The Woodlanders HTML version

Chapter 6
Meanwhile, Winterborne and Grace Melbury had also undergone their little
experiences of the same homeward journey.
As he drove off with her out of the town the glances of people fell upon them, the
younger thinking that Mr. Winterborne was in a pleasant place, and wondering in
what relation he stood towards her. Winterborne himself was unconscious of this.
Occupied solely with the idea of having her in charge, he did not notice much
with outward eye, neither observing how she was dressed, nor the effect of the
picture they together composed in the landscape.
Their conversation was in briefest phrase for some time, Grace being somewhat
disconcerted, through not having understood till they were about to start that
Giles was to be her sole conductor in place of her father. When they were in the
open country he spoke.
"Don't Brownley's farm-buildings look strange to you, now they have been moved
bodily from the hollow where the old ones stood to the top of the hill?"
She admitted that they did, though she should not have seen any difference in
them if he had not pointed it out.
"They had a good crop of bitter-sweets; they couldn't grind them all" (nodding
towards an orchard where some heaps of apples had been left lying ever since
the ingathering).
She said "Yes," but looking at another orchard.
"Why, you are looking at John-apple-trees! You know bitter-sweets-- you used to
well enough!"
"I am afraid I have forgotten, and it is getting too dark to distinguish."
Winterborne did not continue. It seemed as if the knowledge and interest which
had formerly moved Grace's mind had quite died away from her. He wondered
whether the special attributes of his image in the past had evaporated like these
other things.
However that might be, the fact at present was merely this, that where he was
seeing John-apples and farm-buildings she was beholding a far remoter scene--a
scene no less innocent and simple, indeed, but much contrasting--a broad lawn
in the fashionable suburb of a fast city, the evergreen leaves shining in the
evening sun, amid which bounding girls, gracefully clad in artistic arrangements