The Reflections of Ambrosine - A Novel

The Reflections of Ambrosine - A Novel

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Reflections of Ambrosine, by Elinor GlynThis 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 atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Reflections of Ambrosine A NovelAuthor: Elinor GlynRelease Date: March 18, 2004 [EBook #11624]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE REFLECTIONS OF AMBROSINE ***Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon, William Flis and PG Distributed ProofreadersThe Reflections of AmbrosineA Novel byElinor GlynNOTEIn thanking the readers who were kind enough to appreciate my "Visits of Elizabeth," I take this opportunity of saying thatI did not write the two other books which appeared anonymously. The titles of those works were so worded that they gavethe public the impression that I was their author. I have never written any book but the "Visits of Elizabeth." Everything thatI write will be signed with my name,ELINOR GLYNBOOK III have wondered sometimes if there are not perhaps some disadvantages in having really blue blood in one's veins, likegrandmamma and me. For instance, if we were ordinary, common people our teeth would chatter naturally with cold whenwe have to go to bed without fires in our rooms in December; but we pretend we like sleeping in "well-aired rooms"—atleast I have to. Grandmamma simply ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Reflections
of Ambrosine, by Elinor Glyn
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: The Reflections of Ambrosine A Novel
Author: Elinor Glyn
Release Date: March 18, 2004 [EBook #11624]
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK THE REFLECTIONS OF AMBROSINE ***
Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon,
William Flis and PG Distributed Proofreaders
The Reflections of Ambrosine
A Novel byElinor GlynNOTE
In thanking the readers who were kind enough to
appreciate my "Visits of Elizabeth," I take this
opportunity of saying that I did not write the two
other books which appeared anonymously. The
titles of those works were so worded that they
gave the public the impression that I was their
author. I have never written any book but the
"Visits of Elizabeth." Everything that I write will be
signed with my name,
ELINOR GLYNBOOK II
I have wondered sometimes if there are not
perhaps some disadvantages in having really blue
blood in one's veins, like grandmamma and me.
For instance, if we were ordinary, common people
our teeth would chatter naturally with cold when we
have to go to bed without fires in our rooms in
December; but we pretend we like sleeping in "well-
aired rooms"—at least I have to. Grandmamma
simply says we are obliged to make these small
economies, and to grumble would be to lose a trick
to fate.
"Rebel if you can improve matters," she often tells
me, "but otherwise accept them with calmness."
We have had to accept a good many things with
calmness since papa made that tiresome
speculation in South America. Before that we had a
nice apartment in Paris and as many fires as we
wished. However, in spite of the comfort,
grandmamma hated papa's "making" money. It
was not the career of a gentleman, she said, and
when the smash came and one heard no more of
papa, I have an idea she was almost relieved.
We came first over to England, and, after long
wanderings backward and forward, took this little
furnished place at the corner of Ledstone Park. It
is just a cottage—once a keeper's, I believe—and
we have only Hephzibah and a wretched servant-girl to wait on us. Hephzibah was my nurse in
America before we ever went to Paris, and she is
as ugly as a card-board face on Guy Fawkes day,
and as good as gold.
Grandmamma has had a worrying life. She was
brought up at the court of Charles X.—can one
believe it, all those years ago!—her family up to
that having lived in Ireland since the great
Revolution. Indeed, her mother was Irish, and I
think grandmamma still speaks French with an
accent. (I hope she will never know I said that.)
Her name was Mademoiselle de Calincourt, the
daughter of the Marquis de Calincourt, whose
family had owned Calincourt since the time of
Charlemagne or something before that. So it was
annoying for them to have had their heads
chopped off and to be obliged to live in Dublin on
nothing a year. The grandmother of grandmamma,
Ambrosine Eustasie de Calincourt, after whom I
am called, was a famous character. She was so
good-looking that Robespierre offered to let her
retain her head if she would give him a kiss, but
she preferred to drive to the guillotine in the cart
with her friends, only she took a rose to keep off
the smell of the common people, and, they say,
ran up the steps smiling. Grandmamma has her
miniature, and it is, she says, exactly like me.
I have heard that grandmamma's marriage with
grandpapa—an Englishman—was considered at
the time to be a very suitable affair. He had also
ancestors since before Edward the Confessor.
However, unfortunately, a few years after theirmarriage (grandmamma was really un peu passée
when that took place) grandpapa made a bêtise—
something political or diplomatic, but I have never
heard exactly what; anyway, it obliged them to
leave hurriedly and go to America. Grandmamma
never speaks of her life there or of grandpapa, so I
suppose he died, because when I first remember
things we were crossing to France in a big ship—
just papa, grandmamma, and I. My mother died
when I was born. She was an American of one of
the first original families in Virginia; that is all I know
of her. We have never had a great many friends—
even when we lived in Paris—because, you see, as
a rule people don't live so long as grandmamma,
and the other maids of honor of the court of
Charles X. were all buried years ago.
Grandmamma was eighty-eight last July! No one
would think it to look at her. She is not deaf or blind
or any of those annoying things, and she sits bolt-
upright in her chair, and her face is not very
wrinkled—more like fine, old, white kid. Her hair is
arranged with such a chic; it is white, but she
always has it a little powdered as well, and she
wears such becoming caps, rather like the pictures
of Madame du Deffand. They are always of real
lace—I know, for I have to mend them. Some of
her dresses are a trifle shabby, but they look
splendid when she puts them on, and her eyes are
the eyes of a hawk, the proudest eyes I have ever
seen. Her third and little fingers are bent with
rheumatism, but she still polishes her nails and
covers the rest of her hands with mittens. You
can't exactly love grandmamma, but you feel you
respect her dreadfully, and it is a great honor whenshe is pleased.
I was twelve when we left Paris, and I am nineteen
now. We have lived on and off in England ever
since, part of the time in London—that was dull! All
those streets and faces, and no one to speak to,
and the mud and the fogs!
During those years we have only twice had
glimpses of papa—the shortest visits, with long
talks alone with grandmamma and generally
leaving by the early train.
He seems to me to be rather American, papa, and
very coarse to be the son of grandmamma; but I
must say I have always had a sneaking affection
for him. He never takes much notice of me—a pat
on the head when I was a child, and since an
awkward kiss, as if he was afraid of breaking a bit
of china. I feel somehow that he does not share all
of grandmamma's views; he seems, in fact, like a
person belonging to quite another world than ours.
If it was not that he has the same nose and chin as
grandmamma, one would say she had bought him
somewhere, and that he could not be her own son.
Hephzibah says he is good-natured, so perhaps
that is why he made a bêtise in South America.
One ought never to be called good-natured,
grandmamma says—as well write one's self down
a noodle at once. While we were in Paris we hardly
ever saw papa either; he was always out West in
America, or at Rio, or other odd places. All we
knew of him was, there was plenty of money tograndmamma's account in the bank.
Grandmamma has given me most of my education
herself since we came to England, and she has
been especially particular about deportment. I have
never been allowed to lean back in my chair or loll
on a sofa, and she has taught me how to go in and
out of a room and how to enter a carriage. We had
not a carriage, so we had to arrange with
footstools for the steps and a chair on top of a box
for the seat. That used to make me laugh!—but I
had to do it—into myself. As for walking, I can
carry any sized bundle on my head, and
grandmamma says she has nothing further to
teach me in that respect, and that I have mastered
the fact that a gentlewoman should give the
impression that the ground is hardly good enough
to tread on. She has also made me go through all
kinds of exercises to insure suppleness, and to
move from the hips. And the day she told me she
was pleased I shall never forget.
There are three things, she says, a woman ought
to look—straight as a dart, supple as a snake, and
proud as a tiger-lily.
Besides deportment I seem to have learned a lot of
stuff that I am sure no English girls have to bother
about, I probably am unacquainted with half the
useful, interesting things they know.
We brought with us a beautifully bound set of
French classics, and we read Voltaire one day, and
La Bruyère the next, and Pascal, and Fontenelle,