"What is it, Daddy? Forget something?" asked Sammy, as her father stood in the doorway.
And, after a few seconds, he clapped both hands down on the leather arms of his chair.
“How good this cigar is!” said Barabbas. “ Did you smoke these at Naples?”
"No clever man would act in an ungentlemanly way," said the curate, and then smiled, for he thought he had unconsciously made an epigram.
The old Corsican rose and began to stride up and down the salon, dropping the following sentences, one by one, after pauses which betrayed his agitation.
The next day Erik began his new life at school.
“Presently, in a half-conscious manner, I noticed that there was a faint mistiness, ruddy in hue, lying over its surface. Still, when I looked more intently, I was unable to say that it was really mist; for it appeared to blend with the plain, giving it a peculiar unrealness, and conveying to the senses the idea of unsubstantiality.
Instead of remaining steeped to the lips in the strong interest of what is still perhaps our chief fiction, I shed my tribute of tears, and went on my way. I did not try to write a story of slaver, as I might very well have done; I did not imitate either the make or the manner of Mrs. Stowe’s romance; I kept on at my imitation of Pope’s pastorals, which I dare say I thought much finer, and worthier the powers of such a poet as I meant to be. I did this, as I must have felt then, at some personal risk of a supernatural kind, for my studies were apt to be prolonged into the night after the rest of the family had gone to bed, and a certain ghost, which I had every reason to fear, might very well have visited the small room given me to write in. There was a story, which I shrank from verifying, that a former inmate of our house had hung himself in it, but I do not know to this day whether it was true or not. The doubt did not prevent him from dangling at the door-post, in my consciousness, and many a time I shunned the sight of this problematical suicide by keeping my eyes fastened on the book before me. It was a very simple device, but perfectly effective, as I think any one will find who employs it in like circumstances; and I would really like to commend it to growing boys troubled as I was then.
We rose, that fatal morning, by daybreak. We had rested from all labour the day before, and now were fresh as the lark. We bathed in cold spring water, and dressed ourselves in clean garments, with a sense of preparation, as for a solemn festivity. When we had broken our fast, I took an old lyre, which I had found in the tower and had myself repaired, and sung for the last time the two ballads of which I have said so much already. I followed them with this, for a closing song:
“Yes, she must,” Ryabovitch agreed.
"There are certain formalities to be dealt with concerning…""Yes?" I prompted, to his back.
Ellen the cook labored loyally, for it was her last week's work with the family. She would be left behind, like Charlestown and all the old life, when Mother Carey and the stormy petrels flitted across unknown waters from one haven to another. Joanna having earlier proved utterly unromantic in her attitude, Nancy went further with Ellen and gave her an English novel called, "The Merriweathers," in which an old family servant had not only followed her employers from castle to hovel, remaining there without Wages for years, but had insisted on lending all her savings to the Mistress of the Manor. Ellen the cook had loved "The Merriweathers," saying it was about the best book that ever she had read, and Miss Nancy would like to know, always being so interested, that she (Ellen) had found a place near Joanna in Salem, where she was offered five dollars a month more than she had received with the Careys. Nancy congratulated her warmly and then, tearing "The Merriweathers" to shreds, she put them in the kitchen stove in Ellen's temporary absence. "If ever I write a book," she ejaculated, as she "stoked" the fire with Gwendolen and Reginald Merriweather, with the Mistress of the Manor, and especially with the romantic family servitor, "if ever I write a book," she repeated, with emphatic gestures, "it won't have any fibs in it;--and I suppose it will be dull," she reflected, as she remembered how she had wept when the Merriweathers' Bridget brought her savings of a hundred pounds to her mistress in a handkerchief.
It was with exultation that Ernest heard near midnight the click of Reginald's key in the door. He found him unchanged, completely, radiantly himself. Reginald possessed the psychic power of undressing the soul, of seeing it before him in primal nakedness. Although no word was said of Ethel Brandenbourg except the mere mention of her presence in Atlantic City, Ernest intuitively knew that Reginald was aware of the transformation that absence had wrought in him. In the presence of this man he could be absolutely himself, without shame or fear of mis-understanding; and by a strange metamorphosis, all his affection for Ethel and Jack went out for the time being to Reginald Clarke.
CHAPTER VI THE MACHINATIONS OF MR. COURLANDER详情 ➢
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