The Mandarin's Fan

The Mandarin's Fan
О книге

Книга "The Mandarin's Fan", автором которой является Fergus Hume, представляет собой захватывающую работу в жанре Зарубежные детективы. 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, Fergus Hume позволяет читателю погрузиться в сложные эмоциональные переживания героев и проникнуться их судьбами. Hume настолько живо и точно передает неповторимые нюансы человеческой психологии, что каждая страница книги становится путешествием в глубины человеческой души.

"The Mandarin's Fan" - 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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The Advertisement

One July evening in the first year of the present century, two gentlemen were seated on the terrace of the mansion, known as Royabay. A small rose-wood table was placed between the deep arm-chairs, and thereon appeared wine, coffee, and a box of cigars. The young host smoked a briar and sipped coffee, but his guest, very wisely, devoted himself to superlative port and a fragrant cigar. Major Tidman was a battered old soldier of fortune, who appreciated good quarters and made the most of civilised luxuries, when other people paid for them. He had done full justice to a dinner admirably cooked and served, while Ainsleigh, the master of the feast had merely trifled with his food. Now, the wary Tidman gave himself up to the perfect enjoyment of wine, cigar and the quiet evening, while his host restlessly changed his position a dozen times in ten minutes and gloomed misanthropically at the beautiful surroundings.

And these were very beautiful. From the moss-grown terrace shallow steps descended to smooth lawns and rainbow-hued flower-beds, and solemn pines girdled the open space, wherein the house was set. And under the radiance of a saffron coloured sky, stood the house, grey with centuries of wind and weather, bleaching sun and drenching rains. With its Tudor battlements, casements, diamond-paned and low oriel windows, half obliterated escutcheons; its drapery of green ivy, and heavy iron-clamped doors, it looked venerable, picturesque and peaceful. Tennyson sang in the Palace of Art of just such a quiet "English home the haunt of ancient peace."

On the left, the circle of trees receded to reveal the majestic ruins of an abbey, which had supplied the stones used to construct the mansion. Built by the weak but pious Henry III., the Norman-French name Royabbaye (King's Abbey) still designated the house of the courtier who had obtained the monastery from another Henry, less pious, and more prone to destroy than to build. The country folk had corrupted the name to Royabay, and its significance was almost lost. But the owner of this fair domain knew its meaning, and loved the ancient place, which had been in the Ainsleigh family for over three hundred years. And he loved it the more, as there was a possibility of its passing away from him altogether.

Rupert was the last of the old line, poor in relations, and poorer still in money. Till the reign of George the first the Ainsleighs had been rich and famous: but from the time of the Hanovarian advent their fortunes declined. Charles Ainsleigh had thrown in his lot with the unlucky Stewarts, and paid for his loyalty so largely as to cripple those who succeeded him. Augustus, the Regency buck, wasted still further the diminished property he inherited, and a Victorian Ainsleigh proved to be just such another spendthrift. Followed this wastrel, Gilbert more thrifty, who strove, but vainly, to restore the waning fortunes of his race. His son Markham, endeavouring to acquire wealth for the same purpose, went to the far East. But he died in China, – murdered according to family tradition, – and on hearing the news, his widow sickened and died, leaving an only child to battle with the ancestral curse. For a curse there was, as dire as that which over-shadowed the House of Atreus, and the superstitious believed, – and with much reason, – that young Rupert as one of the Ainsleighs, had to bear the burden of the terrible anathema.

Major Tidman knew all these things very well, but being modern and sceptical and grossly material, he discredited such occult influence. Expressing his scornful surprise, that Rupert should trouble his head about such fantasies, he delivered his opinion in the loud free dictatorial speech, which was characteristic of the bluff soldier. "Bunkum," said the Major sipping his wine with relish, "because an old monk driven to his last fortifications, curses those who burnt him, you believe that his jabber has an effect on the Ainsleighs."

"They have been very unlucky since," said Rupert gloomily.

"Not a bit of it – not a bit. The curse of Abbot Raoul, didn't begin to work, – if work it did, which I for one don't believe, – until many a long day after this place came to your family. I was born in this neighbourhood sixty and more years ago" added the Major, "and I know the history of your family. The Ainsleighs were lucky enough till Anne's reign."

"Till the first George's reign," corrected the young man, "so far as money goes, that is. But not one of them died in his bed."

"Plenty have died in their beds since."

"But have lost all their money," retorted Rupert.

"It's better to lose money than life," said Tidman evasively.

"I'm not so certain of that Major. But you should talk with Mrs. Pettley about Abbot Raoul's curse. She believes in it."

"And you Ainsleigh?"

Rupert shrugged his shoulders. "We certainly seem to be most unlucky," said he, declining to commit himself to an opinion.

"Want of brains," snapped the Major, who was one of those men who have a reason for everything, "your people wasted their money, and refused to soil their hands with trade. Such pig-headedness brings about misfortune, without the aid of a silly old fool's curse."

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