155 pages
English

A Dozen Ways Of Love

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155 pages
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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Dozen Ways Of Love, by Lily Dougall This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A Dozen Ways Of Love Author: Lily Dougall Release Date: March 30, 2006 [eBook #18086] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A DOZEN WAYS OF LOVE*** E-text prepared by Robert Cicconetti, Martin Pettit, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net/) from page images generously made available by Early Canadiana Online (http://www.canadiana.org/eco/index.html) Note: Images of the original pages are available through Early Canadiana Online. See http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/27354? id=1773fdb4bf2c6d8f A DOZEN WAYS OF LOVE BY L. DOUGALL AUTHOR OF 'BEGGARS ALL,' 'THE ZEITGEIST,' 'THE MADONNA OF A DAY,' ETC. LONDON ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 1897 TO M. S. E. WITHOUT WHOSE AID, I THINK, MY BOOKS WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN WRITTEN CONTENTS I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. YOUNG LOVE A MARRIAGE MADE IN H EAVEN THRIFT A TAINT IN THE BLOOD C HAPTER I C HAPTER II C HAPTER III C HAPTER IV 'H ATH NOT A JEW EYES?' A C OMMERCIAL TRAVELLER THE SYNDICATE BABY VIII. IX. WITCHCRAFT THE GIRL WHO BELIEVED IN THE SAINTS X. THE P AUPER'S GOLDEN D AY XI. THE S OUL OF A MAN C HAPTER I C HAPTER II C HAPTER III XII. A FREAK OF C UPID C HAPTER I C HAPTER II C HAPTER III C HAPTER VI C HAPTER V C HAPTER VI ADVERTISEMENTS I YOUNG LOVE It was after dark on a November evening. A young woman came down the main street of a small town in the south of Scotland. She was a maid-servant, about thirty years old; she had a pretty, though rather strong-featured, face, and yellow silken hair. When she came toward the end of the street she turned into a small draper's shop. A middle-aged woman stood behind the counter folding her wares. 'Can ye tell me the way to Mistress Macdonald's?' asked the maid. 'Ye'll be a stranger.' It was evident that every one in those parts knew the house inquired for. The maid had a somewhat forward, familiar manner; she sat down to rest. 'What like is she?' [Pg 3] The shopkeeper bridled. 'Is it Mistress Macdonald?' There was reproof in the voice. 'She is much respectet—none more so. It would be before you were born [Pg 4] that every one about here knew Mistress Macdonald.' 'Well, what family is there?' The maid had a sweet smile; her voice fell into a cheerful coaxing tone, which had its effect. 'Ye'll be the new servant they'll be looking for. Is it walking ye are from the station? Well, she had six children, had Mistress Macdonald.' 'What ages will they be?' The woman knit her brows; the problem set her was too difficult. 'I couldna tell ye just exactly. There's Miss Macdonald—she that's at home yet; she'll be over fifty.' 'Oh!' The maid gave a cheerful note of interested understanding. 'It'll be her perhaps that wrote to me; the mistress'll be an old lady.' 'She'll be nearer ninety than eighty, I'm thinking.' There was a moment's pause, which the shop-woman filled with sighs. 'Ye'll be aware that it's a sad house ye're going to. She's verra ill is Mistress Macdonald. It's sorrow for us all, for she's been hale and had her faculties. She'll no' be lasting long now, I'm thinking.' 'No,' said the maid, with good-hearted pensiveness; 'it's not in the course of nature that she should.' She rose as she spoke, as if it behoved her to begin her new duties with alacrity, as there might not long be occasion for them. She put another question before she went. 'And who will there be living in the house [Pg 5] now?' 'There's just Miss Macdonald that lives with her mother; and there's Mistress Brown—she'll be coming up most of the days now, but she dinna live there; and there's Ann Johnston, that's helping Miss Macdonald with the nursing—she's been staying at the house for a year back. That's all that there'll be of them besides the servants, except that there's Dr. Robert. His name is Macdonald, too, ye know; he's a nephew, and he's the minister o' the kirk here. He goes up every day to see how his aunt's getting on. I'm thinking he'll be up there now; it's about his time for going.' The maid took the way pointed out to her. Soon she was walking up a gravel path, between trim, old-fashioned laurel hedges. She stood at the door of a detached house. It was an ordinary middle-class dwelling—comfortable, commodious, ugly enough, except that stolidity and age did much to soften its ugliness. It had, above all, the air of being a home—a hospitable open-armed look, as if children had run in and out of it for years, as if young men had gone out from it to see the world and come back again to rest, as if young girls had fluttered about it, confiding their sports and their loves to its ivy-clad walls. Now there hung about it a silence and sobriety that were like the shadows of coming oblivion. The gas was turned low in the hall. The old-fashioned omnibus that [Pg 6] came lumbering from the railway with a box for the new maid seemed to startle the place with its noise. In the large dining-room four people were sitting in dreary discussion. The gaslight flared upon heavy mahogany furniture, upon red moreen curtains and big silver trays and dishes. By the fire sat the two daughters of the aged woman. They both had grey hair and wrinkled faces. The married daughter was stout and energetic; the spinster was thin, careworn and nervous. Two middle-aged men were listening to a complaint she made; the one was Robert Macdonald the minister, the other was the family doctor. 'It's no use Robina's telling me that I must coax my mother to eat, as if I hadn't tried that'—the voice became shrill—'I've begged her, and prayed her, and reasoned with her.' 'No, no, Miss Macdonald—no, no,' said the doctor soothingly. 'You've done your best, we all understand that; it's Mistress Brown that's thinking of the situation in a wrong light; it's needful to be plain and to say that Mistress Macdonald's mind is affected.' Robina Brown interposed with indignation and authority. 'My mother has always had her right mind; she's been losing her memory. All [Pg 7] aged people lose their memories.' The minister spoke with a meditative interest in a psychological phenomenon. 'Ay, she's been losing it backwards; she forgot who we were first, and remembered us all as little children; then she forgot us and your father altogether. Latterly she's been living back in the days when her father and mother were living at Kelsey Farm. It's strange to hear her talk. There's not, as far as I know, another being on this wide earth of all those that came and went to Kelsey Farm that is alive now.' Miss Macdonald wiped her eyes; her voice shook as she spoke; the nervousness of fatigue and anxiety accentuated her grief. 'She was asking me how much butter we made in the dairy to-day, and asking if the curly cow had her calf, and what Jeanie Trim was doing.' 'Who was Jeanie Trim?' asked the minister. 'How should I know? I suppose she was one of the Kelsey servants.' 'Curious,' ejaculated the minister. 'This Jeanie will have grown old and died, perhaps, forty years ago, and my aunt's speaking of her as if she was a young thing at work in the next room!' 'And what did you say to Mistress Macdonald?' the doctor asked, with a cheerful purpose in his tone. 'I explained to her that her poor head was wandering.' 'Nay, now, but, Miss Macdonald, I'm thinking if I were you I would tell her that [Pg 8] the curly cow had her calf.' 'I never'—tearfully—'told my mother a falsehood in my life, except when I was a very little girl, and then'—Miss Macdonald paused to wipe her eyes—'she spoke to me so beautifully out of the Bible about it.' The married sister chimed in mournfully, 'How often have I heard my mother say that not one of her children had ever told her a lie!' 'Yes, yes, but——' There was a tone in the doctor's voice as if he would like to have used a strong word, but he schooled himself. 'It's curious the notion she has got of not eating,' broke in the minister. 'I held the broth myself, but she would have none of it.' In the next room the flames of a large fire were sending reflections over the polished surfaces of massive bedroom furniture. The wind blew against this side of the house and rattled the windows, as if angry to see the picture of luxury and warmth within. It was a handsome stately room, and all that was in it dated back many a year. In a chintz arm-chair by the fireside its mistress sat—a very old lady, but there was still dignity in her pose. Her hair, perfectly white, was still plentiful; her eye had still something of brightness, and there was upon the aged features the cast of thought and the habitual look of intelligence. [Pg 9] Beside her upon a small table were such accompaniments of age as daughter and nurse deemed suitable—the large print Bible, the big spectacles and caudle cup. The lady sat looking about her with a quick restless expression, like a prisoner alert to escape; she was tied to her chair—not by cords—by the failure of muscular strength; but perhaps she did not know that. She eyed her attendant with bright furtive glances, as if the meek sombre woman who sat sewing beside her were her jailer. The party in the dining-room broke up their vain discussion, and came for another visit of personal inspection. 'Mother, this is the doctor come to see you. Do you not remember the doctor?' The old lady looked at all four of them brightly enough. 'I haena the pleasure of remembering who ye are, but perhaps it will return to me.' There was restrained politeness in her manner. The doctor spoke. 'It's a very bad tale I'm hearing about you to-day, that you've begun to refuse your meat. A person of your experience, Mistress Macdonald, ought to know that we mu
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