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Prodigals of Monte Carlo by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Prodigals of Monte Carlo by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Author:E. Phillips Oppenheim
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Jovian Press


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CHAPTER XVIII

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FRANÇOIS, HARGRAVE’S FRENCH VALET, WAS a little earlier than usual when he presented himself in his master’s bedroom on the following morning. Hargrave looked at him reproachfully.

“What is it?” he enquired.

“I thought that Monsieur would like to know,” the man replied, “that Mademoiselle has left.”

“What?” Hargrave exclaimed, suddenly awake.

“Mademoiselle packed her own bag early this morning and descended, without giving notice to anybody. She requested one of the underservants who was at work in the hall to fetch her a voiture. She left, one must believe, to catch the morning train to Paris.”

“What time is it now?” Hargrave demanded, springing out of bed.

“Half-past nine, Monsieur. The train leaves at nine-forty from the gare.”

“Some clothes as quick as you can,” was the prompt command. “Never mind about the bath. Call down for some one to bring the Rolls-Royce round.”

A quarter of an hour later Hargrave drew up outside the station in the hope that the train might have been late. He found, however, that it had left, punctual almost to the minute, and the station was empty. He took his place once more at the wheel, drove as fast as he dared down the Rue Grimaldi and turned into the main road. At Eze a cloud of black smoke lent him temporary hope. As he drew near the station, however, the train passed out. He kept behind until it had disappeared from view, then shot by. He was on the platform when it entered the station at Beaulieu, and after a frantic search of a moment or two threw open the door of a second-class carriage.

“Come!” he commanded, holding out his hand.

Violet was wedged in between a stout commis voyageur and a woman with her basket on the way to Nice market. She looked at him for a moment piteously, then with a gleam of insurgent hope in her tired eyes. At his reiterated injunction she rose with passive obedience. The whistle had already sounded. He lifted her on to the platform. The commis voyaguer, with a good-humoured grunt, tugged her bag from the rack and threw it after them. They stood there watching the train crawl out.

“Thank God I’ve found you!” he exclaimed, with a breath of relief.

She was very pale, but a little smile parted her lips at his words.

“You really mean that?” she asked eagerly. “I thought you’d be so glad to get rid of me.”

“You poor dear!” he replied, taking her by the arm and summoning a porter for her bag. “I was never so glad to see any one in my life. I should have followed you all the way to Paris. Come along and I’ll put you in the car.”

She gave a little sigh—this time of happiness.

“I didn’t dream of your coming to fetch me back,” she confessed weakly, “but I’m very glad you did.”

She sank into the luxuriously cushioned seat by his side with a murmur of content. There was in her face a great weariness, and he changed his first design of returning at once to the villa.



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