The Shy Plutocrat - E. Phillips Oppenheim - ebook

The Shy Plutocrat ebook

E. Phillips Oppenheim

0,0

Opis

Young Maurice Teyl, just turned 21, shy, non-drinker, non-smoker and the richest man in America, has been raised by his rigid Grandmother on a remote ranch in California but he shuns the limelight. So when a world tour is arranged by his guardian he is none too keen. He misses his train to begin the jaunt and meets up with a young English actress, Lucy Compston, and so begins a friendship and the slight deception, as he does not want her to know exactly who he is. He then goes undercover and forgoes his millionaire status in order to try and win her favor. Love, transatlantic voyages, Paris, and London ensue. A 1941 novel by Edward Phillips Oppenheim, with touches of humor, and consistent characters.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 306

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



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 I

IT was probably the Bishop who was chiefly responsible for all the trouble that followed–the Bishop’s somewhat overpowering personality and his choice of He austere waiting room in the solemn Fifth Avenue Club for his address to the notoriously timid young man. Maurice Teyl, arrived in New York that morning of the nineteen-twenties for the first time in his life, after a long journey from a land of lonely hills and sweeping valleys, one of the vast pastoral backwaters of the Western States, had already found the city sufficiently alarming. The roar of it had deafened him. The sense of hurry everywhere had reduced him to a condition of mental chaos. The porter in the ecclesiastical-looking hall, to whom he had presented his card, had seemed to him the most awe-inspiring functionary he had ever encountered, the begaitered Bishop, who in due course came out to greet him, something far removed from any order of human being with whom one could exchange ideas upon the common topics of life. He was obsessed with a sense of unreality. He found it impossible to believe that it was he, Maurice Teyl, seated in that hard leather easy-chair in that imposing and stately apartment, he who was the subject of this lava of gently flowing words from this imposing personage with his masses of smoothly-brushed hair, his sacerdotal features, his well-cared-for hands, and general air of internal and external polish. No single sentence had been spoken which could have helped to put him at his ease. He sat on the edge of his chair, his lanky, yet athletic figure disposed of to its worst advantage, painfully conscious of his lack of poise and of all the defects of his appearance–his shock of red hair, his wide, nervous mouth, his large hands, the fingers of which he was constantly intertwining. Nevertheless, he sat it out, a pained but earnest listener.

"My dear young friend,” the Bishop observed, after a brief preliminary conversation, “owing to your grandmother’s peculiar views as to your upbringing, I have had but little chance so far to mark your progress in life. What I know of you, I have learnt chiefly through the daily or weekly papers.”

The young man shivered.

"Those newspaper men just print any old stuff,” he confided nervously. “The boys birded the last one that came around.”

"‘Birded’?”

"Just tarred and feathered him and threw him into a pond. Grandmother had been reading about herself in the Sunday papers, and I’ll say she didn’t care for all the stuff they’d faked up. She just told the boys what to do with the next one that came along.”

The Bishop coughed.

"Your grandmother was a woman of violent prejudices,” he remarked. “I wrote to her some years ago on the subject of your collegiate career, and her reply, I regret to say, showed a great lack of consideration for my feelings and my position. It was, in short, of the most offensive nature. I gather, however, that your education has been in a measure provided for?”

The young man’s face darkened.

"I’ve had an English tutor, an American one, and a Frenchman hanging about the place for the last three years,” he groaned. “Also a golf professional, a tennis coach, and a white-chokered fellow who used to say prayers twice a day, read the Bible with me at night, when he could catch me, and who called himself a chaplain.”

The Bishop frowned slightly. The reference to the chaplain he considered in bad taste.

"And what did you do with this–er–this retinue before you came away?” he enquired.

"I sacked the lot the morning of my twenty-first birthday,” Maurice Teyl replied, with a faint smile of ecstasy. “All except Ned, that is–the golf professional. I guess I’ll always keep Ned. He’s laying me out a new course now. I’d have taken him along to Europe with me if he’d wanted to go.”

"Your grandmother’s system of education,” the Bishop pronounced, “was ill-advised and almost immoral. The day of your emancipation, however, has now arrived. You are leaving for Southampton, I gather, on the Anderconia.”

"Three weeks from to-day,” the young man assented, without any particular enthusiasm.

The Bishop began to settle down. He had the air of a divine who had given out his text and was prepared to get to business.

"I regret very much,” he said, “that Diocesan affairs will occupy much of my attention in various parts of the State, during the next few weeks. I am glad, however, of this opportunity of a brief conversation with you. I should like you to remember, Maurice Teyl, that you are starting on no ordinary journey. No pilgrim whose wanderings I can recall has ever left his home under such conditions. You have just attained your majority and you are probably–you are without a doubt–the richest young man in the world.”

"Gee, that money!” the young man lamented.

"One imagines you,” the Bishop continued, with a little wave of the hand, “invested with something of the dignity of an ambassador. You will represent in England very much what their young prince represented here upon his recent visit to this country. He showed us the grace and social charm, the éclat, of the old country. You represent the power and strength of America–her boundless wealth, her immense vigour. Never lose sight of the fact, Maurice Teyl, that yours should not be a pleasure trip only. You are an ambassador of progress, with great responsibilities and equally great opportunities.”

The unhappy listener muttered something incomprehensible. He felt that words were expected of him, but he searched his brain in vain for a suitable response.

"Have any plans been made for you, may I ask, upon your arrival?” the Bishop enquired.

The young man fidgeted in his chair. A shaft of sunlight stole into the room and shone for a moment upon his freckled face, his slightly snub nose, and clear, troubled eyes.

"Ned’s fixed up a few golf games for me round London,” he observed timidly.

The Bishop’s disapproval marred for a moment the perfect serenity of his expression.

"You will find other, and I hope more important duties also waiting for you,” he declared severely. “You have, as you are of course aware, a lay and clerical guardian in London as well as here. Prebendary Dorkins is a very excellent and much respected man, whose personal acquaintance I have had the pleasure of making, and Mr. Crosset, as a famous lawyer and man of the world, should be of great assistance to you. Your sojourn in London will no doubt be influenced by their advice, but I myself shall write to various personages of note whom I have been privileged to meet. I shall point out to them how much you represent. I shall beg them to use their utmost efforts on your behalf, to see that you are brought into touch with all the best influences which might go towards the moulding of your life.”

"That’s very kind of you, sir,” was the utterly cheerless admission. “I–well, I guess I’ll soon find my way about.”

"You will need help and direction,” his mentor assured him. “In all material affairs I understand that adequate arrangements have been made for you. The best courier in Europe is awaiting instructions for your continental tour, and a French valet will become associated with your own servant as soon as you are prepared to receive him. The Reverend Goadby, an earnest young man of little more than your own age, will leave New York with you as companion and chaplain, although I may tell you he has instructions not to lay too much stress upon the spiritual side of his vocation. You will travel as the princes of the world alone can travel.”

The young man looked almost pathetically at his companion.

"I don’t see, sir,” he ventured, with a slight shudder, “why I can’t have a trip abroad without all this fuss.”

The Bishop laid a hand upon each knee and leaned forward. It was a favourite attitude of his when engaged in personal exhortation with one of his flock.

"I am afraid,” he said, “you will have to get accustomed to the fact that however modest your own views of life may be, your position entails great and varied responsibilities. You represent the modern driving force of the universe. You have no title of nobility, you come from no race of sovereigns, but you still wield a sceptre as omnipotent as that of any of the modern rulers of the world. In time, no doubt, you will get used to your position, for which, I must repeat once more, your grandmother’s preparation has been most ill-advised. It is too late now, however, to do more than regret the fact. I hope, Maurice Teyl,” the Bishop concluded, rising to his feet, “that your travels may be beneficial and pleasant, as well as broadening to your mind and character. I appreciate your early visit to me, and I welcome this opportunity, my lad, of wishing you success in life, strength of purpose, and an earnest Christian endeavour to carry manfully upon your shoulders the burden of the great responsibilities with which you are endowed.”

The Bishop led the way to the door, his hand resting upon the young man’s shoulder. He felt that he had performed his whole duty, and some friends were waiting for him to play a rubber of bridge upstairs–a relaxation which he permitted himself upon two afternoons during the week. In the lofty, marble-pillared hall, with its stained-glass windows, he handed over his charge to a liveried attendant.

"Write to me, Maurice Teyl, if ever you are in trouble or distress, temporal or spiritual,” he begged. “My advice will always be at your disposal. If I have not the opportunity of seeing you again before the day of your departure, I wish you a happy voyage and a godly life.”

The Bishop withdrew his hand with a little wince of pain from the grip of the long brown fingers between which he had confidingly placed it, and the young man, who had been the subject of his exhortations staggered out into the golden sunlight of Fifth Avenue with its panorama of life de luxe. Drawn up to his full height almost for the first time, he seemed longer and lankier than ever, notwithstanding the level breadth of his fine shoulders and a certain wiry athleticism of bearing. He stood upon the steps and gazed for a moment with unseeing eyes across the broad thoroughfare.

"Another chaplain,” he muttered to himself, “a French valet to make old Jennings miserable, and a courier! I guess not!”

"Where to?” demanded the taxi-man whom he had summoned, leaning lazily from the seat and throwing open the door.

"Can you make the 4: 40 Chicago Limited at the Grand Central?”

The taximan glanced at his clock.

"Might, if we’ve any luck,” he replied. “Where’s your baggage?”

"Never mind about my baggage,” was the hasty response. “You make my train.”

CHAPTER II

MAURICE TEYL, whether for good or for evil, missed his train. His taxicab driver did his best, but the traffic policemen of New York are not to be trifled with, and four times during that brief distance a red lamp and a whistle brought the dense line of vehicles to a standstill. Arrived at the station itself, there remained just a chance. From the last flight of stairs, Maurice looked down almost with agony at the huge train, onto the various platforms of which the attendants were already swinging themselves.

"No ticket. I’ll pay the conductor,” he gasped.

The gate-man looked at him pityingly.

"There ain’t no tickets to be bought on the Limited,” he drawled, blocking the entrance.

Maurice Teyl, with a flush of shame, for the first time in his life, tried to make capital out of his identity.

"I’m Maurice Teyl,” he announced. “I’m–”

"God Almighty don’t get on the Chicago Limited without a ticket,” the man interrupted, slamming the gate.

Then the train began to move, and Maurice knew that his escape from the city was at any rate temporarily delayed. He turned around, mounted the steps, and lingered for a moment in the great hall of the station, irresolute. Then he bought a time-table, made his way to one of the great, comfortless waiting rooms, seated himself in an empty place and began to study the problem of how to get away from New York. Every now and then the doors were flung open, and a porter in parrot-like tones sang out a list of trains. Each time a handful of waiting passengers departed. Finally he became aware that only one other person was left on his bench. He looked up, and by chance met her eyes. Then he laid down the timetable.

"Say,” he began diffidently, “is anything the matter?”

"Nothing whatever,” the young woman who was seated a few feet away from him replied coldly.

"But you’re crying,” he pointed out.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.