The Path of a Star eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 259 pages of information about The Path of a Star.
beside a sweetmeat seller’s basket, and showed his heap of cakes that they were well-browned and full of butter.  From the “Cape of Good Cheer,” where many bottles glistened in rows inside, came a braying upon the conch, and a flame of burnt brandy danced along the bar to the honour and propitiation of Lakshmi, that the able-bodied seaman might be thirsty when he came, for the “Cape of Good Cheer” did not owe its prosperity, as its name might suggest, to any Providence of our theology.  But most of the brightness abode in the Chinamen’s shoe shops, where many lamps shone on the hammering and the stitching.  There were endless shoe shops, and they all belonged to Powson or Singson or Samson, while one sign-board bore the broad impertinence “Macpherson.”  The proprietors stood in the door, the smell came out in the street—­that smell of Chinese personality steeped in fried oil and fresh leather that out-fans even the south wind in Bentinck Street.  They were responsible but not anxious, the proprietors:  they buried their fat hands in their wide sleeves and looked up and down, stolid and smiling.  They stood in their alien petticoat trousers for the commercial stability of the locality, and the rows of patent leather slippers that glistened behind them testified to it further.  Everything else shifted and drifted, with a perpetual change of complexion, a perpetual worsening of clothes.  Only Powson bore a permanent yoke of prosperity.  It lay round his thick brown neck with the low clean line of his blue cotton smock, and he carried it without offensive consciousness, looking up and down by no means in search of customers, rather in the exercise of the opaque, inscrutable philosophy tied up in his queue.

Lindsay liked Bentinck Street as an occasional relapse from the scenic standards of pillared and verandahed Calcutta, and made personal business with his Chinaman for the sake of the racial impression thrown into the transaction.  Arnold, in his cassock, waited in the doorway with his arms crossed behind him, and his thin face thrust as far as it would go into the air outside.  It is possible that some intelligences might have seen in this priest a caricature of his profession, a figure to be copied for the curate of burlesque, so accurately did he reproduce the common signs of the ascetic school.  His face would have been womanish in its plainness but for the gravity that had grown upon it, only occasionally dispersed by a smile of scholarliness and sweetness which had the effect of being permitted, conceded.  He had the long thin nose which looked as if for preference it would be forever thrust among the pages of the Fathers; and anyone might observe the width of his mouth without perhaps detecting the patience and decision of the upper lip.  The indignity of spectacles he did not yet wear, but it hovered over him; it was indispensable to his personality in the long-run.  In figure he was indifferently tall and thin and stooping, made to pass unobservedly along a pavement

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The Path of a Star from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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