HotFreeBooks.com
The Eternal City
by Hall Caine
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11
Home - Random Browse

It was the sweetest day of the sweet Roman spring, and Roma wore a light tea-gown with a coil of white silk about her head such as is seen in the portraits of Beatrice Cenci. The golden complexion was quite gone, there was a hard line along the cheek, a deep shadow under the chin, the nostrils were pinched and the mouth was drawn. But the large eyes, though heavy with pain, were full of joy. They did not weep any more, for all their tears were shed, and the light of another world was reflected in their depths.

Rossi sat by her side, and she took one of his hands and held it on her lap between both her own. Sometimes she looked at him and then she smiled. She, who had lost him for a little while, had got him back at last. It was only just in time. A little break, and they would continue this—there. Ah, she was very happy!

Rossi's free hand was supporting his head, and he was trying to look another way. Do what he would to conquer it, the spirit of rebellion was rising in his heart again. "O God, is this just? Is this right?"

They were alone on the loggia. Above was the cloudless blue sky, below was the city, hardly seen or heard.

"David," she began, in a faint voice.

"Dearest?"

"I have been so happy in having you with me again that there is something I have forgotten to tell you."

"What is it, dear?"

"Promise me you will not be shocked or startled."

"What is it, dearest?" he repeated, although he knew too well.

"It is nothing.... Yes, hold my hands tight. So!... Really it's nothing. And yet it is everything. It is ... it is death."

"Roma!"

Her eyelids trembled, but she tried to laugh.

"Yes, dear. True! Not immediately. Oh, no! not immediately. But signed and sealed, you know, and not to be put aside that anybody may be happy much longer."

She was laughing almost gaily. But all the same she was watching him closely, and now that her word was spoken she suddenly became conscious of a secret desire which she had not suspected. She wanted him to contradict her, to tell her she was quite wrong, to convince and defeat her.

"Poor little me! Pity, isn't it? It would have been so sweet to go on a little longer—especially after this reconciliation. And when one has kept one's heart under bolt and bar so long...."

Her sad gaiety was breaking down. "But it's better so, isn't it?"

He did not reply.

"Ah, yes, it's better so when you come to think of it."

"It's terrible!" said Rossi.

"Don't say that. It's a thing of every day. Here, there, everywhere. God wouldn't allow it to go on if it were terrible."

"It's bitterly cruel for all that."

"Not so cruel as life. Not nearly. For instance, if I lived you would have to put me away, and that would be harder to bear than death—far harder."

"My darling! What are you saying?"

"It's true, dear. You know it's true. God can forgive a woman even if she's a sinner, but the world can't if she's only a victim of sin. It's part of the cruelty of things, but there's no use repining."

"Roma," said Rossi, "I take God to witness that if that were all that stood between us nothing and nobody should separate you and me. I should tell the world that you had every virtue and every heroism, and without you I could do nothing."

Her eyes filled with a fresh joy.

"You set me too high still, dear. Yet you know that I was far too small and weak for your great work. That was why I failed you at the end. It wasn't my fault that I betrayed you..."

"Don't speak of my betrayal. I thank God for it, and see now that it was the best that could have happened."

She closed her eyes. "Is it your own voice, dearest? Really yours? Hush! I shall wake and the dream will pass."

A little jet from his heart of flame burst out in spite of his warning brain, and he was carried away for the moment.

"My poor darling, you must get well for my sake. You must think of nothing but getting well. Then we'll go away somewhere—to Switzerland, as you said in your letter. Or perhaps to England, where you were born, and where your father lived his years of exile. Dear old England! Motherland of liberty! I'll show you all the places."

She was dizzy with the beautiful vision.

"Oh, if I could only go on like this for ever! But I mustn't listen to you, dearest. It's no use, you know. Now, is it?"

The spirit which had exalted him for a moment took flight, and his heart rose into his throat.

"Now, is it?" she repeated.

He did not answer, and she dropped back with a sigh. Ah, it was cruel fencing. Every word was a sword, and it was cutting a hundred ways.

At that moment a band of music passed down the street. Roma, who loved bands of music, asked Rossi to lift her up that she might look at it. A little drummer boy was marching at the head of a procession, gaily rolling his rataplan.

"He reminds me of little Joseph," she said, and she laughed heartily. Strange mystery of life that robs death of all its terrors!

He put his arm about her to support her as they stood by the parapet, and this brought a new tremor of affection, as well as a little of the old physical thrill and a world of fond and tender memories. She looked into his eyes, he looked into hers; they both looked across to Trinita de' Monti, and in the eye-asking between them she said plainly, "Do you remember—over there?"

Roma was assisted back to the bed-chair, and then, conversation being impossible, Rossi began to read. Every day he had read something. Roma had made the selections. They were always about the great lovers—Francesca and Paolo, Dante and Beatrice, even Alfred de Musset and poor John Keats, with the skull cap which burnt his brain. To-day it was Roma's favourite poem:

"Teach me, only teach, Love! As I ought I will speak thy speech, Love, Think thy thought...."

His right hand held the book. His left was between Roma's hands, lying blue-veined in her lap. She was looking out on the sunlit city as if taking a last farewell of it. He stopped to stroke her glossy black hair and she reached up to his lips and kissed them. Then she closed her eyes to listen. His voice rose and swelled with the ocean of his love, and he felt as if he were pouring his life into her frail body.

"Meet, if thou require it, Both demands, Laying flesh and spirit In thy hands."

Her blanched lips moved. She took a deep breath and made a faint cry. He rose softly, and bent over her with a trembling heart. Her breathing seemed to have ceased. Had sleep overtaken her? Or had the tender flame expired?

"Roma!"

She opened her eyes and smiled.

"Not yet, dear—soon," she said.

THE END

The illustrations in this book are from scenes of the play as produced by Messrs. LIEBLER & COMPANY, and photographed by Mr. BYRON.

———————————————————————————————————-

A FEW OF GROSSET & DUNLAP'S GREAT BOOKS AT LITTLE PRICES

New, Clever, Entertaining.

GRET: The Story of a Pagan. By Beatrice Mantle. Illustrated by C. M. Relyea.

The wild free life of an Oregon lumber camp furnishes the setting for this strong original story. Gret is the daughter of the camp and is utterly content with the wild life—until love comes. A fine book, unmarred by convention.

OLD CHESTER TALES. By Margaret Deland. Illustrated by Howard Pyle.

A vivid yet delicate portrayal of characters in an old New England town. Dr. Lavendar's fine, kindly wisdom is brought to bear upon the lives of all, permeating the whole volume like the pungent odor of pine, healthful and life giving. "Old Chester Tales" will surely be among the books that abide.

THE MEMOIRS OF A BABY. By Josephine Daskam. Illustrated by F. Y. Cory.

The dawning intelligence of the baby was grappled with by its great aunt, an elderly maiden, whose book knowledge of babies was something at which even the infant himself winked. A delicious bit of humor.

REBECCA MARY. By Annie Hamilton Donnell. Illustrated by Elizabeth Shippen Green.

The heart tragedies of this little girl with no one near to share them, are told with a delicate art, a keen appreciation of the needs of the childish heart and a humorous knowledge of the workings of the childish mind.

THE FLY ON THE WHEEL. By Katherine Cecil Thurston. Frontispiece by Harrison Fisher.

An Irish story of real power, perfect in development and showing a true conception of the spirited Hibernian character as displayed in the tragic as well as the tender phases of life.

THE MAN FROM BRODNEY'S. By George Barr McCutcheon. Illustrated by Harrison Fisher.

An island in the South Sea is the setting for this entertaining tale, and an all-conquering hero and a beautiful princess figure in a most complicated plot. One of Mr. McCutcheon's best books.

TOLD BY UNCLE REMUS. By Joel Chandler Harris. Illustrated by A. B. Frost, J. M. Conde and Frank Verbeck.

Again Uncle Remus enters the fields of childhood, and leads another little boy to that non-locatable land called "Brer Rabbit's Laughing Place," and again the quaint animals spring into active life and play their parts, for the edification of a small but appreciative audience.

THE CLIMBER. By E. F. Benson. With frontispiece.

An unsparing analysis of an ambitious woman's soul—a woman who believed that in social supremacy she would find happiness, and who finds instead the utter despair of one who has chosen the things that pass away.

LYNCH'S DAUGHTER. By Leonard Merrick. Illustrated by Geo. Brehm.

A story of to-day, telling how a rich girl acquires ideals of beautiful and simple living, and of men and love, quite apart from the teachings of her father, "Old Man Lynch" of Wall St. True to life, clever in treatment.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

A FEW OF GROSSET & DUNLAP'S GREAT BOOKS AT LITTLE PRICES

QUINCY ADAMS SAWYER. A Picture of New England Home Life. With illustrations by C. W. Reed, and Scenes Reproduced from the Play.

One of the best New England stories ever written. It is full of homely human interest * * * there is a wealth of New England village character, scenes and incidents * * * forcibly, vividly and truthfully drawn. Few books have enjoyed a greater sale and popularity. Dramatized, it made the greatest rural play of recent times.

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF QUINCY ADAMS SAWYER. By Charles Felton Pidgin.

Illustrated by Henry Roth.

All who love honest sentiment, quaint and sunny humor, and homespun philosophy will find these "Further Adventures" a book after their own heart.

HALF A CHANCE. By Frederic S. Isham. Illustrated by Herman Pfeifer.

The thrill of excitement will keep the reader in a state of suspense, and he will become personally concerned from the start, as to the central character, a very real man who suffers, dares—and achieves!

VIRGINIA OF THE AIR LANES. By Herbert Quick. Illustrated by William R. Leigh.

The author has seized the romantic moment for the airship novel, and created the pretty story of "a lover and his lass" contending with an elderly relative for the monopoly of the skies. An exciting tale of adventure in midair.

THE GAME AND THE CANDLE. By Eleanor M. Ingram. Illustrated by P. D. Johnson.

The hero is a young American, who, to save his family from poverty, deliberately commits a felony. Then follow his capture and imprisonment, and his rescue by a Russian Grand Duke. A stirring story, rich in sentiment.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

GROSSET & DUNLAP'S DRAMATIZED NOVELS

A Few that are Making Theatrical History

MARY JANE'S PA. By Norman Way. Illustrated with scenes from the play.

Delightful, irresponsible "Mary Jane's Pa" awakes one morning to find himself famous, and, genius being ill adapted to domestic joys, he wanders from home to work out his own unique destiny. One of the most humorous bits of recent fiction.

CHERUB DEVINE. By Sewell Ford.

"Cherub," a good hearted but not over refined young man, is brought in touch with the aristocracy. Of sprightly wit, he is sometimes a merciless analyst, but he proves in the end that manhood counts for more than ancient lineage by winning the love of the fairest girl in the flock.

A WOMAN'S WAY. By Charles Somerville. Illustrated with scenes from the play.

A story in which a woman's wit and self-sacrificing love save her husband from the toils of an adventuress, and change an apparently tragic situation into one of delicious comedy.

THE CLIMAX. By George C. Jenks.

With ambition luring her on, a young choir soprano leaves the little village where she was born and the limited audience of St. Jude's to train for the opera in New York. She leaves love behind her and meets love more ardent but not more sincere in her new environment. How she works, how she studies, how she suffers, are vividly portrayed.

A FOOL THERE WAS. By Porter Emerson Browne. Illustrated by Edmund Magrath and W. W. Fawcett.

A relentless portrayal of the career of a man who comes under the influence of a beautiful but evil woman; how she lures him on and on, how he struggles, falls and rises, only to fall again into her net, make a story of unflinching realism.

THE SQUAW MAN. By Julie Opp Faversham and Edwin Milton Royle. Illustrated with scenes from the play.

A glowing story, rapid in action, bright in dialogue with a fine courageous hero and a beautiful English heroine.

THE GIRL IN WAITING. By Archibald Eyre. Illustrated with scenes from the play.

A droll little comedy of misunderstandings, told with a light touch, a venturesome spirit and an eye for human oddities.

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. By Baroness Orczy. Illustrated with scenes from the play.

A realistic story of the days of the French Revolution, abounding in dramatic incident, with a young English soldier of fortune, daring, mysterious as the hero.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

A FEW OF GROSSET & DUNLAP'S GREAT BOOKS AT LITTLE PRICES

BRUVVER JIM'S BABY. By Philip Verrill Mighels.

An uproariously funny story of a tiny mining settlement in the West, which is shaken to the very roots by the sudden possession of a baby, found on the plains by one of its residents. The town is as disreputable a spot as the gold fever was ever responsible for, and the coming of that baby causes the upheaval of every rooted tradition of the place. Its christening, the problems of its toys and its illness supersede in the minds of the miners all thought of earthy treasure.

THE FURNACE OF GOLD. By Philip Verrill Mighels, author of "Bruvver Jim's Baby." Illustrations by J. N. Marchand.

An accurate and informing portrayal of scenes, types, and conditions of the mining districts in modern Nevada.

The book is an out-door story, clean, exciting, exemplifying nobility and courage of character, and bravery, and heroism in the sort of men and women we all admire and wish to know.

THE MESSAGE. By Louis Tracy. Illustrations by Joseph C. Chase.

A breezy tale of how a bit of old parchment, concealed in a figurehead from a sunken vessel, comes into the possession of a pretty girl and an army man during regatta week in the Isle of Wight. This is the message and it enfolds a mystery, the development of which the reader will follow with breathless interest.

THE SCARLET EMPIRE. By David M. Parry. Illustrations by Hermann C. Wall.

A young socialist, weary of life, plunges into the sea and awakes in the lost island of Atlantis, known as the Scarlet Empire, where a social democracy is in full operation, granting every man a living but limiting food, conversation, education and marriage.

The hero passes through an enthralling love affair and other adventures but finally returns to his own New York world.

THE THIRD DEGREE. By Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow. Illustrations by Clarence Rowe.

A novel which exposes the abuses in this country of the police system.

The son of an aristocratic New York family marries a woman socially beneath him, but of strong, womanly qualities that, later on, save the man from the tragic consequences of a dissipated life.

The wife believes in his innocence and her wit and good sense help her to win against the tremendous odds imposed by law.

THE THIRTEENTH DISTRICT. By Brand Whitlock.

A realistic western story of love and politics and a searching study of their influence on character. The author shows with extraordinary vitality of treatment the tricks, the heat, the passion, the tumult of the political arena, the triumph and strength of love.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

A FEW OF GROSSET & DUNLAP'S GREAT BOOKS AT LITTLE PRICES

THE MUSIC MASTER. By Charles Klein. Illustrated by John Rae.

This marvelously vivid narrative turns upon the search of a German musician in New York for his little daughter. Mr. Klein has well portrayed his pathetic struggle with poverty, his varied experiences in endeavoring to meet the demands of a public not trained to an appreciation of the classic, and his final great hour when, in the rapidly shifting events of a big city, his little daughter, now a beautiful young woman, is brought to his very door. A superb bit of fiction, palpitating with the life of the great metropolis. The play in which David Warfield scored his highest success.

DR. LAVENDAR'S PEOPLE. By Margaret Deland.

Illustrated by Lucius Hitchcock.

Mrs. Deland won so many friends through Old Chester Tales that this volume needs no introduction beyond its title. The lovable doctor is more ripened in this later book, and the simple comedies and tragedies of the old village are told with dramatic charm.

OLD CHESTER TALES. By Margaret Deland. Illustrated by Howard Pyle.

Stories portraying with delightful humor and pathos a quaint people in a sleepy old town. Dr. Lavendar, a very human and lovable "preacher," is the connecting link between these dramatic stories from life.

HE FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS WIFE. By E. P. Roe.

With frontispiece.

The hero is a farmer—a man with honest, sincere views of life. Bereft of his wife, his home is cared for by a succession of domestics of varying degrees of inefficiency until, from a most unpromising source, comes a young woman who not only becomes his wife but commands his respect and eventually wins his love. A bright and delicate romance, revealing on both sides a love that surmounts all difficulties and survives the censure of friends as well as the bitterness of enemies.

THE YOKE. By Elizabeth Miller.

Against the historical background of the days when the children of Israel were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, the author has sketched a romance of compelling charm. A biblical novel as great as any since "Ben Hur."

SAUL OF TARSUS. By Elizabeth Miller. Illustrated by Andre Castaigne.

The scenes of this story are laid in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome and Damascus. The Apostle Paul, the Martyr Stephen, Herod Agrippa and the Emperors Tiberius and Caligula are among the mighty figures that move through the pages. Wonderful descriptions, and a love story of the purest and noblest type mark this most remarkable religious romance.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

A FEW OF GROSSET & DUNLAP'S GREAT BOOKS AT LITTLE PRICES

HAPPY HAWKINS. By Robert Alexander Wason. Illustrated by Howard Giles.

A ranch and cowboy novel. Happy Hawkins tells his own story with such a fine capacity for knowing how to do it and with so much humor that the reader's interest is held in surprise, then admiration and at last in positive affection.

COMRADES. By Thomas Dixon, Jr. Illustrated by C. D. Williams.

The locale of this story is in California, where a few socialists establish a little community.

The author leads the little band along the path of disillusionment, and gives some brilliant flashes of light on one side of an important question.

TONO-BUNGAY. By Herbert George Wells.

The hero of this novel is a young man who, through hard work, earns a scholarship and goes to London.

Written with a frankness verging on Rousseau's, Mr. Wells still uses rare discrimination and the border line of propriety is never crossed. An entertaining book with both a story and a moral, and without a dull page—Mr. Wells's most notable achievement.

A HUSBAND BY PROXY. By Jack Steele.

A young criminologist, but recently arrived in New York city, is drawn into a mystery, partly through financial need and partly through his interest in a beautiful woman, who seems at times the simplest child and again a perfect mistress of intrigue. A baffling detective story.

LIKE ANOTHER HELEN. By George Horton. Illustrated by C. M. Relyea.

Mr. Horton's powerful romance stands in a new field and brings an almost unknown world in reality before the reader—the world of conflict between Greek and Turk on the Island of Crete. The "Helen" of the story is a Greek, beautiful, desolate, defiant—pure as snow.

There is a certain new force about the story, a kind of master-craftsmanship and mental dominance that holds the reader.

THE MASTER OF APPLEBY. By Francis Lynde.

Illustrated by T. de Thulstrup.

A novel tale concerning itself in part with the great struggle in the two Carolinas, but chiefly with the adventures therein of two gentlemen who loved one and the same lady.

A strong, masculine and persuasive story.

A MODERN MADONNA. By Caroline Abbot Stanley.

A story of American life, founded on facts as they existed some years ago in the District of Columbia. The theme is the maternal love and splendid courage of a woman.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

The Novels Of GEORGE BARR McCUTCHEON

GRAUSTARK.

A story of love behind a throne, telling how a young American met a lovely girl and followed her to a new and strange country. A thrilling, dashing narrative.

BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK.

Beverly is a bewitching American girl who has gone to that stirring little principality—Graustark—to visit her friend the princess, and there has a romantic affair of her own.

BREWSTER'S MILLIONS.

A young man is required to spend one million dollars in one year in order to inherit seven. How he does it forms the basis of a lively story.

CASTLE CRANEYCROW.

The story revolves round the abduction of a young American woman, her imprisonment in an old castle and the adventures created through her rescue.

COWARDICE COURT.

An amusing social feud in the Adirondacks in which an English girl is tempted into being a traitor by a romantic young American, forms the plot.

THE DAUGHTER OF ANDERSON CROW.

The story centers about the adopted daughter of the town marshal in a western village. Her parentage is shrouded in mystery, and the story concerns the secret that deviously works to the surface.

THE MAN FROM BRODNEY'S.

The hero meets a princess in a far-away island among fanatically hostile Musselmen. Romantic love making amid amusing situations and exciting adventures.

NEDRA.

A young couple elope from Chicago to go to London traveling as brother and sister. They are shipwrecked and a strange mix-up occurs on account of it.

THE SHERRODS.

The scene is the Middle West and centers around a man who leads a double life. A most enthralling novel.

TRUXTON KING.

A handsome good natured young fellow ranges on the earth looking for romantic adventures and is finally enmeshed in most complicated intrigues in Graustark.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

LOUIS TRACY'S Captivating And Exhilarating Romances

THE STOWAWAY GIRL. Illustrated by Nesbitt Benson.

The story of a shipwreck, a lovely girl who shipped stowaway fashion, a rascally captain, a fascinating young officer and thrilling adventure enroute to South America.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KANSAS.

A story of love and the salt sea—of a helpless ship whirled into the hands of cannibal Fuegians—of desperate fighting and a tender romance. A story of extraordinary freshness.

THE MESSAGE. Illustrated by Joseph Cummings Chase.

A bit of parchment many, many years old, telling of a priceless ruby secreted in ruins far in the interior of Africa is the "message" found in the figurehead of an old vessel. A mystery develops which the reader will follow with breathless interest.

THE PILLAR OF LIGHT.

The pillar thus designated was a lighthouse, and the author tells with exciting detail the terrible dilemma of its cutoff inhabitants and introduces the charming comedy of a man eloping with his own wife.

THE RED YEAR: A Story of the Indian Mutiny.

The never-to-be-forgotten events of 1857 form the background of this story. The hero who begins as lieutenant and ends as Major Malcolm, has as stirring a military career as the most jaded novel reader could wish. A powerful book.

THE WHEEL O'FORTUNE. With illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg.

The story deals with the finding of a papyrus containing the particulars of the hiding of some of the treasures of the Queen of Sheba. The glamour of mystery added to the romance of the lovers, gives the novel an interest that makes it impossible to leave until the end is reached.

THE WINGS OF THE MORNING.

A sort of Robinson Crusoe redivivus, with modern settings and a very pretty love story added. The hero and heroine are the only survivors of a wreck, and have adventures on their desert island such as never could have happened except in a story.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, 526 WEST 26TH ST., NEW YORK

———————————————————————————————————-

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

1. Punctuation normalized to comtemporary standards.

2. All illustrations in the text bear the credits: "By courtesy of Liebler & Co; from photographs by Byron."

3. Typographical errors corrected: p. 139 "Fod" replaced with "God": "For Fod's sake let us bury it!" p. 146 "use" repaced with "us": "what is best for both of use." p. 377 "donwpour" replaced with "downpour": "donwpour of rain" p. 409 "sittting-room" replaced with "sitting-room"

4. The oe ligature as used in C[oe]li is shown as "[oe]" in this document. It appears only in this proper name.

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11
Home - Random Browse