Red Pottage eBook

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

“I am going away for a time, but I shall come back,” she said to the cobbler’s wife on the same landing.

“No one comes back as once goes,” said the woman, without raising her eyes from the cheap blouse which she was finishing, which kept so well the grim secret of how it came into being that no one was afraid of buying it.

“I am keeping on the room.”

The woman smiled incredulously, giving one sharp glance at the bundle.  She had seen many flittings.  She should buy the kettle when Rachel’s “sticks” were sold by the landlord in default of the rent.

“Well, you was a good neighbor,” she said.  “There’s a-many as ’ull miss you.  Good-bye, and good luck to ye.  I sha’n’t say as you’ve left.”

“I shall come back,” said Rachel, hoarsely, and she slipped down-stairs like a thief.  She felt like a thief.  For she was rich.  The man who had led her father into the speculations which had ruined him had died childless, and had bequeathed to her a colossal fortune.

CHAPTER VII

     Cure the drunkard, heal the insane, mollify the homicide, civilize
     the Pawnee, but what lessons can be devised for the debauchee of
     sentiment?—­EMERSON.

A fortnight had passed since the drawing of lots, and Lady Newhaven remained in ignorance as to which of the two men had received his death-warrant.  Few have found suspense easy to bear; but for the self-centred an intolerable element is added to it, which unselfish natures escape.  From her early youth Lady Newhaven had been in the habit of viewing life in picturesque tableaux vivants of which she invariably formed the central figure.  At her confirmation the Bishop, the white-robed clergy, and the other candidates had served but as a nebulous background against which her own white-clad, kneeling figure, bowed in reverent devotion, stood out in high relief.

When she married Lord Newhaven he took so slight a part, though a necessary one, in the wedding groups that their completeness had never been marred by misgivings as to his exact position in them.  When, six years later, after one or two mild flirtations which only served as a stimulus to her love of dress—­when at last she met, as she would have expressed it, “the one love of her life,” her first fluctuations and final deviation from the path of honor were the result of new arrangements round the same centre.

The first groups in which Hugh took part had been prodigies of virtue.  The young mother with the Madonna face—­Lady Newhaven firmly believed that her face, with the crimped fringe drawn down to the eyebrows, resembled that of a Madonna—­with her children round her, Lord Newhaven as usual somewhat out of focus in the background; and Hugh, young, handsome, devoted, heartbroken, and ennobled for life by the contemplation of such impregnable virtue.

“You accuse me of coldness,” she had imagined herself saying in a later scene, when the children and the husband would have made too much of a crowd, and were consequently omitted.  “I wish to Heaven I were as cold as I appear.”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Red Pottage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook