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The Three Impostors or The Transmutations   By: (1863-1947)

Book cover

First Page:

THE THREE IMPOSTORS

or The Transmutations

by

ARTHUR MACHEN

TRANSLATOR OF 'L'HEPTAMERON' AND 'LE MOYEN DE PARVENIR';

AUTHOR OF 'THE CHRONICLE OF CLEMENDY' AND 'THE GREAT GOD PAN'

BOSTON: Roberts Bros, 1895

LONDON: John Lane, Vigo st.

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLD TIBERIUS THE ENCOUNTER OF THE PAVEMENT NOVEL OF THE DARK VALLEY ADVENTURE OF THE MISSING BROTHER NOVEL OF THE BLACK SEAL INCIDENT OF THE PRIVATE BAR THE DECORATIVE IMAGINATION NOVEL OF THE IRON MAID THE RECLUSE OF BAYSWATER NOVEL OF THE WHITE POWDER STRANGE OCCURRENCE IN CLERKENWELL HISTORY OF THE YOUNG MAN WITH SPECTACLES ADVENTURE OF THE DESERTED RESIDENCE

THE THREE IMPOSTORS.

PROLOGUE.

"And Mr. Joseph Walters is going to stay the night?" said the smooth clean shaven man to his companion, an individual not of the most charming appearance, who had chosen to make his ginger colored mustache merge into a pair of short chin whiskers.

The two stood at the hall door, grinning evilly at each other; and presently a girl ran quickly down, the stairs, and joined them. She was quite young, with a quaint and piquant rather than a beautiful face, and her eyes were of a shining hazel. She held a neat paper parcel in one hand, and laughed with her friends.

"Leave the door open," said the smooth man to the other, as they were going out. "Yes, by ," he went on with an ugly oath. "We'll leave the front door on the jar. He may like to see company, you know."

The other man looked doubtfully about him. "Is it quite prudent do you think, Davies?" he said, pausing with his hand on the mouldering knocker. "I don't think Lipsius would like it. What do you say, Helen?"

"I agree with Davies. Davies is an artist, and you are commonplace, Richmond, and a bit of a coward. Let the door stand open, of course. But what a pity Lipsius had to go away! He would have enjoyed himself."

"Yes," replied the smooth Mr. Davies, "that summons to the west was very hard on the doctor."

The three passed out, leaving the hall door, cracked and riven with frost and wet, half open, and they stood silent for a moment under the ruinous shelter of the porch.

"Well," said the girl, "it is done at last. I shall hurry no more on the track of the young man with spectacles."

"We owe a great deal to you," said Mr. Davies politely; "the doctor said so before he left. But have we not all three some farewells to make? I, for my part, propose to say good by, here, before this picturesque but mouldy residence, to my friend Mr. Burton, dealer in the antique and curious," and the man lifted his hat with an exaggerated bow.

"And I," said Richmond, "bid adieu to Mr. Wilkins, the private secretary, whose company has, I confess, become a little tedious."

"Farewell to Miss Lally, and to Miss Leicester also," said the girl, making as she spoke a delicious courtesy. "Farewell to all occult adventure; the farce is played."

Mr. Davies and the lady seemed full of grim enjoyment, but Richmond tugged at his whiskers nervously.

"I feel a bit shaken up," he said. "I've seen rougher things in the States, but that crying noise he made gave me a sickish feeling. And then the smell But my stomach was never very strong."

The three friends moved away from the door, and began to walk slowly up and down what had been a gravel path, but now lay green and pulpy with damp mosses. It was a fine autumn evening, and a faint sunlight shone on the yellow walls of the old deserted house, and showed the patches of gangrenous decay, and all the stains, the black drift of rain from the broken pipes, the scabrous blots where the bare bricks were exposed, the green weeping of a gaunt laburnum that stood beside the porch, and ragged marks near the ground where the reeking clay was gaining on the worn foundations. It was a queer rambling old place, the centre perhaps two hundred years old, with dormer windows sloping from the tiled roof, and on each side there were Georgian wings; bow windows had been carried up to the first floor, and two dome like cupolas that had once been painted a bright green were now gray and neutral... Continue reading book >>




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