Our Lightning Serial.
AUTHOR OF “THE BLOOD THAT DRIPPED ON THE DOORMAT,”
“THE SCREAM IN
BELGRAVE SQUARE,” “THE VAMPIRE OF BODGER’S ALLEY.”
Synopsis of Previous Chapters.—The Hon.
Lord Berkeley Budd, a hero, is violently in love with Her Grace the Lady
Marjorie Stagg-Mantle. But her proud nature proves an obstacle to the course
of Budd’s passionate love for her. She hears him being refused by the girl in
the cigarette kiosk in the Tivoli,Jardin de Tivoli, Paris, a garden and park made to resemble the gardens
of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy.
and decides to spurn his advances. Another reason is that Sir Charles Claridge, on whom Marie Spaghetti has a secret hold, has been bribed by Senior Subaltern Lockhart to tell her that Budd takes drugs. Lockhart meanwhile has stolen the documents which alone can prove that Lady Marjorie has not murdered a mysterious Turk, called Abdullah, at Shepheard’s HotelShepheard’s Hotel was the leading hotel in Cairo and one of the most celebrated hotels in the world between the middle of the 19th century and 1952. It was famed for its grandeur and opulence.
in the year 1909. Moreover, she is deeply in debt to the Countessa Marie Spaghetti, who cheats at bridge on the top of a StreathamStreatham is in the London Borough of Lambeth 5.5 miles (8.8 km) south of Charing Cross. Development accelerated after the opening of Streatham Hill railway station in 1856.
electric tram. Marjorie, therefore, arrives at Monte Carlo with the object of winning money at the tables.
Europe’s Plague Depot.
Stifling rose the perfumed scent of a
thousand electric lights. Softly came the roar of a moving mass of
cosmopolitan bon viveurs as they passed and repassed on the brilliantly
coloured squares of Catesby’s Linoleum.Catesby’s Linoleum was a popular carpet and linoleum store
located at 64–67 Tottenham Court Road.
In the eyes of all burned the fever of gaming, but in Marjorie’s eyes it burnt with a horrible blaze. She had sold her jewels that afternoon, and she clutched her eighteenpence in silver and fourpence halfpenny in copper coin tightly in her tiny blue-veined hand. “Yes,” she murmured to herself, “I will risk everything tonight,” and she adroitly squeezed her way to the roulette board. As she did so, four figures watched her intently. One was Lord Baldwin, who had disguised himself as a croupier. Another was Claridge impersonating Mr. Santos Dumont. Santos Dumont: (1873–1932) was an early pioneer of aviation and designed, built, and flew the first practical dirigible balloons. This “conquest of the air,” in particular winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on October 19, 1901, on a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower, made him one of the most famous people in the world during the early 20th century.
The third, a life-like picture of Connie Ediss, Connie Ediss: Comic actress who in 1901 scored a huge hit at the Gaiety Theater in The Toreador by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton.
was Marie Spaghetti, and the last, in the sinister person of Luke Lockhart, was posing as Keir Hardie. Keir Hardie: James Keir Hardie (1856–1915) Scottish socialist and labor leader; in the 1892 General Election he became the country’s first socialist M.P. The tradition at that time was for MPs to wear top hats and long black coats, and Hardie created a sensation by entering Parliament wearing a cloth cap and tweed suit. In Parliament he advocated a graduated income tax, free schooling, pensions, the abolition of the House of Lords, and the women’s right to vote.
Unknown to themselves or to Marjorie, the quartette gazed upon the livid face of the doomed heroine. One sixpence after another were raked up by Budd’s rake as the “little horses” sped their course. Now only tuppence remained. She was distraught and desperate. Budd cut the cards again. “A last throw,” she exclaimed, and banged the coppers on the table. A gasp went up from the bystanders. The dice rattles:
“Double sixes,” roared Budd, and pinched the coin.
She staggered to the gardens. Once again she was unaware of the four figures creeping stealthily after her. One hand fluttered to her heated brow, the other loaded and poised a revolver jewelled in every hole. But what was this? Why this darkness? She paused, and then with a bitter laugh realised that it was the dense black fog, the miasma of the lake. She raised the pistol. She pressed the trigger. “Missed!” she cried. A scream of pain rent the murky air. Four times she pulled the trigger; four times she missed, and four times came that awful scream. “Why did I not buy a six-chambered shooter?”* she asked vainly.
“Four is enough for us,” was answered in chorus, close behind her, and Budd, Claridge, Lockhart, and Marie dragged themselves to the hospital. There was no concealment now.
“And I—I am alone,” moaned Marjorie. “Alone in the wide, wide world.”
“You are not,” hissed a voice in her shell-like ear. It was Abdullah, the Turk.
(To be continued.)
* False economy rarely pays in the long run.—Ed.
Author: Don’t keep moralizing like this. It puts me off.
You can get rid of this number by handing it to a friend.