The Dynamiter

Page 102

. .'

'That is Mr. Somerset!' interrupted the spirited old lady, in the highest note of her register. 'Mr. Somerset, what have you done with my house-property?'

'Madam,' said the Prince, 'let it be mine to give the explanation; and in the meanwhile, welcome your daughter.'

'Well, Clara, how do you do?' said Mrs. Luxmore. 'It appears I am to give you an allowance. So much the better for you. As for Mr. Somerset, I am very ready to have an explanation; for the whole affair, though costly, was eminently humorous. And at any rate,' she added, nodding to Paul, 'he is a young gentleman for whom I have a great affection, and his pictures were the funniest I ever saw.'

'I have ordered a collation,' said the Prince. 'Mr. Somerset, as these are all your friends, I propose, if you please, that you should join them at table. I will take the shop.'


{1} Hereupon the Arabian author enters on one of his digressions. Fearing, apparently, that the somewhat eccentric views of Mr. Somerset should throw discredit on a part of truth, he calls upon the English people to remember with more gratitude the services of the police; to what unobserved and solitary acts of heroism they are called; against what odds of numbers and of arms, and for how small a reward, either in fame or money: matter, it has appeared to the translators, too serious for this place.

{2} In this name the accent falls upon the E; the S is sibilant.

{3} The Arabian author of the original has here a long passage conceived in a style too oriental for the English reader. We subjoin a specimen, and it seems doubtful whether it should be printed as prose or verse: 'Any writard who writes dynamitard shall find in me a never-resting fightard;' and he goes on (if we correctly gather his meaning) to object to such elegant and obviously correct spellings as lamp-lightard, corn-dealard, apple- filchard (clearly justified by the parallel--pilchard) and opera dancard. 'Dynamitist,' he adds, 'I could understand.'

{4} The Arabian author, with that quaint particularity of touch which our translation usually praetermits, here registers a somewhat interesting detail. Zero pronounced the word 'boom;' and the reader, if but for the nonce, will possibly consent to follow him.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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