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Brought Home   By: (1832-1911)

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First Page:

David Garcia, Tiffany Vergon, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreaders Team

BROUGHT HOME.

BY

HESBA STRETTON.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. UPTON RECTORY

CHAPTER II. ANN HOLLAND

CHAPTER III. WHAT WAS HER DUTY?

CHAPTER IV. A BABY'S GRAVE

CHAPTER V. TOWN'S TALK

CHAPTER VI. THE RECTOR'S RETURN

CHAPTER VII. WORSE THAN DEAD

CHAPTER VIII. HUSBAND AND WIFE

CHAPTER IX. SAD DAYS

CHAPTER X. A SIN AND A SHAME

CHAPTER XI. LOST

CHAPTER XII. A COLONIAL CURACY

CHAPTER XIII. SELF SACRIFICE

CHAPTER XIV. FAREWELLS

CHAPTER XV. IN DESPAIR

CHAPTER XVI. A LONG VOYAGE

CHAPTER XVII. ALMOST SHIPWRECKED

CHAPTER XVIII. SAVED

CHAPTER I.

UPTON RECTORY

So quiet is the small market town of Upton, that it is difficult to believe in the stir and din of London, which is little more than an hour's journey from it. It is the terminus of the single line of rails branching off from the main line eight miles away, and along it three trains only travel each way daily. The sleepy streets have old fashioned houses straggling along each side, with trees growing amongst them; and here and there, down the roads leading into the the country, which are half street, half lane, green plots of daisied grass are still to be found, where there were once open fields that have left a little legacy to the birds and children of coming generations. Half the houses are still largely built of wood from the forest of olden times that has now disappeared; and ancient bow windows jut out over the side causeways. Some of the old exclusive mansions continue to boast in a breastwork of stone pillars linked together by chains of iron, intended as a defence against impertinent intruders, but more often serving as safe swinging places for the young children sent to play in the streets. Perhaps of all times of the year the little town looks its best on a sunny autumn morning, with its fine film of mist, when the chestnut leaves are golden, and slender threads of gossamer are floating in the air, and heavy dews, white as the hoar frost, glisten in the sunshine. But at any season Upton seems a tranquil, peaceful, out of the world spot, having no connection with busier and more wretched places.

There were not many real gentry, as the townsfolk called them, living near. A few retired Londoners, weary of the great city, and finding rents and living cheaper at Upton, had settled in trim villas, built beyond the boundaries of the town. But for the most part the population consisted of substantial trades people and professional men, whose families had been represented there for several generations. As usual the society was broken up into very small cliques; no one household feeling itself exactly on the same social equality as another; even as far down as the laundresses and charwomen, who could tell whose husband or son had been before the justices, and which families had escaped that disgrace. The nearest approach to that equality and fraternity of which we all hear so much and see so little, was unfortunately to be found in the bar parlor and billiard room of the Upton Arms; but even this was lost as soon as the threshold was recrossed, and the boon companions of the interior breathed the air of the outer world. There were several religious sects of considerable strength, and of very decided antagonistic views; any one of whose members was always ready to give the reason of the special creed that was in him. So, what with a variety of domestic circumstances, and a diversity of religious opinions, it is not to be wondered at that the society of Upton was broken up into very small circles indeed.

There was one point, however, on which all the townspeople were united. There could be no doubt whatever as to the beauty of the old Norman church, lying just beyond the eastern boundary of the town; not mingling with its business, but standing in a solemn quiet of its own, as if to guard the repose of the sleepers under its shadow... Continue reading book >>




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