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The Rectory Children   By: (1839-1921)

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First Page:

THE RECTORY CHILDREN

BY MRS MOLESWORTH

ILLUSTRATED BY

WALTER CRANE

[Illustration: 'It's the sun going to bed, you know, dear.' P. 37.]

London MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1897

TO MY NIECE AND GOD DAUGHTER Helen Louisa Delves Walthall

85 LEXHAM GARDENS Shrove Tuesday , 1889.

CONTENTS

PAGE CHAPTER I THE PARLOUR BEHIND THE SHOP 1

CHAPTER II THOSE YOUNG LADIES 18

CHAPTER III A TRYING CHILD 34

CHAPTER IV BIDDY HAS SOME NEW THOUGHTS 51

CHAPTER V CELESTINA 66

CHAPTER VI THE WINDOW IN THE WALL 83

CHAPTER VII ON THE SEASHORE 99

CHAPTER VIII A NICE PLAN 117

CHAPTER IX A SECRET 134

CHAPTER X BIDDY'S ESCAPADE 151

CHAPTER XI AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 169

CHAPTER XII ANOTHER BIRTHDAY 186

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE ' and oh, Alie, I have so torn my frock, and it's my afternoon one my new merino' 27

'Little girl,' she called, when she got close to the other child 75

'It's like a magic lantern; no, I mean a peep show' 89

'I would like to go there,' she said 115

A secret 148

carrying between them a little dripping figure, with streaming hair, white face, and closed eyes 161

'Now, Biddy. Open your eyes' 195

'O little hearts! that throb and beat, With such impatient, feverish heat, Such limitless and strong desires.' LONGFELLOW.

THE RECTORY CHILDREN

CHAPTER I

THE PARLOUR BEHIND THE SHOP

'I was very solitary indeed.' ( Visit to the Cousins ). MARY LAMB.

The blinds had been drawn down for some time in the back parlour behind Mr. Fairchild's shop in Pier Street, the principal street in the little town of Seacove. And the gas was lighted, though it was not turned up very high. It was a great thing to have gas; it had not been known at Seacove till recently. For the time of which I am writing is now a good many years ago, thirty or forty at least.

Seacove, though a small place, was not so out of the way in some respects as many actually larger towns, for it was a seaport, though not a very important one. Ships came in from all parts of the globe, and sailed away again in due course to the far north, and still farther off south; to the great other world of America, too, no doubt, and to the ancient eastern lands. But it was the vessels going to or coming from the strange mysterious north the land of everlasting snow, where the reindeer and, farther north still, the white bear have their home, and where the winter is one long, long night it was somehow the thought of the north that had the most fascination for the little girl who was sitting alone in the dull parlour behind the shop this late November evening. And among the queer outlandish looking sailors who from time to time were to be seen on the wharf or about the Seacove streets, now and then looking in to buy a sheet of paper and an envelope in her father's shop, it was the English ones belonging to the whalers or to the herring smacks bound for the north who interested Celestina by far the most.

This evening she was not thinking of sailors or ships or anything like that; her mind was full of her own small affairs. She had got two new dolls, quite tiny ones Celestina did not care for big dolls and long as the daylight lasted she had been perfectly happy dressing them. But the daylight was gone now it was always rather in a hurry to say good night to the back parlour and the gas was too dim for her to see clearly by, even if she had had anything else to do, which she had not, till mother could give her a scrap or two for the second dolly's frock... Continue reading book >>




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