BLTC Press Titles

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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

Cometh up as a flower

by Rhoda Broughton


"Tea is ready, Miss," remarked this desirable body servant, emerging from the gloom into the little circle of pale light round the candle.

"Is it?" said I, nothing more original occurring to me to say, as I stroked down my untidy ruddy locks with my fingers.

Without further addition to my toilette, for I feared to keep my father waiting, I ran down two or three shallow, well-worn stone steps into the dining-room. It was likewise very big and very dark, with more panels that obtrusively proclaimed their destitution of varnish to each casual observer, and with more family pictures glooming down out of black frames, in their faded beauty, for beauty the Le Stranges, man and woman, always had apparently in those old times, however degenerate they might be now. The table in the middle of the room, laid for two people, scantly furnished with light, and scantlier still with eatables, showed like an oasis in a desert of obscurity. My father was already in his old velvet arm-chair, and was sitting leaning forward with his head between his hands, in a pose sufficiently expressive. You did not need to see his face to tell you that here was a man careworn and weary, on whom the sun of his life's afternoon was beating scorching hot, a man with whom life was going awry — awry I should think it was; the old house was going down hill, and he did not like it; the brambles had sprung up rankly, and were choking the Lebanonian cedar; he and his were last where they used to be first, and he felt that it would be the death of him. Brave as the Spartan boy, he kept the vitalsgnawing fox hidden under his cloak, away from the eyes of the coldly-prying world — a world often illnaturedly curious in seeking out and putting its fingers through the tatters in its neighbour's coat — a world

" That would peep and botanize
Upon ita mother's grave."

I gambolled up to him in a kid-like manner. "Well," said I cheerfully, "I suppose the tea is quite cold, and you're quite cross, and I'm t<? have a real good scolding, aren't I?" Then I stopped and kissed the whitened hairs.

"Eh, what?" said he, thus suddenly called back from his joyless reverie to the contemplation of a young round face that was dear to him, and vainly endeavouring to extricate himself from the meshes of a redundant crop of curly hair, which was being flourished, in its redness, before his face. "Indeed, Nell, I'd forgotten your very existence that minute."

"What could have chased so pleasing an image from your mind's eye?" said I, laughing.

"What always chases every pleasing image," he answered, gloomily.

"Bills, I suppose," returned I discontentedly, "bills, bills, bills! that's the song in this house from morning to night. Is there any word of one syllable in the English language that includes so many revolting ideas!"

"None except hell," said my father, bitterly, "and I sometimes think they're synonymous."

"Dad," said I, "take my advice and try a new plan, don't worry about them any more, take no notice at all of them, we've got the air and the sunshine, and one another left, we ought to be happy, and if the worst comes to the worst, we can but go to gaol, where we shall be nicely dressed, well fed, and have our hair cut, all for nothing."

My ideas of a debtor's prison were evidently not derived from "Pickwick" or "Little Dorrit," inextricably mingled were they with my recollections of the felon's gaol at Nantford our county town.

Papa shook his head, "All very well to say 'don't worry,' Nell; as well say to a criminal on the scaffold 'don't be hanged,' or to a dead body, 'don't be buried;' to be worried or not worried does not depend upon an effort of the will, child."

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