Under Sealed Orders - H.A. Cody - ebook
Opis

The protagonist, nicknamed mad David, was auctioned off as a beggar for $ 100; then David’s life changed dramatically. He began to earn a lot and came to glory. Betty Bean is a feisty fifteen-year-old girl who has a maternal interest in Mad David.

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Liczba stron: 412

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Contents

I. The Lure Of Falling Water

II. To The Lowest Bidder

III. One, At Least, Rings True

IV. A Little Cabin

V. Unmasked

VI. Out Of Bondage

VII. At The Close Of A Day

VIII. The Shadow Of Mystery

IX. United Forces

X. When Dreams Come True

XI. Curiosity And Anxiety

XII. Pyramid Rock

XIII. The Disturbing Letter

XIV. Subtle Influence

XV. The “Cut Off”

XVI. Christmas Eve

XVII. The Night Summons

XVIII. The Wild Nor’Easter

XIX. Developments

XX. Business Details

XXI. Harnessed Power

XXII. In The Path Of Destruction

XXIII. Rescued

XXIV. Gathering Clouds

XXV. Mystery

XXVI. Under Suspicion

XXVII. In The Toils

XXVIII. Light Breaks

XXIX. Lois Goes To The City

XXX. A Strange Commission

XXXI. Paper Number Two

XXXII. The Tables Turned

XXXIII. The Real Haven

CHAPTER I. THE LURE OF FALLING WATER

It was evening and a late April wind was whipping down the valley. It swayed the tops of the tall pine and spruce trees as they shouldered up from the swift brook below. It tossed into driving spray the water of Break Neck Falls where it leaped one hundred feet below with a thundering roar and swirl. It tossed as well the thin grey hair, long beard, and thread-bare clothes of an old man standing upon a large rock which towered high above the stream.

The entire scene was wild and made weird by the approach of night. But the old man did not seem to notice anything except the falling of the waters. His eyes glowed with an intense light as he kept them fixed upon the leaping and swirling columns below. His face was like the face of a lover turned toward the object of his affection.

For some time the man stood there drinking in the scene before him. Then he took a step forward which brought him perilously near the edge of the steep rock. His lips moved though no sound could be heard for the tumult of the falls which was rending the air. What connection had such a man with his surroundings? No boor or clown was he, for the simple dignity of face and manner marked him as one of Nature’s true gentlemen.

It was almost dark when he at last reluctantly left the rock and entered the thick woods where a trail led away from the falls. Along this he moved with the unerring instinct of one who had travelled it often and was sure of his bearings. But ever and anon he paused to listen to the sound of the falling waters which followed him like the voice of a loved one urging him to return.

“Yes, you want me,” he at length cried, as he once more paused. “I hear your voice calling, and I know its meaning. Others need you, too, but they do not know it. You have been calling to them for years, but they have not understood your language. It was left for me to listen and take heed. They will some day, and then you will show your power. I can see what you will do, beautiful falls, and the changes which will come to this fair land when your luring voice is heeded.”

He stood for awhile as if entranced after uttering these mystic words. Then he continued on his way and night wrapped more closely about him her dark mantle. He had to walk very cautiously now for the trail was rough, and there were sharp stones and roots ready to strike his feet and trip him up.

At length the trail ended and he reached the smooth surface of the broad highway. Along this he sped with the quick elastic step of one who has seen a vision. The fire of a great idea was burning fiercely within him which caused him to take no heed to his surroundings.

He had not gone far, however, ere some strong impulse caused him to pause again and listen to that fascinating sound of falling waters far off in the distance. It was on an elevation in the road where he stopped, and here the shadows which enwrapped the forest were not so heavy. The lingering light of departing day was still in the west and touched this part of the highway with its faint glow. It brought out into clear relief the silhouette of the old man as he stood there with his right hand placed to his ear so as not to miss the least sound drifting down the valley.

So intent was he upon what he heard that he did not notice the sounds of approaching footsteps, so when a man stopped a few yards away and watched him curiously, he was completely unaware of his presence. “Ring on, sweet waters,” he cried. “Your voice follows me no matter how far I go. I alone can understand your language, and know what you are saying. All are deaf but me. They hear but do not know your meaning.” He ceased, and again listened for a few seconds.

A strange half-mocking laugh startled him, and caused him to look quickly around. Seeing that he was observed, he was about to hurry away, when a man stepped forward.

“Pardon me,” he began. “I did not mean to offend you. But your words seem so strange, that I could not help laughing.”

“And were you listening to the voice?” the old man eagerly asked. “Do the falling waters speak to you as they do to me? Is that why you are here?”

“Yes, I hear them,” was the reply. “But they do not bring any special message to my mind.”

“And they do not tell you of power, of the wonderful things they are ready and willing to do when men will heed what they are saying?”

“No, I can’t say that they do. They make a noise up there among the trees, but I do not know what they are saying.”

“Strange, strange,” and the old man placed his hand to his forehead. “You are like all the rest, then. You hear but you do not understand.”

“What do you hear?” the newcomer asked, thinking that he was talking to a weak-minded creature.

“I hear great things, which will be for the welfare of the whole community. The waters tell me what they will do. They will make life worth living. They will give light and power to the people all along the river and revolutionise their daily tasks. Instead of hard labour by the sweat of the brow, the waters will do the work. People will be happy, and have time for the beautiful things of life. Grinding toil and sorrow will be banished forever.”

“Umph! So that is what you hear, eh? What is the good of hearing such a voice, if you have no power to make it come true?”

“But the people will hear and understand,” the old man insisted. “I am telling them about it.”

“Yes, I know you are, and they think you are a fool for your efforts. They laugh at you, and call you crazy.”

“But they will come to see that I am right. They, too, will hear the voice, and then they will not be able to resist its pleadings.”

“If you had the money they would listen to you, for that is the only voice people will heed to-day. If you came here with an abundance of gold, people would hear anything you asked them to in the falls up yonder. But because you are poor, like myself, your ideas will have no more weight with them than the lightest feather. Back your visions with money and people will crowd around you, and you will be heeded. But try to get along without money, and, bah! you are a fool.”

Scarcely had these words left his lips ere a raucous honk up the road startled him. Then an auto with blazing lights leaped out of the night. The old man was standing right in its way, unconscious of his danger. Almost instinctively two strong hands clutched him and hurled him into the ditch as the car swept past. Shouts of merriment sounded forth upon the night air from the occupants of the car. The fright they had given the two by the side of the road evidently gave them much amusement. Their laughter caused the rescuer to straighten suddenly up, and clutch the old man fiercely by the arm.

“Did you hear them?” he asked, and his voice was filled with suppressed emotion.

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