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The Poor Plutocrats   By: (1825-1904)

Book cover

First Page:

WORKS OF MAURUS JÓKAI

HUNGARIAN EDITION

THE POOR PLUTOCRATS

Translated from the Hungarian

By

R. NISBET BAIN

NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY DOUBLEDAY & McCLURE CO.

PREFACE

"Szegény Gazdagok" is, perhaps, the most widely known of all Maurus Jókai's masterpieces. It was first published at Budapest, in 1860, in four volumes, and has been repeatedly translated into German, while good Swedish, Danish, Dutch and Polish versions sufficiently testify to its popularity on the Continent. Essentially a tale of incident and adventure, it is one of the best novels of that inexhaustible type with which I am acquainted. It possesses in an eminent degree the quality of vividness which R. L. Stevenson prized so highly, and the ingenuity of its plot, the dramatic force of its episodes, and the startling unexpectedness of its dénouement are all in the Hungarian master's most characteristic style. I know of no more stirring incident in contemporary fiction than the terrible wrestling match between strong Juon the goatherd and the supple bandit Fatia Negra in the presence of two trembling, defenceless women, who can do nothing but look on, though their fate depends upon the issue of the struggle, and we must go back to the pages of that unsurpassed master of the weird and thrilling Sheridan Le Fanu to find anything approaching the terror of poor Henrietta's awful midnight vigil in the deserted csárda upon the lonely heath when, at the very advent of her mysterious peril, she discovers, to her horror, that her sole companion and guardian, the brave old squire, cannot be aroused from his drugged slumbers.

There is naturally not so much scope for the display of Jókai's peculiar and delightful humour, in a novel of incident like the present tale as there is in that fine novel of manners: "A Hungarian Nabob." Yet even in "Szegény Gazdagok," many of the minor characters (e.g., the parasite Margari, the old miser Demetrius, the Hungarian Miggs, Clementina, the frivolous Countess Kengyelesy), are not without a mild Dickensian flavour, while in that rugged but good natured and chivalrous Nimrod, Mr. Gerzson, the Hungarian novelist has drawn to the life one of the finest types we possess of the better sort of sporting Magyar squires.

Finally, this fascinating story possesses in an eminent degree the charm of freshness and novelty, a charm becoming rarer every year in these globe trotting days, when the ubiquitous tourist boasts that he has been everywhere and seen everything. Yet it may well be doubted whether even he has penetrated to the heart of the wild, romantic, sylvan regions of the Wallachian and Transylvanian Alps, which is the theatre of the exploits of that prince of robber chieftains, the mighty and mysterious Fatia Negra, and the home of those picturesque Roumanian peasants whom Jókai loves to depict and depicts so well.

R. NISBET BAIN.

Contents

CHAPTER

I. BOREDOM II. A NEW MODE OF DUELLING III. AN AMIABLE MAN IV. CHILDISH NONSENSE V. SHE IS NOT FOR YOU VI. BRINGING HOME THE BRIDE VII. THE CAVERN OF LUCSIA VIII. STRONG JUON IX. THE GEINA MAID MARKET X. THE BLACK JEWELRY XI. TWO TALES, OF WHICH ONLY ONE IS TRUE XII. THE SOIRÉES AT ARAD XIII. TIT FOR TAT XIV. THE MIKALAI CSÁRDA XV. WHO IT WAS THAT RECOGNIZED FATIA NEGRA XVI. LEANDER BABEROSSY XVII. MR. MARGARI XVIII. THE UNDISCOVERABLE LADY XIX. THE SHAKING HAND XX. THE FIGHT FOR THE GOLD XXI. THE HUNTED BEAST XXII. THE SIGHT OF TERROR XXIII. THE ACCOMMODATION XXIV. CONCLUSION

POOR PLUTOCRATS

CHAPTER I

BOREDOM

"Was it you who yawned so, Clementina?"

Nobody answered.

The questioner was an old gentleman in his eightieth year or so, dressed in a splendid flowered silk Kaftan, with a woollen night cap on his head, warm cotton stockings on his feet, and diamond, turquoise, and ruby rings on his fingers... Continue reading book >>




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