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Dross   By: (1862-1903)

Book cover

First Page:

DROSS

by

HENRY SETON MERRIMAN

Author of "With Edged Tools," "The Sowers," Etc.

[Illustration: I WAS MAKING PRETENCE, IN A SHALLOW WAY NO DOUBT, TO STUDY THE PAPERS ON THE TABLE. AND LUCILLE STANDING BEFORE MY DESK WAS LOOKING DOWN AT MY BENT HEAD, NOTING PERHAPS THE GREY HAIRS THERE. THUS WE REMAINED FOR A MINUTE IN SILENCE.]

Herbert S. Stone & Co. Chicago and New York MDCCCXCIX Copyright, MDCCCXCVI by Herbert S. Stone & Company

CONTENTS

Chapter Page I. Mushrooms 1 II. Monsieur 13 III. Madame 25 IV. Disqualified 36 V. C'est la Vie 49 VI. A Glimpse of Home 60 VII. In Provence 72 VIII. In Paris 83 IX. Finance 95 X. The Golden Spoon 107 XI. Theft 118 XII. Ruin 130 XIII. The Shadow Again 141 XIV. A Little Cloud 153 XV. Flight 165 XVI. Exile 177 XVII. On the Track 189 XVIII. A Dark Horse 201 XIX. Sport 213 XX. Underhand 223 XXI. Checkmate 234 XXII. Home 245 XXIII. Wrecked 256 XXIV. An Explanation 267 XXV. Paris Again 277 XXVI. Above the Snow Line 289 XXVII. The Hand of God 300 XXVIII. The Links 312 XXIX. At La Pauline 324

Chapter I

Mushrooms

"La célébrité est comme le feu, qui brûle de près et illumine de loin."

Under a glorious sky, in the year 1869, Paris gathered to rejoice in the centenary of the birth of the First Napoleon. A gathering this of mushroom nobility, soldiery and diplomacy, to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the greatest mushroom that ever sprang to life in the hotbed of internecine strife.

"Adventurers all," said John Turner, the great Paris banker, with whom I was in the Church of the Invalides; "and yonder," he added, indicating the Third Napoleon, "is the cleverest."

We had pushed our way into the gorgeous church, and now rubbed elbows with some that wore epaulettes on peaceful shoulders. There were ladies present, too. Did not the fair beings contribute to the rise and fall of that marvellous Second Empire? Representatives of almost every European power paid homage that day to the memory of a little Corsican officer of artillery.

As for me, I went from motives of curiosity, as, no doubt, went many others, if indeed all had so good a call. In my neighbourhood, for instance, stood a stout gentleman in court uniform, who wept aloud whenever the organ permitted his grief to be audible.

"Who is that?" I inquired of my companion.

"A Legitimist, who would perhaps accept a Napoleonic post," replied John Turner, in his stout and simple way.

"And is he weeping because the man who was born a hundred years ago is dead?"

"No! He is weeping because that man's nephew may perchance note his emotion."

One could never tell how dense or how acute John Turner really was. His round, fat face was always immobile and fleshy no wrinkle, no movement of lip or eyelid, ever gave the cue to his inmost thought. He was always good natured and indifferent a middle aged bachelor who had found life not hollow, but full of food.

Nature having given me long legs (wherewith to give the slip to my responsibilities, and also to the bailiffs, as many of my female relatives have enjoyed saying), I could look over the heads of the majority of people present, and so saw the Emperor Napoleon III for the first time in my life. The mind is, after all, a smaller thing than those who deny the existence of that which is beyond their comprehension would have us believe... Continue reading book >>




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