Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Ziska.

He flung the cloth over the easel again impatiently, and tried to laugh at his own morbid imagination.

“I know who is responsible for all this nonsense,” he said.  “It is that ridiculous little half-mad faddist, Dr. Dean.  He is going to the Mena House, too.  Well!—­he will be the witness of a comedy or a tragedy there,—­and Heaven alone knows which it will be!”

And to distract his thoughts from dwelling any longer on the haunting ideas that perplexed him, he took up one of the latest and frothiest of French novels and began to read.  Some one in a room not far off was singing a French song,—­a man with a rich baritone voice,—­and unconsciously to himself Gervase caught the words as they rang out full and clearly on the quiet, heated air—­

    O toi que j’ai tant aimee
   Songes-tu que je t’aime encor? 
     Et dans ton ame alarmee,
   Ne sens-tu pas quelque remord? 
     Viens avec moi, si tu m’aimes,
     Habiter dans ces deserts;
   Nous y vivrons pour nous memes,
     Oublies de tout l’univers!

And something like a mist of tears clouded his aching eyes as he repeated, half mechanically and dreamily—­

    O toi que j’ai tant aimee,
   Songes-tu que je t’aime encor?


For the benefit of those among the untravelled English who have not yet broken a soda-water bottle against the Sphinx, or eaten sandwiches to the immortal memory of Cheops, it may be as well to explain that the Mena House Hotel is a long, rambling, roomy building, situated within five minutes’ walk of the Great Pyramid, and happily possessed of a golfing-ground and a marble swimming-bath.  That ubiquitous nuisance, the “amateur photographer,” can there have his “dark room” for the development of his more or less imperfect “plates”; and there is a resident chaplain for the piously inclined.  With a chaplain and a “dark room,” what more can the aspiring soul of the modern tourist desire?  Some of the rooms at the Mena House are small and stuffy; others large and furnished with sufficient elegance:  and the Princess Ziska had secured a “suite” of the best that could be obtained, and was soon installed there with befitting luxury.  She left Cairo quite suddenly, and without any visible preparation, the morning after the reception in which she had astonished her guests by her dancing:  and she did not call at the Gezireh Palace Hotel to say good-bye to any of her acquaintances there.  She was perhaps conscious that her somewhat “free” behavior had startled several worthy and sanctimonious persons; and possibly she also thought that to take rooms in an hotel which was only an hour’s distance from Cairo, could scarcely be considered as absenting herself from Cairene society.  She was followed to her desert retreat by Dr. Dean, Armand Gervase, and Denzil Murray, who drove to the Mena House together in one carriage, and were more or less all three in

Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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