2021-04-14 12:00:40

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ENGLISH He showed her the way to the drawing-room, where his wife and Alice were standing by the fire.And theres the opening of the hospital wing to-morrow, she said. I suppose you wont be at the office in the morning at all?

I should like to know a little more about your family trouble, he said. Any other children beside yourself? I remember you once told me your mother was a widow.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.

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Watteau? asked Keeling.

His conduct and appearance during the service had aroused her interest, for he wore a richly coloured stole and a very short surplice, had bowed{8} in the direction of the east window as he walked up the chancel, and had made a very deep obeisance somewhere in the middle of the Creed, when everybody else stood upright. Somehow there was a different atmosphere about him from that which surrounded the grim and austere Dr Inglis, something in the pale face and in a rapt expression which she easily read into his eyes, that made her mentally call him priest-like rather than clergyman-like. Like most young women in whom the destiny of old-maid is unrolling itself, Alice had a strong potentiality for furtive romance, and while the pains of hell were being enunciated to her inattentive ears, her short-sighted eyes were fixed on Mr Silverdale, and she began to think of Lord Tennysons poem of Galahad who was unmarried too.... She was so far lost in this that the rustle of the uprising congregation at the end of the sermon, reached her belatedly, and she rose in a considerable hurry, filling up the gap in this tall barrier of Keelings. She and her mother were not less than five feet ten in height, Johns inches had already outsoared them both, while her father and Hugh, each a full six feet of solid stuff, completed the substantial row. By one of Natures unkindest plans the sons were handsome, the daughter plain, but all had the self-reliant quality of size about them. A hymn followed, while the offertory, which Mr Keeling helped to collect in serge-lined open mahogany plates, was in progress,{9} and the blessing, pronounced by Mr Silverdale, who made an odd movement in the air with his right hand, brought the service to a close.Alice put her clasped hands between her knees and squeezed them. She was perfectly willing to go without her mayonnaise, but she could not bear her mother should think Mr Silverdale looked hungry.He agreed to this, and strode off down the steep descent. Just before he was out of sight he turned to wave a hand at her. Then she was alone on the great empty down, still hatless, still flushed with wind and walking, and just behind her the tussock where the lark lived.

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By the time he recognised her, he too was recognised, and half way up the climbing path they met. She was carrying her hat in her hand, and the sunlit sparks of fire in her brown bright hair, that the wind had disordered into a wildness that greatly became her and the spirit of the spring morning. Her brisk walking had kindled a glow in her cheeks, and she was a little out of breath, for she had run down the path from the crest of slope beyond. Standing a step or two above him on the steep slope their eyes were on a level; as straight as an arrows fight hers looked into his.All day the work went forward as usual: there was a heavy budget to answer, and it was not till nearly six that Norah had her letters ready for his signature. He made no payment to her for such over-time work, for the balance was more often on the other side, and she got away before her time. As he passed her back the last of the batch, he said,Tingling from her self-inflicted penance, she went to her mothers writing table, for she had to complete her humiliation by writing to him without delay, and expressing fully and unreservedly all that had made this last half-hour so replete with the luxury of self-reproach. But the expression{216} of it was not so easy as the perception of it had been, and she made half a dozen beginnings without satisfying herself. One began, Oh, Mr Silverdale, how could I? but then she despaired of how to proceed. Another began, I have honestly gone over every moment of this afternoon, and I find there is not a single point in which I am not entirely to blame, but that was too business-like and lacked emotion. But when she was almost in despair at these futile efforts, a brilliant idea came into her head. She would write in baby-language, which would surely touch his heart when he remembered how many serious things he and she had discussed together in this pretty jesting fashion.

Mrs Goodford began to grow slightly more bellicose.Well, all I can say is, that I hope your Miss Pemberton isnt one of those lively young ladies who are always laughing and joking, or youll be fit to kill her with your serious airs. I should never have guessed that you were going to be a bridegroom in a few weeks time.All day the work went forward as usual: there was a heavy budget to answer, and it was not till nearly six that Norah had her letters ready for his signature. He made no payment to her for such over-time work, for the balance was more often on the other side, and she got away before her time. As he passed her back the last of the batch, he said,

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Apr-14 12:00:40