THE MAN WHO LOST HIMSELF (13)

By: H. De Vere Stacpoole
May 22, 2018

This year marks the 100th anniversary of a forgotten Avenger/Artful Dodger-type adventure novel, The Man Who Lost Himself. A man down on his luck wakes up after a drunken night in London only to discover… that he has somehow slipped into the identity of a wealthy aristocrat! HiLoBooks is pleased to serialize this funny, thrilling yarn by H. De Vere Stacpoole — best known as author of The Blue Lagoon — here at HILOBROW.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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CHAPTER XIII: TERESA

He woke up next morning, to find the vision of Teresa, Countess of Rochester — so he called her — standing by his bedside.

Have you ever for a moment considered the influence of women? Go to a public meeting composed entirely of men and see what a heavy affair it can be, especially if you are a speaker; sprinkle a few women through the audience, and behold the livening effect. At a party or a public meeting in the Wheat Pit or the battlefield, women, or the recollection of a woman, form or forms one of the greatest liveners to conversation, speech, or action. Most men fight the battle of life for a woman. Jones, as he sat up and drank his morning tea, gazing the while at the vision of Teresa, Countess of Rochester, had found, almost unknown to himself, a new incentive to action.

The position yesterday had begun to sag, very little would have made him “quit,” take a hundred pounds from the eight thousand and a passage by the next boat to the States; but that girl in the Victoria, those eyes, that voice, those words — they had altered everything.

Was he in love? Perhaps not, but he was fascinated, held, dazzled.

More than that, the world seemed strange — brighter; he felt younger, filled with an energy of a new brand. He whistled as he crossed the floor to look out of the window, and as he tubbed he splashed the water about like a boy.

It was easy to see that the unfortunate man had tumbled into a position more fantastic and infinitely more dangerous than any position he had hitherto occupied since setting foot in the house of Rochester.

That vanished and fantastic humourist would have found plenty to feed his thoughts could he have returned.

The cheque book from the National Provincial Bank arrived by the first post, and after breakfast he put it aside in a drawer of the bureau in the smoking room. He glanced through the usual sheaf of letters from unknown people, tradesmen, whose accounts were marked “account rendered” and gentlemen who signed themselves with the names of counties. One of the latter seemed indignant.

I take this d—d bad of you, Rochester,” said he. “I’ve found it out at last, you are the man responsible for that telegram. I lost three days and a night’s sleep rushing up to Cumberland on a wild goose chase, and I’m telling people all about it. Some day you’ll land yourself in a mess. Jokes that may be funny amongst board school boys are out of place amongst men.

LANGWATHBY.

Jones determined to send Langwathby a telegram of apology when he had time to look his name up in Who’s Who; then he put the letters aside, called for his hat and cane and left the house.

He was going to Voles first.

Voles was his big artillery. He guessed that the fight with Marcus Mulhausen would be a battle to the death. He reckoned a lot on Voles. In Trafalgar Square he called a taxi and told the driver to take him to Jermyn Street.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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SERIALIZED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | Helen MacInnes’s The Unconquerable | Geoffrey Household’s Watcher in the Shadows | William Haggard’s The High Wire | Hammond Innes’s Air Bridge | James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen | John Buchan’s “No Man’s Land” | John Russell’s “The Fourth Man” | E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” | John Buchan’s Huntingtower | Arthur Conan Doyle’s When the World Screamed | Victor Bridges’ A Rogue By Compulsion | Jack London’s The Iron Heel | H. De Vere Stacpoole’s The Man Who Lost Himself | P.G. Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith | Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” | Houdini and Lovecraft’s “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” | Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sussex Vampire”.

RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION: “Radium Age” is HILOBROW’s name for the 1904–33 era, which saw the discovery of radioactivity, the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. This era also saw the publication of genre-shattering writing by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon, Karel Čapek, H.P. Lovecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Philip Gordon Wylie, and other pioneers of post-Verne/Wells, pre-Golden Age “science fiction.” More info here.

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

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