Uncle Silas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about Uncle Silas.

It was now plainly very near indeed, and I heard the voice of our mild and shaky butler evidently remonstrating with the distressed damsel.

‘I’ll see her,’ she continued, pouring a torrent of vile abuse upon me, which stung me with a sudden sense of anger.  What had I done to be afraid of anyone?  How dared anyone in my uncle’s house—­in my house—­mix my name up with her detestable scurrilities?

‘For Heaven’s sake, Miss, don’t ye go out,’ cried poor Quince; ’it’s some drunken creature.’

But I was very angry, and, like a fool as I was, I threw open the door, exclaiming in a loud and haughty key—­

‘Here is Miss Ruthyn of Knowl.  Who wants to see her?’

A pink and white young lady, with black tresses, violent, weeping, shrill, voluble, was flouncing up the last stair, and shook her dress out on the lobby; and poor old Giblets, as Milly used to call him, was following in her wake, with many small remonstrances and entreaties, perfectly unheeded.

The moment I looked at this person, it struck me that she was the identical lady whom I had seen in the carriage at Knowl Warren.  The next moment I was in doubt; the next, still more so.  She was decidedly thinner, and dressed by no means in such lady-like taste.  Perhaps she was hardly like her at all.  I began to distrust all these resemblances, and to fancy, with a shudder, that they originated, perhaps, only in my own sick brain.

On seeing me, this young lady—­as it seemed to me, a good deal of the barmaid or lady’s-maid species—­dried her eyes fiercely, and, with a flaming countenance, called upon me peremptorily to produce her ’lawful husband.’  Her loud, insolent, outrageous attack had the effect of enhancing my indignation, and I quite forget what I said to her, but I well remember that her manner became a good deal more decent.  She was plainly under the impression that I wanted to appropriate her husband, or, at least, that he wanted to marry me; and she ran on at such a pace, and her harangue was so passionate, incoherent, and unintelligible, that I thought her out of her mind:  she was far from it, however.  I think if she had allowed me even a second for reflection, I should have hit upon her meaning.  As it was, nothing could exceed my perplexity, until, plucking a soiled newspaper from her pocket, she indicated a particular paragraph, already sufficiently emphasised by double lines of red ink at its sides.  It was a Lancashire paper, of about six weeks since, and very much worn and soiled for its age.  I remember in particular a circular stain from the bottom of a vessel, either of coffee or brown stout.  The paragraph was as follows, recording an event a year or more anterior to the date of the paper:—­

’MARRIAGE.—­On Tuesday, August 7, 18—­, at Leatherwig Church, by the Rev. Arthur Hughes, Dudley R. Ruthyn, Esq., only son and heir of Silas Ruthyn, Esq., of Bartram-Haugh, Derbyshire, to Sarah Matilda, second daughter of John Mangles, Esq., of Wiggan, in this county.’

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Uncle Silas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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