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The Shadow of a Man   By: (1866-1921)

The Shadow of a Man by Ernest William Hornung

First Page:

The Shadow of a Man

The Shadow of a Man

By E. W. Hornung

Charles Scribner's Sons New York 1901

Copyright, 1900, by J. B. Lippincott Co.

Copyright, 1901, by Charles Scribner's Sons




I. The Belle of Toorak 1

II. Injury 14

III. Insult 28

IV. Bethune of the Hall 39

V. A Red Herring 58

VI. Below Zero 67

VII. A Cavalier 84

VIII. The Kind of Life 97

IX. Pax in Bello 120

X. The Truth by Inches 134

XI. Bethune v. Bethune 147

XII. An Escapade 166

XIII. Blind Man's Block 180

XIV. His Own Coin 196

XV. The Fact of the Matter 206

The Shadow of a Man



"And you're quite sure the place doesn't choke you off?"

"The place? Why, I'd marry you for it alone. It's just sweet!"

Of course it was nothing of the kind. There was the usual galaxy of log huts; the biggest and best of them, the one with the verandah in which the pair were sitting, was far from meriting the name of house which courtesy extended to it. These huts had the inevitable roofs of galvanised iron; these roofs duly expanded in the heat, and made the little tin thunder that dwellers beneath them grow weary of hearing, the warm world over. There were a few pine trees between the buildings, and the white palings of a well among the pines, and in the upper spaces a broken but persistent horizon of salt bush plains burning into the blinding blue. In the Riverina you cannot escape these features: you may have more pine trees and less salt bush; you may even get blue bush and cotton bush, and an occasional mallee forest; but the plains will recur, and the pines will mitigate the plains, and the dazzle and the scent of them shall haunt you evermore, with that sound of the hot complaining roofs, and the taste of tea from a pannikin and water from a water bag. These rude refinements were delights still in store for Moya Bethune, who saw the bush as yet from a comfortable chair upon a cool verandah, and could sing its praises with a clear conscience. Indeed, a real enthusiasm glistened in her eyes. And the eyes of Moya happened to be her chief perfection. But for once Rigden was not looking into them, and his own were fixed in thought.

"There's the charm of novelty," he said. "That I can understand."

"If you knew how I revel in it after Melbourne!"

"Yes, two days after!" said he. "But what about weeks, and months, and years? Years of this verandah and those few pines!"

"We could cover in part of the verandah with trellis work and creepers. They would grow like wildfire in this heat, and I'm sure the owners wouldn't mind."

"I should have to ask them. I should like to grow them inside as well, to hide the papers."

"There are such things as pictures."

"They would make the furniture look worse."

"And there's such a thing as cretonne; and I'm promised a piano; and there isn't so much of their furniture as to leave no room for a few of our very own things. Besides, there's lots more they couldn't possibly object to. Curtains. Mantel borders. I'm getting ideas. You won't know the place when I've had it in hand a week. Shall you mind?"

He did not hear the question.

"I don't know it as it is," he said; and indeed for Rigden it was transformation enough to see Moya Bethune there in the delicious flesh, her snowy frock glimmering coolly in the hot verandah, her fine eyes shining through the dust of it like the gems they were... Continue reading book >>

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