The Black Abbot - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Black Abbot ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

Several employees on a nobleman’s estate show up at a former abbey, reputed to be haunted, to search for a hidden treasure. However, a mysterious hooded figure begins killing off those who may have figured out where the treasure is hidden. Who the Black Abbott is, what his purpose is – and how he is connected with the mystery of the treasure – these are the elements of the story. There’s a malevolent ghost, buried treasure, the elixir of life, a crooked lawyer, a tangled romance, a scheming young woman, another young woman facing a fate much worse than death, an atmosphere of breathless excitement and non-stop Edgar Wallace thrills.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

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

Liczba stron: 451

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

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

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

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER XXXIV

CHAPTER XXXV

CHAPTER XXXVI

CHAPTER XXXVII

CHAPTER XXXVIII

CHAPTER XXXIX

CHAPTER XL

CHAPTER XLI

CHAPTER XLII

CHAPTER XLIII

CHAPTER XLIV

CHAPTER XLV

CHAPTER XLVI

CHAPTER XLVII

CHAPTER XLVIII

CHAPTER XLIX

CHAPTER L

CHAPTER LI

CHAPTER LII

CHAPTER LIII

CHAPTER LIV

CHAPTER LV

CHAPTER LVI

CHAPTER LVII

CHAPTER LVIII

CHAPTER LIX

CHAPTER LX

CHAPTER LXI

CHAPTER LXII

CHAPTER LXIII

CHAPTER LXIV

CHAPTER LXV

CHAPTER I

“THOMAS!”

“Yes, m’lord.”

Thomas the footman waited, a look of concentrated interest on his unprepossessing face, whilst the pale man behind the big library desk sorted out a small pile of Treasury notes.

The battered steel box from which they were taken was full to the brim with Bank and Treasury notes of all denominations in hopeless confusion.

“Thomas!” absently.

“Yes, m’lord.”

“Put this money in that envelope–not that one, you fool, the grey one. Is it addressed?”

“Yes, m’lord. ‘Herr Lubitz, Frankfurterstrasse 35, Leipzig,’ m’lord.”

“Lick it down, take it to the post office and register it. Is Mr Richard in his study?”

“No, m’lord, he went out an hour ago.”

Harry Alford, 18th Earl of Chelford, sighed. He was on the right side of thirty, thin of face and pale as students are, his jet-black hair emphasising the pallor of his skin. The library in which he worked was a high-roofed building, the walls bisected by a gallery that ran round three sides of the room and was reached by a circular iron staircase in one corner of the apartment. From the roof to the floor every inch of wall space was covered with bookshelves, with this notable exception. Over the great stone fireplace was a full-length painting of a beautiful woman. None who had seen his lordship could make any mistake as to the relationship which existed between himself and that wild-eyed beauty. It was his mother; she had the same delicate features, the same raven hair and dark, fathomless eyes. Lady Chelford had been the most famous debutante of her time, and her tragic end had been the sensation of the early ‘nineties. There was no other picture in the room.

His eyes strayed to the portrait now. To Harry Alford, Fossaway Manor, for all its beauty and charm, was a poor casket for such a jewel.

The footman in his sober black livery, his hair powdered white, lingered.

“Is that all, m’lord?”

“That is all,” said his lordship gravely. Yet when the man had moved noiselessly to the door–“Thomas!”

“Yes, m’lord.”

“I heard something by accident as you passed my window this morning with Filling the groom–er–?”

“He was telling me about the Black Abbot, m’lord.” The pale face twitched spasmodically. Even in broad daylight, with the sun streaming through the stained windows and marking the parquet with arabesques of crimson and blue and amethyst, the very mention of the Black Abbot set his heart beating faster.

“Any man in my employ who discusses the Black Abbot will be instantly dismissed. Will you tell your fellow-servants that, Thomas? A ghost! Great God! Are you all mad?”

His face was red now, little veins swelled at his temples, and under the stream of anger his dark eyes seemed to recede into his head.

“Not a word! You understand? It is a lie! A mischievous wicked lie to say that Fossaway is haunted! It is a trick played by some of the louts about the place. That will do!”

He waved the bowing man from his presence and resumed his study of the black-lettered book that had arrived from Germany that morning.

Once outside the library door, Thomas could afford to twist his sallow features to a grin. Only for a second, and then he became serious again. There must be nearly a thousand pounds in that cash-box, and Thomas had once served a three-year sentence for a tenth of that sum. Even Mr Richard Alford, who knew most things, was unaware of this interesting fact.

Thomas had a letter to write, for he maintained a lucrative correspondence with one who had an especial interest in Fossaway Manor, but first he had to report the gist of the conversation to Mr Glover, the butler.

“I don’t care what his lordship says (and why he should tell a footman and not me, I don’t know); there’s a ghost, and all sorts of people have seen it! I wouldn’t walk down Elm Drive alone at night for fifty million pounds!” This portly man shook a head that the years had silvered.

“And his lordship believes it too. I wish he was married, that’s what I wish. He’ll be more sensible then!”

“And we’d get rid of Mr Blooming Alford–eh, Mr Glover.”

The butler sniffed.

“There’s them that likes him and them that don’t,” said the oracle. “We’ve never had a cross word, Thomas–there’s somebody at the door.”

Thomas hurried to the hall entrance and opened the big door. A girl was standing under the portico. She was pretty in a bold way, red of lips and bright of eye and dressed expensively.

Thomas gave her a grin of recognition.

“Good morning, Miss Wenner–this is a bit of a surprise!”

“Is his lordship in, Thomas?”

The footman pursed his lips dubiously.

“He is in, miss, but I’m afraid I can’t take you in to him. Don’t blame me, miss, it’s Mr Alford’s orders.”

“Mr Alford!” she sneered. “Do you mean to tell me that I’ve come all the way from London and can’t see Lord Chelford?”

But Thomas kept his hand on the door. He liked the girl, who, when she had been his lordship’s secretary, had never given herself airs (the unpardonable sin of the servants’ hall), and who always had a smile for the meanest of the domestic staff. He would gladly have admitted her and felt that his lordship would have been pleased to see her, but in the background somewhere hovered Dick Alford, a man of curt speech, who was not only capable of showing him the door but kicking him through it.

“I’m very sorry, miss; but orders is orders, as you know.”

“I see!” she nodded ominously. “I’m to be turned away from what might have been my own door, Thomas.”

He tried to look his sympathy and succeeded in assuming an expression of imbecility. She smiled at him, shook hands with him graciously and turned away from the portico.

“Miss Wenner,” reported Thomas, “her that Alford fired because he thought his lordship was getting sweet on her–”

The library bell rang at that moment and Thomas hastened to answer the call.

“Who was that lady–I saw her through the window?”

“Miss Wenner, m’lord.”

A cloud passed over Harry Alford’s face.

“Did you–ask her to come in?”

“No, m’lord; Mr Alford gave orders–”

“Of course–yes. I had forgotten. Perhaps it is just as well. Thank you.”

He pulled down the green shade over his eyes, for even in the day he worked by artificial light, such was the gloom of the library, and resumed his study of the book.

Yet his mind was not wholly concentrated on the work. Once he rose and walked up and down the library, his hands clasped before him, his chin on his breast. He stopped before the picture of his mother, sighed and walked back to the writing-table. There was a Press paragraph which he had cut out of a London newspaper, and this he read for the third time, not ill-pleased with the unaccustomed experience of finding himself the subject of newspaper comment, and yet irritated by the subject on which the paragraph was based.

Chelfordbury, a sleepy Sussex village, is engaged in the thrilling sport of ghost-hunting. The Black Abbot of Fossaway has, after a period of quiescence, again made his appearance. The legend is that seven hundred years ago, Hubert of Redruth, Abbot of Chelfordbury, was assassinated by order of the second Earl of Chelford. Since then, from time to time, his “ghost” has been seen. During the past few years horrific stories of an Unseen Being that shrieked and howled demoniacally have been current in the county, but the noisy spook was not actually seen until last week.

Fossaway Manor has other romances besides ghosts. Four hundred years ago a great treasure of gold was, according to legend, hidden somewhere on the estate; so effectively, in fact, that it has never been discovered since, although successive Earls of Chelford have searched diligently for the ancestral hoard.

The present Earl of Chelford, who, by the way, is engaged to be married to Miss Leslie Gine, the only sister of Mr Arthur Gine, the well-known solicitor, informed our local representative that he had no doubt that the apparition of the Black Abbot was a practical joke in very doubtful taste on the part of the foolish youth of the neighbourhood.

He made as though to tear the paper, but thought better of it and put the cutting under a paper-weight.

That reference to the practical jokers of the village was reassuring and might be a comfort when the night came and he needed encouragement.

For Lord Chelford believed in the Black Abbot as religiously as he proclaimed his scepticism.

His restless hand moved to the bell-push on his table.

“Has Mr Richard returned?”

“No, m’lord.”

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.

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.

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.

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.