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The Gorgeous Isle A Romance; Scene: Nevis, B.W.I. 1842   By: (1857-1948)

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A Romance

Scene: Nevis, B. W. I., 1842

Illustrated by C. Coles Phillips

New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1908

Copyright, 1908, by The Ess Ess Publishing Company

Copyright, 1908, by Gertrude Atherton Published, October, 1908

All Rights Reserved, Including That of Translation into Foreign Languages, Including the Scandinavian

[Illustration: "'But what a joy to see you in colour. How does it happen?'"]


"We are all souls of fire and children of the sun." Helmholtz .


"'But what a joy to see you in colour. How does it happen?'" FRONTISPIECE

"At this point she became aware that Warner was standing beside her" 74

"'I never wish to see you again'" 174

"Then she left the room again" 216


BATH HOUSE. This hotel was erected in 1804 at a cost of £40,000, although built entirely by slaves. Its varied and brilliant career came to an end some time in the forties. The tide of fashion turned, and as it was too large for a private residence, it was left to the elements. Earthquakes have riven it, hurricanes unroofed it, and time devoured it, but it is still magnificent in its ruin.

ATLANTIS. Bacon, in "The New Atlantis," assumes America to be the fabled continent of Atlantis, which, according to his theory, was not submerged, but flooded to such an extent that all the inhabitants perished except the few that fled to the highest mountain tops. I have, however, preferred to adopt the Platonic theory, as at once more plausible and interesting.

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S RING. West Indian tradition gives this historic ring to the Warner family, as related in the story. It descended in the direct line to Colonel Edward Warner, who bequeathed it by will to his brother, Ashton Warner, as "a diamond ring in shape of a heart, given by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Essex." This will, dated 27th of December, 1732, was proved in the Probate Court of Canterbury, England, on the 21st of February following. From Ashton Warner it descended to his son Joseph, and at the date of the story was in the possession of Charles Warner, Esq., Solicitor General of Trinidad, B. W. I.

The Gorgeous Isle


Bath House, the most ambitious structure ever erected in the West Indies, and perhaps the most beautiful hotel the world has ever seen, was the popular winter refuge of English people of fashion in the earlier half of the nineteenth century. This immense irregular pile of masonry stood on a terraced eminence rising from the flat border of Nevis, a volcano whose fires had migrated to less fortunate isles and covered with some fifty square miles of soil that yielded every luxury of the Antilles. There was game in the jungles, fish in the sea, did the men desire sport; there were groves of palm and cocoanut for picnics, a town like a bazaar, a drive of twenty four miles round the base of the ever beautiful ever changing mountain; and a sloop always ready to convey the guests to St. Kitts, Montserrat, or Antigua, where they were sure of entertainment from the hospitable planters. There were sea baths and sulphur baths; above all, the air was light and stimulating on the hottest days, for the trade winds rarely deserted Nevis and St. Kitts, no matter what the fate of the rest of that blooming archipelago.

Bath House was surrounded by wide gardens of tropical trees, ferns, and flowers of gay and delicate hues. Its several terraces flamed with colour, as well as its numerous little balconies and galleries, and the flat surfaces of the roof: the whole effect being that of an Eastern palace with hanging gardens, a vast pleasure house, designed for some extravagant and voluptuous potentate. Anything less like an hotel had never been erected; and the interior, with its lofty pillared rooms, its costly mahogany furniture, its panels and hangings of rich brocades, the thick rugs on the polished floors, if more European than Oriental, equally resembled a palace; an effect in no wise diminished by the brilliant plumage of the guests... Continue reading book >>

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