The Strangers’ Gate - E. Phillips Oppenheim - ebook

The Strangers’ Gate ebook

E. Phillips Oppenheim

0,0

Opis

This is a mystery novel surrounding German intrigue and bauxite mining in typical Oppenheim style. E. Phillips Oppenheim was the self-styled „prince of storytellers” and composed some one hundred and fifty novels, mainly of the suspense and international intrigue nature, but including romances, comedies, and parables of everyday life. In this one, Beverley, a handsome tycoon, operates an unknown bauxite mine in mythical kingdom of Orlac, and wages a battle of wits against German secret agents and the extravagant king when another mine is discovered. Beverley sides with a pauper Prince, on whose property the metal is found, and with his sister.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

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

Liczba stron: 481

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 I

Mr. Nigel Beverley, seated before his desk in the handsomely furnished private office of the Anglo-Orlacian Trust Company, glanced with a distinct frown at the card which his secretary had just brought in to him. He read it aloud as though for the benefit of his companion and of the demure-looking young lady who was standing by his side.

“‘Marya [Princess] Mauranesco.’ The ‘Princess,’ I should tell you, is in brackets. And what is this?” he went on, scrutinising the rest of the announcement. “‘Violinist, Grill Room, Germanic, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Restaurant, Germanic, 10.30 P.M.-12.’”

“God bless my soul!” an elderly gentleman, in strikingly correct morning clothes and wearing light spats, who was seated in an easy chair opposite, exclaimed. “Is this the sort of visitor you get down in the City on a busy morning, Nigel? Violinist at the Germanic restaurant! What’s that got to do with us?”

Nigel Beverley, with the card still between his fingers, glanced up at his secretary.

“Perhaps Miss Dent can explain,” he remarked drily. “Whatever made you bring this card in, five minutes before an important meeting? You ought to know perfectly well chat I am not likely to see anyone–not even the Governor of the Bank of England.”

The girl leaned over and with the tip of her little finger tapped a corner of the card which he had not noticed.

“From Orlac,” she pointed out. “As the meeting is largely concerned with affairs in that country, Mr. Beverley, and the young lady declared that her business was of the utmost importance, I thought it best at any rate to let you know that she was here.”

Her employer laid the card upon the desk.

“Miss Dent,” he remonstrated, his tone kindly but reproachful, “you know quite well that the board-room is half-filled already. The meeting is called for half-past eleven, and it is now twenty-past.”

“I should have pointed that out to the young lady, sir,” she explained, “but Sir Charles Brinkley has just telephoned begging that you will give him ten minutes. His car has met with a slight mishap, but he will be here at a quarter to twelve.”

“That’s all very well,” Beverley replied, “but we can’t interview young ladies who play the violin down here in the City a few minutes before an important meeting–even if they do come from Orlac. Tell her to write a note instead, and let me know her reasons for wishing for an interview; and I will see her for a moment, if I think it necessary, after the meeting–or this afternoon.”

The girl turned away without remark, closing the door softly behind her.

“Sorry about Brinkley, sir,” Beverley apologised.

“So am I,” was the irritated reply. “I hate being kept waiting on an occasion–an important occasion–like this. Serves me right for ever having promised to make the blasted speech. I have forgotten every word I had to say already.”

“It’s only a vote of thanks,” was the other’s smooth reminder. “You will do that on your head. Just the bare words, and anything that comes into your mind at the moment. There isn’t a hitch anywhere, you see. No worrying questions or anything of that sort. Everyone will be in a jolly good humour. So they ought to be, with a report like ours.”

The elderly gentleman, who figured in Dehrett as “the Earl of Portington,” and who was his companion’s prospective father-in-law, grunted.

“All very well for you fellows. You are on your legs half the time, making speeches. Twice a year is enough for me; once at the Royal Agricultural Show, and a few words at the annual meeting of the Fox-hunting Association…Damn it all, here’s that girl of yours back again!”

Miss Dent’s tone was really apologetic this time.

“I am so sorry, Mr. Beverley,” she said, “but the young woman is very much in earnest. She says that she must talk to you before the meeting takes place. She does not speak good English and is not easy to understand, but it seems that her brother, who intended to call on you, has been detained, and she is taking his place.”

“But what about?” Beverley asked in mild but somewhat irritated expostulation. “What does she want?”

Lord Portington suddenly remembered a visit to the Germanic a few nights before and had an inspiration.

“Why not see her for a minute, Nigel?” he suggested. “Then, as soon as Brinkley arrives, we can all go in together.”

The younger man shrugged his shoulders.

“As you will, sir,” he agreed. “You may show the young lady in, then, Miss Dent. Tell her that she must not stay for more than five minutes.”

The secretary disappeared. Nigel Beverley sat back in his chair and assumed the stern expression of the man of affairs who is yielding unwillingly to an unreasonable request. The effort was by no means an easy one, for besides being an exceedingly good-looking man with clean-cut features and a wholesome out-of-door complexion, there was a gleam of humour in his unwavering blue eyes and at the corners of his otherwise firm mouth. Portington, who was really short-sighted and was wondering whether it was the same girl, rubbed his eyeglass and adjusted it. The door was quietly opened.

“The young lady to see you, sir,” Miss Dent announced.

Princess Marya Mauranesco entered the room.

The effect of the girl’s entrance was perhaps exemplified by its reaction upon the two men. Both had seemed at first inclined to remain seated. Both, however, before she reached the desk, had risen to their feet. She seemed a little uncertain as to whom to address. Beverley pointed to a chair.

“My name is Beverley,” he said, “and I am president of the Anglo-Orlacian Trust Company. Won’t you sit down? I must tell you that I can spare only three or four minutes. We have an important meeting to attend.”

The girl smiled as she sank gracefully into the chair, and from that moment Lord Portington was perfectly willing to forget all about the meeting. Beverley, although he dimly realised the charms of his visitor, was of sterner mould. He awaited her explanation with ill-concealed impatience.

“But it is about that meeting,” she explained, “that I come. You must not hold it.”

“Not hold it! What do you mean?” he asked brusquely.

“Well, if you hold it you must not say what you say here, then.”

She drew from the modest bag she was carrying a folded-up newspaper cutting. Beverley recognised it at a glance. It was a copy of an interview he had given recently to a well-known journalist.

“Why not?” he demanded.

There was no trace of a smile upon her face now. She looked, indeed, a little pathetic.

“Because–you must please not be angry–it is not true.”

“What is there in that interview which is not true?”

She sat very upright in her chair, the thin, nervous fingers of her right hand gripping its arm. Her eyes were fixed upon Beverley. She was utterly serious. In a remote sort of way she was entirely beautiful.

“I shall try to explain,” she began. “You forgive if I make mistakes. In that talk you told the man that the supply of this new mineral, which is mixed with some other metal, is to be found only in the Kingdom of Orlac.”

“So far as we know at present,” Beverley corrected gently.

“Yes, but you add,” she continued, “that this mineral is only to be found in the mountains at Klast, which you have leased from the Crown and where you have sunk the great mine.”

“That is the truth,” he declared.

The girl shook her head.

“Oh, no,” she contradicted. “In another part of Orlac there is also to be found this mineral.”

“You are mistaken,” he assured her. “We have paid large fees to scientists and metallurgists, who have examined the whole country. No trace of bauxite has been discovered anywhere except in the mountains which we have leased. Apart from that, may I ask what you know about it?”

“Nothing at all,” she admitted. “It is my brother who knows.”

“Why is he not here himself?”

She coughed slightly. She was evidently embarrassed.

“It was his wish to be here,” she confided. “He was–prevented.”

She glanced at Lord Portington, whose expression told her nothing. She looked back at the younger man and then continued with a little deprecating gesture.

“He could not come. You wish to know the truth? He is in prison.”

“A good place for him, I should think–or a lunatic asylum,” Beverley remarked.

“But that is not kind,” the girl protested. “Rudolph was unfortunate.”

“How did your brother get into prison?” he asked. “For making false statements, I imagine.”

“Oh no,” she remonstrated with a little shiver. “And yet–” She hesitated. “I do not know. It might have been something hke that. We are all very poor–very poor indeed–in Orlac. My brother speaks languages. He takes tourists round sometimes. An American family engaged him to travel with them through the country, and it seems that he made a mistake in the accounts.”

“Indeed,” was Beverley’s dry comment.

“It was not the fault of my poor brother,” she declared. “He never had much understanding of figures, and he is inclined to be extravagant. These people v/ere very unkind to him. They took him before a magistrate and he was sent to prison, A Mauranesco of Orlac has never known such disgrace. It was very terrible.”

Beverley glanced at the clock which stood upon the table.

“Young lady,” he said, “we have listened most patiently to all you have had to say, but you have not yet explained the reason for this visit.”

“Brinkley has not turned up yet, you know, Nigel,” Portington intervened. “Better let the young lady finish her story. We must remember that she is in a strange country and naturally she finds our language a little difficult.”

The girl flashed a grateful glance across at him.

“The money which my brother Rudolph borrowed,” she explained, turning eagerly to Beverley, “he took to buy some shares in your company so that he could attend the meeting to-day.”

“What was he going to do when he got there?” Beverley asked.

“I am not sure,” she confessed. “I expected a letter from him this morning. I believe he thought that you would buy those shares from him at a great deal of money sooner than have anyone in the meeting ask stupid questions.”

Beverley leaned forward and pressed a bell on his desk. Marya Mauranesco looked at him questioningly.

“What is that for?” she asked.

“To have my secretary show you out.”

“But is that polite?” she continued with a little quiver of the lips.

“I say, Nigel, old chap,” Portington put in, “aren’t you being a little severe? Evidently this young lady doesn’t understand much about business. I think that we ought to hear everything that she has to say.”

She looked at him once more with gratitude in her eyes.

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.