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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 6
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The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 6 Post by :punter Category :Long Stories Author :Elinor Glyn Date :May 2012 Read :1379

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The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 6


To-morrow is my wedding-day--the 10th of June. There is my dress spread over the sofa, looking like a ghost in the dim light--I have only one candle on the dressing-table. It is pouring rain and there are rumbles of thunder in the distance. Well, let it pour and hail and rage, and do what it pleases--I don't care! Just now a flash came nearer and seemed to catch the huge diamonds in my engagement-ring, which hangs loose on my finger now. I flung it into the little china tray, where strings of pearls and a fender tiara are already reposing ready for to-morrow. I shall blaze with jewels, and Augustus will be able to tell the guests how much they all cost.

This month of my _fiancailles has been nothing agreeable to recall. Indeed, I should not have been able to go through with it only the blue mark has so often appeared round grandmamma's mouth, especially when Augustus and I have had trifling differences of opinion.

Long years ago, one summer we spent at Versailles when I was a child, I remember an incident.

I was sitting reading aloud to grandmamma in the garden when from the trees above there fell upon my neck, which was bare, a fat, hairy caterpillar. I recollect I gave a gurgling, nasty scream, and dropped the book.

Grandmamma was very angry. She explained to me that such noises were extremely vulgar, and that if my flesh was so little under control that this should turn me sick, the sooner I got over such fancies the better.

She made me pick the creature up and let it crawl over my arm. At first I nearly felt mad with horror, but gradually custom deadened the sensation, and although it remained disagreeable, I could contemplate it without emotion.

This memory has often proved useful to me during this last month. To-day, even, I was able to sit upon the sofa and allow Augustus to kiss me for quite ten minutes, without having to rush up and take sal-volatile, as I had to in the beginning.

I have been through various trying ordeals. The tenants have presented us with silver trays and other things, and we have listened to speeches, and bowed sweetly, and numbers of hitherto distant acquaintances have showered presents upon us. My future mother-in-law has loaded me with advice, chiefly of a purely domestic kind, most of it a guide as to how I had better please Augustus.

It appears he likes thick toast in preference to thin, and thick soups; also that a habit he has of taking Welsh rarebit and stout for a late supper when he sits up alone is not good for his digestion and is to be discouraged. She hopes I will see that he wears his second thinnest Jaeger vests in Paris, not _the thinnest--which ought to be kept for August warmth--as once before when there he caught a bad catarrh of the chest through this imprudence.

Lady Tilchester is coming down from London in a special train on purpose to grace our bridal ceremony. She has sent me the prettiest brooch and such a nice letter.

I hope she will be a consolation in the future. For me life must be a thing of waking in the morning, and eating and drinking, and taking exercise, and going to bed again, and deadening all emotions, or else I feel sure I shall get a dreadful disease I once read about in an American paper Hephzibah takes in. It is called "spontaneous combustion," and it said in the paper that a man caught it from having got into a compressed state of heat and rage for weeks, and it made him burst up at last into flames like an exploding shell.

Well, at all events, I have kept my word, and grandmamma is content with me.

Miss Hoad--I shall have to call her Amelia now--is enchanted with the whole entertainment. She is to be the only bridesmaid, and has chosen the dress herself. It is coffee lace with a mustard-yellow sash. It mill match her complexion. And Augustus is presenting her with a huge bouquet, no doubt of the cauliflower shape, like my famous one, besides a diamond-and-ruby watch.

I wonder if Sir Antony will be at the wedding--he was asked.

The Marquis de Rochermont will give me away--grandmamma is too feeble now to stand. The ceremony is to be in the village church here, and the choir, composed of village youths unacquainted with a note of music, is to meet us at the lich-gate and precede us up the aisle, singing an encouraging wedding-hymn, while school-children spread forced white roses, provided by the Tilchester rose-growers.

Augustus explained that patronizing local resources like this will all come in useful when he stands for Parliament later on.

Grandmamma stipulated that there should be no wedding feast, her health and our small house being sufficient excuse. It is a great disappointment to Mrs. Gurrage, I am sure, but we go away to Paris as soon as I can change my dress after the church ceremony.

Think of it! This time to-morrow my name will be Gurrage! And Augustus will have the right to--Merciful God! stop my heart from beating in this sickening fashion, and let me remember the motto of my race--"_Sans bruit_."

Oh, grandmamma, if I could go on your journey with you! The first jump out into the dark might be fearful, but afterwards it would be quiet and still, and there would be no caterpillars!

That was a beautiful flash of lightning! The storm is coming nearer. Sparks flew from my diamond fender on the dressing-table. Well--well--I--I wish I had seen Sir Antony again. Just now he sent me a present. It is a knife for my chatelaine, the hilt studded with diamonds, and there is a note which says that there is still time to cut the Gordian knot.

What does it mean? I feel cold, as if I could not understand things to-night.

The Marquis gave me some _conseils de mariage this afternoon.

"Remain placid," he said, "_fermez les yeux et pensez a autrui--apres vous aurez les agrements_."

Grandmamma has not even kissed me. Her eyes resemble a hawk's still, but have the look of a tortured tiger as well sometimes. She has grown terribly feeble, and has twice had fainting-fits like the one that changed my destiny. I believe she is remaining alive simply by strength of will and that she will die when all is over.

She has given me the greatest treasure of her life, the miniature of Ambrosine Eustasie. I have it here by my side for my very own.

Yes, Ambrosine Eustasie, for me to-morrow there is also the guillotine; and perhaps I, too, could walk up the steps smiling if I were allowed a rose to keep off the smell of the common people; Augustus's mother uses patchouli.

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The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 2 - Chapter 1 The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 2 - Chapter 1

The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 2 - Chapter 1
BOOK II CHAPTER INo one can possibly imagine the unpleasantness of a honey-moon until they have tried it. It is no wonder one is told nothing at all about it. Even to keep my word and obey grandmamma I could never have undertaken it if I had had an idea what it would be like. Really, girls' dreams are the silliest things in the world. I can't help staring at all the married people I see about. "You--poor wretches!--have gone through this," I say to myself; and then I wonder and wonder that they can smile and look gay. I long

The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 5 The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 5

The Reflections Of Ambrosine: A Novel - Book 1 - Chapter 5
BOOK I CHAPTER VThe next day Augustus went to London by the early train. I fortunately saw the dog-cart coming, and rushed to tell Hephzibah to say I was not up if he stopped, which of course he did on his way to the station. He left a message for me. He would be back at half-past four, would come in to tea. The Marquis and I were to dine there in the evening, so I am sure that would be time enough to have seen him. Grandmamma said it was no doubt the engagement-ring he had gone to London to