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Marie   By: (1850-1943)

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First Page:

MARIE

BY

LAURA E. RICHARDS

AUTHOR OF "CAPTAIN JANUARY," "MELODY," "QUEEN HILDEGARDE," "NARCISSA," ETC.

1894

TO

E. T. T.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

I. MARIE II. "D'ARTHENAY, TENEZ FOI!" III. ABBY ROCK IV. POSSESSION V. COURTSHIP VI. WEDLOCK VII. LOOKING BACK VIII. A FLOWER IN THE SNOW IX. MADAME X. DE ARTHENAY'S VIGIL XI. VITA NUOVA

MARIE.

CHAPTER I.

MARIE.

Marie was tired. She had been walking nearly the whole day, and now the sun was low in the west, and long level rays of yellow light were spreading over the country, striking the windows of a farmhouse here and there into sudden flame, or resting more softly on tree tops and hanging slopes. They were like fiddle bows, Marie thought; and at the thought she held closer something that she carried in her arms, and murmured over it a little, as a mother coos over her baby. It seemed a long time since she had run away from the troupe : she would forget all about them soon, she thought, and their ugly faces. She shivered slightly as she recalled the face of "Le Boss" as it was last bent upon her, frowning and dark, and as ugly as a hundred devils, she was quite sure. Ah, he would take away her violin Le Boss! he would give it to his own girl, whom she, Marie, had taught till she could play a very little, enough to keep the birds from flying away when they saw her, as they otherwise might; she was to have the violin, the Lady, one's own heart and life, and Marie was to have a fiddle that he had picked up anywhere, found on an ash heap, most likely! Ah, and now he had lost the Lady and Marie too, and who would play for him this evening, and draw the children out of the houses? he ! let some one tell Marie that! It had not been hard, the running away, for no one would ever have thought of Marie's daring to do such a thing. She belonged to Le Boss, as much as the tent or the ponies, or his own ugly girl: so they all thought in the troupe , and so Marie herself had thought till that day; that is, she had not thought at all. While she could play all the time, and had often quite enough to eat, and always something, a piece of bread in the hand if no more, and La Patronne, Le Boss's wife, never too unkind, and sometimes even giving her a bit of ribbon for the Lady's neck when there was to be a special performance, why, who would have thought of running away? she had been with them so long, those others, and that time in France was so long ago, hundreds of years ago!

So no one had thought of noticing when she dropped behind to tune her violin and practise by herself; it was a thing she did every day, they all knew, for she could not practise when the children pulled her gown all the time, and wanted to dance. She had chosen the place well, having been on the lookout for it all day, ever since Le Boss told her what he meant to do, that infamy which the good God would never have allowed, if He had not been perhaps tired with the many infamies of Le Boss, and forgotten to notice this one. She had chosen the place well! A little wood dipped down to the right, with a brook running beyond, and across the brook a sudden sharp rise, crowned with a thick growth of birches. She had played steadily as she passed through the wood and over the stream, and only ceased when she gained the brow of the hill and sprang like a deer down the opposite slope. No one had seen her go, she was sure of that; and now they could never tell which way she had turned, and would be far more likely to run back along the road. How they would shout and scream, and how Le Boss would swear! Ah, no more would he swear at Marie because people did not always give money, being perhaps poor themselves, or unwilling to give to so ugly a face as his girl's, who carried round the dish. No more! And La Patronne would be sorry perhaps a little, she had the good heart, La Patronne, under all the fat, and Old Billy, he would be too sorry, she was sure... Continue reading book >>




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