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Harold MacGrath
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about A Splendid Hazard.

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 just.  Instantly they retreated, lowering their shields.

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