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damp shelves. Yet Charity Royall had always been told that she ought to
consider it a privilege that her lot had been cast in North Dormer. She
knew that, compared to the place she had come from, North Dormer rep-
resented all the blessings of the most refined civilization. Everyone in the
village had told her so ever since she had been brought there as a child.
Even old Miss Hatchard had said to her, on a terrible occasion in her life:
"My child, you must never cease to remember that it was Mr. Royall who
brought you down from the Mountain."
She had been "brought down from the Mountain"; from the scarred
cliff that lifted its sullen wall above the lesser slopes of Eagle Range,
making a perpetual background of gloom to the lonely valley. The
Mountain was a good fifteen miles away, but it rose so abruptly from the
lower hills that it seemed almost to cast its shadow over North Dormer.
And it was like a great magnet drawing the clouds and scattering them
in storm across the valley. If ever, in the purest summer sky, there trailed
a thread of vapour over North Dormer, it drifted to the Mountain as a
ship drifts to a whirlpool, and was caught among the rocks, torn up and
multiplied, to sweep back over the village in rain and darkness.
Charity was not very clear about the Mountain; but she knew it was a
bad place, and a shame to have come from, and that, whatever befell her
in North Dormer, she ought, as Miss Hatchard had once reminded her,
to remember that she had been brought down from there, and hold her
tongue and be thankful. She looked up at the Mountain, thinking of
these things, and tried as usual to be thankful. But the sight of the young
man turning in at Miss Hatchard's gate had brought back the vision of
the glittering streets of Nettleton, and she felt ashamed of her old sun-
hat, and sick of North Dormer, and jealously aware of Annabel Balch of
Springfield, opening her blue eyes somewhere far off on glories greater
than the glories of Nettleton.
"How I hate everything!" she said again.
Half way down the street she stopped at a weak-hinged gate. Passing
through it, she walked down a brick path to a queer little brick temple
with white wooden columns supporting a pediment on which was in-
scribed in tarnished gold letters: "The Honorius Hatchard Memorial
Library, 1832."
Honorius Hatchard had been old Miss Hatchard's great-uncle; though
she would undoubtedly have reversed the phrase, and put forward, as
her only claim to distinction, the fact that she was his great-niece. For
Honorius Hatchard, in the early years of the nineteenth century, had en-
joyed a modest celebrity. As the marble tablet in the interior of the