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I was not sorry, for I believe I never went in or came out of the place, by day or by night, without a shudder, more or less secret; and at least, now, we should be able to get another house.
"If one resolutely goes on scraping off the man-made chalk from the manners and actions of English women, one is frequently rewarded with the pleasure of arriving at last at the woman behind the chalk. This is more especially the case in women of the higher classes. The only time in England I felt something of that painful bliss that mortals call love, was in the case of a lady friend of mine who, under mountains of London clay, hid away a passionate, loving woman. She was tall and luxuriously built. Her hands were of perfect shape and condignly continued by lovely arms, that attached themselves into majestic shoulders with the ease of a rivulet entering a lake by a graceful curve. Over her shoulders the minaret of her neck stood watch. In charming contrast to the legato cantabile of her body was the staccato of her mind. Her words pecked at things like birds. Sometimes there appeared amongst the latter an ugly vulture or two; but there were more colibris and magpies. I had met her for months before I surmised that there was something behind that London clay. But when the moment came and the bells began sobbing in her minaret, then I knew that here was a heart aglow with true passion and with the dawn of hope divine. Like all women that do truly love, she would not believe me that I sincerely felt what I said. Doubt is to women what danger is to men: it sharpens the delight of love. She never became really tender; ay, she was[Pg 103] amazed and moved to tears at my being so. Her heart was uneducated; it was gauche at the game of love.
“Oh, Herr Arndt,” he cried, in perturbation, “what has happened? Have you tried to kill yourself? Oh, it is suffocating here! The gas—the room is full of gas.”
CHAPTER V. THE NEED OF DIVERSITY.
"It will be a long one."
Her pleadings still came to him between short sobs, but he no longer heard what she was saying. Her hat had slipped back and he was stroking her hair. He wanted to get the feeling of it into his hand, so that it would sleep there like a seed in winter. Once he found her mouth again, and they seemed to be by the pond together in the burning August sun. But his cheek touched hers, and it was cold and full of weeping, and he saw the road to the Flats under the night and heard the whistle of the train up the line.
“She’s wearing it yet,” murmured Dorothy.
Again Mrs. Jordan paused — still she looked queer. “Yes,” she replied with a certain austerity; “that’s exactly what I’m about to give you rather a remarkable proof of.” The sense of its being remarkable was already so strong that, while she bridled a little, this held her auditor in a momentary muteness of submission. “Mr. Drake has rendered his lordship for several years services that his lordship has highly appreciated and that make it all the more — a — unexpected that they should, perhaps a little suddenly, separate.”
Of all those addresses but one is remembered to-day. It was the oration delivered by Daniel Webster on the 2d of August, 1826. This too was an anniversary, the anniversary of the day when the Declaration of Independence had been engrossed by the Revolutionary Congress.
1.The wind had blown up cold from the east and the young man shivered as he closed and fastened the windows. Then he sat down, his chin on his hands, and gazed into the glowing grate. Mrs Gummidge, who had smelled the sardines, came rubbing up against his legs, uttering a soft mew from sheer force of habit. She was not hungry — in fact, Gethryn knew that the concierge, whose duty it was to feed all the creatures, overdid it from pure kindness of heart — at Gethryn’s expense.
2.For twenty minutes the priest kept alive a failing conversation. Occasionally, Sandy consulted his watch. Time slipped by.>
The rain had ceased by this, and the wind abated, though it still howled around the angle of the house and whipped a spray of the monthly-rose bush on the quarrels of the window, filling the pauses during which Mary Jane wrestled with a hard word. Ruby herself had taught the girl this accomplishment—rare enough at the time—and Mary Jane handled it gingerly, beginning each sentence in a whisper, as if awed by her own intrepidity, and ending each in a kind of gratulatory cheer. The work was of that class of epistolary fiction then in vogue, and the extract singularly well fitted to Ruby’s mood.