The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax.
routed dull thoughts, and her fancy pruned its wings for a flight into the future.  In the twilight came Mrs. Betts, and cut short the flight of fancy with prosy suggestions of early retirement to rest.  It was easy to retire, but not so easy to sleep.  Bessie’s mind was astir.  It became retrospective.  She went over the terrors of her first coming to Caen, the dinner at Thunby’s, and the weird talk of Janey Fricker in the dortoir, till melancholy overwhelmed her.

Where was Janey?  Was she still sailing with her father?  No news of her had ever come to the Rue St. Jean since the day she left it.  It sometimes crossed Bessie’s mind that Janey was no longer in the land of the living.  At last, with the lulling, soft motion of a breezeless night on the water, came oblivion and sleep too sound for dreams.

CHAPTER XIV.

ON BOARD THE FOAM.

Life is continuous, so we say, but here and there events happen that mark off its parts so sharply as almost to sever them.  Awaking the next morning in the tiny gilded cabin of the Foam was the signal of such an event to Bessie Fairfax.  She had put away childish things, and left them behind her at Caen yesterday.  To-day before her, across the Channel, was a new world to be proved, and a cloudy revelation of the joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears that nourish the imagination of blooming adolescence.  For a minute she did not realize where she was, and lay still, with wide-open eyes and ears perplexed, listening to the wash of the sea.  There was a splendid sunshine, a sky blue as sapphire, and a lovely green ripple of waves against the glass.

The voice of Mrs. Betts brought her to herself:  “I thought it best to let you sleep your sleep out, miss.  The sea-air does it.  The gentlemen have breakfasted two hours ago.”

Bessie was sorry and ashamed.  It was with a penitent face she appeared on deck.  But she immediately discovered that this was not school:  she had entire liberty to please and amuse herself.  Perhaps if her imagination had been less engaged she might have found the voyage tedious.  Mrs. Betts told her there was no knowing when they should see Scarcliffe—­it depended on wind and weather and whims.  The yacht was to put in at Ryde to land Mr. Cecil Burleigh; and as the regattas were going on, they might cruise off the Isle of Wight for a week, maybe, for the master was never in a hurry.  In Bessie’s bower there was an agreeable selection of novels, but she had many successive hours of silence to dream in when she was tired of heroes and heroines.  Mr. Frederick Fairfax was the most taciturn of men, and Mr. Cecil Burleigh was constantly busy with pens, ink, and paper.  In the long course of the day he did take shreds of leisure, but they were mostly devoted to cigars and meditation.  Bessie observed that he was older and graver since that gay wedding at Fairfield—­which of course he had a right to be, for it was three years ago—­but he was still and always a very handsome and distinguished personage.

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The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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