Sir Noel’s Heir. A Novel - May Agnes Fleming - ebook

Sir Noel’s Heir. A Novel ebook

May Agnes Fleming

0,0

Opis

A book with some gothic trends in the beginning. Dark and stormy night, terrible secrets, fainting of women and orphans. The December night was wet and wild around Thetford Towers. A strange, massive, old house built during the time of James the First by Sir Hugo Thetford, the first baronet of the name, and as strong and strong now as it was then. The December day was overcast and gloomy, but the December night was stormy and wild. On this stormy winter night, the last of the Thetford baronets was dying.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 176

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER I

SIR NOEL’S DEATH-BED

The December night had closed in wet and wild around Thetford Towers. It stood down in the low ground, smothered in trees, a tall, gaunt, hoary pile of gray stone, all peaks, and gables and stacks of chimneys, and rook-infested turrets. A queer, massive, old house, built in the days of James the First, by Sir Hugo Thetford, the first baronet of the name, and as staunch and strong now as then.

The December day had been overcast and gloomy, but the December night was stormy and wild. The wind worried and wailed through the tossing trees with whistling moans and shrieks that were desolately human, and made me think of the sobbing banshee of Irish legends. Far away the mighty voice of the stormy sea mingled its hoarse-bass, and the rain lashed the windows in long, slanting lines. A desolate night and a desolate scene without; more desolate still within, for on his bed, this tempestuous winter night, the last of the Thetford baronets lay dying.

Through the driving wind and lashing rain a groom galloped along the high road to the village at break-neck speed. His errand was to Dr. Gale, the village surgeon, which gentleman he found just preparing to go to bed.

“For God’s sake, doctor!” cried the man, white as a sheet, “come with me at once! Sir Noel’s killed!”

Dr. Gale, albeit phlegmatic, staggered back, and stared at the speaker aghast.

“What? Sir Noel killed?”

“We’re afraid so, doctor; none of us knows for certain sure, but he lies there like a dead man. Come quick, for the love of goodness, if you want to do any service!”

“I’ll be with you in five minutes,” said the doctor, leaving the room to order his horse and don his hat and great coat.

Dr. Gale was as good as his word. In less than ten minutes he and the groom were flying recklessly along to Thetford Tower.

“How did it happen?” asked the doctor, hardly able to speak for the furious pace at which they were going. “I thought he was at Lady Stokestone’s ball.”

“He did go,” replied the groom; “leastways he took my lady there; but he said he had a friend to meet from London at the Royal George to-night, and he rode back. We don’t, none of us, know how it happened; for a better or surer rider than Sir Noel there ain’t in Devonshire; but Diana must have slipped and threw him. She came galloping in by herself about half an hour ago all blown; and me and three more set off to look for Sir Noel. We found him about twenty yards from the gates, lying on his face in the mud, and as stiff and cold as if he was dead.”

“And you brought him home and came for me?”

“Directly, sir. Some wanted to send word to my lady; but Mrs. Hilliard, she thought how you had best see him first, sir, so’s we’d know what danger he was really in before alarming her ladyship.”

“Quite right, William. Let us trust it may not be serious. Had Sir Noel been–I mean, I suppose he had been dining?”

“Well, doctor,” said William, “Arneaud, that’s his valet de chambre, you know, said he thought he had taken more wine than was prudent going to Lady Stokestone’s ball, which her ladyship is very particular about such, you know, sir.”

“Ah! that accounts,” said the doctor, thoughtfully; “and now William, my man, don’t let’s talk any more, for I feel completely blown already.”

Ten minutes’ sharp riding brought them to the great entrance gates of Thetford Towers. An old woman came out of a little lodge, built in the huge masonry, to admit them, and they dashed up the long winding avenue under the surging oaks and chestnuts. Five minutes more and Dr. Gale was running up a polished staircase of black, slippery oak, down an equally wide and black and slippery passage, and into the chamber where Sir Noel lay.

A grand and stately chamber, lofty, dark and wainscoted, where the wax candles made luminous clouds in the darkness, and the wood-fire on the marble hearth failed to give heat. The oak floor was overlaid with Persian rugs; the windows were draped in green velvet and the chairs were upholstered in the same. Near the center of the apartment stood the bed, tall, broad, quaintly carved, curtained in green velvet, and on it, cold and lifeless, lay the wounded man. Mrs. Hilliard, the housekeeper, sat beside him, and Arneaud, the Swiss valet, with a frightened face, stood near the fire.

“Very shocking business this, Mrs. Hilliard,” said the doctor, removing his hat and gloves–”very shocking. How is he? Any signs of consciousness yet?”

“None whatever, sir,” replied the housekeeper, rising. “I am so thankful you have come. We, none of us, know what to do for him, and it is dreadful to see him lying there like that.”

She moved away, leaving the doctor to his examination. Ten minutes, fifteen, twenty passed, then Dr. Gale turned to her with a very pale, grave face.

“It is too late, Mrs. Hilliard. Sir Noel is a dead man!”

“Dead?” repeated Mrs. Hilliard, trembling and holding by a chair. “Oh, my lady! my lady!”

“I am going to bleed him,” said the doctor, “to restore consciousness. He may last until morning. Send for Lady Thetford at once.”

Arneaud started up. Mrs. Hilliard looked at him, wringing her hands.

“Break it gently, Arneaud. Oh, my lady! my dear lady! So young and so pretty–and only married five months!”

The Swiss valet left the room. Dr. Gale got out his lancet, and desired Mrs. Hilliard to hold the basin. At first the blood refused to flow–but presently it came in a little, feeble stream. The closed eyelids fluttered; there was a restless movement and Sir Noel Thetford opened his eyes in this mortal life once more. He looked first at the doctor, grave and pale, then at the housekeeper, sobbing on her knees by the bed. He was a young man of seven-and-twenty, fair and handsome, as it was in the nature of the Thetfords to be.

“What is it?” he faintly asked. “What is the matter?”

“You are hurt, Sir Noel,” the doctor answered, sadly; “you have been thrown from your horse. Don’t attempt to move–you are not able.”

“I remember–I remember,” said the young man, a gleam of recollection lighting up his ghastly face. “Diana slipped, and I was thrown. How long ago is that?”

“About an hour.”

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.