Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about Ziska.
chance word or sentence he could hear, whether it concerned himself or not.  He had peculiar theories, and one of them was, as he would tell you, that if you overheard a remark apparently not intended for you, you were to make yourself quite easy, as it was “a point of predestination” that you should at that particular moment, consciously or unconsciously, play the eavesdropper.  The reason of it would, he always averred, be explained to you later on in your career.  The well-known saying “listeners never hear any good of themselves” was, he declared, a most ridiculous aphorism.  “You overhear persons talking and you listen.  Very well.  It may chance that you hear yourself abused.  What then?  Nothing can be so good for you as such abuse; the instruction given is twofold; it warns you against foes whom you have perhaps considered friends, and it tones down any overweening conceit you may have had concerning your own importance or ability.  Listen to everything if you are wise—­I always do.  I am an old and practised listener.  And I have never listened in vain.  All the information I have gained through listening, though apparently at first disconnected and unclassified, has fitted into my work like the stray pieces of a puzzle, and has proved eminently useful.  Wherever I am I always keep my ears well open.”

With such views as he thus entertained, life was always enormously interesting to Dr. Dean—­he found nothing tiresome, not even the conversation of the type known as Noodle.  The Noodle was as curious a specimen of nature to him as the emu or the crocodile.  And as he turned up his intellectual little physiognomy to the deep, warm Egyptian sky and inhaled the air sniffingly, as though it were a monster scent-bottle just uncorked for his special gratification, he smiled as he observed Muriel Chetwynd Lyle standing entirely alone at the end of the terrace, attired as a “Boulogne fish-wife,” and looking daggers after the hastily-retreating figure of a “White Hussar,”—­no other than Ross Courtney.

“How extremely droll a ‘Boulogne fish-wife’ looks in Egypt,” commented the Doctor to his inward self.  “Remarkable!  The incongruity is peculiarly typical of the Chetwynd Lyles.  The costume of the young woman is like the knighthood of her father,—­ droll, droll, very droll!” Aloud he said—­“Why are you not dancing, Miss Muriel?”

“Oh, I don’t know—­I’m tired,” she said, petulantly.  “Besides, all the men are after that Ziska woman,—­they seem to have lost their heads about her!”

“Ah!” and Dr. Dean rubbed his hands.  “Yes—­possibly!  Well, she is certainly very beautiful.”

“I cannot see it!” and Muriel Chetwynd Lyle flushed with the inward rage which could not be spoken.  “It’s the way she dresses more than her looks.  Nobody knows who she is—­but they do not seem to care about that.  They are all raving like lunatics over her, and that man—­that artist who arrived here to-day, Armand Gervase,—­seems the maddest of the lot.  Haven’t you noticed how often he has danced with her?”

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Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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