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A Drake by George! by John Trevena

Produced by Camilo Bernard, Christine Bell and Marc D'Hooghe at http://www.freeliterature.org (From images generously made available by the Internet Archive)

A Drake By George!

By

John Trevena

New York

Alfred A Knopf

MCMXVI

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. SOMETHING ABOUT THE FAMILY II. EXHIBITION DAY AT WINDWARD HOUSE III. THE CAPTAIN MAKES HISTORY IV. CHANGES IN THE ESTABLISHMENT V. GEORGE TACKLES THE LABOUR PROBLEM VI. HONOURABLE INTENTIONS VII. SCANDAL AND EXPOSURE VIII. A TANGLED INHERITANCE IX. A SUBTLE SINNER'S SUCCESS X. THE FIRST PERSON SINGULAR PARAMOUNT XI. SOME LEADING INCIDENTS XII. A SPLENDID BARGAIN XIII. WASPS AND OTHER WORRIES XIV. THE GRABBERS XV. A NEW HOUSE AND THE SAME OLD FURNITURE XVI. GEORGE TAKES CONTROL XVII. PLOUGHING THE GROUND XVIII. SOWING THE SEED XIX. REAPING THE HARVEST XX. THE GLEANERS

CHAPTER I

SOMETHING ABOUT THE FAMILY

Rumour, introducing the newcomer as a celebrity, began to fly about immediately Captain Drake appeared upon the scene and distinguished himself not only by blocking the single narrow street of Highfield with a presence weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, but by addressing passing men, women, and children in a voice which sounded from the church at the top of the hill to the post office at the bottom; top, middle, and bottom being comparative terms when applied to the great hills of Highfield. Rumour provoked excitement when it suggested legal influences were at work about a couple of old semi-detached cottages belonging to an absentee landlord. The man who found it necessary, on account of his bulk and stentorian voice, to acquire two cottages would have plenty of money; and wealth was much the shortest cut to fame that Highfield knew of. Rumour passed into a condition almost hysterical when builders arrived, demolished the two old cottages, erected a gabled villa of suburban type, and set up against the street a massive noticeboard, which looked as if it had been designed for some important railway station; but instead of yielding such information as "Mazeworthy Junction. Change for the Asylum," it bore the inscription, "Windward House. Captain Francis Drake, Master."

Finally, three vanloads of furniture were dragged up the hill, and the family arrived to take possession of the parish; for it became at once evident that Captain Drake regarded himself as "old man" of the place, the vicar as his sky pilot, and the male inhabitants as crushers, jollies, flatfeet, and shellbacks, all of whom were amenable to his discipline.

In any case the Captain was respected by everybody, whether they had the privilege of knowing him or not--he was one of those men who had to be known thoroughly and at once--when those vanloads of furniture drew up alongside Windward House. Such fumed oak had never been seen before in Highfield. There were vases from China, ivory images from India, living trees of the forest in flower-pots from Japan, with curiosities from all corners of the earth. There was also a large cage full of cats, another cage of monkeys, yet another of parrots, and a giant tortoise, its carapace completely covered with newspaper cuttings relating to the numerous voyages of the old sailor who, in hours of leisure, had committed to the Press columns of adventures wherein fiction was once more proved to be far more interesting and instructive than truth. Birds and beasts are not usually classed as furniture, but they were announced as such in "the inventory of my possessions" duly posted upon the noticeboard by the worthy Captain whose capacity for self-advertisement was much too great for a little country parish.


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