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The Mark of Cain

by (Library of Alexandria)

(3 reviews)

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In the Strangers' Room of the Olympic Club the air was thick with tobacco-smoke, and, despite the bitter cold outside, the temperature was uncomfortably high. Dinner was over, and the guests, broken up into little groups, were chattering noisily. No one had yet given any sign of departing: no one had offered a welcome apology for the need of catching an evening train. Perhaps the civilized custom which permits women to dine in the presence of the greedier sex is the proudest conquest of Culture. Were it not for the excuse of "joining the ladies," dinner-parties (Like the congregations in Heaven, as described in the hymn) would "ne'er break up," and suppers (like Sabbaths, on the same authority) would never end. "Hang it all, will the fellows never go?" So thought Maitland, of St. Gatien's, the founder of the feast. The inhospitable reflections which we have recorded had all been passing through his brain as he rather moodily watched the twenty guests he had been feeding -- one can hardly say entertaining. It was a "duty dinner" he had been giving -- almost everything Maitland did was done from a sense of duty -- yet he scarcely appeared to be reaping the reward of an approving conscience. His acquaintances, laughing and gossipping round the half-empty wine-glasses, the olives, the scattered fruit, and "the ashes of the weeds of their delight," gave themselves no concern about the weary host. Even at his own party, as in life generally, Maitland felt like an outsider. He wakened from his reverie as a strong hand was laid lightly on his shoulder.

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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: July 29, 2009
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 214 Pages
  • File Size: 840 KB

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