Nancy

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263

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2010

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Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe Tout savoir sur nos offres

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263

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Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe Tout savoir sur nos offres

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08 décembre 2010

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Nancy, by Rhoda Broughton 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: Nancy A Novel Author: Rhoda Broughton Release Date: July 9, 2007 [EBook #12304] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK NANCY *** htm version produced by David Edwards, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This htm file was produced from scanned images of public domain material from the Google Print project.) NANCY: A NOVEL. BY RHODA BROUGHTON. AUTHOR OF "'GOOD-BYE, SWEETHEART!'" "RED AS A ROSE IS SHE," ETC., ETC. NEW YORK: D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 549 & 551 BROADWAY. 1874. "As through the land at eve we went, And plucked the ripened ears, We fell out, my wife and I, Oh, we fell out, I know not why, And kissed again with tears." CONTENTS CHAPTER I. CHAPTER II. CHAPTER III. CHAPTER IV. CHAPTER V. CHAPTER VI. CHAPTER VII. CHAPTER VIII. CHAPTER IX. CHAPTER X. CHAPTER XI. CHAPTER XII. CHAPTER XIII. CHAPTER XIV. CHAPTER XV. CHAPTER XVI. CHAPTER XVII. CHAPTER XVIII. CHAPTER XIX. CHAPTER XX. CHAPTER XXI. CHAPTER XXII. CHAPTER XXIII. CHAPTER XXIV. CHAPTER XXV. CHAPTER XXVI. CHAPTER XXVII. CHAPTER XXVIII. CHAPTER XXIX. CHAPTER XXX. CHAPTER XXXI. CHAPTER XXXII. CHAPTER XXXIII. CHAPTER XXXIV. CHAPTER XXXV. CHAPTER XXXVI. CHAPTER XXXVII. CHAPTER XXXVIII. CHAPTER XXXIX. CHAPTER XL. CHAPTER XLI. CHAPTER XLII. CHAPTER XLIII. CHAPTER XLIV. CHAPTER XLV. CHAPTER XLVI. CHAPTER XLVII. CHAPTER XLVIII. CHAPTER XLIX. CHAPTER L. CHAPTER LI. CHAPTER LII. Other Works Published by D. APPLETON &. CO. NANCY. CHAPTER I. "Put into a small preserving pan three ounces of fresh butter, and, as soon as it is just melted, add one pound of brown sugar of moderate quality—" "Not moderate; the browner the better," interpolates Algy. "Cannot say I agree with you. I hate brown sugar—filthy stuff!" says Bobby, contradictiously. "Not half so filthy as white, if you come to that," retorts Algy, loftily, looking up from the lemon he is grating to extinguish his brother. "They clear white sugar with but—" "Keep these stirred gently over a clear fire for about fifteen minutes," interrupt I, beginning to read again very fast, in a loud, dull recitative, to hinder further argument, "or until a little of the mixture dipped into cold water breaks clear between the teeth without sticking to them. When it is boiled to this point, it must be poured out immediately or it will burn." Having galloped jovially along, scorning stops, I here pause out of breath. We are a large family, we Greys, and we are all making taffy. Yes, every one of us. It would take all the fingers of one hand, and the thumb of the other, to count us, O reader. Six! Yes, six. A Frenchman might well hold up his hands in astonished horror at the insane prolificness—the foolhardy fertility—of British householders. We come very improbably close together, except Tou Tou, who was an after-thought. There are no two of us, I am proud to say, exactly simultaneous, but we have come tumbling on each other's heels into the world in so hot a hurry that we evidently expect to find it a pleasant place when we get there. Perhaps we do—perhaps we do not; friends, you will hear and judge for yourselves. A few years ago when we were little, people used to say that we were quite a pretty sight, like little steps one above another. We are big steps now, and no one any longer hazards the suggestion of our being pretty. On the other hand, nobody denies that we are each as well furnished with legs, arms, and other etceteras, as our neighbors, nor can affirm that we are notably more deficient in wits than those of our friends who have arrived in twos and threes. We are in the school-room, the big bare school-room, that has seen us all—that is still seeing some of us—unwillingly dragged, and painfully goaded up the steep slopes of book-learning. Outside, the March wind is roughly hustling the dry, brown trees and pinching the diffident green shoots, while the round and rayless sun of late afternoon is staring, from behind the elm-twigs in at the long maps on the wall, in at the high chairs—tall of back, cruelly tiny of seat, off whose rungs we have kicked all the paint—in at the green baize table, richly freaked with splashes. Hardly less red than the sun's, are our burnt faces gathered about the fire. This fire has no flame—only a glowing, ruddy heart, on which the bright brass saucepan sits; and kneeling before it, stirring the mess with a long iron spoon, is Barbara. Algy, as I have before remarked, is grating a lemon. Bobby is buttering soup-plates. The Brat—the Brat always takes his ease if he can—is peeling almonds, fishing delicately for them in a cup of hot water with his finger and thumb; and I, Nancy, am reading aloud the receipt at the top of my voice, out of a greasy, dog's-eared cookery-book, which, since it came into our hands, has been the innocent father of many a hideous compound. Tou Tou alone, in consideration of her youth, is allowed to be a spectator. She sits on the edge of the table, swinging her thin legs, and kicking her feet together. Certainly we deteriorate in looks as we go downward. In Barbara we made an excellent start: few families a better one, though we say it that should not. Although in Algy there was a slight falling off, it was not much to complain of. But I am sensibly uglier than Algy (as indeed he has, on several occasions, dispassionately remarked to me); the Brat than me; Bobby than the Brat; and so steadily on, till we reach our nadir of unhandsomeness in Tou Tou. Tou Tou is our climax, and we certainly defy our neighbors and acquaintances to outdo her. Hapless young Tou Tou! made up of the thinnest legs, the widest mouth, the invisiblest nose, and over-visiblest ears, that ever went to the composition of a child of twelve years. "Keep stirring always! You must take care that it does not stick to the bottom!" say I, closing the receipt-book, and speaking on my own account, but still as one having authority. "All very well to say 'Keep stirring always,'" answers Barbara, turning round a face unavoidably pretty, even though at the present moment deeply flamecolored; eyes still sweetly laughing with gay good-humor, even though half burnt out of her head, to answer me; "but if you had been stirring as long as I have, you would wonder that you had any arm left to stir with, however feebly. Here, one of you boys, take a turn! You Brat, you never do any thing for your living!" The Brat complies, though not with eagerness. They change occupations: the Brat stirs, and she fishes for almonds. Ten minutes pass: the taffy is done, and what is more it really is taffy. The upshot of our cookery is in general so startlingly indifferent from what we had intended, that the result in the present case takes us by surprise. We all prove practically that, in the words of the receipt-book, it "breaks clear between the teeth without sticking to them." It is poured into Bobby's soup-plate, and we have thrown up the window-sashes, and set it on the ledge to cool. The searching wind blows in dry and biting. Now it is rushing in a violent current through the room, for the door has opened. Mother enters. "To what may we attribute the honor of this visit?" says Algy, turning away from the window to meet her, and setting her a chair. Bobby gives her a kiss, and the Brat a lump of taffy, concerning which it would be invidious to predicate which were the stickier; so exceedingly adhesive are both. "Your father says," begins she, sitting down. She is interrupted by a loud and universal groan. "Says what? Something unpleasant of course, who is it now? Who has done any thing now? I do hope it is the Brat," cries Bobby, viciously; "it is quite his turn; he has been good boy of the family for the last week." "I dare say it is," replies the Brat, resignedly; "one can't expect such prosperity as mine to last forever." "Of course it is I," says Algy, rather bitterly, "it is always I. I have never been good boy since I was ploughed; and, please God, I never will be again." "But what is it? what is it? About how bad is it? Is it to be one of our worst rows? " We are all speaking together at the top of our voices; indeed, we rarely employ a lower key. "It is no one; no one has done any thing," replies mother, when, at last, we allow her to make herself heard, "only your father sends you a message that, as Sir Roger Tempest is coming here to-day, he hopes you will make less noise this evening in here than you did last night: he says he could hardly hear the sound of his own voice." "Ahem!" "Very likely!" "I dare say!" in different tones of angry incredulity. "He begs you to see that the swing-door is shut, as he does not wish his friend to imagine that he keeps a private lunatic asylum." A universal snort of indignation. "If we are bedlamites, we know who made us so. We will tell old Roger if he asks," etc. "For my part," say I, resolutely pinching my lips together as I kneel on the carpet, and violently hammer the now cold and hard taffy with the handle of the poker, which in its day has been put to many uses vile, "I can tell you that I shall not dine with you to-night: I should infallibly say something to father —something unfortunate—I feel it rising; and it would be unseemly to have one of our émeutes before this old gentleman, would not it?" "They are nice breezy things when you are used to them," says Barbara, laughing; "but one requires to be brought up to them." "Do not you dine either, Brat," say I, looking up, and waving the poker with suave command at him, "and we will broil bones for tea, and roast potatoes on the shovel." "Some of you must dine," says poor
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