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Owen Turner
Owen Turner

Download Pretty Little Lies Ivy Thorn Epub VERIFIED

He caught himself up at the question and glanced nervously round the room. Hefound something mean in the pretty furniture which he had bought for his houseon the hire system. Annie had chosen it herself and it reminded him of her. Ittoo was prim and pretty. A dull resentment against his life awoke within him.Could he not escape from his little house? Was it too late for him to try tolive bravely like Gallaher? Could he go to London? There was the furniturestill to be paid for. If he could only write a book and get it published, thatmight open the way for him.

Download Pretty Little Lies Ivy Thorn epub

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun tosnow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquelyagainst the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journeywestward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. Itwas falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills,falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling intothe dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of thelonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thicklydrifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the littlegate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snowfalling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent oftheir last end, upon all the living and the dead.

The place was his very own, for he had unearthed it after ithad been lost for centuries. In a charter in Oseney he had readhow the King of Wessex had given to the Bishop of Winchester apiece of land by Cherwell side, which ran from a certain brook"along the green valley by the two little hills and past thePainted Floor," till it reached a certain thorn patch and acertain spring. The words had fired his fancy. Once the Romanshad strode over these hills, the ruins of their massivecausewayed highroads ran through marsh and forest, they had settheir houses with vines and reaped their harvests where now onlywild beasts rustled. To one like Peter, most of whose wakingthoughts dwelt on Greece and Italy, the notion of suchpredecessors among his familiar fields seemed to link his wildestdreams to the solid world of fact. That Painted Floor must befound, for it could only be a fragment of Roman work; there wassuch a floor in the midget church of Widford on Windrush, a mileor two from the home of his childhood. He knew the green valleyand the little hills of the charter; they lay east from WoodEaton, between the demesne of that manor and the ridge ofStowood. The Romans had been there beyond doubt, for not longsince a ditcher in that very place had turned up a pot of goldcoins with Emperors' heads on them--some were now at Oseney amongthe Abbey's treasures.

A hand was laid on his shoulder as he descended the staircaseinto the July sunlight, and he found Brother Tobias beside him.Brother Tobias was a little lame, and leaned heavily on his armwhile he spoke in his placid cooing way in his ear. BrotherTobias had a very small face, red and rosy and wrinkled like awalnut, and a very long neck, stringy as a hempen rope. Fromearliest days he had been Peter's guardian, patron, father inGod, or whatever title covers the complete oversight of interestsin time and eternity. He had blue eyes a little dim from study,for he was Oseney's chief scholar and accounted a learned Thomistas well as a noted Grecian, but those same eyes saw much thatothers missed, and at moments they could gleam with a secularfire. For Tobias had not always been a churchman; there weretales of a youth spent in camps and courts, for he was come ofhigh stock from Severn side.

Peter finished his duties in the novices' school by an hourafter noon. He visited his attic in St George's College in theCastle. It was very hot, and, since the window opened to thesouth, the little room was like an oven. He looked at hisunslept-in bed, with its mean bedclothes, his shelf of papersweighted by a book or two, the three-legged stool and the ricketytable which were all the furniture, and a pair of blue fliesbuzzing at a broken pane, and the sight did not increase hischeerfulness. Poverty lay like dust over everything. He had meantto give the afternoon to his own studies, to that translation ofa book of Plato into Ciceronian Latin, at which, with a fellow ofCorpus Christi College, he had been for some months at work. Buthe found it impossible. On such a day and in such a mood he wouldgo mad in that stuffy cell. He would go to the library of MertonCollege, where he had permission to read, and look up certainpassages in Diogenes Laertius till dinner-time.

He had a momentary thought of breaking all shackles andseeking another course of life. He had been taught the use ofarms by the Wychwood foresters. Brother Tobias himself had seento it that he had some skill of the sword, a rare thing in aclerk. His chest was deep and his limbs were tireless. What ofthe big unclerkly world beyond Oseney gates and Oxford walls? . .. The notion only crossed his mind to be dismissed. Learning,even a little learning, had spoiled him for beginning life in theranks among bullies and cut-throats and fellows whose solepossession was their sinews. It had made him fastidious. Hehungered, and yet could be dainty about any offered dish. . . .Peter shut his book and dropped his head on his arms. He wasfeeling the pressure of life which sets a man's nerves twitchingand confuses his brain, and which can be mastered only byblinding the eyes and concentrating on a single duty, or--thepoet's way--by weaving tumultuous phenomena into the simplicitiesof art. What were those words of Tobias which he was always usingof England?--"The blanket of the dark." The gipsy with the hoteyes in Stowood had said the same. Peter had a sense of a greatcloud of darkness encumbering him, a cloak at once black andstifling.

They crossed the little streams of Dorn and Glyme and came outof the forest to wide downs of grass and furze. Bearingnorthward, they still ascended, Darking in the bare placesshowing as much precaution as if he were stalking a winter'shind. They never passed a crest except on their bellies, orcrossed an open slope without a long reconnaissance. They hadseen no dwelling or sign of man, but he behaved as if he were ina populous land. At last they reached a point which seemed thehighest ground in the neighbourhood, for on every side thecountry fell away into valleys.

"It is hard to say," was the answer. "Most men to-day think oftheir next meal before their hopes of Heaven, and their belliesbefore their souls. Holy water will not wash a foul shirt clean.But beyond question the devout are perturbed, and it would takelittle to bring them into the streets with staves and pikes. Ihave heard of a stirring Lincolnshire way, and Pierce will tellyou that a very little spark would fire the northern moors. But Ihave been in too many wars to set much store by what thecommonalty alone can do. There are plenty of foot-sentinels, but'tis the captain that matters."

As he spoke, he looked round the company, and his eyes fell onSimon. Some intelligence seemed to pass between them, for of asudden his face lightened, and when Peter glanced at Simon he sawthat his mouth was set hard. . . . And then Peter had a strangeexperience. As he looked, the world seemed to go small. The noblehall with its carvings and gildings and escutcheons suddenlyshrank into a little bare place. Lord Avelard seemed a broken oldman with deathlike cheeks, Sir Gabriel a painted lath, thecommissary a hollow thing like an empty barrel, Sabine a prettymask with nothing behind but a heart ticking foolishly. EvenSimon looked wooden and lifeless. But this wisp of a man,manacled to his jailer, seemed to give out life as fiercely as afurnace gives out heat. There was such a convincing purpose inhim that in his presence all the rest of them with their braveappurtenances dwindled and withered.

"That was a pretty play," he said. "'Tis well known thatCrummle is the blackest heretic in the land, and this young RedeI fear is no better. They are walking on difficult ground, forwith one hand they are plundering the Church and with the othermust smite all who deny the Church's creed, because theirthick-witted master still hopes to save his soul. They cannotquarrel with my urgency to oblige the Bishop, since 'tis theirKing's wish, but you could see what gall and wormwood it was tothem. . . . But Avelard is no place for you at this moment. BothRede and that black commissary have been examining my servantsconcerning you. Best go back for a little to Stowood till thisvisitation be past. There is good news from the east, where thestubble is ablaze, and soon Crummle and his crew will have theirhands full in that quarter. You had best leave at dawn to-morrow.I am sending two of my fellows to strengthen the Bishop'sguard--needless enough, but a proof of my good-will--and whatmore natural than that my young kinsman should accompany them, asa pledge of the holy zeal of the house of Avelard?"

"If we would enter upon this new world," Simon was saying, "wemust purge our baggage. A man must travel light." Then he flung afold of his cloak around his throat. "A murrain on this weather,"he cried, "for I must be beyond Otmoor ere I sleep. There ispromise of a heavy fall. You will be well advised, Master Bonamy,to seek a shelter for the night, since in your errand there is noneed of spurring. It matters little when the wretch behind uslies in the Bishop's prison so long as he duly reach that haven.In an hour the night will fall. Best look for a lodging whilethere is a spark left of daylight."

Mother Sweetbread set supper before them, and drew Madge ofShipton from her solitary communings. The little old witch-wifewent on her knees to Tobias and sought his blessing, which wasgiven with a doubting face. Then she seemed to take command ofthe party. Her toothless mumbling changed into a tone ofauthority; alone of them she seemed to know not the goal only butthe road to it. She bade Darking get mattock and pick from theSweetbread store, for, said she, "The frost has bound the earth,and earth lies heavy on that which we seek." The keys of theouter curtilage and the keep had been long in Mother Sweetbread'scare, and these were sought out, a mighty bunch of rusted ironstrung on a strip of cowhide. "But these are not the keys weseek," said the witch-wife. "There are deeps in Lovell's castlewhich no mortal key will unlock. For these we have the Rustler'sword." Nor would she allow them to start till she gave thesignal. "Let the daylight get out of the earth and the nightcurrents begin to move. We can work only under the blanket of thedark." 041b061a72


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