A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
(This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)






THE BOOK OF ALL-POWER

BY

EDGAR WALLACE

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED
LONDON AND MELBOURNE


_Made and printed in Great Britain by_
WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED, LONDON.


POPULAR NOVELS

BY

EDGAR WALLACE

PUBLISHED BY

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED.

_In Various Editions._

SANDERS OF THE RIVER
BONES
BOSAMBO OF THE RIVER
BONES IN LONDON
THE KEEPERS OF THE KING'S PEACE
THE COUNCIL OF JUSTICE
THE DUKE IN THE SUBURBS
THE PEOPLE OF THE RIVER
DOWN UNDER DONOVAN
PRIVATE SELBY
THE ADMIRABLE CARFEW
THE MAN WHO BOUGHT LONDON
THE JUST MEN OF CORDOVA
THE SECRET HOUSE
KATE, PLUS TEN
LIEUTENANT BONES
THE ADVENTURES OF HEINE
JACK O' JUDGMENT
THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
THE NINE BEARS
THE BOOK OF ALL POWER
MR. JUSTICE MAXELL
THE BOOKS OF BART
THE DARK EYES OF LONDON
CHICK
SANDI, THE KING-MAKER
THE THREE OAK MYSTERY
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG
BLUE HAND
GREY TIMOTHY
A DEBT DISCHARGED
THOSE FOLK OF BULBORO'
THE MAN WHO WAS NOBODY
THE GREEN RUST
THE FOURTH PLAGUE
THE RIVER OF STARS


To
HARRY HUGHES-ONSLOW




THE BOOK OF ALL-POWER





CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I INTRODUCING MALCOLM HAY 9
II A GUN-MAN REFUSES WORK 24
III THE GRAND DUCHESS IRENE 38
IV THE PRINCE WHO PLANNED 56
V THE RAID ON THE SILVER LION 67
VI PRINCE SERGANOFF PAYS THE PRICE 80
VII KENSKY OF KIEFF 96
VIII THE GRAND DUKE IS AFFABLE 112
IX THE HAND AT THE WINDOW 126
X TERROR IN MAKING 139
XI THE COMMISSARY WITH THE CROOKED NOSE 152
XII IN THE PRISON OF ST. BASIL 163
XIII CHERRY BIM MAKES A STATEMENT 176
XIV IN THE HOLY VILLAGE 191
XV THE RED BRIDE 198
XVI THE BOOK OF ALL-POWER 210
XVII ON THE ROAD 221
XVIII THE MONASTERY OF ST. BASIL THE LEPER 233
XIX THE END OF BOOLBA 244
CHAPTER THE LAST 253




THE BOOK OF ALL-POWER




CHAPTER I

INTRODUCING MALCOLM HAY


If a man is not eager for adventure at the age of twenty-two, the
enticement of romantic possibilities will never come to him.

The chairman of the Ukraine Oil Company looked with a little amusement
at the young man who sat on the edge of a chair by the chairman's desk,
and noted how the eye of the youth had kindled at every fresh
discouragement which the chairman had put forward. Enthusiasm, reflected
the elder man, was one of the qualities which were most desirable in the
man who was to accept the position which Malcolm Hay was at that moment
considering.

"Russia is a strange country," said Mr. Tremayne. "It is one of the
mystery places of the world. You hear fellows coming back from China who
tell you amazing stories of the idiosyncrasies of the Chink. But I can
tell you, from my own personal observations, that the Chinaman is an
open book in words of one syllable compared with the average Russian
peasant. By the way, you speak Russian, I understand?"

Hay nodded.

"Oh, yes, sir," he said, "I have been talking Russian ever since I was
sixteen, and I speak both the dialects."

"Good!" nodded Mr. Tremayne. "Now, all that remains for you to do is to
think both dialects. I was in Southern Russia attending to our wells for
twenty years. In fact, long before our wells came into being, and I can
honestly say that, though I am not by any means an unintelligent man, I
know just as little about the Russian to-day as I did when I went there.
He's the most elusive creature. You think you know him two days after
you have met him. Two days later you find that you have changed all your
opinions about him; and by the end of the first year, if you have kept a
careful note of your observations and impressions in a diary, you will
discover that you have three hundred and sixty-five different
views--unless it happens to be a leap year."

"What happens in a leap year?" asked the innocent Hay.

"You have three hundred and sixty-six views," said the solemn Mr.
Tremayne.

He struck a bell.

"We shan't want you to leave London for a week or two," he said, "and in
the meantime you had better study up our own special literature. We can
give you particulars about the country--that part of the country in
which the wells are situated--which you will not find in the guidebooks.
There are also a few notable personages whom it will be advisable for
you to study."

"I know most of them," said the youth with easy confidence. "As a matter
of fact, I got the British Consul to send me a local directory and
swotted it."

Mr. Tremayne concealed a smile.

"And what did the local directory say about Israel Kensky?" he asked
innocently.

"Israel Kensky?" said the puzzled youth. "I don't remember that name."

"It is the only name worth remembering," said the other dryly, "and, by
the way, you'll be able to study him in a strange environment, for he is
in London at this moment."

A clerk had answered the bell and stood waiting in the doorway.

"Get Mr. Hay those books and pamphlets I spoke to you about," said
Tremayne. "And, by the way, when did M. Kensky arrive?"

"To-day," said the clerk.

Tremayne nodded.

"In fact," he said, "London this week will be filled with people whose
names are not in your precious directory, and all of whom you should
know. The Yaroslavs are paying a sort of state visit."

"The Yaroslavs?" repeated Hay. "Oh, of course----"

"The Grand Duke and his daughter," added Mr. Tremayne.

"Well," smiled the young man, "I'm not likely to meet the Grand Duke or
the Grand Duchess. I understand the royal family of Russia is a little
exclusive."

"Everything is likely in Russia," said the optimistic Mr. Tremayne. "If
you come back in a few years' time and tell me that you've been
appointed an admiral in the Russian Navy, or that you've married the
Grand Duchess Irene Yaroslav, I shall not for one moment disbelieve you.
At the same time, if you come back from Russia without your ears, the
same having been cut off by your peasant neighbours to propitiate the
ghost of a martyr who died six hundred years ago, I shall not be
surprised either. That is the country you're going to--and I envy you."

"I'm a little surprised at myself," admitted Malcolm, "it seems almost
incredible. Of course, sir, I have a lot to learn and I'm not placing
too much reliance upon my degree."

"Your science degree?" said Tremayne. "It may be useful, but a divinity
degree would have been better."

"A divinity degree?"

Tremayne nodded.

"It is religion you want in Russia, and especially local religion.
You'll have to do a mighty lot of adapting when you're out there, Hay,
and I don't think you could do better than get acquainted with the local
saints. You'll find that the birth or death of four or five of them are
celebrated every week, and that your workmen will take a day's holiday
for each commemoration. If you're not pretty smart, they'll whip in a
few saints who have no existence, and you'll get no work done at
all--that will do."

He ended the interview with a jerk of his head, and as the young man got
to his feet to go, added: "Come back again to-morrow. I think you ought
to see Kensky."

"Who is he?" asked Hay courteously. "A local magnate?"

"In a sense he is and in a sense he's not," said the careful Mr.
Tremayne. "He's a big man locally, and from a business point of view, I
suppose he is a magnate. However, you'll be able to judge for yourself."

Malcolm Hay went out into the teeming streets of London, walking on air.
It was his first appointment--he was earning money, and it seemed
rather like a high-class dream.

In Maida Vale there are many little side streets, composed of shabby
houses covered with discoloured stucco, made all the more desolate and
gloomy in appearance by the long and narrow strip of "garden" which runs
out to the street. In one of these, devoted to the business of a
boarding-house, an old man sat at a portable bench, under the one
electric light which the economical landlady had allowed him. The room
was furnished in a typically boarding-house style.

But both the worker at the bench, and the woman who sat by the table,
her chin on her palms, watching him, seemed unaffected by the poverty of
their surroundings. The man was thin and bent of back. As he crouched
over the bench, working with the fine tools on what was evidently
intended to be the leather cover of a book, his face lay in the shadow,
and only the end of his straggling white beard betrayed his age.

Presently he looked up at the woman and revealed himself as a hawk-nosed
man of sixty. His face was emaciated and seamed, and his dark eyes shone
brightly. His companion was a woman of twenty-four, obviously of the
Jewish type, as was the old man; what good looks she possessed were
marred by the sneer on her lips.

"If these English people see you at work," she said presently, "they
will think you are some poor man, little father."

Israel Kensky did not stop his work.

"What book are you binding?" she asked after awhile. "Is it the Talmud
which Levi Leviski gave you?"

The old man did not answer, and a dark frown gathered on the woman's
heavy face. You might not guess that they were father and daughter, yet
such was the case. But between Sophia Kensky and her father there was
neither communion of spirit nor friendship. It was amazing that she
should accompany him, as she did, wherever he went, or that he should be
content to have her as his companion. The gossips of Kieff had it that
neither would trust the other out of sight; and it may be that there was
something in this, though a stronger motive might be suspected in so far
as Sophia's actions were concerned.

Presently the old man put down his tools, blinked, and pushed back his
chair.

"It is a design for a great book," he said, and chuckled hoarsely.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.