BLTC Press Titles

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The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller

East Angels

by Constance Fenimore Woolson


"Neither. I was only wondering what there could be here to make yon so contented."

This little speech pleased the man beside her highly. He said to himself that in the mind of a girl accustomed to the ways of the world, it would have belonged to the list of speeches too obvious in application to be made; while a little country coquette would have said it purposely. But Garda Thorne had spoken both naturally and indifferently, without thinking or caring as to what he might say in reply.

"I was remembering," he answered, " that at home all the rivers are frozen over, not to speak of the water-pipes, and that iee-blocks are grinding against each other in the harbor; is it any wonder, then, that in this charming air I should be content? But there are various degrees even in contentment, and I should reach a higher one still if yon would only let me carry that umbrella." For she had opened it, and was holding it as women will, not high enough to admit him under its shade, but at just the angle that kept him effectually at a distance on account of the points which were dangerously on a level, now with his hat, now with his collar, now with some undefended portion of his face. He had always admired the serenity with which women will pass through a crowded street, raking all the passers-by as they go with an umbrella held at just that height, the height that suits themselves; smilingly and with agreeable countenances they advance, without the least conception, apparently, of the wild dodging they force upon all persons taller than themselves, of the wrath and havoc they arc leaving behind them.

"No man knows how to hold a sun-umbrella," answered Garda. "To begin with, he never has the least idea where the sun is."

"I have learned that when you say ' To begin with,' there is small hope for us. Might I offer the suggestion, humbly, that there may be other methods of holding umbrellas in existence, besides those prevalent in Gracias."

Garda laughed. Her laugh was charming, Winthrop had already noticed that; it was not a laugh that could be counted upon, it did not come often, or upon call. But when it did ripple forth it was a distinct laugh, merry and sweet, and not the mere magnified smile, or the two or three shrill little shouts in a descending scale, which do duty as laughs from the majority of feminine lips. Its influence extended also to her eyes, which then shot forth two bright beams to accompany it. "I see that it will not do to talk to you as I talk to—to the persons about here," she said.

"Are there many of them—these persons about here?"

"Four," replied Garda, promptly. "There is Reginald Kirby, surgeon. Then there is the Reverend Mr. Moore, rector of St. Philip and St. James. Then we have Adolfo Torres, from the Giron plantation, south of here, and Manuel Ruiz, from Patricio, opposite."

"A tropical list," said Winthrop; "discouragingly tropical."

"But I'm tropical myself," Garda responded.

She was taking; him through a narrow path, between what had once been hedges, but were now high tangled walls, overrun with the pointed leaves of the wild smilax. The girl had a light step, but if light, it was not quick; it could have been best described, perhaps, by the term unhurrying, a suggestion of leisure lay in each motion, from the poise of the small head to the way the pretty feet moved over the path or floor. Winthrop disliked a hurried step, he disliked also a tardy one; the step that is light but at the same time leisurely—this seemed to him to mark the temperament that gets the most out of life as a whole, certainly the most of pleasure, often too the most of attainment. Garda Thome had this step. In her case, probably, there had been more of pleasure than of attainment. She did not indeed strike one as a person who had given much thought to attainment, whether of scholarship or housewifely skill, of needle-work or graceful accomplishments, or even of that balance of conscience, that trained obedience of the mind, which are so much to many of her sisters farther north. But these same sisters farther north would have commented, probably, commented from the long, rocky coast of New England, and from the many intelligent communities of the Middle States, that no woman need trouble herself about attainment, or anything else, if she were as beautiful as Edgarda Thorne.

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