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Linda Condon   By: (1880-1954)

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This eBook was produced by Anne Folland, Tiffany Vergon, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

THE WORKS OF JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER

THE LAY ANTHONY

MOUNTAIN BLOOD

THE THREE BLACK PENNYS

GOLD AND IRON

JAVA HEAD

THE HAPPY END

LINDA CONDON

LINDA CONDON

BY

JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER

To CARL VAN VECHTEN

This, Linda Condon's Gravest Bow.

LINDA CONDON

I

A black bang was, but not ultimately, the most notable feature of her uncommon personality straight and severe and dense across her clear pale brow and eyes. Her eyes were the last thing to remember and wonder about; in shade blue, they had a velvet richness, a poignant intensity of lovely color, that surprised the heart. Aside from that she was slim, perhaps ten years old, and graver than gay.

Her mother was gay for them both, and, therefore, for the entire family. No father was in evidence; he was dead and never spoken of, and Linda was the only child. Linda's dresses, those significant trivialities, plainly showed two tendencies the gaiety of her mother and her own always formal gravity. If Linda appeared at dinner, in the massive Renaissance materialism of the hotel dining room, with a preposterous magenta hair ribbon on her shapely head, her mother had succeeded in expressing her sense of the appropriately decorative; while if Linda wore an unornamented but equally "unsuitable" frock of dark velvet, she, in her turn, had been vindicated.

Again, but far more rarely, the child's selection was evident on the woman. As a rule Mrs. Condon garbed her flamboyant body in large and expensive patterns or extremely tailored suits; and of the two, the evening satins and powdered arms barely retaining an admissible line, and the suits, the latter were the most, well spectacular.

She was not dark in color but brightly golden; a gold, it must be said in all honesty, her own, a metallic gold crisply and solidly marcelled; with hazel brown eyes, and a mouth which, set against her daughter's deep blue gaze, was her particular attraction. It was rouged to a nicety, the under lip a little full and never quite against the upper. If Linda's effect was cool and remote, Mrs. Condon, thanks to her mouth, was reassuringly imminent. She was, too, friendly; she talked to women in her not overfrequent opportunities in a rapid warm inaccurate confession of almost everything they desired to hear. The women, of course, were continually hampered by the unfortunate fact that the questions nearest their hearts, or curiosity, were entirely inadmissible.

Viewed objectively, they all, with the exception of Linda, seemed alike; but that might have been due to their common impressive setting. The Boscombe, in its way, was as lavish as Mrs. Condon's dresses. The main place of congregation, for instance, was a great space of white marble columns, Turkey red carpet and growing palms. It was lighted at night indirectly by alabaster bowls hanging on gilded chains a soft bright flood of radiance falling on the seated or slowly promenading women with bare shoulders.

Usually they were going with a restrained sharp eagerness toward the dining room or leaving it in a more languid flushed repletion. There were, among them, men; but somehow the men never seemed to be of the least account. It was a women's paradise. The glow from above always emphasized the gowns, the gowns like orchids and tea roses and the leaves of magnolias. It sparkled in the red and green and crystal jewels like exotic dew scattered over the exotic human flowers. Very occasionally there was a complacent or irritable masculine utterance, and then it was immediately lost in the dominant feminine sibilance.

Other children than Linda sped in the manner of brilliant fretful tops literally on the elaborate outskirts of the throng; but they were as different from her as she was from the elders. Indeed Linda resembled the latter, rather than her proper age, remarkably. She had an air of responsibility, sometimes expressed in a troubled frown, and again by the way she hurried sedately through drifting figures toward a definite purpose and end... Continue reading book >>




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