The Inner Shrine

The Inner Shrine

-

English
103 Pages
Read
Download
Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer

Informations

Published by
Published 08 December 2010
Reads 28
Language English
Report a problem
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Inner Shrine, by Basil King This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Inner Shrine Author: Basil King Release Date: December 20, 2004 [EBook #14393] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE INNER SHRINE *** Produced by Rick Niles, Carol David and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team Front cover THE INNER SHRINE A NOVEL OF TODAY ILLUSTRATED HARPER & BROTHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON M.C.M.I.X Copyright, 1908, 1909, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All rights reserved. Published May, 1909. [Transcriber's note: The name of the author, Basil King, does not appear in the text.] ILLUSTRATIONS SHE STOOD WATCHING THE RISE AND DIP OF THE STEAMER'S Frontispiece BOW (See page 61) THE BANKER TOOK A LONGER TIME THAN WAS NECESSARY TO Facing p.46 SCAN THE POOR LITTLE LIST PRESENTLY ALL FOUR WERE ON THEIR WAY BACK TO THE " 78 DRAWING-ROOM DIANE PROPPED THE CABLEGRAM IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE " 152 "I'VE NO ONE TO SPEAK A WORD FOR ME BUT YOU" " 202 IT WAS WHAT MRS. WAPPINGER CALLED AN "OFF-DAY" " 252 MRS. BAYFORD WAS PURRING TO HER GUESTS " 260 HAVING MADE A COPY OF THIS LETTER, SHE CALLED SIMMONS " 264 AND FULTON AND GAVE THEM THEIR INSTRUCTIONS "SINCE THE INNER SHRINE IS UNLOCKED—AT LAST—I'LL GO IN " " 354 THE INNER SHRINE I Though she had counted the strokes of every hour since midnight, Mrs. Eveleth had no thought of going to bed. When she was not sitting bolt upright, indifferent to comfort, in one of the stiff-backed, gilded chairs, she was limping, with the aid of her cane, up and down the long suite of salons, listening for the sound of wheels. She knew that George and Diane would be surprised to find her waiting up for them, and that they might even be annoyed; but in her state of dread it was impossible to yield to small considerations. She could hardly tell how this presentiment of disaster had taken hold upon her, for the beginning of it must have come as imperceptibly as the first flicker of dusk across the radiance of an afternoon. Looking back, she could almost make herself believe that she had seen its shadow over her early satisfaction in her son's marriage to Diane. Certainly she had felt it there before their honeymoon was over. The four years that had passed since then had been spent—or, at least, she would have said so now—in waiting for the peril to present itself. And yet, had she been called on to explain why she saw it stalking through the darkness of this particular June night, she would have found it difficult to give coherent statement to her fear. Everything about her was pursuing its normally restless round, with scarcely a hint of the exceptional. If life in Paris was working up again to that feverish climax in which the season dies, it was only what she had witnessed every year since the last days of the Second Empire. If Diane's gayety was that of excitement rather than of youth, if George's depression was that of jaded effort rather than of satiated pleasure, it was no more than she had seen in them at other times. She acknowledged that she had few facts to go upon—that she had indeed little more than the terrified prescience which warns the animal of a storm. There were moments of her vigil when she tried to reassure herself with the very tenuity of her reasons for alarm. It was a comfort to think how little there was that she could state with the definiteness of knowledge. In all that met the eye George's relation to Diane was not less happy than in the first days of their life together. If, on Diane's part, the spontaneity of wedded love had gradually become the adroitness of domestic tact, there was nothing to affirm it but Mrs. Eveleth's own power of divination. If George submitted with a blinder obedience than ever to each new extravagance of Diane's Parisian caprice, there was nothing to show that he lived beyond his means but Mrs. Eveleth's maternal apprehension. His income was undoubtedly large, and, for all she knew, it justified the sumptuous style Diane and he kept up. Where the purchasing power of money began and ended was something she had never known. Disorder was so frequent in her own affairs that when George grew up she had been glad to resign them to his keeping, taking what he told her was her income. As for Diane, her fortune was so small as to be a negligible quantity in such housekeeping as they maintained—a poverty of dot which had been the chief reason why her noble kinsfolk had consented to her marriage with an American. Looking round the splendid house, Mrs. Eveleth was aware that her husband could never have lived in it, still less have built it; while she wondered more than ever how George, who led the life of a Parisian man of fashion, could have found the means of doing both. Not that her anxiety centred on material things; they were too remote from the general activities of her thought for that. She distilled her fear out of the living atmosphere around her. She was no novice in this brilliant, dissolute society, or in the meanings hidden behind its apparently trivial concerns. Hints that would have had slight significance for one less expert she found luminous with suggestion; and she read by signs as faint as those in which the redskin detects the passage of his foe across the grass. The odd smile with which Diane went out! The dull silence in which George came home! The manufactured conversation! The forced gayety! The startling pause! The effort to begin again, and keep the tone to one of common intercourse! The long defile of guests! The strangers who came, grew intimate, and disappeared! The glances that followed Diane when she crossed a room! The shrug, the whisper, the suggestive grimace, at the mention of her name! All these were as an alphabet in which Mrs. Eveleth, grown skilful by long years of observation, read what had become not less familiar than her mother-tongue. The fact that her misgivings were not new made it the more difficult to understand why they had focussed themselves to-night into this great fear. There had been