Richard Vandermarck eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about Richard Vandermarck.
not look well, as if my clothes were hideous.  I should not have been afraid of young or old men, nor of old women; but they were just my age, just my class, just my equals, or ought to have been, if I had had any other fate than Uncle Leonard and Varick-street.  How they would criticize me!  How soon they would find out I had never been anywhere before!  I wished for Richard then with all my heart.  Kilian had already deserted me, and was talking to Miss Leighton, who had come half-way down the steps to meet him, and who only gave me a glance and a very pretty smile and nod, when Mrs. Hollenbeck presented me to them.  Miss Benson and Miss Palmer each gave me a hand, and looked me over horribly; and the tones of their voices, when they spoke to me, were so constrained and cold, and so different from the tones in which they addressed each other.  I hated them.

After a few moments of wretchedness, Sophie proposed to take me to my room.  We went up the stairs, which were steep and old-fashioned, with a landing-place almost like a little room.  My room was in a wing of the house, over the dining-room, and the windows looked out on the river.  It was not large, but was very pretty.  The windows were curtained, and the bed was dainty, and the little mantel was draped, and the ornaments and pictures were quaint and delightful to my taste.

Sophie laid the shawls she had been carrying up for me upon the bed, and said she hoped I would find everything I needed, and would try to feel entirely at home, and not hesitate to ask for anything that would make me comfortable.

Nothing could be kinder, but my affection and gratitude were fast dying out, and I was quite sure of one thing, namely, that I never should love Sophie if she spent her life in inviting me to pay her visits.  She told me that tea would be ready in half an hour, and then left me.  I sat down on the bed when she was gone, and wished myself back in Varick-street; and then cried, to think that I should be homesick for such a dreary home.  But the appetites and affections common to humanity had not been left out of my heart, though I had been beggared all my life in regard to most of them.  I could have loved a mother so—­a sister—­I could have had such happy feelings for a place that I could have felt was home.  What matter, if I could not even remember the smile on my mother’s lips; what matter, if no brother or sister had ever been born to me; if no house had ever been my rightful home?  I was hungry for them all the same.  And these first glimpses of the happy lives of others seemed to disaffect me more than ever with my own.

CHAPTER IV.

My companions.

“Vous etes belle:  ainsi donc la moitie
Du genre humain sera votre ennemie.”

Voltaire.

“Oh, I think the cause
Of much was, they forgot no crowd
Makes up for parents in their shroud.”

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Richard Vandermarck from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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