cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well
jones_casey

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the house, half-buried in the snow, looked the very abode of peace, and i ran through all the rooms, eager to take possession of them again, and feeling as though i had been away for ever. when i got to the library i came to a standstill,--ah, the dear room, what happy times i have spent in it rummaging amongst the books, making plans for my garden, building castles in the air, writing, dreaming, doing nothing! there was a big peat fire blazing half up the chimney, and the old housekeeper had put pots of flowers about, and on the writing table was a great bunch of violets scenting the room. "oh, how good it is to be home again!" i sighed in my satisfaction. the babies clung about my knees, looking up at me with eyes full of love. outside the dazzling snow and sunshine, inside the bright room and happy faces--i thought of those yellow fogs and shivered.

the library is not used by the man of wrath ; it is neutral ground where we meet in the evenings for an hour before he disappears into his own rooms--a series of very smoky dens in the southeast corner of the house. it looks, i am afraid, rather too gay for an ideal library; and its colouring, white and yellow, is so cheerful as to be almost frivolous. there are white bookcases all round the walls, and there is a great fireplace, and four windows, facing full south, opening on to my most cherished bit of garden, the bit round the sun-dial; so that with so much colour and such a big fire and such floods of sunshine it has anything but a sober air, in spite of the venerable volumes filling the shelves. indeed, i should never be surprised if they skipped down from their places, and, picking up their leaves, began to dance.

with this room to live in, i can look forward with perfect equanimity to being snowed up for any time providence thinks proper; and to go into the garden in its snowed-up state is like going into a bath of purity. the first breath on opening the door is so ineffably pure that it makes me gasp, and i feel a black and sinful object in the midst of all the spotlessness. yesterday i sat out of doors near the sun-dial the whole afternoon, with the thermometer so many degrees below freezing that it will be weeks finding its way up again; but there was no wind, and beautiful sunshine, and i was well wrapped up in furs. i even had tea brought out there, to the astonishment of the menials, and sat till long after the sun had set, enjoying the frosty air. i had to drink the tea very quickly, for it showed a strong inclination to begin to freeze. after the sun had gone down the rooks came home to their nests in the garden with a great fuss and fluttering, and many hesitations and squabbles before they settled on their respective trees. they flew over my head in hundreds with a mighty swish of wings, and when they had arranged themselves comfortably, an intense hush fell upon the garden, and the house began to look like a christmas card, with its white roof against the clear, pale green of the western sky, and lamplight shining in the windows.
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