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Hetty Wesley   By: (1863-1944)

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E text prepared by Lionel Sear

HETTY WESLEY.

by

ARTHUR THOMAS QUILLER COUCH.

TO ANDREW LANG. A GOOD CHAMPION OF HETTY.

CONTENTS.

BOOK I.

PROLOGUE.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER VI.

CHAPTER VII.

CHAPTER VIII.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER VI.

BOOK III.

PROLOGUE.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER VI.

CHAPTER VII.

CHAPTER VIII.

CHAPTER IX.

CHAPTER X.

CHAPTER XI.

CHAPTER XII.

CHAPTER XIII.

CHAPTER XIV.

CHAPTER XV.

CHAPTER XVI.

BOOK IV.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

CHAPTER VI.

CHAPTER VII.

CHAPTER VIII.

CONCLUSION.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

EPILOGUE.

BOOK I.

PROLOGUE.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

At Surat, by a window of his private office in the East India Company's factory, a middle aged man stared out upon the broad river and the wharves below. Business in the factory had ceased for the day: clerks and porters had gone about their own affairs, and had left the great building strangely cool and empty and silent. The wharves, too, were deserted all but one, where a Hindu sat in the shade of a pile of luggage, and the top of a boat's mast wavered like the index of a balance above the edge of the landing stairs.

The luggage belonged to the middle aged man at the window: the boat was to carry him down the river to the Albemarle , East Indiaman, anchored in the roads with her Surat cargo aboard. She would sail that night for Bombay and thence away for England.

He was ready; dressed for his journey in a loose white suit, which, though designed for the East, was almost aggressively British. A Cheapside tailor had cut it, and, had it been black or gray or snuff coloured instead of white, its wearer might have passed all the way from the Docks to Temple Bar for a solid merchant on 'Change a self respecting man, too, careless of dress for appearance' sake, but careful of it for his own, and as part of a habit of neatness. He wore no wig (though the date was 1723), but his own gray hair, brushed smoothly back from a sufficiently handsome forehead and tied behind with a fresh black ribbon. In his right hand he held a straw hat, broad brimmed like a Quaker's, and a white umbrella with a green lining. His left fingered his clean shaven chin as he gazed on the river.

The ceremonies of leave taking were done with and dismissed; so far as he could, he had avoided them. He had ever been a hard man and knew well enough that the clerks disliked him. He hated humbug. He had come to India, almost forty years ago, not to make friends, but to make a fortune. And now the fortune was made, and the room behind him stood ready, spick and span, for the Scotsman who would take his chair to morrow. Drawers had been emptied and dusted, loose papers and memoranda sorted and either burnt or arranged and docketed, ledgers entered up to the last item in his firm handwriting, and finally closed. The history of his manhood lay shut between their covers, written in figures terser than a Roman classic: his grand coup in Nunsasee goods, Abdul Guffere's debt commuted for 500,000 rupees, the salvage of the Ramillies wreck, his commercial duel with Viltul Parrak . . . And the record had no loose ends. He owed no man a farthing.

The door behind him opened softly and a small gray headed man peered into the room.

"Mr. Annesley, if I might take the liberty "

"Ah, MacNab?" Samuel Annesley swung round promptly.

"I trust, sir, I do not intrude?"

"'Intrude,' man? Why?"

"Oh, nothing, sir," answered the little man vaguely, with a dubious glance at Mr... Continue reading book >>




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