The Old Wives' Tale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 811 pages of information about The Old Wives' Tale.

“Good night, then.”

They looked at each other again, with timid affectionateness.  They did not kiss.  The thought in both their minds was:  “We couldn’t keep on kissing every day.”  But there was a vast amount of quiet, restrained affection, of mutual confidence and respect, even of tenderness, in their tones.

About half an hour later a dreadful hullaballoo smote the ear of Constance.  She was just getting into bed.  She listened intently, in great alarm.  It was undoubtedly those dogs fighting, and fighting to the death.  She pictured the kitchen as a battlefield, and Spot slain.  Opening the door, she stepped out into the corridor,

“Constance,” said a low voice above her.  She jumped.  “Is that you?”


“Well, don’t bother to go down to the dogs; they’ll stop in a moment.  Fossette won’t bite.  I’m so sorry she’s upsetting the house.”

Constance stared upwards, and discerned a pale shadow.  The dogs did soon cease their altercation.  This short colloquy in the dark affected Constance strangely.


The next morning, after a night varied by periods of wakefulness not unpleasant, Sophia arose and, taking due precautions against cold, went to the window.  It was Saturday; she had left Paris on the Thursday.  She looked forth upon the Square, holding aside the blind.  She had expected, of course, to find that the Square had shrunk in size; but nevertheless she was startled to see how small it was.  It seemed to her scarcely bigger than a courtyard.  She could remember a winter morning when from the window she had watched the Square under virgin snow in the lamplight, and the Square had been vast, and the first wayfarer, crossing it diagonally and leaving behind him the irregular impress of his feet, had appeared to travel for hours over an interminable white waste before vanishing past Holl’s shop in the direction of the Town Hall.  She chiefly recalled the Square under snow; cold mornings, and the coldness of the oil-cloth at the window, and the draught of cold air through the ill-fitting sash (it was put right now)!  These visions of herself seemed beautiful to her; her childish existence seemed beautiful; the storms and tempests of her girlhood seemed beautiful; even the great sterile expanse of tedium when, after giving up a scholastic career, she had served for two years in the shop—­even this had a strange charm in her memory.

And she thought that not for millions of pounds would she live her life over again.

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The Old Wives' Tale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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