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[FULL] Read 50 Shades Of Grey Online

Barney waited for no further permission, but went at once, closing thedoor behind him. Miss Pengarvon folded her shawl more closely aroundher and sank into a chair. She sat and stared at the dying embers, herthin lips moving, but no sound coming from them. All the same, herears were painfully on the alert. She started as though she halfexpected to see a ghost, when the door slowly opened, and Miss Letitiaentered the room in her grey dressing-robe and frilled night-cap. Thelatter was trembling violently, and her eyes were full of terror.

[FULL] Read 50 Shades Of Grey Online

The Pengarvons had been settled at Broome for three hundred years.They were the younger branch of an ancient Cornish family, whichprofessed to be able to trace back its pedigree to the days whenlegend and history were so inextricably mixed that it was impossibleat this distance of time to draw any nice distinction between the two.For twenty miles round they were known as "The Proud Pengarvons;" butwhether this distinctive title had its origin in some mentalpeculiarity of the family, or in their mode of carrying themselvestowards their fellows, or whether the family motto, "Pride I cherish,"was responsible for it, it would not be worth while too curiously toinquire. In any case, it was accepted as an indisputable fact that thePengarvons should be proud, and proud they were accordingly. Thepresent mansion of Broome, which was situate in the extreme north ofthe county, where the Derbyshire and Yorkshire moors impinge upon eachother, dated no further back than the earlier half of the seventeenthcentury. It was a long, low, two-storied house, built of common greystone indigenous to that part of the country--the same kind of stonethat the rough unmortared walls were built of, which divided one fieldor stretch of moorland from another (for miles round Broome, hedgeswere few and far between). It was a house which, as regards design andornamentation, was severely simple almost to the verge of ugliness,but, in years gone by it had been found spacious enough for all theneeds of a large family, with accommodation for a score or more guestsinto the bargain. Sir Jasper Pengarvon, the last baronet--with whomthe title became extinct for lack of heirs male--and the father of theMiss Pengarvons, to whom we have already been introduced, had marriedfor his first wife Maria, niece of Lord Dronfield, who brought him afortune of ten thousand pounds.

James Hazeldine at this time was fifty-four years old. He was closelyshaven, except for two small side-whiskers, so that there was nothingto hide his square, clear-cut jaw, his thin lips, and firm-set mouth.In color his hair and whiskers, once nearly black, were now aniron-grey. He had a prominent, well-cut nose, and cold, resolute,steel-grey eyes. The predominant expression of his face wasdetermination; you felt that here was a man with a masterful spiritwho would not readily be moved from any course, whether for good orevil, which he had once made up his mind to follow. Mingled with thisexpression was the keen, shrewd look of the experienced man ofbusiness--the look of one who in his time had chaffered and bargainedwith many men. In his dress Mr. Hazeldine was somewhat old-fashionedand precise; possibly it was part of his policy to be so. He wore ablack tail-coat and waistcoat, and pepper-and-salt continuations. Hewore a starched checked cravat, high-pointed collars and broad-toedshoes with drab gaiters. With the addition of an overcoat in winter,his dress was the same all the year round.

The Earl sat down and stared at the other for a full half minutewithout speaking. Then he said, "If not too painful to you, I shouldlike you to tell me such particulars of the affair as are alreadyknown."

Miss Pengarvon stood stock still for a moment or two and shuddered.Then, hesitating no longer, she strode swiftly forward until shereached the Green Parlor. The door was wide open; she had shut andlocked it carefully, as she always did, before retiring for the night.She gazed around with anxious eyes, and for the first moment or two,so faint was the light shed by her candle, it seemed to her that theroom was empty, but a second glance revealed to her her sister'sfigure, clad in a dark-grey dressing-gown, crouching on the flooragainst the old carved bureau that stood in one corner of the room,with her fevered face pressed to its cold, polished panels. MissPengarvon put down her candlestick, walked across the floor, and laida hand gently on her sister's shoulder.

Miss Letitia went back to bed as obediently as a little child, andturning her face to the wall, in five minutes was fast asleep. Butthere was no more sleep that night for Miss Pengarvon. She made up thefire, wrapped a shawl round her shoulders, and sat there hour afterhour, as upright as a mummy--and nearly as motionless--staring intothe fire with unwavering eyes, and conjuring up in the glowing embers,who shall say what strange pictures of the past--pictures, some ofthem, which for years she had done her utmost to forget, but which thetorch of memory, kindled by her sister's random words, now lighted upfor her again, as vividly as though the events which they depictedwere but those of yesterday. How thankfully she watched the breakingof the coming day! Then the shadows that haunt our thoughts and weighupon our spirits during the dread watches of the night take tothemselves wings, and vanish as though they had never been, before thefirst rays of the rising sun.

When Clem found himself with the longed-for opportunity ready to hishand, he shrank a little in dismay at the ordeal which faced him. Mostof us can afford to be bold before the occasion, and he was noexception to the rule. It had seemed to him that it would be an easyenough thing, when the proper moment should have come, to giveutterance, if not to all, at least to a portion of that with which hisheart was charged; but now that it was here, he found himself as onesuddenly stricken dumb. It was not merely words, but ideas that forthe time being had taken wing and deserted him: and yet ClementHazeldine was a man not usually lacking in either one or the other.Clear-headed and resolute of purpose in all the ordinary concerns oflife, with a mind that was in the habit of marshalling its ideas withan almost mathematical precision, and a not unfluent tongue, he yetfound himself in the presence of this April-eyed girl, in whose cheekstender flushes of color came and went fitfully, without a word to sayfor himself. He raged inwardly, gnawing one end of his mustachemeanwhile; but his doing so did not mend matters in the least.Opposite him sat Hermia, busy with her needle on some delicate pieceof embroidery. She, too, seemed to have lost her tongue since MissBrancker's departure. The silence was becoming strained.

Barney Dale, who had been away on some errand for his mistress at thetime of the stranger's visit, was duly informed by his niece of allthat had happened during his absence, as far as the facts were knownto her. After Miss Pengarvon had retired for the night, Barney,perceiving the pieces of torn card on the floor, picked them carefullyup, and succeeded, after a little trouble, in arranging them in theirproper order, That being done he read, "Major Strickland, Army andNavy Club, Pall Mall."

"That I tacitly allowed John Brancker to be brought in guilty by acoroner's jury," he said, "that I allowed him to languish in prisonfor eight or nine weeks, and be brought to trial, when a dozen wordsfrom me would have made a free man of him--are facts which I haveneither the power nor the wish to gainsay; but if you thereforeimagine that in case the trial had gone against him, I would not thenhave spoken out and proclaimed our shame and disgrace to the world,you were never more utterly mistaken in your life. I was fullydetermined to keep my secret--our secret--till the last possiblemoment--I have already told you my motives for so doing--but not amoment longer. Had the second verdict proved a confirmation of thefirst, my father's letter would at once have been handed to the judge.I trust you believe that I am telling you the truth."

Had the ground opened at Edward Hazeldine's feet he could not havebeen more startled and astounded. He knew not what to say, where tolook, what to do. Had his carefully-guarded secret, which he hadflattered himself was known but to four people, or, at the outside, tofive, become public property? If not, how had Miss Winterton becomepossessed of it? But these were vain questions, and what he had now toconsider was the answer it behoved him to give to Miss Winterton. Amoment later he had made up his mind. There should be no moredouble-dealing, or fencing with the truth on his part; he hadsuffered enough from that sort of thing already.

"It seems to me that you are a dreadfully artful creature, far moreso, in fact, than I had any idea of," said Hermia, with a little tossof her head; "but I daresay if you were to fail as a doctor, you mightperhaps find a situation on the detective force." But even while hertongue was thus gently flouting him, her eyes were speaking adifferent language, and one which by this time--so assiduous had beenhis studies--Clem had learned to read like a book.

So, when the proper moment had come, Barney, carrying the statelysilver candlesticks, opened the door of the Green Parlor and went in,followed by Hermia, who was bareheaded and dressed with quaker-likesimplicity, in a gown of some softly-clinging grey material. Even thetwo candles scarcely sufficed to dissipate the shadows which seemed tohave their natural gathering-place in the gloomy old room; but whenMiss Pengarvon proceeded to extinguish one of them, which she did atonce, a number of the shadows came trooping back on the instant, asthough they had known beforehand what she would do, and were onlywaiting for it. Hermia could readily have fancied that the interveningyears were nothing but a dream, and that she was standing there again,a three-year-old mite, with her hands behind her, only she had thenbeen confronted by two stern-faced ladies, whereas now there was onlyone. But there, close to the table, in the place where it had stoodwhen she was alive, was the empty chair of the dead and gone MissPengarvon--she who had crept into Hermy's room at midnight and hadkissed her in her sleep.


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