Robert Smythe Hichens The Green Carnation is a Book of Literature. He slipped a green carnation into his evening coat, fixed it in its place with a pin, and looked at himself in the glass, the long glass that stood near the window of his London bedroom. The summer evening was so bright that he could see his double clearly, even though it was just upon seven o'clock. There he stood in his favourite and most characteristic attitude, with his left knee slightly bent, and his arms hanging at his sides, gazing, as a woman gazes at herself before she starts for a party. The low and continuous murmur of Piccadilly, like the murmur of a flowing tide on a smooth beach, stole to his ears monotonously, and inclined him insensibly to a certain thoughtfulness. Floating through the curtained window the soft lemon light sparkled on the silver backs of the brushes that lay on the toilet table, on the dressing gown of spun silk that hung from a hook behind the door, on the great mass of gloire de Dijon roses, that dreamed in an ivory white bowl set on the writing table of ruddy brown wood. It caught the gilt of the boy's fair hair and turned it into brightest gold, until, despite the white weariness of his face, the pale fretfulness of his eyes, he looked like some angel in a church window designed by Burne Jones, some angel a little blasé from the injudicious conduct of its life. He frankly admired himself as he watched his reflection, occasionally changing his pose, presenting himself to himself, now full face, now three quarters face, leaning backward or forward, advancing one foot in its silk stocking and shining shoe, assuming a variety of interesting expressions. In his own opinion he was very beautiful, and he thought it right to appreciate his own qualities of mind and of body. He hated those fantastic creatures who are humble even in their self communings, cowards who dare not acknowledge even to themselves how exquisite, how delicately fashioned they are.
Robert Smythe Hichens This is a Book of Literature. It says that the fatigue caused by a rough sea journey, and, perhaps, the consciousness that she would have to be dressed before dawn to catch the train for Beni Mora, prevented Domini Enfilden from sleeping. There was deep silence in the Hotel de la Mer at Robertville. The French officers who took their pension there had long since ascended the hill of Addouna to the barracks. The cafes had closed their doors to the drinkers and domino players. The lounging Arab boys had deserted the sandy Place de la Marine. In their small and dusky bazaars the Israelites had reckoned up the takings of the day, and curled themselves up in gaudy quilts on their low divans to rest. Only two or three gendarmes were still about, and a few French and Spaniards at the Port, where, moored against the wharf, lay the steamer Le General Bertrand, in which Domini had arrived that evening from Marseilles. In the hotel the fair and plump Italian waiter, who had drifted to North Africa from Pisa, had swept up the crumbs from the two long tables in the salle a manger, smoked a thin, dark cigar over a copy of the Depeche Algerienne, put the paper down, scratched his blonde head, on which the hair stood up in bristles, stared for a while at nothing in the firm manner of weary men who are at the same time thoughtless and depressed, and thrown himself on his narrow bed in the dusty corner of the little room on the stairs near the front door. Madame, the landlady, had laid aside her front and said her prayer to the Virgin. Monsieur, the landlord, had muttered his last curse against the Jews and drunk his last glass of rum. They snored like honest people recruiting their strength for the morrow. In number two Suzanne Charpot, Domini's maid, was dreaming of the Rue de Rivoli.
Robert Smythe Hichens A Spirit in Prison is a Fiction Short Story Book. This book says somewhere, not far off on the still sea that held the tiny islet in a warm embrace, a boy's voice was singing "Napoli Bella". Vere heard the song as she sat in the sun with her face set towards Nisida and the distant peak of Ischia; and instinctively she shifted her position, and turned her head, looking towards the calm and untroubled water that stretched between her and Naples. For the voice that sang of the beautiful city was coming towards her from the beautiful city, hymning the siren it had left perhaps but two hours ago. On his pedestal set upon rock San Francesco seemed to be attentive to the voice. He stood beyond the sheltered pool of the sea that divided the islet from the mainland, staring across at Vere as if he envied her; he who was rooted in Italy and deprived of her exquisite freedom. His beard hung down to his waist, his cross protruded over his left shoulder, and his robe of dusty grayish brown touched his feet, which had never wandered one step since he was made, and set there to keep watch over the fishermen who come to sleep under the lee of the island by night. Now it was brilliant daylight. The sun shone vividly over the Bay of Naples, over the great and vital city, over Vesuvius, the long line of the land towards Sorrento, over Capri with its shadowy mountain, and Posilippo with its tree guarded villas. And in the sharp radiance of May the careless voice of the fisher boy sang the familiar song that Vere had always known and seldom heeded. To day, why she did not know, Vere listened to it attentively. Something in the sound of the voice caught her attention, roused within her a sense of sympathy.
Robert Smythe Hichens It is a Book of Literature. IN a large and cool drawing room of London a few people were scattered about, listening to a soprano voice that was singing to the accompaniment of a piano. The sound of the voice came from an inner room, towards which most of these people were looking earnestly. Only one or two seemed indifferent to the fascination of the singer. A little woman, with oily black hair and enormous dark eyes, leaned back on a sofa, playing with a scarlet fan and glancing sideways at a thin, elderly man, who gazed into the distance from which the voice came. His mouth worked slightly under his stiff white moustache, and his eyes, in colour a faded blue, were fixed and stern. Upon his knees his thin and lemon coloured hands twitched nervously, as if they longed to grasp something and hold it fast. The little dark woman glanced down at these hands, and then sharply up at the elderly man's face. A faint and malicious smile curved her full lips, which were artificially reddened, and she turned her shoulder to him with deliberation and looked about the room. On all the faces in it, except one, she perceived intent expressions. A sleek and plump man, with hanging cheeks, a hooked nose, and hair slightly tinged with grey and parted in the middle, was the exception. He sat in a low chair, pouting his lips, playing with his single eyeglass, and looking as sulky as an ill conditioned school boy. Once or twice he crossed and uncrossed his short legs with a sort of abrupt violence, laid his fat, white hands on the arms of the chair, lifted them, glanced at his rosy and shining nails, and frowned. Then he shut his little eyes so tightly that the skin round them became wrinkled, and, stretching out his feet, seemed almost angrily endeavouring to fall asleep.
Robert Smythe Hichens In the Wilderness is a Literary Book. It tells that the Amedeo Dorini, the hall porter of the Hotel Cavour in Milan, stood on the pavement before the hotel one autumn afternoon in the year 1894, waiting for the omnibus, which had gone to the station, and which was now due to return, bearing Amedeo hoped a load of generously inclined travelers. During the years of his not unpleasant servitude Amedeo had become a student of human nature. He had learnt to judge shrewdly and soundly, to sum up quickly, to deliver verdicts which were not unjust. And now, as he saw the omnibus, with its two fat brown horses, coming slowly along by the cab rank, and turning into the Piazza that is presided over by Cavour's statue, he prepared almost mechanically to measure and weigh evidence, to criticize and come to a conclusion. He glanced first at the roof of the omnibus to take stock of the luggage pile there. There was plenty of it, and a good deal of it was leather and reassuring. Amedeo had a horror of tin trunks they usually gave such small tips. Having examined the luggage he sent a searching glance to two rows of heads which were visible inside the vehicle. The brawny porters hurried out, the luggage chute was placed in position, the omnibus door was opened, and the first traveler stepped forth.
Robert Smythe Hichens Bella Donna is a Fiction Short Story Book. The book tells that the Doctor Meyer Isaacson had got on as only a modern Jew whose home is London can get on, with a rapidity that was alarming. He seemed to have arrived as a bullet arrives in a body. He was not in the heart of success, and lo! he was in the heart of success. And no one had marked his journey. Suddenly every one was speaking of him was talking of the cures he had made, was advising every one else to go to him. For some mysterious reason his name a name not easily to be forgotten once it had been heard began to pervade the conversations that were held in the smart drawing rooms of London. Women who were well, but had not seen him, abruptly became sufficiently unwell to need a consultation. "Where does he live? In Harley Street, I suppose?" was a constant question. But he did not live in Harley Street. He was not the man to lose himself in an avenue of brass plates of fellow practitioners. "Cleveland Square, St. James's", was the startling reply; and his house was detached, if you please, and marvellously furnished. The winged legend flew that he was rich, and that he had gone into practice as a doctor merely because he was intellectually interested in disease. His gift for diagnosis was so remarkable that he was morally forced to exercise it. And he had a greedy passion for studying humanity. And who has such opportunities for the study of humanity as the doctor and the priest? Patients who had been to him spoke enthusiastically of his observant eyes. His personality always made a great impression. "There's no one just like him", was a frequent comment upon Doctor Meyer Isaacson. And that phrase is a high compliment upon the lips of London, the city of parrots and of monkeys.
Robert Smythe Hichens The Way of Ambition is a Fiction Short Story Book. "We want a new note in English music", said Charmian, in her clear and slightly authoritative voice. "The Hallelujah Chorus era has gone at last to join all the Victorian relics. And the nation is drifting musically. Of course we have a few composers who are being silly in the attempt to be original, and a few others who still believe that all the people can stand in the way of home grown products is a ballad or a Te Deum. But what we want is an English composer with a soul. I'm getting quite sick of heads. They are bearable in literature. But when it comes to music, one's whole being clamors for more". "I have heard a new note in English music", observed a middle aged, bald and lively looking man, who was sitting on the opposite side of the drawing room in Berkeley Square. "Oh, but, Max, you always " "An absolutely new note", interrupted Max Elliot with enthusiastic emphasis, turning to the man with the sarcastic mouth who had just spoken. "Your French blood makes you so inclined to incredulity, Paul, that you are incapable of believing anything but that I am carried away". "As usual!" "As sometimes happens, I admit. But you will allow that in matters musical my opinion is worth something, my serious and deliberately formed opinion". "How long has this opinion been forming?" "Some months". "Some months!" exclaimed Charmian. "You've kept your new note to yourself all that time! Is it a woman? But of course it can't be. I don't believe there will ever be a great woman composer". "It is not a woman". "Was it born in the gutter?" asked Paul Lane.
Robert Smythe Hichens The Call of the Blood is a Fiction Romance Story. The Book tells that "signorino! Signorino! Are you ready?" It was Gaspare's voice shouting vivaciously from the sunny terrace, where Tito and another donkey, gayly caparisoned and decorated with flowers and little streamers of colored ribbon, were waiting before the steps. "Si, si! I'm coming in a moment!" replied Maurice's voice from the bedroom. Lucrezia stood by the wall looking very dismal. She longed to go to the fair, and that made her sad. But there was also another reason for her depression. Sebastiano was still away, and for many days he had not written to her. This was bad enough. But there was something worse. News had come to Marechiaro from a sailor of Messina, a friend of Sebastiano's, that Sebastiano was lingering in the Lipari Isles because he had found a girl there, a pretty girl called Teodora Amain, to whom he was paying attentions. And although Lucrezia laughed at the story, and pretended to disbelieve it, her heart was rent by jealousy and despair, and a longing to travel away, to cross the sea, to tear her lover from temptation, to--to speak for a few moments quietly--oh, very quietly--with this Teodora. Even now, while she stared at the donkeys, and at Gaspare in his festa suit, with two large, pink roses above his ears, she put up her hands instinctively to her own ears, as if to pluck the ear-rings out of them, as the Sicilian women of the lower classes do, deliberately, sternly, before they begin to fight their rivals, women who have taken their lovers or their husbands from them. Ah, if she were only in the Lipari Isles she would speak with Teodora Amalfi, speak with her till the blood flowed! She set her teeth, and her face looked almost old in the sunshine. "Coraggio, Lucrezia!" laughed Gaspare. "He will come back some day when--when he has sold.
Robert Smythe Hichens Tongues of Conscience is a Fiction Short Story Book. The book tells that In London nightfall is a delirium of bustle, in the country the coming of a dream. The town scatters a dust of city men over its long and lighted streets, powders its crying thoroughfares with gaily dressed creatures who are hidden, like bats, during the hours of day, opens a thousand defiant yellow eyes that have been sealed in sleep, throws off its wrapper and shows its elaborate toilet. The country grows demure and brown, most modest in the shadows. Labourers go home along the damp and silent lanes with heavy weariness. The parish clergyman flits like a blackbird through the twinkling village. Dogs bark from solitary farms. A beautiful and soft depression fills all the air like incense or like evening bells. But whether night reveals or hides the activities of men it changes them most curiously. Tne arrira! of darkness ahnys meant something to the Rev. Peter Uniacke, vhotx cure souls; the srarming aScys and the docks in which his work had been done. He failed to give this visitar. so strange and soft-footed, some slight greeting. Some tim es his welcome was a sigh, sometimes a prayer, sometimes a clenching of the hands, a smile, a pause in his onward walk. Looking backward along his past he could see his tall figure in many different places, aware of the first footfalls of the not, now alone and thinking of night's allegory of mans end, now in company, when the talk insensibljr changed its character, flowing into deeper, move mysterious or confidential channels. Peter Uniacke had listened to informal confessions, too, as the night fell, confessions of sin that at first surpriMd him, that at last could no longer surprise him. And he had confessed himself, before the altar of the twilight, and had wondered why it is that sometimes Nature seems to have the power of absohttion, even as God has it.
Robert Smythe Hichens This is a Literary Book. Book says that the Alick Craven, who was something in the Foreign Office, had been living in London, except for an interval of military service during the war, for several years, and had plenty of interesting friends and acquaintances, when one autumn day, in a club, Francis Braybrooke, who knew everybody, sat down beside him and began, as his way was, talking of people. Braybrooke talked well and was an exceedingly agreeable man, but he seldom discussed ideas. His main interest lay in the doings of the human race, the "human animal", to use a favorite phrase of his, in what the human race was "up to". People were his delight. He could not live away from the centre of their activities. He was never tired of meeting new faces, and would go to endless trouble to bring an interesting personality within the circle of his acquaintance. Craven's comparative indifference about society, his laziness in social matters, was a perpetual cause of surprise to Braybrooke, who nevertheless was always ready to do Craven a good turn, whether he wanted it done to him or not. Indeed, Craven was indebted to his kind old friend for various introductions which had led to pleasant times, and for these he was quite grateful. Braybrooke was much older than most people, though he seldom looked it, and decades older than Craven, and he had a genial way of taking those younger than himself in charge, always with a view to their social advancement.
Robert Smythe Hichens The Desert Drum is a Fiction Short Story Book. The book sasy that I am not naturally superstitious. The Saharaman is. He has many strange beliefs. When one is at close quarters with him, sees him day by day in his home, the great desert, listens to his dramatic tales of desert lights, visions, sounds, one's common sense is apt to be shaken on its throne. Perhaps it is the influence of the solitude and the wide spaces, of those far horizons of the Sahara where the blue deepens along the edge of the world, that turns even a European mind to an Eastern credulity. Who can tell? The truth is that in the Sahara one can believe what one cannot believe in London. And sometimes circumstances chance if you like to call it so steps in, and seems to say, "Your belief is well founded". Of all the desert superstitions the one which appealed most to my imagination was the superstition of the desert drum. The Sahara man declares that far away from the abodes of men and desert cities, among the everlasting sand dunes, the sharp beating, or dull, distant rolling of a drum sometimes breaks upon the ears of travellers voyaging through the desolation. They look around, they stare across the flats, they see nothing. But the mysterious music continues. Then, if they be Sahara bred, they commend themselves to Allah, for they know that some terrible disaster is at hand, that one of them at least is doomed to die.
Robert Smythe Hichens The Dweller on the Threshold is a Fiction Classic Story Book. The book says that When Evelyn Malling, notorious because of his sustained interest in Psychical Research and his work for Professor Stepton, first met the Rev. Marcus Harding, that well known clergyman was still in the full flow of his many activities. He had been translated from his labors in Liverpool to a West End church in London. There he had proved hitherto an astonishing success. On Hospital Sundays the total sums collected from his flock were by far the largest that came from the pockets of any congregation in London. The music in St. Joseph's was allowed by connoisseurs, who knew their Elgar as well as their Goss, their Perosi as well as their Bach, and their Wesley, to be remarkable. Critical persons, mostly men, who sat on the fence between Orthodoxy and Atheism, thought highly of Mr. Harding's sermons, and even sometimes came down on his side. And, of all signs surely the most promising for a West End clergyman's success, smart people flocked to him to be married, and Arum lilies were perpetually being carried in and out of his chancel, which was adorned with Morris windows. He was married to a woman who managed to be admirable without being dull, Lady Sophia, daughter of the late Earl of Mansford, and sister of the present peer. He was comfortably off. His health as a rule was good, though occasionally he suffered from some obscure form of dyspepsia. And he was still comparatively young, just forty eight.