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The Malefactor   By: (1866-1946)

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by E. Phillips Oppenheim


BOOK I Chapter

I. A Society Scandal II. Outside the Pale III. A Student of Character IV. A Delicate Mission V. The Gospel of Hate VI. "Hast Thou Found Me, O Mine Enemy?" VII. Lord of the Manor VIII. The Heart of a Child IX. The Sword of Damocles X. A Forlorn Hope XI. Professor Sinclair's Dancing Academy XII. Mephistopheles on a Steamer XIII. A Cockney Conspirator XIV. The Moth and the Candle XV. "Devil Take the Hindmost" XVI. The Hidden Hand


I. "Mr. Wingrave, From America" II. The Shadow of a Fear III. Juliet Asks Questions IV. Lady Ruth's Last Card V. Guardian and Ward VI. Ghosts of Dead Things. VII. Spreading the Net VIII. In the Toils IX. The Indiscretion of the Marchioness X. "I am Misanthropos, and Hate Mankind" XI. Juliet Gains Experience XII. Nemesis at Work XIII. Richardson Tries Again XIV. "It Was an Accident" XV. Aynesworth Plans a Love Story XVI. A Deed of Gift XVII. For Pity's Sake XVIII. A Dream of Paradise XIX. The Awakening XX. Revenge is Bitter XXI. The Way of Peace XXII. "Love Shall Make all Things New"



Tall and burly, with features and skin hardened by exposure to the sun and winds of many climates, he looked like a man ready to face all hardships, equal to any emergency. Already one seemed to see the clothes and habits of civilization falling away from him, the former to be replaced by the stern, unlovely outfit of the war correspondent who plays the game. They crowded round him in the club smoking room, for these were his last few minutes. They had dined him, toasted him, and the club loving cup had been drained to his success and his safe return. For Lovell was a popular member of this very Bohemian gathering, and he was going to the Far East, at a few hours' notice, to represent one of the greatest of English dailies.

A pale, slight young man, who stood at this right hand, was speaking. His name was Walter Aynesworth, and he was a writer of short stories a novelist in embryo.

"What I envy you most, Lovell," he declared, "is your escape from the deadly routine of our day by day life. Here in London it seems to me that we live the life of automatons. We lunch, we dine, we amuse or we bore ourselves, and we sleep and all the rest of the world does the same. Passion we have outgrown, emotion we have destroyed by analysis. The storms which shake humanity break over other countries. What is there left to us of life? Civilization ministers too easily to our needs, existence has become a habit. No wonder that we are a tired race."

"Life is the same, the world over," another man remarked. "With every forward step in civilization, life must become more mechanical. London is no worse than Paris, or Paris than Tokyo."

Aynesworth shook his head. "I don't agree with you," he replied. "It is the same, more or less, with all European countries, but the Saxon temperament, with its mixture of philosophy and philistinism, more than any other, gravitates towards the life mechanical. Existence here has become fossilized. We wear a mask upon our faces; we carry a gauge for our emotions. Lovell is going where the one great force of primitive life remains. He is going to see war. He is going to breathe an atmosphere hot with naked passion; he is going to rub shoulders with men who walk hand in hand with death. That's the sort of tonic we all want, to remind us that we are human beings with blood in our veins, and not sawdust stuffed dolls."

Then Lovell broke silence. He took his pipe from his mouth, and he addressed Aynesworth.

"Walter," he said, "you are talking rot. There is nothing very complex or stimulating about the passion of war, when men kill one another unseen; where you feel the sting in your heart which comes from God knows where, and you crumple up, with never a chance to have a go at the chap who has potted you from the trenches, or behind a rock, a thousand yards off... Continue reading book >>

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