The Misses Mallett

Emily Hilda Young
The Misses Mallett (The Bridge Dividing) [with accents]

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Author: E. H. YOUNG
Release Date: May, 2005 [EBook #8131] [This file was first posted on June 17, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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(The Bridge Dividing)
by E. H. Young


Book I: Rose
On the high land overlooking the distant channel and the hills beyond it, the spring day, set in azure, was laced with gold and green. Gorse bushes flaunted their colour, larch trees hung out their tassels and celandines starred the bright green grass in an air which seemed palpably blue. It made a mist among the trees and poured itself into the ground as though to dye the earth from which hyacinths would soon spring. Far away, the channel might have been a still, blue lake, the hills wore soft blue veils and, like a giant reservoir, the deeper blue of the sky promised unlimited supplies. There were sheep and lambs bleating in the fields, birds sang with a piercing sweetness, and no human being was in sight until, up on the broad grassy track which branched off from the main road and had the larch wood on one side and, on the other, rough descending fields, there appeared a woman on a horse. The bit jingled gaily, the leather creaked, the horse, smelling the turf, gave a snort of delight, but his rider restrained him lightly. On her right hand was the open country sloping slowly to the water; on her left was the stealthiness of the larch wood; over and about everything was the blue day. Straight ahead of her the track dipped to a lane, and beyond that the ground rose again in fields sprinkled with the drab and white of sheep and lambs and backed by the elm trees of Sales Hall. She could see the chimneys of the house and the rooks' nests in the elm tops and, as though the sight reminded her of something mildly amusing, the smoothness of her face was ruffled by a smile, the stillness of her pose by a quick glance about her, but if she looked for anyone she did not find him. There were small sounds from the larch wood, little creakings and rustlings, but there was no human footstep, and the only visible movements were made by the breeze in the trees and in the grass, the flight of a bird and the distant gambolling of lambs.
She rode on down the steep, stony slope into the lane, and after hesitating for a moment she turned to the right where the lane was broadened by a border of rich grass and a hedge-topped bank. Here primroses lay snugly in their clumps of crinkled leaves and, wishing to feel the coolness of their slim, pale stalks between her fingers, Rose Mallett dismounted, slipped the reins over her arm and allowed her horse to feed while she stooped to the flowers. Then, in the full sunshine, with the soft breeze trying to loosen her hair, with the flowers in her bare hand, she straightened herself, consciously happy in the beauty of the day, in the freedom and strength of her body, in the smell of the earth and the sight of the country she had known and loved all her life. It was long since she had ridden here without encountering Francis Sales, who was bound up with her knowledge of the country, and who, quite evidently, wished to annex some of the love she lavished on it. This was a ridiculous desire which made her smile again, yet, while she was glad to be alone, she missed the attention of his presence. He had developed a capacity, which was like another sense, for finding
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