Cloudy Jewel
100 Pages
English
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Cloudy Jewel

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100 Pages
English

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Published 01 December 2010
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Language English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Cloudy Jewel, by Grace Livingston Hill This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Cloudy Jewel Author: Grace Livingston Hill Release Date: September 17, 2009 [EBook #30006] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CLOUDY JEWEL *** Produced by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net CLOUDY JEWEL CLOUDY JEWEL BY GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL AUTHOR OF MARCIA SCHUYLER, THE SEARCH, ETC. G R O S S E T & D U N L A P PUBLISHERS NEW YORK Made in the United States of America COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY THE GOLDEN RULE COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY CLOUDY JEWEL Cloudy Jewel CHAPTER I “Well, all I’ve got to say, then, is, you’re a very foolish woman!” Ellen Robinson buttoned her long cloak forcefully, and arose with a haughty air from the rocking-chair where she had pointed her remarks for the last half-hour by swaying noisily back and forth and touching the toes of her new high-heeled shoes with a click each time to the floor. Julia Cloud said nothing. She stood at the front window, looking out across the sodden lawn to the road and the gray sky in the distance. She did not turn around to face her arrogant sister. “What I’d like to know is what you do propose to do, then, if you don’t accept our offer and come to live with us? Were you expecting to keep on living in this great barn of a house?” Ellen Robinson’s voice was loud and strident with a crude kind of pain. She could not understand her sister, in fact, never had. She had thought her proposition that Julia come to live in her home and earn her board by looking after the four children and being useful about the house was most generous. She had admired the open-handedness of Herbert, her husband, for suggesting it. Some husbands wouldn’t have wanted a poor relative about. Of course Julia always had been a hard worker; and it would relieve Ellen, and make it possible for her to go around with her husband more. It would save the wages of a servant, too, for Julia had always been a wonder at economy. It certainly was vexing to have Julia act in this way, calmly putting aside the proposition as if it were nothing and saying she hadn’t decided what she was going to do yet, for all the world as if she were a millionaire! “I don’t know, Ellen. I haven’t had time to think. There have been so many things to think about since the funeral I haven’t got used yet to the idea that mother’s really gone.” Julia’s voice was quiet and controlled, in sharp contrast with Ellen’s high-pitched, nervous tones. “That’s it!” snapped Ellen. “When you do, you’ll go all to pieces, staying here alone in this great barn. That’s why I want you to decide now. I think you ought to lock up and come home with me to-night. I’ve spent just as much time away from home as I can spare the last three weeks, and I’ve got to get back to my house. I can’t stay with you any more.” “Of course not, Ellen. I quite understand that,” said Julia, turning around pleasantly. “I hadn’t expected you to stay. It isn’t in the least necessary. You know I’m not at all afraid.” “But it isn’t decent to leave you here alone, when you’ve got folks that can take care of you. What will people think? It places us in an awfully awkward position.” “They will simply think that I have chosen to remain in my own house, Ellen. I don’t see anything strange or indecent about that.” Julia Cloud had turned about, and was facing her sister calmly now. Her quiet voice seemed to irritate Ellen. “What nonsense!” she said sharply. “How exceedingly childish, letting yourself be ruled by whims, when common sense must show you that you are wrong. I wonder if you aren’t ever going to be a woman.” Ellen said this word “woman” as if her sister had already passed into the antique class and ought to realize it. It was one of the things that hurt Julia Cloud to realize that she was growing old apparently without the dignity that belonged to her years, for they all talked to her yet as if she were a little child and needed to be managed. She opened her lips to speak, but thought better of it, and shut them again, turning back to the window and the gray, sodden landscape. “Well, as I said before, you’re a very foolish woman; and you’ll soon find it out. I shall have to go and leave you to the consequences of your folly. I’m sure I don’t know what Herbert will say when he finds out how you’ve scorned his kindness. It isn’t every brother-in-law would offer––yes, offer, Julia, for I never even suggested it––to take on extra expense in his family. But you won’t see your ingratitude if I stand here and talk till doomsday; so I’m going back to my children. If you come to your senses, you can ride out with Boyce Bains to-morrow afternoon. Good-by, and I’m sure I hope you won’t regret this all your life.” Julia walked to the door with her sister, and stood watching her sadly while she climbed into her smart little Ford and skillfully steered it out of the yard and down the road. The very set of her shoulders as she sailed away toward home was disapproving. With a sigh of relief Julia Cloud shut the door and went back to her window and the dreary landscape. It was time for a sunset, but the sky was leaden. There Would be nothing but grayness to look at, grayness in front 10 7 8 9 of her, grayness behind in the dim, silent room. It was like her life, her long, gray life, behind and ahead. All her life she had had to serve, and see others happy. First as a child, the oldest child. There had been the other children, three brothers and Ellen. She had brought them all up, as it were, for the mother had always been delicate and ailing. She had washed their faces, kissed their bruises, and taken them to school. She had watched their love-affairs and sent them out into the world one by one. Two of the brothers had come home to die, and she had nursed them through