Click here to Download The Blue Castle PDF Book by L. M. Montgomery Language English having PDF Size 2 MB and No of Pages 144.
If it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling’s whole life would have been entirely different. She would have gone, with the rest of her clan, to Aunt Wellington’s engagement picnic and Dr. Trent would have gone to Montreal. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it. Valancy wakened early, in the lifeless, hopeless hour just preceding dawn.
The Blue Castle PDF Book by L. M. Montgomery
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|PDF Size||2 MB|
|No of Pages||144|
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She had not slept very well. One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty- nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man. Deerwood and the Stirlings had long since relegated Valancy to hopeless old maidenhood.
But Valancy herself had never quite relinquished a certain pitiful, shamed, little hope that Romance would come her way yet—never, until this wet, horrible morning, when she wakened to the fact that she was twenty-nine and unsought by any man. Ay, there lay the sting. Valancy did not mind so much being an old maid.
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After all, she thought, being an old maid couldn’t possibly be as dreadful as being married to an Uncle Wellington or an Uncle Benjamin, or even an Uncle Herbert. What hurt her was that she had never had a chance to be anything but an old maid. No man had ever desired her. The tears came into her eyes as she lay there alone in the faintly greying darkness.
She dared not let herself cry as hard as she wanted to, for two reasons. She was afraid that crying might bring on another attack of that pain around the heart. She had had a spell of it after she had got into bed—rather worse than any she had had yet. And she was afraid her mother would notice her red eyes at breakfast and keep at her with minute.
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Persistent, mosquito-like questions regarding the cause thereof. “Suppose,” thought Valancy with a ghastly grin, “I answered with the plain truth, ‘I am crying because I cannot get married.’ How horrified Mother would be— though she is ashamed every day of her life of her old maid daughter.”
But of course appearances should be kept up. “It is not,” Valancy could hear her mother’s prim, dictatorial voice asserting, “it is not maidenly to think about men.” The thought of her mother’s expression made Valancy laugh—for she had a sense of humour nobody in her clan suspected. For that matter, there were a good many things about Valancy that nobody suspected. The Blue Castle PDF Book
But her laughter was very superficial and presently she lay there, a huddled, futile little figure, listening to the rain pouring down outside and watching, with a sick distaste, the chill, merciless light creeping into her ugly, sordid room. She knew the ugliness of that room by heart—knew it and hated it.
The yellowpainted floor, with one hideous, “hooked” rug by the bed, with a grotesque, “hooked” dog on it, always grinning at her when she awoke; the faded, dark-red paper; the ceiling discoloured by old leaks and crossed by cracks; the narrow, pinched little washstand; the brown-paper lambrequin with purple roses on it.
The spotted old looking-glass with the crack across it, propped up on the inadequate dressing-table; the jar of ancient potpourri made by her mother in her mythical honeymoon; the shell-covered box, with one burst corner, which Cousin Stickles had made in her equally mythical girlhood; the beaded pincushion with half its bead fringe gone. The Blue Castle PDF Book
The one stiff, yellow chair; the faded old motto, “Gone but not forgotten,” worked in coloured yarns about Great-grand-mother Stirling’s grim old face; the old photographs of ancient relatives long banished from the rooms below. There were only two pictures that were not of relatives. One, an old chromo of a puppy sitting on a rainy doorstep.
That picture always made Valancy unhappy. That forlorn little dog crouched on the doorstep in the driving rain! Why didn’t some one open the door and let him in? The other picture was a faded, passe-partouted engraving of Queen Louise coming down a stairway, which Aunt Wellington had lavishly given her on her tenth birthday.
For nineteen years she had looked at it and hated it, beautiful, smug, self-satisfied Queen Louise. But she never dared destroy it or remove it. Mother and Cousin Stickles would have been aghast, or, as Valancy irreverently expressed it in her thoughts, would have had a fit. “Dr. Trent’s housekeeper got word from him today,” said Cousin Stickles, so suddenly that Valancy jumped guiltily. The Blue Castle PDF Book
Was there anything in thought waves? “Mrs. Judd was talking to her uptown. They think his son will recover, but Dr. Trent wrote that if he did he was going to take him abroad as soon as he was able to travel and wouldn’t be back here for a year at least.” V “That will not matter much to us,” said Mrs. Frederick majestically.
“He is not our doctor. I would not”—here she looked or seemed to look accusingly right through Valancy—”have him to doctor a sick cat.” “May I go upstairs and lie down?” said Valancy faintly. “I—I have a headache.” “What has given you a headache?” asked Cousin Stickles, since Mrs. Frederick would not.
The question had to be asked. Valancy could not be allowed to have headaches without interference. “You ain’t in the habit of having headaches. I hope you’re not taking the mumps. Here, try a spoonful of vinegar.” “Piffle!” said Valancy rudely, getting up from the table. She did not care just then if she were rude. The Blue Castle PDF Book
She had had to be so polite all her life. If it had been possible for Cousin Stickles to turn pale she would have. As it was not, she turned yellower. “Are you sure you ain’t feverish, Doss? You sound like it. You go and get right into bed,” said Cousin Stickles, thoroughly alarmed, “and I’ll come up and rub your forehead and the back of your neck with Redfern’s Liniment.”
Valancy had reached the door, but she turned. “I won’t be rubbed with Redfern’s Liniment!” she said. Cousin Stickles stared and gasped. “What—what do you mean?” “I said I wouldn’t be rubbed with Redfern’s Liniment,” repeated Valancy. “Horrid, sticky stuff! And it has the vilest smell of any liniment I ever saw.
It’s no good. I want to be left alone, that’s all.” Valancy went out, leaving Cousin Stickles aghast. “She’s feverish—she must be feverish,” ejaculated Cousin Stickles. Mrs. Frederick went on eating her supper. It did not matter whether Valancy was or was not feverish. Valancy had been guilty of impertinence to her. The Blue Castle PDF Book Download
“How do you know his eyebrows so well, Doss?” asked Olive, a trifle maliciously. Such a remark would have covered Valancy with confusion two weeks ago, and Olive knew it. “Yes, how?” demanded Aunt Wellington. “I’ve seen him twice and I looked at him closely,” said Valancy composedly. “I thought his face the most interesting one I ever saw.”
“There is no doubt there is something fishy in the creature’s past life,” said Olive, who began to think she was decidedly out of the conversation, which had centred so amazingly around Valancy. “But he can hardly be guilty of everything he’s accused of, you know.” Valancy felt annoyed with Olive.
Why should she speak up in even this qualified defence of Barney Snaith? What had she to do with him? For that matter, what had Valancy? But Valancy did not ask herself this question. “They say he keeps dozens of cats in that hut up back on Mistawis,” said Second Cousin Sarah Taylor, by way of appearing not entirely ignorant of him. The Blue Castle PDF Book Download
Cats. It sounded quite alluring to Valancy, in the plural. She pictured an island in Muskoka haunted by pussies. “That alone shows there is something wrong with him,” decreed Aunt Isabel. “People who don’t like cats,” said Valancy, attacking her dessert with a relish, “always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them.”
“The man hasn’t a friend except Roaring Abel,” said Uncle Wellington. “And if Roaring Abel had kept away from him, as everybody else did, it would have been better for—for some members of his family.” Uncle Wellington’s rather lame conclusion was due to a marital glance from Aunt Wellington reminding him of what he had almost forgotten—that there were girls at the table.
“If you mean,” said Valancy passionately, “that Barney Snaith is the father of Cecily Gay’s child, he isn’t. It’s a wicked lie.” In spite of her indignation Valancy was hugely amused at the expression of the faces around that festal table. She had not seen anything like it since the day, seventeen years ago, when at Cousin Gladys’ thimble party, they discovered that she had got—SOMETHING—in her head at school. The Blue Castle PDF Book Download
Lice in her head! Valancy was done with euphemisms. Poor Mrs. Frederick was almost in a state of collapse. She had believed—or pretended to believe—that Valancy still supposed that children were found in parsley beds. “Hush—hush!” implored Cousin Stickles. “I don’t mean to hush,” said Valancy perversely.
“I’ve hush—hushed all my life. I’ll scream if I want to. Don’t make me want to. And stop talking nonsense about Barney Snaith.” “Though I never was really young,” she went on—”until tonight,” she added in her heart. “I never had a life like other girls. You couldn’t understand. Why,”—she had a desperate desire that Barney should know the worst about her—”I didn’t even love my mother.
Isn’t it awful that I don’t love my mother?” “Rather awful—for her,” said Barney drily. “Oh, she didn’t know it. She took my love for granted. And I wasn’t any use or comfort to her or anybody. I was just a—a—vegetable. And I got tired of it. That’s why I came to keep house for Mr. Gay and look after Cissy.” The Blue Castle PDF Book Free
“And I suppose your people thought you’d gone mad.” “They did—and do—literally,” said Valancy. “But it’s a comfort to them. They’d rather believe me mad than bad. There’s no other alternative. But I’ve been living since I came to Mr. Gay’s. It’s been a delightful experience. I suppose I’ll pay for it when I have to go back—but I’ll have had it.”
“That’s true,” said Barney. “If you buy your experience it’s your own. So it’s no matter how much you pay for it. Somebody else’s experience can never be yours. Well, it’s a funny old world.” “Do you think it really is old?” asked Valancy dreamily. “I never believe that in June. It seems so young tonight—somehow.
In that quivering moonlight—like a young, white girl—waiting.” “Moonlight here on the verge of up back is different from moonlight anywhere else,” agreed Barney. “It always makes me feel so clean, somehow—body and soul. And of course the age of gold always comes back in spring.” It was ten o’clock now. The Blue Castle PDF Book Free
A dragon of black cloud ate up the moon. The spring air grew chill—Valancy shivered. Barney reached back into the innards of Lady Jane and clawed up an old, tobacco-scented overcoat. That was their whole conversation on the fifteen miles. Everything was more dream-like than ever. Valancy didn’t know whether she felt happy.
Or terrified. Or just plain fool. Then the lights of Port Lawrence were about them. Valancy felt as if she were surrounded by the gleaming, hungry eyes of hundreds of great, stealthy panthers. Barney briefly asked where Mr. Towers lived, and Valancy as briefly told him. They stopped before the shabby little house in an unfashionable street.
They went in to the small, shabby parlour. Barney produced his license. So he had got it. Also a ring. This thing was real. She, Valancy Stirling, was actually on the point of being married. They were standing up together before Mr. Towers. Valancy heard Mr. Towers and Barney saying things. She heard some other person saying things. The Blue Castle PDF Book Free
She herself was thinking of the way she had once planned to be married—away back in her early teens when such a thing had not seemed impossible. White silk and tulle veil and orange-blossoms; no bridesmaid. But one flower girl, in a frock of cream shadow lace over pale pink, with a wreath of flowers in her hair, carrying a basket of roses and lilies-of-the-valley.
And the groom, a noble-looking creature, irreproachably clad in whatever the fashion of the day decreed. Valancy lifted her eyes and saw herself and Barney in the little, slanting, distorting mirror over the mantelpiece. She in her odd, unbridal green hat and dress; Barney in shirt and overalls. But it was Barney.
That was all that mattered. No veil—no flowers—no guests—no presents—no wedding-cake—but just Barney. For all the rest of her life there would be Barney. “Mrs. Snaith, I hope you will be very happy,” Mr. Towers was saying. He had not seemed surprised at their appearance—not even at Barney’s overalls. The Blue Castle PDF Book Free
He had seen plenty of queer weddings “up back.” He did not know Valancy was one of the Deerwood Stirlings—he did not even know there were Deerwood Stirlings. He did not know Barney Snaith was a fugitive from justice. Really, he was an incredibly ignorant old man. Therefore he married them and gave them his blessing very gently and solemnly and prayed for them that night after they had gone away.
His conscience did not trouble him at all. “What a nice way to get married!” Barney was saying as he put Lady Jane in gear. “No fuss and flub-dub. I never supposed it was half so easy.” “For heaven’s sake,” said Valancy suddenly, “let’s forget we are married and talk as if we weren’t. I can’t stand another drive like the one we had coming in.” Barney howled and threw Lady Jane into high with an infernal noise.