Fighting Stars - H.A. Cody - ebook
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Although Charles Stanfield was a wealthy man he was far from happy. Everything that money could buy was at his command. He had merely to give the order and it would be fulfilled without delay. From a worldly point of view he was an outstanding example of a prosperous man who had fought his way to the top of the ladder of success. By many he was admired for his keen business qualities; by others he was feared and hated. He was considered a hard man, and merciless in any transaction where money was the object of his pursuit. Written in 1927, „Fighting Stars” is a novel by Archdeacon Hiram Alfred Cody (1872-1948), who was a Canadian author, poet, clergyman and editor.

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Liczba stron: 410

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER I

HIS PLAN

Although Charles Stanfield was a wealthy man he was far from happy. Everything that money could buy was at his command. He had merely to give the order and it would be fulfilled without delay. From a worldly point of view he was an outstanding example of a prosperous man who had fought his way to the top of the ladder of success. By many he was admired for his keen business qualities; by others he was feared and hated. He was considered a hard man, and merciless in any transaction where money was the object of his pursuit.

But as he sat on the spacious veranda of his noble and luxurious suburban house, thoughtfully smoking an after-dinner cigar, his life to him seemed an utter failure. The evening was balmy and refreshing, a pleasant contrast to the intense heat of the day. The air was redolent with the scent of rare and old-fashioned flowers from the well-kept gardens surrounding the house. Smooth velvet lawns sloped gently to the street beyond, over which arched the outspreading branches of lordly maple and elm trees. It was an entrancing spot, and the admiration of all who looked upon it. But it was too trim and neat. Seldom did any weary wayfarer rest beneath the shade of those old trees, and never did little children wander along the gravelly walks nor tumble and play upon the grassy lawns. It was a paradise sealed so far as any touch with the outside world was concerned, and it had been so for years.

By Stanfield’s side sat a man, somewhat younger, silently smoking. His strong intellectual face betokened the deep student. And so he was, for William Radcliffe, besides being the president of Strongbow University, was an authority on botany, and his lectures were always an outstanding feature of the college curriculum. Twenty years before when he had been called to his present position, the university was weak and tottering to its fall. But through his ability and the generous gifts of his friend, Charles Stanfield, a marked improvement was soon effected, and the institution ere long became one of the strongest in the entire country. Stanfield had endowed several chairs, and also had given large sums chiefly for the sake of his friend. Radcliffe was most grateful for such assistance, and he hoped that Stanfield in his will would make further liberal contributions. Of course, he had not even suggested this, although it was often in his mind. So when he had been invited to take dinner with his friend for the purpose of considering a very important matter, he cherished the idea that his hopes were at last to be realized. He confided this to his wife that afternoon.

“Charles is greatly changed of late,” he remarked, “and since his serious illness he does not seem to take much interest in financial matters. Why, I was with him last week for over an hour and he never once referred to money.”

“It was his sickness, no doubt, which made the change,” Mrs. Radcliffe replied. “When he has regained his former strength he will be the same as before. He needs cheering up a bit. Ask him over here for dinner to-morrow.”

“I am afraid he would not consent to come, dear. He seldom goes anywhere now. I know that the sight of our happy family only intensifies his loneliness. He told me so once, and said that he would gladly give all he possesses to have such a family of his own.”

“I wonder who will get his money, William? Perhaps he will leave something to our children as he is so fond of them.”

“No doubt he will remember them. But my opinion is that he will leave most of his wealth to the university. He has taken a great interest in it, and has received several honors in recognition of his gifts.”

Radcliffe was thinking of this as he sat on the veranda by the side of his companion. Stanfield was unusually silent this evening, and several times he sighed. At length Radcliffe felt that he could endure the silence no longer.

“What a beautiful place you have here, Charles,” he began.

“Beautiful, do you say?” Stanfield asked, arousing himself and turning his eyes upon his friend’s face. “Yes, I suppose it is beautiful, but what is the use of beauty if you cannot enjoy it?”

“But what is there to interfere with your enjoying it?”

“Many things, William, and it is to talk over this very matter that I have asked you to spend a few hours with me this evening. I wish to apologize for taking you away from your family.”

“Oh, do not mind that, Charles. They can get along very well without me for a while. We shall have the whole summer together, as this is just the beginning of vacation.”

“You are a fortunate fellow, William.” Stanfield again sighed as he knocked off the ash from his cigar into an ash-tray near by. “You can enjoy life because you have others to enjoy it with you. But with me it is different. What does all this beauty amount to?” He waved his hand toward the flowers, lawns and trees. “I have been so engrossed for long years in making money that I have lost all sense of the beautiful things of nature.”

“But why did you have all this done then? Why did you not let your grounds grow up in weeds and bushes?”

“Partly for the sake of appearance, and partly in the hope that I might learn to enjoy it. But it’s no use. It means little or nothing to me. If I had others to enjoy it with me, it might make a difference, but the very sight of it is almost like gall and wormwood to me now.”

“You surprise me, Charles.”

“No doubt I do, and perhaps I am foolish to talk in this manner to-night. But I am getting along in years, and since my serious illness I look upon life from an altogether different point of view. Until I was laid aside, I considered the making of money the only thing worth while. Ever since I left home as a poor boy I gave my whole mind and soul to that. And I have succeeded, but at what a cost! For the sake of money I sacrificed all the finer instincts of my nature, and all my family ties have been so severed for so many years that I do not know how many relatives I have living. My two brothers died childless, and my only sister left several children, so I heard at the time of her death. But how many, and what they are like I have not the remotest idea. They know nothing of me, I suppose, whether I am dead or alive, for my sister was a proud, high-spirited woman, who naturally resented my neglect of her. She married a worthless fellow, a drifter through life.”

“Is he living?” Radcliffe asked.

“He died years before my sister.”

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