Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

A Transient Guest and Other Episodes   By: (1855-1921)

Book cover

First Page:

A TRANSIENT GUEST,

AND OTHER EPISODES.

BY EDGAR SALTUS

BELFORD, CLARKE & CO. CHICAGO, NEW YORK, AND SAN FRANCISCO PUBLISHERS

London, HENRY J. DRANE, Lovell's Court, Paternoster Row

COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY EDGAR SALTUS.

Press of E. B. Sheldon & Co. New Haven, Conn.

TO K. J. M.

New York, 1st June, 1889.

CONTENTS.

A TRANSIENT GUEST

THE GRAND DUKE'S RUBIES

A MAID OF MODERN ATHENS

FAUSTA

A TRANSIENT GUEST.

I.

Since the Koenig Wilhelm , of the Dutch East India Service, left Batavia, the sky had been torpidly blue, that suffocating indigo which seems so neighborly that the traveller fancies were he a trifle taller he could touch it with the ferule of his stick. When night came, the stars would issue from their ambush and stab it through and through, but the glittering cicatrices which they made left it bluer even, more persistent than before. And now, as the ship entered the harbor, there was a cruelty about it that exulted and defied. The sun, too, seemed to menace; on every bit of brass it placed a threat, and in the lap of the waters there was an understanding and a pact. Beyond, to the right, was one long level stretch of sand on which the breakers fawned with recurrent surge and swoon. Behind it were the green ramparts of a forest; to the left were the bungalows and booths of Siak; while in the distance, among the hills and intervales, where but a few years before natives lurked beneath the monstrous lilies and clutched their kriss in fierce surmise, a locomotive had left a trail of smoke.

"Sumatra, too, has gone the way of the world," thought one who lounged on deck.

He was a good looking young fellow, browner far than he had been when he left New York, and he was garbed in a fashion which would have attracted the notice of the most apathetic habitué of Narragansett Pier. Save for a waistband of yellow silk, he was clad wholly in that dead white which is known as fromage à la crême . Had his cork hat been decorated with a canary bird's feather, you would have said a prince stepped from a fairy tale. At his heels was a fox terrier, which he had christened Zut. When he wished to be emphatic, however, Zut was elongated into Zut Alors.

"The general's compliments, sir, and are you ready?"

It was the polyglot steward addressing him, with that deference which is born of tips.

Tancred Ennever the only son of Furman Ennever, who, as every one knows, is head and front of the steadiest house in Wall Street turned and nodded. "Got my traps up?" he asked, and without waiting for a reply sauntered across the deck. He had met the general Petrus van Lier, Consul of the Netherlands to Siak at the Government House at Batavia, and although the trip which he had outlined for himself consisted, for the moment at least, in making direct for that sultry hole which is known as Singapore, yet the general had so represented the charms and pleasures of Sumatra that he had consented to become his guest. In extending the invitation the general may have had an ulterior motive, but in that case he let no inkling of it escape.

And now, as Tancred crossed the deck, the general stretched his hand. He was a man whose fiftieth birthday would never be fêted again. He had the dormant eyes of his race, those eyes in which apathy is a screen to vigilance, and his chin had the tenacity of a rock. His upper lip was furnished with a cavalry moustache of indistinctest gray, the ends upturned and fierce. In stature he was short and slim. It should be added that he was bald.

Though the ship had barely halted, already it was surrounded by prahus and sampans, the indigenous varieties of skiff, and among them one there was so trim it might have come from a man of war. In the bow a fluttering pennon proclaimed it a belonging of the Dutch... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books