from ponkapog to pesth

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: V. A VISIT TO A CERTAIN OLD GENTLEMAN. X. It was only after the gravest consideration that we decided to visit a Certain Old Gentleman. There were so many points to be considered. It was by no means certain that a Certain Old Gentleman wanted us to visit him. Though we knew him, in a vague way, to be sure — through friends of ours who were friends of his — he did not know us at all. Then he was, according to report, a very particular old gentleman, standing squarely on his dignity, and so hedged about by conventional ideas of social etiquette, so difficult of approach, and so nearly impossible to become acquainted with when approached, that it was an audacious thing seriously to contemplate dropping in on him familiarly. What impelled us to wish to do so ? Certainly we had no desire to pay court to him. He had formerly occupied a high official position, but now he was retired, in a manner, into private life — a sufficient reason in itself why he should be let alone. In brief, there were a hundred reasons why we should not visit him, and there was not one why we should. It was that that decided us, I think. It comes back to me like the reminiscence of a dream, rather than as the memory of an actual experience, that May afternoon when the purpose first unfolded itself to us. We were sitting in the fading glow of the day on the last of the four marble steps which linked our parlor to the fairy- like garden of the Albergo di Russia in the Via Babuino. Our rooms were on the ground-floor, and this garden, shut in on three sides by the main building and the wings of the hotel, and closed at the rearby the Pincian Hill, up which the garden clambered half-way in three or four luxuriant terraces, seemed naturally to belong to our suite of apartments. All night we could hear the dri...
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