Chapter 1 — Mr. Bedford Meets Mr. Cavor at Lympne

AsIsitdowntowritehereamidsttheshadowsofvine-leavesundertheblueskyofsouthernItaly,itcomestomewithacertainqualityofastonishmentthatmyparticipationintheseamazingadventuresofMr.Cavorwas,afterall,theoutcomeofthepurestaccident.Itmighthavebeenanyone.IfellintothesethingsatatimewhenIthoughtmyselfremovedfromtheslightestpossibilityofdisturbingexperiences.IhadgonetoLympnebecauseIhadimagineditthemostuneventfulplaceintheworld.“Here,atanyrate,”saidI,“Ishallfindpeaceandachancetowork!”

Andthisbookisthesequel.Soutterlyatvarianceisdestinywithallthelittleplansofmen.ImayperhapsmentionherethatveryrecentlyIhadcomeanuglycropperincertainbusinessenterprises.Sittingnowsurroundedbyallthecircumstancesofwealth,thereisaluxuryinadmittingmyextremity.Icanadmit,even,thattoacertainextentmydisasterswereconceivablyofmyownmaking.ItmaybetherearedirectionsinwhichIhavesomecapacity,buttheconductofbusinessoperationsisnotamongthese.ButinthosedaysIwasyoung,andmyyouthamongotherobjectionableformstookthatofaprideinmycapacityforaffairs.Iamyoungstillinyears,butthethingsthathavehappenedtomehaverubbedsomethingoftheyouthfrommymind.Whethertheyhavebroughtanywisdomtolightbelowitisamoredoubtfulmatter.

ItisscarcelynecessarytogointothedetailsofthespeculationsthatlandedmeatLympne,inKent.Nowadaysevenaboutbusinesstransactionsthereisastrongspiceofadventure.Itookrisks.

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