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The Daredevil   By: (1872-1924)

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THE DAREDEVIL

By

MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS

Author of "The Melting of Molly," "Miss Selina Lue," "Over Paradise Ridge, etc."

1916

[Illustration]

Frontispiece from Painting by E. Sophonisba Hergesheimer

To Jessie Morson Grahame Who expects "the best" of me

CONTENTS

I SPARKLING WAVES OVER HIGH EXPLOSIVES

II VIVE LA FRANCE!

III THAT MR. G. SLADE OF DETROIT

IV THE IMPOSSIBLE UNCLE ROBERT

V "HERE'S MY BOY, GOVERNOR"

VI "WE BOTH NEED YOU"

VII THE GIRL BUNCH

VIII IN THE DRESS OF MAGNIFICENCE

IX "O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE "

X VITRIOL AND THE HOODOO

XI BUSINESS AND PIE

XII THE BEAUTIFUL MADAM WHITWORTH

XIII BROTHERS BY BLOODSHED

XIV TO BEAR MEN AND TO SAVE THEM

XV "BEHOLD, I AM A SPY!"

XVI "IMMEDIATELY I COME TO YOU!"

XVII THE TALL TIMBERS OF OLD HARPETH

XVIII THE CAMP HEAVEN

XIX ALL IS LOST

XX "YOU ARE MYSELF!"

CHAPTER I

SPARKLING WAVES OVER HIGH EXPLOSIVES

Was there ever a woman who did not very greatly desire for herself, at long moments, the doublet and hose of a man, perhaps also his sword, as well as his attitude in the viewing of life? I think not. To a very small number of those ladies of great curiosity it has been granted that they climb to those ramparts of the life of a man; but it was needful that they be stout of limb and sturdy of heart to sustain themselves upon that eminence and not be dashed below upon the rocks of a strange land. I, Roberta, Marquise de Grez and Bye, have obtained glimpses into a far country and this is what I bring on returning, not as a spy, but, shall I say, laden with spices and forbidden fruit?

And for me it has been a very fine dash into the wilds of a land of strangeness, and I do not know that I have yet found myself completely returned unto my estate of a woman.

I first began to realize that I was set out upon a great journey when I stood at the rail of the very large ship and watched it plow its way through the waves which they told us with their splendor hid cruel mines. I felt the future might be like unto those great waves, and it might be that it would break in sparkling crests over high explosives. I found them!

I had seen a fear of those explosives of life come in my dying father's eyes, and here I stood at his command out on the ocean in quest of a woman's fate in a strange country.

"Get back to America, Bob, and go straight to your Uncle Robert at Hayesville in the Harpeth Valley. He cut me loose because he didn't understand, when I married your mother out of the French opera in Paris. When I named you Roberta for him he returned the letter I sent but with a notice of a thousand dollars in Monroe and Company for you. I didn't tell him when your mother died. God, I've been bitter! But these German bullets have cut the life out of me and I see more plainly. Get the money and take Nannette and the kiddie on the first boat. There's starvation and maybe worse in Paris for you. Take the money and get to brother Robert. God of America take them and guide "

And that was all. I held him in my arms for a long time, while old Nannette and small Pierre wept beside me, and then I laid him upon his pillow and straightened the little tricolor that the good Sister of the old gray convent in which he lay had given me to place in his hand when he had begged for it. My mother's country had meant my mother to him and he had given his life for her and France in the trenches of the Vosges. And thus at his bidding I was on the very high seas of adventure. From this thought of him I was very suddenly recalled by old Nannette who came upon the deck from below.

" Le bon Dieu ," she sighed, as she settled herself in her steamer chair and took out the lace knitting. "Is it not of a goodness that I have tied in my stocking the necessary francs that we may land in that America, where all is of such a good fortune? And also by my skill we have one hundred and fifty francs above that need which must be almost an hundred of their huge and wasteful dollars... Continue reading book >>




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