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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 934MB

    Lanuage:Englist

    Software instructions

      This evening there had been one or two labourers with red, wrinkled faces, too hungry and tired to make much comment. Then[Pg 195] Mrs. Flack had come hurrying along with her black bag (they had to get off for her as she was not so young as she had been), and soon afterwards the Curate, who beamed affably, and enquired when it was to be. He was so looking forward to uniting them."Good-morning, sergeant, is Lieutenant Ferry--worse?"


      "Oh, I know you did even better than you've told me, but I'd be a fool to send you back on the instant, so. Stay till to-morrow or next day." The captor smiled. "Major, I think we owe the lady that much hospitality.""Charlotte, my dear," interrupted Miss Harper, "tell us the remainder to-morrow, but now--"


      At that moment Mrs. Masters, the doctor's elderly housekeeper, entered the room in order to clear away the tea things. She was a country woman, given to talking without reserve, except when the doctor's eye fell upon her, as it did upon this occasion. But for once she[Pg 50] evaded this check to her natural proclivities; she was not going to be cheated out of her share in the local gossip. She placed the tray on the table and made the visitor an excuse for her loquacity.

      Softly she sprang from the bed, paced the floor, went to the window, seemed to look out upon the landscape; but in truth she was looking in upon herself. There she saw a most unaccountable tendency for her judgment--after some long overstrain--momentarily, but all at once, to swoon, collapse, turn upside down like a boy's kite and dart to earth; an impulse--while fancying she was playing the supremely courageous or generous or clever part--suddenly to surrender the key of the situation, the vital point in whatever she might be striving for. "Ah me, ah me! why did I give my parole?"

      Presently his reverie was abruptly disturbed by a faint noise, strangely familiar although remote. It seemed to reach him from the right, as though something crept slowly along the hedge line, hidden from his view. It was a soft, purring sound, very regular and sustained. At first he thought it was the cry of a pheasant, but decided that it was much too persistent. It was something that made a noise in the process of walking along.It was a sweet mercy in her to change the subject, and tactful to change it to Charlotte, as if Charlotte were quite an unrelated theme. The cousins vied with each other ever so prettily in telling how beautiful the patient was on her couch of enfeeblement and pain, how her former loveliness had increased, and what new nobility it had taken on. That any such problem overhung her life as that which we had just been weighing, seemed never to have entered their thought, and if they had ever conceived of a passion already conscious between Charlotte and Ferry, they veiled the fact with charming feminine art.


      "Ha! ha! ha!" broke at last upon the silence of the night (and Mrs. Masters in her top attic heard the noise and thought of the devil climbing over the roofs). "Ha! ha! ha! ha!"

      "She's my sweetheart," Arthur replied.

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      "Object to what?"

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      [Pg 39]

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      But the class to which the Paynes belonged were not really humble. They were urban in origin, and the semi-aristocratic tradition of Great Wymering was opposed to them. They had come down from the London suburbs in response to advertisements of factory sites, and their enterprise had been amazing. Within a few years Great Wymering had ceased to be a pleasing country town, with historic associations dating back to the first Roman occupation; it was merely known to travellers on the South-Eastern and Chatham railway as the place where Payne's Dog Biscuits were manufactured."Didn't you intend to call, too?" "No," he said; yet the moment the operator turned the key in his door we sauntered away from the station, tavern, town, and out into the rain-famished country. We chose a road on high ground, under pines; the fact that a few miles of it would bring us to Squire Wall's was not sufficient reason for us to shun it, and we loitered on and on, discoursing philosophically on man and woman and the duties of each to other. Through habit we went softly, and so, in time, came up past a small garden under the house's southern side. Here silence was only decorum, for every window in the dark upper rooms was thrown open to the sultry air. The house's front was away from the direction of the town, and at a corner of this garden, where the road entered the open grove, the garden fence turned north at a right angle, while the road went on through the grove into wide cornfields beyond.


      alllittle