Direktlänk till inlägg 5 maj 2011

married woman

Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 5 maj 2011 07:44

She was obliged to revisit the shop for a stamp, stamps being kept in Mr. Povey's desk in the corner--a high desk, at which you stood. Mr. Povey was now in earnest converse with Mr. Yardley at the door, and twilight, which began a full hour earlier in the shop than in the Square, had cast faint shadows in corners behind counters. "Will you just run out with this to the pillar, Miss Dadd?" "With pleasure, Mrs. Povey." "Where are you going to?" Mr. Povey interrupted his conversation to stop the flying girl. "She's just going to the post for me," Constance called out from the region of the till. "Oh! All right!" A trifle! A nothing! Yet somehow, in the quiet customerless shop, the episode, with the scarce perceptible difference in Samuel's tone at his second remark, was delicious to Constance. Somehow it was the REAL beginning of her wifehood. (There had been about nine other real beginnings in the past fortnight.) Mr. Povey came in to supper, laden with ledgers and similar works which Constance had never even pretended to understand. It was a sign from him that the honeymoon was over. He was proprietor now, and his ardour for ledgers most justifiable. Still, there was the question of her servant. "Never!" he exclaimed, when she told him all about the end of the world. A 'never' which expressed extreme astonishment and the liveliest concern! But Constance had anticipated that he would have been just a little more knocked down, bowled over, staggered, stunned, flabbergasted. In a swift gleam of insight she saw that she had been in danger of forgetting her role of experienced, capable married woman. "I shall have to set about getting a fresh one," she said hastily, with an admirable assumption of light and easy casualness. Mr. Povey seemed to think that Hollins would suit Maggie pretty well. He made no remark to the betrothed when she answered the final bell of the night. He opened his ledgers, whistling. "I think I shall go up, dear," said Constance. "I've a lot of things to put away." "Do," said he. "Call out when you've done."

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Yes," said Mrs. Baines. "It looks like marl. Where on earth have you been?" She interrogated her daughter with an upward gaze, frigid and unconsciously hostile, through her gold-rimmed glasses. "I must have picked it up on the roads," said Sophia, and hastened to the door. "Sophia!" "Yes, mother." "Shut the door." Sophia unwillingly shut the door which she had half opened. "Come here." Sophia obeyed, with falling lip. "You are deceiving me, Sophia," said Mrs. Baines, with fierce solemnity. "Where have you been this afternoon?" Sophia's foot was restless on the carpet behind the table. "I haven't been anywhere," she murmured glumly. "Have you seen young Scales?" "Yes," said Sophia with grimness, glancing audaciously for an instant at her mother. ("She can't kill me: She can't kill me," her heart muttered. And she had youth and beauty in her favour, while her mother was only a fat middle-aged woman. "She can't kill me," said her heart, with the trembling, cruel insolence of the mirror-flattered child.) "How came you to meet him?" No answer. "Sophia, you heard what I said!" Still no answer. Sophia looked down at the table. ("She can't kill me.") "If you are going to be sullen, I shall have to suppose the worst," said Mrs. Baines. Sophia kept her silence. "Of course," Mrs. Baines resumed, "if you choose to be wicked, neither your mother nor any one else can stop you. There are certain things I CAN do, and these I SHALL do ... Let me warn you that young Scales is a thoroughly bad lot. I know all about him. He has been living a wild life abroad, and if it hadn't been that his uncle is a partner in Birkinshaws, they would never have taken him on again." A pause. "I hope that one day you will be a happy wife, but you are much too young yet to be meeting young men, and nothing would ever induce me to let you have anything to do with this Scales. I won't have it. In future you are not to go out alone. You understand me?" Sophia kept silence. "I hope you will be in a better frame of mind to-morrow. I can only hope so. But if you aren't, I shall take very severe measures. You think you can defy me. But you never were more mistaken in your life. I don't want to see any more of you now. Go and tell Mr. Povey; and call Maggie for the fresh tea. You make me almost glad that your father died even as he did. He has, at any rate, been spared this." Those words 'died even as he did' achieved the intimidation of Sophia. They seemed to indicate that Mrs. Baines, though she had magnanimously never mentioned the subject to Sophia, knew exactly how the old man had died. Sophia escaped from the room in fear, cowed. Nevertheless, her thought was, "She hasn't killed me. I made up my mind I wouldn't talk, and I didn't." In the evening, as she sat in the shop primly and sternly sewing at hats--while her mother wept in secret on the first floor, and Constance remained hidden on the second--Sophia lived over again the scene at the old shaft; but she lived it differently, admitting that she had been wrong, guessing by instinct that she had shown a foolish mistrust of love. As she sat in the shop, she adopted just the right attitude and said just the right things. Instead of being a silly baby she was an accomplished and dazzling woman, then. When customers came in, and the young lady assistants unobtrusively turned higher the central gas, according to the regime of the shop, it was really extraordinary that they could not read in the heart of the beautiful Miss Baines the words which blazed there; "YOU'RE THE FINEST GIRL I EVER MET," and "I SHALL WRITE TO YOU." The young lady assistants had their notions as to both Constance and Sophia, but the truth, at least as regarded Sophia, was beyond the flight of their imaginations. When eight o'clock struck and she gave the formal order for dust-sheets, the shop being empty, they never supposed that she was dreaming about posts and plotting how to get hold of the morning's letters before Mr. Povey. "Well," said Mr. Povey, rising from the rocking-chair that in a previous age had been John Baines's, "I've got to make a start some time, so I may as well begin now!" And he went from the parlour into the shop. Constance's eye followed him as far as the door, where their glances met for an instant in the transient gaze which expresses the tenderness of people who feel more than they kiss. It was on the morning of this day that Mrs. Baines, relinquishing the sovereignty of St. Luke's Square, had gone to live as a younger sister in the house of Harriet Maddack at Axe. Constance guessed little of the secret anguish of that departure. She only knew that it was just like her mother, having perfectly arranged the entire house for the arrival of the honeymoon couple from Buxton, to flit early away so as to spare the natural blushing diffidence of the said couple. It was like her mother's commonsense and her mother's sympathetic comprehension. Further, Constance did not pursue her mother's feelings, being far too busy with her own. She sat there full of new knowledge and new importance, brimming with experience and strange, unexpected aspirations, purposes, yes--and cunnings! And yet, though the very curves of her cheeks seemed to be mysteriously altering, the old Constance still lingered in that frame, an innocent soul hesitating to spread its wings and quit for ever the body which had been its home; you could see the timid thing peeping wistfully out of the eyes of the married woman. Constance rang the bell for Maggie to clear the table; and as she did so she had the illusion that she was not really a married woman and a house-mistress, but only a kind of counterfeit. She did most fervently hope that all would go right in the house--at any rate until she had grown more accustomed to her situation. The hope was to be disappointed. Maggie's rather silly, obsequious smile concealed but for a moment the ineffable tragedy that had lain in wait for unarmed Constance. "If you please, Mrs. Povey," said Maggie, as she crushed cups together on the tin tray with her great, red hands, which always looked like something out of a butcher's shop; then a pause, "Will you please accept of this?" Now, before the wedding Maggie had already, with tears of affection, given Constance a pair of blue glass vases (in order to purchase which she had been obliged to ask for special permission to go out), and Constance wondered what was coming now from Maggie's pocket. A small piece of folded paper came from Maggie's pocket. Constance accepted of it, and read: "I begs to give one month's notice to leave. Signed Maggie. June 10, 1867."

 
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Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 11 maj 2011 08:16

Bless my very existence!" cried the eccentric man. "I was beginningto fear something had happened to you. I am glad that you are allright. I heard voices, and I imagined--" "It's all right," Mr. Swift reassured him. "There was a strangerabout my shop...

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He having stood me in such excellent stead that afternoon, it was rather a pity that, come nightfall and my first really clandestine visit to Rennie, I was no longer prepared to be Joe Morgan or any other sort of dancer. I was never highly sexed. For...

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Miss Crawley had not long been established at the Hall before Rebecca’s fascinations had won the heart of that good-natured London rake, as they had of the country innocents whom we have been describing. Taking her accustomed drive, one day, sh...

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