Anne Severn and the Fieldings (Chapter 3, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 3

i "'Where have you been all the day, Rendal, my son?
Where have you been all the day, my pretty one?...'"

Five years had passed. It was August, nineteen ten.

Anne had come again. She sat out on the terrace with Adeline, while
Colin's song drifted out to them through the open window.

It was her first day, the first time for three years. Anne's calendar
was blank from nineteen seven to nineteen ten. When she was seventeen
she had left Cheltenham and gone to live with Grandpapa Everitt at the
Essex farm. Grandpapa Everitt wanted her more than Grandmamma Severn,
who had Aunt Emily; so Anne had stayed with him all that time. She had
spent it learning to farm and looking after Grandpapa on his bad days.
For the last year of his life all his days had been bad. Now he was
dead, dead three months ago, and Anne had the farm. She was going to
train for five years under the man who had worked it for Grandpapa;
after that she meant to manage it herself.

She had been trying to tell Aunt Adeline all about it, but you could see
she wasn't interested. She kept on saying "Yes" and "Oh" and "Really"?
in the wrong places. She never could listen to you for long together,
and this afternoon she was evidently thinking of something else, perhaps
of John Severn, who had been home on leave and gone again without coming
to the Fieldings.

"'I've been to my sweetheart, mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm sick to my heart and I fain would lie down...'"

Mournful, and beautiful, Colin's song came through the windows, and Anne
thought of Jerrold who was not there. He was staying in Yorkshire with
some friends of his, the Durhams. He would be back to-morrow. He would
have got away from the Durhams.

..."'make my bed soon...'"

To-morrow. To-morrow.

"Who are the Durhams, Auntie?"

"He's Sir Charles Durham. Something important in the Punjaub. Some high
government official. He'll be useful to Jerrold if he gets a job out
there. They're going back in October. I suppose I shall have to ask.
Maisie Durham before they sail."

Maisie Durham. Maisie Durham. But to-morrow he would have got away.

"'What will you leave your lover, Rendal, my son?
What will you leave your lover, my pretty one?
A rope to hang her, mother,
A rope to hang her, mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm sick to my heart and I fain would lie down.'"

"Sing something cheerful, Colin, for Goodness sake," said his mother.
But Colin sang it again.

"'A rope to hang her'"

"Bless him, you'd think he'd known all the wicked women that ever were.
My little Col-Col."

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