Villa Rubein, and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 374 pages of information about Villa Rubein, and other stories.

Swithin also waited, wedged against the wall.  Once or twice, for his sight was sharp, he saw her steal a look at him, a beseeching look, and hardened his heart with a kind of pleasure.  After five minutes Boleskey, Margit, and Kasteliz appeared.  Seeing Rozsi they broke into exclamations of relief, and Kasteliz, with a glance at Swithin, put his lips to her hand.  Rozsi’s look said, “Wouldn’t you like to do that?” Swithin turned short on his heel, and walked away.


All night he hardly slept, suffering from fever, for the first time in his life.  Once he jumped out of bed, lighted a candle, and going to the glass, scrutinised himself long and anxiously.  After this he fell asleep, but had frightful dreams.  His first thought when he woke was, ‘My liver’s out of order!’ and, thrusting his head into cold water, he dressed hastily and went out.  He soon left the house behind.  Dew covered everything; blackbirds whistled in the bushes; the air was fresh and sweet.  He had not been up so early since he was a boy.  Why was he walking through a damp wood at this hour of the morning?  Something intolerable and unfamiliar must have sent him out.  No fellow in his senses would do such a thing!  He came to a dead stop, and began unsteadily to walk back.  Regaining the hotel, he went to bed again, and dreamed that in some wild country he was living in a room full of insects, where a housemaid—­Rozsi—­holding a broom, looked at him with mournful eyes.  There seemed an unexplained need for immediate departure; he begged her to forward his things; and shake them out carefully before she put them into the trunk.  He understood that the charge for sending would be twenty-two shillings, thought it a great deal, and had the horrors of indecision.  “No,” he muttered, “pack, and take them myself.”  The housemaid turned suddenly into a lean creature; and he awoke with a sore feeling in his heart.

His eye fell on his wet boots.  The whole thing was scaring, and jumping up, he began to throw his clothes into his trunks.  It was twelve o’clock before he went down, and found his brother and Traquair still at the table arranging an itinerary; he surprised them by saying that he too was coming; and without further explanation set to work to eat.  James had heard that there were salt-mines in the neighbourhood—­his proposal was to start, and halt an hour or so on the road for their inspection; he said:  “Everybody’ll ask you if you’ve seen the salt-mines:  I shouldn’t like to say I hadn’t seen the salt-mines.  What’s the good, they’d say, of your going there if you haven’t seen the salt-mines?” He wondered, too, if they need fee the second waiter—­an idle chap!

A discussion followed; but Swithin ate on glumly, conscious that his mind was set on larger affairs.  Suddenly on the far side of the street Rozsi and her sister passed, with little baskets on their arms.  He started up, and at that moment Rozsi looked round—­her face was the incarnation of enticement, the chin tilted, the lower lip thrust a little forward, her round neck curving back over her shoulder.  Swithin muttered, “Make your own arrangements—­leave me out!” and hurried from the room, leaving James beside himself with interest and alarm.

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Villa Rubein, and other stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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