2. The Events Of A Fortnight
1. THE NINTH OF JULY
The day of their departure was one of the most glowing that the climax of a long
series of summer heats could evolve. The wide expanse of landscape quivered
up and down like the flame of a taper, as they steamed along through the midst
of it. Placid flocks of sheep reclining under trees a little way off appeared of a
pale blue colour. Clover fields were livid with the brightness of the sun upon their
deep red flowers. All waggons and carts were moved to the shade by their
careful owners, rain-water butts fell to pieces; well-buckets were lowered inside
the covers of the well-hole, to preserve them from the fate of the butts, and
generally, water seemed scarcer in the country than the beer and cider of the
peasantry who toiled or idled there.
To see persons looking with children's eyes at any ordinary scenery, is a proof
that they possess the charming faculty of drawing new sensations from an old
experience--a healthy sign, rare in these feverish days--the mark of an
imperishable brightness of nature.
Both brother and sister could do this; Cytherea more noticeably. They watched
the undulating corn-lands, monotonous to all their companions; the stony and
clayey prospect succeeding those, with its angular and abrupt hills. Boggy moors
came next, now withered and dry--the spots upon which pools usually spread
their waters showing themselves as circles of smooth bare soil, over-run by a
net-work of innumerable little fissures. Then arose plantations of firs, abruptly
terminating beside meadows cleanly mown, in which high- hipped, rich-coloured
cows, with backs horizontal and straight as the ridge of a house, stood
motionless or lazily fed. Glimpses of the sea now interested them, which became
more and more frequent till the train finally drew up beside the platform at
'The whole town is looking out for us,' had been Graye's impression throughout
the day. He called upon Mr. Gradfield--the only man who had been directly
informed of his coming--and found that Mr. Gradfield had forgotten it.
However, arrangements were made with this gentleman--a stout, active, grey-
bearded burgher of sixty--by which Owen was to commence work in his office the
The same day Cytherea drew up and sent off the advertisement appended:--
'A YOUNG LADY is desirous of meeting with an ENGAGEMENT as
GOVERNESS or COMPANION. She is competent to teach English, French, and
Music. Satisfactory references--Address, C. G., Post-Office, Budmouth.'
It seemed a more material existence than her own that she saw thus delineated
on the paper. 'That can't be myself; how odd I look!' she said, and smiled.
2. JULY THE ELEVENTH
On the Monday subsequent to their arrival in Budmouth, Owen Graye attended at
Mr. Gradfield's office to enter upon his duties, and his sister was left in their
lodgings alone for the first time.