The Prisoner


Produced by David Clarke, Woodie4 and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.) THE PRISONER THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO · DALLAS ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA MELBOURNE THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. TORONTO THE PRISONER BY ALICE BROWN AUTHOR OF "MY LOVE AND I," "CHILDREN OF EARTH," "ROSE MACLEOD," ETC. New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1916 All rights reserved Copyright, 1916 By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY Set up and electrotyped. Published June, 1916 Reprinted June, 1916 July, 1916 Twice August, 1916. THE PRISONER I There could not have been a more sympathetic moment for coming into the country town--or, more accurately, the inconsiderable city--of Addington than this clear twilight of a spring day. Anne and Lydia French with their stepfather, known in domestic pleasantry as the colonel, had hit upon a perfect combination of time and weather, and now they stood in a dazed silence, dense to the proffers of two hackmen with the urgency of twenty, and looked about them. That inquiring pause was as if they had expected to find, even at the bare, sand-encircled station, the imagined characteristics of the place they had so long visualised. The handsome elderly man, clean-shaven, close-clipped, and, at intervals when he recalled himself to a stand against discouragement, almost military in his bearing, was tired, but entrenched in a patient calm. The girls were profoundly moved in a way that looked like gratitude: perhaps, too, exalted as if, after reverses, they had reached a passionately desired goal. Anne was the elder sister, slender and sweet, grave with the protective fostering instinct of mothers in a maidenly hiding, ready to come at need. She wore her plain blue clothes as if unconscious of them and their incomplete response to the note of time. A woman would have detected that she trimmed her own hat, a flat, wide-brimmed straw with a formless bow and a feather worthy only in long service. A man would have cherished the memory of her thin rose-flushed face with the crisp touches of sedate inquiry about the eyes. "Do you want anything?" Anne's eyes were always asking clearly. "Let me get it for you." But even a man thus tenderly alive to her charm would have thought her older than she was, a sweet sisterly creature to be reverentially regarded. Lydia was the product of a different mould. She was the woman, though a girl in years and look, not removed by chill timidities from woman's normal hopes, the clean animal in her curved mouth, the trick of parting her lips for a long breath because, for the gusto of life, the ordinary breath wouldn't always do, and showing most excellent teeth, the little

Alice Brown

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