The Moorland Cottage eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 163 pages of information about The Moorland Cottage.

The Moorland Cottage eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 163 pages of information about The Moorland Cottage.
ready, then, if there was any time, Maggie sat down to her lessons.  Ned, who prided himself considerably on his sex, had been sitting all the morning, in his father’s arm-chair, in the little book-room, “studying,” as he chose to call it.  Sometimes Maggie would pop her head in, with a request that he would help her to carry the great pitcher of water up-stairs, or do some other little household service; with which request he occasionally complied, but with so many complaints about the interruption, that at last she told him she would never ask him again.  Gently as this was said, he yet felt it as a reproach, and tried to excuse himself.

“You see, Maggie, a man must be educated to be a gentleman.  Now, if a woman knows how to keep a house, that’s all that is wanted from her.  So my time is of more consequence than yours.  Mamma says I’m to go to college, and be a clergyman; so I must get on with my Latin.”

Maggie submitted in silence; and almost felt it as an act of gracious condescension when, a morning or two afterwards, he came to meet her as she was toiling in from the well, carrying the great brown jug full of spring-water ready for dinner.  “Here,” said he, “let us put it in the shade behind the horse-mount.  Oh, Maggie! look what you’ve done!  Spilt it all, with not turning quickly enough when I told you.  Now you may fetch it again for yourself, for I’ll have nothing to do with it.”

“I did not understand you in time,” said she, softly.  But he had turned away, and gone back in offended dignity to the house.  Maggie had nothing to do but return to the well, and fill it again.  The spring was some distance off, in a little rocky dell.  It was so cool after her hot walk, that she sat down in the shadow of the gray limestone rock, and looked at the ferns, wet with the dripping water.  She felt sad, she knew not why.  “I think Ned is sometimes very cross,” thought she.  “I did not understand he was carrying it there.  Perhaps I am clumsy.  Mamma says I am; and Ned says I am.  Nancy never says so and papa never said so.  I wish I could help being clumsy and stupid.  Ned says all women are so.  I wish I was not a woman.  It must be a fine thing to be a man.  Oh dear!  I must go up the field again with this heavy pitcher, and my arms do so ache!” She rose and climbed the steep brae.  As she went she heard her mother’s voice.

“Maggie!  Maggie! there’s no water for dinner, and the potatoes are quite boiled.  Where is that child?”

They had begun dinner, before she came down from brushing her hair and washing her hands.  She was hurried and tired.

“Mother,” said Ned, “mayn’t I have some butter to these potatoes, as there is cold meat?  They are so dry.”

“Certainly, my dear.  Maggie, go and fetch a pat of butter out of the dairy.”

Maggie went from her untouched dinner without speaking.

“Here, stop, you child!” said Nancy, turning her back in the passage.  “You go to your dinner, I’ll fetch the butter.  You’ve been running about enough to-day.”

Project Gutenberg
The Moorland Cottage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.