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The Good Comrade

118 pages
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Ajouté le : 08 décembre 2010
Lecture(s) : 14
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Good Comrade, by Una L. Silberrad This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Good Comrade Author: Una L. Silberrad Illustrator: Anna Whelan Betts Release Date: March 27, 2006 [EBook #18060] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE GOOD COMRADE *** Produced by Suzanne Shell, Sankar Viswanathan, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net "'Tell me,' she said, 'did you ever really do anything foolish in your life?'" [See page 130] The Good Comrade By UNA L. SILBERRAD Illustrated by Anna Whelan Betts New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1907 COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY DOUBLEDAY PAGE & COMPANY PUBLISHED, SEPTEMBER, 1907 CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. XXIII. THE POLKINGTONS THE DEBT NARCISSUS TRIANDRUS AZUREUM THE OWNER OF THE BLUE DAFFODIL THE EXCURSION DEBTOR AND CREDITOR HOW JULIA DID NOT GET THE BLUE DAFFODIL POOFERCHJES AND JEALOUSY THE HOLIDAY TO-MORROW A REPRIEVE THE YOUNG COOK THE HEIRESS THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN THE GOOD COMRADE THE SIMPLE LIFE NARCISSUS TRIANDRUS STRIATUM, THE GOOD COMRADE BEHIND THE CHOPPING-BLOCK CAPTAIN POLKINGTON THE BENEFACTOR THE GOING OF THE GOOD COMRADE THE LINE OF LEAST RESISTANCE PAYMENT AND RECEIPT 1 12 26 39 56 70 88 108 126 144 172 190 202 218 238 249 264 281 300 316 325 336 353 ILLUSTRATIONS "'Tell me,' she said, 'did you ever really do anything foolish in your life?'" Frontispiece FACING PAGE "Julia" "A wonderful woman" "'Now you must call your flower a name,' he said" 188 235 276 THE GOOD COMRADE CHAPTER I THE POLKINGTONS The Polkingtons were of those people who do not dine. They lunched, though few besides Johnny Gillat, who did not count, had been invited to share that meal with them. They took tea, the daintiest, pleasantest, most charming of teas, as the élite of Marbridge knew; everybody—or, rather, a selection of everybody, had had tea with them one time or another. After that there was no record; the élite, who would as soon have thought of going without their heads as without their dinner, concluded they dined, because they were "one of us." But some humbler folk were of opinion that they only dined once a week, and that after morning service on Sundays; but even this idea was dispelled when the eldest Miss Polkington was heard to excuse her nonappearance at an organ recital because "lunch was always so late on Sunday." [1] Let it not be imagined from this that the Polkingtons were common people—they were not; they were extremely well connected; indeed, their connections were one of the two striking features about them, the other was their handicap, Captain Polkington, late of the ——th Bengal Lancers. He was well connected, though not quite so much so as his wife; still—well, but he was not very presentable. If only he had been dead [2] he would have been a valuable asset, but living, he was decidedly rather a drawback; there are some relatives like this. Mrs. Polkington bore up under it valiantly; in fact, they all did so well that in time they, or at least she and two of her three daughters, came almost to believe some of the legends they told of the Captain. The Polkingtons lived at No. 27 East Street, which, as all who know Marbridge are aware, is a very good street in which to live. The house was rather small, but the drawing-room was good, with two beautiful Queen Anne windows, and a white door with six panels. The rest of the house did not matter. On the whole the drawing-room did not so very much matter, because visitors seldom went into it when the Miss Polkingtons were not there; and when they were, no one but a jealous woman would have noticed that the furniture was rather slight, and there were no flowers except those in obvious places. There was only one Miss Polkington in the drawing-room that wintry afternoon—Julia, the middle one of the three, the only one who could not fill even a larger room to the complete obliteration of furniture and fitments. Julia was not pretty, therefore she was seldom to be found in the drawing-room alone; she knew better than to attempt to occupy that stage by herself. But it was now almost seven o'clock, too late for any one to come; also, since there was no light but the fire, deficiencies were not noticeable. She felt secure of interruption, and stood with one foot on the fender, looking earnestly into the fire. That day had been an important one to the Polkingtons; Violet, the eldest of the sisters, had that afternoon accepted an offer of marriage from the Reverend Richard Frazer. The young man had not left the house an [3] hour, and Mrs. Polkington was not yet returned from some afternoon engagement more than half, but already the matter had been in part discussed by the family. Julia, standing by the drawing-room fire, was in a position to review at least some points of the case dispassionately. Violet was two and twenty, tall, and of a fine presence, like her mother, but handsomer than the elder woman could ever have been. She had undoubted abilities, principally of a social order, but not a penny apiece to her dower. She had this afternoon accepted Richard Frazer, though he was only a curate—an aristocratic one certainly, with a small private income, and an uncle lately made bishop of one of the minor sees. Violet was fond of him; she was too nice a girl to accept a man she was not fond of, though too well brought up to become fond of one who was impossible. The engagement, though it probably did not fulfil all Mrs. Polkington's ambitions, was in Julia's opinion a good thing for several reasons. There was a swish and rustle of silk by the door—Mrs. Polkington did not wear silk skirts, only a silk flounce somewhere, but she got more creak and rustle out of it than the average woman does out of two skirts. An imposing woman she was, with an eye that had once been described as "eagle," though, for that, it was a little inquiring and eager now, by reason of the look-out she had been obliged to keep for a good part of her life. She entered the room now, followed by her eldest and