The two women looked at each other with a smile of comprehension as
the old, old man who, considering his years, was still so amazingly
active, rose restlessly from his arm-chair to go to the ...
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Master of the Mill

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The two women looked at each other with a smile of comprehension as
the old, old man who, considering his years, was still so amazingly
active, rose restlessly from his arm-chair to go to the northernmost
window of the enormous hall in which they were sitting and to look,
over the west end of the dark lake, at the mill. He did this night
after night now; but there had been years when he had carefully
avoided that view.

All three were in evening clothes; it was the custom to dress for
dinner, at the great house on the shelf of the hillside overlooking
the two arms of the lake. The women were busy with embroidery; it
was rare that either of them spoke on these long evenings after
they had risen from table; and if there was occasion for an
exchange of words, they were uttered under their breath.

The younger of the two, Lady Clark or Maud, as she was called by
her intimates was the old man's daughter-in-law. Though she was
still in her early forties, she had, to all appearance, at least
for an outsider, only one aim left in life, namely to ease the old
man's lapse into that senility which had to come at last, long as
it had been staved off by her husband's unexpected death more than
a decade ago. The older woman, Miss Charlebois, had once been the
'companion' of Mrs Samuel Clark, the long-dead wife of the old man,
a senator of Canada, who had gone to the window whence he looked at
the mill as if he must watch that nobody walked off with it.

Life in the house, as was natural in a place which stood aside from
the main stream of life, followed a strict routine; and even Lady
Clark lived largely in the past, perhaps for the very reason that,
as far as the mill went, the future was hers; she was its largest
shareholder; and there was now only one other, the old man who had
certainly long since made her his heir.

Yet it was doubtful whether either of the women realized what went
on in the old man as he looked at that mill which towered up,
seventeen stories high, at the foot of the lake, like a huge
pyramid whose truncated apex was in line with the summits of the
surrounding hills. The mill which, in a physical sense, he had
largely created had been his love before he had owned it; it had
become the object of his hatred after it had become his; it had
always ruled his destiny; it had been, it still was, the central
fact in his life; it had never permitted him to be entirely
himself; it had determined his every action. The history of the
mill had been his history, beginning with the time when his father
had started to build it; and again beyond the time when his son,
having done something to it of which he himself disapproved, was
killed by the stray shot of a striker. Whatever had happened to
him, in his inner as well as his outer life, had been contingent
upon its existence. His father had forced it on him; his son had
thrown it back on his shoulders. It had led a life of its own,
more potent, more decisive than the life of any mere human being.
The individual destinies connected with it had merely woven
arabesques around it. But, perhaps naturally, it was these living
arabesques which held the old man's thought.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013663725
  • Publisher: WDS Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 333 KB

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