Vendetta in Spain

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Stevie P
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Vendetta in Spain

Post by Stevie P »

It was 31st May 1906.

It was also a day of celebration as King Alfonso 13th had just married Princess Ena of Battenberg, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
The procession back to the palace included Armand, Count de Quesnoy (The 31 year old, ninth Duc de Richleau). His eyes were grey, flecked with tiny spots of yellow. On his arm was his wife Countess Angela.
Outside, the church dignitaries who were not able to secure places in the church due to lower rank were placed in a specially erected stands in front of the beautifully clad church.
The parades of the cavalry, Infantry and artillery were stunning.
Dozens of spectacular horse drawn carriages were arriving.
Inside one of them were Jose de Cordoba y Coralles (A very good friend of Armand and a member of the great banking family whose head was his elder brother) together with his lovely wife, Condesa Guilia.
At that moment a large bouquet was thrown towards one of the coaches, there was a blinding flash, an explosion like a crack of thunder and a blast that sent nearby troops and people reeling in all directions.

Many were killed but by some miracle the royal couple escaped.
Angela however,did not. The Duke put her in a carriage and took her to the Palacio de Cordoba. The young Duc de Vendome (the Kings cousin) was devoted to Armand and stayed close to him during the weeks that followed.
Guilia had always been jealous of Angela and so was secretly pleased as she had always held feelings for the Count, even if it meant that Jose would throw her out into the street.

DeQuesnoy was in severe shock and it was several days after Angela’s funeral that his manner became anything approaching normal.
The assassin turned out to be Mateu Morral who was on the police files as an agitator but had done nothing before throwing the bomb. He then tried to get away from the city and a rural guard tried to arrest him but Morral shot him dead and then used the pistol to take his own life.
Francisco Ferrer was a revolutionary in hiding.

After several weeks de Vendome and de Quesnoy decide to see some more of Spain.
They travelled in a six cylinder Hispano Suiza and visit Aranjuez, New Castile, Manzanares and Cordoba.
After a short stay they continue on to Seville, Jerez and Algeciras and finally back to Madrid.

A note was waiting for de Quesnoy on his return. A mission had been requested from the twenty year old king. It involved him having to work independently and without the assistance of the police.

The King tells de Quesnoy that Morral had developed very revolutionary views. Barcelona had for a long time been the centre of an increasingly strong demand for home rule in Catalonia.
On Morral’s return to his native province he had fervently embraced this movement . Many anarchists including Morrell became one of them. His treasonable activities had been discovered and he was a major threat throughout Spain, both politically & religiously.
Morral (was a teacher) and had naturally become an intimate of Ferrer . He encouraged the teaching staff to actively proclaim allegiance to anarchist principles with the objective of bringing about a dictatorship of the proletariat.
The King wants evidence that the most prominent mob orator’s and writers of inflammatory articles are secretly connected with the bomb plots. He would then imprison them and make some headway in stamping out the breeding-ground of anarchy.
He gives de Quesnoy a dossier to assist with mission which he reads and returns.
De Cordoba and Gulia spend some time together with de Quesnoy before he leaves to go to Barcelona. It becomes very apparent that she will very much miss de Quesnoy.

De Quesnoy arrives in Barcelona and manages to secure an apartment in one of the new blocks of flats near the Plaza de Las Glorias. On arrival he meets another man who is also staying there in one of the apartments. He turns out to be Lieutenant Aguilera of the Spanish Navy. He and his wife arrange get together over a hearty dinner. De Quesnoy mentions that he is looking to find a post as a school-master. The Senora suggests that Francisco Ferrer may be able to help? De Quesnoy’s face remained impassive but inside his heart gave a jump.
A date is set and De Quesnoy meets with two men at the Cafe Ronda by three men, Doctor Luque, Nicolai Chirikov and Ferrer.
The evening goes well and the panel agree to take De Quesnoy on board as a teacher of History & Russian.
They meet again, this time at the Escuela Moderna which was very close to the University and yet far enough away so that students with Leftish leaning’s could elect to take additional training if required.

Ferrer ‘s two son’s Benigno and Sanchez were given a good look around the school.. He showed them where dynamite was being constructed into some form of ‘infernal machine’. His thoughts went to Angela.
This was a bomb making activity.
De Quesnoy told them that his cousin was a ‘Nihilist’ and that he also used to make bomb’s. The two brothers were delighted and impressed to have made the acquaintance of such like minded people.
De Quesnoy also manages to meet up with Delores Mendoza, one of the women teachers. They go to lunch and she splits the bill with him.
Afterwards she asks whose place should we go back to? He had no doubts about what she meant and silently cursed himself for not having taken into account that anarchists believed in free love.
He declined on this occasion as he was already engaged to spend Saturday with another friend of mine. He had now gained an eleven day respite; time enough to “pump her if that were possibleâ€￾.!!!
DW’s words – not mine.

On the following Sunday, he writes a letter to Cordoba advising of his progress so far.
The following day he decides to spend some time with his new found masters in the common room prior to starting his imminent teaching.
Unfortunately, one of them turns out to be Senor Chirikov.
He is no Russian! He is a Frenchman! I know this man. He can have only come among you as a spy. Two years ago in Paris he penetrated the secrets of the Freemasons and brought about the fall of the Combes government.
He is that notorious monarchist, Colonel the Count de Quesnoy.
Despite his protestations and an effort at escape the anarchists initially decide to throw him into the foundry furnace but decide against it as there would be too much to be seen from the resultant residue. The criminal associates then spend a complete chapter (17 page’s) trying to decide his fate. They ultimately agree to dispose of him by taking him to a nearby flour mill. They throw him head first into a suffocating bed of flour. Had he fallen from that height onto a harder surface he would most likely have broken his neck. Luckily the flour had not been packed. Head first he plunged into it and was instantly immersed up to the hips. Instinctively, he gasped for air. He knew that he was on the very brink of death. He writhed and struggled in the darkness. Eventually he managed to free his head and shoulders and pulled himself out.
A good twenty minutes passed before he made any attempt to explore his surroundings.
The chamber was about twenty feet square and approximately forty feet high. He remembered glimpsing a couple of small windows that were set high upon opposite walls. This made him think that he may be able to make a solid mound of flour underneath one of the windows.
It was exhausting work having to go down on his knees to sweep armfuls of flour forward, then having to trample them flat and then repeating the process. It was a Herculean effort which lasted for over two hours. He could do no more and slumped onto the soft flour and slept.
He was awoken by a man shouting at him. It was Pedro; somewhat surprised that anybody could survive the incident. Soon after came the sound of turning wheels and clanking machinery. The grinders had been set in motion.
He knew that every breath he was forced to take would be laden with those death-dealing particles. Another quarter of an hour and his lungs would cease to function. At last complete despair seized him, but not for long. A thought occurred to him. If he could throw himself into a trance he might survive. If he could throw himself into a deep trance he might survive. Once he no needed to breathe his lungs would remain static and uncloyed by the flour. He laid down with his coat wrapped around his head. He then relaxed completely and remained absolutely still. His breathing grew fainter and at length it ceased. His spirit was now upon the Astral Plane and attached only by a form of spiritual telephone wire known to occultists as the Silver Cord.
For several hours he remained scarcely conscious of his body. He then began to feel a growing urge to go back into it. He realised that he must have been buried by the falling flour. He kicked out with his hands and feet until he was sitting up with his head and shoulders well above the new flour level. He was aware that the mill machinery was no longer working. He was also confident that he could reach the window ledge.

This, he manages to do by wrapping his fist in his handkerchief and punching the bottom windows out. He clambers onto the sill and pulls hard at the central bar which comes away with him. Clambering back again he could he could see that he was approximately twenty feet above the cobble stones below. He was about to shout for assistance when two workmen happened to walk by. They run to get assistance and return with a ladder.
Pedro, meanwhile has appeared on the scene and tries to drag De Quesnoy back into the mill. The two men battle at the top of the window ledge and both of them crash onto the floor below. De Quesnoy briefly wakes up in hospital and is aware that he is hovering between life and death. He finds himself looking down at his own body. His head was swathed in bandages, his shoulder was strapped up and a mound over his left leg showed that it was in splints.
He could then see a Priest and two nuns administering extreme unction at his bedside. They obviously expected him to die.
He knew that he was seriously weak and if he was unable to get back to his body soon he may never do so.
The doctor was asking the lay sister to prepare his body for burial. Armand had begun to concentrate; his silver chord was nowhere near its normal strength yet very slowly he began to see an outline of the bed; he felt his chord thicken and a pull upon him as though borne by a wind of hurricane strength.
The lay sister was nearby. When she placed her hands on his stomach she knew he was still with them.
After a good night’s sleep he was feeling much stronger.
He wondered what had happened to Pedro Conesa. Did he die in the fall? Was he in the same hospital?
Armand asked for the doctor to send a telegram to the ‘Duke de Vendome. He arrives very quickly and returns Armand back to the Conde’s villa in Madrid. That night he dreamt that a beautiful titian haired beauty was standing beside his bed. The figure moved a little and then slowly placed her lips on his for a full minute. A dream perhaps??
It took Armand another 36 hours to make up ground lost through his ordeals. Sixteen day’s had now elapsed since his fall and all of his injuries were well on the way to recovery.
He & Gulia would occasionally bathe on the nearby secluded beach and they both began to get very fond of each other, to the point where she told Armand that her husband had a mistress. She apparently found out by accident. She had found a letter from which he had left lying about with some other papers that he gave me to look through. When she charged him he did not deny it.
She went on to say that the girl involved was an Andalusian dancing girl, who was quite a star turn on the castanets!!
That night Gulia pay’s a visit to Armand’s bedroom and this certainly wasn’t a dream! In the morning they discuss the situation; but, what of Jose. Gulia says that he has lost any rights when she found him out. Armand was still doubtful about betraying her husband. There was suddenly a blinding flash. – it was the magnesium of a box camera. Armand tells Gulia to go back to her room; whilst he rushes after the man with the camera who turns out to be Sanchez Ferrer.
He catches up with him and they fight in the garden. Armand trips over an exposed root and temporarily knocks him out.
Ferrer escapes but he still has the camera and negative with him. Scrambling to his feet.
Armand notices a small object lying on the path. It was a small piece of cardboard 4 inches long by 3 inches wide. It was a portrait of a gypsy dancer taken by a photographer in Granada.
Armand is very keen to get the negative back and so leaves a note to Gulia telling her that he is heading to the new Alhambra Palace in Granada. Armand believes that he intends to use the photograph as bait – to lure him back. He also expects that a letter will arrive with a copy of the photograph with a demand for money in exchange for the negative.
The name Elio is also shown on the photograph which may assist with finding Ferrers lair.
On arrival in Madrid he heads straight for Elio’s Photography and they informed him that she was a professional Flamenco dancer known as La Torcera. (Which means ‘The Wriggler).

The hotel organises a taxi for Armand to go and see her.
He is led to a table by a pretty girl called ’La Conchita’. Armand asks if he can meet with ‘La Torcera’. ’La Conchita’ tells him that this is not possible as she is booked for the whole of the evening.
He then said that if it was possible to speak to her for a short while he would give her a huge tip.
He does get to talk to her but when he mentions Sanchez Ferrer she spit’s in his face.
Armand slapped her and threatened her dancing future if she didn’t tell her where Sanchez is.
Surprisingly, she didn’t know and didn’t care as he had left her for another woman and stolen her savings. The other woman was Inez Giudice, the daughter of a Cadiz shipwright so the odd’s were definitely on her and Sanchez being in Cadiz.
Armand persuades her to accompany her to Cadiz so that they can get revenge on Sanchez and ‘La Torcera’s ex lover.’ He give’s her gold coins now and more when they get to Cadiz.
When they do arrive in Cadiz, Armand wants La Torcera
to dress up as a blind beggar woman and use the name of Inez Giudice .
After extensive searching , La Tocera comes back with good news. “I’ve found her, she works at the, Silver Galleonâ€￾.
Armand was delighted,and instantly paid her a very large payment for helping him to find to this location. He intended to put her safely on a train back to Granada. The one thing he did not expect was that he would never see her again.
The next day Armand headed for the ‘Silver Galleon’.He finds the two girl’s, Inez and Beatriz. It became obvious that Armand wanted to talk to Inez and so Beatriz left them to it. Inez invited him to a house where she entertained her men friends. It was a very small cubby hole of a room and obvious that Sanchez wasn’t
sharing it with her. There was another room next door and Armand was sure that this ‘was’ Sanchez’s room. Inez was in the process of undressing .
He though was concerned with finding Sanchez and so Armand had to knock her out. Armand started to search the flat and very quickly managed to locate the photograph he had been look for.
Suddenly the door swung open an Sanchez was framed in the doorway. A violent fight ensues and Armand breaks Sanchez’s neck.
Inez has meanwhile come and is screaming for help. Armand is trying to think of the best way out when several men came charging down the corridor. The leading, man who looks like a Scandinavian Bosun (Whatever one of those should look like!!) tells the bosun to stop or he will fire. He does, but he also throws a knife which cuts Armands face. With blood pouring down his face he grabs hold of the dressing table mirror and smashes it onto the man’s head. It splinters into a hundred fragments and he man drops to the floor unconscious.
Armand runs to window sill and drops to the floor below, badly twisting his ankle. As a result it didn’t take too long for the chasing men to catch him.
The landlord takes charge and Inez passes on the details of the fight. The landlord doesn’t really want to involve the police with this incident and so the captain of the ship agrees to take Armand onto his ship to work his way to South America under a brutal Captain as a seaman before the mast.
It was two and a half years before Armand returned to Europe. His father had died in early March 1909. As a consequence when he did return, it was as the tenth Duc de Richleau.
When he arrived in Rio, he sent a note to the Conde to let him know where he was.. The Conde responded by saying how pleased he was that he was alive. He also said that staff of the Escuela Moderna school had helped in breaking up the nest of vipers that had flourished in Barcelona.
Armand’s next move was to join the Brazilian army as a commandant at the military academy.
He then transferred to the army of one of the Central American republics. He then crossed the Caribbean to New Orleans and then onto Europe.
At this point, he learnt to his considerable satisfaction that the nihilist who had thrown the bomb that had killed his father had already been caught and executed.
His next port of call was Yalta (in the Ukraine). This was one of the most fashionable resorts on the Black sea. With his new title he was able to gain an invite to the ‘Nobles Club’.
Upon leaving the club he was assaulted by a man with a knife, Armand , however was quick enough to lunge his Malacca cane straight at the assailant’s face with.
It so happened that a policeman heard the fracas and took both Armand and the man who assaulted him to the police station. The man initially refused to give his name but with a little assistance from the police interrogation they established that the man that attacked Armand was a ‘Benigno Ferrer’. (The brother of Sanchez Ferrer)
Armand was astonished that Benigno had tracked him for so long.
In fact he was genuinely sympathetic. However, a court hearing had no such qualms and Benigno was despatched to a penal settlement in Siberia along with his father.
Armand then heads straight for the Royal Palace in Madrid.
Gulia was especially pleased to see him. They get a lot of time to get to know each other and eventually fall in love. Armand feels bad as Jose is an old friend and hates to go behind his back.
Then the news breaks that Jose has been mauled by a Puma on the banks of the Amazon.
Armand & Gulia decide to keep the information quiet for the time being in order to protect Jose’s banking assets as he was still a major influence with them.
The King then tells Armand that the time has come to run Ferrer to ground.
Armand heads to Barcelona with a letter from the king. His alias during this period is to be Carlos Gomez.
His early enquires lead him to believe that Beningo and his family are living in San Cugat.
He also remembered one of the teachers (Dolores Mendosa) from the’Escuela Moderna’ mentioning visiting a small place on the Costa Brava. He also recalled Dolores saying that he used to spend some time with a Teresa Conesa
This name enabled Armand and his men to locate the home of Teresa.
She tells them that she has had a child from Ferrer.
At that moment the explosion rocked the house.
The bomb must have exploded at her feet. She was dying.
Armand asks her, how he can find Ferrer so that he can take the boy to him.
He lives at San Cugat, He calls himself Olozaga.
When they arrive at the Olozaga residence, Dolores Mendosa opens the door and Ferrer is taken to the Police station.
The Police chief Urgoiti states that the man they have brought in is not Ferrer. A huge argument takes place .
Artmand asks to speak to one of the senior Generals and this is also refused.
It seems as though a conspiracy is underway.
A young artillery lieutenant comes into Armand’s prison. He informs Armand that he is to be Court Marshalled and tried straight away.

Despite Armand’s plea’s and argument’s he was getting nowhere.
A prison van soon arrives and Armand is taken to the court room.
Ferrer is called into the court to confirm his story.
The senior members of the court had to state whether they thought Armand was guilty or not guilty. The majority state guilty.
Armand, however recognised one of the senior members of the court. He then said to the Captain that your lady love is preparing a pair of bedroom slippers to be given as a new year present for you. The Captain said, “How could you possibly knowâ€￾.
“She is one of the daughters of General Quiroga. This can easily be verified.â€￾
A gun shot was fired by Commandante Urgoite. He had blown his brains out.
General berated them all as a set of fools.

Armand and Gulia were delighted to be together again in San Sebastian. That night they were woken by what they believed was somebody climbing a ladder to their room. It was, Gulias husband, Jose de Cordoba.
What are you doing in my wife’s bedroom? By God, I demand justice. I expect you to meet me in the hall.
Armand is forced into a pistol duel that he desperately didn’t want to get into but he seemed to have no choice.
They took up their positions back to back. Five seconds later the two men turned. Armand aimed deliberately high. The bullet passed a good foot above de Cordoba’s head. The Conde then took his turn but his shot went harmlessly past his adversary.
The two men walked to each other and Armand said, “I trust you are now satisfiedâ€￾.
“Certainly notâ€￾ said the Conde, “and not until one of us is seriously wounded. Let us continueâ€￾
With a resigned shrug Armand followed the same procedure as before. Again Armand fired high and de Cordoba managed to clip a piece of Armand’s clothing.
Again they loaded but this time Armand turned the point of his pistol straight up and fired into the air.
The Conde criticises Armand for not trying. “You treat me with contemptâ€￾ he says.
Armand sadly shook his head. “Believe me, Conde, nothing was further from my thoughts. But after all the kindness you showed me in the past, should I happen to kill you I would never forgive myself.â€￾
The Conde was still not content with Armand’s words and wished to proceed.
They were just about to place themselves back to back again when a shout of Stop, Stop reached them.
A female was running towards them. It turned out to be Maria Alfonsine with important news.
She had been talking to Gulia and she admitted that although she had wished to take Armand as a lover he had proved adamant in rejecting her advances.
Having failed to seduce him from his loyalty to the Conde, she hatched a most subtle plan. She told him that news had returned from South America that the Conde had been attacked by a puma and killed. Following the ‘so called’ death, the information was supposed to be hushed up for the next two months so that the bank should be strong enough to withstand a run upon it when your death was publicly announced. Only then , believing her to have become a widow with the right to dispose of herself as she wished, did the Duke agree to become her lover.
The Duke nodded, “Yes, that is what happened. But it was not for me to tell you soâ€￾
The Conde acknowledges the terrible injustice forced upon the Duke, The Duke is delighted that their friendship has been salvaged.
The Conde then tells the Duke that Gulia is pregnant!!

What happens now asks Armand.
They decide that it is probably better that the child stays with the Conde. The Conde also tells Armand that he is no longer capable of begetting a child but to have one would give me great joy. With mixed emotions Armand rode gently thinking intently of what had just happened. Two other horsemen happened to walk towards him. It was the King.
The Kings parting gesture was to give Armand command of his own Cavalry division for all he has done for Spain.
A new and bright horizon had opened for him.


Page 94 - Does anybody know the difference between anarchism and nihilism? Neither did I. Apparently the former wishes to destroy the existing order, but has plans for building a new one consisting of free labour groups and free communes; whereas with true Russian pessimism, the latter’s aim was simply to annihilate every form of authority, then sit back and let matters take whatever course they would.

Page 187

Elio and the studio is certainly no longer in Madrid but the street certainly is. ... n-jeronimo

Page 228
Inez Giudice had grey eye’s.

Page 330
San Cugat is a town, twenty kilometres from the centre of Barcelona
In 1961 when this book was first published the population was approximately 10,000. It is now an affluent suburb of Barcelona with a population of 88, 000.

Page 366
Ferrer was shot on September 12th 1909.Vigrourus protests at his execution appeared in Liberal newspapers all over the world.. So great were the demonstrations in Madrid against the government that senor Maura, the conservative Prime Minister, was forcesd to resign. The Liberal leader Senor Moret stepped into his shoes on October 22nd. Nevertheless there can be no doubt that whatever that Francisco Ferrer was morally responsible for the deaths and wounding of many hundreds of people. DW
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Post by Alan »

What a magnificent, insightful and informative review. A magnificent piece of work, and I think DW would have been delighted to read it.
Richard Webster
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Post by Richard Webster »

Alan wrote:What a magnificent, insightful and informative review. A magnificent piece of work, and I think DW would have been delighted to read it.
Absolutely; a really good resource for future reference. I had forgotten much of the detail of this book, although I read it for the first time not much more than a year ago.

I haven't yet read "The Prisoner in the Mask" or "The Second Seal" so it was my first de Richlieu pre-story book, as it were, and I found it interesting from that point of view, even though I don't think it's one of the more engaging or memorable DW novels. But there was still much to like about it, and it was unusual to see the Duke in a romantic scenario. "The Duke was skilled in the art of love", the text reads at one point. But of course!

I only have one copy of this one in my collection, a rather tattered paperback:


Nice, though, to see the Duke depicted in a full-throated action scene, and I would guess that the building in the background is the flour mill that features in part of the plot.
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Post by Alan »

Is it just my imagination, or does the Duke (presumably the one without the knife) look something like a young Dennis Wheatley???
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Post by ken68 »

Alan wrote:Is it just my imagination, or does the Duke (presumably the one without the knife) look something like a young Dennis Wheatley???
And why is his head on a pile of books?
Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley »

And surely David Niven wouldn't attack anybody with a knife?
Richard Webster
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Post by Richard Webster »

He does look a little like David Niven, doesn't he? Oddly enough, I'd always assumed that it was the Duke being portrayed with a knife on the cover - the book is called "Vendetta in Spain", it's the Duke who is out for revenge, and so one assumed that he'd be the one wielding the knife. Plus, his appearance seems more young Duke-like. But plot-wise, it would make more sense for the Duke to be the one being attacked.

If the Duke is the fair-haired chap fighting for his life on the ground, then he would appear to crop up on other covers. Here he is again adorning the cover of "Codeword - Golden Fleece", where he seems to have aged well, despite the action taking place about thirty-five years later.


The assailant looks rather similar to the one on the cover of "Vendetta in Spain", too. Even the same sort of attempted stabbing motion being depicted. But fair haired man can't be the Duke, surely, because he has his arm in a sling, and it's Rex who gets shot in the arm in "Codeword - Golden Fleece".

And here he is again - this time portraying Toby Jugg!


The Arrow paperbacks don't give a credit for the cover art, but I'd guess it's the same artist on all of those - potentially the Duke, Rex and Toby Jugg all morphing into one character!

Incidentally, on close inspection, the pile of books on the "Vendetta" cover referred to above would appear to be an oddly drawn low parapet sort of wall with a couple of loose stones!
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Post by ken68 »

the assailant on vendetta in spain also seems to only have 3 fingers and a thumb on his left hand.
Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P »


Many thanks for your kind words. It was quite an involved review to put together hence the review being rather long.

I'm off to Mayhem in Greece next.

Thank's again.
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