Eden by Edgar Saltus Page 1 of 110

EDEN
I.

It was not until Miss Menemon's engagement to John Usselex was made public that the world in which that young lady moved manifested any interest in her future husband. Then, abruptly, a variety of rumors were circulated concerning him.

It was said, for instance, that his real name was Tchurchenthaler and that his boyhood had been passed tending geese in a remote Bavarian dorf, from which, to avoid military service, he had subsequently fled.

Again, it was affirmed that in Denmark he was known as Baron Varvedsen, and that he had come to this country not to avoid military service, but the death penalty, which whoso strikes a prince of the blood incurs.


Others had heard that he was neither Bavarian nor Dane, but the outlawed nephew of a Flemish money-lender whose case he had rifled and whose daughter he had debauched. And there were other people who held that he had found Vienna uninhabitable owing to the number of persistent creditors which that delightful city contained.

In this conflict of gossip the real facts were as difficult of discovery as the truth about Kaspar Hauser, and in view of the divergence of rumors there were people sensible enough to maintain that as these rumors could not all be true, they might all be false. Among the latter was Usselex himself.

His own account of his antecedents was to the effect that his father was a Cornishman, his mother a Swiss governess, and that he had been brought up by the latter in Bale, from which city he had at an early age set out to make his fortune. Whether or not this statement was exact is a matter of minor moment.



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