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The Secret of the League The Story of a Social War   By: (1869?-1942)

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THE SECRET OF THE LEAGUE

The Story of a Social War

By ERNEST BRAMAH

THOMAS NELSON AND SONS

[Illustration: She began to unbuckle the frozen straps of his gear.]

CONTENTS.

I. IRENE

II. THE PERIOD, AND THE COMING OF WINGS

III. THE MILLION TO ONE CHANCE

IV. THE COMPACT

V. THE DOWNTRODDEN

VI. MISS LISLE TELLS A LONG POINTLESS STORY

VII. "SCHEDULE B"

VIII. TANTROY EARNS HIS WAGE

IX. SECRET HISTORY

X. THE ORDER OF ST. MARTIN OF TOURS

XI. MAN BETWEEN TWO MASTERS

XII. BY TELESCRIBE

XIII. THE EFFECT OF THE BOMB

XIV. THE LAST CHANCE AND THE COUNSEL OF EXPEDIENCE

XV. THE GREAT FIASCO

XVI. THE DARK WINTER

XVII. THE INCIDENT OF THE 13TH OF JANUARY

XVIII. THE MUSIC AND THE DANCE

XIX. THE "FINIS" MESSAGE

XX. STOBALT OF SALAVEIRA

XXI. THE BARGAIN OF FAMINE

XXII. "POOR ENGLAND"

THE SECRET OF THE LEAGUE.

CHAPTER I

IRENE

"I suppose I am old fashioned" there was a murmur of polite dissent from all the ladies present, except the one addressed "Oh, I take it as a compliment nowadays, I assure you; but when I was a girl a young lady would have no more thought of flying than of" she paused almost on a note of pained surprise at finding the familiar comparison of a lifetime cut off "well, of standing on her head."

"No," replied the young lady in point, with the unfeeling candour that marked the youthful spirit of the age, "because it wasn't invented. But you went bicycling, and your mothers were very shocked at first."

"I hardly think that you can say that, Miss Lisle," remarked another of the matrons, "because I can remember that more than twenty years ago one used to see quite elderly ladies bicycling."

"After the others had lived all the ridicule down," retorted Miss Lisle scornfully. "Oh yes; I quite expect that in a few more years you will see quite elderly ladies flying."

The little party of matrons seated on the Hastings promenade regarded each other surreptitiously, and one or two smiled slightly, while one or two shuddered slightly. "Flying is very different, dear," said Mrs Lisle reprovingly. "I often think of what your dear grandfather used to say. He said" impressively "that if the Almighty had intended that we should fly, He would have sent us into the world with wings upon our backs."

There was a murmur of approval from all all except Miss Lisle, that is.

"But do you ever think of what Geoffrey replied to dear grandpapa when he heard him say that once, mother?" said the unimpressed daughter. "He said: 'And don't you think, sir, that if the Almighty had intended us to use railways, He would have sent us into the world with wheels upon our feet?'"

"I do not see any connection at all between the two things," replied her mother distantly. "And such a remark seems to me to be simply irreverent. Birds are born with wings, and insects, and so on, but nothing, as far as I am aware, is born with wheels. Your grandfather used to travel by the South Eastern regularly every day, or how could he have reached his office? and he never saw anything wrong in using trains, I am sure. In fact, when you think of it you will see that what Geoffrey said, instead of being any argument, was supremely silly."

"Perhaps he intended it to be," replied Miss Lisle with suspicious meekness. "You never know, mother."

Such a remark merited no serious attention. Why should any one, least of all a really clever young man like Geoffrey, deliberately intend to be silly? There was too often, her mother had observed, an utter lack of relevance in Irene's remarks.

"I think that it is a great mistake to have white flying costumes as so many do," observed another lady. "They look but perhaps they wish to."

"Certainly when they use lace as well it really seems as though they do. Oh!"

There was a passing shadow across the group and a slight rustle in the air... Continue reading book >>




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