Peter Ruff and the Double Four HTML version

II.11. The Thirteenth Encounter
The Marquis de Sogrange arrived in Berkeley Square with the gray dawn of an
October morning, showing in his appearance and dress few enough signs of his
night journey. Yet he had traveled without stopping from Paris, by fast motor car
and the mail boat.
"They telephoned me from Charing Cross," Peter said, "that you could not
possibly arrive until midday. The clerk assured me that no train had yet reached
"They had reason in what they told you," Sogrange remarked, as he leaned back
in a chair and sipped the coffee which had been waiting for him in the Baron de
Grost's study. "The train itself never got more than a mile away from the Gare du
Nord. The engine-driver was shot through the head and the metals were torn
from the way. Paris is within a year now of a second and more terrible
"You really believe this?" Peter asked, gravely.
"It is a certainty," Sogrange replied. "Not I alone but many others can see this
clearly. Everywhere the Socialists have wormed themselves into places of trust.
They are to be met with in every rank of life, under every form of disguise. The
post-office strike has already shown us what deplorable disasters even a
skirmish can bring about. To-day the railway strike has paralyzed France. To-day
our country lies absolutely at the mercy of any invader. As it happens, none is,
for the moment, prepared. Who can tell how it may be next time?"
"This is had news," Peter declared. "If this is really the position of affairs, the
matter is much more serious than the newspapers would have us believe."