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Phantom Wires A Novel   By: (1874-1950)

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[Frontispiece: "She turned with a start, though her loss of self possession lasted but a moment."]

PHANTOM WIRES

A Novel

BY

ARTHUR STRINGER

Author of "The Wire Tappers," "The Loom of Destiny," etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY

ARTHUR WILLIAM BROWN

BOSTON

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

Copyright, 1908,

BY ARTHUR STRINGER.

Copyright, 1907,

BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

All Rights Reserved.

I

It's the bad that's in the best of us Leaves the saint so like the rest of us: It's the good in the darkest curst of us Redeems and saves the worst of us.

II

It's the muddle of hope and madness, It's the tangle of good and badness, It's the lunacy linked with sanity, Makes up and mocks Humanity!

A. S.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE END OF THE TETHER II. THE AZURE COAST III. THE SHADOWING PAST IV. THE WIDENING ROAD V. THE GREAT DIVIDE VI. THE WOMAN SPEAKS VII. OUR FRIEND THE ENEMY VIII. "FOREIGNERS ARE FOOLS" IX. THE LARK IN THE RUINS X. THE TIGHTENING COIL XI. THE INTOXICATION OF WAR XII. THE DOORWAY OF SURPRISE XIII. "THE FOLLY OF GRANDEUR" XIV. AWAKENING VOICES XV. WIRELESS MESSAGES XVI. BROKEN INSULATION XVII. THE TANGLED SKEIN XVIII. THE SEVERED KNOT XIX. THE ULTIMATE OUTCAST XX. THE SPIDER AND THE FLY XXI. THE PIT OF DESPAIR XXII. THE ENTERING WEDGE XXIII. THE WAKING CIRCUIT XXIV. THE GHOSTS OF THOUGHT XXV. THE RULING PASSION XXVI. THE CROWN OF IRON XXVII. THE STRAITS OF CHANCE XXVIII. THE HUMAN ELEMENT XXIX. THE LAST DITCH XXX. ONE YEAR LATER AN EPILOGUE

PHANTOM WIRES

CHAPTER I

THE END OF THE TETHER

Durkin folded the printed pages of the newspaper with no outward sign of excitement. Then he took out his money, quietly, and counted it, with meditative and pursed up lips.

His eyes fell on a paltry handful of silver, with the dulled gold of one worn napoleon showing from its midst. He remembered, suddenly, that it was the third time he had counted that ever lightening handful since partaking of his frugal coffee and rolls that morning. So he dropped the coins back into his pocket, dolefully, one by one, and took the deep breath of a man schooling himself to face the unfaceable.

Then he looked about the room, almost vacuously, as though the old fashioned wooden bed and the faded curtains and the blank walls might hold some oracular answer to the riddle that lay before him. Then he went to the open window, and looked out, almost as vacuously, over the unbroken blue distance of the Mediterranean, trembling into soft ribbons of silver where the wind rippled its surface, yellowing into a fluid gold towards the path of the lowering sun, deepening, again, into a brooding turquoise along the flat rim of the sea to the southward where the twin tranquilities of sky and water met.

It was the same unaltering Mediterranean, the same expanse of eternal sapphire that he had watched from the same Riviera window, day in and day out, with the same vague but unceasing terror of life and the same forlorn sense of helplessness before currents of destiny that week by week seemed to grow too strong for him. He turned away from the soft, exotic loveliness of the sea and sky before him, with a little gesture of impatience. The movement was strangely like that of a feverish invalid turning from the ache of an opened shutter.

Durkin took up the newspaper once more, and unfolded it with listlessly febrile fingers. It was the Paris edition of "The Herald," four days old. Still again, and quite mechanically now, he read the familiar advertisement. It was the same message, word for word, that had first caught his eye as he had sipped his coffee in the little palm grown garden of the Hotel Bristol, in Gibraltar, nearly three weeks before. "Presence of James L. Durkin, electrical expert, essential at office of Stephens & Streeter, patent solicitors, etc., Empire Building, New York City, before contracts can be culminated... Continue reading book >>




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