Gabriel Samara, Peacemaker - E. Phillips Oppenheim - ebook

Gabriel Samara, Peacemaker ebook

E. Phillips Oppenheim

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Miss Sadie Loyes, the manageress of the Hotel Weltmore Typewriting and Secretarial Bureau, set down the receiver of the telephone which had its place upon her desk and looked thoughtfully around at the eleven young ladies who comprised her present staff. She stood there, an angular, untidy-looking person, tapping a pencil against her teeth, unconscious arbitress, not only of the fate of two very interesting people, but also of the fate of a great nation. Portentous events depended upon her decision. A man’s life in this teeming city of New York was a small enough matter of itself.

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Liczba stron: 423

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Contents

BOOK ONE

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

BOOK TWO

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

BOOK ONE

CHAPTER I

Miss Sadie Loyes, the manageress of the Hotel Weltmore Typewriting and Secretarial Bureau, set down the receiver of the telephone which had its place upon her desk and looked thoughtfully around at the eleven young ladies who comprised her present staff. She stood there, an angular, untidy-looking person, tapping a pencil against her teeth, unconscious arbitress, not only of the fate of two very interesting people, but also of the fate of a great nation. Portentous events depended upon her decision. A man’s life in this teeming city of New York was a small enough matter of itself. The life of this prospective client of hers, however, waiting now in his suite on the eleventh floor for the help which he had summoned, was hung about with destiny. Meanwhile, Miss Sadie Loyes continued to tap her teeth with the pencil and reflect. Which should it be? The nearest and apparently the most industrious?

Her eyes rested disparagingly upon Miss Bella Fox’s golden-brown coiffure. These were dressy days in New York and style was all very well in its way, but there was no mistaking the abbreviations of the young lady’s costume–very low from the throat downwards and displaying a length of limb which, although perhaps sanctioned by fashion, paid no excessive tribute to modesty. Miss Fox’s jewellery, too, was a little in evidence and there were rumours about dinners at the Ritz! On the whole perhaps it would be better to keep this particular young lady back for one of these western millionaires. Dorothy Dickson might do: a young woman of far more modest appearance, but a little careless with her shorthand. Possibly it was as well not to risk her on an important assignment. Then there was Florence White–expert enough, but a little mysterious in her private life, and the recipient of too many boxes of candy and offerings of roses from her clients to inspire her employer with thorough confidence as to her commercial ability. Then the pencil stopped. Miss Borans! Nothing whatever against her; efficient, self-contained, reserved alike in dress and demeanour, but with an air of breeding which none of these others possessed. Absolutely an obvious choice!

“Miss Borans,” the manageress called out, in a shrill tone, “just step this way, please.”

The young lady addressed rose with composure, pushed her chair back into its place, and approached her employer. Space was limited in the Hotel Weltmore and the Typewriting and Secretarial Bureau was really a railed-off portion of the lounge on the first floor reserved for “Ladies Only.”

“I guess you’d better slip up to number eleven hundred and eighty,” Miss Loyes directed. “I’ll send a machine and the rest of the stuff right along–gentleman there in a hurry–his secretary caught the fever while he was in Washington. Samara, his name is–the Good Lord knows where he got it!”

The girl seemed to stiffen.

“Samara, the Russian envoy?” she asked.

“You’ve got it, honey. Speaks with an English accent, though, you could cut with a knife.”

“I would rather not work for Gabriel Samara,” the girl declared.

It took a great deal to surprise Miss Sadie Loyes, but this newest recruit to her secretarial staff had certainly succeeded.

“How?” she exclaimed. “What’s that?”

Miss Borans had not in the least the appearance of a young woman of mercurial or changeable temperament. Nevertheless, she seemed already to be repenting her rather rash pronouncement.

“I beg your pardon, Miss Loyes,” she said. “That was perhaps a foolish speech of mine. Number eleven hundred and eighty, you said. I will go there at once.”

“Say, do you know anything of this Mr. Samara?” the manageress enquired.

“Nothing personally,” was the prompt reply.

“You haven’t worked for him before? He hasn’t tried to be familiar with you or anything of that sort?”

“Certainly not.”

“Then what’s the idea, eh?”

Miss Borans hesitated.

“I am of Russian descent,” she confided. “One has prejudices. It was foolish.”

Miss Sadie Loyes had had a great deal of experience of the younger members of her sex, and she studied her employee for a minute thoughtfully. Miss Catherine Borans conformed to no type with which she was familiar. She was a young woman of medium height, slim and with the promise of a perfect body beneath the almost Quaker-like simplicity of her gown. She was rather full-faced, with a broad forehead, dark silky eye-lashes and clear brown eyes. Her features were distinguished by reason of their clean-cut clarity, her mouth was perfectly shaped although her lips were a little full. Her expression was not to be reckoned with, for during the few weeks she had been employed at the Bureau she had wrapped herself in a mantle of impenetrable reserve.

“I guessed you were a foreigner,” Miss Sadie Loyes remarked finally. “Well, anyways, this Mr. Samara is a great guy over there, isn’t he? The New York Press, at any rate, seems to be giving him an almighty boom.”

Miss Sadie Loyes had spent a busy life in narrow ways and, leaving out England, France and Germany, “over there” represented for her the rest of Europe.

“In his way I have no doubt that he is a great man,” Miss Borans acknowledged coldly. “I was foolish to have any feeling in the matter.”

She passed on with her notebook in her hand, a noticeable figure in the bustling promenades of the hotel, both from the quiet distinction of her appearance and her utter indifference to the cosmopolitan throngs through which she passed. She took her place in the crowded elevator, ascended to the eleventh floor, received a pleasant nod from the young lady seated on guard at the corner of the corridor, and touched the bell of number eleven hundred and eighty.

“Mr. Samara’s right there now,” the latter observed from behind her desk. “I guess he’s needing help badly, too. They’re talking of having to take his secretary away to the hospital. Stomach trouble, I guess. These foreigners eat different to us.”

The door in front of them was suddenly opened. Miss Borans was confronted by a somewhat alarming looking personage; a man of over six feet in height and broad in proportion, florid, blue-eyed and of truculent appearance. Not even the studious sombreness of his attire could bring him into line with any recognised types of domestic servitor. He stared at this visitor without speaking.

“I have come from the Typewriting Bureau downstairs to do some work for Mr. Samara,” she announced.

Typists, especially of this order, were unknown quantities in the world where Ivan Rortz had spent most of his days, but he stood aside and ushered her through the little hall to the sitting room beyond. It was of the ordinary hotel type, but flooded with light, overheated, and, as it seemed to her in those first few seconds, almost overcrowded with flowers. Everywhere they flaunted their elegance against the uncouth decorations of the room; a queer contrast of exotic beauty and pretentious ugliness. A man swung round from a writing desk to look at her,–a man who she knew at once must be Samara.

His study of her was superficial and incurious. She, on the other hand, brought all her powers of observation to bear upon the man whom it was her daily lesson to learn to hate. The illustrated Press of many countries had made his features in a sense familiar–yet, in a further sense, they had never done him justice. She saw a man of well over middle height, broad-shouldered yet with a tendency to stoop. His face was as hard as granite, cruel, perhaps, and as expressionless as her own, yet redeemed by a mouth which had wonderful possibilities of tenderness and humour. His hair was black and short, his eyebrows over-heavy, his clear grey eyes almost unduly penetrating.

“Well?” he exclaimed curtly.

“I am from the Typewriting Bureau,” she announced once more.

He nodded.

“Where is your machine?”

“On the way up.”

He pointed towards the book she was carrying.

“You write shorthand?”

“Certainly.”

“Take down some letters. Sit where you please. I usually walk about. Some I will give you direct on to the typewriter, when it arrives.”

She seated herself deliberately at the end of the table, opened her book, and glanced at her pencil to be sure that it was sharpened. Then she waited. He rose to his feet and stood with his back to her, looking out of the window. Presently he swung round, took up a sheaf of letters from the desk, and grunted as he inspected them.

“Rubbishy work,” he declared, “but it must be done. Invitations to every sort of a function under the sun. One reply will do for the lot–‘Mr. Gabriel Samara regrets that he is unable to accept the invitation,’ etc., etc.,” his thick eyebrows almost meeting in a heavy frown. “Got that?”

“Yes,” she answered.

He threw a selection of the letters on the table before her, destroying the remainder. Then he made his way back to the desk and loitered there with his hands in his pockets.

“I can’t do these until the typewriter arrives,” she reminded him.

“Naturally,” he replied drily. “I was wondering about the rest of the work. Here is your machine.”

There was a knock at the door and a boy arrived with the typewriter, which he set upon the table. Catherine Borans began her task. Presently the telephone bell rang. Samara motioned her to answer it.

“A gentleman from the New York Hemisphere would like to see you,” she announced.

He shook his head.

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