Nancy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 371 pages of information about Nancy.

There are some days on which all ills gather together as at a meeting.  This is one.  Barbara is prostrated by a violent headache, and is in such thorough physical pain that even she cannot sympathize with me.  Mr. Musgrave never makes his now daily appearance—­he comes, as I jubilantly notice, as regularly as the postman—­until late in the afternoon.  All day, therefore, I must refrain myself and be silent.  And I am never one for brooding with private dumbness over my woes.  I much prefer to air them by expression and complaint.  About noon it strikes me that, faute de mieux, I will go and see Mrs. Huntley, tell her suddenly that Roger is not coming back, and see if she looks vexed or confused or grieved.  Accordingly, soon after luncheon, I set off in the pony-carriage.  It is a quiet sultry-looking unclouded day.  One uniform livery of mist clothes sky and earth, dimming the glories of the dying leaves, and making them look dull and sodden.  Every thing has a drenched air:  each crimson bramble-leaf is clothed in rain-drops, and yet it is not raining.  The air is thick and heavy, and one swallows it like something solid, but it is not raining:  in fact, it is an English fine day.

Under the delusive idea that it is warm, or at least not cold, I have protected my face with no veil, my hands with no mittens; so that, long before I reach the shelter of the Portugal laurels that warmly hem in and border Mrs. Huntley’s little graveled sweep, the end of my nose feels like an icy promontory at a great distance from me, and my hands do not feel at all.  Mrs. Huntley is at home.  Wise woman!  I knew that she would be.  I suppose that I follow on the footsteps of the butler more quickly than is usual, for, as the door opens, and before I can get a view of the inmate or inmates, I hear a hurried noise of scrambling, as of some one suddenly jumping up.  For a little airy woman who looks as if one could blow her away—­puff!—­like a morsel of thistle-down or a snowball, what a heavy foot Mrs. Huntley has!  The next moment, I am disabused.  Mrs. Huntley has clearly not moved.  It was not she that scrambled.  She is lying back in a deep arm-chair, her silky head gently denting the flowered cushion, the points of two pretty shoes slightly advanced toward the fire, and a large feather fan leisurely waving to and fro, in one white hand.  Beyond the fan movement she is not doing any thing that I can detect.

“How do you do?” say I, bustling in, in a hurry to reach the fire.  “How comfortable you look! how cold it is!—­Algy!” For the enigma of the noise is solved.  It was Algy who shuffled and scuffled—­yes, scuffled up from the low stool which he has evidently been sharing with the pretty shoes—­at Mrs. Huntley’s feet, on to his long legs, on which he is now standing, not at all at ease.  He does not answer.

“ALGY!” repeat I, in a tone of the profoundest, accentedest surprise, involuntarily turning my back upon my hostess and facing my brother.

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Project Gutenberg
Nancy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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