Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
My Lady Ludlow Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter IV.

Page 6 of 8

Table Of Contents: My Lady Ludlow

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"And your ladyship really thinks that it would not be right to have a Sunday-school?" I asked, feeling very timid as I put time question.

"Certainly not. As I told Mr. Gray. I consider a knowledge of the Creed, and of the Lord's Prayer, as essential to salvation; and that any child may have, whose parents bring it regularly to church. Then there are the Ten Commandments, which teach simple duties in the plainest language. Of course, if a lad is taught to read and write (as that unfortunate boy has been who was here this morning) his duties become complicated, and his temptations much greater, while, at the same time, he has no hereditary principles and honourable training to serve as safeguards. I might take up my old simile of the race-horse and cart-horse. I am distressed," continued she, with a break in her ideas, "about that boy. The whole thing reminds me so much of a story of what happened to a friend of mine--Clement de Crequy. Did I ever tell you about him?"

"No, your ladyship," I replied.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

"Poor Clement! More than twenty years ago, Lord Ludlow and I spent a winter in Paris. He had many friends there; perhaps not very good or very wise men, but he was so kind that he liked every one, and every one liked him. We had an apartment, as they call it there, in the Rue de Lille; we had the first-floor of a grand hotel, with the basement for our servants. On the floor above us the owner of the house lived, a Marquise de Crequy, a widow. They tell me that the Crequy coat-of-arms is still emblazoned, after all these terrible years, on a shield above the arched porte-cochere, just as it was then, though the family is quite extinct. Madame de Crequy had only one son, Clement, who was just the same age as my Urian--you may see his portrait in the great hall--Urian's, I mean." I knew that Master Urian had been drowned at sea; and often had I looked at the presentment of his bonny hopeful face, in his sailor's dress, with right hand outstretched to a ship on the sea in the distance, as if he had just said, "Look at her! all her sails are set, and I'm just off." Poor Master Urian! he went down in this very ship not a year after the picture was taken! But now I will go back to my lady's story. "I can see those two boys playing now," continued she, softly, shutting her eyes, as if the better to call up the vision, "as they used to do five-and-twenty years ago in those old-fashioned French gardens behind our hotel. Many a time have I watched them from my windows. It was, perhaps, a better play-place than an English garden would have been, for there were but few flower-beds, and no lawn at all to speak about; but, instead, terraces and balustrades and vases and flights of stone steps more in the Italian style; and there were jets-d'eau, and little fountains that could be set playing by turning water-cocks that were hidden here and there. How Clement delighted in turning the water on to surprise Urian, and how gracefully he did the honours, as it were, to my dear, rough, sailor lad! Urian was as dark as a gipsy boy, and cared little for his appearance, and resisted all my efforts at setting off his black eyes and tangled curls; but Clement, without ever showing that he thought about himself and his dress, was always dainty and elegant, even though his clothes were sometimes but threadbare. He used to be dressed in a kind of hunter's green suit, open at the neck and halfway down the chest to beautiful old lace frills; his long golden curls fell behind just like a girl's, and his hair in front was cut over his straight dark eyebrows in a line almost as straight. Urian learnt more of a gentleman's carefulness and propriety of appearance from that lad in two months than he had done in years from all my lectures. I recollect one day, when the two boys were in full romp-- and, my window being open, I could hear them perfectly--and Urian was daring Clement to some scrambling or climbing, which Clement refused to undertake, but in a hesitating way, as though he longed to do it if some reason had not stood in the way; and at times, Urian, who was hasty and thoughtless, poor fellow, told Clement that he was afraid. 'Fear!' said the French boy, drawing himself up; 'you do not know what you say. If you will be here at six to-morrow morning, when it is only just light, I will take that starling's nest on the top of yonder chimney.' 'But why not now, Clement?' said Urian, putting his arm round Clement's neck. 'Why then, and not now, just when we are in the humour for it?' 'Because we De Crequys are poor, and my mother cannot afford me another suit of clothes this year, and yonder stone carving is all jagged, and would tear my coat and breeches. Now, to-morrow morning I could go up with nothing on but an old shirt.'

Page 6 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
My Lady Ludlow
Elizabeth Gaskell

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004