Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Part I Edith Wharton

Chapter XII

Page 1 of 7

Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

NICK LANSING, in the Milan express, was roused by the same bar of sunshine lying across his knees. He yawned, looked with disgust at his stolidly sleeping neighbours, and wondered why he had decided to go to Milan, and what on earth he should do when he got there. The difficulty about trenchant decisions was that the next morning they generally left one facing a void ....

When the train drew into the station at Milan, he scrambled out, got some coffee, and having drunk it decided to continue his journey to Genoa. The state of being carried passively onward postponed action and dulled thought; and after twelve hours of furious mental activity that was exactly what he wanted.

He fell into a doze again, waking now and then to haggard intervals of more thinking, and then dropping off to the clank and rattle of the train. Inside his head, in his waking intervals, the same clanking and grinding of wheels and chains went on unremittingly. He had done all his lucid thinking within an hour of leaving the Palazzo Vanderlyn the night before; since then, his brain had simply continued to revolve indefatigably about the same old problem. His cup of coffee, instead of clearing his thoughts, had merely accelerated their pace.

At Genoa he wandered about in the hot streets, bought a cheap suit-case and some underclothes, and then went down to the port in search of a little hotel he remembered there. An hour later he was sitting in the coffee-room, smoking and glancing vacantly over the papers while he waited for dinner, when he became aware of being timidly but intently examined by a small round-faced gentleman with eyeglasses who sat alone at the adjoining table.

"Hullo--Buttles!" Lansing exclaimed, recognising with surprise the recalcitrant secretary who had resisted Miss Hicks's endeavour to convert him to Tiepolo.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

Mr. Buttles, blushing to the roots of his scant hair, half rose and bowed ceremoniously.

Nick Lansing's first feeling was of annoyance at being disturbed in his solitary broodings; his next, of relief at having to postpone them even to converse with Mr. Buttles.

"No idea you were here: is the yacht in harbour?" he asked, remembering that the Ibis must be just about to spread her wings.

Mr. Buttles, at salute behind his chair, signed a mute negation: for the moment he seemed too embarrassed to speak.

"Ah--you're here as an advance guard? I remember now--I saw Miss Hicks in Venice the day before yesterday," Lansing continued, dazed at the thought that hardly forty-eight hours had passed since his encounter with Coral in the Scalzi.

Mr. Buttles, instead of speaking, had tentatively approached his table. "May I take this seat for a moment, Mr. Lansing? Thank you. No, I am not here as an advance guard--though I believe the Ibis is due some time to-morrow." He cleared his throat, wiped his eyeglasses on a silk handkerchief, replaced them on his nose, and went on solemnly: "Perhaps, to clear up any possible misunderstanding, I ought to say that I am no longer in the employ of Mr. Hicks."

Lansing glanced at him sympathetically. It was clear that he suffered horribly in imparting this information, though his compact face did not lend itself to any dramatic display of emotion.

Page 1 of 7 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004