Page:Chandos, Ouida volume 1.djvu/11

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CHANDOS.


PROEM.

TWO VOWS.

It was the sultry close of a midsummer night in the heart of London.

In all the narrow streets about AYestminster, and stretching: downward to the dens of the City or the banks of the river, there were the roar of traffic and the glare of midnight; the throngs were jostling each other; the unscreened gas-jets of the itinerant stalls were flaring yellow in the stillness of the air; the screaming of ballad-singers pierced shrilly above the incessant noise of wheels; the shouting of coster-mongers, butchers, oyster vendors, and fried fish sellers, added its uproar to the pandemonium; and the steam and stench of hot drinks and of rotting vegetables blent with the heaviness of smoke borne down by the heat and the tempestuous oppression of