- read famous books online for free

An Open-Eyed Conspiracy; an Idyl of Saratoga by William Dean Howells
page 2 of 142 (01%)
bubbling spring in the glass vases, and it sounded vastly cooler.
There would be mosquitoes there, of course, I admitted in the debate
I had with myself before I decided to make experiment of the place,
and the event proved me right. There were certainly some mosquitoes
in the Grecian temple (if it is not a Turkish kiosk; perhaps we had
better compromise, and call it a Grecian kiosk), which you reach by
a foot-bridge from the mainland, and there was a damp in the air
which might pass for coolness. There were three or four people
standing vaguely about in the kiosk; but my idle mind fixed itself
upon a young French-Canadian mother of low degree, who sat, with her
small boy, on the verge of the pavement near the water. She scolded
him in their parlance for having got himself so dirty, and then she
smacked his poor, filthy little hands, with a frown of superior
virtue, though I did not find her so very much cleaner herself. I
cannot see children beaten without a heartache, and I continued to
suffer for this small wretch even after he had avenged himself by
eating a handful of peanut shells, which would be sure to disagree
with him and make his mother more trouble. In fact, I experienced
no relief till his mother, having spent her insensate passion,
gathered him up with sufficient tenderness, and carried him away.
Then, for the first time, I noticed a girl sitting in a chair just
outside the kiosk, and showing a graceful young figure as she partly
turned to look after the departing mother and her child. When she
turned again and glanced in my direction, at the noise I made in
placing my chair, I could see two things--that she had as much
beauty as grace, and that she was disappointed in me. The latter
fact did not wound me, for I felt its profound impersonality. I was
not wrong in myself; I was simply wrong in being an elderly man with
a grey beard instead of the handsome shape and phase of youth which
her own young beauty had a right to in my place. I was not only not
DigitalOcean Referral Badge