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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheo,byMrs FrancesHodgsonBurnett ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:Theo ASprightlyLoveStory Author:Mrs FrancesHodgsonBurnett ReleaseDate:February4,2009[EBook#27990] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEO*** ProducedbyDavidGarcia,MaryMeehanandtheOnline DistributedProofreadingTeamathttp://www.pgdp.net THEO ASPRIGHTLYLOVESTORY BYMRS FRANCESHODGSONBURNETT AUTHOROF"KATHLEEN,""PRETTYPOLLYPEMBERTON," "LINDSAY'SLUCK,""INCONNECTIONWITHTHEDE WILLOUGHBYCLAIM,""THEMAKINGOFAMARCHIONESS," "THEMETHODSOFLADYWALDERHURST,"ETC NEWYORK HURST&COMPANY PUBLISHERS COPYRIGHT,1877 ByT B PETERSON&BROTHERS MRS BURNETT'SNOVELETTES Mrs Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of the most charming among American writers Thereisacrispandbreezyfreshnessaboutherdelightfulnovelettesthat israrelyfoundincontemporaneousfiction,andacloseadherencetonature,as well, that renders them doubly delicious Of all Mrs Burnett's romances and shorterstoriesthosewhichfirstattractedpublicattentiontoherwonderfulgifts are still her best She has done more mature work, but never anything half so pleasingandenjoyable ThesemasterpiecesofMrs Burnett'sgeniusarealllove stories of the brightest, happiest and most entertaining description; lively, cheerfullovestoriesinwhichtheshadowcastisinfinitesimallysmallcompared with the stretch of sunlight; and the interest is always maintained at full head withoutapparenteffortandwithoutresortingtotheconventionalandhackneyed devices of most novelists, devices that the experienced reader sees through at once Nomoresprightlynovel than"Theo"couldbedesired,andasweeteror more beautiful romance than "Kathleen" does not exist in print, while "Pretty PollyPemberton"possessesbesidesitssprightlinessaspecialinterestpeculiar to itself, and "Miss Crespigny" would honor to the pen of any novelist, no matter how celebrated "Lindsay's Luck," "A Quiet Life," "The Tide on the Moaning Bar" and "Jarl's Daughter" are all worthy members of the same collection of Mrs Burnett's earlier, most original, best and freshest romances Everybody should read these exceptionally bright, clever and fascinating novelettes, for they occupy a niche by themselves in the world's literature and are decidedly the most agreeable, charming and interesting books that can be foundanywhere CONTENTS CHAPTERI PREPARINGFORAJOURNEY CHAPTERII THEARRIVAL CHAPTERIII THEMEETING CHAPTERIV THEO'SDIARY CHAPTERV THESEPARATION CHAPTERVI THEOGOESTOPARIS CHAPTERVII "PARTINGISSWEETSORROW" CHAPTERVIII THEO'SFIRSTTROUBLE CHAPTERIX WHATCOMESOFITALL "THEO." CHAPTERI PREPARINGFORAJOURNEY A heavy curtain of yellow fog rolled and drifted over the waste of beach, and rolledanddriftedoverthesea,andbeneaththecurtainthetidewascominginat Downport,andtwopairofeyeswerewatchingit Bothpairofeyeswatchedit from the same place, namely, from the shabby sitting-room of the shabby residenceofDavidNorth,Esq.,lawyer,andbothwatcheditwithoutanymotive, itseemed,unlessthatthedullgraywavesandtheirdullmoaningwerenotoutof accord with the watchers' feelings One pair of eyes—a youthful, discontented blackpair—watcheditsteadily,neverturningaway,astheirownerstoodinthe deep, old-fashioned window, with both elbows resting upon the broad sill; but theotherpaironlyglancedupnowandthen,almostfurtively,fromthepieceof workMissPamelaNorth,spinster,heldinherslender,needle-wornfingers There had been a long silence in the shabby sitting-room for some time—and there was not often silence there Three rampant, strong-lunged boys, and as many talkative school-girls, made the house of David North, Esq., rather a questionableparadise Butto-day,beinghalf-holiday,theboyswereoutonthe beachdiggingmiraculoussand-caves,andgettingupmiraculouspiraticalbattles andexcursionswiththebare-leggedurchinssonumerousinthefishermen'shuts; andJoannaandElinorhadbeenabsentallday,sotheroomlefttoTheoandher eldersisterwasquietforonce ItwasMissPamelaherselfwhobrokethestillness "Theo,"shesaid,withsome elder-sister-likeasperity,"itappearstomethatyoumightfindsomethingbetter todothantostandwithyourarmsfolded,asyouhavebeendoingforthelast halfhour Thereisawholebasketfuloftheboys'socksthatneedmendingand —" "Pam!"interruptedTheo,desperately,turningoverhershoulderafacemorelike the face of some young Spanish gipsy than that of a poor English solicitor's daughter "Pam, I should really like to know if life is ever worth having, if everybody'slifeislikeours,oriftherearereallysuchpeopleaswereadofin books." "You have been reading some ridiculous novel again," said Pamela, sententiously "If you would be a little more sensible, and less romantic, Theodora, it would be a great deal better for all of us What have you been reading?" Thecapablegipsyfaceturnedtothewindowagainhalf-impatiently "Ihavebeenreadingnothingto-day,"wastheanswer "Ishouldthinkyouknew that—on Saturday, with everything to do, and the shopping to attend to, and mammascoldingeveryonebecausethebutcher'sbillcan'tbepaid Iwasreading JaneEyre,though,lastnight DidyoueverreadJaneEyre,Pamela?" "Ialwayshavetoomuchtodoinattendingtomyduty,"saidPamela,"without wasting my time in that manner I should never find time to read Jane Eyre in twentyyears IwishIcould." "Iwishyoucould,too,"saidTheo,meditatively "Iwishtherewasnosuchthing asduty Dutyalwaysappearstometobetheverythingwedon'twanttodo." "Justatpresent,itisyourdutytoattendtothosesocksofRalphandArthur's," put in Pamela, dryly "Perhaps you had better see to it at once, as tea will be readysoon,andyouwillhavetocutbreadforthechildren." Thegirlturnedawayfromthewindowwithasigh Herdiscussionsonsubjects of this kind always ended in the same unsatisfactory manner; and really her young life was far from being a pleasant one As the next in age to Pamela, thoughsomanyyearslaybetweenthem,ahundredpettycaresfellonhergirlish shoulders, and tried her patience greatly with their weight, sometimes And in the hard family struggle for everyday necessities there was too much of commonplacerealitytoadmitofmuchpoetry Thewearisomebattlingwithlife's needshadleftthemother,asitleavesthousandsofwomen,haggard,careworn, and not too smooth in disposition There was no romance about her She had fairly forgotten her girlhood, it seemed to lie so far behind; and even the unconquerable mother-love, that gave rise to her anxieties, had a touch of hardnessaboutit AndPamelahadcaughtsomethingofthesharp,harassedspirit too But Theo had an odd secret sympathy for Pamela, though her sister never suspected it Pamela had a love-story, and in Theo's eyes this one touch of forlorn romance was the silver lining to many clouds Ten years ago, when Pamela had been aprettygirl,shehadhad alover—poor ArthurBrunwalde— Theoalwaysmentallydesignatedhim;andonlyaweekbeforeherwedding-day, death had ended her love-story forever Poor Pamela! was Theo's thought: to havelovedlikeJaneEyre,andAgnesWickfield,andLordBacon,andtohave beensonearreleasefromthebread-and-buttercutting,andsquabbling,andthen tohavelostall PoorPamela,indeed!Sothelovely,impulsive,romance-loving younger sister cherished an odd interest in Pamela's thin, sharp face, and unsympathizing voice, and in picturing the sad romance of her youth, was alwayssecretlyregardfulofthepastinhertrialsofthepresent As she turned over the socks in the basket, she glanced up now and then at Pamela'sface,whichwasbentoverherwork Ithadbeenaprettyface,butnow there were faint lines upon it here and there; the features once delicate were sharpened,theblueeyeswerefaded,andtheblondehairfadedalso Itwasaface whose youth had been its beauty, and its youth had fled with Pamela North's happiness Her life had ended in its prime; nay, not ended, for the completion had never come—it was to be a work unfinished till its close Poor Arthur Brunwalde! A few more silent stitches, and then the work slipped from Theo's fingers into herlap,andsheliftedherbig,inconsistenteyesagain "Pam,"shesaid,"wereyoueveratLadyThrockmorton's?" AfaintcolorshoweditselfonPamela'sfadedface "Yes," she answered, sharply, "I was once What nonsense is running in your mindnow,forgoodnesssake?" Theoflusheduptoherforehead,nohalfflush;sheactuallyglowedallover,her eyescatchingalightwhereherdelicatedarkskincaughttheduskyred "Don'tbecross,Pam,"shesaid,appealingly "Ican'thelpit Thelettershesentto mamma made me think of it Oh, Pam! if I could only have accepted the invitation." "Butyoucan't,"saidPam,concisely "Soyoumayaswellletthematterrest." "I know I can't," Theo returned, her quaint resignation telling its own story of previousdisappointments "Ihavenothingtowear,youknow,and,ofcourse,I couldn'tgothere,ofallplacesintheworld,withoutsomethingnice." There was another silence after this Theo had gone back to her work with a sigh, and Miss Pamela was stitching industriously She was never idle, and always taciturn, and on this occasion her mind was fully occupied She was thinkingofLadyThrockmorton'sinvitationtoo Her ladyship was a half-sister of their father's, and from the height of her grandeurmagnanimouslypatronizingnowandthen Itwasduringheronevisit to London, under this relative's patronage, that Pamela had met Arthur Brunwalde, and it was through her that the match had been made But when Arthurdied,andshefoundthatPamelawasfixedinherdeterminationtomakea sacrifice of her youth on the altar of her dead love, Lady Throckmorton lost patience It was absurd, she said; Mr North could not afford it, and if Pamela persisted, she would wash her hands of the whole affair But Pamela was immovable,and,accordingly,hadneverseenherpatronesssince Itsohappened, however,thatherladyshiphadsuddenlyrecollectedTheo,whosegipsyfacehad once struck her fancy, and the result of the sudden recollection was another invitation Her letter had arrived that very morning at breakfast time, and had causedsomesensation AvisittoLondon,undersuchauspices,wasmorethan themostsanguinehadeverdaredtodreamof "IwishIwasTheo,"Joannahadgrumbled "Shealwaysgetsthelion'sshareof everything,becauseElinandIareabityoungerthansheis." And Theo had glowed up to her soft, innocent eyes, and neglected the breadand-buttercutting,toawakenamomentlatertosuddendespair "But—butIhavenothingfittowear,mamma,"shesaid,inanguishedtones "No,"answeredMrs North,twoorthreenewlinesshowingthemselvesonher harassedforehead;"andwecan'taffordtobuyanything Youcan'tgo,Theo." And so the castle which had towered so promisingly in the air a moment ago, wasdashedtothedustwithonetouchofshabbygentility'starnishedwand The glowdiedoutofTheo'sface,andshewentbacktoherbread-and-buttercutting withasorenessofdisappointmentwhichwas,nevertheless,notwithoutitsown desperateresignation Thiswaswhyshehadwatchedthetidecomeinwithsuch a forlorn sense of sympathy with the dull sweep of the gray waves, and their dull,creepingmoan;thiswaswhyshehadbeenrashenoughtohopeforacrumb ofsympathyevenfromPamela;andthisalsowaswhy,indespairingofgaining it,shebentherselftoherunthankfullaboragain,andpatchedanddarneduntil thetidehadsweptbackagainunderthecurtainoffog,andtherewasnomore light,evenforthesterntaskmaster,poverty Thesilencewaseffectuallybrokeninuponafterthis Assoonasthestreetlamps "Thankyou,"withanotherslightbendofthehandsomehead "Iamgoingnow to speak to Mr Oglethorpe When I open the door will you send Miss North, Theodora,tome?" "Yes,"answeredherladyship SoPriscillaGowercrossedthenarrowlanding,andwentintothesick-room,and herladyshipsummonedTheodoraNorth,andbadeherwait,nottellingherwhy Whatpassedbehindthecloseddoorsonlythreepeoplecantell,andthosethree people are Denis Oglethorpe, his wife, and the woman who, in spite of her coldness,wastruertohimthanhedaredbetohimself Therewasnosoundof raised or agitated voices, all was calm and seemingly silent Fifteen minutes passed—halfanhour;nearlyanhour,andthenPriscillaGowersteppedoutupon thelanding,andLadyThrockmortonspoketoTheo "Gotoher,"washercommand "Shewantsyou." Thepoorchildarosemechanicallyandwentout Shedidnotunderstandwhyshe was wanted—she scarcely cared She merely went because she was told But whenshelookedupatPriscillaGower,shecaughtherbreathanddrewback But Priscillaheldoutherhandtoher "Come," she commanded And before Theo had time to utter a word, she was drawnintothechamber,andthedoorclosed Denis was lying upon a pile of pillows, and pale as he was, she saw, in one instant,thatsomethinghadhappened,andthathewasnotunhappy,whateverhis fatewastobe "I have been telling Mr Oglethorpe," Priscilla said to her, "all that you have done,Theodora Ihavebeentellinghimhowyouforgottheworld,andcameto himwhenhewasattheworld'smercy Ihavetoldhim,too,thatfiveyearsago hemadeagreatmistakewhichIsharedwithhim Itwasagreatmistake,andit hadbetterbewipedoutanddoneawaywith,andwehaveagreedwhatitshall be SoIhavebroughtyouhere—" AllthebloodinTheodoraNorth'sheartsurgedintoherface,inagreatrushof anguishandbewilderment "No!no!"shecriedout "No!no!onlyforgivehim,andletmego Onlyforgive him,andlethimbeginagain Hemustloveyou—hedoesloveyou Itwasmy fault—nothis Oh—" Priscillastoppedher,smiling,inahalf-sadway "Hush!"shesaid,quietly "Youdon'tunderstandme Thefaultwasonlythefault oftheoldblunder Don'ttrytothrowyourhappinessaway,Theodora Youwere notmadetomissit Ihavenotbeenblindallthesemonths HowcouldIbe?I onlywantedtowaitandmakesurethatthiswasnotablunder,too Ihaveknown itfromthefirst Theo,Ihavedonenow—theoldtangleisunravelled Gotohim, Theo,hewantsyou." ThenextinstantthedoorcloseduponPriscilla,asshewentout,andTheodora Northunderstoodclearlywhatshehadbeforeneverdaredtodreamof There was one brief, breathless pause, and then Denis Oglethorpe held out his arms "Mydarling,"hesaid "Mine,myown." She slipped down by his side, beautiful, tremulous, with glowing cheeks and tear-weteyes SherememberedPriscillaGowerthen "Oh,mylove!"shecried "SheisbetterthanIam,braverandmorenoble;but shecanneverloveyoubetter,orbemorefaithfulandtruethanIwillbe Only tryme;onlytryme,mydarling." Threemonthssubsequently,whenPamelaandPriscillahadsettleddownagainto the routine of their old lives, there was a quiet wedding celebrated at Paris—a quietwedding,thoughitwasunderLadyThrockmorton'spatronage IntheirtenderremembranceofPriscillaGower,itwasmadeaquietwedding— soquiet,indeed,thatthepeoplewhomadetheyoungEnglishbeauty'sromancea topicofconversationandninedays'wonder,scarcelyknewithadended AndinBroomestreet,PriscillaGowerreadtheannouncementinthepaper,with onlytheghostofafaintpang "I suppose I am naturally a cold woman," she wrote to Pamela North, with whomshesustainedafaithfulcorrespondence "Iwillacknowledge,atleast,toa certainlackofenthusiasm Icanbefaithful,butIcannotbeimpassioned Itis impossibleformetosufferasyourprettyTheocould,asitisequallyimpossible formetoloveasshedid Ihavelostsomething,ofcourse,butIhavenotlost all." 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PREPARINGFORAJOURNEY CHAPTERII THE ARRIVAL CHAPTERIII THE MEETING CHAPTERIV THEO' SDIARY CHAPTERV THE SEPARATION CHAPTERVI THEO GOESTOPARIS CHAPTERVII "PARTINGISSWEETSORROW" CHAPTERVIII THEO' SFIRSTTROUBLE... Whentheyrosefrom the tabletogether, the authoritativeoldladymotioned Theo toaseatupononeof the gayfoot-stoolsnearher "Comeandsitdownbyme,"shesaid "Iwanttotalktoyou,Theodora."... Sheneverofferedtolendthemtous, andwehavewantedthemtimesandtimes,worsethanever Theo doesnow." Andthen Theo wenttobedalso;butdidnotsleep,ofcourse;onlylaywitheyes wideopento the darkness,asanyothergirlwouldhavedone,thinkingexcitedly
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