The Shadow of the East (Chapter 1, page 2 of 18)

Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 1

A soft chuckle came from the recumbent occupant of the third chair, but Atherton ignored it and hurried on, twirling rapidly, as he spoke, a single eyeglass attached to a thin black cord.

"Ever since Nina and I were married last year we've been going the devil of a pace. We had to entertain every one who had entertained us--and a few more folk besides. There was something doing all day and every day until at last it seemed to me that I never saw my wife except at the other end of a dining table with a crowd of silly fools in between us. I reckoned I'd just about had enough of it. Came on me just like a flash sitting in my office down town one morning, so I buzzed home right away in the auto and told her I was sick of the whole thing and that I wanted her to come away with me and see what real life was like--out West or anywhere else on earth away from that durned society crowd. I'll admit I lost my temper and did some shouting. Nina couldn't see it from my point of view.

"My God, Jermyn! I should think not," drawled a sleepy voice from the third chair, and a short, immensely stout man struggled up into a sitting position, mopping his forehead vigorously. "You've the instincts of a Turk rather than of an enlightened American citizen. You've not seen my sister-in-law yet, Mr. Craven," he turned to the Englishman. "She's a peach! Smartest little girl in N'York. Leader of society--dollars no object--small wonder she didn't fall in with Jermyn's prehistoric notions. You're a cave man, elder brother--I put my money on Nina every time. Hell! isn't it hot?" He sank down again full length, flapping his handkerchief feebly at a persistent mosquito.

"We argued for a week," resumed Jermyn Atherton when his brother's sleepy drawl subsided, "and didn't seem to get any further on. At last I lost my temper completely and decided to clear out alone if Nina wouldn't come with me. Leslie was not doing anything at the time, so I persuaded him to come along too."

Leslie Atherton sat up again with a jerk.

"Persuaded!" he exploded, "A dam' queer notion of persuasion. Shanghaied, I call it. Ran me to earth at the club at five o'clock, and we sailed at eight. If my man hadn't been fond of the sea and keen on the trip himself, I should have left America for a cruise round the world in the clothes I stood up in--and Jermyn's duds would be about as useful to me as a suit of reach-me-downs off the line. Persuasion? Shucks! Jermyn thought it was kind of funny to start right off on an ocean trip at a moment's notice and show Nina he didn't care a durn. Crazy notion of humour." He lay back languidly and covered his face with a large silk handkerchief.

Previous Page
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.8/5 (190 votes cast)

Review This Book or Post a Comment