Click here to Download The Market Place PDF Book by Harold Frederic Language English having PDF Size 2.7 MB and No of Pages 187.
His triumph was so sweeping and comprehensive as to be somewhat shapeless to the view. He had a sense of fascinated pain when he tried to define to himself what its limits would probably be. Vistas of unchecked, expanding conquest stretched away in every direction. He held at his mercy everything within sight. Indeed.
The Market Place PDF Book by Harold Frederic
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|No of Pages||187|
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It rested entirely with him to say whether there should be any such thing as mercy at all—and until he chose to utter the restraining word the rout of the vanquished would go on with multiplying terrors and ruin. He could crush and torture and despoil his enemies until he was tired. The responsibility of having to decide when he would stop grinding their faces might come to weigh upon him later on.
But he would not give it room in his mind to-night. A picture of these faces of his victims shaped itself out of the flames in the grate. They were moulded in a family likeness, these phantom visages: they were all Jewish, all malignant, all distorted with fright. They implored him with eyes in which panic asserted itself above rage and cunning.
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Only here and there did he recall a name with which to label one of these countenances; very few of them raised a memory of individual rancour. The faces were those of men he had seen, no doubt, but their persecution of him had been impersonal; his great revenge was equally so.
As he looked, in truth, there was only one face—a composite mask of what he had done battle with, and overthrown, and would trample implacably under foot. He stared with a conqueror’s cold frown at it, and gave an abrupt laugh which started harsh echoes in the stillness of the Board Room. Then he shook off the reverie, and got to his feet. He shivered a little at the sudden touch of a chill.
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A bottle of brandy, surrounded by glasses, stood on the table where the two leastconsidered of his lieutenants, the dummy Directors, had left it. He poured a small quantity and sipped it. During the whole eventful day it had not occurred to him before to drink; the taste of the neat liquor seemed on the instant to calm and refresh his brain.
With more deliberation, he took a cigar from the broad, floridly-decorated open box beside the bottle, lit it, and blew a long draught of smoke thoughtfully through his nostrils. Then he put his hands in his pockets, looked again into the fire, and sighed a wondering smile. God in heaven! it was actually true! This man of forty found himself fluttering with a novel exhilaration, which yet was not novel.
Upon reflection, he perceived that he felt as if he were a boy again—a boy excited by pleasure. It surprised as much as it delighted him to experience this frank and direct joy of a child. He caught the inkling of an idea that perhaps his years were an illusion. He had latterly been thinking of himself as middle-aged; the grey hairs thickening at his temples had vaguely depressed him. The Market Place PDF Book
Now all at once he saw that he was not old at all. The buoyancy of veritable youth bubbled in his veins. He began walking up and down the room, regarding new halcyon visions with a sparkling eye. He was no longer conscious of the hated foe beneath his feet; they trod instead elastic upon the clouds.
The sound of someone moving about in the hallway outside, and of trying a door near by, suddenly caught his attention. He stood still and listened with alertness for a surprised instant, then shrugged his shoulders and began moving again. It must be nearly seven o’clock; although the allotment work had kept the clerks later than usual that day, everybody connected with the offices had certainly gone home.
He realized that his nerves had played him a trick in giving that alarmed momentary start—and smiled almost tenderly as he remembered how notable and even glorious a warrant those nerves had for their unsettled state. They would be all right after a night’s real rest. He would know how to sleep NOW, thank God! The Market Place PDF Book
“Well—but you”—the other began, and then paused. “What I mean is,” he resumed, “you were never, at any rate, responsible to anybody but yourself. If you had only a sovereign a day, or a sovereign a week, for that matter, you could accommodate yourself to the requirements of the situation.
I don’t mean that you would enjoy it any more than I should— but at least it was open to you to do it, without attracting much attention. But with me placed in my ridiculous position—poverty has been the most unbearable torture one can imagine. You see, there is no way in which I can earn a penny.
I had to leave the Army when I was twenty-three—the other fellows all had plenty of money to spend, and it was impossible for me to drag along with a title and an empty pocket. I daresay that I ought to have stuck to it, because it isn’t nearly so bad now, but twelve years ago it was too cruel for any youngster who had any pride about him—and, of course, my father having made rather a name in the Army. The Market Place PDF Book
That made it so much harder for me. And after that, what was there? Of course, the bar and medicine and engineering and those things were out of the question, in those days at least. The Church?—that was more so still. I had a try at politics—but you need money there as much as anywhere else—money or big family connections.
I voted in practically every division for four years, and I made the rottenest speeches you ever heard of at Primrose League meetings in small places, and after all that the best thing the whips could offer me was a billet in India at four hundred a year, and even that you took in depreciated rupees.
When I tried to talk about something at home, they practically laughed in my face. I had no leverage upon them whatever. They didn’t care in the least whether I came up and voted or stopped at home. Their majority was ten to one just the same—yes, twenty to one. So that door was shut in my face. The Market Place PDF Book
I’ve never been inside the House since—except once to show it to an American lady last summer—but when I do go again I rather fancy”—he stopped for an instant, and nodded his handsome head significantly—“I rather fancy I shall turn up on the other side.” “I’m a Liberal myself, in English politics,” interposed Thorpe.
Plowden seemed not to perceive the connection. They had left London Bridge behind, and he put his feet up on the cushions, and leant back comfortably. “Of course there was the City,” he went on, speaking diagonally across to his companion, between leisurely intervals of absorption in his cigar.
“There have been some directors’ fees, no doubt, and once or twice I’ve come very near to what promised to be a big thing—but I never quite pulled it off. Really, without capital what can one do?—I’m curious to know—did you bring much ready money with you to England?” “Between six and seven thousand pounds.” The Market Place PDF Book Download
“And if it’s a fair question—how much of it have you got left?” Thorpe had some momentary doubts as to whether this was a fair question, but he smothered them under the smile with which he felt impelled to answer the twinkle in Plowden’s eyes. “Oh, less than a hundred,” he said, and laughed aloud.
“I can’t in the least be sure that I shall ever marry,” he replied, thoughtfully. “I may, and I may not. But—starting with that proviso—I suppose I haven’t seen any other woman that I’d rather think about marrying than—than the lady we’re speaking of. However, you see it’s all in the air, so far as my plans go.” “In the air be it,” the soldier acquiesced, plausibly.
“Let us consider it as if it were in the air —a possible contingency. This is what I would say—My—’the lady we are speaking of’ is by way of being a difficult lady—’uncertain, coy, and hard to please’ as Scott says, you know— and it must be a very skilfully-dressed fly indeed which brings her to the surface. She’s been hooked once, mind, and she has a horror of it. The Market Place PDF Book Download
Her husband was the most frightful brute and ruffian, you know. I was strongly opposed to the marriage, but her mother carried it through. But—yes—about her—I think she is afraid to marry again. If she does ever consent, it will be because poverty has broken her nerve. If she is kept on six hundred a year, she may be starved, so to speak.
Into taking a husband. If she had sixteen hundred—either she would never marry at all, or she would be free to marry some handsome young pauper who caught her fancy. That would be particularly like her. You would be simply endowing some needy fellow, beside losing her for yourself. D’ye follow me?
If you’ll leave it to me, I can find a much better way than that—better for all of us.” “Hm!” said Thorpe, and pondered the paternal statement. “I see what you mean,” he remarked at last. “Yes—I see.” The General preserved silence for what seemed a long time, deferring to the reverie of his host. The Market Place PDF Book Download
When finally he offered a diversion, in the form of a remark about the hour, Thorpe shook himself, and then ponderously rose to his feet. He took his hat and coat from the waiter, and made his way out without a word. At the street door, confronting the waning foliage of the Embankment garden, Kervick was emboldened to recall to him the fact of his presence.
“Which way are you going?” he asked. “I don’t know,” Thorpe answered absently. “I think—I think I’ll take a walk on the Embankment—by myself.” The General could not repress all symptoms of uneasiness. “But when am I to see you again?” he enquired, with an effect of solicitude that defied control. “See me?”
Thorpe spoke as if the suggestion took him by surprise. “There are things to be settled, are there not?” the other faltered, in distressed doubt as to the judicious tone to take. “You spoke, you know, of—of some employment that—that would suit me.” Thorpe shook himself again, and seemed by an effort to recall his wandering attention. The Market Place PDF Book Free
“Oh yes,” he said, with lethargic vagueness—“I haven’t thought it out yet. I’ll let you know— within the week, probably.” With the briefest of nods, he turned and crossed the road. Walking heavily, with rounded shoulders and hands plunged deep in his overcoat pockets, he went through the gateway, and chose a path at random.
To the idlers on the garden benches who took note of him as he passed, he gave the impression of one struggling with nausea. To his own blurred consciousness, he could not say which stirred most vehemently within him, his loathing for the creature he had fed and bought, or his bitter self-disgust.
The assumption existed that the excursion into the Thuringenwald to see the memorials of Luther was especially for the uncle’s benefit, and he tried solicitously to say or look nothing which might invalidate it. There were other places in Germany, from Mainz to Munich, which he remembered best by their different beers. The Market Place PDF Book Free
They spent Christmas at Vienna, where Julia had heard that its observance was peculiarly insisted upon, and then they saw the Tyrol in its heaviest vesture of winter snows, and beautiful old Basle, where Alfred was crazier about Holbein than he had been at Munich over Brouwer. Thorpe looked very carefully at the paintings of both men.
And felt strengthened in his hopes that when Alfred got a little older he would see that this picture business was not the thing for a young gentleman with prospects to go into. It was at Basle that Thorpe received a letter from London which directly altered the plans of the party. He had had several other letters from London which had produced no such effect.
Through Semple, he had followed in outline the unobtrusive campaign to secure a Special Settlement, and had learned that the Stock Exchange Committee, apparently without opposition, had granted one for the first week in February. Even this news, tremendously important as it was, did not prompt Thorpe to interfere with the children’s projects. The Market Place PDF Book Free
There was no longer any point in remaining away from London; there were, indeed, numerous reasons for a prompt return. But he was loth to deprive the youngsters of that descent into smiling, sunlit Italy upon which they had so fondly dwelt in fancy, and after all Semple could do all that was needful to be done for another month.