“‘More welcome is the sweet,’” she quoted, returning the pressure of his hand. “You will never know, my very dear, the agony I suffered in those weeks after your disappearance. I would have died gladly—oh, so gladly; but, as you say, God is good, only we cannot always see. The sky was very black, without a single star, and the sun would never rise again, never, never. I knew it.”
“But it has, love, hasn’t it?” Grey asked, cheerily. “And we’ll pray now for a long, long, sunshiny day to make up for so dark a night.”
Then he bent his head and kissed her; and the nightingale’s song was a p?an, and the music of the trees and the river a serenade.
After a little, Nicholas Van Tuyl joined them.
“Well, lad,” he said to Grey, as he flicked the ashes from his cigar, “what are your plans?”
314 “I’m taking La Savoie from Havre on Saturday,” the young man answered. “I’d rather lose my right arm than leave Hope now, just as I have found her, but there’s no getting out of it. I must hurry back to New York and square things.”
“You must go so soon, dear?” she questioned, with just a suspicion of a pout.
“I must,” he replied, reluctance in his voice. “I’ll try to rejoin you later; but every duty demands my presence in America now.”
“We’ll have to stop, of course,” Van Tuyl observed; and then he added, with a smile: “my daughter, here, will be very busy, I fancy, for the next few weeks with couturières and marchandes de modes in the rue de la Paix and thereabouts. So don’t exercise yourself unnecessarily, Carey. She’ll hardly have time to miss you. There’s no salve in the world to a woman so effective as that to be found in ordering new finery.”
“Don’t you believe him, dear,” the girl protested, her fingers tightening on Grey’s hand. “I shall think of you every minute I’m awake, and dream of you every minute I’m asleep.”
The two men lounging against the iron railing315 of the balcony smoked and chatted for a long time after Hope went in. They had much in common, and to each occurred a multiplicity of matters of mutual interest.
Meanwhile the street below grew quiet, the terrace was deserted, the wind in the trees died to a whisper, and the incessant murmur of the hurrying waters accentuated rather than disturbed the silence. But the two great lamps on either side of the hotel’s broad entrance still blazed, throwing a half circle of illumination out across the roadway and in under the lindens of the Quai.
Grey, flinging away the end of his cigar, turned and looked down, watching it fall and sputter red sparks upon the macadam of the drive. And as he looked a shadow glided swiftly across the arc of light beneath the trees and was swallowed up in the gloom beyond—a shadow, the contour of which even in that brief moment struck Grey as unmistakably familiar, recalling a figure that he had seen twenty-four hours before, leaping wildly, from dark to dark, down a winding stone stairway.
“It’s bed time,” said Nicholas Van Tuyl, yawning. “You must be tired. Suppose we——”
316 A pistol shot, startlingly loud and sharp against the night silence, clipped off the end of the sentence.
For a moment neither spoke, and the stillness was the stillness of death. Then came the patter of hurrying steps, and presently voices were heard and men were darting across the street from all directions, and all heading toward the Quai at a point just opposite the balcony.
“Murder?” suggested Van Tuyl.
“No,” answered Grey, with conviction. “Suicide.”
Five minutes later, as they watched and listened, the crowd came straggling back, two by two and in groups, all chattering.
“Poor devil!” said one. The words rose distinctly audible.
“He made very sure,” commented another.
“Fancy blowing 佛山桑拿按摩上门服务 out his brains on the edge of the Quai and burying himself in the river!” exclaimed a third.
“For love, I suppose,” a young man ventured.
“Lost his last mark at the Kursaal tonight probably,” an older man theorised.
317 Grey and Van Tuyl turned into the salon through the open window.
“That is what is called retribution,” said the younger man, “but it is usually longer delayed.”
Van Tuyl’s face asked for enlightenment.
“I could hardly have been mistaken,” Grey answered, with assurance. “I saw the fellow just a moment before. It was Captain Lindenwald, of the Royal Household and Equerry to the late King Frederic of Budavia.”
“Prado was a wonderful fellow,” said Chief Inspector Byrnes, of the New York police, recently, “and for criminal ingenuity and devilishness stands without a peer. I question whether 佛山桑拿莞式服务 cupidity lay at the foundation of his diabolical work, inclining to the belief that some great wrong worked on his mind and embittered him against the wealthier members of the class of women whom he selected as his victims. Certainly the opening chapters of the story would indicate as much. The fact that this recital of Prado’s crimes is made up from notes furnished by the man himself makes it unusually interesting, and the splendidly written and graphically illustrated story will find a place in the scrap-book of every police detective in the country.
“I do not think a career like Prado’s in Paris could be possible in this city. Our police system is so different from that of Paris that we can weave a net about criminals much easier. We do not have to unreel miles of red tape before starting out on a hunt for criminals, but 佛山夜生活luntan are at work with scores of detectives, aided by the entire force, if necessary, before a victim of murder is fairly cold. We seek motives, study the antecedents and acquaintances of the slain, and, following clew after clew, we make it so warm for an assassin that he seeks safety rather than a duplication of crime. Prado, however, was an assassin far above the average of men in intelligence and ingenuity, and gave evidence of having moved in high circles of society, and I should not be surprised if the story will make clear his identity to students of the ‘Almanac de Gotha.’”—New York World.
It was at Madrid, in the month of April, 1880, that I first made the acquaintance of the extraordinary man, who, under the pseudonym of “Prado” met his fate beneath the Paris guillotine. I had just driven back into
town from 佛山桑拿哪里好 witnessing the execution by the “garrote” of the regicide Francisco Otero, and was in the act of stepping from my brougham, when suddenly the crowd assembled on the Puerto del Sol parted as if by magic to give place to a runaway carriage. I had barely time to note the frantic efforts of the coachman to stop the onward course of the frightened horses, when there was a terrible crash, and the victoria was shattered to splinters against one of the heavy posts on the square. The coachman, still clutching hold of the reins, was torn from the box, and dragged some hundred yards farther along the ground, before the horses were stopped and he could be induced to release his hold of the ribbons. To the surprise of all the spectators, he escaped with a few bruises. His master, however—the only other occupant of the
carriage—was less fortunate. 佛山夜生活桑拿论坛 Hurled by the shock with considerable violence to the pavement, almost at my very feet, he remained unconscious for some minutes. When at length he recovered his senses, and attempted to rise with my assistance, it was found that he had broken his ankle, and was unable to stand upright. Placing him in my trap, I drove him to the address which he gave me—a house in the Calle del [Pg 8] Barquillo—and on our arrival there, assisted the door porter and some of the other servants to carry him up stairs to a very handsome suite of apartments on the second floor. On taking my departure, he overwhelmed me with thanks for what he was pleased to call my kindness, and entreated me to do him the favor of calling, handing me at the same time a card bearing the name of Comte Linska de Castillon.
A couple of days later, happening to be 佛山桑拿0757n in the neighborhood of the Calle del Barquillo, I dropped in to see how he was getting on. He received me with the greatest cordiality, and so interesting was his conversation that it was quite dark before I left the house. It turned out that he, too, had been present at the execution of the wretched Otero, and that he was on his way home when his horses became frightened and bolted. After discussing all the horrible details of the death of the regicide, the conversation took the direction of capital punishment in foreign countries—a theme about which he displayed the most wonderful knowledge.
From the graphic manner in which he described the strange tortures and cruel methods of punishment practiced at the courts of the native princes in India and China, it was evident that he was speaking of scenes which he had witnessed, 佛山桑拿夜生活888 and not from mere hearsay. He seemed equally well acquainted with the terrors of lynch law in the frontier territories of the United States, and with the military executions of spies and deserters in warfare. In short, it became clear to me that he was a great traveler, and that he was as well acquainted with America and Asia as he was with the ins and outs of almost every capital in Europe. His French, his Spanish, his German, and his English, were all equally without a trace of foreign accent. His manners were perfect, and displayed unmistakable signs of birth and breeding. Although not above the ordinary stature, he was a man of very compact and muscular build. Dressed [Pg 9] in the most perfect and quiet taste, his appearance, without being foppish, was one of great chic and elegance. No trace of jewelry was to be seen about 佛山桑拿按摩价格 his person. His hands and feet were small and well shaped; his mustache was black, as were also his large and luminous eyes. His hair, slightly gray toward the temples, showed traces of age, or, perhaps, of a hard life. But the most remarkable thing about him was his smile, which seemed to light up his whole face, and which was singularly winning and frank. I confess I took a great fancy to the man, who at the time was exceedingly popular in Madrid society. He was to be seen in many of the most exclusive salons, was present at nearly all the ministerial and diplomatic receptions, and apparently enjoyed universal consideration. Our intimacy continued for about a couple of years, during the course of which I had the opportunity of rendering him one or two more slight services. Toward the end of 1882, I was obliged to leave 佛山夜生活论坛 Madrid rather suddenly, being summoned to Torquay by the dangerous illness of my mother, who is an English woman, and I did not return to Spain until several years later, when I found that Comte Linska de Castillon had meanwhile gone under—in a financial sense—and had disappeared from the surface.
It is unnecessary to describe here the horror and consternation with which I learned that “Prado,” the man charged with numerous robberies and with the murder of the demi-mondaine, Marie Aguetant, was no other than my former friend, Comte Linska de Castillon. Of course, I made a point of attending the trial. I confess, however, that I had some difficulty in recognizing in the rather unprepossessing individual in the prisoner’s dock the once elegant viveur whom I had known at Madrid. His features had become somewhat bloated and coarse,佛山桑拿男人加油站 as if by hard living, his dress was careless and untidy, his hair gray and his eyes heavy. It was only on the rare occasions when he smiled that his [Pg 10] face resumed traces of its former appearance. Day after day I sat in court and listened to the evidence against him. The impression which the latter left on my mind was that, however guilty he undoubtedly had been of other crimes—possibly even of murder—he was, nevertheless, innocent of the death of Marie Aguetant, the charge on which he was executed. The crime was too brutal and too coarse in its method to have been perpetrated by his hand. Moreover, the evidence against him in the matter was not direct, but only circumstantial. Neither the jewelry nor the bonds which he was alleged to have stolen from the murdered woman have ever been discovered. Neither has the weapon with which the deed was committed been found, and the only evidence against him was that of two women, both of loose morals, and both of whom considered themselves to have been betrayed by him. The one, Eugenie Forrestier, a well-known femme galante, saw in the trial a means of advertising her charms, which she has succeeded in doing in a most profitable manner. The other, Mauricette Courouneau, the mother of his child, had fallen in love with a young German and was under promise to marry him as soon as ever the trial was completed, and “Prado’s head had rolled into the basket of Monsieur de Paris.”
Shortly after the sentence had been pronounced upon the man whom I had known as “Comte Linska de Castillon” I visited him in his prison, and subsequently at his request called several times again to see him. He seemed very calm and collected. Death apparently had no terrors for him, and on one occasion he recalled the curious coincidence that our first meeting had been on our way home from the execution of the regicide Otero. The only thing which he seemed to dread was that his aged father—his one and solitary affection in the world—should learn of his disgrace. In answer to my repeated inquiries as to who his father was he invariably put me off with a smile, exclaiming, [Pg 11] “Demain, demain!” (to-morrow). He appeared, however, to be filled with the most intense bitterness against the other members of his family, step-mother, half-brothers and sisters, who, he declared, had been the first cause of his estrangement from his father and of his own ruin.
Although condemned criminals are never informed of the date of their execution until a couple of hours before they are actually led to the scaffold, yet “Prado,” or “Castillon” appeared to have an intuition of the imminence of his death. For two days before it took place, when I was about to take leave, after paying him one of my customary visits, he suddenly exclaimed:
“I may not see you again. It is possible that this may be our last interview. You are the only one of my former friends who has shown me the slightest kindness or sympathy in my trouble. It would be useless to thank you. I am perfectly aware that my whole record must appear repulsive to you, and that your conduct toward me has been prompted by pity more than by any other sentiment. Were you, however, to know my true story you would pity me even more. The statements which I made to M. Guillo, the Judge d’Instruction who examined me, were merely invented on the spur of the moment, for the purpose of showing him that my powers of imagination were, at any rate, as brilliant as his own. No one, not even my lawyer, knows my real name or history. You will find both in this sealed packet. It contains some notes which I have jotted down while in prison, concerning my past career.”
As he said this he placed a bulky parcel in my hand.