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The Bandbox   By: (1879-1933)

The Bandbox by Louis Joseph Vance

First Page:

THE BANDBOX

BY LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE

The Bandbox Cynthia of the Minute No Man's Land The Fortune Hunter The Pool of Flame The Bronze Bell The Black Bag The Brass Bowl The Private War Terence O'Rourke

[Illustration: "Now, sir!" she exclaimed, turning

FRONTISPIECE. See Page 83 ]

The Bandbox

BY LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE

Author of "The Brass Bowl," "The Bronze Bell," "Cynthia of the Minute," etc.

With Four Illustrations By ARTHUR I. KELLER

A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers New York

Copyright, 1911, 1912, By Louis Joseph Vance.

All rights reserved, including those of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian

Published, April, 1912 Reprinted, April, 1912 (three times)

TO LEWIS BUDDY III

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I INTRODUCING MR. IFF 1

II THE BANDBOX 14

III TWINS 26

IV QUEENSTOWN 43

V ISMAY? 65

VI IFF? 87

VII STOLE AWAY! 109

VIII THE WRONG BOX 128

IX A LIKELY STORY 158

X DEAD O' NIGHT 177

XI THE COLD GREY DAWN 194

XII WON'T YOU WALK INTO MY PARLOUR? 216

XIII WRECK ISLAND 233

XIV THE STRONG BOX 254

XV THE ENEMY'S HAND 275

XVI NINETY MINUTES 295

XVII HOLOCAUST 312

THE BANDBOX

I

INTRODUCING MR. IFF

At half past two of a sunny, sultry afternoon late in the month of August, Mr. Benjamin Staff sat at table in the dining room of the Authors' Club, moodily munching a morsel of cheese and a segment of cast iron biscuit and wondering what he must do to be saved from the death in life of sheer ennui.

A long, lank gentleman, surprisingly thin, of a slightly saturnine cast: he was not only unhappy, he looked it. He was alone and he was lonely; he was an American and a man of sentiment (though he didn't look that ) and he wanted to go home; to sum up, he found himself in love and in London at one and the same time, and felt precisely as ill at ease in the one as in the other of these, to him, exotic circumstances.

Inconceivable as it may seem that any rational man should yearn for New York in August, that and nothing less was what Staff wanted with all his heart. He wanted to go home and swelter and be swindled by taxicab drivers and snubbed by imported head waiters; he wanted to patronise the subway at peril of asphyxiation and to walk down Fifth Avenue at that witching hour when electric globes begin to dot the dusk of evening pale moons of a world of steel and stone; he wanted to ride in elevators instead of lifts, in trolley cars instead of trams; he wanted to go to a ball game at the Polo Grounds, to dine dressed as he pleased, to insult his intelligence with a roof garden show if he felt so disposed, and to see for himself just how much of Town had been torn down in the two months of his exile and what they were going to put up in its place. He wanted, in short, his own people; more specifically he wanted just one of them, meaning to marry her if she'd have him.

Now to be homesick and lovesick all at once is a tremendously disturbing state of affairs. So influenced, the strongest men are prone to folly. Staff, for instance, had excellent reason to doubt the advisability of leaving London just then, with an unfinished play on his hands; but he was really no more than a mere, normal human being, and he did want very badly to go home. If it was a sharp struggle, it was a short one that prefaced his decision.

Of a sudden he rose, called for his bill and paid it, called for his hat and stick, got them, and resolutely yet with a furtive air, as one who would throw a dogging conscience off the scent fled the premises of his club, shaping a course through Whitehall and Charing Cross to Cockspur Street, where, with the unerring instinct of a homing pigeon, he dodged hastily into the booking office of a steamship company... Continue reading book >>




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