pose I'm no different to any other man--or woman for the matter of that--I have a skeleton in my cupboard--a grim skeleton, my dear Royle. One which I've always striven to hide--until to-night," he added with emotion.
"But that hardly interferes with our friendship, does it? We all of us have our private affairs, both of business and of heart," I said.
"The heart," he echoed bitterly. "Ah! yes--the heart. You, my dear boy, are a man of the world. You understand life. You are never narrow-minded--eh?" he asked, advancing a step nearer to me.
"I hope not," I said. "At any rate, I've always been your friend, ever since our first meeting on the steamer on the Lake of Garda, last February."
The eminent engineer rolled his cigar between his fingers, and calmly contemplated it in silence.
Then, quite abruptly, he exclaimed:
"Royle, my present misfortune is due to a woman."
"Ah!" I sighed. "A woman! Always a woman in such cases! Well?"
"Mind you, I don't blame h
William Tufnell Le Queux (1864-1927) was an unbelievably prolific writer and turned out books like you and I sneeze.
The Sign of Silence is a very entertaining mystery. Ted Royle discovers that his best friend, Sir Digby Kemsley may not be all he appears to be and that his fiancée, Phrida Shand may also be hiding deadly secrets from him as well.
However, a caveat to the modern reader. Le Queux wrote his story in the fading aftermath of Victorian England where honor and keeping one’s word to one’s own detriment was an expected social obligation. In today’s world where honor means nothing and life has taken on a tawdry cheapness, some modern readers will not comprehend the motivations of the protagonist or why certain actions were considered reprehensible.
If you are willing to take the story on its own terms, there are many rewards here.
Craig Alan Loewen
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