Law of the Land

Law of the Land

by Fred Merrick White
     
 

Ralph Kingsmill drew a deep breath as he looked around. It seemed
life had suddenly brought him all that man could desire. In his
waking dreams he had pictured this, never hoping to see it realised.
And now it had all come to him in most unexpected fashion. A week
before and what had he been? A poor, struggling author, with one or
two minor… See more details below

Overview

Ralph Kingsmill drew a deep breath as he looked around. It seemed
life had suddenly brought him all that man could desire. In his
waking dreams he had pictured this, never hoping to see it realised.
And now it had all come to him in most unexpected fashion. A week
before and what had he been? A poor, struggling author, with one or
two minor successes to his credit, burning with unsatisfied ambition,
strong at one moment, lamentably weak the next; in short, a
brilliantly clever man, cursed with the temperament that usually goes
with the artistic faculty. He had had his debts and his dissolute
companions, he had known a full pocket and a purse so lean that
starvation had stared him in the face. The sordid side was the more
painful, agonising, because Ralph had known the luxury of a refined
home, and was an old public schoolboy.

More than once he had fallen very low indeed--in moments of despair
nothing seemed to matter. But he could not quite crush self-respect
and the feeling that he was born to better things. Nor had he ever
crossed the borderland from which no traveller can return unscathed.
He was wildly, even hysterically, glad of it when he had realised
what the wand of fortune had done for him.

He stood up in the pride of his six feet of splendid manhood, his
passionate brown eyes bedewed with moisture. The spirit of the
athlete still burned within him. And here--almost incredible though
it was--was the chance that he had dreamt of.

He might wake presently and find he had been dreaming. But the fine
old house was real enough; so were the Elizabethan furniture, the
pictures and the plate, the glorious gardens and the park with the
historic oaks beyond. And all this was Ralph's, with a good eight
thousand pounds a year to dress the part.

How had it all come about? Well, the thing was simple. Every day one
hears stories of large fortunes left to comparative beggars, and
Ralph's was a case in point. Abbey Close had belonged to a literary
misanthrope, who knew nobody and boasted that he had not a single
relation in the world. He sneered at everything sentimental, and yet
his very loneliness was the outcome of an unrequited attachment years
before. And one day there came in his way a short poem of Ralph's
which touched a hidden chord. Ralph had written it from his heart
after some mad dissipation. But the owner of Abbey Close did not know
that, and thought he recognised a kindred spirit. It would be fine to
leave all his money and property to the writer of that poem. The
thing was done. Doubtless it would have been undone again in a
fortnight, had not a sharp attack of pneumonia cut Mr. Ripley off,
and Ralph, to his astonishment, found himself in possession of the
Close. Strange things had happened before to-day.

So here it was all for Ralph to do as he liked with. At that
particular moment no selfish thoughts were occupying his attention.
He was thinking of Enid Charteris. It was a curious coincidence that
Charteris Park, the seat of Sir Charles Charteris, Enid's father,
should be situated not four miles from Abbey Close. And Ralph had
adored her ever since the night when he had met the girl at a
reception in Grosvenor-square. Pretty low as he had fallen, there
were times when Ralph accepted the invitations of his father's old
friends, and was tempted to "revisit the pale glimpses of the moon."
How well he recalled the glorious July night now.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013763005
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/16/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

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