小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 儿童英文小说 » A Girl of Virginia » Chapter 12
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 12
As the train rocked down the mountain-side next day, past tobacco-fields stripped bare, and orchards where no red fruit shone, and fields now brown and sere, and as it sped over the low country, Lawson had one thought. He would see, when the train pulled into Richmond, somewhere in the throng about the station Frances' bright face and serene shining eyes. She would be there with those of the city who came to welcome them. The travellers laughed and jested, sang and cheered and yelled, Lawson with them, his heart light as a boy's; but all of this outward atmosphere was like a dream to him,—the reality was the vision he saw of a girl's face. He was first out of the coach. His eager eyes searched the crowd. In all the press was not one face he knew. He was half resentful when he was hurried away, and glum and silent in the midst of the joyful hubbub around him.

[Pg 168]

Then he pulled himself together; she was out on the grounds, of course. When the game began, his inattention and wretched play fairly lost the day, until the wrath of the captain called and kept him to the work in hand. He stayed the night in Richmond, went to the play, loitered about the shopping streets next day, and saw only strangers or those who had come down from the mountains with them.

Late that afternoon, tired, disgusted, self-scornful, he took a train for home. When he passed the professor's house he saw a beam of light shine out on the quadrangle on a spot where no gleam had shone for many a night.

He walked deliberately out on the sward and looked up. He cared not who saw him or who chaffed him, and a University man has to order his life with care if he wishes it not to become a burden to him. Fortunately it was late, and there were no men about corridor or campus. He stood watching; it might be the old negress there for all he knew.

[Pg 169]

The curtains were pulled aside, the casement opening on the balcony was flung open, and a tall supple figure stood outlined sharply against the flood of light behind her. His heart seemed pulsing in his throat and choking him. Then Frances stepped lightly out on the porch and began to unfasten the heavy shutters from the clasps holding them back to the brick wall.

He walked quickly across till he stood under the balcony's edge; the vine climbing the pillar was bare, its dry branches rustling in the night wind.

"Frances!" he called softly.

There was no answer, and he heard a light footstep across the porch and a rattling at the other shutter.

"Miss Holloway!" he called distinctly.

"Who is there? Where—"

The voice called again; she leaned over the railing and saw a tall figure below looming in the star-lit dusk. "Who is it?" she asked, a quick catch in her breath.

"Do you not know me?" reproachfully.

"Mr. Lawson?" the voice was low and full,[Pg 170] and the intonation gracefully easy, with the old ring of cheer in it. Hard riding, hard thinking, hot scorning, and firm resolving had made many changes in Frances; best of all it had restored her old manner of gay ease.

"Where have you been?" questioned the voice below.

"Ever so many places."

"When did you come back?" If there was any tender reproach in the voice, the young woman up there did not heed it.

"Yesterday."

Yesterday! when he was searching for her, longing for her,—and she was here. "Why didn't you stay for the game?"

"I couldn't; I am expecting some friends from Richmond. I had to come home and see that Susan had the house in order."

There was a second's silence. The young man below stood motionless: "I want to see you," he said firmly.

"Can't you? What a pity it's so dark!"

"To-morrow?"

"I shall not have a minute's time."

"Soon?" he insisted.

[Pg 171]

"Of course!" as if it were a matter of no consequence whatever.

"I shall expect to," and then there was silence again.

"I am glad you won!" called the girl. "Good night!"

"Oh, yes, we won!" he said, a trifle bitterly, as he strode away.

Frances leaned faintly against the rail. It was over, the moment she had dreaded unspeakably, and she was in her rightful place again. She knew it; she blessed the night whose darkness had given her assurance. She blessed the unexpected meeting when there was no time for awkward confusion. She tapped her finger-tips on the rail and smiled to herself as she stood there, but the icy touch of the frost already forming roused her to a sense of the cold and chill. She hurried in, locked the shutters and then went running down the stairs.

"Father," she said with a happy laugh, "father, I am so glad to be at home." She leaned over his chair and put her arms about his neck.
 
"Are you?" there was a sparkle of joy in the professor's dark eyes; "so am I!" He slipped his arm about her and pulled her down on the arm of the chair. "You mustn't run away again; I don't know what to do without you; you must never run away again, too far!"

Lawson, though he was not given to poetical comparisons, was remembering with keen pain the first hour when he stood beneath the balcony and Frances had talked with him. It was morning then, it was night now; the sunlight was in the sky, only the cold stars now; she had come down to him blithely that warm, bright day when the world was a flood of sunshine and color; he had gone alone now, and it was cold and dark, and the color had drifted from the outside world and the joy from his heart.


欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号