Joanna Godden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 448 pages of information about Joanna Godden.
to Northlade, was wanting to have her, and Hugh Vennal would have been glad to bring her as his second wife to Beggar’s Bush.  Joanna was proud of these attachments and saw to it that they were not obscure—­also, one or two of the men, particularly Vennal, she liked for themselves, for their vitality and “set-upness”; but she shied away from the prospect of marriage.  Martin had shown her all that it meant in the way of renunciation, and she felt that she could make its sacrifices for no one less than Martin.  Also, the frustration of her hopes and the inadequacy of her memories had produced in her a queer antipathy to marriage—­a starting aside.  Her single state began to have for her a certain worth in itself, a respectable rigour like a pair of stays.  For a year or so after Martin’s death, she had maintained her solace of secret kisses, but in time she had come to withdraw even from these, and by now the full force of her vitality was pouring itself into her life at Ansdore, its ambitions and business, her love for Ellen, and her own pride.


Ellen secretly despised Joanna’s suitors, just as she secretly despised all Joanna’s best and most splendid things.  They were a dull lot, driving her sister home on market-day, or sitting for hours in the parlour with Arthur Alce’s mother’s silver tea-set.  It was always “Good evening, Miss Godden,” “Good evening, Mr. Turner”—­“Fine weather for roots”—­“A bit dry for the grazing.”  It was not thus that Ellen Godden understood love.  Besides, these men looked oafs, in spite of the fine build of some of them—­they were not so bad in their working clothes, with their leggings and velveteen breeches, but in their Sunday best, which they always wore on these occasions, they looked clumsy and ridiculous, their broad black coats in the cut of yester-year and smelling of camphor, their high-winged collars scraping and reddening their necks ... in their presence Ellen was rather sidling and sweet, but away from them in the riotous privacy of her new bedroom, she laughed to herself and jeered.

She had admirers of her own, but she soon grew tired of them—­would have grown tired sooner if Joanna had not clucked and shoo’d them away, thus giving them the glamour of the forbidden thing.  Joanna looked upon them all as detrimentals, presumptuously lifting up their eyes to Ansdore’s wealth and Ellen’s beauty.

“When you fall in love, you can take a stout yeoman with a bit of money, if you can’t find a real gentleman same as I did.  Howsumever, you’re too young to go meddling with such things just yet.  You be a good girl, Ellen Godden, and keep your back straight, and don’t let the boys kiss you.”

Project Gutenberg
Joanna Godden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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