Uncle Silas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about Uncle Silas.
Except in that way—­which, you know, was connected with the reputation of the family—­I don’t think, considering his great wealth, he has done very much for Silas.  To say truth, however, he was very liberal before his marriage.  Old Mrs. Aylmer says he made a vow then that Silas should never have more than five hundred a year, which he still allows him, I believe, and he permits him to live in the place.  But they say it is in a very wild, neglected state.’

‘You live in the same county—­have you seen it lately, Cousin Monica?’

‘No, not very lately,’ said Cousin Monica, and began to hum an air abstractedly.

CHAPTER XIII

BEFORE AND AFTER BREAKFAST

Next morning early I visited my favourite full-length portrait in the chocolate coat and top-boots.  Scanty as had been my cousin Monica’s notes upon this dark and eccentric biography, they were everything to me.  A soul had entered that enchanted form.  Truth had passed by with her torch, and a sad light shone for a moment on that enigmatic face.

There stood the roue—­the duellist—­and, with all his faults, the hero too!  In that dark large eye lurked the profound and fiery enthusiasm of his ill-starred passion.  In the thin but exquisite lip I read the courage of the paladin, who would have ‘fought his way,’ though single-handed, against all the magnates of his county, and by ordeal of battle have purged the honour of the Ruthyns.  There in that delicate half-sarcastic tracery of the nostril I detected the intellectual defiance which had politically isolated Silas Ruthyn and opposed him to the landed oligarchy of his county, whose retaliation had been a hideous slander.  There, too, and on his brows and lip, I traced the patience of a cold disdain.  I could now see him as he was—­the prodigal, the hero, and the martyr.  I stood gazing on him with a girlish interest and admiration.  There was indignation, there was pity, there was hope.  Some day it might come to pass that I, girl as I was, might contribute by word or deed towards the vindication of that long-suffering, gallant, and romantic prodigal.  It was a flicker of the Joan of Arc inspiration, common, I fancy, to many girls.  I little then imagined how profoundly and strangely involved my uncle’s fate would one day become with mine.

I was interrupted by Captain Oakley’s voice at the window.  He was leaning on the window-sill, and looking in with a smile—­the window being open, the morning sunny, and his cap lifted in his hand.

’Good-morning, Miss Ruthyn.  What a charming old place! quite the setting for a romance; such timber, and this really beautiful house.  I do so like these white and black houses—­wonderful old things.  By-the-by, you treated us very badly last night—­you did, indeed; upon my word, now, it really was too bad—­running away, and drinking tea with Lady Knollys—­so she says.  I really—­I should not like to tell you how very savage I felt, particularly considering how very short my time is.’

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Uncle Silas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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