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A Chinese Command A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas   By: (1851-1922)

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A Chinese Command, A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas, by Harry Collingwood.

We have two confessions to make before we tell you about the story. The first is to say that there are two missing pages from the copy of the book we used, 223 and 224, the last two pages of chapter 14, rather an exciting moment in the story. We shall try to get photocopies of these pages, but it will take time.

The second one will make you laugh: The Chinese Admiral Wong Li, who plays a big part in the book, was always being read by the audiobook program as "wong fifty one". No doubt you can see why. So I changed his name, with apologies, to Wong lih, thus restoring the correct pronunciation, and not making a huge difference to the story.

Frobisher is a cashiered Royal Navy ex officer. He is approached to run some arms to the rebels in Korea, and thus make his fortune. This fails, and the arms get into the hands of the legitimate government. After some vicissitudes he finds himself in China, and talking to the above admiral, who offers him the command of a battleship, with the prospect of taking part in a war against Japan. He does this but loses his ship in a storm towards the end of the book. Meanwhile he has found the lost millions hidden away by Genghiz Khan many centuries beforehand. He has no hesitation in purloining these, and eventually on getting back to England, buying his way back into grace by presenting the nation with a number of brand new battleships, for which bit of sleaze he is given a baronetcy, and restored to the Navy List.

It makes a good audiobook. NH.




A furious gust of wind tore down the chimney, blowing the smoke out into the small but cosily furnished sitting room of the little cottage at Kingston on Thames, and sending a shower of sparks hissing and spluttering on to the hearth rug, where they were promptly trodden out by a tall, fair haired young giant, who lazily removed his feet from a chair on which they reposed, for the purpose.

This operation concluded, he replaced his feet on the chair with deliberation, re arranged a cushion behind his head, leaned back luxuriously, and started hunting in his pocket for matches wherewith to light his pipe, which had gone out.

"Beastly night for a dog to be out, much more a human being," he soliloquised. "Poor old Murray's sure to be drenched when he gets back, as well as frozen to the bone. Let's see is everything ready for him? Yes, there are his slippers warming before the fire hope none of those sparks burnt a hole in 'em likewise dry coat, shirt, and trousers; that ought to do him all right. I hope to goodness the poor old chap's got some encouragement to day, if nothing else, for he's fearfully down on his luck, and no mistake. And, between me and those fire irons there, I'm getting almost afraid to let him out of my sight, for fear he'll go and do something foolish though, to be sure, he's hardly that kind of fellow, when one comes to think of it. However, he should be in very soon now, and then I, shall learn the news."

Having delivered himself of this monologue, Dick Penryn lit his pipe, took up the book he had been reading, and was soon deep in the pages of Theophile Gautier's Voyage en l'Orient .

Dick Penryn and Murray Frobisher, the friend to whom he had been alluding, were chums of many years' standing. They had been born within a few months of one another Frobisher being slightly the elder in the same Devon village; had attended the same school in Plymouth Mannamead House, to be exact; had gone to the same college together, and had passed into the British Navy within a year of one another Frobisher being again first in the race... Continue reading book >>

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