Mr. Achilles eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 158 pages of information about Mr. Achilles.
through the wide doors, up the long carved staircase—­from the Caracci Palace in Florence—­into the wide library, with its arched ceiling and high-shelved books and glimpses of busts and pedestals.  They fluttered in soft gloom, and sank into rows of adjustable chairs and faced sternly a little platform at the end of the room.  The air of culture descended gratefully about them; they buzzed a little in its dim warmth and settled back to await the arrival of the great epigraphist.

The great epigraphist was, at this moment, three hundred and sixty-three and one-half miles—­to be precise—­out from New York.  He was sitting in a steamer-chair, his feet stretched comfortably before him, a steamer-rug wrapped about his ample form, a grey cap pulled over his eyes—­dozing in the sun.  Suddenly he sat erect.  The rug fell from his person, the visor shot up from his eyes.  He turned them blankly toward the shoreless West.  This was the moment at which he had instructed his subconscious self to remind him of an engagement to lecture on Cretan inscriptions at the home of Mrs. Philip Harris on the Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois.  He looked again at the shoreless West and tried to grasp it.  It may have been his subconscious self that reminded him—­it may have been the telepathic waves that travelled toward him out of the half-gloom of the library.  They were fifty strong, and they travelled with great intensity—­“Had any one seen him—?” “Where was he?” “What was wrong?” “Late!” “Very late!” “Such a punctual man!” The waves fluttered and spread and grew.  The president of the club looked at the hostess.  The hostess looked at the president.  They consulted and drew apart.  The president rose to speak, clearing her throat for a pained look.  Then she waited....  The hostess was approaching again, a fine resolution in her face.  They conferred, looking doubtfully at the door.  The president nodded courageously and seated herself again on the platform, while Mrs. Philip Harris passed slowly from the room, the eyes of the assembled company following her with a little look of curiosity and dawning hope.

VIII

AND GIVE A SIMPLE LECTURE

In the doorway below she paused a moment, a little startled at the scene.  The bowed heads, the bit of folded tissue, the laughing, eager tones, the look in Miss Stone’s face held her.  She swept aside the drapery and entered—­the stately lady of the house.

The bowed heads were lifted.  The child sprang to her feet.  “Mother-dear!  It is my friend!  He has come!” The words sang.

Mrs. Philip Harris held out a gracious hand.  She had not intended to offer her hand.  She had intended to be distant and kind.  But when the man looked up she somehow forgot.  She held out the hand with a quick smile.

The Greek was on his feet, bending above it.  “It is an honour, madame—­that you come.”

“I have come to ask a favour,” she replied, slowly, her eyes travelling over the well-brushed clothes, the clean linen, the slender feet of the man.  Favour was not what she had meant to say—­privilege was nearer it.  But there was something about him.  Her voice grew suave to match the words.

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Project Gutenberg
Mr. Achilles from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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