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Artillery at War with Napoleon

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Third Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

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Campaign of a French Infantry Officer (WW1)

Experiences of a French Dragoon (WW1)

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The Original Bulldog Drummond: 1

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The Original Bulldog Drummond: 1
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): ‘Sapper’ (H. C. McNeile)
Date Published: 2010/01
Page Count: 404
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-025-9
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-026-6

Sapper's original Bulldog Drummond—5 volumes, 10 novels and 5 great short stories

These are the original adventures of Sapper's Bulldog Drummond collected together in a special Leonaur five volume collection—each special book containing two full length Bulldog Drummond novels plus one short story featuring the eponymous hero. Their author, Sapper—H. C. McNeile—was a British Army officer in the Royal Engineers during the Great War and took the popular name of his corps as his unforgettable nom-de-plume. His main character, the hard fighting, hard playing but clean living English gentleman, Hugh Drummond, is a wealthy and decorated ex-officer for whom life after the First World War is proving mightily dull. To remedy this intolerable state of affairs he and his trusted band of henchmen, 'The Black Gang,’ embark on a career of detection and high adventure (occasionally crossing the line of the law) satisfyingly filled with villainous 'foreign' foes, deadly 'bad-but-beautiful’ women and, of course, a bevy of beautiful 'good' women to be rescued from death and fates worse than! Drummond is a man's-man of the likes of Richard Hannay and Doc Savage, a hero that could be set against the likes of a Fu Manchu and a proto James Bond who is guaranteed to throw himself into colourful 'between the wars' two fisted action at every opportunity—to the delight of readers who enjoy adventure from a more innocent age.
In the first volume, is the first novel named for the hero, Bulldog Drummond and its sequel The Black Gang. Accompanying these two novels readers will discover a bonus Bulldog Drummond short story Lonely Inn.'

‘You priceless old ass, you’ve rammed the blinking gate.’<br>
It was Jerry Seymour who then took up the ball. His voice was intensely solemn—also extremely loud.<br>
‘Preposhterous. Perfectly preposhterous. We must go and apologise to the owner. . . . I. . . . I. . . . I. . . . absholutely. . . . musht apologise. . . . Quite unpardonable. . . . You can’t go about country. . . . knocking down gates. . . . Out of queshtion. . . .’
Half consciously Hugh listened, but, now that the moment for action had come, every faculty was concentrated on his own job. He saw half a dozen men go rushing out into the garden through a side door, and then two more ran out and came straight towards him. They crashed past him and went on into the darkness, and for an instant he wondered what they were doing. A little later he was destined to find out. . . .<br>
Then came a peal at the front-door bell, and he determined to wait no longer. He darted through the garden door, to find a flight of back stairs in front of him, and in another moment he was on the first floor. He walked rapidly along the landing, trying to find his bearings, and, turning a corner, he found himself at the top of the main staircase—the spot where he had fought Peterson two nights previously.<br>
From below Jerry Seymour’s voice came clearly.<br>
‘Are you the pro-propri-tor, ole friend? Because there’s been. . . . acchident. . . .’<br>
He waited to hear no more, but walked quickly on to the room which he calculated was the one where he had seen the shadow on the blind. Without a second’s hesitation he flung the door open and walked in. There, lying in the bed, was the American, while crouched beside him, with a revolver in his hand, was a man. . . .<br>
For a few seconds they watched one another in silence, and then the man straightened up.
‘The soldier!’ he snarled. ‘You young pup!’<br>
Deliberately, almost casually, he raised his revolver, and then the unexpected happened. A jet of liquid ammonia struck him full in the face, and with a short laugh Hugh dropped his water-pistol in his pocket, and turned his attention to the bed. Wrapping the millionaire in a blanket, he picked him up, and, paying no more attention to the man gasping and choking in a corner, he raced for the back stairs.<br>
Below he could still hear Jerry hiccoughing gently, and explaining to the pro. . . . pro. . . . pritor that he pershonally would repair. . . . inshisted on repairing. . . . any and every gateposht he posshessed. . . . And then he reached the garden. . . .<br>
Everything had fallen out exactly as he had hoped, but had hardly dared to expect. He heard Peterson’s voice, calm and suave as usual, answering Jerry. From the garden in front came the dreadful sound of a duet by Algy and Peter. Not a soul was in sight; the back of the house was clear. All that he had to do was to walk quietly through the wicket-gate to The Larches with his semiconscious burden, get to his car and drive off. It all seemed so easy that he laughed. . . .<br>
But there were one or two factors that he had forgotten, and the first and most important one was the man upstairs. The window was thrown up suddenly, and the man leaned out waving his arms. He was still gasping with the strength of the ammonia, but Hugh saw him clearly in the light from the room behind. And as he cursed himself for a fool in not having tied him up, from the trees close by there came the sharp clang of metal.<br>
With a quick catch in his breath he began to run. The two men who had rushed past him before he had entered the house, and whom, save for a passing thought, he had disregarded, had become the principal danger. For he had heard that clang before; he remembered Jem Smith’s white horror-struck face, and then his sigh of relief as the thing—whatever it was—was shut in its cage. And now it was out, dodging through the trees, let loose by the two men.<br>
Turning his head from side to side, peering into the gloom, he ran on. What an interminable distance it seemed to the gate. . . . and even then. . . . He heard something crash into a bush on his right, and give a snarl of anger. Like a flash he swerved into the undergrowth on the left.<br>
Then began a dreadful game. He was still some way from the fence, and he was hampered at every step by the man slung over his back. He could hear the thing blundering about searching for him, and suddenly, with a cold feeling of fear, he realised that the animal was in front of him—that his way to the gate was barred. The next moment he saw it.
Shadowy, indistinct, in the darkness, he saw something glide between two bushes. Then it came out into the open and he knew it had seen him, though as yet he could not make out what it was. Grotesque and horrible it crouched on the ground, and he could hear its heavy breathing, as it waited for him to move. <br>
Cautiously he lowered the millionaire to the ground, and took a step forward. It was enough; with a snarl of fury the crouching form rose and shambled towards him. Two hairy arms shot towards his throat, he smelt the brute’s fetid breath, hot and loathsome, and he realised what he was up against. It was a partially grown gorilla.<br><br>
* * * * * * * *<br><br>
It had only been a tiny movement, more like the sudden creak of a piece of furniture than anything else—but it was not quite like it. A gentle, slithering sound had preceded the creak; the sound such as a man would make who, with infinite precaution against making a noise, was moving in a dark room; a stealthy, uncanny noise. Hugh peered into the blackness tensely. After the first moment of surprise his brain was quite cool. He had looked under the bed, he had hung his coat in the cupboard, and save for those two obvious places there was no cover for a cat. And yet, with a sort of sixth sense that four years of war had given him, he knew that noise had been made by some human agency. Human! The thought of the cobra at The Elms flashed into his mind, and his mouth set more grimly. What if Peterson had introduced some of his abominable menagerie into the room?. . . . Then, once more, the thing like a fly sounded loud in his ear. And was it his imagination, or had he heard a faint sibilant hiss just before?<br>
Suddenly it struck him that he was at a terrible disadvantage. The thing, whatever it was, knew, at any rate approximately, his position: he had not the slightest notion where it was. And a blind man boxing a man who could see, would have felt just about as safe. With Hugh, such a conclusion meant instant action. It might be dangerous on the floor: it most certainly was far more so in bed. He felt for his torch, and then, with one convulsive bound, he was standing by the door, with his hand on the electric-light switch.<br>
Then he paused and listened intently. Not a sound could he hear; the thing, whatever it was, had become motionless at his sudden movement. For an appreciable time he stood there, his eyes searching the darkness—but even he could see nothing, and he cursed the American comprehensively under his breath. He would have given anything for even the faintest grey light, so that he could have some idea of what it was and where it was. Now he felt utterly helpless, while every moment he imagined some slimy, crawling brute touching his bare feet—creeping up him. . . .<br>
He pulled himself together sharply. Light was essential and at once. But, if he switched on, there would be a moment when the thing would see him before he could see the thing—and such moments are not helpful. There only remained his torch; and on the Ancre, on one occasion, he had saved his life by judicious use. The man behind one of those useful implements is in blackness far more impenetrable than the blackest night, for the man in front is dazzled. He can only shoot at the torch: therefore, hold it to one side and in front of you. . . .<br>
The light flashed out, darting round the room. Ping! Something hit the sleeve of his pyjamas, but still he could see nothing. The bed, with the clothes thrown back; the washstand; the chair with his trousers and shirt—everything was as it had been when he turned in. And then he heard a second sound—distinct and clear. It came from high up, near the ceiling, and the beam caught the big cupboard and travelled up. It reached the top, and rested there, fixed and steady. Framed in the middle of it, peering over the edge, was a little hairless, brown face, holding what looked like a tube in its mouth. Hugh had one glimpse of a dark, skinny hand putting something in the tube, and then he switched off the torch and ducked, just as another fly pinged over his head and hit the wall behind.<br>
One thing, at any rate, was certain: the other occupant of the room was human, and with that realisation all his nerve returned. There would be time enough later on to find out how he got there, and what those strange pinging noises had been caused by. Just at that moment only one thing was on the programme; and without a sound he crept round the bed towards the cupboard, to put that one thing into effect in his usual direct manner.<br>
Twice did he hear the little whistling hiss from above, but nothing sang past his head. Evidently the man had lost him, and was probably still aiming at the door. And then, with hands that barely touched it, he felt the outlines of the cupboard.<br>
It was standing an inch or two from the wall, and he slipped his fingers behind the back on one side. He listened for a moment, but no movement came from above; then, half facing the wall, he put one leg against it. There was one quick, tremendous heave; a crash which sounded deafening; then silence. And once again he switched on his torch. . . .<br>
Lying on the floor by the window was one of the smallest men he had ever seen. He was a native of sorts, and Hugh turned him over with his foot. He was quite unconscious, and the bump on his head, where it had hit the floor, was rapidly swelling to the size of a large orange. In his hand he still clutched the little tube, and Hugh gingerly removed it. Placed in position at one end was a long splinter of wood, with a sharpened point; and by the light of his torch Hugh saw that it was faintly discoloured with some brown stain.<br>
He was still examining it with interest when a thunderous knock came on the door. He strolled over and switched on the electric light; then he opened the door.<br>
An excited night-porter rushed in, followed by two or three other people in varying stages of undress, and stopped in amazement at the scene. The heavy cupboard, with a great crack across the back, lay face downwards on the floor; the native still lay curled up and motionless.<br>
‘One of the hotel pets?’ queried Hugh pleasantly, lighting a cigarette. ‘If it’s all the same to you, I wish you’d remove him. He was—ah—finding it uncomfortable on the top of the cupboard.’