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The Wayfarers   By:

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[Frontispiece: "'It is most strange, madam ... that you should not be certain of the name of your husband.'" (Chapter XIII.)]

THE WAYFARERS

BY

J. C. SNAITH

Author of "Mistress Dorothy Marvin," "Fierceheart, the Soldier," "Lady Barbarity," etc

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED

LONDON, MELBOURNE AND TORONTO

1902

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I THE DEVIL TO PAY II LADY CYNTHIA CAREW III INTRODUCES A MERITORIOUS HEBREW IV WE START UPON OUR PILGRIMAGE V I VINDICATE THE NATIONAL CHARACTER. VI CONTAINS A FEW TRITE UTTERANCES ON THE GENTLE PASSION VII AN INSTRUCTIVE CHAPTER; IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT IF A LITTLE LEARNING IS DANGEROUS, MUCH MAY BE CALAMITOUS VIII WE GET US TO CHURCH IX WE GO UPON OUR WEDDING TOUR X WE ARE BESET BY A HEAVY MISFORTUNE XI I COME A PRISONER TO A FAMILIAR HOUSE, AND FIND STRANGE COMPANY XII I DISCOVER A GREAT AUTHOR WHERE I LEAST EXPECT TO FIND ONE XIII I FIND OUT CYNTHIA: CYNTHIA FINDS OUT ME XIV AMANTIUM IRÆ XV AMORIS INTEGRATIO: WE ARE CLAPT IN THE STOCKS XVI WE ARE SO SORELY TRIED THAT WE FAIN HAVE RECOURSE TO OUR WITS XVII WE MAKE ACQUAINTANCE WITH A PERSON OF DISTINCTION XVIII CONTAINS A PANEGYRIC ON THE GENTLE PASSION XIX WE APPEAR IN A NEW CHARACTER XX DISADVANTAGES OF A CHAISE AND A PAIR OF HORSES XXI WE REAP THE FRUITS OF OUR AUDACITY XXII THE LAST

THE WAYFARERS

CHAPTER I

THE DEVIL TO PAY

When I opened my eyes it was one o'clock in the day. The cards lay on the table in a heap, and on the carpet in a greater one, the dead bottles in their midst. The candles were burnt out; their holders were foul with smoke and grease. As I sat up on the couch on which I had thrown myself at nine o clock in the morning in the desperation of fatigue, and stretched the sleep out of my limbs and rubbed it out of my brain the afternoon strove through the drawn blinds palely. The half light gave such a sombre and appropriate touch to the profligate scene that it would have moved a moralist to a disquisition of five pages. But whatever my errors, that accusation was never urged against me, even by my friends. You may continue in your reading, therefore, in no immediate peril. The ashes were long since grey in the grate; there was an intolerable reek of wine dregs and stale tobacco in the air; and the condition of the furniture, stained and broken and tumbled in all directions contributed the final disorder to the room. Indeed the only article in it, allowing no exception to myself, that had emerged from the orgy of the night without an impediment to its dignity was the picture of my grandfather, that pious, learned nobleman, hanging above the mantelpiece. A chip off a corner of his frame might be urged even against him; but what was that in comparison with the philosophical severity with which he gazed upon the scene? In the grave eyes, the grim mouth, the great nose of his family, he retained the contemplative grandeur which had enabled him to give to the world in ten ponderous tomes a Commentary on the Analects of Confucius . The space they had occupied on my book shelf, between the Newgate Calendar and the History of Jonathan Wild the Great , was now unfilled, since these memorials of the great mind of my ancestor had lain three weeks with the Jews.

By the time my wits had returned I was able to recall the fact that the previous night, whose evidences I now regarded, was the last I should enjoy. It was the extravagant ending to a raffish comedy. Finis was already written in my history. As I sat yawning on my couch I was a thing of the past; I had ceased to be; to morrow at this hour I should be forgotten by the world. I had had my chin off the bridle for ten years, and had used that period to whirl my heels without regard to the consequences. I had played high, drunk deep, paid my court to Venus, gained the notoriety of the intrigue and the duel in fact, I had taken every degree in rakishness with the highest honours... Continue reading book >>




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