|About the Book|
From the prologue:The last pitiful shifts of shame, the last agonised doublings of despair when the net is about the head and the victors trident at the throat--who can enjoy the story of such things as these? Yet because they rough-hewed theMoreFrom the prologue:The last pitiful shifts of shame, the last agonised doublings of despair when the net is about the head and the victors trident at the throat--who can enjoy the story of such things as these? Yet because they rough-hewed the character of Rupert Ullershaw, because from his part in them he fashioned the steps whereby he climbed to that height of renunciation which was the only throne he ever knew, something of it must be told. A very little will suffice- the barest facts are all we need.Upon a certain July evening, Lord and Lady Devene sat at dinner alone in a very fine room of a very fine house in Portland Place. They were a striking couple, the husband much older than the wife- indeed, he was fifty years of age, and she in the prime of womanhood. The face of Lord Devene, neutral tinted, almost colourless, was full of strength and of a certain sardonic ability. His small grey eyes, set beneath shaggy, overhanging eyebrows that were sandy-coloured like his straight hair, seemed to pierce to the heart of men and things, and his talk, when he had anything to say upon a matter that moved him, was keen and uncompromising. It was a very bitter face, and his words were often very bitter words, which seems curious, as this man enjoyed good health, was rich, powerful, and set by birth and fortune far above the vast majority of other men.Yet there were flies in his silver spoon of honey. For instance, he hated his wife, as from the first she hated him- for instance, he who greatly desired sons to carry on his wealth and line had no children- for instance, his sharp, acrimonious intellect had broken through all beliefs and overthrown all conventions, yet the ghost of dead belief still haunted him, and convention still shackled his hands and feet. For he could find no other rocks whereon to rest or cling as he was borne forward by the universal tide which at last rips over the rough edges of the world.