Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
favourite, deformed in character to compensate for physical deformity.  Watching them for a short time, I saw the little creature repeatedly break out in all the humours of an ill-tempered, over-indulged youngest-born in an ill-managed family; snatching toys from the others, and now and then slapping or pinching them.  But they never returned either word or blow, even when pain or vexation brought the tears to their eyes.  When its caprices became intolerable most of its companions withdrew; one, however, always remaining on the watch, even if driven from the immediate neighbourhood by its intolerably provoking temper, tones, and acts.

Before sunset we were joined by a young man, who, first approaching my host with a respectful inclination of the head, stood before him till apparently desired by a few quiet words to speak; when he addressed the head of the family in some short sentences, and then, at a sign from him, turned to two of the squirrel-like animals, “ambau,” which followed him.  These then laid at my feet two large baskets, or open bags of golden network, containing many of the smaller objects left in the Astronaut.  Emptying these, they brought several more, till they had laid before me the whole of my wardrobe and my store of intended presents, books, and drawings, with such of my instruments as were not attached to the walls.  It was evident that great care had been taken not to injure or dismantle the vessel.  Nothing that actually belonged to it had been taken away, and of the articles brought not one had been broken or damaged.  It was equally evident that there was no intention or idea of appropriating them.  They were brought and handed over to me as a host on Earth might send for the baggage of an unexpected guest.  Of the various toys and ornaments that I had brought for the purpose, I offered several of the most precious to my host.  He accepted one of the smallest and least valuable, rather declining to understand than refusing the offer of the rest.  The bringer did the same.  Then placing in the chief’s hands an open jewel-box containing a variety of the choicest jewellery, I requested by signs his permission to offer them to the ladies.  The elder ones imitated his example, and graciously accepted one or two tasteful feminine ornaments, of far less beauty and value than any of the few splendid jewels that adorned their belts and clasped their robes at the shoulder, or fastened their veils.  The white-robed maidens shrank back shyly until the box was pressed upon them, when each, at a word from the mistress, selected some small gold or silver locket or chain; each at once placing the article accepted about her person, with an evident intention of adding to the grace with which it was received and acknowledging the intended courtesy.  How valueless the most valuable of these trifles must have been in their eyes I had begun to suspect from what I saw, and was afterwards made fully aware.  As the shades of evening fell, the fountains ceased to play, the young

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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