By Rudyard Kipling
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Additional info for Actions and Reactions (Collected Works of Rudyard Kipling)
The rolling, however, was soon completed; but when I dismounted the gallant horn man, and restored him to his mother, she seemed rather displeased at my keeping him so long. She had shut up her sketch-book, and been, probably for some minutes, impatiently waiting his return. It was now high time to go home, she said, and would have bid me good evening; but I was not going to leave her yet: I accompanied her half-way up the hill. She became more sociable; and I was beginning to be very happy; but, on coming within sight of the grim old hall, she stood still and turned towards me while she spoke, as if expecting I should go no further, that the conversation would end here, and I should now take leave and depart—as, indeed, it was time to do; for ‘the clear, cold eve’ was fast ‘declining,’ the sun had set, and the gibbous moon was visibly brightening in the pale grey sky; but a feeling almost of compassion rivetted me to the spot.
Eliza was my nearest neighbour. She exerted herself to be agreeable, in her gentle, unobtrusive way, and was, no doubt, as fascinating and charming as ever, if I could only have felt it. , and restore them to the baskets; and Mrs Graham took her camp-tool and drawing materials; and having begged Miss Millward to take charge of her precious son, and strictly enjoined him not to wander from his new guardian’s side, she left us and proceeded along the steep, stony hill, to a loftier, more precipitous eminence at some distance, whence a still finer prospect was to be had, where she preferred taking her sketch, though some of the ladies told her it was a frightful place, and advised her not to attempt it.
Said I, after a moment of silent contemplation. I do, sometimes,’ replied she. ‘On winter evenings, when Arthur is in bed, and I am sitting there alone, hearing the bleak wind moaning round me and howling through the ruinous old chambers, no books or occupations can repress the dismal thoughts and apprehensions that come crowding in - but it is folly to give way to such weakness I know. - If Rachel is satisfied with such a life, why should not I? ’ The closing sentence was uttered in an under tone, as if spoken rather to herself than to me.
Actions and Reactions (Collected Works of Rudyard Kipling) by Rudyard Kipling