The Freelands eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about The Freelands.
arms were full and firm and red; the whole of her was full and firm.  From her rosy cheeks to her stout ankles she was superabundant with vitality, the strangest contrast to her shadowy, thin old grandfather.  About the preparation of her father’s tea she moved with a sort of brooding stolidity, out of which would suddenly gleam a twinkle of rogue-sweetness, as when she stopped to stroke the little cat or to tickle the back of her grandfather’s lean neck in passing.  Having set the tea, she stood by the table and said slowly:  “Tea’s ready, father.  I’m goin’ to London.”

Tom Gaunt put down his pipe and journal, took his seat at the table, filled his mouth with sausage, and said:  “You’re goin’ where I tell you.”

“I’m goin’ to London.”

Tom Gaunt stayed the morsel in one cheek and fixed her with his little, wild boar’s eye.

“Ye’re goin’ to catch the stick,” he said.  “Look here, my girl, Tom Gaunt’s been put about enough along of you already.  Don’t you make no mistake.”

“I’m goin’ to London,” repeated the rogue-girl stolidly.  “You can get Alice to come over.”

“Oh!  Can I?  Ye’re not goin’ till I tell you.  Don’t you think it!”

“I’m goin’.  I saw Mr. Derek this mornin’.  They’ll get me a place there.”

Tom Gaunt remained with his fork as it were transfixed.  The effort of devising contradiction to the chief supporters of his own rebellion was for the moment too much for him.  He resumed mastication.

“You’ll go where I want you to go; and don’t you think you can tell me where that is.”

In the silence that ensued the only sound was that of old Gaunt supping at his crusty-broth.  Then the rogue-girl went to the window and, taking the little cat on her breast, sat looking out into the rain.  Having finished his broth, old Gaunt got up, and, behind his son’s back, he looked at his granddaughter and thought: 

‘Goin’ to London!  ‘Twud be best for us all.  We shudn’ need to be movin’, then.  Goin’ to London!’ But he felt desolate.

CHAPTER XIV

When Spring and first love meet in a girl’s heart, then the birds sing.

The songs that blackbirds and dusty-coated thrushes flung through Nedda’s window when she awoke in Hampstead those May mornings seemed to have been sung by herself all night.  Whether the sun were flashing on the leaves, or rain-drops sieving through on a sou’west wind, the same warmth glowed up in her the moment her eyes opened.  Whether the lawn below were a field of bright dew, or dry and darkish in a shiver of east wind, her eyes never grew dim all day; and her blood felt as light as ostrich feathers.

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Project Gutenberg
The Freelands from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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