Arethusa

Arethusa

F. Marion Crawford

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

Carlo Zeno, gentleman of Venice, ex-clerk, ex-gambler, ex-soldier of fortune, ex-lay prebendary of Patras, ex-duellist, and ex-Greek general, being about twenty-nine years of age, and having in his tough body the scars of half-a-dozen wounds that would have killed an ordinary man, had resolved to turn over a new leaf, had become a merchant, and was established in Constantinople in the year 1376. He had bought a house in the city itself because the merchants of Genoa all dwelt in the town of Pera, on the other side of the Golden Horn. A Venetian could not have lived in the same place with Genoese, for the air would have poisoned him, to a certainty; and besides, the sight of a Genoese face, the sound of the Genoese dialect, the smell of Genoese cookery, were all equally sickening to any one brought up in the lagoons. Genoa was not fit to be mentioned within hearing of polite Venetian ears, its very name was unspeakable by decent Venetian lips; and even to pronounce the syllables for purposes of business was horribly unlucky. Therefore Carlo Zeno and his friends had taken up their abode in the old city, amongst the Greeks and the Bokharians, the Jews and the Circassians, and they left the Genoese to themselves in Pera, pretending that they did not even exist. It was not always easy to keep up the pretence, it is true, for Zeno had extremely good eyes and could not help seeing those abominations of mankind on the other side of the Golden Horn when he sat in his balcony on spring evenings; and his only consolation was to dream of destroying them wholesale, of hewing them in pieces by the hundred and the thousand, and of piling up pyramids of their ugly grinning heads. Why were they Genoese? Carlo Zeno would rather have taken a box on the ear from Sultan Amurad, the Turk, over there in Asia Minor, than a civil word from the least objectionable of those utterly unspeakable monsters of Genoese. \'Behold,\' said Tertullian one day in scorn, \'how these Christians love one another.\' Matters had not improved in eleven hundred years, since that learned Doctor of the Church had departed this life, presumably for a more charitable world; but Carlo Zeno would have answered that the Genoese were no more Christians than mules, and much less so than the pigs, which are all under the special protection of the blessed Saint Anthony. At the very time, too, when my story begins, those obnoxious villains of Genoa were on the successful side of a revolution; for they had helped Emperor Andronicus to imprison his father, Emperor John, in the tall Amena tower on the north side of the city, by the Golden Horn, and to lock up his two younger brothers in a separate dungeon. It was true that Emperor John had ordered Andronicus and his little son of five to be blinded with boiling vinegar, but Genoese money had miraculously converted the vinegar into bland white wine, and had reduced the temperature from the boiling point to that of a healthful lotion, so that neither the boy nor the man were any the worse after the application than before; but Andronicus had resented the mere intention on the part of his father, and had avenged himself by taking the Empire, such as it was, for the present, while reserving the delight of murdering his parent and his brothers at a convenient season in the future. All this was very well, no doubt, and Andronicus was undisputed Emperor for the time being, because the Genoese and Sultan Amurad were willing that he should be; but Amurad had not always been his friend, and the Genoese had not always had the upper hand of the Venetians; the wind might change in a moment and a tempest might whirl him away from the throne even more quickly than the fair breeze had wafted him towards it. Zeno thought so too, and wondered whether it would please fate to make him the spirit of the storm.
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Sant Ilario

Sant' Ilario

F. Marion Crawford

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

F. Marion Crawford (1854-1909) was born in Italy, the son of the Irish-American sculptor, Thomas Crawford, and a sister of Julia Ward Howe, and was one of the most popular novelists of his day. With a cosmopolitan education (in Italy, America, England, and Germany) and extensively traveled (including a stint in India as a newspaper editor), Crawford was the living embodiment, for many, of the late 19th-century genteel tradition. His wide range as a traveler has contributed doubtless to another characteristic quality: his strength in unexcelled portraits of odd characters and his magical skill in seeming to make his readers witnesses of the spectacles. Saracinesca is the first novel of his Roman tetralogy, the lush and evocative novels of Italian life and character which form the core of his oeuvre. It chronicles the shifting fortunes of a princely house against a panoramic background of Roman society in the later nineteenth-century. Saracinesca and its sequel Sant' Ilario are romances of passion and jealousy, featuring feuds, duels, suicides, and reconciliation. The third title in the series, Don Orsino, exposes the corruptions of Italian financial life; and Corleone, published much later, is a Sicilian episode that brings the Saracinesca into contact with the Mafia.
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Doctor Claudius, A True Story

Doctor Claudius, A True Story

F. Marion Crawford

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.
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Adam Johnstones Son

Adam Johnstone's Son

F. Marion Crawford

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

Excerpt Seeing that her daughter did not say anything in answer to the remark about the past being written in a foreign language, Mrs. Bowring looked at the distant sky-haze thoughtfully for a few moments, then opened her book again where her thin forefinger had kept the place, and began to read. There was no disappointment in her face at not being understood, for she had spoken almost to herself and had expected no reply. No change of expression softened or accentuated the quiet hardness which overspread her naturally gentle face. But the thought was evidently still present in her mind, for her attention did not fix itself upon her book, and presently she looked at her daughter, as the latter bent her head over the little bag she was making.
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The Primadonna

The Primadonna

F. Marion Crawford

Horror / Short Stories / Classics

Excerpt from The Primadonna a Sequel to Fair MargaretWhen the accident happened, Cordova was singing the mad scene in Lucia for the last time in that season, and she had never sung it better. The Bride of Lammermoor is the greatest love-story ever written, and it was nothing short of desecration to make a libretto of it; but so far as the last act is concerned the opera certainly conveys the impression that the heroine is a raving lunatic. Only a crazy woman could express feeling in such an unusual way.Cordova\'s face was nothing but a mask of powder, in which her handsome brown eyes would have looked like two holes if she had not kept them half shut under the heavily whitened lids; her hands were chalked too, and they were like plaster casts of hands, cleverly jointed at the wrists. She wore a garment which was supposed to be a nightdress, which resembled a very expensive modem shroud, and which was evidently put on over a good many other things. There was a deal of lace on it, which fluttered when she made her hands shake to accompany each trill, and all this really contributed to the general impression of insanity.About the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.comThis book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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