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Meredith Merle Nicholson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about The Port of Missing Men.

“The truth will be known before we sail, no doubt,” said Shirley.  “The assassin may be here in Geneva by this time.”

“That is quite likely,” said John Armitage, with unbroken gravity.  “In fact, I rather expect him here, or I should be leaving to-day myself.”

He bowed and made way for the vexed and chafing Claiborne, who gave his hand to Armitage hastily and jumped into the carriage.

“Your imitation cut-glass drummer has nearly caused us to miss our train.  Thank the Lord, we’ve seen the last of that fellow.”

Shirley said nothing, but gazed out of the window with a wondering look in her eyes.  And on the way to Liverpool she thought often of Armitage’s last words.  “I rather expect him here, or I should be leaving to-day myself,” he had said.

She was not sure whether, if it had not been for those words, she would have thought of him again at all.  She remembered him as he stood framed in the carriage door—­his gravity, his fine ease, the impression he gave of great physical strength, and of resources of character and courage.

And so Shirley Claiborne left Geneva, not knowing the curious web that fate had woven for her, nor how those last words spoken by Armitage at the carriage door were to link her to strange adventures at the very threshold of her American home.

CHAPTER IV

JOHN ARMITAGE A PRISONER

All things are bright in the track of the sun,
  All things are fair I see;
And the light in a golden tide has run
  Down out of the sky to me.

And the world turns round and round and round,
  And my thought sinks into the sea;
The sea of peace and of joy profound
  Whose tide is mystery.

—­S.W.  Duffield.

The man whom John Armitage expected arrived at the Hotel Monte Rosa a few hours after the Claibornes’ departure.

While he waited, Mr. Armitage employed his time to advantage.  He carefully scrutinized his wardrobe, and after a process of elimination and substitution he packed his raiment in two trunks and was ready to leave the inn at ten minutes’ notice.  Between trains, when not engaged in watching the incoming travelers, he smoked a pipe over various packets of papers and letters, and these he burned with considerable care.  All the French and German newspaper accounts of the murder of Count von Stroebel he read carefully; and even more particularly he studied the condition of affairs in Vienna consequent upon the great statesman’s death.  Secret agents from Vienna and detectives from Paris had visited Geneva in their study of this astounding crime, and had made much fuss and asked many questions; but Mr. John Armitage paid no heed to them.  He had held the last conversation of length that any one had enjoyed with Count Ferdinand von Stroebel, but the fact of this interview was known to no one, unless to one or two hotel servants, and

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