North and South (Chapter 8, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 8

'And it's hame, hame; hame,
Hame fain wad I be.'

It needed the pretty light papering of the rooms to reconcile
them to Milton. It needed more--more that could not be had. The
thick yellow November fogs had come on; and the view of the plain
in the valley, made by the sweeping bend of the river, was all
shut out when Mrs. Hale arrived at her new home.

Margaret and Dixon had been at work for two days, unpacking and
arranging, but everything inside the house still looked in
disorder; and outside a thick fog crept up to the very windows,
and was driven in to every open door in choking white wreaths of
unwholesome mist.

'Oh, Margaret! are we to live here?' asked Mrs. Hale in blank
dismay. Margaret's heart echoed the dreariness of the tone in
which this question was put. She could scarcely command herself
enough to say, 'Oh, the fogs in London are sometimes far worse!'

'But then you knew that London itself, and friends lay behind it.
Here--well! we are desolate. Oh Dixon, what a place this is!'

'Indeed, ma'am, I'm sure it will be your death before long, and
then I know who'll--stay! Miss Hale, that's far too heavy for you
to lift.' 'Not at all, thank you, Dixon,' replied Margaret, coldly. 'The
best thing we can do for mamma is to get her room quite ready for
her to go to bed, while I go and bring her a cup of coffee.' Mr. Hale was equally out of spirits, and equally came upon
Margaret for sympathy.

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