Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu

Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu

Author:Sheridan Le Fanu
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781620111215
Publisher: Duke Classics

Chapter XXXVI - An Arrival at Dead of Night


I have sometimes been asked why I wear an odd little turquois ring—which to the uninstructed eye appears quite valueless and altogether an unworthy companion of those jewels which flash insultingly beside it. It is a little keepsake, of which I became possessed about this time.

'Come, lass, what name shall I give you?' cried Milly, one morning, bursting into my room in a state of alarming hilarity.

'My own, Milly.'

'No, but you must have a nickname, like every one else.'

'Don't mind it, Milly.'

'Yes, but I will. Shall I call you Mrs. Bustle?'

'You shall do no such thing.'

'But you must have a name.'

'I refuse a name.'

'But I'll give you one, lass.'

'And I won't have it.'

'But you can't help me christening you.'

'I can decline answering.'

'But I'll make you,' said Milly, growing very red.

Perhaps there was something provoking in my tone, for I certainly was very much disgusted at Milly's relapse into barbarism.

'You can't,' I retorted quietly.

'See if I don't, and I'll give ye one twice as ugly.'

I smiled, I fear, disdainfully.

'And I think you're a minx, and a slut, and a fool,' she broke out, flushing scarlet.

I smiled in the same unchristian way.

'And I'd give ye a smack o' the cheek as soon as look at you.'

And she gave her dress a great slap, and drew near me, in her wrath. I really thought she was about tendering the ordeal of single combat.

I made her, however, a paralysing courtesy, and, with immense dignity, sailed out of the room, and into Uncle Silas's study, where it happened we were to breakfast that morning, and for several subsequent ones.

During the meal we maintained the most dignified reserve; and I don't think either so much as looked at the other.

We had no walk together that day.

I was sitting in the evening, quite alone, when Milly entered the room. Her eyes were red, and she looked very sullen.

'I want your hand, cousin,' she said, at the same time taking it by the wrist, and administering with it a sudden slap on her plump cheek, which made the room ring, and my fingers tingle; and before I had recovered from my surprise, she had vanished.

I called after her, but no answer; I pursued, but she was running too; and I quite lost her at the cross galleries.

I did not see her at tea, nor before going to bed; but after I had fallen asleep I was awakened by Milly, in floods of tears.

'Cousin Maud, will ye forgi' me—you'll never like me again, will ye? No—I know ye won't—I'm such a brute—I hate it—it's a shame. And here's a Banbury cake for you—I sent to the town for it, and some taffy—won't ye eat it? and here's a little ring—'tisn't as pretty as your own rings; and ye'll wear it, maybe, for my sake—poor Milly's sake, before I was so bad to ye—if ye forgi' me; and I'll look at breakfast, and if it's on your finger I'll know you're friends


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