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of the parliamentary, franchise of that country; and he

time:2023-12-07 04:27:49 author:data read:630次

Mary Higgins, the slatternly younger sister, had endeavoured as well as she could to tidy up the house for the expected visit. There had been rough-stoning done in the middle of the floor, while the flags under the chairs and table and round the walls retained their dark unwashed appearance. Although the day was hot, there burnt a large fire in the grate, making the whole place feel like an oven. Margaret did not understand that the lavishness of coals was a sign of hospitable welcome to her on Mary’s part, and thought that perhaps the oppressive heat was necessary for Bessy. Bessy herself lay on a squab, or short sofa, placed under the window. She was very much more feeble than on the previous day, and tired with raising herself at every step to look out and see if it was Margaret coming. And now that Margaret was there, and had taken a chair by her, Bessy lay back silent, and content to look at Margaret’s face, and touch her articles of dress, with a childish admiration of their fineness of texture.

of the parliamentary, franchise of that country; and he

‘I never knew why folk in the Bible cared for soft raiment afore. But it must be nice to go dressed as yo’ do. It’s different fro’ common. Most fine folk tire my eyes out wi’ their colours; but some how yours rest me. Where did ye get this frock?’

of the parliamentary, franchise of that country; and he

‘In London,’ said Margaret, much amused.

of the parliamentary, franchise of that country; and he

‘London! Have yo’ been in London?’

‘Yes! I lived there for some years. But my home was in a forest; in the country.

‘Tell me about it,’ said Bessy. ‘I like to hear speak of the country and trees, and such like things.’ She leant back, and shut her eye and crossed her hands over her breast, lying at perfect rest, as if t receive all the ideas Margaret could suggest.

Margaret had never spoken of Helstone since she left it, except just naming the place incidentally. She saw it in dreams more vivid than life, and as she fell away to slumber at nights her memory wandered in all its pleasant places. But her heart was opened to this girl; ‘Oh, Bessy, I loved the home we have left so dearly! I wish you could see it. I cannot tell you half its beauty. There are great trees standing all about it, with their branches stretching long and level, and making a deep shade of rest even at noonday. And yet, though every leaf may seem still, there is a continual rushing sound of movement all around — not close at hand. Then sometimes the turf is as soft and fine as velvet; and sometimes quite lush with the perpetual moisture of a little, hidden, tinkling brook near at hand. And then in other parts there are billowy ferns — whole stretches of fern; some in the green shadow; some with long streaks of golden sunlight lying on them — just like the sea.’

‘I have never seen the sea,’ murmured Bessy. ‘But go on.’


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