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Janet's Love and Service   By: (1821-1897)

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Janet's Love and Service, by Margaret M Robertson.

The set of page scans that was used to create this version of the book was as dirty as it is possible to be, while still making it just about possible to do the OCR and subsequent editing. This latter was very hard work. The scans came from the Canadiana Online collection. No doubt there is a reason for this lack of quality. But there was a reason for persevering with the editing process, endless as it seemed to be for several weeks, and that was that I do believe this book to be very great literature, even though it has not hitherto been recognised as such by the world in general.

To be truthful, the book's first quarter, and perhaps the last quarter, are more dramatic than the two middle quarters. But it is all well worth reading and thinking about, for there are many things in the book that we should all think deeply about, living as we do in a very different world than the one that surrounded the author and her fictional characters almost a hundred and fifty years ago. That the author had very great skill is undoubted, and can be seen from her other works.

I hope you will read it and see if you agree with me that the hard work involved on bringing this book to the web has been worthwhile. NH.



The longest day in all the year was slowly closing over the little village of Clayton. There were no loiterers now at the corners of the streets or on the village square it was too late for that, though daylight still lingered. Now and then the silence was broken by the footsteps of some late home comer, and over more than one narrow close, the sound of boyish voices went and came, from garret to garret, telling that the spirit of slumber had not yet taken possession of the place. But these soon ceased. The wind moved the tall laburnums in the lane without a sound, and the murmur of running water alone broke the stillness, as the gurgle of the burn, and the rush of the distant mill dam met and mingled in the air of the summer night.

In the primitive village of Clayton, at this midsummer time, gentle and simple were wont to seek their rest by the light of the long gloaming. But to night there was light in the manse in the minister's study, and in other parts of the house as well. Lights were carried hurriedly past uncurtained windows, and flared at last through the open door, as a woman's anxious face looked out.

"What can be keeping him?" she murmured, as she shaded the flickering candle and peered out into the gathering darkness. "It's no' like him to linger at a time like this. God send he was at home."

Another moment of eager listening, and then the anxious face was withdrawn and the door closed. Soon a sound broke the stillness of the village street; a horseman drew up before the minister's house, and the door was again opened.

"Well, Janet?" said the rider, throwing the reins on the horse's neck and pausing as he went in. The woman curtseyed with a very relieved face.

"They'll be glad to see you up the stairs, sir. The minister's no' long home."

She lighted the doctor up the stairs, and then turned briskly in another direction. In a minute she was kneeling before the kitchen hearth, and was stirring up the buried embers.

"Has my father come, Janet?" said a voice out of the darkness.

"Yes, he's come. He's gone up the stairs. I'll put on the kettle. I dare say he'll be none the worse of a cup of tea after his ride."

Sitting on the high kitchen dresser, her cheek close against the darkening window, sat a young girl, of perhaps twelve or fourteen years of age. She had been reading by the light that lingered long at that western window, but the entrance of Janet's candle darkened that, and the book, which at the first moment of surprise had dropped out of her hand, she now hastily put behind her out of Janet's sight... Continue reading book >>

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