invariable custom of the house; and sat in a dead silence, that seemed natural to the great sober room.
This, however, was not for want of a topic; on the contrary, they had a matter of great importance to discuss, and in fact this was why they dined tete-a-tete. But their tongues were tied for the present; in the first place, there stood in the middle of the table an epergne, the size of a Putney laurel-tree; neither Wardlaw could well see the other, without craning out his neck like a rifleman from behind his tree; and then there were three live suppressors of confidential intercourse, two gorgeous footmen and a somber, sublime, and, in one word, episcopal, butler; all three went about as softly as cats after a robin, and conjured one plate away, and smoothly insinuated another, and seemed models of grave discretion: but were known to be all ears, and bound by a secret oath to carry down each crumb of dialogue to the servants' hall, for curious dissection and boisterous ridicule.
A great book. It isn't so much a mystery as a "Fugitive"-like plot, an unjustly convicted man fights to establish his innocence and to get over various related problems. The novel also offers some good sea adventures and survivalist experiences. There is also a good romance.
The narrative gets your attention promptly and has its twists and turns well administered, I needed all my willpower to put down the book to go to sleep or to work. Its intensity decreases a little in the "survivalist" chapters but only briefly.
The only pages that seem dated, but amusingly so, are the reflexions on the character and behaviour of men and women. But they also offer an interesting testimony on the shift (or slide) of our sensibilities.
A book with two authors and two types of writing. One type is terse and straightforward, and goes down easily. The second type (far more common) is wordy and melodramatic, and should be skipped over rapidly. The plot is complex if slightly contrived, the story at times intriguing if unlikely, the coincidences strewn thickly.
Much of it takes place on Swiss Family Robinson Island or a similar place with impossible natural history. The hero is a wonderful laborer, accomplishing more in a forenoon than you or I could in a week.
Excellent book, certainly a product of it's time. Still, kept me up till midnight a couple of times, hard to put down. Will be looking into more titles from this author
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