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Love's Usuries   By:

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Love's Usuries

BY

LOUIS CRESWICKE Author of "Magnetism and Mystery"

London HENRY J. DRANE SALISBURY HOUSE SALISBURY SQUARE, FLEET STREET, E.C.

[ Several of the following stories are reprinted by kind permission of the Editor of "BLACK AND WHITE," in which journal they originally appeared. "On the Eve of the Regatta" is reprinted by kind permission of the Editor of "THE GENTLEWOMAN."]

TO

H. F. PREVOST BATTERSBY,

IN APPRECIATION OF MUCH GOOD FELLOWSHIP.

Is happiness courted in vain? A will o' the wisp nothing more? A bubble? a dream? a refrain? Is happiness courted in vain A certain begetter of pain A fruit with an asp at the core? Is happiness courted in vain A will o' the wisp Nothing more!

CONTENTS

PAGE LOVE'S USURIES 7 A QUAINT ELOPEMENT 25 TROOPER JONES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE 53 THE "CELIBATE" CLUB (DIALOGUE) 70 IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP 78 SOME CRAZY PATCHWORK 94 "THE SOUL OF ME" 112 IN A CORNFIELD (DIALOGUE) 131 ON THE EVE OF THE REGATTA 136 PEACH BLOOM 151 TWIN SOULS (DIALOGUE) 176 PAIN'S PENSIONERS 182 FOR LOVE OR SCIENCE? 201 ROMANCE OF THE COULISSES 228

Love's Usuries.

"The star of love is a flower a deathless token, That grows beside the gate of unseen things."

Among friends, parting for a lengthy spell has its disadvantages. They age in character and physique, and after the reconnoitre there is a pathetic consciousness of the grudging confessions which time has inscribed on the monumental palimpsest. My meeting with Bentham after a severance of years was bleak with this pathos. But he was gay as ever, and better dressed than he used to be in the old art school days, with a self respecting adjustment of hat and necktie that had been unknown in Bohemia; for he was no longer a boy, but a man, and a noted one, and fortune had stroked him into sleekness. The gender of success must be feminine: she is so capricious. Hitherto her smiles have been for veterans grown hoary in doing; now she opens her arms for youngsters grown great merely by daring. Bentham, it must be owned, had dared uncommonly well, and success had pillowed his head in her lap while she twined the bay with her fingers. But lines round his mouth and fatigued cynicism on the eyelids betrayed the march of years, and, more, the thinker, who, like most thinkers, plumbs to exhaustion in a bottomless pit. For all that he was excellent company. On his walls hung innumerable trophies of foreign travel and unique specimens of his own art bent and with these, by gesture or by anecdote, he gave an unconscious synopsis of the skipped pages in our friendship's volume.

"This," he said, "is the original of 'Earth's Fair Daughters,' the canvas that brought me to the front; and here" handing an album "is the presentment of my benefactress."

"Benefactress?" I queried.

"Yes. I don't attempt to pad you with the social tarra diddle that genius finds nuggets on the surface of the diggings. Fame was due to myself, and fortune to Mrs Brune a dear old creature who bought my pictures with a persistence worthy a better cause. She died, leaving me her sole heir."

"And hence these travels?"

"Yes. When I lost sight of you in Paris I hewed a new route to notice. I played at being successful, bought my own pictures through dealers incog. , of course at enormous prices. That tickled the ears of the Press."

"But how about commission?"

"Oh, the dealers earned it, and my money was well invested... Continue reading book >>




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