Scenes of Clerical Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Scenes of Clerical Life.

But now she heard the tread of heavy steps, and under the yellow shade near the wooden bridge she saw men slowly carrying something.  Soon she was face to face with them.  Anthony was no longer in the Rookery:  they were carrying him stretched on a door, and there behind him was Sir Christopher, with the firmly-set mouth, the deathly paleness, and the concentrated expression of suffering in the eye, which mark the suppressed grief of the strong man.  The sight of this face, on which Caterina had never before beheld the signs of anguish, caused a rush of new feeling which for the moment submerged all the rest.  She went gently up to him, put her little hand in his, and walked in silence by his side.  Sir Christopher could not tell her to leave him, and so she went on with that sad procession to Mr. Bates’s cottage in the Mosslands, and sat there in silence, waiting and watching to know if Anthony were really dead.  She had not yet missed the dagger from her pocket; she had not yet even thought of it.  At the sight of Anthony lying dead, her nature had rebounded from its new bias of resentment and hatred to the old sweet habit of love.  The earliest and the longest has still the mastery over us; and the only past that linked itself with those glazed unconscious eyes, was the past when they beamed on her with tenderness.  She forgot the interval of wrong and jealousy and hatred—­all his cruelty, and all her thoughts of revenge—­as the exile forgets the stormy passage that lay between home and happiness and the dreary land in which he finds himself desolate.

Chapter 16

Before night all hope was gone.  Dr Hart had said it was death; Anthony’s body had been carried to the house, and every one there knew the calamity that had fallen on them.

Caterina had been questioned by Dr Hart, and had answered briefly that she found Anthony lying in the Rookery.  That she should have been walking there just at that time was not a coincidence to raise conjectures in any one besides Mr. Gilfil.  Except in answering this question, she had not broken her silence.  She sat mute in a corner of the gardener’s kitchen shaking her head when Maynard entreated her to return with him, and apparently unable to think of anything but the possibility that Anthony might revive, until she saw them carrying away the body to the house.  Then she followed by Sir Christopher’s side again, so quietly, that even Dr Hart did not object to her presence.

It was decided to lay the body in the library until after the coroner’s inquest to-morrow; and when Caterina saw the door finally closed, she turned up the gallery stairs on her way to her own room, the place where she felt at home with her sorrows.  It was the first time she had been in the gallery since that terrible moment in the morning, and now the spot and the objects around began to reawaken her half-stunned memory.  The armour was no longer

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Scenes of Clerical Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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