The Silver Butterfly
Hayden was back in New York again after several years spent in the uttermost parts of the earth. He had been building railroads in South America, Africa, and China, and had maintained so many lodges in this or that wilderness that he really feared he might be curiously awkward in adapting himself to the conventional requirements of civilization. In his long roundabout journey home he had stopped for a few weeks in both London and Paris; but to his mental discomfort, they had but served to accentuate his loneliness and whet his longings for the dear, unforgotten life of his native city, that intimate, easy existence, wherein relatives, not too near, congenial friends and familiar haunts played so important a part.
On the journey from London he had felt like a boy going home for the most delightful holidays after a long period in school, and to calm and render more normal his elation, he told himself frequently as he drew nearer his native shores that he was letting himself in for a terrible disappointment; that all this happy anticipation, this belief, an intuition almost, that some delightful surprise awaited him, was the result of many lonely musings under the cold remote stars in virgin forests and wide deserts, a fleeting mirage born of homesickness.
But all these cautions and warnings and efforts to stifle this irrepressible and joyous expectation were quite unavailing and, as he decided after he had been home a week, equally unnecessary, for the unaccustomed, piquant sense of anticipation remained with him and gave a flavor to his days which in themselves were not lacking in flavor; for merely to look, to loiter, to play at an exquisite and to him exotic leisure was infinitely agreeable. The more delightful, indeed, because it was merely temporary. Hayden had come to New York with a definite purpose in view and his recreations were purely incidental.
- Sai ePublications, November 2012
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