Page:Guy Boothby--A Bid for Fortune.djvu/224

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214
A BID FOR FORTUNE.

dropped down into sunlit waters! Yes, it is a wonderful picture we have before us—a very wonderful picture!'

"'You seem to have studied it very carefully,' I said after a moment's silence.

"'Perhaps I have,' he answered. 'I am deeply interested in the life of the sea—few more so. Are you a stranger in New South Wales?'

"'Quite a stranger,' I replied. 'I only reached Australia a few days since.'

"'Indeed! Then you have to make the acquaintance of many entrancing beauties yet. Forgive my impertinence, but if you are on a tour, let me recommend you to see the islands before you return to your home.'

"'The South-Sea Islands, I presume you mean?' I said.

"'Yes; the bewitching islands of the Southern Seas!

The most entrancingly beautiful spots on God's beautiful earth! See them before you go. They will amply repay any trouble it may cost you to reach them.'

"'I should like to see them very much,' I answered, feeling my enthusiasm rising at his words.

"'Perhaps you are interested in them already,' he continued.

"'Very much indeed,' I replied.

"'Then, in that case, I may not be considered presuming if I offer to assist you. I am an old South-Sea merchant myself, and I have amassed a large collection of beautiful objects from the islands. If you would allow me the pleasure I should be delighted to show them to you.'

"'I should like to see them very much indeed,' I answered, thinking it extremely civil of him to make the offer.