Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lady Audley's Secret

byMary Elizabeth Braddon

Kobo ebook | June 20, 2013

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It lay down in a hollow, rich with fine old timber and luxuriant
pastures; and you came upon it through an avenue of limes, bordered on
either side by meadows, over the high hedges of which the cattle looked
inquisitively at you as you passed, wondering, perhaps, what you wanted;
for there was no thorough-fare, and unless you were going to the Court
you had no business there at all.

At the end of this avenue there was an old arch and a clock tower, with
a stupid, bewildering clock, which had only one hand--and which jumped
straight from one hour to the next--and was therefore always in
extremes. Through this arch you walked straight into the gardens of
Audley Court.

A smooth lawn lay before you, dotted with groups of rhododendrons, which
grew in more perfection here than anywhere else in the county. To the
right there were the kitchen gardens, the fish-pond, and an orchard
bordered by a dry moat, and a broken ruin of a wall, in some places
thicker than it was high, and everywhere overgrown with trailing ivy,
yellow stonecrop, and dark moss. To the left there was a broad graveled
walk, down which, years ago, when the place had been a convent, the
quiet nuns had walked hand in hand; a wall bordered with espaliers, and
shadowed on one side by goodly oaks, which shut out the flat landscape,
and circled in the house and gardens with a darkening shelter.

The house faced the arch, and occupied three sides of a quadrangle. It
was very old, and very irregular and rambling. The windows were uneven;
some small, some large, some with heavy stone mullions and rich stained
glass; others with frail lattices that rattled in every breeze; others
so modern that they might have been added only yesterday. Great piles of
chimneys rose up here and there behind the pointed gables, and seemed as
if they were so broken down by age and long service that they must have
fallen but for the straggling ivy which, crawling up the walls and
trailing even over the roof, wound itself about them and supported them.
The principal door was squeezed into a corner of a turret at one angle
of the building, as if it were in hiding from dangerous visitors, and
wished to keep itself a secret--a noble door for all that--old oak, and
studded with great square-headed iron nails, and so thick that the sharp
iron knocker struck upon it with a muffled sound, and the visitor rung a
clanging bell that dangled in a corner among the ivy, lest the noise of
the knocking should never penetrate the stronghold.

Title:Lady Audley's SecretFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:June 20, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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