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The Messenger   By: (1862-1952)

The Messenger by Elizabeth Robins

First Page:

THE MESSENGER

by

ELIZABETH ROBINS

Author of "Come and Find Me," etc.

With Illustrations by George Giguére

New York The Century Co. 1919

Copyright, 1919, by Elizabeth Robins

Copyright, 1918, 1919, by The Century Co.

Published, September, 1919

TO S. C.

[Illustration: "Now your finger print, if you please"]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"Now your finger print, if you please"

"O Gavan, save me!"

"I have a cabin below. I place it at the lady's disposal"

"The name of the man in the War Office!"

THE MESSENGER

CHAPTER I

"After all, we aren't yet living in the millennium, Julian. What I'm afraid of is that some day you'll be wanting to carry these notions of yours beyond the bounds of what's reasonable."

"You mean," said the other young man, with a flash in his dark eyes, "you mean you're afraid I may just chance to be honest in my 'notions,' as you call them, of a scheme of social justice."

As far off as you saw Gavan Napier, you knew him as a scion not only of the governing class, but in all likelihood of one of the governing families. Exactly the sort of man, you would say, to have Eton and Balliol in the past, a present as unpaid, private secretary to a member of his Majesty's Government, and a future in which the private secretary himself would belong to officialdom and employ pleasant, more or less accomplished, and more rather than less idle, young gentlemen to take down occasional notes, write an occasional letter, and see a boring constituent.

It was no boring constituent he was seeing now, out of those cool blue eyes of his, yet he followed with evident dissatisfaction the figure of a woman who had appeared an instant over the sand dunes and who, as Napier turned to look at her instead of at his ball, changed her tack and sauntered inland.

"What do you suppose she's always hanging about for?" Napier asked his companion.

"As if you didn't know!"

"Well, if you do," retorted Napier, "I wish you'd tell me."

"I shall do nothing of the kind. You're quite conceited enough." Julian shouldered his golf clubs (it was against his principles to employ a caddie) and trudged on at the side of his unencumbered friend. The eyes of both followed the lady disappearing among the dunes.

"I've seen her only two or three times," Julian said, "but I've seen she hasn't eyes for anybody except you."

" That's far from being so," Napier retorted. "But if it were, I should know the reason."

"Of course you do."

"But you don't," Napier still insisted. "The reason is I'm the only person in the house who isn't Miss von Schwarzenberg's slave."

"Oh! I took her at first for just a governess."

"She's a lot besides that!" Napier wagged his head in a curiosity provoking way.

"There's been so much to talk about since I got back," Julian went on, "or else I've been meaning to ask about her."

"She interests you?" Napier asked a little sharply.

"I confess," said Julian, "I haven't understood her position at the McIntyres."

"If I haven't it isn't from lack of data. Only," Napier wrinkled his fine brows "did you ever know a person that nothing you know about them seems to fit? That isn't grammar, but it's my feeling about that young woman."

The two played a very evenly matched game. As they walked side by side after their balls, Julian wondered from time to time whether the subject of Miss von Schwarzenberg had been introduced to prevent his reverting to that vision of his all the clearer since his tour round the world of a reconstituted society in which vested privilege should no longer have a leg to stand on. Or could it be that Gavan was seriously intrigued by the Rhine maiden who, more or less as a special favor, had consented to superintend the studies and to share the recreations of "that handful," Madge McIntyre, aged sixteen? This girl, with the boyish face and boyish tastes and boyish clothes (whose mane of flaming hair had helped to fasten on her the nickname of Wildfire McIntyre), Julian already knew slightly as the only and much spoiled daughter of Napier's chief... Continue reading book >>




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