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of all the peculiar advantages of those undertakings, the

time:2023-12-07 06:00:35 author:music read:656次

Margaret could not help comparing this strange dressing of hers, to go where she did not care to be-her heart heavy with various anxieties — with the old, merry, girlish toilettes that she and Edith had performed scarcely more than a year ago. Her only pleasure now in decking herself out was in thinking that her mother would take delight in seeing her dressed. She blushed when Dixon, throwing the drawing-room door open, made an appeal for admiration.

of all the peculiar advantages of those undertakings, the

‘Miss Hale looks well, ma’am — doesn’t she? Mrs. Shaw’s coral couldn’t have come in better. It just gives the right touch of colour, ma’am. Otherwise, Miss Margaret, you would have been too pale.’

of all the peculiar advantages of those undertakings, the

Margaret’s black hair was too thick to be plaited; it needed rather to be twisted round and round, and have its fine silkiness compressed into massive coils, that encircled her head like a crown, and then were gathered into a large spiral knot behind. She kept its weight together by two large coral pins, like small arrows for length. Her white silk sleeves were looped up with strings of the same material, and on her neck, just below the base of her curved and milk-white throat, there lay heavy coral beads.

of all the peculiar advantages of those undertakings, the

‘Oh, Margaret! how I should like to be going with you to one of the old Barrington assemblies — taking you as Lady Beresford used to take me.’ Margaret kissed her mother for this little burst of maternal vanity; but she could hardly smile at it, she felt so much out of spirits.

‘I would rather stay at home with you — much rather, mamma.’

‘Nonsense, darling! Be sure you notice the dinner well. I shall like to hear how they manage these things in Milton. Particularly the second course, dear. Look what they have instead of game.’

Mrs. Hale would have been more than interested — she would have been astonished, if she had seen the sumptuousness of the dinner-table and its appointments. Margaret, with her London cultivated taste, felt the number of delicacies to be oppressive one half of the quantity would have been enough, and the effect lighter and more elegant. But it was one of Mrs. Thornton’s rigorous laws of hospitality, that of each separate dainty enough should be provided for all the guests to partake, if they felt inclined. Careless to abstemiousness in her daily habits, it was part of her pride to set a feast before such of her guests as cared for it. Her son shared this feeling. He had never known — though he might have imagined, and had the capability to relish — any kind of society but that which depended on an exchange of superb meals and even now, though he was denying himself the personal expenditure of an unnecessary sixpence, and had more than once regretted that the invitations for this dinner had been sent out, still, as it was to be, he was glad to see the old magnificence of preparation. Margaret and her father were the first to arrive. Mr. Hale was anxiously punctual to the time specified. There was no one up-stairs in the drawing-room but Mrs. Thornton and Fanny. Every cover was taken off, and the apartment blazed forth in yellow silk damask and a brilliantly-flowered carpet. Every corner seemed filled up with ornament, until it became a weariness to the eye, and presented a strange contrast to the bald ugliness of the look-out into the great mill-yard, where wide folding gates were thrown open for the admission of carriages. The mill loomed high on the left-hand side of the windows, casting a shadow down from its many stories, which darkened the summer evening before its time.

‘My son was engaged up to the last moment on business. He will be here directly, Mr. Hale. May I beg you to take a seat?’


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