Immediately after dinner Miss Martineau's well-known knock was heard at the hall-door, and Miss Martineau herself, bristling with excitement and curiosity, invaded the girls in their drawing-room. "Now, my dears, tell me all about her. Is she not fascinating? She is greatly pleased with you three you have made a most proper impression; and you are to go to spend the day at Shortlands to-morrow.
He stood on the bank and heard Gerald's voice. The water was still booming in the night, the moon was fair, the hills beyond were elusive. The lake was sinking. There came the raw smell of the banks, in the night air. Up at Shortlands there were lights in the windows, as if nobody had gone to bed. On the landing-stage was the old doctor, the father of the young man who was lost.
Such a tragedy in Shortlands, the high home of the district! One of the young mistresses, persisting in dancing on the cabin roof of the launch, wilful young madam, drowned in the midst of the festival, with the young doctor! Everywhere on the Sunday morning, the colliers wandered about, discussing the calamity. At all the Sunday dinners of the people, there seemed a strange presence.
I can go to Shortlands just for a time, before I go away, if only to see what it is like. For she had an insatiable curiosity to see and to know everything. She also wanted to know what Winifred was really like. Having heard the child calling from the steamer in the night, she felt some mysterious connection with her. Gudrun talked with the father in the library. Then he sent for his daughter.
Perhaps the two hundred pounds was lost; perhaps there was no balance at the bank! When the good gentleman was ushered into the room she glanced at him mysteriously, and even while he was shaking hands with Jasmine and Daisy, began letting fall short, but mysterious sentences "Mrs. Ellsworthy has called much pleased inclined to take them up. They are to spend to-morrow at Shortlands." Mr.
Ellsworthy is a very rich woman?" "Mrs. Ellsworthy of Shortlands?" said Poppy; "why, in course; ever since I can remember, my mother has said to me, 'Poppy, child, them there Ellsworthys is made of money." "Made of money," repeated Daisy, a little shadowy smile coming to her face; "then they must be really rich. Do you think, Poppy, that Mrs.
'Are you going to Shortlands to dinner? Ursula asked him suddenly. He started. 'Good God! he said. 'Shortlands! Never again. Not that. Besides we should be too late. 'Where are we going then to the Mill? 'If you like. Pity to go anywhere on this good dark night. Pity to come out of it, really. Pity we can't stop in the good darkness.
With a quick out-thrust of his four legs, he rolled over on his side and with questioning eyes and pricked ears looked and listened. Again Daughtry made the lip-noise; again the Shortlands planter did not hear nor guess; and Michael bounded to his feet and to his lord's side. "Some dog, eh?" the steward boasted. "But how did he know you wanted him?" the planter queried. "You never called him."
And yet there the phrase was lodged in her mind for ever, beyond escape. She felt, one day, she would HAVE to tell him, to see how he took it. And she loathed herself for the thought. But at Shortlands the life-long struggle was coming to a close. The father was ill and was going to die.
He was erect and complete, there was a strange stealth glistening through his amiable, almost happy appearance. Gudrun rose sharply and went away. She could not bear it. She wanted to be alone, to know this strange, sharp inoculation that had changed the whole temper of her blood. The Brangwens went home to Beldover, the wedding-party gathered at Shortlands, the Criches' home.