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The Orchard of Tears   By: (1883-1959)

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original text has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

THE ORCHARD OF TEARS

BY

SAX ROHMER

AUTHOR OF "DR. FU MANCHU"

THIRD EDITION

METHUEN & CO. LTD. 36 ESSEX STREET W.C. LONDON

First Issued in this Cheap Form (Second Edition) July 14th, 1921 Third Edition 1921

This Book was First Published (Crown 8vo) October 24th, 1918

CONTENTS

PAGE

PART I AT LOWER CHARLESWOOD 1

PART II FLAMBY IN LONDON 85

PART III THE KEY 173

TO THE SLAVES OF THE POMEGRANATE, SONS OF ADAM AND DAUGHTERS OF EVE, WHO DRINK AT THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, THIS CHALICE IS OFFERED AS A LOVING CUP.

THE ORCHARD OF TEARS

PART FIRST

AT LOWER CHARLESWOOD

I

It was high noon of a perfect summer's day. Beneath green sun blinds, upon the terrace overlooking the lawns, Paul Mario, having finished his lunch, lay back against the cushions of a white deck chair and studied the prospect. Sloping turf, rose gay paths, and lichened brick steps, hollowed with age, zigzagging leisurely down to the fir avenue, carried the eye onward again to where the river wound its way through verdant banks toward the distant town.

A lark wooed the day with sweet music. Higher and ever higher rose the little sun worshipper, pouring out his rapturous hymn to Apollo. Swallows, who but lately had crossed the battlefields of southern Europe, glided around Hatton Towers, describing mystic figures in the air, whilst the high feeble chirping of the younger generation sounded from the nests beneath the eaves. Amid the climbing roses bees were busy, their communal labours an object lesson for self seeking man; and almost at Mario's feet a company of ants swarmed over the yet writhing body of an unfortunate caterpillar, who had dropped from an apple tree to fall a prey to that savage natural law of death to the weak. The harsh voice of a sentinel crow spoke from a neighbouring cornfield, and a cloud of dusky marauders took the air instantly, and before the sharp crack of the farmer's fowling piece came to confirm the warning. In the hush of noon the tones of some haymakers at their patriarchal labours in a meadow beyond the stream were clearly audible and the atmosphere constantly vibrated with remote booming of guns on the Western front.

Paul Mario was sufficiently distinguished in appearance to have been a person of no importance. His virile, curling black hair had the raven's wing sheen betraying remote Italian forebears, and for that matter there was in his entire cast of countenance and the poise of his fine head something statuesquely Roman, Southern, exotic. His large but deep set eyes were of so dark a blue as very generally to pass for "black"; and whilst in some moods they were soft and dreamy, in others, notably in moments of enthusiasm, they burnt darkly fierce in his pale olive face. In profile there was a certain resemblance to the Vatican head of Julius Caesar, save for the mouth, which had more gentle curves, and which was not unlike that of Dante; but seen full face, and allowing for the fact that Paul Mario was clean shaven, the likeness of feature to the traditional Christ was startling. This resemblance is equally notable in the face of Shakespeare.

Rather above medium height, well but slightly proportioned, the uneasy spirit of the man ever looking out of those arresting eyes so wholly dominated him as to create a false impression of fragility, of a casket too frail to confine the burning, eager soul within. His emotions were dynamic, and in his every mannerism there was distinction... Continue reading book >>




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