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The Marriage of William Ashe   By: (1851-1920)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: LADY KITTY BRISTOL]

The Marriage of William Ashe

BY

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD Author of "Lady Rose's Daughter" "Eleanor" etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY ALBERT STERNER

[Illustration]

1905

Contents

PAGE PART I. ACQUAINTANCE . . . . . . . 1 PART II. THREE YEARS AFTER . . . . 125 PART III. DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . 293 PART IV. STORM . . . . . . . . . . 365 PART V. REQUIESCAT . . . . . . . . 511

TO

D.M.W.

DAUGHTER AND FRIEND

I INSCRIBE THIS BOOK

MARCH, 1905

Illustrations

LADY KITTY BRISTOL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece LADY TRANMORE AND MARY LYSTER . . . . . . . . . . . . Facing page 6 "A SLIM GIRL IN WHITE AT THE FAR END OF THE LARGE ROOM" . . . . . . 44 THE FINISHING TOUCHES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 "HE GATHERED HER IN HIS ARMS" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278 "THE ACTRESS PAUSED TO STARE AT LADY KITTY" . . . . . . . . . . . . 438 "SHE THOUGHT OF CLIFFE STANDING BESIDE THE DOOR OF THE GREAT HALL" . 474 "HE DREW SOME CHAIRS TOGETHER BEFORE THE FIRE" . . . . . . . . . . . 556

PART I

ACQUAINTANCE

"Just oblige me and touch With your scourge that minx Chloe, but don't hurt her much."

The Marriage of William Ashe

I

"He ought to be here," said Lady Tranmore, as she turned away from the window.

Mary Lyster laid down her work. It was a fine piece of church embroidery, which, seeing that it had been designed for her by no less a person than young Mr. Burne Jones himself, made her the envy of her pre Raphaelite friends.

"Yes, indeed. You made out there was a train about twelve."

"Certainly. They can't have taken more than an hour to speechify after the declaration of the poll. And I know William meant to catch that train if he possibly could."

"And take his seat this evening?"

Lady Tranmore nodded. She moved restlessly about the room, fidgeting with a book here and there, and evidently full of thoughts. Mary Lyster watched her a little longer, then quietly took up her work again. Her air of well bred sympathy, the measured ease of her movements, contrasted with Lady Tranmore's impatience. Yet in truth she was listening no less sharply than her companion to the sounds in the street outside.

Lady Tranmore made her way to the window, and stood there looking out on the park. It was the week before Easter, and the plane trees were not yet in leaf. But a few thorns inside the park railings were already lavishly green and there was a glitter of spring flowers beside the park walks, not showing, however, in such glorious abundance as became the fashion a few years later. It was a mild afternoon and the drive was full of carriages. From the bow window of the old irregular house in which she stood, Lady Tranmore could watch the throng passing and repassing, could see also the traffic in Park Lane on either side. London, from this point of sight, wore a cheerful, friendly air. The dim sunshine, the white clouded sky, the touches of reviving green and flowers, the soft air blowing in from a farther window which was open, brought with them impressions of spring, of promise, and rebirth, which insensibly affected Lady Tranmore.

"Well, I wonder what William will do, this time, in Parliament!" she said, as she dropped again into her seat by the fire and began to cut the pages of a new book.

"He is sure to do extremely well," said Miss Lyster.

Lady Tranmore shrugged her shoulders. "My dear do you know that William has been for eight years since he left Trinity one of the idlest young men alive?"

"He had one brief!"

"Yes somewhere in the country, where all the juniors get one in turn," said Lady Tranmore. "That was the year he was so keen and went on circuit, and never missed a sessions. Next year nothing would induce him to stir out of town. What has he done with himself all these eight years? I can't imagine."

"He has grown uncommonly handsome," said Mary Lyster, with a momentary hesitation as she threaded her needle afresh... Continue reading book >>




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