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The Coast of Chance   By:

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First Page:

THE COAST OF CHANCE

By

ESTHER AND LUCIA CHAMBERLAIN

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

CLARENCE F. UNDERWOOD

[Illustration: FLORA GILSEY.]

NEW YORK

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1908

THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

APRIL

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE VANISHING MYSTERY 1

II A NAME GOES ROUND A TABLE 24

III ENCOUNTERS ON PARADE 63

IV FLOWERS BY THE WAY 82

V ON GUARD 93

VI BLACK MAGIC 105

VII A SPELL IS CAST 129

VIII A SPARK OF HORROR 142

IX ILLUMINATION 162

X A LADY UNVEILED 175

XI THE MYSTERY TAKES HUMAN FORM 197

XII DISENCHANTMENT 213

XIII THRUST AND PARRY 216

XIV COMEDY CONVEYS A WARNING 231

XV A LADY IN DISTRESS 248

XVI THE HEART OF THE DILEMMA 285

XVII THE DEMIGOD 293

XVIII GOBLIN TACTICS 330

XIX THE FACE IN THE GARDEN 345

XX FLIGHT 361

XXI THE HOUSE OF QUIET 381

XXII CLARA'S MARKET 410

XXIII TOUCHE 422

XXIV THE COMIC MASK 435

XXV THE LAST ENCHANTMENT 451

THE COAST OF CHANCE

I

THE VANISHING MYSTERY

Flora Gilsey stood on the threshold of her dining room. She had turned her back on it. She swayed forward. Her bare arms were lifted. Her hands lightly caught the molding on either side of the door. She was looking intently into the mirror at the other end of the hall. All the lights in the dining room were lit, and she saw herself rather keenly set against their brilliance. The straight held head, the lifted arms, the short, slender waist, the long, long sweep of her skirts made her seem taller than she actually was; and the strong, bright growth of her hair and the vivacity of her face made her seem more deeply colored.

She had poised there for the mere survey of a new gown, but after a moment of dwelling on her own reflection she found herself considering it only as an object in the foreground of a picture. That picture, seen through the open door, reflected in the glass, was all of a bright, hard glitter, all a high, harsh tone of newness. In its paneled oak, in its glare of cut glass and silver, in the shining vacant faces of its floors and walls, there was not a color that filled the eye, not a shadow where imagination could find play. As a background for herself it struck her as incongruous. Like a child looking at the landscape upside down, she felt herself in a foreign country. Yet it was hers. She turned about to bring it into familiar association. There was nothing wrong with it. But its great capacity suggested large parties rather than close intimacies. In the high lift of its ceilings, the ample openings of its doors, the swept, garnished, polished beauty of its cold surfaces, it proclaimed itself conceived, created and decorated for large, fine functions. She thought whimsically that any one who knew her, coming into her house, would realize that some one other than herself had the ordering of it.

She glanced over the table. It was set for three. It lacked nothing but the serving of dinner. She looked at the clock. It wanted a few minutes to the hour. Shima, the Japanese butler, came in softly with the evening papers. She took them from him. Nothing bored her so much as a paper, but to night she knew it contained something she really wanted to see. She opened one of the damp sheets at the page of sales.

There it was at the head of the column in thick black type:

AT AUCTION, FEBRUARY 18 PERSONAL ESTATE OF ELIZABETH HUNTER CHATWORTH CONSISTING OF

She read the details with interest down to the end, where the name of the "famous Chatworth ring" finished the announcement with a flourish... Continue reading book >>




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