East Lynne eBook

Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about East Lynne.

Wilson backed out of the room and closed the door softly, but her mistress caught a compassionate look directed toward her.  Her heart seemed bursting with indignation and despair; there seemed to be no side on which she could turn for refuge.  Pitied by her own servants!

She reopened her desk and dashed off a haughty, peremptory note for the attendance of the dressmaker at East Lynne, commanding its immediate dispatch.

Miss Corny groaned in her wrath.

“You will be sorry for not listening to me, ma’am, when your husband shall be brought to poverty.  He works like a horse now, and with all his slaving, can scarcely, I fear, keep expenses down.”

Poor Lady Isabel, ever sensitive, began to think they might, with one another, be spending more than Mr. Carlyle’s means would justify; she knew their expenses were heavy.  The same tale had been dinned into her ears ever since she married him.  She gave up in that moment all thought of the new dress for herself and for Isabel; but her spirit, in her deep unhappiness, felt sick and faint within her.

Wilson, meanwhile, had flown to Joyce’s room, and was exercising her dearly beloved tongue in an exaggerated account of the matter—­how Miss Carlyle put upon my lady, and had forbidden a new dress to her, as well as the frock to Miss Isabel.

And yet a few more days passed on.



Bright was the moon on that genial Monday night, bright was the evening star, as they shone upon a solitary wayfarer who walked on the shady side of the road with his head down, as though he did not care to court observation.  A laborer, apparently, for he wore a smock-frock and had hobnails in his shoes; but his whiskers were large and black, quite hiding the lower part of his face, and his broad-brimmed “wide-awake” came far over his brows.  He drew near the dwelling of Richard Hare, Esq., plunged rapidly over some palings, after looking well to the right and to the left, into a field, and thence over the side wall into Mr. Hare’s garden, where he remained amidst the thick trees.

Now, by some mischievous spirit of intuition or contrariety, Justice Hare was spending this evening at home, a thing he did not do once in six months unless he had friends with him.  Things in real life do mostly go by the rules of contrary, as children say in their play, holding the corners of the handkerchief, “Here we go round and round by the rules of contrary; if I tell you to hold fast, you must loose; if I tell you to loose, you must hold fast.”  Just so in the play of life.  When we want people to “hold fast,” they “loose;” and when we want them to “loose,” they “hold fast.”

Barbara, anxious, troubled, worn out almost with the suspense of looking and watching for her brother, feeling a feverish expectation that night would bring him—­but so had she felt for the two or three nights past—­would have given her hand for her father to go out.  But no—­things were going by the rule of contrary.  There sat the stern justice in full view of the garden and the grove, his chair drawn precisely in front of the window, his wig awry, and a long pipe in his mouth.

Project Gutenberg
East Lynne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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