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The City in the Clouds   By:

The City in the Clouds by C. Ranger Gull

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THE CITY IN THE CLOUDS

BY C. RANGER GULL

Author of "The Air Pirate"

NEW YORK HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC.

PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY RAHWAY. N. J.

TO

SIR GRIFFITH BOYNTON, Bt.

MY DEAR BOYNTON,

We have had some strange adventures together, though not as strange and exciting as the ones treated of in this story. At any rate, accept it as a souvenir of those gay days before the War, which now seem an age away. Recall a Christmas dinner in the Villa Sanglier by the Belgian Sea, a certain moonlit midnight in the Grand' Place of an ancient, famous city, and above all, the stir and ardors of the Masked Ball at Vieux Bruges. Haec olim meminisse juvabit!

YOURS, C. R. G.

NOTE

BY SIR THOMAS KIRBY, BT.

The details of this prologue to the astounding occurrences which it is my privilege to chronicle, were supplied to me when my work was just completed.

It forms the starting point of the story, which travels straight onwards.

THE CITY IN THE CLOUDS

PROLOGUE

Under a gay awning of red and white which covered a portion of the famous roof garden of the Palacete Mendoza at Rio, reclined Gideon Mendoza Morse, the richest man in Brazil, and it was said the third richest man in the world.

He lay in a silken hammock, smoking those little Brazilian cigarettes which are made of fragrant black tobacco and wrapped in maize leaf.

It was afternoon, the hour of the siesta. From where he lay the millionaire could look down upon his marvelous gardens, which surrounded the white palace he had built for himself, peerless in the whole of South America.

The trunks of great trees were draped with lianas bearing brilliantly colored flowers of every hue. There were lawns edged with myrtle, mimosa, covered with the golden rain of their blossoms, immense palms, lazily waving their fans in the breeze of the afternoon, and set in the lawns were marble pools of clear water from the center of which fountains sprang. There was a continual murmur of insects and flashes of rainbow colored light as the tiny, brilliant humming birds whirred among the flowers. Great butterflies of blue, silver, and vermilion, butterflies as large as bats, flapped languidly over the ivory ferns, and the air was spicy and scented with vanilla.

Beyond the gardens was the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, the most beautiful bay in all the world, dominated by the great sugar loaf mountain, the Pão de Azucar, and studded with green islands.

Gideon Morse took a pair of high powered field glasses from a table by his side and focused them upon the harbor.

A large white yacht, lying off Governador, swam into the circle, a five thousand ton boat driven by turbines and oil fuel, the fastest and largest private yacht in existence.

Gideon Morse gave a little quiet, patient sigh, as if of relief.

He was a man of sixty odd, with a thick thatch of white hair which came down upon his wrinkled forehead in a peak. His face was tanned to the color of an old saddle, his nose beaked like a hawk, and his mouth was a mere lipless cut which might have been made by a knife. A strong jaw completed an impression of abnormal quiet, and long enduring strength. Indeed the whole face was a mask of immobility. Beneath heavy black brows were eyes as dark as night, clear, but without expression. No one looking at them could ever tell what were the thoughts behind. For the rest, he was a man of medium height, thick set, wiry, and agile.

A brief sketch of Gideon Mendoza Morse's career must be given here. His mother was a Spanish lady of good family, resident in Brazil; his father an American gentleman of Old Virginia, who had settled there after the war between North and South... Continue reading book >>




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