The Adventures of Hiram Holliday

The Adventures of Hiram Holliday by Paul Gallico Read Free Book Online

Book: The Adventures of Hiram Holliday by Paul Gallico Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paul Gallico
high-backed, crested chair, with the boy curled at her feet.
    He read the caption below: 'This charming portrait by De Brasse of the Princess Adelheit Von Furstenhof of Styria, and her nephew Duke Peter, is on exhibition currently at the Sartor Galleries in New Bond Street, and was painted two summers ago at Castle Furstenhof, Ober Zeiring. The Princess has not been in London since the Anschluss, indeed, there has been speculation in some quarters as to her whereabouts. Her many friends in London society have missed gay and gracious "Princess Heidi," as she is known.'
    Hiram Holliday smiled a little smile to himself and leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Then he carefully tore out the page, folded it and placed it in his pocket.
    When he got to London, t he news of the accord in Munich was out. He had to shake h imself to realize what had hap pened because he had been in another world. He took a cab
and drove to his room in Bruto n Street. There were two cable grams waiting for him there. They had been addressed to him care of the Sentinel Bureau in Fleet Street, and sent on over.
He opened one. It was brief and to the point. It said: 'Sorry. You're fired!' It was signe d 'Joel Smith,' the head of the Sentinel copy-desk. He felt it slip through his fingers to the floor. He had forgotten about h is fantastic performance in the Sentinel Bureau the day before. Of course, they had cabled New York about it. Probably tho ught he was drunk. Mechanically he opened the second cable. He lo oked at the signature first. It was 'Beauheld, Managing Editor, N.Y. Sentinel. ’ His glasses
seemed to blur and he ha d to read it twice.
    'Congratula tions. You're hired. I made S mith fire you. To hell with the copy-desk. You're writing for me now. Leave for Paris at once.
Instructions there.'
    Paris - Go to Paris.... He suddenly raised his arms and laughed a half laugh, half sob . Then he realized the umbrella was still crooked on his arm. He took it off and pressed the handle to his cheek. On an impulse he suddenly reversed it and examined the ferrule. There was a darkish stain on it. He fingered it half incredibly. It was in dubitably blood. And this time h is laughter rang gay and clear....
    How Hiram Holliday Left Paris
    Twenty minutes before the departure of the 1048 Air France plane for Prague, the waiting-room of the Central Airport of Paris at Le Bourget was in something of a gay uproar. Grognolle, the great silent cl own of the Cirque Antoine, Grog nolle, le Melancolique (Il ne parle jamais) who had taken all Paris by storm, was departing to fill an engagement in the capital of Czechoslovakia. ' Goodness knows, ces pauvres,' said one of the airline's officials, 'those poor people need someone to make them laugh. And we, too.'
    The official was somewhat harassed, what with the gay crowd of laughing, voluble circus people from the Antoine who had come to see Grognolle off, the throng that had suddenly materialized in the waiting-room, as the magic of Grognolle's name spread, and the interminable police who were always looking for this one, or that one, and expected the overworked airline people to act as guardians of the portal, and produce wanted men like rabbits out of a hat.
    This time it was an American by the name of Hiram Holliday who had disappeared under strange circumstances at a time, it seemed, when the police were rather anxious to secure his person for questioning. They had been watching the airport for days. Ah, these times, these bad times. Evil days and evil people, and Paris rocking again under the exposure of the great Vinovarieffplot, revealed, in an American newspaper, that pact of evil, unquestionably authenticated, involving Russians in Nazi pay, which had threatened the very existence of France and had again plunged Europe into political turmoil.
    Ah, well - the official re-checked the list of passengers bound for Prague - Van der Aadt, a Dutch K.L.M. official; a Mrs Stoddart, an

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