An excerpt: I was fifteen. It was after I had left Miss Pritchard's. Not that I was much wiser than I was when I was at Miss Pritchard's. Though that was not my opinion at the time. In what I then called my judgment I was the wisest person the world had ever seen--perhaps it would be more correct to write that that was my estimate of myself as a rule. There were between-whiles when I knew better. I was at Mrs ...
I was fifteen. It was after I had left Miss Pritchard's. Not that I was much wiser than I was when I was at Miss Pritchard's. Though that was not my opinion at the time. In what I then called my judgment I was the wisest person the world had ever seen--perhaps it would be more correct to write that that was my estimate of myself as a rule. There were between-whiles when I knew better. I was at Mrs Sawyer's--Lingfield House School--at Brighton to be finished. And a nice finish they made of me.
It was the summer term and I was romantic, I had my phases. One term I was cynical; another philosophical; a third filled with a wild despair. That one I was all for sentiment. I had been reading all manner of stuff, prose and poetry; I had even written some poems myself. As I burned them years and years ago I do not mind owning it. I was convinced that there was nothing in the world worth living for except love. Given Love--it ought to have a capital L; in my poems it always had--you had everything a reasonable being could desire. Lacking it, wealth, fame, clothes, and even chocolate creams, were as dust and ashes.
There was, that term, a governess who must have been almost as great a goose I was. I am not sure that she was quite so right in the head as she might have been. She only stayed that term. Why Mrs Sawyer ever had her is more than I can say. Her name was Frazer--Mamie Frazer. Her autograph--suggestive of a fly slipping over the paper after a visit to the inkstand--stares at me out of my birthday book at this moment. She was the most speechless person I ever encountered. So to speak, you might carry on a conversation with her for hours and she would never say a word. As a listener she was immense. By degrees her attitude so got upon your nerves that I, for one, would feel like murder.
"Say something!" I would beseech of her. "Do please say something! Don't you know that I have been talking myself hoarse and you haven't uttered a single word."
She would only sigh. To a person who was fond of conversational give-and-take it was trying.
And the name of the girl who shared my bedroom was Travers--Hester--generally known as Hetty--Travers. She was, well, she is one of my dearest friends at this hour, and she may see this, so I don't want to say anything to hurt her feelings, but she certainly was a mischievous imp. Mischief brimmed out of her finger-tips. And the point was that she had such an excessively demure air that you never had the faintest notion that she was that kind of person till the truth was forced upon you. Even then you gave her the benefit of the doubt; or you tried to--at least I did--until it was obviously absurd to attempt to do so any longer since there was no doubt. Reverence! she did not know what it was. She had not a mite of respect for me, though I was a good three months her senior. She used to make fun of all the varying things I held most sacred--that is, while the mood was on me.
Richard Marsh (12 October 1857 – 9 August 1915) was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard Heldmann. He is best known for his supernatural thriller The Beetle: A Mystery, which was published in the same year as Bram Stoker's Dracula and was initially even more popular.