but very unusual course. It is competent to the House of

time:2023-12-05 07:45:27 source:Tears down the net author:person

And a heart at leisure from itself

but very unusual course. It is competent to the House of

Margaret made a good listener to all her mother’s little plans for adding some small comforts to the lot of the poorer parishioners. She could not help listening, though each new project was a stab to her heart. By the time the frost had set in, they should be far away from Helstone. Old Simon’s rheumatism might be bad and his eyesight worse; there would be no one to go and read to him, and comfort him with little porringers of broth and good red flannel: or if there was, it would be a stranger, and the old man would watch in vain for her. Mary Domville’s little crippled boy would crawl in vain to the door and look for her coming through the forest. These poor friends would never understand why she had forsaken them; and there were many others besides. ‘Papa has always spent the income he derived from his living in the parish. I am, perhaps, encroaching upon the next dues, but the winter is likely to be severe, and our poor old people must be helped.’

but very unusual course. It is competent to the House of

‘Oh, mamma, let us do all we can,’ said Margaret eagerly, not seeing the prudential side of the question, only grasping at the idea that they were rendering such help for the last time; ‘we may not be here long.’

but very unusual course. It is competent to the House of

‘Do you feel ill, my darling?’ asked Mrs. Hale, anxiously, misunderstanding Margaret’s hint of the uncertainty of their stay at Helstone. ‘You look pale and tired. It is this soft, damp, unhealthy air.’

‘No — no, mamma, it is not that: it is delicious air. It smells of the freshest, purest fragrance, after the smokiness of Harley Street. But I am tired: it surely must be near bedtime.’

‘Not far off — it is half-past nine. You had better go to bed at dear. Ask Dixon for some gruel. I will come and see you as soon as you are in bed. I am afraid you have taken cold; or the bad air from some of the stagnant ponds —’

‘Oh, mamma,’ said Margaret, faintly smiling as she kissed her mother, ‘I am quite well — don’t alarm yourself about me; I am only tired.’

Margaret went upstairs. To soothe her mother’s anxiety she submitted to a basin of gruel. She was lying languidly in bed when Mrs. Hale came up to make some last inquiries and kiss her before going to her own room for the night. But the instant she heard her mother’s door locked, she sprang out of bed, and throwing her dressing-gown on, she began to pace up and down the room, until the creaking of one of the boards reminded her that she must make no noise. She went and curled herself up on the window-seat in the small, deeply-recessed window. That morning when she had looked out, her heart had danced at seeing the bright clear lights on the church tower, which foretold a fine and sunny day. This evening — sixteen hours at most had past by — she sat down, too full of sorrow to cry, but with a dull cold pain, which seemed to have pressed the youth and buoyancy out of her heart, never to return. Mr. Henry Lennox’s visit — his offer — was like a dream, a thing beside her actual life. The hard reality was, that her father had so admitted tempting doubts into his mind as to become a schismatic — an outcast; all the changes consequent upon this grouped themselves around that one great blighting fact.


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