What Dreams May Come

Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
What Dreams May Come

Project Gutenberg's What Dreams May Come, by Gertrude Franklin
Horn Atherton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost
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Title: What Dreams May Come
Author: Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Release Date: July 6, 2004 [EBook #12833]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Cathy Smith and the Online Distributed Proofreading

by Frank Lin (pseud. of Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton)
Dedicated to Muriel Atherton

Constantinople; the month of August; the early days of the century. It
was the hour of the city's most perfect beauty. The sun was setting, and
flung a mellowing glow over the great golden domes and minarets of
the mosques, the bazaars glittering with trifles and precious with

elements of Oriental luxury, the tortuous thoroughfares with their
motley throng, the quiet streets with their latticed windows, and their
atmosphere heavy with silence and mystery, the palaces whose cupolas
and towers had watched over so many centuries of luxury and intrigue,
pleasure and crime, the pavilions, groves, gardens, kiosks which
swarmed with the luxuriance of tropical growth over the hills and
valleys of a city so vast and so beautiful that it tired the brain and
fatigued the senses. Scutari, purple and green and gold, blended in the
dying light into exquisite harmony of color; Stamboul gathered deeper
gloom under her overhanging balconies, behind which lay hidden the
loveliest of her women; and in the deserted gardens of the Old Seraglio,
beneath the heavy pall of the cypresses, memories of a grand, terrible,
barbarous, but most romantic Past crept forth and whispered ruin and
High up in Pera the gray walls of the English Embassy stood out
sharply defined against the gold-wrought sky. The windows were
thrown wide to invite the faint, capricious breeze which wandered
through the hot city; but the silken curtains were drawn in one of the
smaller reception-rooms. The room itself was a soft blaze of wax
candles against the dull richness of crimson and gold. Men and women
were idling about in that uneasy atmosphere which precedes the
announcement of dinner. Many of the men wore orders on their breasts,
and the uniforms of the countries they represented, and a number of
Turks gave a picturesque touch to the scene, with their jewelled turbans
and flowing robes. The women were as typical as their husbands; the
wife of the Russian Ambassador, with her pale hair and moonlight eyes,
her delicate shoulders and jewel-sewn robe; the Italian, with her lithe
grace and heavy brows, the Spanish beauty, with her almond, dreamy
eyes, her chiselled features and mantilla-draped head; the
Frenchwoman, with her bright, sallow, charming, unrestful face; the
Austrian, with her cold repose and latent devil. In addition were the
Secretaries of Legation, with their gaily-gowned young wives, and one
or two English residents; all assembled at the bidding of Sir
Dafyd-ap-Penrhyn, the famous diplomatist who represented England at
the court of the Sultan.
Sir Dafyd was standing between the windows and underneath one of
the heavy candelabra. He was a small but striking-looking man, with a

great deal of head above the ears, light blue eyes deeply set and far
apart, a delicate arched nose, and a certain expression of brutality about
the thin lips, so faint as to be little more than a shadow. He was blandly
apologizing for the absence of his wife. She had dressed to meet her
guests, but had been taken suddenly ill and obliged to retire.
As he finished speaking he turned to a woman who sat on a low chair at
his right. She was young and very handsome. Her eyes were black and
brilliant, her mouth was pouting and petulant, her chin curved slightly
outward. Her features were very regular, but there was neither softness
nor repose in her face. She looked like a statue that had been taken
possession of by the Spirit of Discontent.
"I am sorry not to see Dartmouth," said the great minister, affably. "Is
he ill again? He must be careful; the fever is dangerous."
Mrs. Dartmouth drew her curved brows together with a frown which
did not soften her face. "He is writing," she said, shortly. "He is always
"O, but you know that is a Dartmouth failing--ambition," said Sir
Dafyd, with a smile. "They must be either in the study or dictating to
the King."
"Well, I wish my Fate had been a political Dartmouth. Lionel sits in his
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