The Amethyst Box

The Amethyst Box

by Anna Katharine Green
     
 

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An excerpt from the beginning of:


THE FLASK WHICH HELD BUT A DROP

It was the night before the wedding. Though Sinclair, and not myself, was the happy man, I had my own causes for excitement, and, finding the heat of the billiard room insupportable, I sought the veranda for a solitary smoke in sight of the ocean and a full moon.

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An excerpt from the beginning of:


THE FLASK WHICH HELD BUT A DROP

It was the night before the wedding. Though Sinclair, and not myself, was the happy man, I had my own causes for excitement, and, finding the heat of the billiard room insupportable, I sought the veranda for a solitary smoke in sight of the ocean and a full moon.

I was in a condition of rapturous, if unreasoning, delight. That afternoon a little hand had lingered in mine for just an instant longer than the circumstances of the moment strictly required, and small as the favor may seem to those who do not know Dorothy Camerden, to me, who realized fully both her delicacy and pride, it was a sign that my long, if secret, devotion was about to be rewarded and that at last I was free to cherish hopes whose alternative had once bid fair to wreck the happiness of my life.

I was reveling in the felicity of these anticipations and contrasting this hour of ardent hope with others of whose dissatisfaction and gloom I was yet mindful, when a sudden shadow fell across the broad band of light issuing from the library window, and Sinclair stepped out.

He had the appearance of being disturbed; very much disturbed, I thought, for a man on the point of marrying the woman for whom he professed to entertain the one profound passion of his life; but remembering his frequent causes of annoyance — causes quite apart from his bride and her personal attributes — I kept on placidly smoking till I felt his hand on my shoulder and turned to see that the moment was a serious one.

" I have something to say to you," he whispered. " Come where we shall run less risk of being disturbed."

" What's wrong?" I asked, facing him with curiosity, if not with alarm. " I never saw you look like this before. Has the old lady taken this last minute to—"

" Hush!" he prayed, emphasizing the word with a curt gesture not to be mistaken. " The little room over the west porch is empty just now. Follow me there."

With a sigh for the cigar I had so lately lighted I tossed it into the bushes and sauntered in after him. I thought I understood his trouble. The prospective bride was young — a mere slip of a girl, indeed — bright, beautiful and proud, yet with odd little restraints in her manner and language, due probably to her peculiar bringing up and the surprise, not yet overcome, of finding herself, after an isolated, if not despised, childhood, the idol of society and the recipient of general homage. The fault was not with her. But she had for guardian (alas! my dear girl had the same) an aunt who was a gorgon. This aunt must have been making herself disagreeable to the prospective bridegroom, and he, being quick to take offense, quicker than myself, it was said, had probably retorted in a way to make things unpleasant. As he was a guest in the house, he and all the other members of the bridal party—(Mrs. Armstrong having insisted upon opening her magnificent Newport villa for this wedding and its attendant festivities), the matter might well look black to him. Yet I did not feel disposed to take much interest in it, even though his case might be mine some day, with all its accompanying drawbacks.

But, once confronted with Sinclair in the well-lighted room above, I perceived that I had better drop all selfish regrets and give my full attention to what he had to say. For his eye, which had flashed with an unusual light at dinner, was clouded now, and his manner, when he strove to speak, betrayed a nervousness I had considered foreign to his nature ever since the day I had seen him rein in his horse so calmly on the extreme edge of a precipice where a fall would have meant certain death not only to himself, but also to the two riders who unwittingly were pressing closely behind him.

"Walter," he faltered, "something has happened, something dreadful, something unprecedented! You may think me a fool — God knows I would be glad to be proved so, but this thing has frightened me. I —" He paused and pulled himself together. " I will tell you about it, then you can judge for yourself. I am in no condition to do so. I wonder if you will be when you hear —"

" Don't beat about the bush. Speak up! What's the matter?"

He gave me an odd look full of gloom, a look I felt the force of, though I could not interpret it; then coming closer, though there was no one within hearing, possibly no one any nearer than the drawing-room below, he whispered in my ear:

" I have lost a little vial of the deadliest drug ever compounded; a Venetian curiosity which I was foolish enough to take out and show the ladies, because the little box which, holds it is such an exquisite example of jewelers' work. There's death in its taste, almost in its smell; and it's out of my hands and —"

" Well, I'll tell you how to fix...

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940014907200
Publisher:
OGB
Publication date:
08/15/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
273 KB

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