The eyes that looked up at him from dark, cavernous depths in a face pale as chalk had in them an appeal that touched a chord of his sympathy, and for the moment he forgot the injuries he had suffered and remembered only the services he had experienced at those hands, which lay limp297 and waxen-yellow against the spotless white of the coverlet.
The small room was somewhat crowded. Chancellor von Ritter was there with a notary and a stenographer; near the window stood a
soldier, whose very presence seemed an irony, which he appeared to recognise in retiring as far as the limits of the tiny chamber would permit; and there, too, of course, was the inevitable nun-like nurse in significantly immaculate muslin and the great flaring headdress of her sisterhood.
“He seems a little stronger at the moment,” whispered the Chancellor; “you came at an opportune time. He has been asking for you all the afternoon.”
The nurse was moistening the sufferer’s lips. When she finished, Grey spoke to him.
“I am sorry to see you here, Lutz,” he said, simply.
His breathing, he noticed, was very short and laboured.
“I’m obliged to you for coming, sir,” he replied, and his voice was stronger than one would have expected. “I’ve got a lot to tell you; but it’s298 so late now I don’t know whether I’ll be able.” He paused between his sentences in an effort to husband his waning strength. “I was a good enough fellow once, Mr. Grey, wasn’t I?”
“Yes,” he agreed, with sincerity, “you were all right, Lutz.”
“I never really meant you any harm, sir,” he went on. “It seemed to me that it would be a good thing for 长沙桑拿论坛 you.”
The Chancellor motioned to the stenographer, who drew his chair closer to the bedside and took a note-book and pencil from his pocket.
“Afterwards,” Lutz continued, “after Dr. Schlippenbach died and I knew we couldn’t keep you under the spell any more, I got frightened; and then I drank a good deal, and I—yes, I was crazy at times. Absinthe, Mr. Grey. I wasn’t used to it, and it turned my head. I thought to save myself I must get rid of you. I tried to smother you with gas that night last week in Paris. Captain Lindenwald knew of it. He was afraid of you, too. He said suspicion would fall on Baron von Einhard; that we would never be299 suspected. And when I failed he went to Baron von Einhard and—how much he got I don’t know; but the Baron paid him to go away and leave you, agreeing that he would put you where you would 长沙桑拿休闲论坛 never be heard of again. Then we came here, with a story about your being mad and being locked up in a Paris sanitarium. It was the only thing we could do. If the plan had worked we should have been in trouble for a while, maybe, but when Prince Hugo came to the throne we should have been rewarded. I sold the Baron the strong-box with all those manufactured proofs of your right to the crown; and I told him you had the Prince of Kronfeld ring. I’m sorry, sir, I’m sorry. But I’m a coward, and I was in terror and more than half insane with that green stuff.”
“Yes, yes, I know,” Grey interjected. “But tell me, Lutz, how this whole thing started, back in New York. Tell me about Schlippenbach and how you and he managed it together.”
The nurse, from her place by the pillow, leaned over and wiped her patient’s brow. Then she moistened 长沙桑拿按摩论坛社区 his lips again, and his deep-sunken eyes looked his appreciation. For some minutes he300 was silent, endeavouring apparently by an effort of will to gather fresh energy; and to Grey’s mind recurred the picture of that darkened room in Paris, just six days ago, with the dying Herr Schlippenbach struggling to make himself understood.
“He was more devil than man,” Lutz resumed. “He was always working with strange drugs and experimenting with batteries on cats and dogs, and children, too. One day he asked me a great many questions about you, Mr. Grey, and then he asked me if I’d like to be rich—very rich, he said. ‘Everyone wants to be rich,’ I answered. ‘If you’ll do just as I tell you,’ he said, ‘you’ll have more money than you ever dreamed of.’ He told me he wanted me to put just one tiny pellet in your coffee each morning. 长沙桑拿场子推荐 It would not harm you, he said, but you would doze off for just ten minutes after you had taken it, and you would never know you had been dozing. ‘And while he is asleep,’ he said, ‘you can tell him to do anything you wish at any time in that day and he will do it. Tell him, for instance,’ he advised me, ‘to
double your wages when he returns from his office in the evening,301 and he will do it.’ I laughed at the idea and had no faith in it; but I consented to try it. And it worked. You did double my wages, Mr. Grey, just as I asked you to, and you never knew I had asked you. Each day I gave you the pellet, as he directed, and each day I suggested that you do certain things at certain hours, and you always did them.”