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A Knight of the Nets   By: (1831-1919)

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First Page:

A KNIGHT OF THE NETS

BY

AMELIA E. BARR

1896

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

I THE WORLD SHE LIVED IN.

II CHRISTINA AND ANDREW.

III THE AILING HEART.

IV THE LASH OF THE WHIP.

V THE LOST BRIDE.

VI WHERE IS MY MONEY?

VII THE BEGINNING OF THE END.

VIII A GREAT DELIVERANCE.

IX THE RIGHTING OF A WRONG.

X TAKE ME IN TO DIE.

XI DRIVEN TO HIS DUTY.

XII AMONG HER OWN PEOPLE.

XIII THE "LITTLE SOPHY".

Grey sky, brown waters: as a bird that flies My heart flits forth to these; Back to the winter rose of Northern skies, Back to the Northern seas .

CHAPTER I

THE WORLD SHE LIVED IN

It would be easy to walk many a time through "Fife and all the lands about it" and never once find the little fishing village of Pittendurie. Indeed, it would be a singular thing if it was found, unless some special business or direction led to it. For clearly it was never intended that human beings should build homes where these cottages cling together, between sea and sky, a few here, and a few there, hidden away in every bend of the rocks where a little ground could be levelled, so that the tides in stormy weather break with threat and fury on the very doorstones of the lowest cottages. Yet as the lofty semicircle of hills bend inward, the sea follows; and there is a fair harbour, where the fishing boats ride together while their sails dry in the afternoon sun. Then the hamlet is very still; for the men are sleeping off the weariness of their night work, while the children play quietly among the tangle, and the women mend the nets or bait the lines for the next fishing. A lonely little spot, shut in by sea and land, and yet life is there in all its passionate variety love and hate, jealousy and avarice, youth, with its ideal sorrows and infinite expectations, age, with its memories and regrets, and "sure and certain hope."

The cottages also have their individualities. Although they are much of the same size and pattern, an observing eye would have picked out the Binnie cottage as distinctive and prepossessing. Its outside walls were as white as lime could make them; its small windows brightened with geraniums and a white muslin curtain; and the litter of ropes and nets and drying fish which encumbered the majority of thatches, was pleasantly absent. Standing on a little level, thirty feet above the shingle, it faced the open sea, and was constantly filled with the confused tones of its sighing surges, and penetrated by its pulsating, tremendous vitality.

It had been the home of many generations of Binnies, and the very old, and the very young, had usually shared its comforts together; but at the time of my story, there remained of the family only the widow of the last proprietor, her son Andrew, and her daughter Christina. Christina was twenty years old, and still unmarried, a strange thing in Pittendurie, where early marriages are the rule. Some said she was vain of her beauty and could find no lad whom she thought good enough; others thought she was a selfish, cold hearted girl, feared for the cares and the labours of a fisherman's wife.

On this July afternoon, the girl had been some hours mending the pile of nets at her feet; but at length they were in perfect order, and she threw her arms upward and outward to relieve their weariness, and then went to the open door. The tide was coming in, but the children were still paddling in the salt pools and on the cold bladder rack, and she stepped forward to the edge of the cliff, and threw them some wild geranium and ragwort. Then she stood motionless in the bright sunlight, looking down the shingle towards the pier and the little tavern, from which came, in drowsy tones, the rough monotonous songs which seamen delight to sing songs, full of the complaining of the sea, interpreted by the hoarse, melancholy voices of sea faring men.

Standing thus in the clear light, her great beauty was not to be denied. She was tall and not too slender; and at this moment, the set of her head was like that of a thoroughbred horse, when it pricks its ears to listen... Continue reading book >>




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