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Helena's Path   By: (1863-1933)

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First Page:

Helena's Path

By

ANTHONY HOPE

AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HARNESS TRISTRAM OF BLENT ETC.

[Illustration]

GARDEN CITY NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

1912

Copyright, 1907, by Anthony Hope Hawkins

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I AMBROSE, LORD LYNBOROUGH 3

II LARGELY TOPOGRAPHICAL 15

III OF LAW AND NATURAL RIGHTS 33

IV THE MESSAGE OF A PADLOCK 52

V THE BEGINNING OF WAR 70

VI EXERCISE BEFORE BREAKFAST 90

VII ANOTHER WEDGE! 110

VIII THE MARCHESA MOVES 127

IX LYNBOROUGH DROPS A CATCH 148

X IN THE LAST RESORT 171

XI AN ARMISTICE 186

XII AN EMBASSAGE 206

XIII THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST 223

HELENA'S PATH

Chapter One

AMBROSE, LORD LYNBOROUGH

Common opinion said that Lord Lynborough ought never to have had a peerage and forty thousand a year; he ought to have had a pound a week and a back bedroom in Bloomsbury. Then he would have become an eminent man; as it was, he turned out only a singularly erratic individual.

So much for common opinion. Let no more be heard of its dull utilitarian judgements! There are plenty of eminent men at the moment, it is believed, no less than seventy Cabinet and ex Cabinet Ministers (or thereabouts) to say nothing of Bishops, Judges, and the British Academy, and all this in a nook of the world! (And the world too is a point!) Lynborough was something much more uncommon; it is not, however, quite easy to say what. Let the question be postponed; perhaps the story itself will answer it.

He started life or was started in it in a series of surroundings of unimpeachable orthodoxy Eton, Christ Church, the Grenadier Guards. He left each of these schools of mental culture and bodily discipline, not under a cloud that metaphor would be ludicrously inept but in an explosion. That, having been thus shot out of the first, he managed to enter the second that, having been shot out of the second, he walked placidly into the third that, having been shot out of the third, he suffered no apparent damage from his repeated propulsions these are matters explicable only by a secret knowledge of British institutions. His father was strong, his mother came of stock even stronger; he himself Ambrose Caverly as he then was was very popular, and extraordinarily handsome in his unusual outlandish style.

His father being still alive and, though devoted to him, by now apprehensive of his doings his means were for the next few years limited. Yet he contrived to employ himself. He took a soup kitchen and ran it; he took a yacht and sank it; he took a public house, ruined it, and got himself severely fined for watering the beer in the Temperance interest. This injustice rankled in him deeply, and seems to have permanently influenced his development. For a time he forsook the world and joined a sect of persons who called themselves "Theo philanthropists" and surely no man could call himself much more than that? Returning to mundane affairs, he refused to pay his rates, stood for Parliament in the Socialist interest, and, being defeated, declared himself a practical follower of Count Tolstoi. His father advising a short holiday, he went off and narrowly escaped being shot somewhere in the Balkans, owing to his having taken too keen an interest in local politics. (He ought to have been shot; he was clear and even vehement on that point in a letter which he wrote to The Times .) Then he sent for Leonard Stabb, disappeared in company with that gentleman, and was no more seen for some years.

He could always send for Stabb, so faithful was that learned student's affection for him. A few years Ambrose Caverly's senior, Stabb had emerged late and painfully from a humble origin and a local grammar school, had gone up to Oxford as a non collegiate man, had gained a first class and a fellowship, and had settled down to a life of research... Continue reading book >>




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