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My Strangest Case   By: (1867-1905)

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My Strangest Case

By Guy Boothby

Author of "Dr. Nikola," "The Beautiful White Devil," "Pharos, the Egyptian," etc.

Illustrated by L.J. Bridgman and P. Hard

Originally Published 1901

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"A DARK, NARROW HOLE, THE BOTTOM OF WHICH IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE."

"'LOOK HERE,' HE CRIED, 'IT'S THE BANK OF ENGLAND IN EACH HAND.'"

"'POOR DEVIL,' SAID GREGORY. 'HE SEEMS TO BE ON HIS LAST LEGS.'"

"HE FELL WITH A CRASH AT MY FEET."

"'LET'S OUT HIM, BILL,' SAID THE TALLER OF THE TWO MEN."

"'HOW DO YOU DO, MR. FAIRFAX?' SAID MISS KITWATER."

"IN HIS HAND HE HELD A REVOLVER."

"THE WOODWORK SNAPPED, AND THE TWO MEN FELL OVER THE EDGE."

MY STRANGEST CASE

~INTRODUCTION~

PART I

I am of course prepared to admit that there are prettier places on the face of this earth of ours than Singapore; there are, however, I venture to assert, few that are more interesting, and certainly none that can afford a better study of human life and character. There, if you are so disposed, you may consider the subject of British Rule on the one hand, and the various aspects of the Chinese question on the other. If you are a student of languages you will be able to hear half the tongues of the world spoken in less than an hour's walk, ranging say from Parisian French to Pigeon English; you shall make the acquaintance of every sort of smell the human nose can manipulate, from the sweet perfume of the lotus blossom to the diabolical odour of the Durien; and every sort of cooking from a dainty vol au vent to a stuffed rat. In the harbour the shipping is such as, I feel justified in saying, you would encounter in no other port of its size in the world. It comprises the stately man of war and the Chinese Junk; the P. and O., the Messagerie Maritime, the British India and the Dutch mail boat; the homely sampan, the yacht of the globe trotting millionaire, the collier, the timber ship, and in point of fact every description of craft that plies between the Barbarian East and the Civilized West. The first glimpse of the harbour is one that will never be forgotten; the last is usually associated with a desire that one may never set eyes on it again. He who would, of his own free will, settle down for life in Singapore, must have acquired the tastes of a salamander, and the sensibility of a frog.

Among its other advantages, Singapore numbers the possession of a multiplicity of hotels. There is stately Raffles, where the globe trotters do mostly take up their abode, also the Hôtel de l'Europe, whose virtues I can vouch for; but packed away in another and very different portion of the town, unknown to the wealthy G.T., and indeed known to only a few of the white inhabitants of Singapore itself, there exists a small hostelry owned by a lynx eyed Portuguese, which rejoices in the name of the Hotel of the Three Desires. Now, every man, who by mischance or deliberate intent, has entered its doors, has his own notions of the meaning of its name; the fact, however, remains that it is there, and that it is regularly patronized by individuals of a certain or uncertain class, as they pass to and fro through the Gateway of the Further East. This in itself is strange, inasmuch as it is said that the proprietor rakes in the dollars by selling liquor that is as bad as it can possibly be, in order that he may get back to Lisbon before he receives that threatened knife thrust between the ribs which has been promised him so long. There are times, as I am unfortunately able to testify, when the latter possibility is not so remote as might be expected. Taken altogether, however, the Hotel of the Three Desires is an excellent place to take up one's abode, provided one is not desirous of attracting too much attention in the city. As a matter of fact its patrons, for some reason of their own, are more en evidence after nightfall than during the hours of daylight. They are also frugal of speech as a rule, and are chary of forming new acquaintances. When they know each other well, however, it is surprising how affable they can become... Continue reading book >>




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