Click here to Download Beyond the City PDF Book by Arthur Conan Doyle Language English having PDF Size 1.1 MB and No of Pages 74.
“If you please, mum,” said the voice of a domestic from somewhere round the angle of the door, “number three is moving in.” Two little old ladies, who were sitting at either side of a table, sprang to their feet with ejaculations of interest, and rushed to the window of the sitting-room. “Take care, Monica dear,” said one, shrouding herself in the lace curtain; “don’t let them see us.
Beyond the City PDF Book by Arthur Conan Doyle
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“No, no, Bertha. We must not give them reason to say that their neighbors are inquisitive. But I think that we are safe if we stand like this.” The open window looked out upon a sloping lawn, well trimmed and pleasant, with fuzzy rosebushes and a star-shaped bed of sweet-william. It was bounded by a low wooden fence, which screened it off from a broad, modern, new metaled road.
At the other side of this road were three large detached deep-bodied villas with peaky eaves and small wooden balconies, each standing in its own little square of grass and of flowers. All three were equally new, but numbers one and two were curtained and sedate, with a human, sociable look to them; while number three.
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With yawning door and unkempt garden, had apparently only just received its furniture and made itself ready for its occupants. A four-wheeler had driven up to the gate, and it was at this that the old ladies, peeping out bird-like from behind their curtains, directed an eager and questioning gaze.
The cabman had descended, and the passengers within were handing out the articles which they desired him to carry up to the house. He stood red-faced and blinking, with his crooked arms outstretched, while a male hand, protruding from the window, kept piling up upon him a series of articles the sight of which filled the curious old ladies with bewilderment.
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“My goodness me!” cried Monica, the smaller, the drier, and the more wizened of the pair. “What do you call that, Bertha? It looks to me like four batter puddings.” “Those are what young men box each other with,” said Bertha, with a conscious air of superior worldly knowledge. “And those?” Two great bottle-shaped pieces of yellow shining wood had been heaped upon the cabman.
“Oh, I don’t know what those are,” confessed Bertha. Indian clubs had never before obtruded themselves upon her peaceful and very feminine existence. These mysterious articles were followed, however, by others which were more within their range of comprehension—by a pair of dumb-bells, a purple cricket-bag, a set of golf clubs, and a tennis racket.
Finally, when the cabman, all top-heavy and bristling, had staggered off up the garden path, there emerged in a very leisurely way from the cab a big, powerfully built young man, with a bull pup under one arm and a pink sporting paper in his hand. The paper he crammed into the pocket of his light yellow dust-coat, and extended his hand as if to assist some one else from the vehicle. Beyond the City PDF Book
To the surprise of the two old ladies, however, the only thing which his open palm received was a violent slap, and a tall lady bounded unassisted out of the cab. With a regal wave she motioned the young man towards the door, and then with one hand upon her hip she stood in a careless, lounging attitude by the gate, kicking her toe against the wall and listlessly awaiting the return of the driver.
As she turned slowly round, and the sunshine struck upon her face, the two watchers were amazed to see that this very active and energetic lady was far from being in her first youth, so far that she had certainly come of age again since she first passed that landmark in life’s journey.
Her finely chiseled, clean-cut face, with something red Indian about the firm mouth and strongly marked cheek bones, showed even at that distance traces of the friction of the passing years. And yet she was very handsome. Her features were as firm in repose as those of a Greek bust, and her great dark eyes were arched over by two brows so black, so thick, and so delicately curved. Beyond the City PDF Book
That the eye turned away from the harsher details of the face to marvel at their grace and strength. Her figure, too, was straight as a dart, a little portly, perhaps, but curving into magnificent outlines, which were half accentuated by the strange costume which she wore. Her hair, black but plentifully shot with grey, was brushed plainly back from her high forehead.
And was gathered under a small round felt hat, like that of a man, with one sprig of feather in the band as a concession to her sex. A double-breasted jacket of some dark frieze-like material fitted closely to her figure, while her straight blue skirt, untrimmed and ungathered, was cut so short that the lower curve of her finely-turned legs was plainly visible beneath it.
Terminating in a pair of broad, flat, low-heeled and square-toed shoes. Such was the lady who lounged at the gate of number three, under the curious eyes of her two opposite neighbors. It was just three days after the Doctor and the Admiral had congratulated each other upon the closer tie which was to unite their two families, and to turn their friendship into something even dearer and more intimate. Beyond the City PDF Book
That Miss Ida Walker received a letter which caused her some surprise and considerable amusement. It was dated from next door, and was handed in by the red-headed page after breakfast. “Dear Miss Ida,” began this curious document, and then relapsed suddenly into the third person. “Mr. Charles Westmacott hopes that he may have the extreme pleasure of a ride with Miss Ida Walker upon his tandem tricycle.
Mr. Charles Westmacott will bring it round in half an hour. You in front. Yours very truly, Charles Westmacott.” The whole was written in a large, loose-jointed, and school-boyish hand, very thin on the up strokes and thick on the down, as though care and pains had gone to the fashioning of it. Strange as was the form, the meaning was clear enough.
So Ida hastened to her room, and had hardly slipped on her light grey cycling dress when she saw the tandem with its large occupant at the door. He handed her up to her saddle with a more solemn and thoughtful face than was usual with him, and a few moments later they were flying along the beautiful, smooth suburban roads in the direction of Forest Hill. Beyond the City PDF Book Download
The great limbs of the athlete made the heavy machine spring and quiver with every stroke; while the mignon grey figure with the laughing face, and the golden curls blowing from under the little pink-banded straw hat, simply held firmly to her perch, and let the treadles whirl round beneath her feet.
Mile after mile they flew, the wind beating in her face, the trees dancing past in two long ranks on either side, until they had passed round Croydon and were approaching Norwood once more from the further side. “Aren’t you tired?” she asked, glancing over her shoulder and turning towards him a little pink ear, a fluffy golden curl, and one blue eye twinkling from the very corner of its lid.
“Not a bit. I am just getting my swing.” “Isn’t it wonderful to be strong? You always remind me of a steamengine.” “Why a steamengine?” “Well, because it is so powerful, and reliable, and unreasoning. Well, I didn’t mean that last, you know, but—but—you know what I mean. What is the matter with you?” “Why?” Beyond the City PDF Book Download
“Because you have something on your mind. You have not laughed once.” He broke into a gruesome laugh. “I am quite jolly,” said he. “Oh, no, you are not. And why did you write me such a dreadfully stiff letter?” “There now,” he cried, “I was sure it was stiff. I said it was absurdly stiff.” “Then why write it?”
“It wasn’t my own composition.” “Whose then? Your aunt’s?” “Oh, no. It was a person of the name of Slattery.” “Goodness! Who is he?” “I knew it would come out, I felt that it would. You’ve heard of Slattery the author?” “Never.” “He is wonderful at expressing himself. He wrote a book called ‘The Secret Solved; or, Letter-writing Made Easy.’
It gives you models of all sorts of letters.” Ida burst out laughing. “So you actually copied one.” “It was to invite a young lady to a picnic, but I set to work and soon got it changed so that it would do very well. Slattery seems never to have asked any one to ride a tandem. But when I had written it, it seemed so dreadfully stiff that I had to put a little beginning and end of my own, which seemed to brighten it up a good deal.” Beyond the City PDF Book Download
Little did poor Doctor Walker imagine as he sat at his breakfast-table next morning that the two sweet girls who sat on either side of him were deep in a conspiracy, and that he, munching innocently at his muffins, was the victim against whom their wiles were planned. Patiently they waited until at last their opening came.
“It is a beautiful day,” he remarked. “It will do for Mrs. Westmacott. She was thinking of having a spin upon the tricycle.” “Then we must call early. We both intended to see her after breakfast.” “Oh, indeed!” The Doctor looked pleased. “You know, pa,” said Ida, “it seems to us that we really have a very great advantage in having Mrs. Westmacott living so near.”
“Why so, dear?” “Well, because she is so advanced, you know. If we only study her ways we may advance ourselves also.” “I think I have heard you say, papa,” Clara remarked, “that she is the type of the woman of the future.” “I am very pleased to hear you speak so sensibly, my dears. I certainly think that she is a woman whom you may very well take as your model. Beyond the City PDF Book Download
The more intimate you are with her the better pleased I shall be.” “Then that is settled,” said Clara demurely, and the talk drifted to other matters. All the morning the two girls sat extracting from Mrs. Westmacott her most extreme view as to the duty of the one sex and the tyranny of the other. Absolute equality, even in details, was her ideal.
Enough of the parrot cry of unwomanly and unmaidenly. It had been invented by man to scare woman away when she poached too nearly upon his precious preserves. Every woman should be independent. Every woman should learn a trade. It was their duty to push in where they were least welcome.
Then they were martyrs to the cause, and pioneers to their weaker sisters. Why should the wash-tub, the needle, and the housekeeper’s book be eternally theirs? Might they not reach higher, to the consulting-room, to the bench, and even to the pulpit? Mrs. Westmacott sacrificed her tricycle ride in her eagerness over her pet subject. Beyond the City PDF Book Download
And her two fair disciples drank in every word, and noted every suggestion for future use. That afternoon they went shopping in London, and before evening strange packages began to be handed in at the Doctor’s door. The plot was ripe for execution, and one of the conspirators was merry and jubilant, while the other was very nervous and troubled.
When the Doctor came down to the dining-room next morning, he was surprised to find that his daughters had already been up some time. Ida was installed at one end of the table with a spirit-lamp, a curved glass flask, and several bottles in front of her. The contents of the flask were boiling furiously, while a villainous smell filled the room.
Clara lounged in an armchair with her feet upon a second one, a blue-covered book in her hand, and a huge map of the British Islands spread across her lap. “Hullo!” cried the Doctor, blinking and sniffing, “where’s the breakfast?” “This is a beautiful book, papa. ‘The Lights, Beacons, Buoys, Channels, and Landmarks of Great Britain.’ Here is another, ‘The Master Mariner’s Handbook.’ Beyond the City PDF Book Free
You can’t imagine how interesting it is.” “You are joking, Clara. You must be joking!” “Not at all, pa. You can’t think what a lot I have learned already. I’m to carry a green light to starboard and a red to port, with a white light at the mast-head, and a flare-up every fifteen minutes.” “Oh, won’t it look pretty at night!” cried her sister.
“And I know the fog-signals. One blast means that a ship steers to starboard, two to port, three astern, four that it is unmanageable. But this man asks such dreadful questions at the end of each chapter. Listen to this: ‘You see a red light. The ship is on the port tack and the wind at north; what course is that ship steering to a point?’”
The Doctor rose with a gesture of despair. “I can’t imagine what has come over you both,” said he. “My dear papa, we are trying hard to live up to Mrs. Westmacott’s standard.” “Well, I must say that I do not admire the result. Your chemistry, Ida, may perhaps do no harm; but your scheme, Clara, is out of the question. Beyond the City PDF Book Free
How a girl of your sense could ever entertain such a notion is more than I can imagine. But I must absolutely forbid you to go further with it.” “But, pa,” asked Ida, with an air of innocent inquiry in her big blue eyes, “what are we to do when your commands and Mrs. Westmacott’s advice are opposed? You told us to obey her.
She says that when women try to throw off their shackles, their fathers, brothers and husbands are the very first to try to rivet them on again, and that in such a matter no man has any authority.”