The Fortress by Hugh Walpole | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Fortress

The Fortress

by Hugh Walpole
     
 

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'All is well,' Judith said quietly, coming forward and stroking the
red apples of the sofa. 'I shall not leave you, Jennifer. It is
better I remain.'

As her hand mechanically stroked those same rosy apples, so
friendly and familiar, she reflected.

Yes, this simple sentence declared the crisis of her whole
existence. Nothing ever

Overview

'All is well,' Judith said quietly, coming forward and stroking the
red apples of the sofa. 'I shall not leave you, Jennifer. It is
better I remain.'

As her hand mechanically stroked those same rosy apples, so
friendly and familiar, she reflected.

Yes, this simple sentence declared the crisis of her whole
existence. Nothing ever again could matter to her so deeply as
this decision. With it she had cut away half her life, and perhaps
the better half. She was not by nature a dramatic woman; moreover,
she had but lately returned from the funeral of the best friend she
had, and she was forty-seven years of age in this month of January
1822. So--for women then thought forty-seven a vast age--she
should be past drama. Quietly she sat down on the sofa, leaned
forward, looking into the fire. Jennifer Herries was speaking with
eager excitement, but Judith did not hear her. Jennifer was fifty-
two and should also be past drama but, although a lazy woman, she
liked sensation when it did not put herself to discomfort.

Judith at that moment heard and saw nothing but the past, the past
that she was irrevocably forsaking. Strange how the same patterns
were for ever returning! Her father had been a rogue and a
vagabond, a rebel against all the order and material discipline of
the proper Herries. In his early years he had married Convention
and of her had had a son, late in life he had married a gipsy and
of her had had a daughter in his old age, when he was over seventy.
David at one end of his life, Judith at the other.

In their histories again the pattern had been repeated. David of
his marriage had had two sons: Will the money-maker, Francis the
dreamer. Will prospered even now in the City; Francis was a
failure, dead of his own hand.

And with their children again the pattern was repeated. For Will's
son Walter was triumphant near by in his house at Westaways, and
Francis' widow, Jennifer, and Francis' children, John and Dorothy,
remained, undefended, here at Uldale.

It was here that she, Judith, came into the pattern. Daughter of
two vagabonds, mother of an illegitimate boy, she should be
vagrant. Half of her--the finer, truer, more happy and fortunate
half--(she nodded at the fire in confirmation) was so. But the
other half was proper, managing, material, straight-seeing Herries.
She threw her wild half into the blaze (her hand flickered towards
the fire). It was gone. She remained to fight for Jennifer,
Jennifer's children, John and Dorothy, and, maybe who knows? . . .
her own boy Adam.

To fight whom? Here Jennifer's voice broke through:

'. . . That will be most agreeable. I have always said that the
Yellow Room needs but a trifle altering and it will make . . . but
Francis would never see it. And with a new wallpaper . . . We
must certainly have a new wallpaper . . .'

To fight Walter Herries, and all that were his. As 'Rogue' Herries
in his tumble-down house in Borrowdale had fought all the world, as
Francis his grandson had tried to fight the world and failed, so
now would she fight Walter, flamboyant, triumphing Walter, made of
Will and his money-bags, sworn to extinguish Jennifer and her
children and all that were in Fell House, Uldale.

It had been the wish of her whole life to flee from all the Herries
and live in the hills as her mother had lived before her, but
Walter Herries had challenged her and she had taken up the
challenge.

'. . . Not that it should be difficult,' Jennifer was saying, 'to
find another girl to work with Doris. Girls will come willingly
enough now that you are going to remain, Judith, dear . . .'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013744240
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/12/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
535 KB

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