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The Ebb-Tide - R.L. Stevenson and L. Osbourne

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THE EBB-TIDE


A TRIO AND QUARTETTE

'There is a tide in the affairs of men.'


Chapter 1. NIGHT ON THE BEACH

Throughout the island world of the Pacific, scattered men of
many European races and from almost every grade of society
carry activity and disseminate disease. Some prosper, some
vegetate. Some have mounted the steps of thrones and owned
islands and navies. Others again must marry for a livelihood; a
strapping, merry, chocolate-coloured dame supports them in
sheer idleness; and, dressed like natives, but still retaining
some foreign element of gait or attitude, still perhaps with some
relic (such as a single eye-glass) of the officer and gentleman,
they sprawl in palm-leaf verandahs and entertain an island
audience with memoirs of the music-hall. And there are still
others, less pliable, less capable, less fortunate, perhaps less
base, who continue, even in these isles of plenty, to lack bread.

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