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Judith Paris
     

Judith Paris

4.0 1
by Hugh Walpole
 

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The old woman and the new-born child were the only living things in
the house.

The old woman, Mrs. Henny, had finished her washing and laying-out
of the bodies of the child's father and of the child's mother. She
had done it alone because she had been afraid to leave the house
with no one alive in it save the new-born child. Now she

Overview

The old woman and the new-born child were the only living things in
the house.

The old woman, Mrs. Henny, had finished her washing and laying-out
of the bodies of the child's father and of the child's mother. She
had done it alone because she had been afraid to leave the house
with no one alive in it save the new-born child. Now she was
exhausted and, in spite of her labour, fearfully chilled, for the
snow, although it fell now more lightly, was piled high about the
doors and windows as if, with its soft thick fingers, it wished to
strangle the house.

She was very cold, so she drank some gin, although it was not as a
rule her weakness. The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Herries lay, the
eyes decently closed, the pale hands folded, each in its proper
bed.

A fine heat burnt through Mrs. Henny's old body. The gin was good.
Then her head fell forward and she slept.

The old house rattled and squealed in the wind that was rising up
now that the snow had almost ceased to fall. Feet seemed to creep
up and down the stairs, fingers were at the windows, but the dead
and Mrs. Henny slept on.

Then, in the room where the old woman, the child, and its mother
were, from the window a piece of glass, very old and dark green
like weeded water, was loosened with the wind and fell tinkling to
the boards. The snow blew in like a live thing and the room was
icily chilled.

The child that had been sleeping felt the cold and began to cry, a
shrill cry on one note. But Mrs. Henny heard nothing, the gin
holding her fast.

Squire Gauntry--little Tom Gauntry--riding along the Borrowdale
path just below the house on the farther side of the little bridge,
heard the cry. It was strange that from so weak a creature the cry
should be so clear. He heard it, and he pulled up his horse; the
six hounds who were with him stopped also. The snow had but just
ceased to fall and for the first time that day. It was so unusual
in that country for there to be so heavy a fall that he halted and
looked about him in wonderment. The roofs of Rosthwaite, all the
hills, the fields were buried in the white smooth covering, and
now, for the first time, light began to break through. The grey
stuff of the snowy sky was torn and a faint green field spread over
the dim hills, and the snow began shyly to sparkle. The wind blew
the top of the snow into little smoking spirals. Some rooks flew,
like black leaves, cawing, breaking the sacred silence. The green
field spread.

Herries, the house, raised on its little hill, to Gauntry's right,
seemed to be overwhelmed by the snow, huddled, shapeless, helpless,
and out of that white shapelessness this thin, desolate, tiny cry
continued.

Gauntry was eager to be home; his high black riding-coat was heavy
with snow, he was weary and chilled, but there was something in
that cry that moved him. A hard-bitten little man, leading always
his own life and telling everyone else to go to the devil,
nevertheless he was sentimental too: so he turned his horse,
crossed the bridge over the stream, and, followed by the six
hounds, guided the animal through the snow, and, striking with his
whip on the gate of the courtyard, holloaed three times.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013748682
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/15/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
371,961
File size:
492 KB

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Judith Paris 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The second volume in the Herries Chronicle, it's the story of tempestuous Judith Herries, daughter of Rogue Herries. Both her parents die on the day she's born, and she's raised by her half brother David, who's 55 years older than she. She marries Georges Paris, a smuggler and gambler, and is unhappy with him. When Georges is violently killed by an avenging father, Judith goes to live with nephew Francis and his wife. A feud breaks out in the Herries household, which is carried over into the next novel in the Chronicle (THE FORTRESS). Judith has an affair with Warren Foster, leaves him, but has a child by him. The story is a strong one, though saturated with violence (Judith's husband, nephew and lover all die in the story). The character portrayals are good, especially of Judith and Jennifer Cards, Francis's wife and initiator of the feud. The final quarter of the book is not as good as what came before; Judith's sudden delivery of her son is hard to believe, and the action from that point on drags. The book is set during the early years of the 18th century. Among the better of Walpole's novels.