Click here to Download A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book by Thomas Hardy Language English having PDF Size 3.4 MB and No of Pages 235.
Elfride Swancourt was a girl whose emotions lay very near the surface. Their nature more precisely, and as modified by the creeping hours of time, was known only to those who watched the circumstances of her history. Personally, she was the combination of very interesting particulars, whose rarity, however, lay in the combination itself rather than in the individual elements combined.
A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book by Thomas Hardy
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As a matter of fact, you did not see the form and substance of her features when conversing with her; and this charming power of preventing a material study of her lineaments by an interlocutor, originated not in the cloaking effect of a well-formed manner (for her manner was childish and scarcely formed), but in the attractive crudeness of the remarks themselves.
She had lived all her life in retirement—the monstrari gigito of idle men had not flattered her, and at the age of nineteen or twenty she was no further on in social consciousness than an urban young lady of fifteen. One point in her, however, you did notice: that was her eyes. In them was seen a sublimation of all of her; it was not necessary to look further: there she lived.
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These eyes were blue; blue as autumn distance—blue as the blue we see between the retreating mouldings of hills and woody slopes on a sunny September morning. A misty and shady blue, that had no beginning or surface, and was looked INTO rather than AT. As to her presence, it was not powerful; it was weak.
Some women can make their personality pervade the atmosphere of a whole banqueting hall; Elfride’s was no more pervasive than that of a kitten. Elfride had as her own the thoughtfulness which appears in the face of the Madonna della Sedia, without its rapture: the warmth and spirit of the type of woman’s feature most common to the beauties—mortal and immortal—of Rubens, without their insistent fleshiness.
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The characteristic expression of the female faces of Correggio—that of the yearning human thoughts that lie too deep for tears—was hers sometimes, but seldom under ordinary conditions. The point in Elfride Swancourt’s life at which a deeper current may be said to have permanently set in, was one winter afternoon when she found herself standing, in the character of hostess.
Face to face with a man she had never seen before—moreover, looking at him with a Miranda-like curiosity and interest that she had never yet bestowed on a mortal. On this particular day her father, the vicar of a parish on the sea-swept outskirts of Lower Wessex, and a widower, was suffering from an attack of gout.
After finishing her household supervisions Elfride became restless, and several times left the room, ascended the staircase, and knocked at her father’s chamber-door. ‘Come in!’ was always answered in a hearty out-of-door voice from the inside. ‘Papa,’ she said on one occasion to the fine, red-faced, handsome man of forty, who, puffing and fizzing like a bursting bottle, lay on the bed wrapped in a dressing-gown. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
And every now and then enunciating, in spite of himself, about one letter of some word or words that were almost oaths; ‘papa, will you not come downstairs this evening?’ She spoke distinctly: he was rather deaf. ‘Afraid not—eh-hh!—very much afraid I shall not, Elfride. Piph-ph-ph! I can’t bear even a handkerchief upon this deuced toe of mine, much less a stocking or slipper—piph-ph-ph!
There ‘tis again! No, I shan’t get up till to-morrow.’ For by this time they had reached the precincts of Endelstow House. Driving through an ancient gate-way of dun-coloured stone, spanned by the high-shouldered Tudor arch, they found themselves in a spacious court, closed by a facade on each of its three sides.
The substantial portions of the existing building dated from the reign of Henry VIII.; but the picturesque and sheltered spot had been the site of an erection of a much earlier date. A licence to crenellate mansum infra manerium suum was granted by Edward II. to ‘Hugo Luxellen chivaler;’ but though the faint outline of the ditch and mound was visible at points, no sign of the original building remained. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
The windows on all sides were long and many-mullioned; the roof lines broken up by dormer lights of the same pattern. The apex stones of these dormers, together with those of the gables, were surmounted by grotesque figures in rampant, passant, and couchant variety. Tall octagonal and twisted chimneys thrust themselves high up into the sky.
Surpassed in height, however, by some poplars and sycamores at the back, which showed their gently rocking summits over ridge and parapet. In the corners of the court polygonal bays, whose surfaces were entirely occupied by buttresses and windows, broke into the squareness of the enclosure; and a far-projecting oriel, springing from a fantastic series of mouldings.
Overhung the archway of the chief entrance to the house. As Mr. Swancourt had remarked, he had the freedom of the mansion in the absence of its owner. Upon a statement of his errand they were all admitted to the library, and left entirely to themselves. Mr. Swancourt was soon up to his eyes in the examination of a heap of papers he had taken from the cabinet described by his correspondent. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
Stephen and Elfride had nothing to do but to wander about till her father was ready. Elfride entered the gallery, and Stephen followed her without seeming to do so. It was a long sombre apartment, enriched with fittings a century or so later in style than the walls of the mansion. Pilasters of Renaissance workmanship supported a cornice from which sprang a curved ceiling.
Panelled in the awkward twists and curls of the period. The old Gothic quarries still remained in the upper portion of the large window at the end, though they had made way for a more modern form of glazing elsewhere. Stephen was at one end of the gallery looking towards Elfride.
Who stood in the midst, beginning to feel somewhat depressed by the society of Luxellian shades of cadaverous complexion fixed by Holbein, Kneller, and Lely, and seeming to gaze at and through her in a moralizing mood. The silence, which cast almost a spell upon them, was broken by the sudden opening of a door at the far end. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
Out bounded a pair of little girls, lightly yet warmly dressed. Their eyes were sparkling; their hair swinging about and around; their red mouths laughing with unalloyed gladness. ‘Ah, Miss Swancourt: dearest Elfie! we heard you. Are you going to stay here? You are our little mamma, are you not—our big mamma is gone to London,’ said one.
‘Let me tiss you,’ said the other, in appearance very much like the first, but to a smaller pattern. ‘Stephen, I love only you,’ she tremulously whispered. He pressed her fingers, and the trifling shadow passed away, to admit again the mutual and more tangible trouble. The study appeared to be the only room lighted up.
They entered, each with a demeanour intended to conceal the inconcealable fact that reciprocal love was their dominant chord. Elfride perceived a man, sitting with his back towards herself, talking to her father. She would have retired, but Mr. Swancourt had seen her. ‘Come in,’ he said. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
‘It is only Martin Cannister, come for a copy of the register for poor Mrs. Jethway.’ Martin Cannister, the sexton, was rather a favourite with Elfride. He used to absorb her attention by telling her of his strange experiences in digging up after long years the bodies of persons he had known, and recognizing them by some little sign (though in reality he had never recognized any.
He had shrewd small eyes and a great wealth of double chin, which compensated in some measure for considerable poverty of nose. The appearance of a slip of paper in Cannister’s hand, and a few shillings lying on the table in front of him, denoted that the business had been transacted.
And the tenor of their conversation went to show that a summary of village news was now engaging the attention of parishioner and parson. Mr. Cannister stood up and touched his forehead over his eye with his finger, in respectful salutation of Elfride, gave half as much salute to Stephen (whom he, in common with other villagers. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
Had never for a moment recognized), then sat down again and resumed his discourse. ‘Where had I got on to, sir?’ ‘To driving the pile,’ said Mr. Swancourt. ‘The pile ‘twas. So, as I was saying, Nat was driving the pile in this manner, as I might say.’ Here Mr. Cannister held his walking-stick scrupulously vertical with his left hand, and struck a blow with great force on the knob of the stick with his right.
‘John was steadying the pile so, as I might say.’ Here he gave the stick a slight shake, and looked firmly in the various eyes around to see that before proceeding further his listeners well grasped the subject at that stage. ‘Well, when Nat had struck some half-dozen blows more upon the pile, ‘a stopped for a second or two.
John, thinking he had done striking, put his hand upon the top o’ the pile to gie en a pull, and see if ‘a were firm in the ground.’ Mr. Cannister spread his hand over the top of the stick, completely covering it with his palm. The few tattered clouds of the morning enlarged and united, the sun withdrew behind them to emerge no more that day, and the evening drew to a close in drifts of rain. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book
The water-drops beat like duck shot against the window of the railway-carriage containing Stephen and Elfride. The journey from Plymouth to Paddington, by even the most headlong express, allows quite enough leisure for passion of any sort to cool. Elfride’s excitement had passed off, and she sat in a kind of stupor during the latter half of the journey.
She was aroused by the clanging of the maze of rails over which they traced their way at the entrance to the station. Is this London?’ she said. ‘Yes, darling,’ said Stephen in a tone of assurance he was far from feeling. To him, no less than to her, the reality so greatly differed from the prefiguring.
She peered out as well as the window, beaded with drops, would allow her, and saw only the lamps, which had just been lit, blinking in the wet atmosphere, and rows of hideous zinc chimney-pipes in dim relief against the sky. She writhed uneasily, as when a thought is swelling in the mind which must cause much pain at its deliverance in words. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book Download
Elfride had known no more about the stings of evil report than the native wild-fowl knew of the effects of Crusoe’s first shot. Now she saw a little further, and a little further still. The train stopped. Stephen relinquished the soft hand he had held all the day, and proceeded to assist her on to the platform.
This act of alighting upon strange ground seemed all that was wanted to complete a resolution within her. She looked at her betrothed with despairing eyes. ‘O Stephen,’ she exclaimed, ‘I am so miserable! I must go home again—I must—I must! Forgive my wretched vacillation. I don’t like it here—nor myself—nor you!’ Stephen looked bewildered, and did not speak.
‘Will you allow me to go home?’ she implored. ‘I won’t trouble you to go with me. I will not be any weight upon you; only say you will agree to my returning; that you will not hate me for it, Stephen! It is better that I should return again; indeed it is, Stephen.’ It has now to be realized that nearly three-quarters of a year have passed away. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book Download
In place of the autumnal scenery which formed a setting to the previous enactments, we have the culminating blooms of summer in the year following. Stephen is in India, slaving away at an office in Bombay; occasionally going up the country on professional errands, and wondering why people who had been there longer than he complained so much of the effect of the climate upon their constitutions.
Never had a young man a finer start than seemed now to present itself to Stephen. It was just in that exceptional heyday of prosperity which shone over Bombay some few years ago, that he arrived on the scene. Building and engineering partook of the general impetus. Speculation moved with an accelerated velocity every successive day.
The only disagreeable contingency connected with it being the possibility of a collapse. Elfride had never told her father of the four-and-twenty-hours’ escapade with Stephen, nor had it, to her knowledge, come to his ears by any other route. It was a secret trouble and grief to the girl for a short time, and Stephen’s departure was another ingredient in her sorrow. A Pair of Blue Eyes PDF Book Free