150 pages
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150 pages
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Description

The Secret of Sarek (1920) is a novel by Maurice Leblanc. Partly based on the life of French anarchist Marius Jacob, Arsène Lupin first appeared in print in 1905 as an answer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Blending crime fiction, fantasy, and mystery, Leblanc crafts original and entertaining tales of adventure starring one of the greatest literary characters of all time—Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief.


Arsène Lupin is the world’s greatest thief, an unmatched force for good whose exploits threaten the wealth and standing of France’s most wicked men. In this debut installment of Leblanc’s beloved series, Lupin uses his remarkable wit and chameleon-like ability to move undetected through aristocratic society in order to steal, trick, and cheat his way through life. Despite his criminal nature, he operates under a strict moral code, only taking from those who have taken from the poor all their lives. In this installment of Leblanc’s beloved series, a woman learns that her long lost son, who was kidnapped years prior, has been found alive on the island of Sarek. Veronique, who assumed he was dead, had left her husband and her hopes of starting a family behind, dedicating her life to service as a Carmelite nun. Now filled with hope, she abandons her vows to set sail for the island, where she discovers a horrifying truth. The Secret of Sarek is a story of romance, mystery, and crime that continues to astound over a century after it was published.


With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Maurice Leblanc’s The Secret of Sarek is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.


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Publié par
Date de parution 24 mars 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781513295282
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

The Secret of Sarek
Maurice Leblanc
 
The Secret of Sarek was first published in 1919.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513292434 | E-ISBN 9781513295282
Published by Mint Editions ®

minteditionbooks .com
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Translated By: Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
 
C ONTENTS F OREWORD I. T HE D ESERTED C ABIN II. O N THE E DGE OF THE A TLANTIC III. V ORSKI’S S ON IV. T HE P OOR P EOPLE OF S AREK V. “F OUR W OMEN C RUCIFIED” VI. A LL’S W ELL VII. F RANÇOIS AND S TÉPHANE VIII. A NGUISH IX. T HE D EATH- C HAMBER X. T HE E SCAPE XI. T HE S COURGE OF G OD XII. T HE A SCENT OF G OLGOTHA XIII . “ E LOI, E LOI, L AMA S ABACHTHANI!” XIV. T HE A NCIENT D RUID XV. T HE H ALL OF THE U NDERGROUND S ACRIFICES XVI . T HE H ALL OF THE K INGS OF B OHEMIA XVII. “C RUEL P RINCE, O BEYING D ESTINY” XVIII. T HE G OD- S TONE
 
F OREWORD
The war has led to so many upheavals that not many people now remember the Hergemont scandal of seventeen years ago. Let us recall the details in a few lines.
One day in July 1902, M. Antoine d’Hergemont, the author of a series of well-known studies on the megalithic monuments of Brittany, was walking in the Bois with his daughter V é ronique, when he was assaulted by four men, receiving a blow in the face with a walking-stick which felled him to the ground.
After a short struggle and in spite of his desperate efforts, V é ronique, the beautiful V é ronique, as she was called by her friends, was dragged away and bundled into a motor-car which the spectators of this very brief scene saw making off in the direction of Saint-Cloud.
It was a plain case of kidnapping. The truth became known next morning. Count Alexis Vorski, a young Polish nobleman of dubious reputation but of some social prominence and, by his own account, of royal blood, was in love with V é ronique d’Hergemont and V é ronique with him. Repelled and more than once insulted by the father, he had planned the incident entirely without V é ronique’s knowledge or complicity.
Antoine d’Hergemont, who, as certain published letters showed, was a man of violent and morose disposition and who, thanks to his capricious temper, his ferocious egoism and his sordid avarice, had made his daughter exceedingly unhappy, swore openly that he would take the most ruthless revenge.
He gave his consent to the wedding, which took place two months later, at Nice. But in the following year a series of sensational events transpired. Keeping his word and cherishing his hatred, M. d’Hergemont in his turn kidnapped the child born of the Vorski marriage and set sail in a small yacht which he had bought not long before.
The sea was rough. The yacht foundered within sight of the Italian coast. The four sailors who formed the crew were picked up by a fishing-boat. According to their evidence M. d’Hergemont and the child had disappeared amid the waves.
When V é ronique received the proof of their death, she entered a Carmelite convent.
These are the facts which, fourteen years later, were to lead to the most frightful and extraordinary adventure, a perfectly authentic adventure, though certain details, at first sight, assume a more or less fabulous aspect. But the war has complicated existence to such an extent that events which happen outside it, such as those related in the following narrative, borrow something abnormal, illogical and at times miraculous from the greater tragedy. It needs all the dazzling light of truth to restore to those events the character of a reality which, when all is said, is simple enough.
 
I
T HE D ESERTED C ABIN
I nto the picturesque village of Le Faouet, situated in the very heart of Brittany, there drove one morning in the month of May a lady whose spreading grey cloak and the thick veil that covered her face failed to hide her remarkable beauty and perfect grace of figure.
The lady took a hurried lunch at the principal inn. Then, at about half-past eleven, she begged the proprietor to look after her bag for her, asked for a few particulars about the neighbourhood and walked through the village into the open country.
The road almost immediately branched into two, of which one led to Quimper and the other to Quimperl é . Selecting the latter, she went down into the hollow of a valley, climbed up again and saw on her right, at the corner of another road, a sign-post bearing the inscription, “Locriff, 3 kilometers.”
“This is the place,” she said to herself.
Nevertheless, after casting a glance around her, she was surprised not to find what she was looking for and wondered whether she had misunderstood her instructions.
There was no one near her nor any one within sight, as far as the eye could reach over the Breton country-side, with its tree-lined meadows and undulating hills. Not far from the village, rising amid the budding greenery of spring, a small country house lifted its grey front, with the shutters to all the windows closed. At twelve o’clock, the angelus-bells pealed through the air and were followed by complete peace and silence.
V é ronique sat down on the short grass of a bank, took a letter from her pocket and smoothed out the many sheets, one by one.
The first page was headed:
D UTREILLIS ’ A GENCY
“Consulting Rooms.
“Private Enquiries.
“Absolute Discretion Guaranteed.”
Next came an address:
“Madame Véronique,
“Dressmaker,
“B ESANÇON .”
And the letter ran:
M ADAM ,
“You will hardly believe the pleasure which it gave me to fulfill the two commissions which you were good enough to entrust to me in your last favour. I have never forgotten the conditions under which I was able, fourteen years ago, to give you my practical assistance at a time when your life was saddened by painful events. It was I who succeeded in obtaining all the facts relating to the death of your honoured father, M. Antoine d’Hergemont, and of your beloved son Fran ç ois. This was my first triumph in a career which was to afford so many other brilliant victories.
“It was I also, you will remember, who, at your request and seeing how essential it was to save you from your husband’s hatred and, if I may add, his love, took the necessary steps to secure your admission to the Carmelite convent. Lastly, it was I who, when your retreat to the convent had shown you that a life of religion did not agree with your temperament, arranged for you a modest occupation as a dressmaker at Besan ç on, far from the towns where the years of your childhood and the months of your marriage had been spent. You had the inclination and the need to work in order to live and to escape your thoughts. You were bound to succeed; and you succeeded.
“And now let me come to the fact, to the two facts in hand.
“To begin with your first question: what has become, amid the whirlwind of war, of your husband, Alexis Vorski, a Pole by birth, according to his papers, and the son of a king, according to his own statement? I will be brief. After being suspected at the commencement of the war and imprisoned in an internment-camp near Carpentras, Vorski managed to escape, went to Switzerland, returned to France and was re-arrested, accused of spying and convicted of being a German. At the moment when it seemed inevitable that he would be sentenced to death, he escaped for the second time, disappeared in the Forest of Fontainebleau and in the end was stabbed by some person unknown.
“I am telling you the story quite crudely, Madam, well knowing your contempt for this person, who had deceived you abominably, and knowing also that you have learnt most of these facts from the newspapers, though you have not been able to verify their absolute genuineness.
“Well, the proofs exist. I have seen them. There is no doubt left. Alexis Vorski lies buried at Fontainebleau.
“Permit me, in passing, Madam, to remark upon the strangeness of this death. You will remember the curious prophecy about Vorski which you mentioned to me. Vorski, whose undoubted intelligence and exceptional energy were spoilt by an insincere and superstitious mind, readily preyed upon by hallucinations and terrors, had been greatly impressed by the prediction which overhung his life and which he had heard from the lips of several people who specialize in the occult sciences:
“ ‘Vorski, son of a king, you will die by the hand of a friend and your wife will be crucified!’
“I smile, Madam, as I write the last word. Crucified! Crucifixion is a torture which is pretty well out of fashion; and I am easy as regards yourself. But what do you think of the dagger-stroke which Vorski received in accordance with the mysterious orders of destiny?
“But enough of reflections. I now come…”
V é ronique dropped the letter for a moment into her lap. M. Dutreillis’ pretentious phrasing and familiar pleasantries wounded her fastidious reserve. Also she was obsessed by the tragic image of Alexis Vorski. A shiver of anguish passed through her at the hideous memory of that man. She mastered herself, however, and read on:
“I now come to my other commission, Madam, in your eyes the more important of the two, because all the rest belongs to the past.
“Let us state the facts precisely. Three weeks ago, on one of those rare occasions when you consented to break through the praiseworthy monotony of your existence, on a Thursday evening when you took your assistants to a cinema-theatre, you were struck by a really incomprehensible detail. The principal film, entitled ‘A Breton Legend,’ represented a scene which occurred, in the course of a pilgrimage, outside a little deserted road-side hut which had nothing to do with the action. The hut was obviously there by accident. But something really extraordinary attracted your attention. On the tarred boards of the old door were three letters, drawn by hand: ‘V. d’H.,’ and those three letters w

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