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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about Red Pottage.

A certain familiar hold on life and nature, so old that it was almost new, which she had forgotten, but which her former self used to feel, came back suddenly upon her, like a lost friend from over-seas.  Scales seemed to fall from her eyes.  The light was too much for her.  She had forgotten how beautiful the world was.  Everything was possible.

Some, in the night of their desolation, can take comfort when they see the morning-star shuddering white in the east, and can say, “Courage, the day is at hand.”

But others never realize that their night is over till the sun is up.  Rachel had sat in a long stupor.  The message writ large for her comfort in the stars that the night was surely waning had not reached her, bowed, as she thought, beneath God’s hand.  And the sure return of the sun at last came upon her like a miracle.

CHAPTER XXVI

     “’Tis not for every one to catch a salmon.”

Every one who knows Middleshire knows that the little lake of Beaumere is bounded on the one side by the Westhope and on the other by the Wilderleigh property, the boundary being the ubiquitous Drone, which traverses the mere in a desultory fashion, and with the assistance of several springs makes Beaumere what it is, namely (to quote from the local guide-book), “the noblest expanse of water surrounded by some of the most picturesque scenery in Middleshire.”

Thither Doll and Hugh took their way in the leisurely manner of men whose orthodoxy obliges them to regard Sunday as a day of rest.

Doll pointed out to Hugh the coppice which his predecessor, Mr. George Loftus, had planted.  Hugh regarded it without excitement.  Both agreed that it was coming on nicely.  Hugh thought that he ought to do a little planting at his own place.  Doll said, “You can’t do everything at once.”  A large new farm was the next object of interest.  “Uncle George rebuilt Greenfields from the ground,” remarked Doll, as they crossed the high road and took to the harvesting fields, where “the ricks stood gray to the sun.”

Hugh nodded.  Doll thought he was a very decent chap, though rather low-spirited.  Hugh thought that if Mr. George Loftus had been alive he might have consulted him.  In an amicable silence, broken occasionally by whistling for Crack, who hurried blear-eyed and asthmatic out of rabbit-holes, the pair reached Beaumere; and, after following the path through the wood, came suddenly upon the little lake locked in the heart of the steeply climbing forest.

Doll stood still and pointed with his stick for fear Hugh might overlook it.  “I come here every Sunday,” he remarked.

A sense of unreality and foreboding seized on Hugh, as the still face of the water looked up at him.  Where had he seen it before, this sea of glass reflecting the yellow woods that stooped to its very edge?  What had it to do with him?

“I’ve been here before,” he said, involuntarily.

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