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Dr. Adriaan   By: (1863-1923)

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E text prepared by Christine Bell and Marc D'Hooghe (http://www.freeliterature.org)

DR. ADRIAAN

by

LOUIS COUPERUS

Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

New York Dodd, Mead and Company 1918

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

Dr. Adriaan is the fourth and last of the volumes forming The Books of the Small Souls . In it the reader renews his acquaintance with all the characters that survive from Small Souls, The Later Life and The Twilight of the Souls.

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS.

Chelsea , 30 March, 1918.

CHAPTER I

The afternoon sky was full of thick, dark clouds, drifting ponderously grey over almost black violet: clouds so dark, heavy and thick that they seemed to creep laboriously upon the east wind, for all that it was blowing hard. In its breath the clouds now and again changed their watery outline, before their time came to pour down in heavy straight streaks of rain. The stiff pine woods quivered, erect and anxious, along the road; and the tops of the trees lost themselves in a silver grey air hardly lighter than the clouds and dissolving far and wide under all that massive grey violet and purple black which seemed so close and low. The road ran near and went winding past, lonely, deserted and sad. It was as though it came winding out of low horizons and went on towards low horizons, dipping humbly under very low skies, and only the pine trees still stood up, pointed, proud and straight, when everything else was stooping. The modest villa residence, the smaller poor dwellings here and there stooped under the heavy sky and the gusty wind; the shrubs dipped along the road side; and the few people who went along an old gentleman; a peasant woman; two poor children carrying a basket and followed by a melancholy, big, rough coated dog seemed to hang their heads low under the solemn weight of the clouds and the fierce mastery of the wind, which had months ago blown the smile from the now humble, frowning, pensive landscape. The soul of that landscape appeared small and all forlorn in the watery mists of the dreary winter.

The wind came howling along, chill and cold, like an angry spite that was all mouth and breath; and Adeletje, hanging on her aunt's arm, huddled into herself, for the wind blew chill in her sleeves and on her back.

"Are you cold, dear?"

"No, Auntie," said Adeletje, softly, shivering.

Constance smiled and pressed Adeletje's arm close to her:

"Let's walk a little faster, dear. It'll warm you; and, besides, I'm afraid it's going to rain. It's quite a long way to the old lady's and back again.... I fear I've tired you."

"No, Auntie."

"You see, I didn't want to take the carriage. This way, we do the thing by ourselves; and otherwise everybody would know of it at once. And you must promise me not to talk about it."

"No, Auntie, I won't."

"Not to anybody. Otherwise there'll be all sorts of remarks; and it's no concern of other people's what we do."

"The poor old thing was very happy, Auntie. The beef tea and the wine and chicken...."

"Poor little old woman...."

"And so well mannered. And so discreet.... Auntie, will Addie be back soon?"

"He's sure to telegraph."

"It's very nice of him to take such pains for Alex. We all of us give Addie a lot of trouble.... When do you think he'll come back?"

"I don't know; to morrow, or the next day...."

"Auntie, you've been very fidgety lately."

"My dear, I haven't."

"Yes, you have.... Tell me, has anything happened with Mathilde? Has there?"

"No, child.... But do keep your little mouth shut now. I'm frightened, the wind's so cold."

They walked on in silence, Adeletje accommodating her step by Aunt Constance' regular pace. Constance was a good walker; and Addie always said that, leading the outdoor life she did, Mama grew no older. They had now been living for ten years at Driebergen, in the big, old, gloomy house, which seemed to be lighted only by themselves, by their affection for one another, but which Constance had never brought herself to like, hard though she tried... Continue reading book >>




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