The Last of the Peterkins eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about The Last of the Peterkins.

She little knew that at this moment Solomon John was standing looking over the edge of the Matterhorn, wishing he had not come up so high.  But such a gay young party had set off that morning from the hotel that he had supposed it an easy thing to join them; and now he would fain go back, but was tied to the rest of his party with their guide preceding them, and he must keep on and crawl up behind them, still farther, on hands and knees.

Agamemnon was at Mycenae, looking down into an open pit.

Two of the little boys were roasting eggs in the crater of Mount
Vesuvius.

And she would have seen Mr. Peterkin comfortably reclining in a gondola, with one of the little boys, in front of the palaces of Venice.

But none of this she saw; she only looked into the eyes of the Sphinx.

VII.

Mrs. Peterkin faints on the great pyramid.

“Meet at the Sphinx!” Yes; these were the words that the lady from Philadelphia had sent in answer to the several telegrams that had reached her from each member of the Peterkin family.  She had received these messages while staying in a remote country town, but she could communicate with the cable line by means of the telegraph office at a railway station.  The intelligent operator, seeing the same date affixed at the close of each message, “took in,” as she afterward expressed it, that it was the date of the day on which the message was sent; and as this was always prefixed to every despatch, she did not add it to the several messages.  She afterward expressed herself as sorry for the mistake, and declared it should not occur another time.

Elizabeth Eliza was the first at the appointed spot, as her route had been somewhat shorter than the one her mother had taken.  A wild joy had seized her when she landed in Egypt, and saw the frequent and happy use of the donkey as a beast of travel.  She had never ventured to ride at home, and had always shuddered at the daring of the women who rode at the circuses, and closed her eyes at their performances.  But as soon as she saw the little Egyptian donkeys, a mania for riding possessed her.  She was so tall that she could scarcely, under any circumstances, fall from them, while she could mount them with as much ease as she could the arm of the sofa at home, and most of the animals seemed as harmless.  It is true, the donkey-boys gave her the wrong word to use when she might wish to check the pace of her donkey, and mischievously taught her to avoid the soothing phrase of beschwesch, giving her instead one that should goad the beast she rode to its highest speed; but Elizabeth Eliza was so delighted with the quick pace that she was continually urging her donkey onward, to the surprise and delight of each fresh attendant donkey-boy.  He would run at a swift pace after her, stopping sometimes to pick up a loose slipper, if it were shuffled off from his foot in his quick run, but always bringing up even in the end.

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The Last of the Peterkins from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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