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  1. Mrs Molesworth
  3. Hathercourt (Classic Reprint) - Molesworth - Google Books

Mrs Molesworth

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Read more Read less. No customer reviews. If none of us marry, or do anything for ourselves, it will come to be rather hard upon papa in a few years. What good is the Brocklehurst ball, Mary? It is so crowded, and the people come all in great parties; we never get to know any one.

I suppose our beauty is not of that striking order to shine out through country made dresses, and crowds of finer people! I enjoy it, of course — even dancing with Frank Bury is better than not dancing at all. I told you some time ago — and I shall always say so — the bane of our life has been curates. Because papa is a poor clergyman, with lots of daughters, every one seems to think there can be, and should be, nothing before us but curates.

It almost makes me dislike papa, to think he ever was one!


The school children have gone in, and there are the Smithson girls coming up the lane, and they are always late. Do come! It felt chilly in church that morning. With corresponding reluctance to admit warmth and sunshine, it shrank from the genial spring-time — summer had to be undeniably summer before its presence could be realised within the aged walls. And this morning the congregation was even unusually small, which made the bareness and chilliness more obtrusive. Such a sound had never before been heard in Hathercourt Church on a Sunday morning; the sensation it produced in her, as gradually it grew louder and clearer, and more unmistakable, was so overpowering that she was positively afraid to look up.

Had she done so she would have expected to see the whole congregation turning to the door in awestruck anticipation of some portentous event. For the sound was that of carriage wheels — coming nearer, nearer, till at last — yes, there could now be no mistake, they stopped at the church gate. Then, after a little pause, came the creaking of the heavy oaken door, opened cautiously — the intruders evidently expecting themselves to be late comers — and seeming, as is the manner of doors, on that account to make all the more noise.

Again a little hesitation, then the sound of footsteps, several footsteps, coming along the aisle, the rustle of dresses, a faint, indescribable stir in the air, the result, probably, of the heads of nearly all the congregation present being turned in the direction of the persons approaching. She glanced up, first at Lilias, whose eye she caught for an instant, an instant in which it spoke volumes.

See how discreetly I manage to do so — my prayer-book a little to one side. No one would guess I was not attending to the service. But from where Mary sat so much diplomacy was hardly called for. Another moment brought the newcomers full in her view, as they filed in, one after the other, two ladies, then two gentlemen, to a pew some little way in front.

Hathercourt (Classic Reprint) - Molesworth - Google Books

The first lady was middle-aged, if not elderly, well-dressed and rather fat; the second was tall and thin, and seemingly very young, well-dressed too, and — an accidental turn of her head brought the face full in sight — yes, there was no doubt of it, very, very pretty. Pretty with the prettiness that is almost, but not quite , beauty, that might, perhaps, grow to be such in a few years, for just now she could not, thought Mary, be more than sixteen or seventeen — the rounded cheek and white forehead, on which the dark, soft hair lay so nestlingly, had no lines or suspicions of furrows such as are seldom altogether escaped even at twenty; the nose, the mouth, the lovely, happy looking eyes, showing bright blue through the long black lashes, all told of the very first spring-time of life; the poise of the graceful little head on the shoulders, the flutter of unconcealed interest with which she looked about her, put her extreme youth beyond a doubt.

Neither of them was old, yet one was decidedly older than the other; both were good-looking, but one was better than good-looking, he was undoubtedly handsome, and his expression was almost as attractive in its way as that of the young girl beside him. Could they be brother and sister? Just then for the first time she caught distinct sight of the face of the other gentleman, the elder of the two. It was grave and serious enough to please her, surely! Too grave and serious by far, she decided.

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