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Half A Chance   By: (1866-1922)

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HALF A CHANCE

BY FREDERIC S. ISHAM

AUTHOR OF UNDER THE ROSE THE LADY OF THE MOUNT, ETC.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HERMAN PFEIFER

INDIANAPOLIS THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1909 THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

OCTOBER

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

CONTENTS

PART ONE

I MR. GILLETT'S CHARGE II A MESSAGE TO THE ADMIRALTY III AN UNAPPRECIATED BOUNTY

PART TWO

I THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE II AT THE OPERA III A LESSON IN BOTANY IV TIDES VARYING V IN THE PARK VI A CONFERENCE VII INCIDENTS VIII A CHANGE OF FRONT IX AWAY FROM THE TOWN X A CONTEST XI WAYS AND MEANS XII FESTIVITIES XIII THE PRINCESS SUITE XIV AN ANSWER XV CURRENTS AND COUNTER CURRENTS XVI FLIGHT XVII THE UNEXPECTED XVIII THROUGH THE FOG XIX THE LAST SHIFT XX THE PAPER XXI A CONDITION XXII NEAR THE RIVER XXIII PAST AND PRESENT

PART ONE

CHAPTER I

MR. GILLETT'S CHARGE

"By all means, m'deah, let's go down between decks and have a look at them."

"Of course, if you wish, Sir Charles, although Do you think we shall be edified, Mr. Gillett?"

"That depends, m'lady," and the speaker, a man with official manners and ferret like eyes, shifted from one foot to another, "on what degree, or particular class of criminal your ladyship would be interested in," he added. "If in the ordinary category of skittle sharper or thimblerigger," with a suspicion of mild scorn, "then I do not imagine your ladyship would find much attraction in the present cargo. But, on the other hand," in a livelier tone, "if your ladyship has any curiosity, or shall we say, a psychological bent, regarding the real out and outer, the excursion should be to your liking. For," rubbing his hands, "a properer lot of cutthroats and bad magsmen, it has never been my privilege to escort across the equator; and this is my sixth trip to Australia!"

"How interesting! How very interesting!" The lady's voice floated languidly. "Sir Charles is quite right. We must really go down. At any rate, it will be a change, after having been shut up so long in that terrible state room."

"One moment, m'lady! There's a little formality that must be observed first."

"Formality?" And the lady, who was of portly appearance and uncertain age, gazed from the speaker standing deferentially before her, to a man of size, weight and importance seated in a comfortable chair at her side. "What does he mean, Sir Charles?"

"Regulations, m'lady m'lord!" was the answer. "No one allowed on the prisoners' deck without the captain's permission. There he is now."

"Then be good enough to beckon to him!" said the lady.

But this Mr. Gillett, agent of the police, discreetly declined to do; Captain Macpherson was a man not to be beckoned to by any one; much less by him. As he stood squarely in the center of the ship, he looked like a mariner capable of commanding his boat and all the people aboard; indeed, some of the characteristics of his vessel seemed to have entered into his own make up; the man matched the craft. Broad nosed, wide of beam, big, massive, obstinate looking, the Lord Nelson plowed aggressively through the seas. With every square sail tugging hard at her sturdy masts, she smote and over rode the waves, and, beating them down, maintained an unvarying, stubborn poise. But although she refused to vacillate or shuffle to the wooing efforts of the uneasy waters, she progressed not without noise and pother; foamed and fumed mightily at the bow and left behind her a wake, receding almost as far as the eyes might reach. Captain Macpherson looked after the bubbles, cast his glance aloft at the bulging patches of white, and then condescended to observe the agent of the police who had silently approached.

"Sir Charles and lady, and Sir Charles' party have expressed, Captain Macpherson, the desire to obtain permission to visit the prisoners' deck... Continue reading book >>




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