Whither thou goest, p.1
Whither Thou Goest, p.1
Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England
Whither Thou GoestBy William Le QueuxPublished by Herbert Jenkins Ltd, 3 York Street, St James's, London.This edition dated 1920.
Whither Thou Goest, by William Le Queux.
________________________________________________________________________WHITHER THOU GOEST, BY WILLIAM LE QUEUX.
WHAT THIS STORY IS ABOUT.
The Earl of Saxham was vastly annoyed when his son, Guy, fell in lovewith a "penniless nobody," and announced that he would marry her againstall opposition. He determined to separate the lovers; to which end hepersuaded an influential friend in the Foreign Office to secure anappointment for Guy in the Embassy at Madrid. He little knew that hewas sending his son into the centre of a hotbed of anarchism, that Guy'sfootsteps were to be dogged by a vindictive and revengeful woman, thathis life was to hold many a thrilling moment and not a few narrowescapes.
Mr Le Queux has written a thrilling story of anarchism and its deadlysecret plotting, a story through which there runs, nevertheless, a richvein of romance.
A hot July evening on the calm Biscayan coast of Spain.
The sun had disappeared like a globe of molten metal into the sapphiresea, and now, in the breathless blood-red afterglow which tinged theunruffled glassy waters away to the Atlantic, the whole populace of thepeaceful old-world town of Fonterrabia had come forth from their housesto breathe again after the intense heat and burden of the blazing day.
Dusty green sun-shutters were being opened everywhere, while upon thegolden beach the clear waters hardly rippled, for the summer tide wasupon the turn. Across the bay lay a cluster of gaily-painted sardineboats in reds and greens, awaiting a breeze, and along the sea-front, sofiercely swept in winter, stood the quaint mediaeval houses, crumblingand sun-blanched, with their wide overhanging roofs and many balconies,palpitating with the heat, now rapidly receding. It had been ascorching day in Spain.
In the stunted tamarisks which sprang, dust-covered and twisted, fromthe yellow, shifting sands the grasshoppers still chirped merrily,though it was sunset, and from the sun-blanched sea-front came of asudden the high, tuneful twanging of a mandoline, and a man's tenorvoice singing that ancient love-song which one hears everywhere in thewine lands of the Guipuzcoa.
_Pase cantivo amor entus prisones_.
From the houses came forth the many mixed odours of the evening _cena_,the appetising smell of rich _ollas_, mostly flavoured with garlic, beit said, while from the shops which sold eatables there emanated thatfaint and peculiar perfume which only those who have lived in hotclimates can know, and can justly appreciate.
Of a sudden the ancient bells of Santa Gadea, the old incense-laden,Gothic church above the town, clanged forth again, as they had done somany times a day through centuries, summoning the good people ofFonterrabia to kneel before the high dark altar, with those long candlesand the wonderful brass chandelier above.
Now as the bells jangled forth an observer might, perhaps, have noticedtwo men meet, as though entirely by accident, close to that obscurelittle cafe "The Concha," which faces the sea.
On the pavement before the little place sat several men in their blue_berets_, drinking wine and gossiping as all Spaniards must do.
The pair who had met were of quite different stamp.
One, who was about forty, of a refined but rather parvenu type, wasdressed in a well-cut suit of thin, dark grey material, and wore a strawhat much ripened by the sun. He was idly smoking a long _valenciano_,and betrayed surprise, though feigned, at the meeting. The other was atypical fisherman in the blue blouse and blue _beret_, the nationalheaddress of all the Basque people. He still wore his heavy sea-boots,in which, however, he walked jauntily, for his age was not more thanthirty, and his dark, handsome countenance was bright, enthusiastic, andwell bronzed.
On meeting, the man in the sun-ripened straw hat, and of much superiorclass, turned quickly and walked beside him.
As he did so a tall Jesuit priest, a man with a swarthy, sinister faceand a long, rather shabby cassock--Father Gonzalo by name--chanced topass.
Carlos Somoza, the fisherman, saluted him reverently, but beneath hisbreath he exclaimed in Spanish:
"May the Holy Madonna curse him for ever!"
"Why?" inquired the man in grey, whose name was Garcia Zorrilta, anative of Toledo, who had come in secret from Madrid in order to meethis fisherman friend.
"Because he may recognise you. There may be a hitch."
"Bah! There will be no hitch. There cannot be. You people here in thecountry are so often faint-hearted. We in the capital are not. Allgoes well, and success must be ours. It is but a simple matter ofwaiting--waiting in patience."
"Yes--but Father Gonzalo is a man whom I do not like."
"Why? He looks really quite harmless. Who is he?"
"Nobody exactly knows," was the fisherman's reply, as they turned up thenarrow Calle Mayor, that old-world street of high, handsome houses,mostly adorned with the crumbling coats-of-arms of the ancientproprietors, and with balconies of wrought iron, and wide, projectingroofs across the narrow footway. "He has been here for about fourmonths, yet he is not attached to Santa Gadea. Sometimes he visits thesick, and all speak well of him. But both Cardona and Cienfuegos agreewith my suspicions that he is a Government agent, and that he is here tofind out all he can."
His companion grunted.
"_Dios_! If that is really so, then we must discover more about him,"he said. "I trust, however, you are wrong, for, as you say, he mightrecognise me again. And that would certainly be most awkward in myposition--as Deputy-Governor of the Province of Navarre."
"Yes, Excellency, that is why I cursed him," replied the intelligentfisherman, with a smile. "At our meeting last Thursday, we discussedwhether Father Gonzalo should not meet with--well, meet with anaccident."
"No, no!" replied the other quickly, raising his voice because at themoment a heavy cart, with its great wood disc wheels, drawn by two whitebulls and laden with wine barrels, rumbled past them slowly over thecobbles. "Not here--that would never do, never! It would upset all ourplans! We must be cautious--_always cautious_. Watch him, and reportto me in the usual way--a letter to the Poste Restante in Madrid. Iwill at once inquire all about this mysterious Father, and the reason hehas come to Fonterrabia. He may, as you suspect, be an agent of theMinistry in disguise."
"We are quite certain that he is."
"If so, he must not remain here," declared the stranger decisively. "Itwould certainly be extremely dangerous for you, and for all yourfriends. The success of our _coup_ depends upon entire secrecy. Yourlittle circle here have ever been loyal and undaunted. There must be nobetrayal, as there was, you recollect, in Barcelona before the war."
"Barcelona is a city, Fonterrabia is only a little town, and hence itshould escape suspicion," was the educated young fisherman's remark."Ours we know to be a just and honest cause, and we all, as sons ofSpain, are each of us prepared willingly to sacrifice our lives ifnecessary."
"Well said, Carlos! Our gallant leader, Ferdinand Contraras, who haslately sacrificed most of his great fortune to secure the salvation ofSpain, is aware of your loyalty," Zorrilta assured him. "A little timeago I was with him at one of our secret sessions at Toledo, and hementioned you, and your friends here--and praised you for yourpatriotism as a true son of Spain."
"But the Englishman! What of him?" asked Carlos, as, strolling slowly,they were approaching the great old church.
"That Englishman? Oh, yes, I know. You have serious and perhapsfoolish apprehensions in that direction," was the reply of theDeputy-Governor of Navarre. "But, Carlos, you can rest assured that weshall have no real trouble from that quarter. He will die--as theothers have done. And he will die very soon!"
"_You are quite certain of that_?" asked the fisherman eagerly.
"Quite. It is all arranged--an accident--a mystery--and nothing more,"laughed the man from Madrid.
"The Englishman is our most serious enemy," declared Carlos, as yet onlyhalf convinced.
"One by one the enemies of our own Spanish people have been swept away.He will very soon follow them--rest assured. _De los enemigos losmenes_--the fewer enemies the better."
"But he may go back to England. We discussed it all here at our secretmeeting last Thursday."
"Well, and suppose he is in England, it does not matter. The avenginghand of our great Contraras--who may _Dios_ protect--will strike himthere,
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