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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 18 - Chapter 4
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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 18 - Chapter 4 Post by :Jredling Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :3392

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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 18 - Chapter 4

PART XVIII CHAPTER IV

"Go in first and prepare them, dear Blanche; I will wait by the door. Leave it ajar, that I may see them."

Roland is leaning against the wall, old armor suspended over the gray head of the soldier. It is but a glance that I give to the dark cheek and high brow: no change there for the worse,--no new sign of decay. Rather, if anything, Roland seems younger than when I left. Calm is the brow,--no shame on it now, Roland; and the lips, once so compressed, smile with ease,--no struggle now, Roland, "not to complain." A glance shows me all this.

"Papoe!" says my father, and I hear the fall of a book, "I can't read a line. He is coming to-morrow,--to-morrow! If we lived to the age of Methuselah, Kitty, we could never reconcile philosophy and man; that is, if the poor man's to be plagued with a good, affectionate son!"

And my father gets up and walks to and fro. One minute more, father, one minute more, and I am on thy breast! Time, too, has dealt gently with thee, as he doth with those for whom the wild passions and keen cares of the world never sharpen his scythe. The broad front looks more broad, for the locks are more scanty and thin, but still not a furrow. Whence comes that short sigh?

"What is really the time, Blanche? Did you look at the turret-clock? Well, just go and look again."

"Kitty," quoth my father, "you have not only asked what time it is thrice within the last ten minutes, but you have got my watch, and Roland's great chronometer, and the Dutch clock out of the kitchen, all before you, and they all concur in the same tale,--to-day is not to-morrow."

"They are all wrong, I know," said my mother, with mild firmness; "and they've never gone right since he left." Now out comes a letter, for I hear the rustle, and then a step glides towards the lamp, and the dear, gentle, womanly face--fair still, fair ever for me, fair as when it bent over my pillow in childhood's first sickness, or when we threw flowers at each other on the lawn at sunny noon! And now Blanche is whispering; and now the flutter, the start, the cry,--"It is true! it is true! Your arms, mother. Close, close round my necks as in the old time. Father! Roland too! Oh, joy! joy! joy! home again,--home till death!"

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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 18 - Chapter 5 The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 18 - Chapter 5

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PART XVIII CHAPTER VFrom a dream of the Bushland, howling dingoes,(1) and the war-whoop of the wild men, I wake and see the sun shining in through the jasmine that Blanche herself has had trained round the window; old school-books neatly ranged round the wall; fishing-rods, cricket-bats, foils, and the old-fashioned gun; and my mother seated by the bed-side; and Juba whining and scratching to get up. Had I taken thy murmured blessing, my mother, for the whoop of the blacks, and Juba's low whine for the howl of the dingoes? Then what days of calm, exquisite delight,--the interchange of heart
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PART XVII CHAPTER VIDated From Adelaide. Imagine my wonder! Uncle Jack has just been with me, and--But hear the dialogue. Uncle Jack.--"So you are positively going back to that smoky, fusty Old England, just when you are on your high road to a plum,--a plum, sir, at least! They all say there is not a more rising young man in the colony. I think Bullion would take you into partnership. What are you in such a hurry for?" Pisistratus.--"To see my father and mother and Uncle Roland, and--" (was about to name some one else, but stops). "You see, my dear
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