At the Sign of the Silver Flagon

At the Sign of the Silver Flagon
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Книга "At the Sign of the Silver Flagon", автором которой является Benjamin Farjeon, представляет собой захватывающую работу в жанре Зарубежная классика. В этом произведении автор рассказывает увлекательную историю, которая не оставит равнодушными читателей.

Автор мастерски воссоздает атмосферу напряженности и интриги, погружая читателя в мир загадок и тайн, который скрывается за хрупкой поверхностью обыденности. С прекрасным чувством языка и виртуозностью сюжетного развития, Benjamin Farjeon позволяет читателю погрузиться в сложные эмоциональные переживания героев и проникнуться их судьбами. Farjeon настолько живо и точно передает неповторимые нюансы человеческой психологии, что каждая страница книги становится путешествием в глубины человеческой души.

"At the Sign of the Silver Flagon" - это не только захватывающая история, но и искусство, проникнутое глубокими мыслями и философскими размышлениями. Это произведение призвано вызвать у читателя эмоциональные отклики, задуматься о важных жизненных вопросах и открыть новые горизонты восприятия мира.

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Part the First




It is December, and the sun marks the record of a hundred and six in the shade. We are at the golden end of the world, in Australia, at Silver Creek, twelve months ago a wilderness, now a busy and thriving township. Within this brief space, an infant in the history of cities has grown into what promises to become a strong and healthy man. Unknown, unthought of but a year ago, the name of Silver Creek is already a household word in a new and flourishing colony, and holds an important place in the journals of commerce.

There are turnings and thoroughfares in Silver Creek sufficiently irregular to drive land surveyors into a state of distraction, and there is but one street which exhibits anything like regularity in its formation; but this is a result more of accident than design. It is the principal street in the township, and is lined with wooden tenements and calico tents, in which the business of the town is transacted. Stores of every description, in which all things necessary, and many things unnecessary, for the requirements of life, are to be found within the limits of this thoroughfare, which is known to the residents as High Street. If you are curious in such matters, you may calculate how many stores High Street contains by setting its length at a mile and a half, and giving each store an average frontage of sixteen feet. A few of the buildings are of wood, the majority of calico, and the inhabitants of one Englishman's castle can hear the inhabitants of the next talking and bargaining during the day, and sighing and murmuring during the night. Not that the inhabitants of Silver Creek are all Englishmen. Other nations thirsting to have their fingers in the golden pie, have sent their representatives across the seas and through the bush, and Americans, Germans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Italians, Mongols, and Africans, form a rare Tower-of-Babel community. As, however, they have all been drawn thither by one magnet-fashioned of bright gold-they do not emulate the Tower-of-Babel folk, but hob-a-nob amicably with one another, and make common cause of it with the ubiquitous Englishman. The pie is a rich one, but the fruit is unequally distributed, and there are many waste places in it (unfortunately not seen until the crust is dived into), the discovery of which brings disappointment and despair to the hungry seekers. The despair does not last long; they are soon tearing up the earth again, animated by new hopes of coming suddenly upon rich pockets of gold.

High Street had only one side, where the stores were built. Opposite, it was open ground for a distance of some four hundred yards; then commenced the upland, on the ridge of which a long thin range of wooden buildings was erected, which formed the Government Camp, where the official business of the township was transacted. There were the resident-magistrate's court, the treasury, and, in dangerous proximity, the gaol, and all the other necessary adjuncts of civil government. The goldfields' commissioner, or the warden, as he was usually called, and his staff, and the resident magistrate, and a few of the lesser luminaries, dwelt there in snug habitations with their Chinese cooks, who were rare masters at crust and paste-which is but natural, as they are proverbially light-fingered. There these children of the sun and the moon chattered, and cooked, and smoked opium in their little wooden pipes, of which they were as tenderly solicitous as though they had been children of their blood; and went elsewhere, to the vilest and dirtiest nest of thoroughfares the imagination can conjure up, and which was known as the Chinese Camp, to gamble away their hard earnings. In this camp, of course, was the Joss-House, with its absurd and senseless mummeries; and there, also, were certain dens, which every night were filled with Chinamen, smoking themselves into helpless idiocy. The provision stores in the Chinese camp were stocked with curiosities in the eating way which made fastidious persons shudder: such as preserved slugs and snails (delicious delicacies to the Chinese palate), and bottles crammed with what seemed to be pieces of preserved monkey, while thousands of shreds of shrivelled meat hung from the calico roofs, which were black with smoke. These shreds weighed about an ounce each, and looked like the dried and twisted skins and tails of rats. To judge from the glistening pig-like eyes of the children of the celestial sphere when these morsels were on their platters, and they were preparing to discuss them with their chop-sticks, they must have contained some exquisite and delectable charm, which was hidden from the sight and sense of the English barbarian. If ever night was made hideous, the the Chinamen made it so in their dirty camp with the clanging of their gongs and tom-toms, and the harsh treble of their voices. To unaccustomed ears it appeared as though Bedlam had been turned loose in this remote part of the globe.

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