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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJeanne Of The Marshes - Book 2 - Chapter 20
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Jeanne Of The Marshes - Book 2 - Chapter 20 Post by :Silver_Surfer Category :Long Stories Author :E. Phillips Oppenheim Date :May 2012 Read :609

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Jeanne Of The Marshes - Book 2 - Chapter 20

BOOK II CHAPTER XX

"So this," the Duke said, "is your wonderful land."

"Is there anything like it in the world?" Jeanne asked as she stood bareheaded on the grass-banked dyke with her face turned seaward.

Above their heads the larks were singing. To their right stretched the marshes and pasture land, as yet untouched by the sea, glorious with streaks of colour, fragrant with the perfume of wild lavender and mosses. To their left, through the opening in the sandbanks, came streaming the full tide, rushing up into the land, making silver water-ways of muddy places, bringing with it all the salt and freshness and joy of the sea. Over their heads the seagulls cried. Far away a heron lifted its head from a tuft of weeds, and sent his strange call travelling across the level distance.

"Oh, it is beautiful to be here again!" Jeanne said. "Even though it hurts," she added, in a lower tone, "it is beautiful."

A little boat came darting down the shallows. Kate Caynsard stood up and waved her hand. Jeanne waved back. A sudden flush of colour stained her cheeks. Her first impulse seemed to be to turn away. She conquered it, however, and beckoned to the girl, who ran her boat close to them.

"My last sail," the girl cried, as she stepped to land. "I am saying good-bye to all these wonderful places, Miss Le Mesurier," she added. "To-morrow we are going to sail for Canada."

Jeanne looked at her in amazement.

"You are going to Canada?" she asked.

The girl, too, was surprised.

"Have you not heard?" she said. "I thought, perhaps, that Mr. Andrew might have told you. Cecil and I are sailing to-morrow, directly after we are married. He has bought a farm out there."

Jeanne felt for a moment that the beautiful world was spinning round her. She clutched at the Duke's arm.

"You are going to Canada with Cecil?" she exclaimed.

"Of course," Kate answered, a little shyly. "I thought, in fact I know that I told you about him. Won't you wish me joy?" she added, holding out her hand a little timidly.

Jeanne grasped it. To the girl's surprise Jeanne's eyes were full of tears.

"Oh, I am so foolish!" she declared. "I have been so mad. I thought- -You said Mr. De la Borne."

"Hang it all!" the Duke exclaimed. "I believe you thought that she meant our friend Andrew. Don't you know that all the world here half the time calls Cecil, Mr. De la Borne, and Andrew, Mr. Andrew?"

Kate looked behind her, and touched the Duke on the sleeve.

"Wouldn't you like, sir," she asked, a little timidly, "to come for a sail with me?"

The Duke saw what she saw, and notwithstanding his years and his weight, he clambered into the little boat. Jeanne turned round and walked slowly towards the man who came so swiftly along the dyke. It was a dream! She felt that it must be a dream!

Andrew, with his gun over his shoulder, his rough tweed clothes splashed with black mud, gazed at her as though she were an apparition. Then he saw something in her face which told him so much that he forgot the little catboat, barely out of sight, he forgot the little red-roofed village barely a mile away, he forgot the lone figures of the shrimpers, standing like sentinels far away in the salt pools. He took Jeanne into his arms, and he felt her lips melt upon his.

"The Duke was right, then," he murmured a moment later, as he stood back for a moment, his face transformed with the new thing that had come into his life.

"Dear man!" Jeanne murmured.

They watched the boat gliding away in the distance.

"I believe," he declared, "that they went away on purpose."

She laughed as they scrambled down on to the marsh, and turned toward the place where he had first met her.

"I believe they did," she answered.


(THE END)
E. Phillips Oppenheim's Novel: Jeanne Of The Marshes

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