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The White Rose of Langley A Story of the Olden Time   By: (1836-1893)

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The White Rose of Langley, a Story of the Olden Time, by Emily Sarah Holt.

This book is set in aristocratic circles in the fifteenth century. For that reason there is a great deal of mediaeval English. However, most of the unusual words are explained as they occur, so there is no problem with comprehension. The last chapter is headed "Historical Appendix", and contains potted lives of most of the people whom we meet in the book, since the majority of them really existed. Of course the detail of the conversations in the book is made up, but we can well believe that something very like them might well have happened. What is very evident is that many of these people were plotters, the object of their desires being in some way to increase their own wealth or status. Even small children may be imprisoned and murdered, as we remember from the sad tale of "the Princes in the Tower".

If you are fond of reading historical novels, and are familiar with the general history of the fifteenth century, you will enjoy this view of the lives of the figures that made that history.




"Oh, how full of briars is this working day world!"

Shakspere .

"It is so cold, Mother!"

The woman addressed languidly roused herself from the half sheltered nook of the forest in which she and her child had taken refuge. She was leaning with her back supported by a giant oak, and the child was in her arms. The age of the child was about eight. The mother, though still young in years, was old before her time, with hard work and exposure, and it might be also with sorrow. She sat up, and looked wearily over the winter scene before her. There was nothing of the querulous, complaining tone of the little girl's voice in hers; only the dull, sullen apathy of hopeless endurance.

"Cold, child!" she said. "'Tis like to be colder yet when the night cometh."

"O Mother! and all snow now!"

"There be chiller gear than snow, maid," replied the mother bitterly.

"But it had been warmer in London, Mother? if we had not lost our road."

"May be," was the answer, in a tone which seemed to imply that it did not signify.

The child did not reply; and the woman continued to sit upright, and look forward, with an absent expression in her face, indicating that the mind was not where the eyes were.

"Only snow and frost!" she muttered not speaking to the child. "Nought beyond, nor here ne there. Nay, snow is better than snowed up hearts. Had it been warmer in London? May be the hearts there had been as frosty as at Pleshy. Well! it will be warm in the grave, and we shall soon win yonder."

"Be there fires yonder, Mother?" asked the child innocently.

The woman laughed a bitter, harsh laugh, in which there was no mirth.

"The devil keepeth," she said. "At least so say the priests. But what wit they? They never went thither to see. They will, belike, some day."

The little girl was silent again, and the mother, after a moment's pause, resumed her interrupted soliloquy.

"If there were nought beyond, only!" she murmured; and her look and tone of dull misery sharpened into vivid pain. "If a man might die, and have done with it all! But to meet God! And 'tis no sweven, [dream] ne fallacy, this dread undeadliness [immortality] it is real. O all ye blessed saints and martyrs in Heaven! how shall I meet God?"

"Is that holy Mary's Son, Mother?"


"Holy Mary will plead for us," suggested the child. "She can alway peace her Son. But methought He was good to folks, Mother. Sister Christian was wont to say so."

"To saints and good women like Sister Christian, may be."

"Art thou not good, Mother?"

The question was put in all innocence... Continue reading book >>

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