2021-04-18 11:19:56

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ENGLISH She laughed.For a moment it was a mere tussle of will between them, and Norahs reasons were the stronger. She looked at him a moment, and knew she had won, and without more words went back to the library and put on her over-boots, and gathered up the book-slips she had made that evening. He followed her as far as the hall, and waited for her.

No excuse necessary, my lord, said Keeling. Please take a chair.You really must do nothing of the sort, she said. There are reasons against it: I cant tell you them.But since people are such fools, he said, does it matter?

And they tell me youre going to be married next, Hugh, said Mrs Goodford.

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Im ashamed of myself, he said. Your brother is perfectly right. Go down, then, as you suggest in the morning.

Soon it passed altogether out of his sight: it was just a sightless singing out of the winds of March. Then slowly descending it appeared again, and its song grew louder. Just before it dropped into its tussock of grass the song ceased.Well, Im sure its little reward one gets for being a mother in these days, she said, or a wife either, for what with your fathers typewriter lording it in the library, and you telling me whats right and what isnt in my own room, theres little left for me to be mistress of. I wear myself to the bone in doing my duty to you and him, and all I get is to be sworn at and scolded, and when I lie awake at night making plans for your future,{227} you tell me that I might just as well have gone to sleep, for you wont permit them. Pray may I go and dress, or haw you any other orders for me?

Alice gave a great jerk of emotion which most unfortunately upset her embroidery-frame, which fell off the table with a crash that might have{101} awaked the dead, and certainly awoke the living.This did not quite seem to break the ice, and Mrs Goodford looked in some contempt at her daughter with her eyes, little and red and wicked like an elephants. Her face was so deeply wrinkled that her features were almost invisible in the network, but what there was of them was exceedingly sharp. She had taken off her bonnet, a sign that she meant to stop all afternoon, and showed a head very sparsely covered with white hair: at the back of it was fixed on a small bun of bright auburn, which no doubt had been the colour of her{20} hair some forty years ago. This bun always fascinated John: it was impossible to conjecture how it was attached to his grandmothers head.

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Alice seemed inclined to prefer her pomegranates to muffins, and had to be personally conducted from her work, and told she was naughty by Mr Silverdale, who sat on the hearthrug with woollen stockings and very muddy boots protruding from{102} below his cassock, for he had had a game of football with his boys club before his afternoon preaching. He had only just had time to put on his cassock and snatch up his shepherds crook when the game was over, and ran to church, getting there in the nick of time. But he had kicked two goals at his football, and talked to twice that number of penitent souls afterwards in the vestry, so, as he delightedly exclaimed, he had had excellent sport. And he poked the fire with his shepherds crook.Which are the bluebells? he asked.I am going to tell you what we talked about, if you will be quiet for a moment. You do not yet know that I have given them the new wing to the hospital

Suddenly the whole of the vague internal movements of her mind flashed into his vision, as intelligible as some perfectly simple business{146} proposition. She had a certain justification too: it was awkward that Norah had run into the exit of the ladies, that his wife had been saying that none of them ever entered the library. He knew the mind of Bracebridge pretty well, the slightly malicious construction that women like Mrs Fyson would find themselves compelled to put on it all. He knew also the mind of his wife, and the effect which it clearly had had on her. Her sense of propriety, of dignity had been assaulted: it was a queer thing to have happened. Then there was Norahs presence in her drawing-room. He had insisted on that, for, at the moment, it seemed the most straightforward thing to do. But he was beginning to think it had been a mistake. Something about the girl, her beauty (and never had that struck him so forcibly as when he saw her standing by Alice), her air of breeding, of education, of simplicity in front of those draped easels and painted looking-glasses had stirred some long latent potentiality for jealousy in his wife. It was that suggestion which suddenly enraged him.He gave orders to his mind to dismiss the matter, and with his long-striding, sauntering walk that carried him so quickly over the ground, continued his way homewards. But despite his determination, he found that his thoughts went hovering back to that unfortunate and unintentional piece of eavesdropping. He wondered whether Charles Propert agreed with his sister (as if that mattered either!) and quite strongly hoped that he did not. Certainly Keeling had been kind enough and generous enough to him.... Then, more decidedly still, he pished the whole subject away: there were other things in the world to think about.Oh, I thought birthday was the day you were{58} born, not the day you were buried, he said politely.

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Apr-18 11:19:56