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Peter the Brazen A Mystery Story of Modern China   By: (1892-)

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[Transcriber's note: Characters with macrons have been indicated in this file by preceding them with an equals sign and surrounding them with square brackets, e.g. "[=e]".]

[Frontispiece: PETER, HASTILY INSTRUCTING THE GIRL TO HOLD TWO RICKSHAWS, LEAPED AT HIS PURSUER WITH DOUBLED FISTS]

PETER THE BRAZEN

A MYSTERY STORY OF MODERN CHINA

BY

GEORGE F. WORTS

"A man whose heart is burning with passion follows the undulations of a thought." Su Tong Po.

WITH A FRONTISPIECE BY GAYLE HOSKINS

PHILADELPHIA & LONDON

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

1919

COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY THE FRANK A. MUNSEY COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1919, J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

TO

DR. AND MRS. W. B. A. MOORE

HONG KONG

CONTENTS

PART I

THE CITY OF STOLEN LIVES

PART II

THE BITTER FOUNTAIN

PART III

THE GREEN DEATH

PETER THE BRAZEN

PART I

THE CITY OF STOLEN LIVES

CHAPTER I

"How serene the joy, when things that are made for each other meet and are joined; but ah, how rarely they meet and are joined, the things that are made for each other!" SAO NAN.

When Peter Moore entered the static room, picked his way swiftly and unnoticingly across the littered floor, and jerked open the frosted glass door of the chief operator's office, the assembled operators followed him with glances of admiration and concern. No one ever entered the Chief's office in that fashion. One waited until called upon.

But Moore was privileged. Having "pounded brass" for five useful and adventurous years on the worst and best of the ships which minimize the length and breadth of the Pacific Ocean, he was favored; he had become a person of importance. He had performed magical feats with a wireless machine; he had had experiences.

His first assignment was a fishing schooner, a dirty, unseaworthy little tub, which ran as far north sometimes as the Aleutians; and he had immediately gained official recognition by sticking to his instruments for sixty eight hours recorded at fifteen minute intervals in his log when the whaler Goblin encountered a submerged pinnacle rock in the Island Passage and flashed the old C.Q.D. distress signal.

It was brought out in the investigation that the distance at which Peter Moore had picked up the signals of the sinking Goblin exceeded the normal working range of either apparatus. When pressed, the young man confessed the ownership of a pair of abnormally keen ears. Afterward, it was demonstrated for the benefit of doubters that Moore could "read" signals in the receivers when the ordinary operator could detect only a far away scratching sound.

Beginning his second year in the Marconi uniform, Peter Moore was recognized as material far too valuable to waste on the fishing boats; and he was stationed on the Sierra , which was then known in wireless circles as a supervising ship. Her powerful apparatus could project out a long electric arm over any part of the eastern Pacific, and the duty of her operator was to reprimand sluggards who neglected answering calls from ship or shore stations, and inexperienced men who violated the strict rules governing radio intercourse.

It was whispered that Peter Moore grew tired of the nagging to which his position on the supervisor ship gave him privilege, for he shortly made application for a berth in the China run. Now every operator on the Pacific cherishes the hope that his fidelity will some day be rewarded by a China run, and there are applications always on file for those romantic berths. The Chief granted Peter Moore his whim unhesitatingly; and Moore selected the Vandalia , perhaps the most desirable of the transpacific fleet, because she stayed away from San Francisco the longest.

That the supersensitiveness of his ears was not waning was soon proved by his receipt of a non relayed message, afterward verified, from the shore station in Seattle, when the Vandalia lay at anchor in the harbor at Hong Kong. That was a new record... Continue reading book >>




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