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The Gay Adventure A Romance   By: (1881-1965)

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First Page:

THE GAY ADVENTURE

A ROMANCE

By RICHARD BIRD

Author of THE FORWARD IN LOVE

WITH FRONTISPIECE BY F. VAUX WILSON

INDIANAPOLIS THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1914 THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

PRESS OF BRAUNWORTH & CO. BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS BROOKLYN, N. Y.

TO BETTY

My book the Critics may abhor The Public, too. But, all the same, This Page at least is Golden, for It bears the imprint of your name.

[Illustration: It was Beatrice at last!]

CONTENTS

I THE IMPOVERISHED HERO AND THE SURPASSING DAMSEL

II BEHIND THE SCENES

III CONFIDENCES

IV BREAKERS AHEAD!

V THE PLOT THICKENS

VI THE HISTORY OF HENRY BROWN

VII MR. HEDDERWICK'S FIRST ADVENTURE

VIII A TALE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

IX ENTER TONY WILD

X HOW TO DRESS ON NOTHING A YEAR

XI AT THE HAPPY HEART

XII CROSSED ORBITS

XIII RATHER STAGY

XIV A RISE IN THE WORLD

XV A CHANGE OF LODGING

XVI A LETTER AND SOME REFLECTIONS

XVII OFF WITH THE OLD LOVE

XVIII TONY AT WORK AND PLAY

XIX THE PLOT AGAIN THICKENS

XX THRILL UPON THRILL

XXI THE THORNY PATH

XXII A TELEGRAM AND SUNDRIES

XXIII STILL RUNNING

XXIV CERTAINTY AHA!

XXV THE GOD OF THE MACHINE

XXVI THE USUAL THING

THE GAY ADVENTURE

CHAPTER I

THE IMPOVERISHED HERO AND THE SURPASSING DAMSEL

Mr. Lionel Mortimer was a young gentleman of few intentions and no private means. Good humored, by no means ill looking, and with engaging manners, he was the type of man of whom one would have prophesied great things. His natural gaiety and address were more than enough to carry him over the early stages of acquaintanceship, but subsequent meetings were doomed to end in disillusion. His cheerful outlook on life would be as much to your taste as ever; but the want of a definite aim and an obvious inability to convert his talents into cash made you shake your head doubtfully. A charming fellow, of course, but unpractical ... the kind of man who is popular with all but match making mothers.

He lived in two rooms in an obscure street off the Strand, and at the time when we make his acquaintance he has just finished a meal that stamps the lower middle classes and the impecunious to wit, high tea. For the benefit of gastronomers it may be stated that it included herrings, a loaf of bread, some butter of repellent aspect, and strawberry jam. Lionel has lighted his pipe and seated himself at the window to enjoy as much of a June evening as can be enjoyable in a London back street. He has not emitted three puffs of smoke before a tap at the door heralds the entrance of his landlady.

Mrs. Barker, a woman of commanding presence and dressed in rusty black, came into the room. She did not utter a word, not even the conventional remark that it was a fine night or that the evenings would soon begin to draw in now. With a funereal but businesslike demeanor she began to remove the d├ębris of the meal, at intervals giving vent to a rasping cough or a malignant sniff. Of her presence Lionel seemed oblivious, for he continued sitting with his back to the door, gazing with apparent interest into the street. This, perhaps, was curious, for the street was but a lane with little traffic and no features worthy of note. Nor was the building opposite calculated to inspire the most sedulous observer, being merely the blank wall of a warehouse. Not a single window relieved the monotony, usually so painful to the artist or the adventurer. And yet Lionel puffed at his pipe, gazing silently in front of him as if at a masterpiece by Whistler.

When the landlady had transferred the tea things to a tray, shaken the crumbs from the table cloth into the empty grate and folded it, she nerved herself for a direct attack. Placing her arms akimbo an attitude usually denoting truculent defiance or a pleasurable sense of injustice she pronounced her lodger's name... Continue reading book >>




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