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A Splendid Hazard   By: (1871-1932)

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First Page:

SPLENDID HAZARD

By

HAROLD MACGRATH

AUTHOR OF

THE GOOSE GIRL, THE LURE OF THE MASK, THE MAN ON THE BOX, ETC.

With Illustrations by

HOWARD CHANDLER CHRISTY

[Transcriber's note: All illustrations were missing from book.]

NEW YORK

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1910

THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I A MEMORABLE DATE II THE BUTTERFLY MAN III A PLASTER STATUETTE IV PIRATES AND SECRETARIES V NO FALSE PRETENSES VI SOME EXPLANATIONS VII A BIT OF ROMANTIC HISTORY VIII SOME BIRDS IN A CHIMNEY IX THEY DRESS FOR DINNER X THE GHOST OF AN OLD REGIME XI PREPARATIONS AND COGITATIONS XII M. FERRAUD INTRODUCES HIMSELF XIII THE WOMAN WHO KNEW XIV THE DRAMA BEGINS XV THEY GO A SAILING XVI CROSS PURPOSES XVII A QUESTION PROM KEATS XVIII CATHEWE ADVISES AND THE ADMIRAL DISCLOSES XIX BREITMANN MAKES HIS FIRST BLUNDER XX AN OLD SCANDAL XXI CAPTAIN FLANAGAN MEETS A DUKE XXII THE ADMIRAL BEGINS TO DOUBT XXIII CATHEWE ASKS QUESTIONS XXIV THE PINES OF AITONE XXV THE DUPE XXVI THE END OF THE DREAM

A SPLENDID HAZARD

CHAPTER I

A MEMORABLE DATE

A blurring rain fell upon Paris that day; a rain so fine and cold that it penetrated the soles of men's shoes and their hearts alike, a dispiriting drizzle through which the pale, acrid smoke of innumerable wood fires faltered upward from the clustering chimney pots, only to be rent into fragments and beaten down upon the glistening tiles of the mansard roofs. The wide asphalts reflected the horses and carriages and trains and pedestrians in forms grotesque, zigzagging, flitting, amusing, like a shadow play upon a wrinkled, wind blown curtain. The sixteenth of June. To Fitzgerald there was something electric in the date, a tingle of that ecstasy which frequently comes into the blood of a man to whom the romance of a great battle is more than its history or its effect upon the destinies of human beings. Many years before, this date had marked the end to a certain hundred days, the eclipse of a sun more dazzling than Rome, in the heyday of her august Caesars, had ever known: Waterloo. A little corporal of artillery; from a cocked hat to a crown, from Corsica to St. Helena: Napoleon.

Fitzgerald, as he pressed his way along the Boulevard des Invalides , his umbrella swaying and snapping in the wind much like the sail of a derelict, could see in fancy that celebrated field whereon this eclipse had been supernally prearranged. He could hear the boom of cannon, the thunder of cavalry, the patter of musketry, now thick, now scattered, and again not unlike the subdued rattle of rain on the bulging silk careening before him. He held the handle of the umbrella under his arm, for the wind had a temper mawling and destructive, and veered into the Place Vauban . Another man, coming with equal haste from the opposite direction, from the entrance of the tomb itself, was also two parts hidden behind an umbrella. The two came together with a jolt as sounding as that of two old crusaders in a friendly joust. Instantly they retreated, lowering their shields.

"I beg your pardon," said Fitzgerald in French.

"It is of no consequence," replied the stranger, laughing. "This is always a devil of a corner on a windy day." His French had a slight German twist to it.

Briefly they inspected each other, as strangers will, carelessly, with annoyance and amusement interplaying in their eyes and on their lips, all in a trifling moment. Then each raised his hat and proceeded, as tranquilly and unconcernedly as though destiny had no ulterior motive in bringing them thus really together. And yet, when they had passed and disappeared from each other's view, both were struck with the fact that somewhere they had met before.

Fitzgerald went into the tomb, his head bared... Continue reading book >>




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