The Survivor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 254 pages of information about The Survivor.
Every one save himself seemed to have friends here, and many of them.  It was indeed a very ordinary place, a cosmopolitan eating-house, good of its sort, and with an excellent connection of lighthearted but impecunious foreigners, who made up with the lightness of their spirits for the emptiness of their purses.  To Douglas, whose whole upbringing and subsequent life had been amongst the dreariest of surroundings, there was something about it all peculiarly fascinating.  The air of pleasant abandonment, the subtle aroma of gaiety allied with irresponsibility, the strange food and wine, well cooked and stimulating, delighted him.  His sole desire now was for a companion.  If only those men—­artists, he was sure they were—­would draw him into their conversation.  He had plenty to say.  He was ready to be as merry as any of them.  A faint sense of loneliness depressed him for a moment as he looked from one to another of the long tables.  All his life he had been as one removed from his fellows.  He was weary of it.  Surely it must be nearly at an end now.  Some of the children of the great mother city would hold out their hands to him.  It was not alms he needed.  It was a friend.

“Good morning.”

Douglas looked up quickly.  A newcomer had taken the vacant place at his table.


The author ofNo man’s land

Douglas returned his greeting cordially.  His vis-a-vis drew the menu towards him and studied it with interest.  Setting it down he screwed a single eyeglass into his eye and beamed over at Douglas.

“Is the daily grind O. K.?” he inquired suavely.

Douglas was disconcerted at being unable to answer a question so pleasantly asked.

“I—­beg your pardon,” he said, doubtfully.  “I’m afraid I don’t quite understand.”

The newcomer waved his hand to some acquaintances and smiled cheerfully.

“I see you’re a stranger here,” he remarked.  “There’s a table-d’hote luncheon for the modest sum of eighteenpence, which is the cheapest way to feed, if it’s decent.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.  I thought perhaps you might have sampled it.”

“I believe I have,” Douglas answered.  “I told the waiter to bring me the ordinary lunch, and I thought it was very good indeed.”

“Then I will risk it.  Henri.  Come here, you scamp.”

He gave a few orders to the waiter, who treated him with much respect.  Then he turned again to Douglas.

“You have nearly finished,” he said.  “Please don’t hurry.  I hate to eat alone.  It is a whim of mine.  If I eat alone I read, and if I read I get dyspepsia.  Try the oat biscuits and the Camembert.”

Douglas did as the newcomer had suggested.

“I am in no hurry,” he said.  “I have nothing to do, nor anywhere to go.”

“Lucky man!”

Project Gutenberg
The Survivor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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