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Adela Cathcart, Volume 3   By: (1824-1905)

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ADELA CATHCART

Volume Three

By George MacDonald

CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME.

CHAPTER

I. MY UNCLE PETER. CONTINUED

II. THE GIANT'S HEART

III. A CHILD'S HOLIDAY

IV. INTERRUPTION

V. PERCY

VI. THE CRUEL PAINTER

VII. THE CASTLE

VIII. WHAT NEXT?

XI. GENERALSHIP

X. AN UNFORESEEN FORESIGHT

CHAPTER I.

MY UNCLE PETER. CONTINUED.

"It was resolved that on the same evening, Chrissy should tell my uncle her story. We went out for a walk together; and though she was not afraid to go, the least thing startled her. A voice behind her would make her turn pale and look hurriedly round. Then she would smile again, even before the colour had had time to come back to her cheeks, and say 'What a goose I am! But it is no wonder.' I could see too that she looked down at her nice clothes now and then with satisfaction. She does not like me to say so, but she does not deny it either, for Chrissy can't tell a story even about her own feelings. My uncle had given us five pounds each to spend, and that was jolly. We bought each other such a lot of things, besides some for other people. And then we came home and had dinner tete a tete in my uncle's dining room; after which we went up to my uncle's room, and sat over the fire in the twilight till his afternoon nap was over, and he was ready for his tea. This was ready for him by the time he awoke. Chrissy got up on the bed beside him; I got up at the foot of the bed, facing her, and we had the tea tray and plenty of etceteras between us.

"'Oh! I am happy!' said Chrissy, and began to cry.

"'So am I, my darling!' rejoined Uncle Peter, and followed her example.

"'So am I,' said I, 'but I don't mean to cry about it.' And then I did.

"We all had one cup of tea, and some bread and butter in silence after this. But when Chrissy had poured out the second cup for Uncle Peter, she began of her own accord to tell us her story.

"'It was very foggy when we came out of school that afternoon, as you may remember, dear uncle.'

"'Indeed I do,' answered Uncle Peter with a sigh.

"'I was coming along the way home with Bessie you know Bessie, uncle and we stopped to look in at a bookseller's window where the gas was lighted. It was full of Christmas things already. One of them I thought very pretty, and I was standing staring at it, when all at once I saw that a big drabby woman had poked herself in between Bessie and me. She was staring in at the window too. She was so nasty that I moved away a little from her, but I wanted to have one more look at the picture. The woman came close to me. I moved again. Again she pushed up to me. I looked in her face, for I was rather cross by this time. A horrid feeling, I cannot tell you what it was like, came over me as soon as I saw her. I know how it was now, but I did not know then why I was frightened. I think she saw I was frightened; for she instantly walked against me, and shoved and hustled me round the corner it was a corner shop and before I knew, I was in another street. It was dark and narrow. Just at the moment a man came from the opposite side and joined the woman. Then they caught hold of my hands, and before my fright would let me speak, I was deep into the narrow lane, for they ran with me as fast as they could. Then I began to scream, but they said such horrid words that I was forced to hold my tongue; and in a minute more they had me inside a dreadful house, where the plaster was dropping away from the walls, and the skeleton ribs of the house were looking through. I was nearly dead with terror and disgust. I don't think it was a bit less dreadful to me from having dim recollections of having known such places well enough at one time of my life. I think that only made me the more frightened, because so the place seemed to have a claim upon me. What if I ought to be there after all, and these dreadful creatures were my father and mother!

"'I thought they were going to beat me at once, when the woman, whom I suspected to be my aunt, began to take off my frock... Continue reading book >>


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