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A Transient Guest by Edgar Saltus

A TRANSIENT GUEST,

AND OTHER EPISODES.

BY EDGAR SALTUS

BELFORD, CLARKE & CO. CHICAGO, NEW YORK, AND SAN FRANCISCO PUBLISHERS

London, HENRY J. DRANE, Lovell's Court, Paternoster Row

COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY EDGAR SALTUS.

Press of E. B. Sheldon & Co. New Haven, Conn.

TO K. J. M.

_New York, 1st June, 1889._

CONTENTS.

A TRANSIENT GUEST

THE GRAND DUKE'S RUBIES

A MAID OF MODERN ATHENS

FAUSTA

A TRANSIENT GUEST.

I.

Since the _Koenig Wilhelm_, of the Dutch East India Service, left Batavia, the sky had been torpidly blue, that suffocating indigo which seems so neighborly that the traveller fancies were he a trifle taller he could touch it with the ferule of his stick. When night came, the stars would issue from their ambush and stab it through and through, but the glittering cicatrices which they made left it bluer even, more persistent than before. And now, as the ship entered the harbor, there was a cruelty about it that exulted and defied. The sun, too, seemed to menace; on every bit of brass it placed a threat, and in the lap of the waters there was an understanding and a pact. Beyond, to the right, was one long level stretch of sand on which the breakers fawned with recurrent surge and swoon. Behind it were the green ramparts of a forest; to the left were the bungalows and booths of Siak; while in the distance, among the hills and intervales, where but a few years before natives lurked beneath the monstrous lilies and clutched their kriss in fierce surmise, a locomotive had left a trail of smoke.

"Sumatra, too, has gone the way of the world," thought one who lounged on deck.

He was a good-looking young fellow, browner far than he had been when he left New York, and he was garbed in a fashion which would have attracted the notice of the most apathetic _habitue_ of Narragansett Pier. Save for a waistband of yellow silk, he was clad wholly in that dead white which is known as _fromage a la creme_. Had his cork hat been decorated with a canary bird's feather, you would have said a prince stepped from a fairy tale. At his heels was a fox terrier, which he had christened Zut. When he wished to be emphatic, however, Zut was elongated into Zut Alors.

"The general's compliments, sir, and are you ready?"

It was the polyglot steward addressing him, with that deference which is born of tips.


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