Facing the Flag eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 167 pages of information about Facing the Flag.

CHAPTER I.

Healthful house.

The carte de visite received that day, June 15, 189-, by the director of the establishment of Healthful House was a very neat one, and simply bore, without escutcheon or coronet, the name: 

CountD’ARTIGAS.

Below this name, in a corner of the card, the following address was written in lead pencil: 

“On board the schooner Ebba, anchored off New-Berne, Pamlico Sound.”

The capital of North Carolina—­one of the forty-four states of the Union at this epoch—­is the rather important town of Raleigh, which is about one hundred and fifty miles in the interior of the province.  It is owing to its central position that this city has become the seat of the State legislature, for there are others that equal and even surpass it in industrial and commercial importance, such as Wilmington, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Edenton, Washington, Salisbury, Tarborough, Halifax, and New-Berne.  The latter town is situated on estuary of the Neuse River, which empties itself into Pamlico Sound, a sort of vast maritime lake protected by a natural dyke formed by the isles and islets of the Carolina coast.

The director of Healthful House could never have imagined why the card should have been sent to him, had it not been accompanied by a note from the Count d’Artigas soliciting permission to visit the establishment.  The personage in question hoped that the director would grant his request, and announced that he would present himself in the afternoon, accompanied by Captain Spade, commander of the schooner Ebba.

This desire to penetrate to the interior of the celebrated sanitarium, then in great request by the wealthy invalids of the United States, was natural enough on the part of a foreigner.  Others who did not bear such a high-sounding name as the Count d’Artigas had visited it, and had been unstinting in their compliments to the director.  The latter therefore hastened to accord the authorization demanded, and added that he would be honored to open the doors of the establishment to the Count d’Artigas.

Healthful House, which contained a select personnel, and was assured of the co-operation of the most celebrated doctors in the country, was a private enterprise.  Independent of hospitals and almshouses, but subjected to the surveillance of the State, it comprised all the conditions of comfort and salubrity essential to establishments of this description designed to receive an opulent clientele.

It would have been difficult to find a more agreeable situation than that of Healthful House.  On the landward slope of a hill extended a park of two hundred acres planted with the magnificent vegetation that grows so luxuriantly in that part of North America, which is equal in latitude to the Canary and Madeira Islands.  At the furthermost limit of the park lay the wide estuary of the Neuse, swept by the cool breezes of Pamlico Sound and by the winds that blew from the ocean beyond the narrow lido of the coast.

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Facing the Flag from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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