Lorna Doone (Penguin Classics)
R. D. Blackmore
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First published in 1869, Lorna Doone is the story of John Ridd, a farmer who finds love amid the religious and social turmoil of seventeenth-century England. He is just a boy when his father is slain by the Doones, a lawless clan inhabiting wild Exmoor on the border of Somerset and Devon. Seized by curiosity and a sense of adventure, he makes his way to the valley of the Doones, where he is discovered by the beautiful Lorna. In time their childish fantasies blossom into mature love—a bond that will inspire John to rescue his beloved from the ravages of a stormy winter, rekindling a conflict with his archrival, Carver Doone, that climaxes in heartrending violence. Beloved for its portrait of star-crossed lovers and its surpassing descriptions of the English countryside, Lorna Doone is R. D. Blackmore’s enduring masterpiece.
Therefore to the river Thames, with all speed, I hurried; and keeping all my best clothes on (indued for sake of Lorna), into the quiet stream I leaped, and swam as far as London Bridge, and ate noble dinner afterwards. CHAPTER XV. Although a man may be as simple as the flowers of the field; knowing when, but scarcely why, he closes to the bitter wind; and feeling why, but scarcely when, he opens to the genial sun; yet without his questing much into the capsule of himself—to do which is a
up, and look at him. “I have seen thee before, young man,” he said; “thy form is not one to be forgotten. Where was it? Thou art most likely to know.” “May it please Your Most Gracious Majesty the King,” I answered, finding my voice in a manner which surprised myself: “it was in the Royal Chapel.” Now I meant no harm whatever by this. I ought to have said the “Ante-chapel,” but I could not remember the word, and feared to keep the King looking at me. “I am well-pleased,” said His Majesty,
making suit to gain severance of the cumbersome joint-tenancy by any fair apportionment, when suddenly this blow fell on them by wiles and woman’s meddling; and instead of dividing the land, they were divided from it. The nobleman was still well-to-do, though crippled in his expenditure; but as for the cousin, he was left a beggar, with many to beg from him. He thought that the other had wronged him, and that all the trouble of law befell through his unjust petition. Many friends advised him to
across. And to see our motives moving in the little things that know not what their aim or object is, must almost, or ought at least, to lead us home, and soften us. For either end of life is home: both source and issue being God. Nevertheless, I must confess that the children were a plague sometimes. They never could have enough of me—being a hundred to one, you might say—but I had more than enough of them; and yet was not contented. For they had so many ways of talking, and of tugging at my
lovingly, and have as good as gotten him, lo! in the go-by of the river he is gone as a shadow goes, and only a little cloud of mud curls away from the points of the fork. A long way down that limpid water, chill and bright as an iceberg, went my little self that day on man’s choice errand—destruction. All the young fish seemed to know that I was one who had taken out God’s certificate, and meant to have the value of it; every one of them was aware that we desolate more than replenish the earth.