucille were talking with Ensign Summers.

Meanwhile, Pauline, in the darkest recess of the conservatory was
pinning together a broken garter. As she started back to the ballroom
she was surprised to hear voices near her.

There was something about their foreign accent that roused the
ever-venturous, ever-curious interest of Pauline. She crept along a
row of palms and peered through an aperture. Mlle. de Longeon and the
diplomat were talking together as they paced the aisle of palms on the
other side. Pauline crept nearer.

Presently the voice of the diplomat became distinguishable.

"It is all arranged. The thing is to be done in Submarine B-2
tomorrow. All you have now to do is - "

Pauline could not catch the final words.

The two moved back to the ballroom. She followed close behind, a
little suspicious, but with the thrill of a new plan gripping her.

She saw Ensign Summers step forward early to greet Mile. de Longeon.
Another dance was beginning.

"This one is Mr. Owen's," said Mile. de Longeon, as she moved away on
the arm of the secretary.

"Have you anything to tell me?" he asked.

"Yes. Induce her to make Summers take her down in his submarine
tomorrow, and she will never trouble you again."

As the dance ended, Pauline and Harry, Summers and Lucille, joined

"Mr. Summers, I have a great request to make," declared Pauline.

"I grant it before you breathe a word," he answered.

"I want you to take me along on your submarine trip tomorrow."

"Polly, have you gone crazy all over again?" cried Harry.

"I don't believe it would be - " began Summers.

"It must be," she commanded.

"Well, I promised too soon, but I'll keep my word."

Owen and Mile. de Longeon had stepped aside.

"What does it mean?" gasped the secretary. "She is doing the very
thing we want her to do."

"Sometimes Fate aids the worthy," said Mile. de Longeon softly.



At the dock of the navy yard a submarine lay ready for departure.

There was nothing about its appearance to indicate that its mission was
of more than ordinary importance. But it was an unusual thing to see a
woman aboard, and the curiosity of the crew was matched by that of the
young officers who had come down to see Summers off on his voyage of
many chances.

The officers got little reward for their considerate interest. Ensign
Summers was engaged. He was explaining to Pauline, as they stood on
the deck of the war-craft, the entire history of submarines from the
time of Caesar, or Washington, or somebody to the present day, and
Pauline was listening with that childlike simplicity which women use
for the purpose of making men look foolish.

"By Jove! I thought he was tied, heart and hope, to the lovely
foreigner," exclaimed one of the shoreward observers.

"So he is," said another. "But Mlle. de Longeon isn't interested in
his daily toil. Do you know who the young lady up there is?"

"No. She must have got a dispensation from the secretary himself to go
on this trip."

"So she did - easy as snapping your thumb. She's Miss Pauline Marvin,
daughter of the richest man that has died in twenty years."

The boat gong sounded the signal of departure.

Summers, with a hasty apology, left Pauline and stepped forward. The
engines began to rumble. The deadly and delicate craft - masterpiece
of modern naval achievement - drew slowly from the pier.

There was a shout.

Summers, delivering rapid orders on deck, turned with an expression of
annoyance to see his faithful man servant, Catin, out of breath and
excited, rushing toward the boat.

Summers ordered the vessel stopped. It had moved not more than
stepping distance from the pier and in a moment Catin was beside his
master on the deck.

"She told me it must - " he paused, gasping for breath.

"Who told you what?" demanded Summers.

"Mlle. de Longeon. I am sure it is a message of importance. She told
me I must give it to you before you risked your life on the voyage."

"Mlle. de Longeon!" He caught the letter from Catin's hand.

"My Hero - I cannot keep the secret any longer, cannot wait to tell
you that it is you I love. Estelle de Longeon."

Summers walked slowly, dizzily up the deck was in an ecstasy. He was
oblivious to all the world - even to Pauline, who stood questioning an
officer at the rail. The fact that his servant, Catin, slipped
silently down the hatchway to the main compartment, and thence on to
the pump room at the vessel's bottom, would hardly have interested him
- -even if he had known it.

"Shall we put off, sir?"

The second officer saluted.

The Ensign came to himself instantly. "Yes, of course. I put back
only for an important message," he said. "My man got off, did he?"

"I think so."

"All right. Go ahead."

Catin, with that rare fortune which sometimes favors the wicked, had
chosen precisely the right moment for his ruse. The crew of the
submarine were all on deck save those in the engine room, and his quick
passage to the vitals of the vessel was unseen.

Once in the pump room, he hastily drew from under his coat the bomb
placed in his hands at the conference of diplomats, wound its
clock-work spring and laid it beside the pumps.

There was a strange look on the man's face as he did this - a look at
once proud and pitiful. Catin had not sense of treachery or shame.
The deed in itself did not lack the dignity of courage, for, with the
others, he was planned his own death. And while the others were to die
suddenly, ignorant of their peril, Catin was to die in deliberate
knowledge of it.

On deck Pauline was eagerly questioning an under officer about the
torpedoes, when Summers came up.

"You'll have to come down and see for yourself," he said, overhearing

"First I'll show you the pump room - the most important part of us,"
he was saying as Catin, in the boat's bottom, first caught the sound of
nearing voices.

Catin leaped up the steps from the pump room. He was in the nick of
time. A large locker in the main compartment gave him refuge just as
Pauline and Summers reached the room.

"The pumps are our life-savers," said Summers, as he directed Pauline
down the second ladder. "If they go wrong when we're under water we
can't come up."

"And what do you do then?" asked Pauline innocently.

"Oh, just-stay down."

Catin waited breathless in his hiding place until they returned. "By
heaven, they didn't find it!" he breathed eagerly.

Pauline and Ensign Summers stood at the rail watching the foamy rush of
a fast motor boat, when a hail sounded across the water.

A man was standing up in the motor boat and calling through a

Summers raised his glasses. "Do you know who that is?" he asked

"Of course not. What does he want?"

"It's Harry, and I suspect he wants to take you away from us."

Pauline uttered an exclamation of annoyance.

"Isn't he silly!" she cried, "One would think I was, a baby, the way he
watches me."

Soon the voice of Harry could be plainly distinguished.

"Clear your ship; I am going to sink you," he called.

"Cargo too precious this trip; don't do it," answered Summers.

"Let me take the megaphone," demanded Pauline.

"What do you mean by following us?" she cried.

"I don't trust that sardine can, and I want a regular boat on hand when
you are wrecked."

"I am very angry with you. It looks as if - "

Her words were drowned in Summers' laughter.

"Never mind. I know a way we can escape from him," he said.


"Why, sink the boat."

"That will be splendid."

He stepped aside and gave a terse order. Delightedly, Pauline watched
the brief, machine-like movements of the crew trimming the deck.
Summers escorted her back to the conning tower. They descended.
Within a few moments the wonderful craft was buried under the waves.

"There he is - looking for us," laughed Summers, as he made room for
Pauline at the periscope.

Amazed, fascinated, she gazed from what seemed the bottom of the sea
out upon the rolling surface of the waves. Harry's motorboat was near
and he was standing in the bow, scanning the water with binoculars.

"And he can't see us?" asked Pauline.

"Oh, yes, he'll pick up out periscope after a while. Shall we fire
the torpedo at him?"

"Yes, please," said Pauline.

Summers' laugh was cut short. As if someone had taken his jest in
earnest and really fired a projectile, the crash of an explosion came
from the bottom of the boat.

"Stay here - " ordered Summers with a set face as he joined the rush of
seamen into the pump room.

But Pauline followed.

An officer, with blanched face but steady voice, came up to Summers.

"What was it, Grimes?"

"It seems to have been a bomb, sir. There was no powder down there."

The face of the Ensign darkened with suspicion and alarm.

"A bomb? So they were going after us - the enemy! We'd better get
right up and back to port, Grimes."

"I have to report, sir - the pumps are disabled."

Summers turned with a look of pity toward Pauline, who stood at his

"And we can't get up again?" she questioned.

"There is one chance, but - " He stopped openly and listened. "Open
that locker," he commanded.

A seaman pulled back the door of the locker and disclosed the cringing
form and defiant face of Catin.

"Catin! You!"

The man stepped forward with a smile of triumph.

"You set off the bomb? You wanted to kill me?"

"I did my duty. I obeyed my orders as you obey your orders. I had no
enmity for you. I am, in fact, sorry that you were fool enough not to
see that I was a little more than a valet."

"You are a spy, Catin?"

"Yes, sir. And I have done my work, and I am willing to die with the
rest of you."

Pauline drew back, shuddering. She touched Summers' arm.

"Oh, Mr. Summers, I believe - "

"What is it?"

"I believe I know of the plot. I was in the conservatory at the naval
ball. A man and a woman - "

"A woman?"

"Mlle. de Longeon and her diplomatic friend - you remember."

"Yes - well?"

"They talked together in whispers. The man said 'The thing will be
done on Submarine B-2 tomorrow.'"

A look of agony that the fear of death could not have caused came into
the face of the young Ensign.

"Mlle. de Longeon? No!"

"Yes! Mlle. de Longeon," sneered Catin stepping nearer. "Mlle. de
Longeon is the principal proof of my statement that you are a fool.
Mlle. de Longeon recommended me to you as a capable valet, did she
not? Mlle. de Longeon frequently was your guest. Now Mlle. de Longeon
has the plans of your submarine and your torpedo - plans which I took
the liberty of removing from the little cupboard over the desk in your

Summers sprang forward but he recovered himself.

"I should have told you," wailed Pauline.

"How should you have known?" said Summers. In a moment he had lost his
life work and his love. Suddenly he straightened himself. The soldier
in him mastered the man.

"There is still a chance - one little chance," he said.

"To get out?" cried Pauline.

"Yes - through the torpedo tube."

She shuddered.

"I am going to make you do it," he said, "because it is the only
chance. The men will follow you. Harry's boat will be near."

"And you?"

"I do not matter any more. Come."

A gunner opened the great tube as Summers led Pauline into the torpedo
room. Obediently she entered the strange passageway of peril and of

"Goodbye," he said, "and good luck."

"Goodbye," she answered. "You are a brave man. You are as brave -
you are as fine - as Harry."

From the end of the torpedo tube a woman's form shot to the surface of
the water. Choking, dazed, but courageous, Pauline tried to turn on
her back and gain breath. But they were well out to seat and the waves
were crushing.

"What is that?" asked Harry, pointing and passing his glasses to the

The man looked and without a word swung the craft about and put the
engine at top speed. And in a few moments Harry's strong arms drew her
from the water.

"My darling, what has happened?" he gasped.

"Don't think of me - think of them!" she begged, weakly. "They were
trapped - down there. There was a bomb - a plot - the machinery is
ruined. Harry, help them!"

The boatman who overheard Pauline's first cry of appeal, now came
forward respectfully. "There's a revenue cutter - the Iroquois -
coming out," he said, significantly.

Harry looked. "Splendid!" he cried. "Can we signal her?"

"No, but we can catch her?"

Shouts from a speeding motorboat brought the Government vessel to a
stop. Officers came to the rail and helped Harry and Pauline to the

"Ensign Summers and his crew are sunk in their submarine. The pumps
are gone. There was a bomb explosion. Can you get help?"

"Where are they?"

"You can pick up their buoy with a glass - there."

The chief officer looked through his glass. "Yes," he said. "You'll
come abroad, or keep your own boat?"

"We've got another piece of work to do - if we can leave our friends
to your guarding," said Harry.

"Well have the wrecking tugs and divers in twenty minutes."

Harry and Pauline climbed back to the motorboat and sped up the bay.

"What did you mean another piece of work?" asked Pauline as she clung
to his arm.

"My car is at the Navy Yard pier," was his only answer.

She still clung to him in tremulous uncertainty as the motor sped them
up through Broadway, into Fifth avenue, and on to the door of Mlle. de
Longeon's hotel.

She and the diplomatic grandee who had held the confidential conference
with her in the conservatory at the naval ball were together in her

"And you have the plans actually in your possession?" he said.

"Yes. It has been a tedious process. It was easy to make him fall in
love, but he is so fearfully scrupulous about his work. It took even
his valet three months to locate the secret hiding place of the

"A little more caution mingled with his scruples and he would not now
be dead at the bottom of the bay."

"Oh, this is the day, is it?" asked Mlle. de Longeon, wearily. "After
all, it is rather cruel to Catin."

"To die for his country?"

"Nonsense! He dies because he knows he would be killed in a crueler
way if he refused to obey you."

The diplomat smiled. "Will you give me the plans?"

"Yes - why, Marie, what is it?"

A maid had entered with cards. "I am not at home today."

Mlle. de Longeon moved to her writing desk, removed from it a packet of
papers, and, with a little courtesy gave it into the eager hands of the

"It has been a splendid achievement, Mademoiselle," he said,
enthusiastically. "I shall see that - what? Who is this?" he
exclaimed, as Harry and Pauline burst into the room.

"Marie, Marie, I told you that I was at home to no one!" screamed Mlle.
de Longeon.

"How dare you intrude in these apartments?" demanded the diplomat.

"I dare, because I want those papers," declared Harry.

The packet was still in the diplomat's hands. He tried to thrust it
into his pocket, but Harry was upon him. They clinched, broke from
each other's grasp and struggled furiously.

As the last resource the diplomat drew the packet from his breast and
flung it across the room toward Mlle. de Longeon. She pounced upon
it. But Pauline was beside her. Stronger both in body and in spirit
than the adventuress, she grasped her wrists, and in the luxurious,
soft-curtained room there raged two battles.

But the struggles did not last long. Harry hurled his antagonist, an
exhausted wreck, to the floor, and sprang to the side of Pauline.
Throwing off Mlle. de Longeon's grasp, he picked up the packet from the
floor, and with Pauline ran from the room.

A revenue cutter was landing a group of faint and silent men, at the
pier of the Navy Yard when an automobile flashed in.

"Hurrah! They did it! You're safe!" cried Pauline, rushing past Harry
to greet Ensign Summers.

The officer took her extended hands gratefully, but there was no light
in his eyes as he answered.

"Safe - and dishonored," he said. "I am only glad for my men."

"Why dishonored?" asked Harry.

"Don't you understand?"

"The man," said Pauline, curiously, "the man who placed the bomb?
Where is he?"

"Dead," said Summers. "He broke the tube after you were released and
then attacked me with a knife. I had to kill him."

"Good for you!" broke in Harry. "But what's all the gloom talk for?
This stuff about dishonor? You've proved yourself a hero, man."

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Online LibraryCharles GoddardThe Perils of Pauline → online text (page 16 of 18)