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King of the Castle   By: (1831-1909)

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King of the Castle By George Manville Fenn Published by Ward & Downey, 12 York Street, Covent Garden, London This edition dated 1892

Volume One, Chapter I.

PART OF THE GARRISON.

"Hullo, Claude, going for a walk?"

"Yes, papa."

"Alone?"

"No: Mary is going with me."

"Humph! If you were as giddy as Mary, I'd I'd "

"What, papa?"

"Don't know; something bad. But, Claude, my girl."

"Yes, dear?"

"Why the dickens don't you dress better? Look at you!"

The girl admonished turned merrily round, and stood facing an old bevelled glass cabinet in the solid looking, well furnished library, and saw her reflection one which for some reason made her colour slightly; perhaps with pleasure at seeing her handsome oval face with soft, deep brown hair, and large dark, well shaded eyes a face that needed no more display to set it off than the plain green cloth well fitting dress, held at the throat by a dead gold brooch of Roman make.

"Well, papa," she said, as she altered the sit of her natty, flat brimmed straw hat, "what is the matter with my dress?"

The big headed, grey haired man addressed gave his stiff, wavy locks an impatient rub, wrinkled his broad forehead, and then smiled in a happy, satisfied way, his dark eyes lighting up, and his smile driving away the hard, severe look which generally rested upon his brow.

"The matter?" he said, drawing the girl on to his knee and kissing her. "I don't understand such things; but your dress seems too common and plain."

"But one can't wear silks and satins and muslins to scramble among the rocks and go up the glen."

"Well, there, don't bother me. But dress better. If you want more money you can have it. You ought to take the lead here, and there were ladies on some of the yachts and on the pier yesterday who quite left you behind. Yes! What is it?"

"Isaac Woodham, from the quarry, sir, would like to see you," said a servant.

"Confound Isaac Woodham! Send him in."

The servant retired, leaving his master muttering.

"Wants to spend money in some confounded new machinery or something. I made all my money without machinery, Claude, but these people want to waste it with their new fangled plans."

"But, papa dear, do speak more gently to them."

"What! let them be masters and eat me out of house and home? Not such a fool."

"But, papa "

"Hold your tongue. Weak little goose. You don't know them; I do. They must be ruled ruled. There: be off, and get your walk. Seen Mr Glyddyr to day?"

The girl flushed scarlet.

"Hallo, pussy; that brings the colour to your cheeks."

"No, papa; indeed I "

"Yes, I know. I say, Claudie, fine handsome fellow, eh? Bit too pale for a yachtsman. But what a yacht! Do you know he came in for three hundred and fifty thousand when his father died?"

"Indeed, papa?" said the girl carelessly.

"Yes! Old Glyddyr was not like your grandfather, confound him."

"Papa!"

"Con found him! Didn't I speak plain? Glyddyr left his boys a slate quarry in Wales for the eldest, and three hundred and fifty for the younger. Parry's the younger. Eh? Nice fortune for a handsome young yachtsman, Claudie. There, go and have your walk, and keep Mary out of mischief. Well?"

This was to a hard, heavy looking man in working clothes, covered with earth stains and stone dust, who was ushered into the room, and who, ignoring the speaker's presence, stood bowing awkwardly, cap in hand, and changing it from right to left and back.

"Quite well, thank ye, miss, and sent her dooty to you."

"I'm very glad, Woodham. Remember me kindly to Sarah, and tell her I shall call at the cottage soon."

"Yes, yes," said the old man impatiently, following his daughter to the door; "go on now. I have business with Woodham. Don't be so familiar with the work people," he whispered, as he closed the door after the girl, who ran lightly to the foot of the great carved oak staircase, to call out merrily,

"Not ready, Mary?"

"Yes; coming, coming, coming," and a quaint, mischievous looking little body came tripping down the stairs, halting slightly as if from some form of lameness, which her activity partly concealed... Continue reading book >>




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