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CHAPTER I. It was the full "season" in Cairo. The ubiquitous Britisher and the no less ubiquitous American had planted their differing "society" standards on the sandy soil watered by the Nile, and were busily engaged in the work of reducing the city, formerly called Al Kahira or The Victorious, to a more deplorable condition of subjection and slavery than any old-world conqueror could ever have done. For the heavy yoke of modern fashion has... more...

CHAPTER I. I, who write this, am a dead man. Dead legally—dead by absolute proofs—dead and buried! Ask for me in my native city and they will tell you I was one of the victims of the cholera that ravaged Naples in 1884, and that my mortal remains lie moldering in the funeral vault of my ancestors. Yet—I live! I feel the warm blood coursing through my veins—the blood of thirty summers—the prime of early manhood... more...

CHAPTER I. "Dream by dream shot through her eyes, and eachOutshone the last that lighted." SWINBURNE. Midnight,—without darkness, without stars! Midnight—and the unwearied sun stood, yet visible in the heavens, like a victorious king throned on a dais of royal purple bordered with gold. The sky above him,—his canopy,—gleamed with a cold yet lustrous blue, while across it slowly flitted a few wandering clouds of... more...

CHAPTER I London,—and a night in June. London, swart and grim, semi-shrouded in a warm close mist of mingled human breath and acrid vapour steaming up from the clammy crowded streets,—London, with a million twinkling lights gleaming sharp upon its native blackness, and looking, to a dreamer's eye, like some gigantic Fortress, built line upon line and tower upon tower,—with huge ramparts raised about it frowningly as though in... more...

CHAPTER I THE KING'S PLEASAUNCE "In the beginning," so we are told, "God made the heavens and the earth." The statement is simple and terse; it is evidently intended to be wholly comprehensive. Its decisive, almost abrupt tone would seem to forbid either question or argument. The old-world narrator of the sublime event thus briefly chronicled was a poet of no mean quality, though moved by the natural conceit of man to give undue importance to... more...


CHAPTER I The old by-road went rambling down into a dell of deep green shadow. It was a reprobate of a road,—a vagrant of the land,— having long ago wandered out of straight and even courses and taken to meandering aimlessly into many ruts and furrows under arching trees, which in wet weather poured their weight of dripping rain upon it and made it little more than a mud pool. Between straggling bushes of elder and hazel, blackberry... more...

PROLOGUE. We live in an age of universal inquiry, ergo of universal scepticism. The prophecies of the poet, the dreams of the philosopher and scientist, are being daily realized—things formerly considered mere fairy-tales have become facts—yet, in spite of the marvels of learning and science that are hourly accomplished among us, the attitude of mankind is one of disbelief. "There is no God!" cries one theorist; "or if there be one,... more...

CHAPTER I A cloud floated slowly above the mountain peak. Vast, fleecy and white as the crested foam of a sea-wave, it sailed through the sky with a divine air of majesty, seeming almost to express a consciousness of its own grandeur. Over a spacious tract of Southern California it extended its snowy canopy, moving from the distant Pacific Ocean across the heights of the Sierra Madre, now and then catching fire at its extreme edge from the... more...