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A Desperate Voyage by Edward Frederick Knight

_MILNE'S EXPRESS SERIES_

A DESPERATE VOYAGE

[Illustration: Logo]

_THE EXPRESS SERIES_

_Uniform with this Volume_

I. THE ROME EXPRESS

BY

MAJOR ARTHUR GRIFFITHS

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

II. A GIRL OF GRIT

JOHN MILNE 12 NORFOLK STREET, STRAND, LONDON

A DESPERATE VOYAGE

BY

E. F. KNIGHT

AUTHOR OF "THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON" "WHERE THREE EMPIRES MEET" ETC. ETC.

JOHN MILNE 12 NORFOLK STREET, STRAND, LONDON 1898

_All Rights Reserved_

A DESPERATE VOYAGE

CHAPTER I

In Carey Street, Chancery Lane, on the ground floor of a huge block of new buildings facing the Law Courts, were the offices of Messrs. Peters and Carew, solicitors and perpetual commissioners of oaths. Such was the title of the firm as inscribed on the side of the entrance door in the middle of a long list of other names of solicitors, architects, and companies, whose offices were within. But the firm was now represented by Mr. Carew alone; for the senior partner, a steady-going old gentleman, who had made the business what it was, had been despatched by an attack of gout, two years back, to a land where there is no litigation.

Late one August evening Mr. Henry Carew entered his office. His face was white and haggard, and he muttered to himself as he passed the door. He had all the appearance of a man who has been drinking heavily to drown some terrible worry. His clerks had gone; he went into his own private room and locked the door. He lit the gas, brought a pile of papers and letters out of a drawer, and, sitting down by the table, commenced to peruse them. As he did so, the lines about his face seemed to deepen, and beads of perspiration started to his forehead. It was for him an hour of agony. His sins had found him out, and the day of reckoning had arrived.

One might have taken Henry Carew for a sailor, but he was very unlike the typical solicitor. He was a big, hearty man of thirty-five, with all a sailor's bluff manner and generous ways. His friends called him Honest Hal, and said that he was one of the best fellows that ever lived. We have it on the authority of that immortal adventuress, Becky Sharp, that it is easy to be virtuous on five thousand a year. Had Mr. Carew enjoyed such an income, he would most probably have lived a blameless life and have acquired an estimable reputation; for he had no instinctive liking for crime; on the contrary, he loathed it.


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