Half A Chance eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about Half A Chance.

“A privilege, Sir Charles, to meet one we have heard of so often, in the antipodes.”

“Thank you.  His lordship, Judge Beeson, m’dear, whose decisions—­”

“Allow me to congratulate you, sir!” The enthusiastic voice was that of Captain Forsythe, addressing John Steele.  “Your cross-examination was masterly; had you been in a certain other case, years ago, when the evidence of that very person on the stand to-day—­in the main—­convicted a man of murder, I fancy the result then would have been different!”

John Steele seemed not to hear; his eyes were turned toward the beautiful girl.  She was standing quite close to him now; he could detect the fragrance of the violets she wore, a fresh sweet smell so welcome in that close, musty atmosphere.

“My niece, your Lordship, Miss Wray.”

Steele saw her bow and heard her speak to that august court personage; then as the latter, after further brief talk, hurried away—­

“Sir Charles, let me present to you Mr. Steele,” said Captain Forsythe.  “Lady Wray—­”

“Happy to know you, sir,” said the governor heartily.

“Miss Jocelyn Wray,” added the military man, “who,” with a laugh, “experienced some doubts about a visit of this kind being conducive to pleasure!”

John Steele took the small gloved hand she gave him; her eyes were very bright.

“I enjoyed—­I don’t mean that—­I am so glad I came,” said the girl.  “And heard you!” she added.

He thanked her in a low tone, looking at her hand as he dropped it.  “You,—­you are making England your home?” His voice was singularly hesitating!

“Yes.”  She looked at him a little surprised.  “At least, for the present!  But how—­” she broke off.  “I suppose, though, you could tell by my accent.  I’ve lived nearly all my life in Australia, and—­”

Sir Charles, interrupting, reminded them of an appointment; the party turned.  A slender figure inclined itself very slightly toward John Steele; a voice wished him good morning.  The man stood with his hands on his books; it did not occur to him to accompany her to the door.  Suddenly he looked over his shoulder; at the threshold, she, too, had turned her head.  An instant their glances met; the next, she was gone.

* * * * *

CHAPTER II

AT THE OPERA

When John Steele left the court toward the end of the day, he held his head as a man who thinks deeply.  From the door he directed his steps toward Charing Cross.  But only to wheel abruptly, and retrace his way.  He was not an absent-minded man, yet he had been striding unconsciously not toward his customary destination at that hour, the several chambers at once his office and his home.  For a moment the strong face of the man relaxed, as if in amusement at his own remissness; gradually however, it once more resumed its expression of musing thoughtfulness.  The stream of human beings, in the main, flowed toward him; he breasted the current as he had for many evenings, only this night he did not look into the faces of these, his neighbors; the great city’s concourse of atoms swept unmeaningly by.

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Half A Chance from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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