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I seated myself at the root of a great tree, seriously to consider what it were best to do. That I was mad I could no longer doubt, yet recognized a ground of doubt in the conviction. Of fever I had no trace. I had, withal, a sense of exhilaration and vigor altogether unknown to me — a feeling of mental and physical exaltation. My senses seemed all alert; I could feel the air as a ponderous substance; I could hear the silence.
“Yes. But consider the ethics of the case,” said Jimmy. “Isn’t this burglary or something, Bubbles?”
Heedless of my influenza, I rushed at once to the lower regions of the inn, saw the waiter into whose hands I had confided my packet at half-past ten o’clock yesterday morning, and asked what messenger had been charged with it. The waiter could not tell me. He did not remember. I told him plainly that I considered this want of memory very extraordinary. The waiter laughed me to scorn, with that quiet insolence which a well-fed waiter feels for a customer who pays twenty shillings a week for his board and lodging. The packet had been given to a very respectable messenger, the waiter made no doubt. As to whether it was the ostler, or one of the boys, or the Boots, or a young woman in the kitchen who went on errands sometimes, the waiter wouldn’t take upon himself to swear, being a man who would perish rather than inadvertently perjure himself. As to my packet having been tampered with, that was ridiculous. What on earth was there in a lump of letter-paper for any one to steal? Was there money in the parcel? I was fain to confess there was no money; on which the waiter laughed aloud.
If the danger to the market from the consequences of marginselling was much less in 1962 than it had been in 1929, thedanger from another quarter—selling by mutual funds—wasimmeasurably greater. Indeed, many Wall Street professionalsnow say that at the height of the May excitement the merethought of the mutual-fund situation was enough to make themshudder. As is well known to the millions of Americans whohave bought shares in mutual funds over the past two decadesor so, they provide a way for small investors to pool theirresources under expert management; the small investor buysshares in a fund, and the fund uses the money to buy stocksand stands ready to redeem the investor’s shares at theircurrent asset value whenever he chooses. In a seriousstock-market decline, the reasoning went, small investors wouldwant to get their money out of the stock market and wouldtherefore ask for redemption of their shares; in order to raisethe cash necessary to meet the redemption demands, themutual funds would have to sell some of their stocks; thesesales would lead to a further stock-market decline, causingmore holders of fund shares to demand redemption—and soon down into a more up-to-date version of the bottomless pit.
little group toward the couple. If anything, Leila had gained in popular esteem by her assiduity at her father’s bedside; though as a truthful chronicler I am bound to add that she partly forfeited this advantage by plunging into a flirtation with the Italian nobleman before her crape trimmings had been replaced by passementerie. On such fundamental observances old New York still took its stand.
“I entered too, and took my place at a neighboring table. He produced a five-dollar bill, when some one suggested that gold was preferable. Upon that I offered to give him gold for bills. He produced two fives, and I gave him two gold pieces for them.”
“Johannah,” Melicent called to her maid who sat sewing in the next room.
“I am afraid,” I said, with a sigh, “that it will be a long time before I cease to offend you with such mistakes.”
Melbourne is built on two hills and the valley that lies between.
The last lap of the voyage was vivid and fancy-stirring. Great barren peaks of mystery loomed up constantly against the west as the low northern sun of noon or the still lower horizon-grazing southern sun of midnight poured its hazy reddish rays over the white snow, bluish ice and water lanes, and black bits of exposed granite slope. Through the desolate summits swept ranging, intermittent gusts of the terrible antarctic wind; whose cadences sometimes held vague suggestions of a wild and half-sentient musical piping, with notes extending over a wide range, and which for some subconscious mnemonic reason seemed to me disquieting and even dimly terrible. Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich, and of the still stranger and more disturbing descriptions of the evilly fabled plateau of Leng which occur in the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. I was rather sorry, later on, that I had ever looked into that monstrous book at the college library.
1.Dear Friends, if you'll be rul'd by me,
2.His garments only a slight murmur made;>
Though the author has written a large Dedication, yet that being addressed to a Prince whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded or thought on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the caprices of authors, I think it a wise piece of presumption to inscribe these papers to your Lordship, and to implore your Lordship’s protection of them. God and your Lordship know their faults and their merits; for as to my own particular, I am altogether a stranger to the matter; and though everybody else should be equally ignorant, I do not fear the sale of the book at all the worse upon that score. Your Lordship’s name on the front in capital letters will at any time get off one edition: neither would I desire any other help to grow an alderman than a patent for the sole privilege of dedicating to your Lordship.
“Yes, ladies and gentlemen,” she said, imitating exactly old Brown’s tone and accent when showing visitors through the chapel, “this is a monument erected to the memory of a knight who was killed in battle, together with his noble palfrey. It represents him as he was found, one arm around the neck of his faithful charger” (at this the knight’s lips also betrayed a certain uncontrollable twitching). “The smile upon his face is considered one of the chief charms of the statue; but the way that we know that he is a knight—in fact, the only way—is by this blue garter around his knee.” At this the little limb was suddenly drawn up, that the tell-tale garter might be hid from view; and then, able to stand it no longer, Albert looked up entreatingly to the children above him, and blushingly explained, “Dorothy made it for me, just for a bit of fun, you know;” and then sure to a certainty that he never, never would hear the end of that blue garter, buried his blushes in Timothy’s long silky coat, and rued the hour when Dorothy had so merrily abetted his desire for this particular “bit of fun.”
He would stand in the turning of a street, and calling to those who passed by, would cry to one, “Worthy sir, do me the honour of a good slap in the chaps;” to another, “Honest friend, pray favour me with a handsome kick in the rear;” “Madam, shall I entreat a small box in the ear from your ladyship’s fair hands?” “Noble captain, lend a reasonable thwack, for the love of God, with that cane of yours over these poor shoulders.” And when he had by such earnest solicitations made a shift to procure a basting sufficient to swell up his fancy and his sides, he would return home extremely comforted, and full of terrible accounts of what he had undergone for the public good. “Observe this stroke,” said he, showing his bare shoulders; “a plaguy janissary gave it me this very morning at seven o’clock, as, with much ado, I was driving off the Great Turk. Neighbours mine, this broken head deserves a plaister; had poor Jack been tender of his noddle, you would have seen the Pope and the French King long before this time of day among your wives and your warehouses. Dear Christians, the Great Moghul was come as far as Whitechapel, and you may thank these poor sides that he hath not — God bless us — already swallowed up man, woman, and child.”
Dirtiness is inherent in hotels and restaurants, because sound food is sacrificed to punctuality and smartness. The hotel employee is too busy getting food ready to remember that it is meant to be eaten. A meal is simply ‘UNE COMMANDE’ to him, just as a man dying of cancer is simply ‘a case’ to the doctor. A customer orders, for example, a piece of toast. Somebody, pressed with work in a cellar deep underground, has to prepare it. How can he stop and say to himself, ‘This toast is to be eaten — I must make it eatable’? All he knows is that it must look right and must be ready in three minutes. Some large drops of sweat fall from his forehead on to the toast. Why should he worry? Presently the toast falls among the filthy sawdust on the floor. Why trouble to make a new piece? It is much quicker to wipe the sawdust off. On the way upstairs the toast falls again, butter side down. Another wipe is all it needs. And so with everything. The only food at the Hotel X which was ever prepared cleanly was the staff’s, and the PATRON’S. The maxim, repeated by everyone, was: ‘Look out for the PATRON, and as for the clients, S’EN F— PAS MAL!’ Everywhere in the service quarters dirt festered — a secret vein of dirt, running through the great garish hotel like the intestines through a man’s body.