The Cabinet of Dr. Leng by Douglas Preston EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Douglas Preston
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available for Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 2 MB
THE MORNING SUN, FILTERED through a veil of dust and smoke, fell feebly
upon the intersection where Broadway crossed Seventh Avenue. The
thoroughfare was made of dirt, its potholed surface packed so hard from an
infinitude of horses and wagons it seemed as impermeable as cement, except
in the muddy areas surrounding the grooves of the cable car tracks and the
hitching posts, sunk in manure.
The intersection was called Longacre. It was the center of the carriage
trade, an outlying district of the rapidly growing city where horses were
stabled and buggy makers toiled.
On this particular chilly morning, Longacre and the avenues and streets
leading from it were quiet save for the occasional pedestrian or horse cart
passing by, and nobody paid much attention to the young woman with short
dark hair, dressed in a purple gown of an unusual cut and fabric, who stepped
out from an alleyway and looked around, squinting and wrinkling her nose.
Constance Greene paused, letting the initial flood of sensations sink in,
careful not to betray any sign of the upswell of emotions that threatened to
overwhelm her. The sights, noises, and odors unexpectedly brought back a
thousand memories of her childhood, memories so distant that she scarcely
knew she still retained them.
The smell of the city hit her first and most
viscerally: a mixture of earth, sweat, horse dung, coal smoke, urine, leather,
fried meat, and the ammoniac tang of lye. Next were sights she’d once taken
for granted but now looked strange—the telegraph poles, invariably listing;
the gaslights on various corners; the numerous carriages, parked upon or next
to sidewalks; the ubiquitous shabbiness. Everything spoke of a city growing
so fast it could scarcely keep up with itself.
Most strangely, the white-noise
susurrus of modern Manhattan was missing: the growl of car traffic; the
honking of taxis; the hum of compressors, turbines, HVAC systems; the
underground rumble of subway trains. In its place was a relative quiet:
hoofbeats of horses, shouts, calls, and laughter; the occasional crack of a
whip; and, from a nearby saloon, the tinny, off-key strains of an upright
piano. She had grown so used to seeing the boulevards of Manhattan as
vertical steel canyons it was hard to process this scene, where the tallest
buildings, as far as the eye could see, were no greater than three or four
After a few minutes, Constance took a deep breath. Then she turned south.
She walked past a frowzy restaurant offering a choice of oxtail goulash,
potted veal chop, or pigs’ feet with kraut for five cents. Outside stood a busy
newsboy with an armful of papers, his clear piping voice announcing the
headlines of the day. She passed slowly, staring, as he held one out hopefully.
She shook her head and walked on, but not before noting the date: Tuesday,
November 27, 1880.
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