Where Highways Cross - J.S. Fletcher - ebook
Opis

Outside the city of Sycaster, they found small villages. In the villages themselves, the observant traveler often finds traces of old houses, which, no doubt, were picturesque and calculated in those times when agriculture was preferred to coal mining. In these villages, there is something secretive that will have to razgodat.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

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

Liczba stron: 149

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

Androidzie
iOS

Contents

PART THE FIRST

ELISABETH

CHAPTER I. THE STATUTE HIRING FAIR

CHAPTER II. THE FASTENING PENNY

CHAPTER III. THE HOME FARM

CHAPTER IV. HEPWORTH

CHAPTER V. THE VILLAGE CHAPEL

CHAPTER VI. PARTIAL CONFIDENCES

PART THE SECOND

WHERE HIGHWAYS MEET

CHAPTER I. ST. THOMAS’S DAY

CHAPTER II. HEPWORTH SPEAKS

CHAPTER III. ELISABETH’S HISTORY

CHAPTER IV. NO OBSTACLES

PART THE THIRD

THE EVE OF THE WEDDING

CHAPTER I. A HEART’S FIRST LOVE

CHAPTER II. ANTICIPATIONS

CHAPTER III. THE BLOW FALLS

CHAPTER IV. HEPWORTH’S QUESTION

CHAPTER V. TEMPTATION

CHAPTER VI. WHERE HIGHWAYS CROSS

PART THE FIRST

ELISABETH

CHAPTER I. THE STATUTE HIRING FAIR

Outside the town of Sicaster, going north-by-north-west, the high-road leads through a somewhat level country, mainly concerned with coal-mining, towards the great city of Clothford, thirteen miles away. On this side of Sicaster the land has few features of interest or beauty. Here and there stands an ancient mansion, embowered in trees and shielded from contact with the unlovely colliery villages by carefully-fenced parks and enclosures. In the villages themselves the observant traveller often finds traces of old houses which were no doubt picturesque and countrified in the days when agriculture was preferred to coal-mining. The greater part of the district, however, is somewhat dingy and dark, and the lover of nature sees little to admire in it. But within two miles of Sicaster the scenery shows signs of change for the better. The high-road becomes suddenly straight, and, leaving the coal-district in the rear, runs along the side of Sicaster Park, a vast enclosure where race-meetings are held twice a year. It rises a little at this point, and in the far distance stands Sicaster itself, a mass of red roofs and grey walls, with the quaint steeple of St. Giles’s Church overtopping the irregular gables and chimneys. Beyond Sicaster there are no more coal-mines. The town once passed, the traveller sees before him the long, rolling meadows and wide cornfields which make Osgoldcross one of the most fertile and beautiful divisions of Yorkshire.

Along that portion of the high-road which runs parallel with Sicaster Park there walked, one November afternoon, some twenty years ago, a woman who was obviously wearied to the verge of extreme fatigue. The day was cold and slightly wet. A thin, intermittent rain came with the gusts of wind that blew fitfully across the park, and the woman, as she walked on, drew her shawl more closely about her shoulders, as if to protect herself from the weather. Coming to one of the bridle-gates opening into the park, she paused and leaned against it. A waggon, drawn by two stout horses, was following her from the direction of Clothford, and she looked back along the road and watched it draw nearer. The waggoner whistled as he came along, and his merry tune was accompanied by the jingle of the brass bells that hung from the head-gear of his horses. As he came abreast of her he cast his eye on the woman by the wayside.

“Will you ride in, missis?” he called across the road. “ ’Tisn’t far, but it’s better riding than walking to-day.”

The woman looked at him doubtfully for a moment, and then, persuaded by his cheery face, or coaxed by the comparative luxury of the canvas-topped tilt under which he sat, she crossed the road with a word of thanks. The waggoner pulled up his team with a jerk, gave her a hand, and helped her to a seat at his side.

“You are very kind,” she said. “I am tired.”

“Aye, I daresay, missis,” he answered. “T’ road’s wet, and bad for walking.”

He started his horses again with a chirruping sound from his pursed-up mouth. The road began to rise thereabouts, and they went slowly. The waggoner resumed his whistling, but twisted his head round to take stock of his companion. At the first sight of her, resting against the bridle-gate, he took her for a tramp, but when she crossed the road and faced him he saw that he had been mistaken. He now saw, on such examination as he could make by surreptitious glances out of his eye-corners, that she was neatly if scantily attired in garments that had obviously been good and of somewhat fashionable style, and that her whole appearance showed unmistakable traces of personal care. She wore gloves and a veil, and beneath the latter the waggoner saw a face that was young and attractive, with delicate features and pathetic eyes, and a mouth that drooped a little at the corners as if with anxiety or grief. He whistled more softly on making these discoveries, but his companion apparently took no heed of the music which he made. Her eyes were fixed on the red roofs that shut in the vanishing point of the long, straight high-road; her hands lay in her lap, the fingers lacing and interlacing each other.

“Nasty day,” said the waggoner at length. “Both for man and beast, as the saying is.”

The woman half turned towards him. Something in the movement suggested to him that she had until then forgotten his presence.

“Yes,” she answered. She turned from him again, and looked once more along the road. “What place is that we’re coming to?” she enquired.

“That, missis? That’s Sicaster.”

She gave a little sigh of relief.

“I’m glad of that,” she said. “It’s a long way from Clothford, isn’t it, when you walk all the way?”

“On such a day as this, missis, why, yes, it is,” answered the waggoner. “A long way indeed.”

He cast further glances at her from his eye-corners, and being of an inquisitive nature, would have liked to ask her why she had walked, seeing that the railway was near and trains were plentiful. The woman, however, showed no further disposition to talk, and he took to whistling again and stirred his horses into a slow trot.

The road now crossed a railway bridge, and after dipping slightly, began to ascend through rows of ancient houses towards the heart of the town. The horses slowed down their pace, and as the jangling noise of their bells became fainter, the waggoner and his companion became aware of the sound of such harsh music as may be made by the beating of drums and cymbals and the blowing of horns and trumpets.

“What’s that?” asked the woman.

“It’s the stattits, missis,” said the waggoner. “Sicaster stattits, and that’s the music of the shows and the wild beasts and such like.”

“What are the stattits?”

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.