Kate Plus Ten - Edgar Wallace - ebook

Kate Plus Ten ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

This is the story of a young female criminal mastermind who leads a gang in a series of exceptionally daring and very profitable robberies but works as secretary to keep her cover story intact. When she picks up information from her boss, an aristocrat, the police soon suspect her of wrongdoing. But she meets a handsome police officer who very much against her will softens her hearts. She and the gang become alienated from one another. Naturally she just has something in her system, which eventually is found to be eradicable, as you will discover when you reach the end of this exciting book.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 269

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

PROLOGUE

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

PROLOGUE

‘STRATEGY,’ growled the General, ‘is the comfort of heroes.’

‘And the science of Generals,’ piped the little girl sitting crossed-legged at his feet.

The old man looked down at her suspiciously under his white shaggy brows and chuckled.

‘I wish you were a boy,’ he complained. The little girl laughed shrilly and looked up at her grandfather with big shining eyes, for if Katharine Westhanger adored any human being in the world, it was the grim old man, white-maned and eagle-faced, whose constant companion she was.

They sat under a big elm on a hot day in June.

From where they sat there was as cheerful a view as County Galway could offer. On their left was the ancient home of the Masserfields, of which General Sir Shaun Masserfield, that great strategist, was the last representative in the tail male. Beyond the house lay a big black field where leisurely labourers were digging and stacking the peat. In a smaller field with broken stone walls grazed four cows which formed the last of the Masserfield stock.

It was a poor house and a poor estate. Poverty showed in the broken windows of the east wing–visible from where they sat–which had been long since abandoned to rats and mice and lumber, in the peeling plaster work, in the unkempt garden, even in the General’s own shiny attire.

He looked down at the girl and smiled.

‘Faith,’ he said, ‘ye’ve been reading strategy, have ye?’

Katharine nodded.

‘Tis a wonderful science,’ said Sir Shaun with a sigh. ‘I’ve written six books on the subject, and I’ve been robbed on every one of ‘em!’

An old man with bowed shoulders came out of the house, and without hurrying made his way through the garden to pick those dead leaves which caught and offended his eye. He came up to the two and knuckled his forehead.

‘The dinner is sarved, ye’r honour’s lordship.’

The General got up with the aid of his stick.

‘The dinner is sarved, Kate,’ he repeated solemnly and hand in hand they went back to the house, and over a leg of pork–most untempting meal for a hot day, yet the General and his granddaughter did it full justice–they resumed their discussion on what was to the General the profoundest subject that civilization offered.

It is unnecessary to say that General Sir Shaun Masserfield was an authority. His books, particularly his Modern Artillery as Applied to the Principles of Strategy, have been translated into every language. He was for many years at the head of a department at the War Office, and at least two of his works have been adopted as text-books for the Italian army.

The girl listened in silence as the old man waxed more and more eloquent on his favourite subject, ‘Napoleon’s defeat of Schwarzenberg’ and those wonderful battles which led to the armistice of 1814, and then–

‘It seems such a waste,’ she said.

He stared at her.

‘Waste,’ he roared, ‘–waste of what?’

‘Of life and money and everything,’ she said.

‘Ye’re a silly little donkey,’ he growled. ‘What can you know about it, a child of thirteen!’

‘Colonel Westhanger says–’

‘Colonel Westhanger,’ snapped the old man, ‘is a fool and a rascal! He is a bigger fool, and a bigger rascal, than your father,’ he added violently. ‘The Westhangers are all fools, and Molly Maguires. Bad luck to them! If teeth were diamonds, ye’d have to live on pap!’

The little girl listened unmoved to this tirade against her nearest relations.

‘Colonel Westhanger says,’ she continued, ‘that if all the genius which was put into war–’

‘It’s little he has put in,’ sneered the old man, ‘the bould militiaman!’

‘He is in the regular army,’ corrected the girl.

‘It’s nothing for the army to be proud of,’ countered the General, thumping the table with the handle of his knife; ‘and did he talk about strategy? The poor stupid man!’

Katharine shook her head laughingly. ‘Oh, General,’ she said (she never called him by any other term), ‘of course he didn’t talk about strategy. He only said what a waste it was of money, and life, and everything.’

‘And he put money first, I’ll swear.’

‘Of life and everything,’ said the girl, not noticing the interruption, ‘when all the science and cleverness could be applied to making money.’

‘To making money!’ repeated the General triumphantly. ‘That is the sort of fool he is. He couldn’t make money by strategy or anything else. God knows what is going to happen to you when I die, for this estate goes to my own brother’s son, a miserable reptile of an Orangeman, and your father is no more capable of keeping you than I am of being dishonest.’

He cut himself another thick slice of pork before he spoke again, and then he asked a little curiously, as though he had been turning the matter over in his mind – ‘And how would a knowledge of strategy help a man to make money?’ he asked.

The girl rolled up her serviette before she replied.

‘There are many ways,’ she said quietly, ‘but I don’t think that Colonel Westhanger or father could make it. They aren’t great strategists like us,’ she said calmly.

The old man chuckled.

‘Us!’ he repeated; ‘and how would you make money?’

Katharine Westhanger shook her head. ‘I cannot tell you right off,’ she said; ‘there are so many ways.’

‘Give me one,’ asked the General, pushing back his chair.

‘Well,’ she said slowly, ‘suppose we sent Terence down to the railway station and took the grease cap off his wheel, and when he got to the road past the O’Gormans’ the wheel came off. What would Terence do?’

She looked up at the ceiling and worked out each development of the situation in slow, even tones.

‘First of all Terence would go up to the O’Gormans’ house, and the Major’s agent would lend him his grand new chaise.’

‘Well, we could borrow it anyway,’ said the General, ‘so what’s the good of that foolery?’

‘All the world would know we had borrowed the chaise to impress the gentleman who is coming down from Dublin to buy your pictures.’

‘How did you know I was selling the pictures?’ asked the General sharply. It was a subject on which he was rather sore. The two Vandykes which hung in the gaunt entrance hall of the house represented the last of his valuable possessions, and only the eccentric behaviour of certain Mexican stocks in which he had invested many years before, and the consequent stoppage of his income–he had long since mortgaged his pension–would have induced him to part with these relics of Masserfield prosperity.

‘How did I know?’ she answered; ‘how does a General know what is happening out of sight?’

‘You have been spying,’ he accused, but she shook her head.

‘Never mind how I know, dear,’ she said; ‘let me go on with the story. Terence brings the fine stranger back, and we meet him near the O’Gormans’. We go up to the O’Gormans’ grand house and we ask for the Major, who, being a good Irish landlord, is now in London with Mrs. O’Gorman and the children.’

‘The Major said I could use the house while he was away. He has a fine library,’ said the General.

‘Take him to the library and show him the books. Have the pictures waiting for him there–it’s the surroundings that count. Mrs. O’Shea, the Major’s housekeeper, will do anything for me.’

‘Where’s the strategy?’ asked the old man.

The girl laughed.

‘“To compel the enemy to fight on chosen ground secures for the attacker an advantage– ”’

‘She’s quoting my own book at me,’ said the General in despair; ‘but why make a mystery of it? Why not go straight away to Mrs. O’Shea, and tell her what you want to do?’

‘We should then be there by design. Otherwise we shall be there by accident,’ said the girl decisively. ‘If by design, the enemy will know, for we shall be at the mercy of any chance word which Mrs. O’Shea might drop. If by accident, our presence at the Hall will be understood by both parties.’

‘A tricky business,’ growled the General. ‘Kate, there’s either a great strategist, or a great criminal, lost in you.’

She got up and pulled her skirts down over her thin legs.

‘I don’t think anything is lost yet,’ she said complacently.

*     *

*

THIS is one little glimpse of Katharine Westhanger’s childhood. It was a childhood spent almost entirely in the company of old Shaun Masserfield, for the visits to her disreputable father and her no less questionable uncle were few and far between.

They were legally her trustees for the small property which her mother had left, but which the General suspected, and the girl knew, had long since been dissipated by her ‘guardians,’ and it was necessary from time to time that they should make some show of conferring with her. In the main she was alone, ‘completing her education in Ireland,’ as her father would glibly explain.

She read much, thought a great deal, and she had the vast experience of her grandfather to draw upon.

A year before his death, when she was nearing fifteen, an event occurred which probably did more to shape the after-course of her remarkable life than any other. There was a jack-of-all-trades employed about the house who was variously gardener, coachman, valet and general factotum to Sir Shaun.

Terence (he seems to have had no other name) was a townsman. He had been born, and lived the earlier years of his life, in the city of Dublin. Whatever might be his faults, he was devoted to the girl, and there was no service which mortal man could render that he hesitated to give.

One afternoon Kate was waited upon by an inspector of police. Her grandfather had gone to bed with an attack of rheumatism, and she received the officer of the law in the poverty-stricken drawing-room with its framed photographs and mahogany furniture.

‘Good afternoon, Miss Westhanger,’ said the inspector with a cheery smile. ‘I am sorry to bother you, but we are having a little trouble in this neighbourhood, and I thought you might help me.’

She knew well enough what the trouble was, before he began to speak.

‘In three weeks there have been three burglaries in this neighbourhood, and it is very clear that the work is being done by a local man. Major O’Gorman’s, Lord Pretherston’s and Mr. Castlereigh’s houses have been broken into and property has been taken. All the stations have been watched and the roads have been patrolled, and no strangers have been seen here or hereabouts.’

‘And do you think it is grandfather?’ she asked innocently.

He laughed.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.