Honesty compels me to admit that the propensity of my son and daughter to become engaged with individuals who desired to wreak grave bodily harm upon them was not entirely their fault. Emerson and I tended to attract such individuals too. Over the years we had dealt -- effectively, I hardly need add -- with murderers, forgers, tomb robbers, and criminals of various sorts. Several of them had been related to us.
As I crawled under the dressing table in pursuit of the elusive earring, I remembered something Emerson had said about my side of the family, to the effect that not one of them had any redeeming qualities whatever. This was rude, but undeniably correct. One of my nephews had been -- I am happy to employ the past tense -- a thoroughly repellent human being. Sennia, his little daughter by a Cairo prostitute, who had been callously abandoned by her father, was now part of our family.
The boat bounced again and the top of my head came into painful contact with the underside of the dressing table. Since I was alone, with no one to overhear, I permitted myself a few expletives. I do not approve of bad language, but everybody else in the family employs it freely. It is Emerson's fault. He cannot or will not restrain himself and of course the children emulate him. There are times when Nefret's language...
The cursed earring continued to elude me, but I endeavored, as is my habit, to look on the bright side. Emerson's kin were exemplary human beings: his brother Walter, a true scholar and gentleman; Walter's wife, my close friend Evelyn; and their fine brood of children, in which category I must include the husband of their daughter Lia. David, a talented artist and trained Egyptologist, and Ramses's best friend, was the grandson of our dear departed Abdullah.
The foregoing is excerpted from The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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