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The Lost House - Richard Harding Davis

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The Lost House

by Richard Harding Davis


I

It was a dull day at the chancellery. His Excellency the American
Ambassador was absent in Scotland, unveiling a bust to Bobby Burns,
paid for by the numerous lovers of that poet in Pittsburg; the
First Secretary was absent at Aldershot, observing a sham battle;
the Military Attache was absent at the Crystal Palace, watching a
foot-ball match; the Naval Attache was absent at the Duke of
Deptford's, shooting pheasants; and at the Embassy, the Second
Secretary, having lunched leisurely at the Artz, was now alone, but
prepared with his life to protect American interests. Accordingly,
on the condition that the story should not be traced back to him,
he had just confided a State secret to his young friend, Austin
Ford, the London correspondent of the New York REPUBLIC.

"I will cable it," Ford reassured him, "as coming from a Hungarian
diplomat, temporarily residing in Bloomsbury, while en route to his
post in Patagonia. In that shape, not even your astute chief will
suspect its real source. And further from the truth than that I
refuse to go."

"What I dropped in to ask," he continued, "is whether the English
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