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Chapter 1 There Is No One Left

By Thelma Cook,2014-05-29 16:48
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Chapter 1 There Is No One Left

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     Chapter 1 There Is No One Left When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselth waite Manorto live with her uncle everybody said she was the mostdisagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body,thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow,and her face was yellow because she had been born inIndia and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the EnglishGovernment and had always been busy and ill himself,and her mother had been a great beauty who cared onlyto go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Marywas born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah,who was made to understand that if she wished to pleasethe Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as muchas possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly littlebaby she was kept out of the way, and when she becamea sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out ofthe way also. She never remembered seeing familiarlyanything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the othernative servants, and as they always obeyed her and gaveher her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahibwould be angry if she was disturbed by her crying,by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannicaland selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young Englishgoverness who came to teach her to read and write dislikedher so much that she gave up her place in three months,and when other governesses came to try to fill it theyalways went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know howto read books she would never have learned her letters at all. One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nineyears old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she becamecrosser still when she saw that the servant who stoodby her bedside was not her Ayah. "Why did you come?" she said to the strange woman. "I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me."The woman looked frightened, but she only stammeredthat the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herselfinto a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked onlymore frightened and repeated that it was not possiblefor the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib. There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order and several of thenative servants seemed missing, while those whom Marysaw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on,and at last she wandered out into the garden and beganto play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuckbig scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little

    heaps of earth,all the time growing more and more angry and mutteringto herself the things she would say and the names shewould call Saidie when she returned. "Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs!" she said, because to calla native a pig is the worst insult of all. She was grinding her teeth and saying this over and overagain when she heard her mother come out on the verandawith some one. She was with a fair young man and they stoodtalking together in low strange voices. Mary knew the fairyoung man who looked like a boy. She had

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     heard that hewas a very young officer who had just come from England. The child stared at him, but she stared most at her mother. She always did this when she had a chance to see her,because the Mem Sahib--Mary used to call her that oftenerthan anything else--was such a tall, slim, pretty personand wore such lovely clothes. Her hair was like curlysilk and she had a delicate little nose which seemedto be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes. All her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said theywere "full of lace." They looked fuller of lace than everthis morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all. They were large and scared and lifted imploringly to the fairboy officer's face. "Is it so very bad? Oh, is it?" Mary heard her say. "Awfully," the young man answered in a trembling voice. "Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You ought to have gone to the hillstwo weeks ago."The Mem Sahib wrung her hands. "Oh, I know I ought!" she cried. "I only stayed to goto that silly dinner party. What a fool I was!"At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing brokeout from the servants' quarters that she clutched the youngman's arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew wilder and wilder. "What is it? What is it?"Mrs. Lennox gasped. "Some one has died," answered the boy officer. "You didnot say it had broken out among your servants.""I did not know!" the Mem Sahib cried. "Come with me! Come with me!" and she turned and ran into the house. After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousnessof the morning was explained to Mary. The cholera hadbroken out in its most fatal form and people were dyinglike flies. The Ayah had been taken ill in the night,and it was because she had just died that the servantshad wailed in the huts. Before the next day three otherservants were dead and others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in allthe bungalows. During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Maryhid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange thingshappened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately criedand slept through the hours. She only knew that people wereill and that she heard mysterious and tightening sounds. Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty,though a partly finished meal was on the table and chairsand plates looked as if they had been hastily pushedback when the diners rose

    suddenly for some reason. The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirstyshe drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was. Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went backto her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by criesshe heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep hereyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing morefor a long time. Many things happened during the hours in which she sleptso heavily, but she was not disturbed by the wails and thesound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow. When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall. The house was perfectly still. She had never knownit to be so silent before. She heard neither

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     voicesnor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well ofthe cholera and all the trouble was over. She wonderedalso who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would knowsome new stories. Mary had been rather tired of theold ones. She did not cry because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared muchfor any one. The noise and hurrying about and wailingover the cholera had frightened her, and she had been angrybecause no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Everyone was too panic-stricken to think of a littlegirl no one was fond of. When people had the cholerait seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves. But if everyone had got well again, surely some one wouldremember and come to look for her. But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemedto grow more and more silent. She heard something rustlingon the matting and when she looked down she saw a littlesnake gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not frightened, because he was a harmless littlething who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurryto get out of the room. He slipped under the door as shewatched him. "How queer and quiet it is," she said. "It sounds asif there were no one in the bungalow but me and the snake."Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound,and then on the veranda. They were men's footsteps,and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went to meet or speak to them and they seemedto open doors and look into rooms. "What desolation!"she heard one voice say. "That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too. I heard there was a child,though no one ever saw her."Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when theyopened the door a few minutes later. She looked an ugly,cross little thing and was frowning because she wasbeginning to be hungry and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man who came in was a large officer she had onceseen talking to her father. He looked tired and troubled,but when he saw her he was so startled that he almostjumped back. "Barney!" he cried out. "There

    is a child here! A childalone! In a place like this! Mercy on us, who is she!""I am Mary Lennox," the little girl said, drawing herselfup stiffly. She thought the man was very rude to call herfather's bungalow "A place like this!" "I fell asleep wheneveryone had the cholera and I have only just wakened up. Why does nobody come?""It is the child no one ever saw!" exclaimed the man,turning to his companions. "She has actually been forgotten!""Why was I forgotten?" Mary said, stamping her foot. "Why does nobody come?"The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to winktears away. "Poor little kid!" he said. "There is nobody left to come."It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary foundout that she had neither father nor mother left;that they had died and been carried away in the night,and that the few native servants who had not died also hadleft the house as quickly as they could get out of it,none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true that therewas no one in the bungalow but herself and the littlerustling snake.

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    href="http://novel.tingroom.com">http://novel.tingroom.com Chapter 2 Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

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     Mary had liked to look at her mother from a distanceand she had thought her very pretty, but as she knewvery little of her she could scarcely have been expectedto love her or to miss her very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was aself-absorbed child she gave her entire thought to herself,as she had always done. If she had been older she wouldno doubt have been very anxious at being left alone inthe world, but she was very young, and as she had alwaysbeen taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought was that she would like to know if she wasgoing to nice people, who would be polite to her and giveher her own way as her Ayah and the other native servantshad done. She knew that she was not going to stay at the Englishclergyman's house where she was taken at first. She didnot want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and hehad five children nearly all the same age and they woreshabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatchingtoys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalowand was so disagreeable to them that after the first dayor two nobody would play with her. By the second daythey had given her a nickname which made her furious. It was Basil who thought

    of it first. Basil was a littleboy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-up nose, and Maryhated him. She was playing by herself under a tree,just as she had been playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a gardenand Basil came and stood near to watch her. Presently hegot rather interested and suddenly made a suggestion. "Why don't you put a heap of stones there and pretendit is a rockery?" he said. "There in the middle,"and he leaned over her to point. "Go away!" cried Mary. "I don't want boys. Go away!"For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he began to tease. He was always teasing his sisters. He danced roundand round her and made faces and sang and laughed. "Mistress Mary, quite contrary,How does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells,And marigolds all in a row."He sang it until the other children heard and laughed, too;and the crosser Mary got, the more they sang "Mistress Mary,quite contrary"; and after that as long as she stayedwith them they called her "Mistress Mary Quite Contrary"when they spoke of her to each other, and often when theyspoke to her. "You are going to be sent home," Basil said to her,"at the end of the week. And we're glad of it.""I am glad of it, too," answered Mary. "Where is home?""She doesn't know where home is!" said Basil,with seven-year-old scorn. "It's England, of course. Our grandmama lives there and our sister Mabel was sentto her last year. You are not going to your grandmama. You have none. You are going to your uncle. His name isMr. Archibald Craven.""I don't know anything about him," snapped Mary. "I know you don't," Basil answered. "You don't know anything.

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     Girls never do. I heard father and mother talking about him. He lives in a great, big, desolate old house in thecountry and no one goes near him. He's so cross he won'tlet them, and they wouldn't come if he would let them. He's a hunchback, and he's horrid." "I don't believe you,"said Mary; and she turned her back and stuck her fingersin her ears, because she would not listen any more. But she thought over it a great deal afterward; and whenMrs. Crawford told her that night that she was goingto sail away to England in a few days and go to her uncle,Mr. Archibald Craven, who lived at Misselthwaite Manor,she looked so stony and stubbornly uninterested thatthey did not know what to think about her. They triedto be kind to her, but she only turned her face awaywhen Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and heldherself stiffly when Mr. Crawford patted her shoulder. "She is such a plain child," Mrs. Crawford said pityingly,afterward. "And her mother was such a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, too, and Mary has the mostunattractive ways I ever saw in a child. The childrencall her `Mistress Mary Quite Contrary,' and thoughit's naughty of them, one can't help understanding it.""Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty faceand her pretty manners oftener into the nursery Marymight have learned some pretty

    ways too. It is very sad,now the poor beautiful thing is gone, to remember thatmany people never even knew that she had a child at all.""I believe she scarcely ever looked at her,"sighed Mrs. Crawford. "When her Ayah was dead therewas no one to give a thought to the little thing. Think of the servants running away and leaving her allalone in that deserted bungalow. Colonel McGrew said henearly jumped out of his skin when he opened the doorand found her standing by herself in the middle of the room."Mary made the long voyage to England under the care ofan officer's wife, who was taking her children to leavethem in a boarding-school. She was very much absorbedin her own little boy and girl, and was rather glad to handthe child over to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sentto meet her, in London. The woman was his housekeeperat Misselthwaite Manor, and her name was Mrs. Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red cheeks and sharpblack eyes. She wore a very purple dress, a blacksilk mantle with jet fringe on it and a black bonnetwith purple velvet flowers which stuck up and trembledwhen she moved her head. Mary did not like her at all,but as she very seldom liked people there was

    nothingremarkable in that; besides which it was very evidentMrs. Medlock did not think much of her. "My word! she's a plain little piece of goods!" she said. "And we'd heard that her mother was a beauty. She hasn'thanded much of it down, has she, ma'am?" "Perhaps shewill improve as she grows older," the officer's wifesaid good-naturedly. "If she were not so sallow and hada nicer expression, her features are rather good. Children alter so much.""She'll have to alter a good deal," answered Mrs. Medlock. "And, there's nothing likely to improve children atMisselthwaite--if you ask me!" They thought Mary was notlistening because she was standing a little apart from themat the window of the private hotel they had gone to. She was watching the passing buses and cabs and people,but she heard quite well and was made very curious abouther uncle and the place he lived in. What sort of a placewas it, and what would he be like? What was a hunchback? She had never seen one. Perhaps there were none in India.

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     Since she had been living in other people's housesand had had no Ayah, she had begun to feel lonelyand to think queer thoughts which were new to her. She had begun to wonder why she had never seemed to belongto anyone even when her father and mother had been alive. Other children seemed to belong to their fathers and mothers,but she had never seemed to really be anyone's little girl. She had had servants, and food and clothes, but no onehad taken any notice of her. She did not know that thiswas because she was a disagreeable child; but then,of course, she did not know she was disagreeable. She often thought that other people were, but she did notknow that she was so herself. She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagreeable personshe had ever seen,

    with her common, highly colored faceand her common fine bonnet. When the next day they setout on their journey to Yorkshire, she walked throughthe station to the railway carriage with her head upand trying to keep as far away from her as she could,because she did not want to seem to belong to her. It would have made her angry to think people imagined shewas her little girl. But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed by herand her thoughts. She was the kind of woman who would"stand no nonsense from young ones." At least, that iswhat she would have said if she had been asked. She hadnot wanted to go to London just when her sister Maria'sdaughter was going to be married, but she had a comfortable,well paid place as housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manorand the only way in which she could keep it was to doat once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared even to ask a question. "Captain Lennox and his wife died of the cholera,"Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way. "Captain Lennoxwas my wife's brother and I am their daughter's guardian. The child is to be brought here. You must go to Londonand bring her yourself."So she packed her small trunk and made the journey. Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage and lookedplain and fretful. She had nothing to read or to look at,and she had folded her thin little black-gloved hands inher lap. Her black dress made her look yellower than ever,and her limp light hair straggled from under her blackcrepe hat. "A more marred-looking young one I never saw in my life,"Mrs. Medlock thought. (Marred is a Yorkshire word andmeans spoiled and pettish.) She had never seen a childwho sat so still without doing anything; and at last shegot tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk,hard voice. "I suppose I may as well tell you something about whereyou are going to," she said. "Do you know anythingabout your uncle?""No," said Mary. "Never heard your father and mother talk about him?""No," said Mary frowning. She frowned because sheremembered that her father and mother had never talkedto her about anything in particular. Certainly theyhad never told her things. "Humph," muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at her queer,unresponsive little face. She did not say any more fora few moments and then she began again. "I suppose you might as well be told something--toprepare you. You are going to a queer place."Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock looked ratherdiscomfited by her apparent indifference, but, after takinga breath, she went on. "Not but that it's a grand big place in a gloomy way,and Mr. Craven's proud of it in his

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     way--and that'sgloomy enough, too. The house is six hundred years oldand it's on the edge of the moor, and there's near a hundredrooms in it, though most of them's shut up and locked. And there's pictures and fine old furniture and thingsthat's been there for ages, and there's a big park roundit and gardens and trees with branches trailing to

    theground--some of them." She paused and took another breath. "But there's nothing else," she ended suddenly. Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. It all soundedso unlike India, and anything new rather attracted her. But she did not intend to look as if she were interested. That was one of her unhappy, disagreeable ways. So shesat still. "Well," said Mrs. Medlock. "What do you think of it?""Nothing," she answered. "I know nothing about such places."That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of laugh. "Eh!" she said, "but you are like an old woman. Don't you care?""It doesn't matter" said Mary, "whether I care or not.""You are right enough there," said Mrs. Medlock. "It doesn't. What you're to be kept at Misselthwaite Manorfor I don't know, unless because it's the easiest way. He's not going to trouble himself about you, that's sureand certain. He never troubles himself about no one."She stopped herself as if she had just remembered somethingin time. "He's got a crooked back," she said. "That set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got no good of all his moneyand big place till he was married."Mary's eyes turned toward her in spite of her intentionnot to seem to care. She had never thought of thehunchback's being married and she was a trifle surprised. Mrs. Medlock saw this, and as she was a talkative womanshe continued with more interest. This was one wayof passing some of the time, at any rate. "She was a sweet, pretty thing and he'd have walkedthe world over to get her a blade o' grass she wanted. Nobody thought she'd marry him, but she did,and people said she married him for his money. But she didn't--she didn't," positively. "When she died--"Mary gave a little involuntary jump. "Oh! did she die!" she exclaimed, quite without meaning to. She had just remembered a French fairy story she had onceread called "Riquet a la Houppe." It had been about a poorhunchback and a beautiful princess and it had made hersuddenly sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven. "Yes, she died," Mrs. Medlock answered. "And itmade him queerer than ever. He cares about nobody. He won't see people. Most of the time he goes away,and when he is at Misselthwaite he shuts himself up inthe West Wing and won't let any one but Pitcher see him. Pitcher's an old fellow, but he took care of him when hewas a child and he knows his ways."It sounded like something in a book and it did not makeMary feel cheerful. A house with a hundred rooms,nearly all shut up and with their doors locked--a house onthe edge of a moor--whatsoever a moor was--sounded dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut himself up also! Shestared out of the window with her lips pinched together,and it seemed quite natural that the rain should have begunto pour down in gray slanting lines and splash and streamdown the window-panes. If the pretty wife had been

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     aliveshe might have made things cheerful by being somethinglike her own mother and by running in and out and goingto parties as she had

    done in frocks "full of lace."But she was not there any more. "You needn't expect to see him, because ten to one you won't,"said Mrs. Medlock. "And you mustn't expect that therewill be people to talk to you. You'll have to playabout and look after yourself. You'll be told what roomsyou can go into and what rooms you're to keep out of. There's gardens enough. But when you're in the housedon't go wandering and poking about. Mr. Craven won'thave it.""I shall not want to go poking about," said sour littleMary and just as suddenly as she had begun to be rathersorry for Mr. Archibald Craven she began to cease to besorry and to think he was unpleasant enough to deserveall that had happened to him. And she turned her face toward the streaming panes of thewindow of the railway carriage and gazed out at the grayrain-storm which looked as if it would go on forever and ever. She watched it so long and steadily that the graynessgrew heavier and heavier before her eyes and she fell asleep. ?? Ó? ?Ã ÎÊ Ó?

    href="http://novel.tingroom.com">http://novel.tingroom.com Chapter 3 Across The Moor She slept a long time, and when she awakened Mrs. Medlockhad bought a lunchbasket at one of the stations and theyhad some chicken and cold beef and bread and butter andsome hot tea. The rain seemed to be streaming down moreheavily than ever and everybody in the station wore wetand glistening waterproofs. The guard lighted the lampsin the carriage, and Mrs. Medlock cheered up very muchover her tea and chicken and beef. She ate a great dealand afterward fell asleep herself, and Mary sat and staredat her and watched her fine bonnet slip on one side until sheherself fell asleep once more in the corner of the carriage,lulled by the splashing of the rain against the windows. It was quite dark when she awakened again. The trainhad stopped at a station and Mrs. Medlock was shaking her. "You have had a sleep!" she said. "It's time to openyour eyes! We're at Thwaite Station and we've got a longdrive before us."Mary stood up and tried to keep her eyes open whileMrs. Medlock collected her parcels. The littlegirl did not offer to help her, because in Indianative servants always picked up or carried thingsand it seemed quite proper that other people should wait on one. The station was a small one and nobody but themselvesseemed to be getting out of the train. The station-masterspoke to Mrs. Medlock in a rough, good-natured way,pronouncing his words in a queer broad fashion which Maryfound out afterward was Yorkshire. "I see tha's got back," he said. "An' tha's browt th' young 'un with thee.""Aye, that's her," answered Mrs. Medlock, speaking witha Yorkshire accent herself and jerking her head overher shoulder toward Mary. "How's thy Missus?""Well enow. Th' carriage is waitin' outside for thee."A brougham stood on the road before the littleoutside platform. Mary saw that it was a smart carriageand that it was a smart footman who helped her in. ÎÄ Ð? ˵ Íø <a

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     His long waterproof coat and the waterproof covering of hishat were shining and dripping with rain as everything was,the burly station-master included. When he shut the door, mounted the box with the coachman,and they drove off, the little girl found herself seatedin a comfortably cushioned corner, but she was not inclinedto go to sleep again. She sat and looked out of the window,curious to see something of the road over which shewas being driven to the queer place Mrs. Medlock hadspoken of. She was not at all a timid child and she wasnot exactly frightened, but she felt that there was noknowing what might happen in a house with a hundred roomsnearly all shut up--a house standing on the edge of a moor. "What is a moor?" she said suddenly to Mrs. Medlock. "Look out of the window in about ten minutes and you'll see,"the woman answered. "We've got to drive five miles acrossMissel Moor before we get to the Manor. You won't seemuch because it's a dark night, but you can see something."Mary asked no more questions but waited in the darknessof her corner, keeping her eyes on the window. The carriagelamps cast rays of light a little distance ahead of themand she caught glimpses of the things they passed. After they had left the station they had driven through atiny village and she had seen whitewashed cottages and thelights of a public house. Then they had passed a churchand a vicarage and a little shop-window or so in a cottagewith toys and sweets and odd things set our for sale. Then they were on the highroad and she saw hedges and trees. After that there seemed nothing different for a longtime--or at least it seemed a long time to her. At last the horses began to go more slowly, as if theywere climbing up-hill, and presently there seemed to beno more hedges and no more trees. She could see nothing,in fact, but a dense darkness on either side. She leanedforward and pressed her face against the window justas the carriage gave a big jolt. "Eh! We're on the moor now sure enough," said Mrs. Medlock. The carriage lamps shed a yellow light on a rough-lookingroad which seemed to be cut through bushes and low-growingthings which ended in the great expanse of dark apparentlyspread out before and around them. A wind was risingand making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound. "It's--it's not the sea, is it?" said Mary, looking roundat her companion. "No, not it," answered Mrs. Medlock. "Nor it isn't fieldsnor mountains, it's just miles and miles and miles of wildland that nothing grows on but heather and gorse and broom,and nothing lives on but wild ponies and sheep.""I feel as if it might be the sea, if there were wateron it," said Mary. "It sounds like the sea just now.""That's the wind blowing through the bushes," Mrs. Medlock said. "It's a wild, dreary enough place to my mind, though there'splenty that likes it--particularly when the heather's in bloom."On and on they drove through the darkness, and thoughthe rain stopped, the wind rushed by and whistled and madestrange

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