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The Crimson Gardenia and Other Tales of Adventure   By: (1877-1949)

The Crimson Gardenia and Other Tales of Adventure by Rex Ellingwood Beach

First Page:

The Crimson Gardenia

and Other Tales of Adventure

BY REX BEACH

AUTHOR OF "HEART OF THE SUNSET" "THE SPOILERS" ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON

THE CRIMSON GARDENIA AND OTHER TALES OF ADVENTURE Copyright, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1916, by Harper & Brothers Copyright, 1910, 1913, by Cosmopolitan Magazine Copyright, 1906, by The Metropolitan Magazine Co. Printed in the United States of America Published April, 1916

[Illustration: Her eyes flashed to the white gardenia on his breast, then up to his own.]

CONTENTS

THE CRIMSON GARDENIA

ROPE'S END

INOCENCIO

THE WAG LADY

"MAN PROPOSES "

TOLD IN THE STORM

THE WEIGHT OF OBLIGATION

THE STAMPEDE

WHEN THE MAIL CAME IN

MCGILL

THE BRAND

ILLUSTRATIONS

HER EYES FLASHED TO THE WHITE GARDENIA ON HIS BREAST, THEN UP TO HIS OWN

AS FLOR√ČAL ROSE FROM HIS FATHER'S BODY HE HEARD A SHOT AND SAW THE SOLDIERS OF THE REPUBLIC CHARGING HIM

"TAKE YOUR HAND OFF THAT GUN, BARCLAY"

"BARCLAY WASN'T MORE 'N HALF DEAD, AND THE WOMAN FELL TO BEGGIN' FOR HIS LIFE AGAIN"

THE CRIMSON GARDENIA

I

The royal yacht had anchored amid a thunder of cannon, and the king had gone ashore. The city was bright with bunting; a thousand whistles blew. Up through the festooned streets His Majesty was escorted between long rows of blue coated officers, behind which the eager crowds were massed for mile upon mile. Thin wire cables were stretched along the curbs, to hold the people back, but these threatened to snap before the weight of the multitude.

In the neighborhood of the raised pavilion where the queen and her maids of honor waited, the press was thickest; here rows of stands had been erected that groaned beneath their freight, while roof tops and windows, trees and telegraph poles, were black with clustered humanity.

The king was tall and dark; a long beard hid his face. But the queen was young and blushing, and her waiting women were fairer than springtime flowers. To a crashing martial air, she handed him a sparkling goblet in which he pledged her happiness, while the street rocked to the roar of many voices, and in the open spaces youths, grotesquely costumed, danced with goblin glee.

Mr. Roland Van Dam secretly thought it all quite fine and inspiriting, but he was too highly schooled to allow himself much emotion. He had been hard put to obtain seats, and had succeeded only through the efforts of a friend, the Duke of Cotton; therefore, he felt, the members of his party might have shown at least a perfunctory appreciation. But they were not the appreciative kind, and their attitude was made plain by Eleanor Banniman's languid words:

"How dull! It's nothing like the carnival at Nice, and the people seem very common."

Her father was dozing uncomfortably, with his two lower chins telescoped into his billowing chest; Mrs. Banniman complained of the heat and the glare, and predicted a headache for herself. Near by, the rest of the party were striving to conceal their lack of interest by guying the crowd below. Van Dam had been the one to suggest this trip to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras, and he felt the weight of entertainment bearing heavily upon him. In consequence, he assumed a sprightly interest that was very far from genuine.

"This sort of thing awakens something medieval inside of one, don't you know," he said.

Miss Banniman regarded him with a bland lack of comprehension; her mother moaned weakly, the burden of her complaint being, as usual:

"Why did we leave Palm Beach?"

"All those dukes and things make me feel as if it were real," Van Dam explained further. "They say this Rex fellow is a true king during Mardi Gras week, and those chaps in masks are quite like court jesters. Maybe they sing of wars and love and romance and all that rot."

"I dare say life was just as uninteresting in olden days as it is now," Eleanor remarked... Continue reading book >>




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