The post-prandial orator was in the midst of his toast, the champagne-foam ran over the edge of his glass and trickled down his fat fingers, his lungs were expanded and his vocal chords strained to the utmost in the delivery of the well-rounded period upon which he was launched, and the blood was rushing to his head in the generous enthusiasm of the moment. In that brilliant circle of guests every man held his hand in readiness on the slender stem of his glass and waited, all attention, for the toast to come to an end in a final dazzling display of oratorical pyrotechnics. The attendants hastened to fill the half-empty glasses, and the leader of the gypsy orchestra, which was stationed at the farther end of the hall, held his violin-bow in the air, ready to fall in at the right moment with a burst of melody that should drown the clinking of glasses at the close of the toast.
There were six of them besides the Prior and Abbot. The seventh
was away in the village, collecting the gifts of charity.
"Benedicite," began the Prior. "Here is a
message from our most gracious patroness."…
Our story opens in an Italian railway station,
in the spring of 1848. From a train that had just arrived, the
passengers were hastening to secure their places in another that
stood waiting for them. A guard had…
The storm had spent itself, the sea
was calm again, and on its smooth surface tossed empty casks and
shattered masts,—the monuments of shipwrecked vessels. The stormy
petrels had vanished with the tempest,…