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The Rustle of Silk   By: (1879-1942)

The Rustle of Silk by Cosmo Hamilton

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The Rustle of Silk



Author of Scandal , Etc.


Made in the United States of America

Copyright, 1922, By Cosmo Hamilton. All rights reserved

Published April, 1922 Reprinted April, 1922 (twice) Reprinted June, 1922 Reprinted July, 1922

Printed in the United States of America





The man had followed her from Marble Arch, not a mackerel eyed old man, sensual and without respect, but one who responded to emotions as an artist and was still young and still interested. He had seen her descend from a motor omnibus, had caught his breath at her disturbing femininity, had watched her pass like a sunbeam on the garden side of the road, and in the spirit of a man who sees the materialization of the very essence of woman, turned and followed.

All the way along, under branches of trees that were newly peppered with early green, he watched her and saw other men's heads turn as she passed, on busses, in taxicabs, in cars and in the infrequent horse drawn carriage that was like a Chaucerian noun dropped into the pages of a modern book. He saw men stop as he had stopped and catch their breath and then pursue their way reluctantly. He noticed that women, especially passée, tired women, paid her tribute by a flash of smile or a sudden brightness of the eye. There was no conscious effort to attract in the girl's manner, nothing bizarre or even smart in her clothing. Her young figure, the perfection of form, was plainly dressed. She wore the clothes of a student of the lower middle class, of the small shopkeeping class, and probably either made them herself or bought them off the peg. There was no startling beauty in her face or anything wonderful in her eyes, and certainly nothing of challenge, of coquetry, nothing but the sublime unself consciousness of a child. And yet there was so definite and disordering a sense of sex about her that she passed through a very procession of tribute.

The man was a dramatist whose business was to play upon the emotions of sex, and to watch this child and the stir she made seemed to him to refute once more the ludicrous attempts of would be reformers to remold humanity and prohibit the greatest of the urges of nature, and made him laugh. He wondered all the way along not who she was, because that didn't matter, but what she would do and become, this girl with her wide apart eyes, oval face and full red lips, with the nose of a patrician and the sensitive nostrils of a horse, if she would quickly marry in her own class and drift from early motherhood into a discontented drabness, or burst the bonds and be transferred from her probable back yard into a great conservatory.

He marveled at her astonishing detachment and was amused to discover that she was playing at some sort of game all by herself. From time to time, as she danced along, she assumed suddenly a dignified and gracious personality, walking slowly, with a high chin, bowing to imaginary acquaintances and looking through the railings of Kensington Gardens with an air of proprietorship. Then she as quickly returned to her own obviously normal self and hurried a little, conscious of approaching dusk. Finally, with the cunning of city breeding, she nicked across the road, and he saw her stop outside the tube station at Bayswater, arrested by the bill of an evening paper, "Fallaray against reprisals. New crisis in the Irish Question. Notable defection from Lloyd George forces."

He watched the girl stand in front of these glaring words and read them over and over with extraordinary interest. Standing at her elbow, he heard her heave a quick excited sigh. He imagined that she must be Irish and watched her enter the station, linger about the bookstall and fasten eagerly upon a magazine, so eagerly that he slipped again to her elbow and looked to see why... Continue reading book >>

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