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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 658MB


    Software instructions

      Faithfully yours,

      Keeling read this through once and once again before he passed to the consideration of the answer he would make to it. He found that it said very disagreeable things inoffensively, which seemed to him a feat, knowing that if he wrote a letter containing disagreeable news, the tone of his letter would be disagreeable also. He could not quite understand how it was done, but certainly he felt no kind of offence towards the writer.

      Keeling had that faculty, which had stood him in such good stead all his life, of being able to make up his mind quickly when all the data were put before him. He did not hesitate now, and ten minutes after, when the details of the ownership and present lease were in his possession, he had authorised his agent to purchase for him.

      It was but a few months ago that Mr Keeling, taking advantage of a break in the lease of his own house, and the undoubted bargain that he had secured in this more spacious residence, had bought the freehold of The Cedars, and had given the furnishing and embellishment of it (naming the total sum not to be exceeded) into the hands of his wife and the head of the furnishing department in his stores. The Gothic porch, already there, had suggested a scheme to the artistic Mr Bowman, and from it you walked into a large square hall of an amazing kind. On the floor were red encaustic tiles with blue fleurs-de-lis, and the walls and ceiling were covered with the most expensive and deeply-moulded Lincrusta-Walton paper of Tudor design with alternate crowns and portcullises. It was clearly inconvenient that visitors should be able to look in through the window that opened on the carriage-sweep; so Mr Bowman had arranged that it should not open at all, but be filled with sham{15} bottle-bottoms impervious to the eye. In front of it stood a large pitch-pine table to hold the clothings and impedimenta of out-of-doors, and on each side of it were chairs of Gothic design. The fireplace, also new, had modern Dutch tiles in it, and a high battlemented mantel-shelf, with turrets at the corners. For hats there was a mahogany hat-rack with chamois-horns tipped with brass instead of pegs, and on the Lincrusta-Walton walls were trophies of spears and battle-axes and swords. Mr Bowman would have left the hall thus in classic severity, but his partner in decoration here intervened, and insisted on its being made more home-like. To secure this she added a second table on which stood a small stuffed crocodile rampant holding in his outstretched forelegs a copper tray for visitors calling cards. Mrs Keeling was very much pleased with this, considering it so quaint, and when her friends called, it often served as the header-board from which they leaped into the sea of conversation. The grate of the fire-place, empty of fuel, in this midsummer weather, was filled with multitudinous strips of polychromatic paper with gilt threads among it, which streamed from some fixed point up in the chimney, and suggested that a lady with a skirt covered with ribbons had stuck in the chimney, her head and body being invisible. By the fireplace Mrs Keeling had placed a painted wheelbarrow with a gilt spade, containing fuchsias in{16} pots, and among the trophies of arms had inserted various Polynesian aprons of shells and leather thongs brought back by her father from his voyages; these the outraged Mr Bowman sarcastically allowed added colour about which there was no doubt whatever. Beyond this hall lay a farther inner one, out of which ascended the main staircase furnished (here again could be traced Mr Bowmans chaste finger) with a grandfathers clock, and reproductions of cane-backed Jacobean chairs. From this opened a big drawing-room giving on the lawn at the back, and communicating at one end with Mrs Keelings boudoir. These rooms, as being more exclusively feminine, were inspired in the matter of their decoration by Mrs Keelings unaided taste; about them nothing need be said beyond the fact that it would take any one a considerable time to ascertain whether they contained a greater number of mirrors framed in plush and painted with lilies, or of draped pictures standing at angles on easels. Saddlebag chairs, damask curtains, Landseer prints, and a Brussels carpet were the chief characteristics of the dining-room.The table at which she worked was covered with small cardboard slips, bearing in her neat minute handwriting the titles and the authors of the books in Mr Keelings library. Each appeared twice, once under its author, once under its title, and these she was sorting out into an alphabetical file from which she would compile her catalogue. She had been at work on it for about a fortnight, and the faint hopes she had originally entertained of getting it finished by the end of the year had now completely vanished. He had been{129} buying books in very large numbers; already wing-bookcases had begun to invade the floor space of his room, and he intended in the spring to build out farther into the garden. But Norah was not at all sure that she regretted the vanishing of those hopes: the work interested her, and she had the true book-lovers pride in making all the equipment connected with books as perfect as it could be. Three times a week she went with her brother after supper for a couple of hours work in Mr Keelings library: the other evenings she brought into order at home the collection of slips she had made there.

      He bowed his head with a marvellous proud meekness, and left her.

      Poor parson knows kind friends are thinking{205} for him, he said. He knows it too well perhaps: he is so selfish that he leaves his happiness in the hands of others, and doesnt bother about it himself.I shall be obliged if you will. I have a certain reason for wishing it. Its a rubbishy reason enough, and I neednt bother you with it.


      Well, then, Im sure thats all comfortably settled, she said, and pray, Mamma, and you, Thomas, dont go worrying each other any more, when we might be having such a pleasant family party, on Sunday afternoon too. Come along with me, Mamma, and lets have our coffee served in my boudoir, and lets all sit and cool after our lunch.Probably you met Miss Propert at the door, he said. She has been working at the catalogue, I find. How is Alice this morning? Have you seen her?


      Damned condescending of her, thought Keeling to himself. What right had a secretary at twenty-five shillings a week to send him messages through her brother? But if a message was to be sent, he was glad it was that one.


      Im afraid Ive been staying a very long time, sir, he said. I had no idea it was so late.