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Honor Edgeworth

Honor Edgeworth

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 338
  • Book Info
    Honor Edgeworth
    Book Description:

    Honor Edgeworthdepicts certain phases of social life and character at the Canadian capital in the 1800s.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3227-1
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. None)
    (pp. I-IV)
    (pp. 3-17)

    It is night ! Not the cold, wet, chilly night, that is settling down on the forlorn-looking city outside ; not the cheerless night, that makes the news-boy gather his rags more closely about him, and stand under the projecting doorway of some dilapidated, tenantless building, as he cries “Free Press,only two cents :” not the awful night on which the gaunt haggard children, who thrive on starvation, crouch shiveringly around the last hissing fagot on the fire-place, with big, hungry eyes wandering over the low ceiling and the mouldy walls, or resting perchance on the wet, dirty panes,...

    (pp. 18-24)

    A page or two, of the record of time, turned over unnoticed, will not be missed out of the. careers of our characters, it will include the days that have elapsed since that night that Honor Edgeworth lay wide awake on her pillow, playing with the shadowy visions of a possible future, as they danced around her bed, since that night in Manchester, when Nanette slept so contentedly and Henry Rayne smoked in moody silence by the fire-place in the hotel parlor. When we become interested again, it is a clear, bright day, blue and white threads of filmy loveliness...

    (pp. 25-31)

    It was a very pleasant, littletableauthat followed those three happy souls, gathered around a well-spread table laughing and chatting merrily. Honor no longer felt any timidity or reserve before Mr. Rayne, his advanced years commanded a confidence and” trust that she would have otherwise perhaps been slow to give, and the unlimited generosity he betrayed in even anticipating her every wish, gave her no opportunity to feel that she was under the patronage of a perfect stranger. He had shown himself as a kind, indulgent father from the first, and was as solicitous about her as though she...

    (pp. 32-42)

    The morning following Guy’s visit to his uncle’s window panes as Henry Rayne was sipping his rich brown chocolate with Honor and Nanette at breakfast, Fitts brought in a note and laid in before his master. Ihe usual broad smile came over Rayne's face as he recognized his nephew’s handwriting.

    “So he’s in town,” he soliloquized as he opened the folds of the crisp paper and read:

    “Dear Uncle,

    I came to town last evening, and wish to see you when you will be quite alone.


    “There’s an ansur wanted, sur,” Fitts said timidly.

    “Oh, say this afternoon at...

    (pp. 43-52)

    In this interesting meanwhile, life was unfolding its strange mysteries just as unexpectedly to HonorEdge-worth as to Guy Elersley. After she had returned from her pleasant drive, a half hour after Guy’s departure from his uncle’s house, dinner was announced, immediately after which Mr. Rayne had to excuse himself, having had an engagement “uptown.” Honor, left to her own resources for distractions, repaired, as usual, to the sitting room, and seated herself on the floor before the grate. Her eyes assumed their old hazy look; she clasped her hands over her knees and looked vacantly into the fire. What a...

    (pp. 53-56)

    It will be a stormy night I think,” Honor says, shrugging her pretty shoulders behind the window-blind she is just lowering, “I wish I had the stout brawny arms of a man to-night....”

    “Around your waist?” says a voice from behind her, and, suiting the action to the word, some one encircles her slender waist with “stout brawny arms.”

    “Guy ! ! I have told you in plain English that I will not allow you to take such freedom with me.Thistime, I say, “Jc vous defends sirieuscnieiit dc mettre vos bras ....

    “Oh ! that’s enough, by Jove,...

    (pp. 57-62)

    Let us now contrast the two pictures which present themselves to the imagination on this stormy winter evening. One is quiet, usual, familiar; the other is fc noisy, glittering, but also familiar. One is the drawingroom in Mr. . Rayne’s comfortable house, with the gaslight falling gently over the silent room—it is not turned very high. Mr. Rayne is dozing in an arm-chair. His hands are folded across his breast, and his limbs are extended at full length—he is dreaming. Honor is seated at the piano, stealing her slender fingers over the ivory keys. It is a low,...

    (pp. 63-67)

    There was no nonsense about Honor Edgeworth. Anyone should like her. There may have been traits in her character that would elicit no sympathy from some, but they either forget the extraordinary circumstances that influenced her young life, or else they are prejudiced against such individuals as she, whose eyes are widely opened to all the existing follies and extravagances of her species.

    Honor would have grown up and bloomed to ornament a far fairer land than Canada; her too enthusiastic nature would have been infinitely better developed in another world, but it is useless to sit down and mourn...

    (pp. 68-73)

    The next morning dawned a calm, mild day. The snow was knee-deep on the ground and covered the housetops-with a thick soft mantle. On how many utterly different scenes the stray sunbeams rested that winter morning ! Nearly all the heroines of Miss Teazle’s ball were sunk in heavy, tired slumber, in rooms strewn with laces and (lowers and other fragments of last night’s dissipation. The poor over-exerted mammas are neither able to rise nor to sleep, and their pitiably puckered brows and sour looking faces would excite the sympathy of the most cynical misanthrope.

    And yet, perhaps if not...

  12. CHAPTER X.
    (pp. 74-80)

    Honor had just taken up her crocheting and was playing her needle busily when Mr. Rayne drew his heavy, leathern chair opposite to the fire and began:

    “Well, my dear little girl, here you are a young woman all at once on my hands, and to me you are yet the childish little thing you were three years ago in the railway carriage at the Manchester Depot But the world won’t see things to suit a short-sighted old bachelor like me, and according to that omnipotent, omniscient world, it is now my duty to introduce you into society; to bring...

    (pp. 81-92)

    Well, I did not think this at the very worst,” Mr. Rayne said over a newly received letter to Honor. “Here’s the long expected news from Guelph, and my cousin says she would find it so convenient for you to go up, just for a week and she would come back with you. There are so many things for her to settle, and besides you would see a little bit of life in the meantime. Now, how in the world are we going to live without sunshine or daylight for a week, eh?

    “Oh, Mr. Rayne, you spoil me! But,...

    (pp. 93-99)

    It was a cold stormy blustering day. The fierce north wind wns moaning and wailing in piteous shrieks around the corners, and through the bare swaying branches of the tall elms. It was a dreary scene to look upon from a car window, and yet it was rather a cheerful face that peered through the tiny panes into the stormy surroundings outside. Honor was thinking deeply, a medley of sad and pleasant things, and she smiled and grew pensive alternately. She had thought of Guy, and of how pleasant it would be after all to have him there beside her,...

    (pp. 100-109)

    When all was comfortably arranged once more, Jean d’Alberg resumed her seat and her story. “The-eventful night of the ball came at last, and I know not what nervous presentiment caused me to fasten my palest crush roses in my hair, and to take from their old resting place the diamonds set in heavy gold, that my maternal grandmother had worn ages before. I knew full well, as I leaned on the arm of my tall, dignified father that night, that he recognized in me more strongly than ever, the likeness to his dead wife, my mother. The only feeling...

    (pp. 110-114)

    We Left Guy in Mr. Rayne’s study, in sore trouble as to how could evade the task set him, and Join rioting friends in their proposed amusement He scratched his head and made countless agonizing grimaces ; he walked the room in long strides, until his patience had reached an almost impossible limit. Then he thought better of it, and decided to hold a calm, cool and collected council with himself. It was plain to his one-sided judgment that he was called upon to act, and to act immediately. But this was easier said than done. It is simple enough...

    (pp. 115-118)

    The cold, cloudy night was just at its period of transition when the misty grey of a foggy morning was slowly extending over the quiet city. A light fall of snow covered the rough fences and the bare branches, and a chilly, freezing atmosphere weighed heavily down upon the earth. There was scarcely a sound to be heard. Xow and then the still measured tread of a solitary policeman, or the pitiful chirp of some homeless sparrow under the eaves of a neighboring house broke the monotonous silence of the early dawn. But suddenly another sound bursrout upon the great...

    (pp. 119-122)

    And so you think of going back to Ottawa so soon ? Well, I suppose the magnet is hidden somewhere, that draws you towards it,” and Jean d’Alberg laughed playfully as she turned to address her words to Honor, who was yet buried in the snowy linen of her comfortable bed.

    Honor clasped her hands over her head and smiled a little sadly, saying:

    “Yes, I like Ottawa—more than I thought I did ; and if it is just the same to you I think we need make no longer delay here.”

    “My dear child,” Mrs. d’Alberg said as...

    (pp. 123-131)

    The clock of the Parliament Tower was pealing out the last stroke of four, and almost simultaneously there emerged from all three Buildings, young men, old men and middle-aged men, all looking as weary and hard-worked as civil servants ought to look.

    They did not turn back once to gaze on the spot where the long, dreary hours had been spent; outside that office door life assumed another and an entirely different phase for the government clerk. Even the memory of the lawyer’s clerks and “duns” from various parts of the city were left buried within these sacred precints until...

    (pp. 132-142)

    Are the ladies at home?”

    “Yes. Will you come inside?” said Fitts, with his politest bow, as he extended an exquisite little card receiver towards his visitors.

    Then came a few moments of great bustle and confusion, and an accumulation of seal-skins and brocaded silks was ushered into the drawing-room of Mr. Rayne’s house.

    It was reception day for Aunt Jean and Honor, and both were looking remarkably well in their most becoming costumes, amid their rich surroundings.

    Aunt Jean advanced slightly to meet two ladies as they entered the room, and “How d’ye do?” passed from one to another,...

    (pp. 143-148)

    Perhaps it was owing to Honor’s apparent indifference that Henry Rayne refrained from giving a full account of Guy Elersley’s disappearance from among them. He had insinuated something about the misunderstanding that had arisen between his nephew and himself,’ but the subject was a painful one, and unless pressed for further information, he preferred to remain silent altogether about it.

    Honor had taken counsel with herself and had acted very wisely in consequence. She assured herself that it was presumption to suppose that Guy loved her. She had no direct proof of such a sentiment existing. Their whole period of...

    (pp. 149-155)

    From the moment the Canadian Pacific R’y train leaves Ottawa in the early morning, the interested traveller can easily feast his eyes on the modest little villages and rival towns, a whole succession of which greet him from the capital to Montreal and thence to Quebec city.’ These juvenile country towns at once thrust the idea of repose upon the city folks who may chance to visit them. The best of these boast of, at most, a dozen wealthy, respectable residents, a village street of antagonistic merchants, a post office, an Established inn, a mayor, a doctor, the minister, and...

    (pp. 156-166)

    It was a hot, sultry afternoon, and even in the woods of Sleepy Cottage the breezes that ruffled the thick foliage were not so refreshing as usual. The door of the house was open, and on two large easy chairs on the vine-covered verandah were seated Alphonse de Maistre and his pretty daughter.

    The old man wore large green glasses over-his eyes, and his hands were folded as he sat quietly there, listening to the birds and inhaling the fragrance of the rich flowers which adorned the pretty garden.

    Josephine lay with her head resting oa the cushioned back of...

    (pp. 167-171)

    Are you feeling well enough to entertain the old man to-night?” said the plaintive voice ofAlphonsede Maistre, as father and daughter resumed their seats on the verandah, after the simple evening meal was over.

    “Oh yes,” Fifine answered quickly, “my foot scarcely pains at all now, it will be nothing serious, I think, after all.” Then in her sweet low voice she commenced to read to her blind old parent who sat in a listening attitude with his hands folded in his lap.

    Suddenly the firm voice of the young girl wavered, she stammered and grew distracted. There were footsteps...

    (pp. 172-177)

    It was a dark, heavy evening in midsummer. Great volumes of leaden gray clouds were piling one over the other in the sulky sky; the air was laden with an unshed moisture, and a threatening breeze rustled through the dry, dusty leaves of the crowded elms. There was an unnatural stillness in Nature—everything looked drowsy and tired, the boughs swayed and nodded, and the flowers hung their sleepy heads like worn-out midnight watchers.

    Fifine had hoped madly for the storm to keep off, and now as her fleet steps brought her nearer the rendezvous at the end of the...

    (pp. 178-184)

    She turned on her side and woke, at least she opened her eyes in a wide stare, but could see nothing. All was black, opaque darkness around her. She raised herself on her elbow; her back ached, her head ached, every joint was stiffened. What could it mean? Had she fallen out of bed, she wondered? She tried to move but could not. She called “Anna ! Papa !” but her voice sent back a mocking echo from the black, stillness, no maid, no parent, hearkened to her cry. She looked all around. A colorless emptiness surrounded her. She stretched...

    (pp. 185-187)

    The gray of the morning was stealing out from behind the tree-tops, filling the woodland with a dim uncertain light. The tall spectral forms and great crouching figures of the darkness, now proved to be the limbs and broken trunks of gigantic trees. With the misty light of the morning all the ghouls and goblins of the night left the lonely forest and retreated to their secret abodes until dusk would come again.

    A cold cheerless change was coming over the earth arid two equestrians trotting silently through the wood, at this early hour, shivered and shook in the raw...

    (pp. 188-195)

    This is our waltz, Miss Edgeworth, are you prepared? asked Vivian Standish, as he bowed before the girl in black satin, who was conversing gayly with a fine-looking elderly gentleman.

    “So soon,” Honor said, somewhat surprised, “why, I thought—”

    “Yes, I know you did,” he interrupted gayly, “but do listen to that music.”

    Honor rose, thus appealed to, and smiling an adieu to her first companion, she thrust her round white arm into Vivian’s, as he led her triumphantly into the ball-room, where many couples were already on the floor.

    “See, we have lost some of it already,” he...

    (pp. 196-204)

    You had better watch him closely, Mrs. Pratt, his condition is precarious, and as he has been thrown on your hands, do not treat him shabbily”

    “You ken bet I’ll not,” said the matronlyfemale, who stood half hidden in the humble doorway, from which Dr. Belford had just made his exit. “Lawks, doctor dear, I’ll have an eye to him, jest as if he was my very own. It ud not be me ’at would neglec’ any Christian that fate had thrown on me hands.”

    “I thought so,” said the doctor, half apologetically. “I’ll call again shortly,” and then, the...

    (pp. 205-213)

    You are unusually early this morning,” said a pale, handsome woman crossing the threshold of the elegant dining-room, where the silver and crystal and tempting viands stood in inviting array on the massive table.

    The lady wore a loose dark wrapper, girdled at the waist, and her thick hair, prematurely grey, was drawn back from her large, intelligent brow, and secured in graceful coils at the back of her shapely neck.

    “I have a case of unusual interest, dear Mrs. Belford—that explains it; at least I have stolen one from Dr. Belford, and with his ordinary kindness, he does...

    (pp. 214-225)

    The reader must understand what it is to experience sensations such as flitted through Guy Elersley’s breast at this period of his lire’sdinoitemtnt.Any of us who have fallen in with the tide of the great living world, know that the draughts of gall and the drops of nectar reach our lips from the same chalice : our noblest love has often been the parent of our most sinful hatred, and we have cursed in despairing tones the very scenes, days, persons and associations that once constituted the fondest memories of our hearts.

    We have a great antithetical existence...

    (pp. 226-235)

    The bright, golden summer days were growing scarcer and scarcer; band nights’ experiences were fast becoming items of the past—that past which had realized itself so strangely to poor Honor. She had hoped sanguinely, trustingly, and now it seemed that fate would bring her defiant proofs of its iron will in spite of herself.

    She had not taken it as a sign of inconstancy, that Guy had never sent the smallest message of encouragement to her, but rather tried to weave it in as a sprig of the laurel crown, she daily wove in silent sadness, for her truant...

    (pp. 236-246)

    Will surely be recognized by some one, if I stay here this evening,” Guv said, as he brushed his hair and readjusted his cravat, before a neat mirror in one of the prim bed-rooms of a Sparks street boarding-house. “I had better seek some way of keeping myself ahide for awhile, until I find out, how love-matters are progressing in a certain quarter,” and as he soliloquized, he turned to the open window that faced the busy street, just in time to catch a glimpse of the ‘street car,’ as it hurried by. There was a placard in conspicuous letters...

    (pp. 247-254)

    Three months! three months!” Guy said in a low, puzzled voice, as he lay wide awake on his bed, turning and twisting all the circumstances of his recent discoveries over and over in his head “I can never stay here all that time. Besides, I have a good deal to do.” He thought over it a little while longer, and then looking quite satisfied, he turned himself comfortably on the other side and went deliberately off into a peaceful sleep.

    Three months never appear to us to contain half of their real length when we have much to consider and...

    (pp. 255-266)

    Is it the little home on the hill?” said the half-indig-nantcalechedriver, “well, to be sure I know it as well as I do the nose on my face; step in sur, and you’ll soon see if-I do or not.”

    Jumping hastily up, Guy settled himself for, as he hoped, the last drive to the first part of the success he strove so hard to win.

    Quebec, as every tourist has acknowledged, is a Tine old place/and now that his heart was somewhat lighter, Guy allowed himself to realize, like the others, that he had indeed come to a...

    (pp. 267-279)

    The gold and amber leaves, turned their withered edges inward, and fell, in sear, crisp decay, from the half-naked trees. The flowers were all dead The songs of the summer birds were entirely hushed, and thus stripped of all its rustic beauty, Ottawa stood, iii mid-autumn, awaiting the pleasure of winter.

    It was the season, which of all others, appealed most eloquently to Honor Edgeworth’s heart; to her, the season of ‘falling leaves’ and ‘moaning winds,’ was nature’s most sympathetic response, gratifying, as it did, the melancholy tendency in her nature.

    The dear, dead summer, had fled into that vast...

    (pp. 280-284)

    Christmas Eve of 188–, with all its soft, fleecy snow, its merry sleigh bells, its decorations, its plenty and its poverty, its rejoicings and its waitings, its hopes and its fears—the day of huge, warm fires and smouldering faggots, of sumptuous dinners and scanty crusts, the night of all others, that the satisned thanksgiving of the rich, and the heart-rending craving of the pauper, meet at the throne of God.

    At noon of this bright, merry Christmas Eve, among the many passengers on board the mid-day train that rushed into the Union Depot, was one who Interests us...

    (pp. 285-299)

    Guy Elersley, had long ago abandoned the noctivagent tendencies, that . had only saddened and distracted his life, but to-night, as the clock struck nine, he deliberately closed the book he had been reading, Avith a heavy sigh, lit a cigar, and getting himself into his furs, he strolled noiselessly out, the great doorway of the quiet hotel, and commenced an onward journey at a brisk pace. He heeded neither the flood of subdued light, that hung like a veil of hallowed glory over the earth, on this bright Christmas Eve, nor the busy pedestrians, who hurried to and fro,...

    (pp. 300-303)

    The day after the ball, to the great grief of his devoted household,Henry Rayne was much weaker than usual. His tasty, tempting breakfast went back untouched to the kitchen. Although he had not gone down last night to the scene of gaiety below, his intimate and privileged friends had visited him in his own apartments above, and the reaction of this excitement had assumed alarming features to-day.

    Honor hastened to his side the moment she had finished a hurried toilet. She got herself impatiently into a wrapper of dark red cashmere, which fastened at the waist with cords and heavy...

    (pp. 304-316)

    Christmas day was unusually gloomy at Mr. Rayne’s this year, but it was quite a voluntary stillness, that reigned there: no one felt gay, or happy, while the loved master of the house was so low. Jean d’Alberg stole around in velvet slippers, and the others scarcely moved at all; as for Honor, she lived in theboudoirbelow stairs: lying awake on the cosy lounge, dreaming all sorts of day dreams, while she awaited the end of this painful interruption in their domestic happiness.

    The sky was slightly overcast with soft, gray clouds, but the day was fine, and...

    (pp. 317-329)

    Next morning, it was a bright and cheerful sun that streamed in at Honor’s window, the rain had all passed away, and the air was mild and refreshing. Hastily dressing herself, Honor hurried to Mr. Rayne’s door to ascertain how he had passed the night, but as she reached it, she met Aunt Jean coming out, with her forefinger on her lip, and whispering “Sh— sh—” in such premature warning, that Honor looked bewildered as she enquired the cause.

    “He is sleeping nicely now, run off, we must not disturb him, it is such ‘a natural little sleep,” Madame...

    (pp. 330-337)

    The tired, spent moments of the old year’s midnight, were crawling into eternity; the fierce December wind was sighing out its wearied farewell over the frozen streets; the thick white frosts were gathering on the window panes, in crystal shrubs and icy forests; December was howling, in a spectral voice, the ominous cry of the “Banshee,’ in anticipation of the old year’s death. It was well nigh the hour of another day’s dawn, but in the house of Henry Rayne everyone was astir. In the old, familiar home, where we have intruded so often upon happy inmates in their joy,...