The Toys of Peace, and other papers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about The Toys of Peace, and other papers.
the most part with chess and draughts-boards, and wooden boxes of chessmen and dominoes.  Listlessly she picked up one of the papers, the Sentinel, and glanced at its contents.  Suddenly she started, and began to read with breathless attention a prominently printed article, headed “A Little Limelight on Sir John Chobham.”  The colour ebbed away from her face, a look of frightened despair crept into her eyes.  Never, in any novel that she had read, had a defenceless young woman been confronted with a situation like this.  Sir John, the Hugo of her imagination, was, if anything, rather more depraved and despicable than Robert Bludward.  He was mean, evasive, callously indifferent to his country’s interests, a cheat, a man who habitually broke his word, and who was responsible, with his associates, for most of the poverty, misery, crime, and national degradation with which the country was afflicted.  He was also a candidate for Parliament, it seemed, and as there was only one seat in this particular locality, it was obvious that the success of either Robert or Sir John would mean a check to the ambitions of the other, hence, no doubt, the rivalry and enmity between these otherwise kindred souls.  One was seeking to have his enemy done to death, the other was apparently trying to stir up his supporters to an act of “Lynch law”.  All this in order that there might be an unopposed election, that one or other of the candidates might go into Parliament with honeyed eloquence on his lips and blood on his heart.  Were men really so vile?

“I must go back to Webblehinton at once,” Alethia informed her astonished hostess at lunch time; “I have had a telegram.  A friend is very seriously ill and I have been sent for.”

It was dreadful to have to concoct lies, but it would be more dreadful to have to spend another night under that roof.

Alethia reads novels now with even greater appreciation than before.  She has been herself in the world outside Webblehinton, the world where the great dramas of sin and villainy are played unceasingly.  She had come unscathed through it, but what might have happened if she had gone unsuspectingly to visit Sir John Chobham and warn him of his danger?  What indeed!  She had been saved by the fearless outspokenness of the local Press.

THE INTERLOPERS

In a forest of mixed growth somewhere on the eastern spurs of the Karpathians, a man stood one winter night watching and listening, as though he waited for some beast of the woods to come within the range of his vision, and, later, of his rifle.  But the game for whose presence he kept so keen an outlook was none that figured in the sportsman’s calendar as lawful and proper for the chase; Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolled the dark forest in quest of a human enemy.

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The Toys of Peace, and other papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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