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The Soul of Susan Yellam   By: (1861-1955)

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E text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Carol Brown, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net)

THE SOUL OF SUSAN YELLAM

by

HORACE ANNESLEY VACHELL

Author of Some Happenings, Quinneys, Blinds Down, Loot, etc.

[Illustration: printer's decoration]

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers

Copyright, 1918, By George H. Doran Company

Printed in the United States of America

TO THE MEMORY OF MY SON RICHARD TANFIELD VACHELL CAPTAIN, FIFTH FUSILIERS

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I MOTHER AND SON 11

II FANCY BROOMFIELD 27

III INTRODUCING MRS. MUCKLOW 42

IV LE PAYS DU TENDRE 57

V UNCLE 70

VI FIRST IMPRESSIONS 86

VII SECOND IMPRESSIONS 101

VIII RECRUITING 116

IX PARSON'S METHODS 130

X FANCY'S ORDEAL 144

XI THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS 160

XII THE EMPTY PEW 174

XIII FANCY CONSULTS THE CARDS 190

XIV HYMENEAL 203

XV LEANNESS OF SOUL 217

XVI SAINT WILLUM 234

XVII FOOL WISDOM 248

XVIII MISSING! 263

XIX SUSPENSE 279

XX THE TRAVELLER RETURNS 294

THE SOUL OF SUSAN YELLAM

THE SOUL OF SUSAN YELLAM

CHAPTER I

MOTHER AND SON

The village church at Nether Applewhite has been described as an interesting chapter in ecclesiastical architecture. It stands a little apart from the cottages upon a hill which presents something of the appearance of a tumulus. Part of the church is Norman, but to the uninstructed the outside has been mellowed by time and weather into a charming homogeneity. It was embellished early in the eighteenth century by the addition of a brick tower. The inside is likely to challenge even the uncritical eye. The transept is as long as the nave, and two large galleries arrest attention in the west end. Overlooking the chancel is the Squire's pew, a sort of royal opera box, provided with chairs, a table, and a fireplace, not to mention a private entrance. Opposite to this, across the chancel, stands a three decker pulpit of seventeenth century woodwork, with a fine hexagonal canopy. On the north side of the steps to the chancel is a mutilated fifteenth century screen.

Squire and parson can see every member of the congregation.

There are large pews in nave and transept occupied by the gentry and farmers, and many small pews which although the seats in the church are spoken of as "free" have been used habitually by certain cottagers. One of these pews in the nave was known as the Yellam pew. Sunday after Sunday, rain or shine, Susan Yellam sat bolt upright in her pew. Her son, Alfred, sat beside her. Mother and son were never guilty of missing a response, or of looking behind them, or of failing to contribute something in copper to the offertory plate. If a stranger happened to be conducting the service, and if he was so lost to a sense of duty as to display unseemly haste, Mrs. Yellam's voice might be heard, loud and clear, setting the proper pace. At the end of every prayer, her "Amen" came to be accepted, even by the young and thoughtless, as a grace and benediction. Always she wore decent black, as became a woman who had buried in the churchyard outside a husband and three children. But her Easter bonnet had a touch of mauve in it.

Her clothes were not the least part of a tremendous personality. Children believed that she went to bed in her black gown. Authority exuded from every pore of her skin. Probably Boadicea was cast in just such a generous mould. She possessed, as will be seen presently, that British cocksureness which so endears us to foreigners... Continue reading book >>




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