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А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я


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CHAPTER XV JUST OFF THE STRAND

A week had gone by. The Nord Express had brought me posthaste across Europe from Petersburg to Calais, and I was again in London. I had left Elma in the care of the Princess Zurloff, whom I knew would conceal her from the horde of police-agents now in search of her.

The mystery had so increased until now it had become absolutely bewildering. The more I had tried to probe it, the more inexplicable had I found it. My brain was awhirl as I sat in the wagon-lit rushing across those wide, never-ending plains that lie between the Russian capital and Berlin and the green valleys between the Rhine-lands and the sea. The maze of mystery rendered me utterly incapable of grasping one solid tangible fact, so closely interwoven was each incident of the strange life-drama in which, through mere chance, I was now playing a leading part. I was aware of one fact only, that I loved Elma with all my soul, even though I knew not whom she really was-or her strange life story. Her sweet face, with those soft, brown eyes, so tender and intense, stood out ever before me, sleeping or waking. Each moment as the express rushed south increased the distance between us, yet was I not on my way back to England with a clear and distinct purpose? I snatched at any clue, however small, with desperate eagerness, as a drowning man clutches at a straw.

The spy from Abo had seen me on the railway platform on my departure from Petersburg. He had overheard me buy a ticket for London, and previous to stepping into the train I had smiled at him in glad triumph. My journey was too long a one for him to follow, and I knew that I had at last outwitted him. He had expected to see Elma with me, no doubt, and his disappointment was plainly marked. But of Woodroffe I had neither seen nor heard anything.



CHAPTER XIV HER HIGHNESS IS INQUISITIVE | The Czar's Spy | * * * * *