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No Defense   By: (1862-1932)

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First Page:

NO DEFENSE

By Gilbert Parker

CONTENTS

BOOK I. I. THE TWO MEET II. THE COMING OF A MESSENGER III. THE QUARREL IV. THE DUEL V. THE KILLING OF ERRIS BOYNE VI. DYCK IN PRISON VII. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER VIII. DYCK'S FATHER VISITS HIM IX. A LETTER FROM SHEILA

BOOK II X. DYCK CALHOUN ENTERS THE WORLD AGAIN XI. WHITHER NOW? XII. THE HOUR BEFORE THE MUTINY XIII. TO THE WEST INDIES XIV. IN THE NICK OF TIME XV. THE ADMIRAL HAS HIS SAY

BOOK III XVI. A LETTER XVII. STRANGERS ARRIVE XVIII. AT SALEM XIX. LORD MALLOW INTERVENES XX. OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE PHILISTINES XXI. THE CLASH OF RACE XXII. SHEILA HAS HER SAY XXIII. THE COMING OF NOREEN XXIV. WITH THE GOVERNOR XXV. THEN WHAT HAPPENED

CHAPTER I. THE TWO MEET

"Well, good bye, Dyck. I'll meet you at the sessions, or before that at the assizes."

It was only the impulsive, cheery, warning exclamation of a wild young Irish spirit to his friend Dyck Calhoun, but it had behind it the humour and incongruity of Irish life.

The man, Dyck Calhoun, after whom were sent the daring words about the sessions and the assizes, was a year or two older than his friend, and, as Michael Clones, his servant and friend, said, "the worst and best scamp of them all" just up to any harmless deviltry.

Influenced by no traditions or customs, under control of no stern records of society, Calhoun had caused some trouble in his time by the harmless deeds of a scapegrace, but morally that is, in all relations of life affected by the ten commandments he was above reproach. Yet he was of the sort who, in days of agitation, then common in Ireland, might possibly commit some act which would bring him to the sessions or the assizes. There never was in Ireland a cheerier, braver, handsomer fellow, nor one with such variety of mind and complexity of purpose.

He was the only child of a high placed gentleman; he spent all the money that came his way, and occasionally loaded himself with debt, which his angry father paid. Yet there never was a gayer heart, a more generous spirit, nor an easier tempered man; though, after all, he was only twenty five when the words with which the tale opens were said to him.

He had been successful yet none too successful at school and Trinity College, Dublin. He had taken a pass degree, when he might have captured the highest honours. He had interested people of place in the country, but he never used promptly the interest he excited. A pretty face, a fishing or a shooting expedition, a carouse in some secluded tavern, were parts of his daily life.

At the time the story opens he was a figure of note among those who spent their time in criticizing the government and damning the Irish Parliament. He even became a friend of some young hare brained rebels of the time; yet no one suspected him of anything except irresponsibility. His record was clean; Dublin Castle was not after him.

When his young friend made the remark about the sessions and assizes, Calhoun was making his way up the rocky hillside to take the homeward path to his father's place, Playmore. With the challenge and the monstrous good bye, a stone came flying up the hill after him and stopped almost at his feet. He made no reply, however, but waved a hand downhill, and in his heart said:

"Well, maybe he's right. I'm a damned dangerous fellow, there's no doubt about that. Perhaps I'll kill a rebel some day, and then they'll take me to the sessions and the assizes. Well, well, there's many a worse fate than that, so there is."

After a minute he added:

"So there is, dear lad, so there is. But if I ever kill, I'd like it to be in open fight on the hills like this like this, under the bright sun, in the soft morning, with all the moor and valleys still, and the larks singing the larks singing! Hooray, but it's a fine day, one of the best that ever was!"

He laughed, and patted his gun gently... Continue reading book >>




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