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The Making of a Soul   By:

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Author of " The Desert Dreamers ," " The Will of Allah ," " The Lure of the Desert ," " Flower of Grass ," etc .

London: Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row


Barry Raymond drew the latchkey out of the door and entered his small flat in Kensington just as the clock in the tiny hall chimed the hour of ten.

It was a wet night; and he drew off his Burberry and hung it up with a sense of pleasure in being again in his cosy little eyrie at the top of the chilly stone steps.

Humming a tune, he crossed the diminutive hall and went into the sitting room, where the cheerful crackle of a small wood fire gave an air of comfort to the hearth.

On the table, where his admirable man servant had placed it, was a tray bearing glasses, a siphon and a bottle of whisky; and beside the tray were the few letters which had come by the last post; while in a conspicuous place lay a telegram in its tawny envelope; and this, naturally enough, was the first thing Barry touched.

Taking it up, he tore it open decisively; and as the envelope fell to the ground he unfolded the pink paper and read the message scrawled thereon.

"Just arrived Southampton will be with you about ten o'clock. OWEN."

The paper fluttered to the floor and Barry consulted his watch hastily.

"Ten o'clock! Why, it's that now. So Owen's home. By Jove, what an unlucky day he's chosen!"

He stood still for a moment, rapt, it would seem, in contemplation of an unpleasant vision. Then with a shrug of his shoulders he moved to the fireplace and turned on more light.

"Well, it'll have to be done sooner or later; but" for a second a rueful smile lit up his despondent young face "I wish I hadn't got to do it ... and at ten o'clock at night into the bargain!"

He looked round him as though considering some serious matter.

"Food and drink. Here's drink, anyhow. What about food?"

Seizing a hand lamp from the bureau at his elbow, he quitted the room and made for the kitchen, which his man had left, as usual, in the perfection of neatness on his departure two hours ago.

Hastening to the cupboard which did duty, in the flat, for a pantry, Barry flung open the door and surveyed the shelves with anxious eyes.

Ah! There was plenty of food, of a sort, and suddenly Barry remembered, with gratitude, the fact that he had intended to dine at home, and had been prevented doing so at the eleventh hour owing to an unexpected invitation which he had then regarded as an unmitigated bore, but now looked upon as a direct interposition of Providence.

A cold roast chicken, an apple tart and cream, cheese and biscuits surely the traveller could make a meal off these provisions, and Barry carried them gaily into the sitting room and laid the table with much good will and no little celerity.

Knives, forks, glasses for he intended to share the meal salt, pepper, bread in a dozen light hearted journeys he managed to bring everything he considered necessary; and he was just standing back to admire his own handiwork when the electric bell pealed loudly through the silent flat.

"Here he is, by Jove!" Barry all but dropped the vase of chrysanthemums he was carrying to the table, and setting it down hastily he went to the door, in a flutter of anticipation, of hospitality, and, if the truth be told, of nervousness.

Opening the door:

"Is that you, Owen?" he asked a superfluous question, for he knew his visitor well enough. "Come in, old chap you must be soaked it's a frightful night!"

"Soaked I should just say I am!" Owen Rose accepted the invitation and stepped inside, shaking himself like a dog as he did so. "Lord, Barry, what a climate! I declare I'd sooner live in Timbuctoo!"

"Oh, the climate's all right only a bit moist," returned Barry philosophically. "But come on in take off your coat and come to the fire. Any luggage?"

"No, I've sent it on to my place." He drew himself out of his big coat as he spoke. "I thought I'd come up and see you for half an hour first of all... Continue reading book >>

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