Saturday, November 14, 2015

Favorite Five

These are a bit larger chunks then usual.

'Measter,' said he, stopping his employer in his quick resolved walk, and causing that gentleman to look up with a sudden annoyed start, as if his thoughts had been far away.
  'Have yo' heerd aught of Miss Marget lately?'
'Miss—who?' replied Mr. Thornton.
  'Miss Marget—Miss Hale—th' oud parson's daughter—yo known who I mean well enough, if yo'll only think a bit—' (there was nothing disrespectful in the tone in which this was said).
  'Oh yes!' and suddenly, the wintry frost-bound look of care had left Mr. Thornton's face, as if some soft summer gale had blown all anxiety away from his mind; and though his mouth was as much compressed as before, his eyes smiled out benignly on his questioner.
  'She's my landlord now, you know, Higgins. I hear of her through her agent here, every now and then. She's well and among friends—thank you, Higgins.' That 'thank you' that lingered after the other words, and yet came with so much warmth of feeling, let in a new light to the acute Higgins. It might be but a will-o'-th'-wisp, but he thought he would follow it and ascertain whither it would lead him.
  'And she's not getten married, measter?'
  'Not yet.' The face was cloudy once more. 'There is some talk of it, as I understand, with a connection of the family.'
  'Then she'll not be for coming to Milton again, I reckon.'
  'Stop a minute, measter.' Then going up confidentially close, he said, 'Is th' young gentleman cleared?' He enforced the depth of his intelligence by a wink of the eye, which only made things more mysterious to Mr. Thornton.
  'Th' young gentleman, I mean—Master Frederick, they ca'ad him—her brother as was over here, yo' known.'
  'Over here.'
'Ay, to be sure, at th' missus's death. Yo' need na be feared of my telling; for Mary and me, we knowed it all along, only we held our peace, for we got it through Mary working in th' house.'
  'And he was over. It was her brother!'
                                                                                   North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell

We were coming home from evensong, Kitty and I. (I am anticipating, for she was still ‘Miss Schuyler’ then, but never mind.) We were walking through the fields, while Mrs. Benedict and Aunt Celia were driving. As we came across a corner of the bit of meadow land that joins the stable and the garden, we heard a muffled roar, and as we looked around we saw a creature with tossing horns and waving tail making for us, head down, eyes flashing. Kitty gave a shriek. We chanced to be near a pair of low bars. I hadn’t been a college athlete for nothing. I swung Kitty over the bars, and jumped after her. But she, not knowing in her fright where she was nor what she was doing, supposing also that the mad creature, like the villain in the play, would ‘still pursue her,’ flung herself bodily into my arms, crying, ‘Jack! Jack! save me!


It was twilight here in Canterbury, and we were sitting on the vine-shaded veranda of Aunt Celia’s lodging. Kitty’s head was on my shoulder. There is something very queer about that; when Kitty’s head is on my shoulder, I am not capable of any consecutive train of thought. When she puts it there I see stars, then myriads of stars, then, oh! I can’t begin to enumerate the steps by which ecstasy mounts to delirium; but, at all events, any operation which demands exclusive use of the intellect is beyond me at these times. Still, I gathered my stray wits together, and said:
‘Yes, Jack?’
  ‘Now that nothing but death or marriage can separate us, I have something to confess to you.’
‘Yes,’ she said serenely, ‘I know what you are going to say. He was a cow.’
I lifted her head from my shoulder sternly, and gazed into her childlike, candid eyes.
  ‘You mountain of deceit! How long have you known about it?’
‘Ever since the first. Oh, Jack, stop looking at me in that way! Not the very first, not when I—not when you—not when we—no, not then, but the next morning, I said to Farmer Hendry, “I wish you would keep your savage bull chained up while we are here; Aunt Celia is awfully afraid of them, especially those that go mad, like yours!” “Lor’, miss!” said Farmer Hendry, “he haven’t been pastured here for three weeks. I keep him six mile away. There ben’t nothing but gentle cows in the home medder.” But I didn’t think that you knew, you secretive person! I dare say you planned the whole thing in advance, in order to take advantage of my fright!’
  ‘Never! I am incapable of such an unnecessary subterfuge! Besides, Kitty, I could not have made an accomplice of a cow, you know.’
  ‘Then,’ she said, with great dignity, ‘if you had been a gentleman and a man of honour, you would have cried, “Unhand me, girl! You are clinging to me under a misunderstanding!”’
                                                                                  A Cathedral Courtship by Kate D. Wiggins


  Mac hastened to explain, to load himself with reproaches, and to beg her not to die on any account, for Charlie's lecture had made a deep impression on the poor boy's mind.
   "I didn't know there was any danger of my dying," and Rose looked up at him with a solemn expression in her great eyes.
   "Oh, I hope not; but people do sometimes go suddenly, you know, and I couldn't rest till I'd asked you to forgive me," faltered Mac, thinking that Rose looked very like an angel already, with the golden hair loose on the pillow, and the meekness of suffering on her little white face.
   "I don't think I shall die; uncle won't let me; but if I do, remember I forgave you."
  She looked at him with a tender light in her eyes, and, seeing how pathetic his dumb grief was, she added softly, drawing his head down, "I wouldn't kiss you under the mistletoe, but I will now, for I want you to be sure I do forgive and love you just the same."
  That quite upset poor Mac; he could only murmur his thanks and get out of the room as fast as possible, to grope his way to the couch at the far end of the hall, and lie there till he fell asleep, worn out with trying not to "make a baby" of himself.
                                                                                    Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott


  1. I so want to read North and South...and 8 Cousins....

    I tagged you for the One Lovely Blog Tag

  2. Oh, Eight Cousins is a great old book! Louisa May Alcott is one of my favourite authors. Which of her books have you read?

    1. Eight Cousins
      Rose In Bloom
      Little Women
      Little Men
      Jo's Boys
      Under the Lilacs
      An Old Fashioned Girl
      Jack and Jill

      And a short story collection called, A Garland For Girls. I think that I may have read more.