WWW.SA.I-PDF.INFO
FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Abstracts, books, theses
 
<< HOME
CONTACTS



Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |   ...   | 23 |

«Published: 1897 Categorie(s): Fiction, Mystery & Detective Source: About Allen: Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

An African Millionaire

Grant Allen

Published: 1897

Categorie(s): Fiction, Mystery & Detective

Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4715

About Allen:

Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (February 24, 1848 –

October 25, 1899) was a science writer, author and

novelist, and a successful upholder of the theory of

evolution.

Note: This book is brought to you by Feedbooks

http://www.feedbooks.com

Strictly for personal use, do not use this file for commercial purposes.

Chapter

THE EPISODE OF THE

MEXICAN SEER

My name is Seymour Wilbraham Wentworth. I am brotherin-law and secretary to Sir Charles Vandrift, the South African millionaire and famous financier. Many years ago, when Charlie Vandrift was a small lawyer in Cape Town, I had the (qualified) good fortune to marry his sister. Much later, when the Vandrift estate and farm near Kimberley developed by degrees into the Cloetedorp Golcondas, Limited, my brother-in-law offered me the not unremunerative post of secretary; in which capacity I have ever since been his constant and attached companion.

He is not a man whom any common sharper can take in, is Charles Vandrift. Middle height, square build, firm mouth, keen eyes—the very picture of a sharp and successful business genius. I have only known one rogue impose upon Sir Charles, and that one rogue, as the Commissary of Police at Nice remarked, would doubtless have imposed upon a syndicate of Vidocq, Robert Houdin, and Cagliostro.

We had run across to the Riviera for a few weeks in the season. Our object being strictly rest and recreation from the arduous duties of financial combination, we did not think it necessary to take our wives out with us. Indeed, Lady Vandrift is absolutely wedded to the joys of London, and does not appreciate the rural delights of the Mediterranean littoral. But Sir Charles and I, though immersed in affairs when at home, both thoroughly enjoy the complete change from the City to the charming vegetation and pellucid air on the terrace at Monte Carlo.

We are so fond of scenery. That delicious view over the rocks of Monaco, with the Maritime Alps in the rear, and the blue sea in front, not to mention the imposing Casino in the foreground, appeals to me as one of the most beautiful prospects in all Europe. Sir Charles has a sentimental attachment for the place. He finds it restores and freshens him, after the turmoil of London, to win a few hundreds at roulette in the course of an afternoon among the palms and cactuses and pure breezes of Monte Carlo. The country, say I, for a jaded intellect! However, we never on any account actually stop in the Principality itself. Sir Charles thinks Monte Carlo is not a sound address for a financier's letters. He prefers a comfortable hotel on the Promenade des Anglais at Nice, where he recovers health and renovates his nervous system by taking daily excursions along the coast to the Casino.

This particular season we were snugly ensconced at the Hôtel des Anglais. We had capital quarters on the first floor —salon, study, and bedrooms—and found on the spot a most agreeable cosmopolitan society. All Nice, just then, was ringing with talk about a curious impostor, known to his followers as the Great Mexican Seer, and supposed to be gifted with second sight, as well as with endless other supernatural powers. Now, it is a peculiarity of my able brother-in-law's that, when he meets with a quack, he burns to expose him; he is so keen a man of business himself that it gives him, so to speak, a disinterested pleasure to unmask and detect imposture in others. Many ladies at the hotel, some of whom had met and conversed with the Mexican Seer, were constantly telling us strange stories of his doings. He had disclosed to one the present whereabouts of a runaway husband; he had pointed out to another the numbers that would win at roulette next evening;

he had shown a third the image on a screen of the man she had for years adored without his knowledge. Of course, Sir Charles didn't believe a word of it; but his curiosity was roused; he wished to see and judge for himself of the wonderful thought-reader.

"What would be his terms, do you think, for a private séance?" he asked of Madame Picardet, the lady to whom the Seer had successfully predicted the winning numbers.

"He does not work for money," Madame Picardet answered, "but for the good of humanity. I'm sure he would gladly come and exhibit for nothing his miraculous faculties."

"Nonsense!" Sir Charles answered. "The man must live.

I'd pay him five guineas, though, to see him alone. What hotel is he stopping at?" "The Cosmopolitan, I think," the lady answered. "Oh no; I remember now, the Westminster."

Sir Charles turned to me quietly. "Look here, Seymour," he whispered. "Go round to this fellow's place immediately after dinner, and offer him five pounds to give a private séance at once in my rooms, without mentioning who I am to him; keep the name quite quiet. Bring him back with you, too, and come straight upstairs with him, so that there may be no collusion. We'll see just how much the fellow can tell us."

I went as directed. I found the Seer a very remarkable and interesting person. He stood about Sir Charles's own height, but was slimmer and straighter, with an aquiline nose, strangely piercing eyes, very large black pupils, and a finely-chiselled close-shaven face, like the bust of Antinous in our hall in Mayfair. What gave him his most characteristic touch, however, was his odd head of hair, curly and wavy like Paderewski's, standing out in a halo round his high white forehead and his delicate profile. I could see at a glance why he succeeded so well in impressing women; he had the look of a poet, a singer, a prophet.





"I have come round," I said, "to ask whether you will consent to give a séance at once in a friend's rooms; and my principal wishes me to add that he is prepared to pay five pounds as the price of the entertainment."

Señor Antonio Herrera—that was what he called himself —bowed to me with impressive Spanish politeness. His dusky olive cheeks were wrinkled with a smile of gentle contempt as he answered gravely— "I do not sell my gifts; I bestow them freely. If your friend— your anonymous friend—desires to behold the cosmic wonders that are wrought through my hands, I am glad to show them to him. Fortunately, as often happens when it is necessary to convince and confound a sceptic (for that your friend is a sceptic I feel instinctively), I chance to have no engagements at all this evening." He ran his hand through his fine, long hair reflectively. "Y I go," he continued, as if es, addressing some unknown presence that hovered about the ceiling; "I go; come with me!" Then he put on his broad sombrero, with its crimson ribbon, wrapped a cloak round his shoulders, lighted a cigarette, and strode forth by my side towards the Hôtel des Anglais.

He talked little by the way, and that little in curt sentences.

He seemed buried in deep thought; indeed, when we reached the door and I turned in, he walked a step or two farther on, as if not noticing to what place I had brought him.

Then he drew himself up short, and gazed around him for a moment. "Ha, the Anglais," he said—and I may mention in passing that his English, in spite of a slight southern accent, was idiomatic and excellent. "It is here, then; it is here!" He was addressing once more the unseen presence.

I smiled to think that these childish devices were intended to deceive Sir Charles Vandrift. Not quite the sort of man (as the City of London knows) to be taken in by hocus-pocus. And all this, I saw, was the cheapest and most commonplace conjurer's patter.

We went upstairs to our rooms. Charles had gathered together a few friends to watch the performance. The Seer entered, wrapt in thought. He was in evening dress, but a red sash round his waist gave a touch of picturesqueness and a dash of colour. He paused for a moment in the middle of the salon, without letting his eyes rest on anybody or anything. Then he walked straight up to Charles, and held out his dark hand.

"Good-evening," he said. "Y are the host. My soul's ou sight tells me so."

"Good shot," Sir Charles answered. "These fellows have to be quick-witted, you know, Mrs. Mackenzie, or they'd never get on at it."

The Seer gazed about him, and smiled blankly at a person or two whose faces he seemed to recognise from a previous existence. Then Charles began to ask him a few simple questions, not about himself, but about me, just to test him. He answered most of them with surprising

correctness. "His name? His name begins with an S I think:

—Y call him Seymour." He paused long between each ou clause, as if the facts were revealed to him slowly.

"Seymour—Wilbraham—Earl of Strafford. No, not Earl of Strafford! Seymour Wilbraham Wentworth. There seems to be some connection in somebody's mind now present between Wentworth and Strafford. I am not English. I do not know what it means. But they are somehow the same name, Wentworth and Strafford."

He gazed around, apparently for confirmation. A lady came to his rescue.

"Wentworth was the surname of the great Earl of Strafford," she murmured gently; "and I was wondering, as you spoke, whether Mr. Wentworth might possibly be descended from him."

"He is," the Seer replied instantly, with a flash of those dark eyes. And I thought this curious; for though my father always maintained the reality of the relationship, there was one link wanting to complete the pedigree. He could not make sure that the Hon. Thomas Wilbraham Wentworth was the father of Jonathan Wentworth, the Bristol horsedealer, from whom we are descended.

"Where was I born?" Sir Charles interrupted, coming suddenly to his own case.

The Seer clapped his two hands to his forehead and held it between them, as if to prevent it from bursting. "Africa," he said slowly, as the facts narrowed down, so to speak.

"South Africa; Cape of Good Hope; Jansenville; De Witt Street. 1840."

"By Jove, he's correct," Sir Charles muttered. "He seems really to do it. Still, he may have found me out. He may have known where he was coming."

"I never gave a hint," I answered; "till he reached the door, he didn't even know to what hotel I was piloting him."

The Seer stroked his chin softly. His eye appeared to me to have a furtive gleam in it. "Would you like me to tell you the number of a bank-note inclosed in an envelope?" he asked casually.

"Go out of the room," Sir Charles said, "while I pass it round the company."

Señor Herrera disappeared. Sir Charles passed it round cautiously, holding it all the time in his own hand, but letting his guests see the number. Then he placed it in an envelope and gummed it down firmly.

The Seer returned. His keen eyes swept the company with a comprehensive glance. He shook his shaggy mane.

Then he took the envelope in his hands and gazed at it fixedly. "AF, 73549," he answered, in a slow tone. "A Bank of England note for fifty pounds—exchanged at the Casino for gold won yesterday at Monte Carlo."

"I see how he did that," Sir Charles said triumphantly.

"He must have changed it there himself; and then I changed it back again. In point of fact, I remember seeing a fellow with long hair loafing about. Still, it's capital conjuring."

"He can see through matter," one of the ladies interposed. It was Madame Picardet. "He can see through a box." She drew a little gold vinaigrette, such as our grandmothers used, from her dress-pocket. "What is in this?" she inquired, holding it up to him.

Señor Herrera gazed through it. "Three gold coins," he replied, knitting his brows with the effort of seeing into the box: "one, an American five dollars; one, a French ten-franc piece; one, twenty marks, German, of the old Emperor William."

She opened the box and passed it round. Sir Charles smiled a quiet smile.

"Confederacy!" he muttered, half to himself.

"Confederacy!" The Seer turned to him with a sullen air. "Y want a ou better sign?" he said, in a very impressive voice. "A sign that will convince you! Very well: you have a letter in your left waistcoat pocket—a crumpled-up letter. Do you wish me to read it out? I will, if you desire it."

It may seem to those who know Sir Charles incredible, but, I am bound to admit, my brother-in-law coloured. What that letter contained I cannot say; he only answered, very testily and evasively, "No, thank you; I won't trouble you. The exhibition you have already given us of your skill in this kind more than amply suffices." And his fingers strayed nervously to his waistcoat pocket, as if he was half afraid, even then, Señor Herrera would read it.

I fancied, too, he glanced somewhat anxiously towards Madame Picardet.

The Seer bowed courteously. "Your will, señor, is law," he said. "I make it a principle, though I can see through all things, invariably to respect the secrecies and sanctities. If it were not so, I might dissolve society. For which of us is there who could bear the whole truth being told about him?" He gazed around the room. An unpleasant thrill supervened. Most of us felt this uncanny Spanish American knew really too much. And some of us were engaged in financial operations.

"For example," the Seer continued blandly, "I happened a few weeks ago to travel down here from Paris by train with a very intelligent man, a company promoter. He had in

his bag some documents—some confidential documents:"

he glanced at Sir Charles. "Y know the kind of thing, my ou dear sir: reports from experts—from mining engineers. Y ou may have seen some such; markedstrictly private."

"They form an element in high finance," Sir Charles admitted coldly.

"Pre-cisely," the Seer murmured, his accent for a moment less Spanish than before. "And, as they were marked strictly private, I respect, of course, the seal of confidence. That's all I wish to say. I hold it a duty, being intrusted with such powers, not to use them in a manner which may annoy or incommode my fellow-creatures."

"Y feeling does you honour," Sir Charles answered, our

with some acerbity. Then he whispered in my ear:

"Confounded clever scoundrel, Sey; rather wish we hadn't brought him here."

Señor Herrera seemed intuitively to divine this wish, for he interposed, in a lighter and gayer tone— "I will now show you a different and more interesting embodiment of occult power, for which we shall need a somewhat subdued arrangement of surrounding lights.

Would you mind, señor host—for I have purposely abstained from reading your name on the brain of any one present—would you mind my turning down this lamp just a little? … So! That will do. Now, this one; and this one.

Exactly! that's right." He poured a few grains of powder out of a packet into a saucer. "Next, a match, if you please.

Thank you!" It burnt with a strange green light. He drew from his pocket a card, and produced a little ink-bottle. "Have you a pen?" he asked.

I instantly brought one. He handed it to Sir Charles.

"Oblige me," he said, "by writing your name there." And he indicated a place in the centre of the card, which had an embossed edge, with a small middle square of a different colour.

Sir Charles has a natural disinclination to signing his name without knowing why. "What do you want with it?" he asked. (A millionaire's signature has so many uses.) "I want you to put the card in an envelope," the Seer replied, "and then to burn it. After that, I shall show you your own name written in letters of blood on my arm, in your own handwriting."

Sir Charles took the pen. If the signature was to be burned as soon as finished, he didn't mind giving it. He wrote his name in his usual firm clear style—the writing of a man who knows his worth and is not afraid of drawing a cheque for five thousand.

"Look at it long," the Seer said, from the other side of the room. He had not watched him write it.

Sir Charles stared at it fixedly. The Seer was really beginning to produce an impression.

"Now, put it in that envelope," the Seer exclaimed.

Sir Charles, like a lamb, placed it as directed.



Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |   ...   | 23 |


Similar works:

«Serving the Dealers of the Vehicle Sales Industry ge See Pa BHPH Updates IN THIS April Expedited Title Reminder 2015 Thoughts From Monty King ISSUE Points to Ponder – Good Questions! Published by the Oregon Vehicle Dealer and Oregon Power Sports Associations. PO Box 4290, Salem, OR 97302 503-399-9199, Fax: 503-763-1233 Articles are not legal advice. If you want legal advice, contact an attorney. Calendar of Events and Education All classes start promptly at 8:30 AM and end at 4:30 PM....»

«DOCUMENT RESUME ED 320 561 IR 014 477 AUTHOR Hoelscher, Karen J. TITLE Bridging the Classroom and the Real World: A Videodisc Implementation Study at Harvard Law School. PUB DATE Apr 90 NOTE 51p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research A3sociation (Boston, MA, April 16-20, 1990). Tables (p.44-51) contain small blurred type. PUB TYPE Reports Research/Technical (143) -Speeches /Conference Papers (150) EDRS PRICE MFO1 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS....»

«IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS No. 102,835 STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee, v. RASHAWN T. ANDERSON, Appellant. SYLLABUS BY THE COURT 1. Appellate courts review a district court's decision in a presentence motion to withdraw a plea for abuse of discretion. But the district court's decision must be based upon a correct understanding of the law to receive the full measure of the abuse of discretion standard. A defendant must establish good cause for a plea withdrawal before sentencing. 2....»

«NELLCO NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository New York University Public Law and Legal Theory New York University School of Law Working Papers 8-1-2012 UNDERCOVER POLICING, OVERSTATED CULPABILITY Eda Katharine Tinto NYU School of Law, tintoe@exchange.law.nyu.edu Follow this and additional works at: http://lsr.nellco.org/nyu_plltwp Part of the Criminal Law Commons, and the Criminal Procedure Commons Recommended Citation Tinto, Eda Katharine, UNDERCOVER POLICING, OVERSTATED CULPABILITY (2012). New...»

«LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA ONE HUNDRED EIGHTIETH REPORT ON ARTICLE 20(3) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA AND THE RIGHT TO SILENCE MAY 2002 May 9, 2002 No:6(3) (76) /2002 –LC (LS) Dear Shri Arun Jaitley ji, I am sending herewith the 180th report on “Article 20 (3) of the Constitution of India and the right to Silence” of a person accused. 2. The Law Commission had taken up the above said subject, suo motu, in view of some developments in U.K. and other countries diluting the right to silence of...»

«From Delegatus to the Duty to Make Law John Mark Keyes* Avec l'61argissement du champ de la r6gleAs the scope of government regulation has mentation gouvernementale, les 16gislatures increased, legislatures have found it conveont jug6 qu'il 6tait n6cessaire et plus appronient and necessary to delegate the task of pri6 de d616guer la tfiche de fixer les d6tails legislating the details of regulatory schemes des projets de r6glementation A des organes to administrative bodies, which in turn have...»

«IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 16-1243 Filed October 26, 2016 IN THE INTEREST OF N.L., J.L., V.L., and A.L., Minor Children, J.L., Father, Appellant, D.L., Intervenor, Appellant. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Cox, District Associate Judge. A father appeals from the termination of his parental rights to his four children, and an uncle/intervenor appeals from the custody determination of the juvenile court regarding two of the children. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS....»

«Cambridge Law Journal, 63(2), July 2004, pp. 384–411 Printed in Great Britain IMPLICATION IN FACT AS AN INSTANCE OF CONTRACTUAL INTERPRETATION ADAM KRAMER* THIS article proposes an account of the legal doctrine of implication of terms in fact. The first proposition presented herein is that implication in fact is an example of the more general process of interpretation of contractual documents. This proposition has been accepted by some1 and discussed by a few.2 I am happy to add my voice to...»

«65371 Public Disclosure Authorized The World Bank Legal Review Volume 3 Edited by Public Disclosure Authorized Hassane Cissé Daniel D. Bradlow Benedict Kingsbury International Financial Public Disclosure Authorized Institutions and Global Legal Governance blic Disclosure Authorized The World Bank Legal Review Volume 3 The World Bank Legal Review Volume 3 International Financial Institutions and Global Legal Governance The World Bank Legal Review is a publication for policy makers and their...»

«United States Government Accountability Office GAO Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate PRIVACY For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 31, 2012 Federal Law Should Be Updated to Address Changing Technology Landscape Statement of Gregory C. Wilshusen, Director Information Security Issues GAO-12-961T July 31, 2012...»

«VK 200 Tablet Hardness Tester Operator’s Manual P/N 70-9015 November 2010 Revision H Limitation of Liability The information in this document is subject to change without notice. Varian, Inc. makes no warranty of any kind with regard to this material, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties or merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Varian, Inc. shall not be liable for errors contained herein or for incidental consequential damages in connection with the...»

«The Black Male Dancer Physique: An Object of White Desirability by Lawrence M. Jackson, M.F.A. (ljacks23@uwyo.edu) Theatre and Dance, University of Wyoming Abstract: The black male’s physique streamed into Western consciousness as a desirable, yet dangerous exotic being. These perceptions eventually contributed to the objectification and exploitation of black male dancing bodies. This discourse will illustrate how the black body, from past to present, continues to be viewed by the white gaze...»





 
<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2017 www.sa.i-pdf.info - Abstracts, books, theses

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.