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Ravensdene Court   By: (1863-1935)

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First Page:

RAVENSDENE COURT

by

J. S. FLETCHER

New York Alfred A. Knopf MCMXXII

Copyright, 1922, by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Published July, 1922

CONTENTS

I THE INN ON THE CLIFF 9

II RAVENSDENE COURT 21

III THE MORNING TIDE 34

IV THE TOBACCO BOX 46

V THE NEWS FROM DEVONPORT 58

VI SECRET THEFT 71

VII YELLOWFACE 84

VIII WAS IT A WOMAN? 96

IX THE ENLARGED PHOTOGRAPH 108

X THE YELLOW SEA 120

XI THE FIVE CONCLUSIONS 133

XII NETHERFIELD BAXTER 145

XIII THE SPOILS OF SACRILEGE 157

XIV SOLOMON FISH 169

XV MR. JALLANBY SHIP BROKER 181

XVI THE PATHLESS WOOD 193

XVII HUMFREY DE KNAYTHVILLE 206

XVIII THE PLUM CAKE 218

XIX BLACK MEMORIES 230

XX THE POSSIBLE REASON 242

XXI THE CHINESE GENTLEMAN 254

XXII RED DAWN 267

XXIII THE FOURTH CHINAMAN 279

XXIV THE SILK CAP 291

XXV CLEAR DECKS 304

RAVENSDENE COURT

CHAPTER I

THE INN ON THE CLIFF

According to an entry in my book of engagements, I left London for Ravensdene Court on March 8th, 1912. Until about a fortnight earlier I had never heard of the place, but there was nothing remarkable in my ignorance of it, seeing that it stands on a remote part of the Northumbrian coast, and at least three hundred miles from my usual haunts. But then, towards the end of February, I received the following letter which I may as well print in full: it serves as a fitting and an explanatory introduction to a series of adventures, so extraordinary, mysterious, and fraught with danger, that I am still wondering how I, until then a man of peaceful and even dull life, ever came safely through them.

"RAVENSDENE COURT, NEAR ALNWICK NORTHUMBERLAND February 24, 1912

" Dear Sir ,

"I am told by my friend Mr. Gervase Witherby of Monks Welborough, with whom I understand you to be well acquainted, that you are one of our leading experts in matters relating to old books, documents, and the like, and the very man to inspect, value, and generally criticize the contents of an ancient library. Accordingly, I should be very glad to secure your valuable services. I have recently entered into possession of this place, a very old manor house on the Northumbrian coast, wherein the senior branch of my family has been settled for some four hundred years. There are here many thousands of volumes, the majority of considerable age; there are also large collections of pamphlets, manuscripts, and broadsheets my immediate predecessor, my uncle, John Christopher Raven, was a great collector; but, from what I have seen of his collection up to now, I cannot say that he was a great exponent of the art of order, or a devotee of system, for an entire wing on this house is neither more nor less than a museum, into which books, papers, antiques, and similar things appear to have been dumped without regard to classification or arrangement. I am not a bookman, nor an antiquary; my life until recently has been spent in far different fashion, as a Financial Commissioner in India. I am, however, sincerely anxious that these new possessions of mine should be properly cared for, and I should like an expert to examine everything that is here, and to advise me as to proper arrangement and provision for the future. I should accordingly be greatly obliged to you if you could make it convenient to come here as my guest, give me the benefit of your expert knowledge, and charge me whatever fee seems good to you... Continue reading book >>




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