a lost lady essays

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A lost lady essays components 3rd grade book report

A lost lady essays

Forrester's representation of wealth. After Mrs. Forrester's wealth withers away Neil begins to loose the esteem that he feels for her. After her wealth fades away, he begins to lose the admiration that he once has towards her.

Forrester is "charming" and "ladylike" and Neil is in awe whenever he is in her presence 6. When Mrs. Forrester takes care of Neil's broken arm, he admires her looks and her house. As Neil lies in pain in the Forrester's house he feels "weak and contented" Neil feels comfort in the nice surroundings of the Forrester house, "thinking that he would probably never be in so nice a place again" Neil is in awe of Mrs.

Forrester according to the description of: "what a lovely lady she was" 20 and "Oh, how sweet she smelled" When Neil sees Mrs. Forrester for the first time, "He was proud now that at the first moment he recognized her as belonging to a different world from any he had ever known" Neil realizes that she is at a higher social class that is unknown to him. The main factor for Neil's admiration of Mrs.

Forrester is her loyalty and relationship with her husband. As shown in the book when it states, "it was in her relation to her husband that he most admired her her loyalty to him, stamped her. Page, 2. Neil believes that Mrs. Forrester is a lady on whom the Captain depends.

He fails to see that Mrs. Lady Macbeth was a contradictory person, but she also was a very important character in this play. When lady macbeth knew that her husband will be the king, she called on the power of evil to helper to do what must be done, she also tell macbeth to remind him that he must appear to be a good and loyal host. At that time, lady macbeth watching her husband to be downfallen, and she was going a little bit crazy, because she knew that they were killed a lot of people.

Lady Macbeth was become crazy and she might be die. People make mistake, but they have to correct it or they may How important is Lady Macbeth's influence on her husband's decision to murder the king? The influence of Lady Macbeth on her husband's decision to murder the king is very important because if it wouldn't have been for Lady Macbeth, Macbeth wouldn't have killed Duncan. Lady Macbeth demonstrated he power over him by subjugating him completely.

Due to Lady Macbeth's ambitions both her and her husband lost the meaning of life. The self-created monster in Act 1 had lost the initiative in evil. Changes in the Characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Over the course of the play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth significantly change with respect to their characters and their personalities. Lady Macbeth's strong power is used to effortlessly persuade her weak husband. Forrester at six, Ben. Niel, come in for a moment and get warm.

It was a rather dark room, with walnut bookcases that had carved tops and glass doors. The floor was covered by a red carpet, and the walls were hung with large, old-fashioned engravings ; "The House of the Poet on the Last Day of Pompeii," "Shakespeare Reading before Queen Elizabeth. Forrester left him and presently returned carrying a tray with a decanter and sherry glasses.

She put it down on her husband's smoking-table, poured out a glass for Niel and one for herself, and perched on the arm of one of the stuffed chairs, where she sat sipping her sherry and stretching her tiny, silver-buckled slippers out toward the glowing coals. Forrester thinks we can't afford to go away.

For some reason, we are extraordinarily poor just now. However, it does no good to be glum about it, does it? At Colorado Springs some of my friends take tea, like the English. But I should feel like an old woman, drinking tea! Besides, sherry is good for my throat. But that seemed doubtful, as one looked at her,—fragile, indeed, but with such light, effervescing vitality. As she bent forward to put down her glass she patted his cheek.

I want you to like me well enough to come to see us often this winter. You shall come with your uncle to make a fourth at whist. Forrester must have his whist in the evening. Do you think he is looking any worse, Niel? It frightens me to see him getting a little uncertain. But there, we must believe in good luck! Niel liked to see the firelight sparkle on her earrings , long pendants of garnets and seed-pearls in the shape of fleurs-de-lys. She was the only woman he knew who wore earrings; they hung naturally against her thin, triangular cheeks.

Captain Forrester, although he had given her handsomer ones, liked to see her wear these, because they had been his mother's. It gratified him to have his wife wear jewels; it meant something to him. She never left off her beautiful rings unless she was in the kitchen. Forrester, after a silence during which she looked intently into the fire, as if she were trying to read the outcome of their difficulties there.

But you and Judge Pommeroy must keep an eye on him when he is in town, Niel. If he looks tired or uncertain, make some excuse and bring him home. He can't carry a drink or two as he used,"—she glanced over her shoulder to see that the door into the dining-room was shut. When he came out to join me in the carriage, coming down that long walk, you know, he fell. There was no ice, he didn't slip. It was simply because he was unsteady. He had trouble getting up. I still shiver to think of it.

To me, it was as if one of the mountains had fallen down. A little later Niel went plunging down the hill, looking exultantly into the streak of red sunset. Oh, the winter would not be so bad, this year! How strange that she should be here at all, a woman like her among common people! Not even in Denver had he ever seen another woman so elegant. He had sat in the dining-room of the Brown Palace hotel and watched them as they came down to dinner,—fashionable women from "the East," on their way to California.

But he had never found one so attractive and distinguished as Mrs. Compared with her, other women were heavy and dull; even the pretty ones seemed lifeless,—they had not that something in their glance that made one's blood tingle. And never elsewhere had he heard anything like her inviting, musical laugh, that was like the distant measures of dance music, heard through opening and shutting doors. He could remember the very first time he ever saw Mrs.

Forrester, when he was a little boy. He had been loitering in front of the Episcopal church one Sunday morning, when a low carriage drove up to the door. Ben Keezer was on the front seat, and on the back seat was a lady, alone, in a black silk dress all puffs and ruffles, and a black hat, carrying a parasol with a carved ivory handle. As the carriage stopped she lifted her dress to alight; out of a swirl of foamy white petticoats she thrust a black, shiny slipper. She stepped lightly to the ground and with a nod to the driver went into the church.

The little boy followed her through the open door, saw her enter a pew and kneel. He was proud now that at the first moment he had recognized her as belonging to a different world from any he had ever known. Niel paused for a moment at the end of the lane to look up at the last skeleton poplar in the long row; just above its pointed tip hung the hollow, silver winter moon. In pleasant weather Judge Pommeroy walked to the Forresters', but on the occasion of the dinner for the Ogdens he engaged the liveryman to take him and his nephew over in one of the town hacks ,—vehicles seldom used except for funerals and weddings.

They smelled strongly of the stable and contained lap-robes as heavy as lead and as slippery as oiled paper. Niel and his uncle were the only townspeople asked to the Forresters' that evening; they rolled over the creek and up the hill in state, and emerged covered with horsehair. Captain Forrester met them at the door, his burly figure buttoned up in a frock coat, a flat collar and black string tie under the heavy folds of his neck. He was always clean-shaven except for a drooping dun-coloured moustache.

The company stood behind him laughing while Niel caught up the whisk-broom and began dusting roan hairs off his uncle's broadcloth. Forrester gave Niel a brushing in turn and then took him into the parlour and introduced him to Mrs.

Ogden and her daughter. The daughter was a rather pretty girl, Niel thought, in a pale pink evening dress which left bare her smooth arms and short, dimpled neck. Her eyes were, as Mrs. Forrester had said, a china blue, rather prominent and inexpressive. Her fleece of ashy-gold hair was bound about her head with silver bands. In spite of her fresh, rose-like complexion, her face was not altogether agreeable. Two dissatisfied lines reached from the corners of her short nose to the corners of her mouth.

When she was displeased, even a little, these lines tightened, drew her nose back, and gave her a suspicious, injured expression. Niel sat down by her and did his best, but he found her hard to talk to. She seemed nervous and distracted, kept glancing over her shoulder, and crushing her handkerchief up in her hands.

Her mind, clearly, was elsewhere. After a few moments he turned to the mother, who was more easily interested. Ogden was almost unpardonably homely. She had a pear-shaped face, and across her high forehead lay a row of flat, dry curls. Her bluish brown skin was almost the colour of her violet dinner dress. A diamond necklace glittered about her wrinkled throat. Unlike Constance, she seemed thoroughly amiable, but as she talked she tilted her head and "used" her eyes, availing herself of those arch glances which he had supposed only pretty women indulged in.

Probably she had long been surrounded by people to whom she was an important personage, and had acquired the manner of a spoiled darling. Niel thought her rather foolish at first, but in a few moments he had got used to her mannerisms and began to like her. He found himself laughing heartily and forgot the discouragement of his failure with the daughter. Ogden, a short, weather-beaten man of fifty, with a cast in one eye, a stiff imperial , and twisted moustaches, was noticeably quieter and less expansive than when Niel had met him here on former occasions.

He seemed to expect his wife to do the talking. When Mrs. Forrester addressed him, or passed near him, his good eye twinkled and followed her,—while the eye that looked askance remained unchanged and committed itself to nothing. Suddenly everyone became more lively; the air warmed, and the lamplight seemed to brighten, as a fourth member of the Denver party came in from the dining-room with a glittering tray full of cocktails he had been making.

Frank Ellinger was a bachelor of forty, six feet two, with long straight legs, fine shoulders, and a figure that still permitted his white waistcoat to button without a wrinkle under his conspicuously well-cut dinner coat.

His black hair, coarse and curly as the filling of a mattress, was grey about the ears, his florid face showed little purple veins about his beaked nose,—a nose like the prow of a ship, with long nostrils. His chin was deeply cleft, his thick curly lips seemed very muscular, very much under his control, and, with his strong white teeth, irregular and curved, gave him the look of a man who could bite an iron rod in two with a snap of his jaws.

His whole figure seemed very much alive under his clothes, with a restless, muscular energy that had something of the cruelty of wild animals in it. Niel was very much interested in this man, the hero of many ambiguous stories. He didn't know whether he liked him or not. He knew nothing bad about him, but he felt something evil.

The cocktails were the signal for general conversation, the company drew together in one group. Even Miss Constance seemed less dissatisfied. Ellinger drank his cocktail standing beside her chair, and offered her the cherry in his glass. They were old-fashioned whiskey cocktails. Nobody drank Martinis then; gin was supposed to be the consolation of sailors and inebriate scrub-women.

His eyes, always somewhat suffused and bloodshot since his injury, blinked at his friends from under his heavy lids. At her he shook his finger, and offered her the little dish of Maraschino cherries. I want the one in your glass," she said with a pouty smile. Forrester, as if to share with her the charm of such innocence. Niel promptly crossed the room and proffered the cherry in the bottom of his glass.

She took it with her thumb and fore-finger and dropped it into her own,—where, he was quick to observe, she left it when they went out to dinner. A stubborn piece of pink flesh, he decided, and certainly a fool about a man quite old enough to be her father.

He sighed when he saw that he was placed next her at the dinner table. Captain Forrester still made a commanding figure at the head of his own table, with his napkin tucked under his chin and the work of carving well in hand.

Nobody could lay bare the bones of a brace of duck or a twenty-pound turkey more deftly. When a plate left Captain Forrester's hands, it was a dinner; the recipient was served, and well served. He served Mrs. Forrester last of the ladies but before the men, and to her, too, he said, "Mrs. Forrester, what part of the turkey shall I give you this evening?

He was no more mobile than his countenance. His clumsy dignity covered a deep nature, and a conscience that had never been juggled with. His repose was like that of a mountain. When he laid his fleshy thick-fingered hand upon a frantic horse, an hysterical woman, an Irish workman out for blood, he brought them peace; something they could not resist. That had been the secret of his management of men.

His sanity asked nothing, claimed nothing; it was so simple that it brought a hush over distracted creatures. In the old days, when he was building road in the Black Hills , trouble sometimes broke out in camp when he was absent, staying with Mrs. Forrester at Colorado Springs. He would put down the telegram that announced an insurrection and say to his wife, " Maidy , I must go to the men.

While the Captain was intent upon his duties as host he talked very little, and Judge Pommeroy and Ellinger kept a lively cross-fire of amusing stories going. Niel, sitting opposite Ellinger, watched him closely. He still couldn't decide whether he liked him or not. In Denver Frank was known as a prince of good fellows; tactful, generous, resourceful, though apt to trim his sails to the wind ; a man who good-humouredly bowed to the inevitable, or to the almost-inevitable.

He had, when he was younger, been notoriously "wild," but that was not held against him, even by mothers with marriageable daughters, like Mrs. Morals were different in those days. Niel had heard his uncle refer to Ellinger's youthful infatuation with a woman called Nell Emerald , a handsome and rather unusual woman who conducted a house properly licensed by the Denver police. Nell Emerald had told an old club man that though she had been out behind young Ellinger's new trotting horse, she "had no respect for a man who would go driving with a prostitute in broad daylight.

All the while that he was making a scandalous chronicle for himself, young Ellinger had been devotedly caring for an invalid mother, and he was described to strangers as a terribly fast young man and a model son. That combination pleased the taste of the time. Nobody thought the worse of him. Now that his mother was dead, he lived at the Brown Palace hotel, though he still kept her house at Colorado Springs.

When the roast was well under way, Black Tom, very formal in a white waistcoat and high collar, poured the champagne. Captain Forrester lifted his glass, the frail stem between his thick fingers, and glancing round the table at his guests and at Mrs. Forrester, said,. It was the toast he always drank at dinner, the invocation he was sure to utter when he took a glass of whiskey with an old friend.

Whoever had heard him say it once, liked to hear him say it again. Nobody else could utter those two words as he did, with such gravity and high courtesy. It seemed a solemn moment, seemed to knock at the door of Fate; behind which all days, happy and otherwise, were hidden. Niel drank his wine with a pleasant shiver, thinking that nothing else made life seem so precarious, the future so cryptic and unfathomable, as that brief toast uttered by the massive man, "Happy days!

Ogden turned to the host with her most languishing smile: "Captain Forrester, I want you to tell Constance"— She was an East Virginia woman, and what she really said was, "Cap'n Forrester, Ah wan' yew to tell, etc. The Captain looked down the table between the candles at Mrs. Forrester, as if to consult her. She smiled and nodded, and her beautiful earrings swung beside her pale cheeks. She was wearing her diamonds tonight, and a black velvet gown.

Her husband had archaic ideas about jewels; a man bought them for his wife in acknowledgment of things he could not gracefully utter. They must be costly; they must show that he was able to buy them, and that she was worthy to wear them. With her approval the Captain began his narrative: a concise account of how he came West a young boy, after serving in the Civil War, and took a job as driver for a freighting company that carried supplies across the plains from Nebraska City to Cherry Creek, as Denver was then called.

The freighters, after embarking in that sea of grass six hundred miles in width, lost all count of the days of the week and the month. One day was like another, and all were glorious; good hunting, plenty of antelope and buffalo , boundless sunny sky, boundless plains of waving grass, long fresh-water lagoons yellow with lagoon flowers , where the bison in their periodic migrations stopped to drink and bathe and wallow.

Once, when he was driven out of the trail by a wash-out , he rode south on his horse to explore, and found an Indian encampment near the Sweet Water, on this very hill where his house now stood. He was, he said, "greatly taken with the location," and made up his mind that he would one day have a house there. He cut down a young willow tree and drove the stake into the ground to mark the spot where he wished to build.

He went away and did not come back for many years; he was helping to lay the first railroad across the plains. But in all those years I expect there was hardly a day passed that I did not remember the Sweet Water and this hill. When I came here a young man, I had planned it in my mind, pretty much as it is today; where I would dig my well, and where I would plant my grove and my orchard. I planned to build a house that my friends could come to, with a wife like Mrs.

Forrester to make it attractive to them. I used to promise myself that some day I would manage it. His friends understood that he was referring to his first marriage , to the poor invalid wife who had never been happy and who had kept his nose to the grindstone. They took my note. I found my willow stake,—it had rooted and grown into a tree,—and I planted three more to mark the corners of my house.

Twelve years later Mrs. Forrester came here with me, shortly after our marriage, and we built our house. Something in the way he uttered his unornamented phrases gave them the impressiveness of inscriptions cut in stone. Forrester nodded at him from her end of the table. The Captain coughed and looked abashed. Some of our guests have already heard it.

It belongs at the end of the story, and if some of us have heard it, we can hear it again. Go on! You will get it more or less. That is, unless you are one of the people who get nothing in this world. There are such people. I have lived too much in mining works and construction camps not to know that.

All our great West has been developed from such dreams; the homesteader's and the prospector's and the contractor's. We dreamed the railroads across the mountains, just as I dreamed my place on the Sweet Water. All these things will be everyday facts to the coming generation, but to us—" Captain Forrester ended with a sort of grunt. Something forbidding had come into his voice, the lonely, defiant note that is so often heard in the voices of old Indians.

Ogden had listened to the story with such sympathy that Niel liked her better than ever, and even the preoccupied Constance seemed able to give it her attention. They rose from the dessert and went into the parlour to arrange the card tables. The Captain still played whist as well as ever. As he brought out a box of his best cigars, he paused before Mrs.

Ogden and said, "Is smoke offensive to you, Mrs. It did not bother him to repeat a phrase. If an expression answered his purpose, he saw no reason for varying it. Forrester and Mr. Ogden were to play against Mrs. Ogden and the Captain. Forrester as she sat down, "will you play with Niel?

I'm told he's very good. Miss Ogden's short nose flickered up, the lines on either side of it deepened, and she again looked injured. Niel was sure she detested him. He was not going to be done in by her. Suppose we try that combination? She gave him a quick, suspicious glance from under her yellow eyelashes and flung herself into a chair without so much as answering him.

Frank Ellinger came in from the dining-room, where he had been sampling the Captain's French brandy, and took the vacant seat opposite Miss Ogden. Good enough! Just before midnight Black Tom opened the door and announced that the egg-nog was ready.

The card players went into the dining-room, where the punchbowl stood smoking on the table. I like to hear one of the old songs with the egg-nog. Niel noticed that whenever Constance spoke to the Captain she strained her throat, though he wasn't in the least deaf. He broke in over her refusal. Judge Pommeroy, after smoothing his silver whiskers and coughing, began "Auld Lang Syne. Forrester sent Tom out with a drink for the driver. While Niel and his uncle were putting on their overcoats in the hall, she came up to them and whispered coaxingly to the boy, "Remember, you are coming over tomorrow, at two?

I am planning a drive, and I want you to amuse Constance for me. Niel bit his lip and looked down into Mrs. Forrester's laughing, persuasive eyes. The Judge and his nephew rolled away on swaying springs.

The Ogdens retired to their rooms upstairs. Forrester went to help the Captain divest himself of his frock coat, and put it away for him. Ever since he was hurt he had to be propped high on pillows at night, and he slept in a narrow iron bed, in the alcove which had formerly been his wife's dressing-room.

While he was undressing he breathed heavily and sighed, as if he were very tired. He fumbled with his studs, then blew on his fingers and tried again. His wife came to his aid and quickly unbuttoned everything. He did not thank her in words, but submitted gratefully. When the iron bed creaked at receiving his heavy figure, she called from the big bedroom, "Good-night, Mr.

Forrester," and drew the heavy curtains that shut off the alcove. She took off her rings and earrings and was beginning to unfasten her black velvet bodice when, at a tinkle of glass from without, she stopped short. Rehooking the shoulder of her gown, she went to the dining-room, now faintly lit by the coal fire in the back parlour. Frank Ellinger was standing at the sideboard, taking a nightcap. The Forrester French brandy was old, and heavy like a cordial.

There is a wide crack in the door. Ah, but kittens have claws, these days! Pour me just a little. Thank you. I'll have mine in by the fire. He followed her into the next room, where she stood by the grate, looking at him in the light of the pale blue flames that ran over the fresh coal, put on to keep the fire. She nervously brushed back a lock of hair that had come down a little.

It's morning. Go to bed and sleep as late as you please. Take care, I heard silk stockings on the stairs. Her touch, soft as it was, went through the man, all the feet and inches of him. His broad shoulders lifted on a deep breath. He looked down at her.

Her eyes fell. As she turned quickly away, the train of her velvet dress caught the leg of his broadcloth trousers and dragged with a friction that crackled and threw sparks. Both started. They stood looking at each other for a moment before she actually slipped through the door. Ellinger remained by the hearth, his arms folded tight over his chest, his curly lips compressed, frowning into the fire.

Niel went up the hill the next afternoon, just as the cutter with the two black ponies jingled round the driveway and stopped at the front door. Forrester came out on the porch, dressed for a sleigh ride. Ellinger followed her, buttoned up in a long fur-lined coat, showily befrogged down the front, with a glossy astrachan collar.

He looked even more powerful and bursting with vigour than last night. His highly-coloured, well-visored countenance shone with a good opinion of himself and of the world. Forrester called to Niel gaily. Will you keep Constance company? She seems a trifle disappointed at being left behind, but we can't take the big sleigh,—the pole is broken.

Be nice to her, there's a good boy! Ellinger sprang in beside her, and they glided down the hill with a merry tinkle of sleighbells. Niel found Miss Ogden in the back parlour, playing solitaire by the fire. She was clearly out of humour. I think they might have taken us along, don't you? I want to see the river my own self. I hate bein' shut up in the house! Constance seemed not to hear him. She was wrinkling and unwrinkling her short nose, and the restless lines about her mouth were fluttering.

I don't suppose the river's private property? The livery teams are all out," he said with firmness. Constance glanced at him suspiciously, then sat down at the card table and leaned over it, drawing her plump shoulders together. Her fluffy yellow hair was wound round her head like a scarf and held in place by narrow bands of black velvet.

The ponies had crossed the second creek and were trotting down the high road toward the river. Forrester expressed her feelings in a laugh full of mischief. Where did she get the idea that she was to come? What a relief to get away! The day was grey, without sun, and the air was still and dry, a warm cold. Ogden," she went on, "how much livelier he is without his ladies! They almost extinguish him. Now aren't you glad you never married?

What does a man do it for, anyway? She had no money,—and he's always had it, or been on the way to it. And Connie! You've reduced her to a state of imbecility, really! What an afternoon Niel must be having! Does he make himself useful? I'm going to train him to be very useful. He's devoted to Mr. Handsome, don't you think? Ellinger held the ponies in a little and turned down his high astrachan collar.

Forrester was holding her muff before her face, to catch the flying particles of snow the ponies kicked up. From behind it she glanced at him sidewise. He put his arm through hers and settled himself low in the sleigh. It's been a devil of a long while since I've seen you. The mocking spark in her eyes softened perceptibly under the long pressure of his arm. Well, at any rate I answered your telegram. I wish they would! But now you needn't be so careful. Not too careful!

Ellinger took off his glove with his teeth. His eyes, sweeping the winding road and the low, snow-covered bluffs, had something wolfish in them. You used to. Are these your cedars, shall we stop here? Ellinger glanced at her averted head, and his heavy lips twitched in a smile at one corner. The quality of her voice had changed, and he knew the change.

They went spinning along the curves of the winding road, saying not a word. Forrester sat with her head bent forward, her face half hidden in her muff. At last she told him to stop. To the right of the road he saw a thicket. Behind it a dry watercourse wound into the bluffs.

The tops of the dark, still cedars, just visible from the road, indicated its windings. When the blue shadows of approaching dusk were beginning to fall over the snow, one of the Blum boys, slipping quietly along through the timber in search of rabbits, came upon the empty cutter standing in the brush, and near it the two ponies, stamping impatiently where they were tied.

Adolph slid back into the thicket and lay down behind a fallen log to see what would happen. Not much ever happened to him but weather. Presently he heard low voices, coming nearer from the ravine. The big stranger who was visiting at the Forresters' emerged, carrying the buffalo robes on one arm; Mrs.

Forrester herself was clinging to the other. They walked slowly, wholly absorbed by what they were saying to each other. When they came up to the sleigh, the man spread the robes on the seat and put his hands under Mrs. Forrester's arms to lift her in. But he did not lift her; he stood for a long while holding her crushed up against his breast, her face hidden in his black overcoat. He reached under the seat for a hatchet and went back to the ravine.

Forrester sat with her eyes closed, her cheek pillowed on her muff, a faint, soft smile on her lips. The air was still and blue; the Blum boy could almost hear her breathe. When the strokes of the hatchet rang out from the ravine, he could see her eyelids flutter.

The man came back and threw the evergreens into the sleigh. When he got in beside her, she slipped her hand through his arm and settled softly against him. Nothing matters. The pale Blum boy rose from behind his log and followed the tracks up the ravine. When the orange moon rose over the bluffs, he was still sitting under the cedars, his gun on his knee.

While Mrs. Forrester had been waiting there in the sleigh, with her eyes closed, feeling so safe, he could almost have touched her with his hand. He had never seen her before when her mocking eyes and lively manner were not between her and all the world. If it had been Thad Grimes who lay behind that log, now, or Ivy Peters?

But with Adolph Blum her secrets were safe. His mind was feudal; the rich and fortunate were also the privileged. These warm-blooded, quick-breathing people took chances,—followed impulses only dimly understandable to a boy who was wet and weather-chapped all the year; who waded in the mud fishing for cat, or lay in the marsh waiting for wild duck. Forrester had never been too haughty to smile at him when he came to the back door with his fish.

She never haggled about the price. She treated him like a human being. His little chats with her, her nod and smile when she passed him on the street, were among the pleasantest things he had to remember. She bought game of him in the closed season , and didn't give him away. It was during that winter, the first one Mrs. Forrester had ever spent in the house on the hill, that Niel came to know her very well. For the Forresters that winter was a sort of isthmus between two estates; soon afterward came a change in their fortunes.

And for Niel it was a natural turning-point, since in the autumn he was nineteen, and in the spring he was twenty,—a very great difference. After the Christmas festivities were over, the whist parties settled into a regular routine. Three evenings a week Judge Pommeroy and his nephew sat down to cards with the Forresters. Sometimes they went over early and dined there. Sometimes they stayed for a late supper after the last rubber. Niel, who had been so content with a bachelor's life, and who had made up his mind that he would never live in a place that was under the control of women, found himself becoming attached to the comforts of a well-conducted house; to the pleasures of the table, to the soft chairs and soft lights and agreeable human voices at the Forresters'.

On bitter, windy nights, sitting in his favourite blue chair before the grate, he used to wonder how he could manage to tear himself away, to plunge into the outer darkness, and run down the long frozen road and up the dead street of the town. Captain Forrester was experimenting with bulbs that winter, and had built a little glass conservatory on the south side of the house, off the back parlour.

Through January and February the house was full of narcissus and Roman hyacinths , and their heavy, spring-like odour made a part of the enticing comfort of the fireside there. Where Mrs. Forrester was, dulness was impossible, Niel believed. The charm of her conversation was not so much in what she said, though she was often witty, but in the quick recognition of her eyes, in the living quality of her voice itself.

One could talk with her about the most trivial things, and go away with a high sense of elation. The secret of it, he supposed, was that she couldn't help being interested in people, even very commonplace people. If Mr. Ogden or Mr. Dalzell were not there to tell their best stories for her, then she could be amused by Ivy Peters' ruffianly manners, or the soft compliments of old man Elliott when he sold her a pair of winter shoes. She had a fascinating gift of mimicry.

When she mentioned the fat iceman, or Thad Grimes at his meat block, or the Blum boys with their dead rabbits, by a subtle suggestion of their manner she made them seem more individual and vivid than they were in their own person. She often caricatured people to their faces, and they were not offended, but greatly flattered. Nothing pleased one more than to provoke her laughter. Then you felt you were getting on with her.

It was her form of commenting, of agreeing with you and appreciating you when you said something interesting,—and it often told you a great deal that was both too direct and too elusive for words. Long, long afterward, when Niel did not know whether Mrs. Forrester were living or dead, if her image flashed into his mind, it came with a brightness of dark eyes, her pale triangular cheeks with long earrings, and her many-coloured laugh. When he was dull, dull and tired of everything, he used to think that if he could hear that long-lost lady laugh again, he could be gay.

The big storm of the winter came late that year; swept down over Sweet Water the first day of March and beat upon the town for three days and nights. Thirty inches of snow fell, and the cutting wind blew it into whirling drifts. The Forresters were snowed in. Ben Keezer, their man of all work, did not attempt to break a road or even to come over to the town himself.

On the third day Niel went to the post-office, got the Captain's leather mail sack with its accumulation of letters, and set off across the creek, plunging into drifts up to his middle, sometimes up to his arm-pits. The fences along the lane were covered, but he broke his trail by keeping between the two lines of poplars. When at last he reached the front porch, Captain Forrester came to the door and let him in. It's been a little lonesome for us.

You must have had hard work getting over. I certainly appreciate it. Come to the sitting-room fire and dry yourself. We will talk quietly. Forrester has gone upstairs to lie down; she's been complaining of a headache. Niel stood before the fire in his rubber boots, drying his trousers. The Captain did not sit down but opened the glass door into his little conservatory. All my hyacinths are coming along at once, every colour of the rainbow. The Roman hyacinths, I say, are Mrs.

They seem to suit her. Niel went to the door and looked with keen pleasure at the fresh, watery blossoms. They've been company for us. Niel liked to see him look out over his place. A man's house is his castle, his look seemed to say. I had him throw a few cabbages out for them, so they won't suffer. Forrester has been on the porch every day, feeding the snow birds ," he went on, as if talking to himself.

The stair door opened, and Mrs. Forrester came down in her Japanese dressing-gown, looking very pale. How nice of you. And you've brought the mail. Are there any letters for me? Two from Denver and one from California. It's delightful up in the west room, the wind sings and whistles about the eaves. If you'll excuse me, I'll dress and glance at my letters. Stand closer to the fire, Niel.

Are you very wet? Was she ill, he wondered, or merely so bored that she had been trying to dull herself? Forrester," said the Captain in a solicitous tone, "I believe I would like some tea and toast this afternoon, like your English friends, and it would be good for your head.

We won't offer Niel anything else. Mary has gone to bed with a toothache, but I will make the tea. Niel can make the toast here by the fire while you read your paper. She was cheerful now,—tied one of Mary's aprons about Niel's neck and set him down with the toasting fork. He noticed that the Captain, as he read his paper, kept his eye on the sideboard with a certain watchfulness, and when his wife brought the tray with tea, and no sherry, he seemed very much pleased. He drank three cups, and took a second piece of toast.

Forrester," she said lightly, "Niel has brought back my appetite. I ate no lunch to-day," turning to the boy, "I've been shut up too long. Is there anything in the papers? This meant was there any news concerning the people they knew. The Captain put on his silver-rimmed glasses again and read aloud about the doings of their friends in Denver and Omaha and Kansas City. Forrester sat on a stool by the fire, eating toast and making humorous comments upon the subjects of those solemn paragraphs; the engagement of Miss Erma Salton-Smith, etc.

You remember her, Niel. She's been here. I think you danced with her. Don't you remember? Tall, very animated, glittering eyes, like the Ancient Mariner's? He let the journal slowly crumple on his knees, and sat watching the two beside the grate. To him they seemed about the same age.

It was a habit with him to think of Mrs. Forrester as very, very young. It was twilight by now. They heard Mary come downstairs and begin stirring about the kitchen. The Captain, his slippers in the zone of firelight and his heavy shoulders in shadow, snored from time to time.

As the room grew dusky, the windows were squares of clear, pale violet, and the shutters ceased to rattle. The wind was dying with the day. Everything was still, except when Bohemian Mary roughly clattered a pan. Forrester whispered that she was out of sorts because her sweetheart, Joe Pucelik, hadn't been over to see her.

Sunday night was his regular night, and Sunday was the first day of the blizzard. Forrester shrugged. Forrester is asleep. Let's run down the hill, there's no one to stop us. I'll slip on my rubber boots. No objections! I can't stand this house a moment longer. They slipped quietly out of the front door into the cold air which tasted of new-fallen snow.

A clear arc of blue and rose colour painted the west, over the buried town. When they reached the rounded breast of the hill, blown almost bare, Mrs. Forrester stood still and drew in deep breaths, looking down over the drifted meadows and the stiff, blue poplars.

What will become of me, Niel? I get no exercise. I don't skate; we didn't in California, and my ankles are weak. I've always danced in the winter, there's plenty of dancing at Colorado Springs. You wouldn't believe how I miss it. I shall dance till I'm eighty. I'll be the waltzing grandmother! It's good for me, I need it. They plunged down into the drifts and did not stop again until they reached the wooden bridge. I thought running water never froze.

How long will it be like this? In a month you'll see the green begin in the marsh and run over the meadows. It's lovely over here in the spring. And you'll be able to get out tomorrow, Mrs. The clouds are thinning. Look, there's the new moon! She turned. Instantly before his eyes rose the image of a pair of shoulders that were very broad, objectionably broad, clad in a frogged overcoat with an astrachan collar.

The intrusion of this third person annoyed him as they went slowly back up the hill. Curiously enough, it was as Captain Forrester's wife that she most interested Niel, and it was in her relation to her husband that he most admired her.

Given her other charming attributes, her comprehension of a man like the railroad-builder, her loyalty to him, stamped her more than anything else. That, he felt, was quality; something that could never become worn or shabby; steel of Damascus.

His admiration of Mrs. Forrester went back to that, just as, he felt, she herself went back to it. He rather liked the stories, even the spiteful ones, about the gay life she led in Colorado, and the young men she kept dangling about her every winter. He sometimes thought of the life she might have been living ever since he had known her,—and the one she had chosen to live.

From that disparity, he believed, came the subtlest thrill of her fascination. She mocked outrageously at the proprieties she observed, and inherited the magic of contradictions. On the evenings when there was no whist at the Forresters', Niel usually sat in his room and read,—but not law, as he was supposed to do. The winter before, when the Forresters were away, and one dull day dragged after another, he had come upon a copious diversion, an almost inexhaustible resource.

The high, narrow bookcase in the back office, between the double doors and the wall, was filled from top to bottom with rows of solemn looking volumes bound in dark cloth, which were kept apart from the law library; an almost complete set of the Bohn classics , which Judge Pommeroy had bought long ago when he was a student at the University of Virginia. He had brought them West with him, not because he read them a great deal, but because, in his day, a gentleman had such books in his library, just as he had claret in his cellar.

Among them was a set of Byron in three volumes, and last winter, apropos of a quotation which Niel didn't recognize, his uncle advised him to read Byron,—all except "Don Juan. He hadn't finished yet with these last,—always went back to them after other experiments. These authors seemed to him to know their business. Even in "Don Juan" there was a little "fooling," but with these gentlemen none.

There were philosophical works in the collection, but he did no more than open and glance at them. He had no curiosity about what men had thought; but about what they had felt and lived, he had a great deal. If anyone had told him that these were classics and represented the wisdom of the ages, he would doubtless have let them alone. But ever since he had first found them for himself, he had been living a double life, with all its guilty enjoyments. He read the Heroides over and over, and felt that they were the most glowing love stories ever told.

He did not think of these books as something invented to beguile the idle hour, but as living creatures, caught in the very behaviour of living,—surprised behind their misleading severity of form and phrase. He was eavesdropping upon the past, being let into the great world that had plunged and glittered and sumptuously sinned long before little Western towns were dreamed of. Those rapt evenings beside the lamp gave him a long perspective, influenced his conception of the people about him, made him know just what he wished his own relations with these people to be.

For some reason, his reading made him wish to become an architect. If the Judge had left his Bohn library behind him in Kentucky, his nephew's life might have turned out differently. Spring came at last, and the Forrester place had never been so lovely.

The Captain spent long, happy days among his flowering shrubs, and his wife used to say to visitors, "Yes, you can see Mr. Forrester in a moment; I will send the English gardener to call him. Early in June, when the Captain's roses were just coming on, his pleasant labors were interrupted. One morning an alarming telegram reached him. He cut it open with his garden shears, came into the house, and asked his wife to telephone for Judge Pommeroy.

A savings bank, one in which he was largely interested, had failed in Denver. That evening the Captain and his lawyer went west on the express. The Judge, when he was giving Niel final instructions about the office business, told him he was afraid the Captain was bound to lose a good deal of money. Forrester seemed unaware of any danger; she went to the station to see her husband off, spoke of his errand merely as a "business trip. He dreaded poverty for her.

She was one of the people who ought always to have money; any retrenchment of their generous way of living would be a hardship for her,—would be unfitting. She would not be herself in straitened circumstances. Niel took his meals at the town hotel; on the third day after Captain Forrester's departure, he was annoyed to find Frank Ellinger's name on the hotel register.

Ellinger did not appear at supper, which meant, of course, that he was dining with Mrs. Forrester, and that the lady herself would get his dinner. She had taken the occasion of the Captain's absence to let Bohemian Mary go to visit her mother on the farm for a week. He must know that it would stir up the gossips. Niel had meant to call on Mrs. Forrester that evening, but now he went back to the office instead.

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