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Women in Love

8. Breadalby
Breadalby was a Georgian house with Corinthian pillars, standing among the
softer, greener hills of Derbyshire, not far from Cromford. In front, it looked over a
lawn, over a few trees, down to a string of fish-ponds in the hollow of the silent
park. At the back were trees, among which were to be found the stables, and the
big kitchen garden, behind which was a wood.
It was a very quiet place, some miles from the high-road, back from the Derwent
Valley, outside the show scenery. Silent and forsaken, the golden stucco showed
between the trees, the house-front looked down the park, unchanged and
unchanging.
Of late, however, Hermione had lived a good deal at the house. She had turned
away from London, away from Oxford, towards the silence of the country. Her
father was mostly absent, abroad, she was either alone in the house, with her
visitors, of whom there were always several, or she had with her her brother, a
bachelor, and a Liberal member of Parliament. He always came down when the
House was not sitting, seemed always to be present in Breadalby, although he
was most conscientious in his attendance to duty.
The summer was just coming in when Ursula and Gudrun went to stay the
second time with Hermione. Coming along in the car, after they had entered the
park, they looked across the dip, where the fish-ponds lay in silence, at the
pillared front of the house, sunny and small like an English drawing of the old
school, on the brow of the green hill, against the trees. There were small figures
on the green lawn, women in lavender and yellow moving to the shade of the
enormous, beautifully balanced cedar tree.
'Isn't it complete!' said Gudrun. 'It is as final as an old aquatint.' She spoke with
some resentment in her voice, as if she were captivated unwillingly, as if she
must admire against her will.
'Do you love it?' asked Ursula.
'I don't love it, but in its way, I think it is quite complete.'
The motor-car ran down the hill and up again in one breath, and they were
curving to the side door. A parlour-maid appeared, and then Hermione, coming
forward with her pale face lifted, and her hands outstretched, advancing straight
to the new-comers, her voice singing:
'Here you are---I'm so glad to see you---' she kissed Gudrun---'so glad to see
you---' she kissed Ursula and remained with her arm round her. 'Are you very
tired?'
'Not at all tired,' said Ursula.
'Are you tired, Gudrun?'
'Not at all, thanks,' said Gudrun.
'No--' drawled Hermione. And she stood and looked at them. The two girls were
embarrassed because she would not move into the house, but must have her
little scene of welcome there on the path. The servants waited.
'Come in,' said Hermione at last, having fully taken in the pair of them. Gudrun
was the more beautiful and attractive, she had decided again, Ursula was more
 
 
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