Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about Ziska.

Moonlight and the Hour wove their own mystery; and ere the pale opal dawn flushed the sky with hues of rose and amber the Shadow had vanished; the Voice was heard no more.  Slowly the sun lifted the edge of its golden shield above the horizon, and the great Sphinx awaking from its apparent brief slumber, stared in expressive and eternal scorn across the tracts of sand and tufted palm-trees towards the glittering dome of El-Hazar—­that abode of profound sanctity and learning, where men still knelt and worshipped, praying the Unknown to deliver them from the Unseen.  And one would almost have deemed that the sculptured Monster with the enigmatical Woman-face and Lion-form had strange thoughts in its huge granite brain; for when the full day sprang in glory over the desert and illumined its large features with a burning saffron radiance, its cruel lips still smiled as though yearning to speak and propound the terrible riddle of old time; the Problem which killed!

CHAPTER I.

It was the full “season” in Cairo.  The ubiquitous Britisher and the no less ubiquitous American had planted their differing “society” standards on the sandy soil watered by the Nile, and were busily engaged in the work of reducing the city, formerly called Al Kahira or The Victorious, to a more deplorable condition of subjection and slavery than any old-world conqueror could ever have done.  For the heavy yoke of modern fashion has been flung on the neck of Al Kahira, and the irresistible, tyrannic dominion of “swagger” vulgarity has laid The Victorious low.  The swarthy children of the desert might, and possibly would, be ready and willing to go forth and fight men with men’s weapons for the freedom to live and die unmolested in their own native land; but against the blandly-smiling, white-helmeted, sun-spectacled, perspiring horde of Cook’s “cheap trippers,” what can they do save remain inert and well-nigh speechless?  For nothing like the cheap tripper was ever seen in the world till our present enlightened and glorious day of progress; he is a new-grafted type of nomad, like and yet unlike a man.  The Darwin theory asserts itself proudly and prominently in bristles of truth all over him—­in his restlessness, his ape-like agility and curiosity, his shameless inquisitiveness, his careful cleansing of himself from foreign fleas, his general attention to minutiae, and his always voracious appetite; and where the ape ends and the man begins is somewhat difficult to discover.  The “image of God” wherewith he, together with his fellows, was originally supposed to be impressed in the first fresh days of Creation, seems fairly blotted out, for there is no touch of the Divine in his mortal composition.  Nor does the second created phase-the copy of the Divineo—­namely, the Heroic,- -dignify his form or ennoble his countenance.  There is nothing of the heroic in the wandering biped who swings through the streets of Cairo in white flannels, laughing at

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Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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