Sparrows: the story of an unprotected girl eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 465 pages of information about Sparrows.
daring play, the burning jealousies of which the dark old rooms, of which she sometimes caught a glimpse, could tell if they had a mind.  Sometimes she would close her eyes, when the street would be again filled with a jostling crowd of sedan chairmen, footmen, and linkboys; she could almost smell the torches and hear the cries of their bearers.  It gave her much of a shock to realise how beauties, lovers, linkboys, and all had disappeared from the face of the earth, as if they had never been.  She wondered why Londoners were so indifferent to the stones Soho had to tell.  Then she fell to speculating upon which the house might be where her blood-thirsty ancestor had lived; also, if it had ever occurred to him that one of his descendants, a girl, would be wandering about Soho with scarce enough for her daily needs.  In time, she grew to love the old houses, which seemed ever to mourn their long-lost grandeur, which still seemed full of echoes of long-dead voices, which were ill-reconciled to the base uses to which they were now put.  Perhaps she, also, loved them because she grew to compare their fallen state with that of her own family; it seemed that she and they had much in common; and shared misfortunes beget sympathy.

Thus Mavis worked and dreamed.

CHAPTER EIGHT

SPIDER AND FLY

One night, Mavis went back to “Dawes’” earlier than usual.  She was wearing the boots bought with her carefully saved pence; these pinched her feet, making her weary and irritable.  She wondered if she would have the bedroom to herself while she undressed.  Of late, the queenly Miss Potter had given up going out for the evening and returning at all hours in the morning.  Her usual robust health had deserted her; she was constantly swallowing drugs; she would go out for long walks after shop hours, to return about eleven, completely exhausted, when she would hold long, whispered conversations with her friend Miss Allen.

Mavis was delighted to find the room vacant.  The odour of drugs mingled with the other smells of the chamber, which she mitigated, in some measure, by opening the window as far as she was able.  She pulled off her tight boots, enjoying for some moments a pleasurable sense of relief; then she tumbled into bed, soon to fall asleep.  She was awakened by the noise of voices raised in altercation.  Miss Potter and Miss Impett were having words.  The girls were in bed, although no one had troubled to turn off the flaring jet.  As they became more and more possessed with the passion for effective retort, Mavis saw vile looks appearing on their faces:  these obliterated all traces of youth and comeliness, substituting in their stead a livid commonness.

“We know all about you!” cried loud-voiced Miss Impett.

“Happily, that’s not a privilege desired in your case,” retorted Miss Potter.

“And why not?” Miss Impett demanded to know.

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Sparrows: the story of an unprotected girl from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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