At Patalpur the winter gaieties were over, and the bustle of departure to the hills had just begun. A feeling of temporary leisure pervaded the English quarter of the station, and Trixie Coventry could enjoy the pleasant interval the more because the drawbacks of the coming months were yet unknown to her. India was perfect. How she loved the sun, the space, the colour, the friendliness, and the novelty of her surroundings! Since her arrival she had revelled in a whirl of popularity; no one's party was complete without pretty Mrs. Coventry; her beauty, her high spirits, and the fact of her youth, contrasted with her position as a colonel's wife, made her exceptionally interesting. One or two "croakers" prophesied that it would surely turn her head, but the majority could not pay her too much attention.
"You see, my boy," he went on, resuming his deliberate pacing of the room, "I have long been aware that none of my children, unless it be Esther, resemble me in character. They are not," he smiled with an air of excusing his choice of a metaphor, "not fighters. There was my poor boy James, Eleanor's father. I don't know if they have told you anything about him?"
"How charming you are, dear!" cried Mrs. Wodehouse.
Mikhail Votbinnik, USSR
For a long minute, as the new-arrived collie stood blinking and trembling in the light, everybody peered at him without word or motion. Jamie’s jaw had gone slack, at first sight of him. And it still hung supine; making the man’s mouth look like a frog penny bank’s.
37Then Harris told us some stories—stories he had written, stories he had yet to write. I remember Austin Harrison once saying to me: “Frank Harris is the most astounding creature! He will tell you a story and tell it so marvellously that, when he has finished, you say to yourself: ‘That is the most wonderful thing I have ever heard.’ And you say to him: ‘Why, in God’s name, don’t you write that?’ Well, he does write it, and when you read it you see that, after all, it is by no means so wonderful a thing as you had thought it.” But this is only half true. The story that is told is a very different thing from the story that is written: so different, indeed, that one cannot find any basis for comparison. In telling a story Harris is elliptical; a faint gesture serves for a sentence; a momentary silence is an innuendo; a lifting of the eyebrows, a look, a dropping of the voice, a slowness in his speech—all these take the place of words. He is an exquisite actor and he is at his best when he is sinister and menacing. One need scarcely say that the effect of one of Harris’s stories, told in private, with only one or two listeners, is extremely powerful, for his personality, so quick to melt and suffuse his speech—colouring it and vitalising it—is strong and strange and full of tropical richness....
Dr. Osborne was sent for, and came at once, but it was plain to all that Mr. Creswell's end was at hand. He had two severe paroxysms of pain, and then lay perfectly still and tranquil. Marian was sitting by his bedside, and in the middle of the night she felt his hand plucking at the sleeve of her gown. She roused herself and looked at him. His eyes were open, and there was a bright, happy expression on his thin face. His mind was wandering far away, back to the early days of his poverty and his struggles, and she who had shared both was with him. He pulled Marian to him, and she leaned eagerly forward; but it was not of her he was thinking. "Jenny!" he said, and his tongue reverted to the old familiar dialect which it had not used for so many years--"Jenny! coom away, lass! Taim's oop!--that's t' mill bell ringin'! Thou'rt a brave lass, and we've had hard taim of it; but we're near t' end now! Kiss me, Jenny! Always good and brave, lass--always----" And so he died.
That threat was the last flare of Mr. Gracy’s indomitable spirit. The act of defiance which confirmed it brought on a severe attack of pleurisy. Delane nursed the old man with dogged patience, and he emerged from the illness diminished, wizened, the last trace of auburn gone from his scant curls, and nothing left of his old self but a harmless dribble of talk.
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