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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 274MB


    Software instructions

      The prospect of Mr Silverdales presence at dinner that night had filled Alice with secret and gentle flutterings, and accounted for the fact that she wore her amethyst cross and practised several of Mendelssohns Songs Without Words before evening service, in case she was asked to play after dinner. She reaped her due reward for these prudent steps, since Mr Silverdale expressed his admiration for amethysts at dinner, and afterwards came and sat close by the piano, beating time with scarcely perceptible movements of a slim white hand, not in the manner of one assisting her with the rhythm, but as if he himself pulsated with it. He had produced an extraordinarily unfavourable impression on John by constantly{53} calling him by his Christian name, by talking about Tom Brown when he heard he was at Rugby, and by using such fragments of schoolboy slang as he happened to recollect from his boyish days. These in the rapidly changing vernacular of schoolboys were now chiefly out of date, but John saw quite clearly that the design was to be boys together, and despised him accordingly. On Mr Keeling he produced merely the impression of a very ladylike young man of slightly inane disposition, and as Hugh was away, spending the evening at the house of his fiance, Mr Silverdale was thrown on the hands of the ladies for mutual entertainment. With them he succeeded as signally as he had failed with John, saying that though preaching a sermon might be dry work for his hearers it was hungry work for the performer, eating salmon mayonnaise with great gusto, and remarking across the table to John, Jolly good grub, isnt it, John? a remark that endeared him to Mrs Keeling, though it made John feel slightly sick, and caused him to leave in a pointed manner on his plate the portion of the good grub which he had not yet consumed. Like a wise tactician, therefore, Mr Silverdale abandoned the impregnable, and delivered his assaults where he was more likely to be successful. He had an eager and joyful manner, as of one who found the world an excellent joke.

      Mrs Keeling tried to recollect something about quarrels she had been party to. There was the case of the two little tiffs she had had lately with her husband, once when he had distinctly sworn at her, once when he had asked her so roughly what she meant with regard to her little joke about Norah and the catalogue. One of those, so it suddenly seemed to her now, had led to a pearl-pendant, which seemed to illustrate Alices theory of quarrels leading to warmer attachments. She had not connected the two before. She wondered whether Mrs Fyson would say that that was very clever too.... She determined to think it over when she had leisure. At present she was too curious about Alice to attend to it. But she would think it over at Brighton.{223}It isnt only his attendance there that I mean,{104} said Mr Silverdale. But you know his Stores are in my parish, and he employs some four hundred work-people there. I went to see him at his office this morning, and asked him if I couldnt have a daily service for them.

      Arent you going to shake hands? he asked.Yes, sir, I am very fond of them, she said, finishing an entry.

      I shall be here till half-past one, if you want to ask me anything, he said, and shut the door between her little cabin and his big cool room. This door was heavily padded at the edges, so that the clack of the typewriter hardly reached him.

      He could not complete that outrageous falsity with Alices eyes fixed on him. She waited, she longed to withdraw her hand from under his: it itched to pluck itself away and yet some counter-compelling influence from herself kept it there, delighting in his touch. The resentment at the encouragement she had received, which had provoked this ghastly fiasco, faded from her, her shame at having precipitated it faded also, and her mind, even in this cataclysm, but sunned itself in his presence. But that lasted only for a moment, her shame toppled it off its pre-eminence again, and again her sense of the wanton flirting of which she had been the victim banished her shame. Never in all the years of her placid existence had her mother felt the poignancy of any one of those emotions which made tumult together in Alices heart. And as if that was not enough, another added its discordant shrillness to the Babel within her. She pulled her hand away.

      He came back in a very short space of time.

      He had no difficulty in making her look at him now. She looked up with a half smile.Thank you so much, Mr Keeling, she said.{127} I shall be delighted to let you have the block if you feel like that about it. I will bring it back with me to-morrow, shall I?


      There was never a swifter disillusionment than when she came in, and he stood up, as he had now{157} learned to do, at her entrance. He had heard her step along the passage, and the bird of romance, hidden perhaps behind the sofa or in the case of files, gave out a great jubilant throatful of song. But next moment it was as if some hand, Mrs Fysons perhaps, had wrung its neck and stopped its singing. She had a perfectly friendly smile for him, but the smile was not one shade more friendly than usual, her eyes did not hold lit within them a spark of closer intimacy than had habitually been there for the last fortnight. Whatever had happened to him last night, he saw that nothing whatever had happened to her. No sixth sense had conveyed to her the smallest hint of his midnight walk: she had been through no nocturnal experiences that the most sanguine could construe into correspondence with that, and on the moment he could no more have told her about his midnight walk, or have been humorous on the subject of disintegrated shoes than he could have taken her into his arms and kissed her. And by the standard of how incredibly remote she seemed, he could judge of the distance of his spirits leap towards her, when he stood outside her window last night. The very absence of any change in her was the light by which he saw the change in himself.


      No; I must finish it. I thought perhaps I could go there for an hour in the middle of the morning, when you were down here. I could still get your letters done in time for the evening post. If I went there every day for an hour I could get through as much as I did on alternate evenings.Johns position was thus a peculiarly depressing one, for his natural instinct in those hours of tedium in church was to edge away as far as possible from his father, but on the other side of him was his sister Alice, who not only sang psalms and canticles and hymns with such piercing resonance that Johns left ear sang and buzzed during the prayers afterwards, but had marvellously angular knees and elbows, which with a pious and unconscious air she pressed into Johns slim side if he encroached on her due share of the pew. And when we consider that John was just seventeen years old, an age when the young male animal has a tendency to show symptoms of its growth and vigour by jerky, electric movements known as fidgets whenever it has to stop in one position for more than a minute or two, it was reasonable that John should conclude that his share of weeping and gnashing of teeth had begun already. But church time did not last for ever and ever.... Beyond the angular Alice, who was twenty-five, came Hugh, whose banns had been given out that day for the first time, just before the sermon, and who was still feeling rather hot and uncomfortable about it. He had hinted at breakfast that perhaps he would not go to church that morning in consequence, but his father had fixed him with{4} so appalling a countenance that the hint developed no further.


      Indeed, I hope you will do nothing so indelicate, said she.God, theres no fool like an old fool, he said to himself as he skirted with a wide berth past the tussock where larks were nesting.