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The Cruise of the Jasper B.   By: (1878-1937)

Book cover

First Page:

THE CRUISE OF THE JASPER B.

BY

DON MARQUIS

TO ALL THE COPYREADERS ON ALL THE NEWSPAPERS OF AMERICA

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I A BRIGHT BLADE LEAPS FROM A RUSTY SCABBARD II THE ROOM OF ILLUSION III A SCHOONER, A SKIPPER, AND A SKULL IV A BAD MAN TO CROSS V BEAUTY IN DISTRESS VI LADY AGATHA'S STORY VII FIRST BLOOD FOR CLEGGETT VIII A FLAME LEAPS OUT OF THE DARK IX MYSTERIES MULTIPLY X IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP XI REPARTEE AND PISTOLS XII THE SECOND OBLONG BOX XIII THE SOUL OF LOGAN BLACK XIV CLEGGETT STANDS BY HIS SHIP XV NIGHT, TEMPEST, LOVE AND BATTLE XVI ROMANCE REGNANT XVII MISS PRINGLE CALLS ON MR. CLEGGETT XVIII THE MAN IN THE BLUE PAJAMAS XIX TWO GREAT MEN MEET XX THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DETECTIVE XXI THE THIRD OBLONG BOX ARRIVES XXII DANCING ON THE DECK XXIII CUTLASSES XXIV THE DUEL XXV THE SECRET OF THE VESSEL'S HOLD XXVI A DOG DIES GAME XXVII CLEGGETT ACCOMMODATES THE KING

CHAPTER I

A BRIGHT BLADE LEAPS FROM A RUSTY SCABBARD

On an evening in April, 191 , Clement J. Cleggett walked sedately into the news room of the New York Enterprise with a drab colored walking stick in his hand. He stood the cane in a corner, changed his sober street coat for a more sober office jacket, adjusted a green eyeshade below his primly brushed grayish hair, unostentatiously sat down at the copy desk, and unobtrusively opened a drawer.

From the drawer he took a can of tobacco, a pipe, a pair of scissors, a paste pot and brush, a pile of copy paper, a penknife and three half lengths of lead pencil.

The can of tobacco was not remarkable. The pipe was not picturesque. The scissors were the most ordinary of scissors. The copy paper was quite undistinguished in appearance. The lead pencils had the most untemperamental looking points.

Cleggett himself, as he filled and lighted the pipe, did it in the most matter of fact sort of way. Then he remarked to the head of the copy desk, in an average kind of voice:

"H'lo, Jim."

"H'lo, Clegg," said Jim, without looking up. "Might as well begin on this bunch of early copy, I guess."

For more than ten years Cleggett had done the same thing at the same time in the same manner, six nights of the week.

What he did on the seventh night no one ever thought to inquire. If any member of the Enterprise staff had speculated about it at all he would have assumed that Cleggett spent that seventh evening in some way essentially commonplace, sober, unemotional, quiet, colorless, dull and Brooklynitish.

Cleggett lived in Brooklyn. The superficial observer might have said that Cleggett and Brooklyn were made for each other.

The superficial observer! How many there are of him! And how much he misses! He misses, in fact, everything.

At two o'clock in the morning a telegraph operator approached the copy desk and handed Cleggett a sheet of yellow paper, with the remark:

"Cleggett personal wire."

It was a night letter, and glancing at the signature Cleggett saw that it was from his brother who lived in Boston. It ran:

Uncle Tom died yesterday. Don't faint now. He splits bulk fortune between you and me. Lawyers figure nearly $500,000 each. Mostly easily negotiable securities. New will made month ago while sore at president temperance outfit. Blood thicker than Apollinaris after all. Poor Uncle Tom.

Edward.

Despite Edward's thoughtful warning, Cleggett did nearly faint. Nothing could have been less expected. Uncle Tom was an irascible prohibitionist, and one of the most deliberately disobliging men on earth. Cleggett and his brother had long ceased to expect anything from him. For twenty years it had been thoroughly understood that Uncle Tom would leave his entire estate to a temperance society. Cleggett had ceased to think of Uncle Tom as a possible factor in his life. He did not doubt that Uncle Tom had changed the will to gain some point with the officials of the temperance society, intending to change it once again after he had been deferred to, cajoled, and flattered enough to placate his vanity... Continue reading book >>




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