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In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

August 21, 2016 06:49PM
The lady paused a little to consider before giving her answer.

“I suppose,” she said, “it is because I am so shy.”

“Shy? Are you really? I never thought so.”

“But you are so different from other people.”

Frederick laughed. “Do you mean you think me less quick-sighted than the rest of your acquaintance? Oh, yes, -- stupid as I am, I understand you. I can take a hint, after all, like other folks. But alas, madam, how you wound me!”

“Hush, hush! -- do not cry out before you are hurt. What I mean, of course, is that I am not quite so, -- not quite like myself when -- ” Here she stopped a moment, hesitated, and folded her hands, then continued briskly. “You put me at ease. And therefore, I suppose, you have, very naturally, formed a better opinion of me than,” (breaking into a smile), “than I deserve, probably! You appear to be, somehow or other, prejudiced, -- in my favour. When, in reality, you hardly know me. Or, for that matter, I you.”

That sounds like the prelude to a terrible confession.”

“Aye, well enough, -- laugh at me if you choose! Misunderstand me, please! -- since it gives you such pleasure.”

“What have you to confess?”

“Just nothing, of course.”

“Seriously, -- what have you got to confess?”

“Nothing at all, I am afraid! Nothing in all the wide world.”

“How tremendously sad!”

“Yes, do you know? -- I begin to think it is. A narrow life, -- at least compared with yours. Perhaps I envy you.” After a short pause, she added, -- “I have never even been kissed, and I am nineteen a week from next Saturday.”

The young man, naturally, kissed her.

“There,” he said, “that’s better.”

Her dark eyes sparkled as she turned away her head, -- but she went on, however, in an ordinary tone. “I suppose you have all manner of secrets.”

“Dozens upon dozens! Ask me anything.”

“Well! Let me think,” she said, -- “ah, yes! You have told me, -- and indeed I take your word for it, -- that the sort of accommodations and arrangements for living on your boat -- ”

“Ship.”

“Ship! That the living on your ship is rather less barbaric than what an inland person like myself might otherwise expect. That you do, after all, have food to eat, and a cook to dress it, and knives, and forks, -- ”

“Yes! -- knives, and forks, and tablecloths, and everything! Spoons. China. Salt-cellars. Candlesticks. Inkwells. I could go on! It is, in short, the ordinary world, in microcosm.”

“Or rather, half the world, I think,” -- smiling. “You forget us! No women.”

“Well, hardly any, I grant you. And it is in general the captain’s privilege. Did I never tell you? My own sister, Sophia, sails everywhere with her husband, -- with Captain Croft, on board the Antwerp.”

“No! -- seriously?”

“Oh, yes, my sister is a wonderful woman! You will like her very much, I am sure, -- and she you.”

“Yes, I dare say I should like her very much. But, has she any plan of coming into Somersetshire?”

“None that I know of. They are in the East Indies.”

“Oh!”

“I will take you out to meet her. Shall we leave now?”

“Well, I would, Captain Wentworth, of course. But, you know, we have the ball tomorrow evening at the Pooles. I cannot bear to lose an opportunity of dancing.”

“Yes, of course, -- very true. I had, of course, forgot.”

“Particularly at this time of year, when there is so little entertainment of that kind going forward.”

“Does dancing in hot weather not fatigue you?”

“Nothing out of the common way.”

“I am so pleased to hear it.” And indeed, he was. “Tomorrow is out, then. Thursday, I suppose you’ll want to sleep. Friday, perhaps? I felt the wind shift to the eastward as I came over the lane. If it holds, to be sure, -- one ought not to waste a fair wind. Friday, then. Are you disengaged?”

“I am, but perhaps you might not be. You may have orders by Friday.”

“God willing!” he cried, in a tone of great warmth and sincerity.

She laughed. “Yes, I well know how delighted you’ll be, -- to get away from us all and return to your boat!”

“Ship.”

“Ship. But, at any rate,” (with a becoming little shake of the head), -- “whenever the time comes, I do hope you will endeavour to conceal your enthusiasm, -- in some part at least, -- from Mr. Wentworth. I should imagine he might be hurt by it.”

“Heavens, no, -- I hate such hypocritical doings! I scorn all forms of base, beggarly concealment! And yet, -- and yet, -- yes, well, perhaps, I will do it. For your sake, Miss Anne. Since you intercede so kindly. Ah, yes! -- you have touched my conscience indeed. Poor Edward! Only think! -- what a great amusement it must be to Edward, being allowed to put me up at the parsonage, as he does! I am an amazingly agreeable companion! -- and my brother, doubtless, can desire nothing more than the privilege of giving me my bed and board for ever! You have no idea how charming I often am at breakfast, and therefore you do not feel your loss. But, as for poor Edward, having been indulged with my society all these weeks, it will be so cruel to deprive him! Very true, very true, -- it is all exactly as you say. But what were you going to ask me?”

“What?”

“About living on board?”

“I cannot remember. Oh! -- how do you sleep?”

“In bed, of course. In a room. A little room, with a low ceiling.”

“And, does not the pitching and tossing of the . . . the ship -- keep you awake?”

“On the contrary! -- never sleep so well on land. Do babies in cradles complain about pitching and tossing?”

“To be sure, one ought to inquire of a baby. If I were to guess, however, -- why, I think it must depend who rocks the cradle, and with what violence.”

“But there is nothing like a great tempest at sea! A man does not wish to sleep through that.”

“The sublimity of nature.”

“Yes, precisely! -- and then, you know, it doesn’t happen every day.”

“No, I suppose not, -- to be sure. But, -- do you know, Captain Wentworth? -- I think, I should like it if you kissed me again.”

“Should you?”

“Well, in fact, yes. That is, supposing you don’t mind?”
SubjectAuthorPosted

In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.August 21, 2016 06:49PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Suzanne OSeptember 19, 2016 06:32PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 21, 2016 12:09AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

AlanSeptember 02, 2016 05:51AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 11, 2016 08:39PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

ShannaGSeptember 01, 2016 12:07AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 11, 2016 08:48PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Lucy J.August 29, 2016 06:08AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 11, 2016 08:48PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Meg EAugust 28, 2016 02:11AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 11, 2016 08:48PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Jim D.August 22, 2016 04:59PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.August 22, 2016 07:43PM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Jim D.August 23, 2016 06:06AM

Re: In the Year Six (a brief vignette)

Sarah X.September 11, 2016 08:42PM

hee

LiseAugust 21, 2016 07:42PM

Re: hee

Sarah XAugust 22, 2016 08:41PM

Re: hee

LucieAugust 21, 2016 10:16PM

smiling smiley (nfm) (nfm)

Sarah X.August 22, 2016 08:42PM



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