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Danira   By: (1838-1918)

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By E. Werner.

Chicago and New York: Rand, McNally & Company, Publishers.

Copyright 1888, by Rand, McNally & Co., Chicago. Danira



The storm had lasted all night. Not until early dawn did the gale lessen and the towering billows of the sea begin to subside.

The steamer, which had undergone a tolerably severe conflict with wind and waves, was just running into the sheltering harbor, at whose end appeared her destined port, a picturesquely situated town, dominated by a strong citadel on a rocky height.

In the bow stood a young officer in the uniform of the Austrian Imperial Chasseurs, who, spy glass in hand, was scanning the scene. The light fatigue cap covering his thick, fair hair, shaded a face that harmonized perfectly with his manly bearing. Every feature was grave, firm, resolute, and the clear light brown eyes, with their quiet, searching gaze, suited the countenance. Yet one might have desired a little more life and animation; the grave, passionless repose of a face so youthful produced an almost chilling impression. A heavy step was heard on the cabin stairs, and directly after a young soldier, who wore the same uniform, approached. The steamer still rocked so much that he had some difficulty in crossing the deck to his officer, who now closed the glass and turned toward him.

"Well, George, what are the men doing?" he asked. "How are things going down below?"

"It's awful, lieutenant," was the reply. "They are still so sea sick that they can neither hear nor see. You and I are the only ones who have kept up."

"I suppose you are very proud that we two are the only ones who have proved ourselves good sailors?" said the officer, with a flitting smile.

"I should think so," answered George. "When a man has seen nothing but mountains all his life, it's no small matter to toss about on this confounded glittering blue sea, as we have done for three days and nights. This Cattaro is surely almost at the end of the world."

He spoke in the purest Tyrolese dialect, and now stationed himself close behind the officer with a familiarity that implied some closer relation than the tie between a subaltern and his commander.

George was a handsome, sturdy fellow, with curly black hair and a fresh, sun burnt face, in which a pair of black eyes sparkled boldly and merrily. At present, however, they were scanning with evident curiosity the goal of the journey which the steamer was now approaching.

The open sea had already disappeared, and nearer and darker towered the gigantic peaks which had been visible in the distance since early dawn. They seemed to rise from the water in every direction and bar the ship's way, but a narrow passage between the cliffs opened like a huge gloomy gate, and the whole extent of the harbor appeared before the vessel as she steered in.

The foaming, surging waves had been left outside, and the water lay almost motionless, encircled by the chain of mountains surrounding it.

The sun was already struggling with the dispersing storm clouds; ever and anon golden shafts darted through them and danced upon the waves, and broad, shimmering rays of light gleamed through the mist, but the fog still rested in dense masses over the city, and the citadel was scarcely visible in the shadow of the clouds gathered around it.

"A magnificent view!" said the young officer in a low tone, more to himself than to his companion, but the latter assumed a very contemptuous air... Continue reading book >>

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