THE INNER SHRINE

THE INNER SHRINE

by Basil King
     
 

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_THE INNER SHRINE_

I


Though she had counted the strokes of every hour since midnight, Mrs.
Eveleth had no thought of going to bed. When she was not sitting bolt
upright, indifferent to comfort, in one of the stiff-backed, gilded
chairs, she was limping, with the aid of her cane, up and down the long
suite of salons, listening for… See more details below

Overview

_THE INNER SHRINE_

I


Though she had counted the strokes of every hour since midnight, Mrs.
Eveleth had no thought of going to bed. When she was not sitting bolt
upright, indifferent to comfort, in one of the stiff-backed, gilded
chairs, she was limping, with the aid of her cane, up and down the long
suite of salons, listening for the sound of wheels. She knew that George
and Diane would be surprised to find her waiting up for them, and that
they might even be annoyed; but in her state of dread it was impossible
to yield to small considerations.

She could hardly tell how this presentiment of disaster had taken hold
upon her, for the beginning of it must have come as imperceptibly as the
first flicker of dusk across the radiance of an afternoon. Looking back,
she could almost make herself believe that she had seen its shadow over
her early satisfaction in her son's marriage to Diane. Certainly she had
felt it there before their honeymoon was over. The four years that had
passed since then had been spent--or, at least, she would have said so
now--in waiting for the peril to present itself.

And yet, had she been called on to explain why she saw it stalking
through the darkness of this particular June night, she would have found
it difficult to give coherent statement to her fear. Everything about
her was pursuing its normally restless round, with scarcely a hint of
the exceptional. If life in Paris was working up again to that feverish
climax in which the season dies, it was only what she had witnessed
every year since the last days of the Second Empire. If Diane's gayety
was that of excitement rather than of youth, if George's depression was
that of jaded effort rather than of satiated pleasure, it was no more
than she had seen in them at other times. She acknowledged that she had
few facts to go upon--that she had indeed little more than the terrified
prescience which warns the animal of a storm.

There were moments of her vigil when she tried to reassure herself with
the very tenuity of her reasons for alarm. It was a comfort to think how
little there was that she could state with the definiteness of
knowledge. In all that met the eye George's relation to Diane was not
less happy than in the first days of their life together. If, on Diane's
part, the spontaneity of wedded love had gradually become the adroitness
of domestic tact, there was nothing to affirm it but Mrs. Eveleth's own
power of divination. If George submitted with a blinder obedience than
ever to each new extravagance of Diane's Parisian caprice, there was
nothing to show that he lived beyond his means but Mrs. Eveleth's
maternal apprehension. His income was undoubtedly large, and, for all
she knew, it justified the sumptuous style Diane and he kept up. Where
the purchasing power of money began and ended was something she had
never known. Disorder was so frequent in her own affairs that when
George grew up she had been glad to resign them to his keeping, taking
what he told her was her income. As for Diane, her fortune was so small
as to be a negligible quantity in such housekeeping as they maintained--a
poverty of _dot_ which had been the chief reason why her noble kinsfolk
had consented to her marriage with an American. Looking round the
splendid house, Mrs. Eveleth was aware that her husband could never
have lived in it, still less have built it; while she wondered more than
ever how George, who led the life of a Parisian man of fashion, could
have found the means of doing both.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013378858
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
09/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

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