Деннис Уитли. THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
"The Devil Rides Out"
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First published by
Hutchinson & Co (Publishers) Ltd 1934
First Arrow edition 1954
Second impression 1958
Third impression 1958
Fourth impression 1959
Fifth impression 1963
Sixth impression 1964
Seventh impression 1965
Eighth impression 1966
Ninth impression 1968
This new edition June 1969
Reprinted November 1969
Reprinted September 1970
This book is published at a net price and
supplied subject to the Publishers Association
Standard Condition of Sale registered under
The Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956
Made and printed in Great
Hunt Barnard Printing Ltd.,
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
The Devil Rides Out is a
Black Magic story by Dennis
Wheatley, who writes: 'I,
personally, have never
assisted at, or participated
in, any ceremony connected
with Magic-Black or White.
Should any of my readers
incline to a serious study of
the subject and thus come
into contact with a man or
woman of Power, I feel that
it is only right to urge
them, most strongly, to
refrain from being drawn info
the practice of the Secret
Art in any way. My own
observations have led me to
an absolute conviction that
to do so would bring them
into dangers of a very real
and concrete nature.'
1. The Incomplete Reunion 2. The Curious Guests of Mr. Simon Aron 3. The Esoteric Doctrine 4. The Silent House 5. Embodied Evil 6. The Secret Art 7. De Richleau Plans a Campaign 8. Rex Van Ryn Opens the Attack 9. The Countess D'Urfe Talks of Many Curious Things 10. Tanith Proves Stubborn 11. The Truth Will Always Out 12. The Grim Prophecy 13. The Defeat of Rex Van Ryn 14. The Duke de Richleau Takes the Field 15. The Road to the Sabbat 16. The Sabbat 17. Evil Triumphant 18. The Power of Light 19. The Ancient Sanctuary 20. The Four Horsemen 21. Cardinals Folly 22. The Satanist 23. The Pride of Peacocks 24. The Scepticism of Richard Eaton 25. The Talisman of Set 26. Rex Learns of the Undead 27. Within the Pentacle 28. Necromancy 29. Simon Aron Takes a View 30. Out Into the Fog 31. The Man With the Jagged Ear 32. The Gateway of the Pit 33. Death of a Man Unknown, From Natural Causes
To my old friend
of whom, in these days, I see
far too little but whose
companionship, both in good
times and in bad, has been to
me a never-failing joy.
I desire to state that I, personally, have never assisted at, or participated in, any ceremony connected with Magic-Black or White.
The literature of occultism is so immense that any conscientious writer can obtain from it abundant material for the background of a romance such as this.
In the present case I have spared no pains to secure accuracy of detail from existing accounts when describing magical rites or formulas for protection against evil, and these have been verified in conversation with certain persons, sought out for that purpose who are actual practitioners of the Art.
All the characters and situations in this book are entirely imaginary but, in the inquiry necessary to the writing of it, I found ample evidence that Black Magic is still practised in London, and other cities, at the present day.
Should any of my readers incline to a serious study of the subject, and thus come into contact with a man or woman of Power, I feel that it is only right to urge them, most strongly, to refrain from being drawn into the practice of the Secret Art in any way. My own observations have led me to an absolute conviction that to do so would bring them into dangers of a very real and concrete nature.
The Incomplete Reunion
The Duke de Richleau and Rex Van had gone in to dinner at eight o'clock, but coffee was not served tilt after ten.
An appetite in keeping with his mighty frame had enabled Van Ryn to do ample justice to each well-chosen course and, as was his custom each time the young American arrived in England, the Duke had produced his finest wines for this, their reunion dinner at his flat.
A casual observer might well have considered it a strange friendship, but despite their difference in age and race, appearance and tradition, a real devotion existed between the two.
Some few years earlier Rex's foolhardiness had landed him in a Soviet prison, and the elderly French exile had put aside his peaceful existence as art connoisseur and dilettante to search for him in Russia. Together they had learned the dangerous secret of 'The Forbidden Territory' and travelled many thousand verts pursued by the merciless agents of the Ogpu.
There had been others too in that strange adventure; young Richard Eaton, and the little Princess Marie Lou whom he had brought out of Russia as his bride; but as Rex accepted a long Hoyo de Monterrey from the cedar cabinet which the Duke's man presented to him his thoughts were not of the Eatons, living now so happily with their little daughter Fleur in their lovely old country home near Kidderminster. He was thinking of that third companion whose subtle brain and shy, nervous courage had proved so great an aid when they were hunted like hares through the length and breadth of Russia, the frail narrow-shouldered English Jew-Simon Aron.
'What could possibly have kept Simon from being with them tonight,' Rex was wondering. He had never failed before to make a third at these reunion dinners, and why had the Duke brushed aside his inquiries about him in such an offhand manner. There was something queer behind De Richleau's reticence, and Rex had a feeling that for all his host's easy charm and bland, witty conversation something had gone seriously wrong.
He slowly revolved some of the Duke's wonderful old brandy in a bowl-shaped glass, while he watched the servant preparing to leave the room. Then, as the door closed, he set it down and addressed De Richleau almost abruptly.
'Well, I'm thinking it's about time for you to spill the beans.'
The Duke inhaled the first cloud of fragrant smoke from another of those long Hoyos which were his especial pride, and answered guardedly. 'Had you not better tell me Rex, to what particular beans you refer?'
'Simon of course! For years now the three of us have dined together on my first night, each time I've come across, and you were too mighty casual to be natural when I asked about him before dinner. Why isn't he here?'
'Why, indeed, my friend?' the Duke repeated, running the tips of his fingers down his lean handsome face. 'I asked him, and told him that your ship docked this morning, but he declined to honour us tonight.'
'Is he ill then?'
'No, as far as I know he's perfectly well-at all events he was at his office today.'
'He must have had a date then that he couldn't scrap, or some mighty urgent work. Nothing less could induce him to let us down on one of these occasions. They've become-well, in a way, almost sacred to our friendship.'
'On the contrary he is at home alone tonight. He made his apologies of course, something about resting for a Bridge Tournament that starts…'
'Bridge Tournament my foot!' exclaimed Rex angrily. 'He'd never let that interfere between us three-it sounds mighty fishy to me. When did you see him last?'
'About three months ago.'
'What! But that's incredible. Now look here!' Rex thrust the onyx ash-tray from in front of him, and leaned across the table. 'You haven't quarrelled-have you?'
De Richleau shook his head. 'If you were my age, Rex, and had no children, then met two younger men who gave you their affection, and had all the attributes you could wish for in your sons, how would it be possible for you to quarrel with either of them?'
'That's so, but three months is a whale of a while for friends who are accustomed to meet two or three times a week. I just don't get this thing at all, and you're being a sight too reticent about it. Come on now-what do you know?'
The grey eyes of almost piercing brilliance which gave such character to De Richleau's face, lit up. That,' he said suddenly, 'is just the trouble. I don't know anything.'
'But you fear that, to use his own phrase, Simon's "in a muddle-a really nasty muddle" eh? And you're a little hurt that he hasn't brought his worry to you.'
'To whom else should he turn if not to one of us-and you were in the States.'
'Richard maybe, he's an even older friend of Simon's than we are.'
'No. I spent last week-end at Cardinals Folly and neither Richard nor Marie Lou could tell me anything. They haven't seen him since he went down to stay last Christmas and arrived with a dozen crates of toys for Fleur.'
'How like him!' Rex's gargantuan laugh rang suddenly through the room. 'I might have known the trunkful I brought over would be small fry if you and Simon have been busy on that child.'
'Well I can only conclude that poor Simon is "in a muddle" as you say, or he would never treat us all like this.'
'But what sort of a muddle?' Rex brought his leg-of mutton fist crashing down on the table angrily. 'I can't think of a thing where he wouldn't turn to us.'
'Money,' suggested the Duke, 'is the one thing that with his queer sensitive nature he might not care to discuss with even his closest friends.'
'I doubt it being that. My old man has a wonderful opinion of Simon's financial ability and he handles a big portion of our interests on this side. I'm pretty sure we'd be wise to it if he'd burned his fingers on the market. It sounds as if he'd gone bats about some woman to me.'
De Richleau's face was lit by his faintly cynical smile for a moment. 'No,' he said slowly. 'A man in love turns naturally to his friends for congratulation or sympathy as his fortune with a woman proves good or ill. It can't be that.'
For a little the two friends sat staring at each other in silence across the low jade bowl with its trailing sprays of orchids: Rex, giant shouldered, virile and powerful, his ugly, attractive, humorous young face clouded with anxiety, the Duke, a slim, delicate- looking man, somewhat about middle height, with slender, fragile hands and greying hair, but with no trace of weakness in his fine, distinguished face. His aquiline nose, broad forehead and grey 'devil's' eyebrows might well have replaced those of the cavalier in the Van Dyck that gazed down from the opposite wall. Instead of the conventional black, he wore a claret coloured vicuna smoking suit, with silk lapels and braided fastenings; this touch of colour increased his likeness to the portrait. He broke the silence suddenly.
'Have you by any chance ever heard of a Mr. Mocata, Rex?'
'Nope. Who is he anyway?'
'A new friend of Simon's who has been staying with him these last few months.'
'What-at his Club?'
'No-no, Simon no longer lives at his Club. I thought you knew. He bought a house last February, a big, rambling old place tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac off one of those quiet residential streets in St. John's Wood.'
'Why, that's right out past Regent's Park-isn't it? What's he want with a place out there when there are any number of nice little houses to let in Mayfair?'
'Another mystery, my friend.' The Duke's thin lips creased into a smile. 'He said he wanted a garden, that's all I can tell you.'
'Simon! A garden!' Rex chuckled. 'That's a good story I'll say. Simon doesn't know a geranium from a fuchsia. His botany is limited to an outsized florist's bill for bunching his women friends from shops, and why should a bachelor like Simon start running a big house at all?'
'Perhaps Mr. Mocata could tell you,' murmured De Richleau mildly, 'or the queer servant that he has imported,'
'Have you ever seen this bird-Mocata I mean?'
'Yes, I called one evening about six weeks ago. Simon was out so Mocata received me.'
'And what did you make of him?'
'I disliked him intensely. He's a pot-bellied, bald-headed person of about sixty, with large, protuberant, fishy eyes, limp hands, and a most unattractive lisp. He reminded me of a large white slug.'
'What about this servant that you mention?'
'I only saw him for a moment when he crossed the hall, but he reminded me in a most unpleasant way of the Bogey Man with whom I used to be threatened in my infancy.'
'Why, is he a black?'
'Yes. A Malagasy I should think.'
Rex frowned. 'Now what in heck is that?'
'A native of Madagascar. They are a curious people, half-Negro and half-Polynesian. This great brute stands about six foot eight, and the one glimpse I had of his eyes made me want to shoot him on sight. He's a "bad black" if ever I saw one, and I've travelled, as you know, in my time.'
'Do you know any more about these people?' asked Rex grimly.
'Not a thing.'
'Well, I'm not given to worry, but I've heard quite enough to get me scared for Simon. He's in some jam or he'd never be housing people like that.'
The Duke gently laid the long, blue-grey ash of his cigar in the onyx ash-tray. 'There is not a doubt,' he said slowly, 'that Simon is involved in some very queer business, but I have been stifling my anxiety until your arrival. You see I wanted to hear your views before taking the very exceptional step of -yes butting in-is the expression, on the private affairs of even so intimate a friend. The question is now-what are we to do?'
'Do!' Rex thrust back his chair and drew himself up to his full magnificent height. 'We're going up to that house to have a little heart-to-heart talk with Simon-right now!'
'I'm glad,' said De Richleau quietly, 'you feel like that, be cause I ordered the car for half past ten. Shall we go?'
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Деннис Уитли. THE DEVIL RIDES OUT