“ዳያን” (Yewubet Wetmed)

July 14, 2014 at 12:07 am 6 comments

Finally managed to locate the original work for “የዉበት ወጥመድ”, which went by both “Married for her Beauty” and “A Bitter Atonement” online. This is a book that shares similar themes (young and naive beautiful maidens, older husbands they signed-up with out of poverty or the need to escape their present situation, tough elder sister-in-laws, marital un-bliss, betrayal and the abandonment of children) with another – albeit superior – British work of fiction – also written by a woman. Both had had us, children and adults alike, glued to our radios (in anticipation of the weekly “KeMetsahift Alem”) for months. And still makes us pause when we come across the names “Diane”, “Bruno” and “Hester” (Sabela, Archibald or Carlyle and Cornelia). Bertha M. Clay was the writer. It was published by Millner and Company, Limited on 1892.

Sorry about the quality of the copy.

Enjoy.

 CHAPTER I.
DIANE AND HER GUARDIAN.

MISS BALFOUR! Miss Diane! your cousin is here! Miss Diane! There came no answer to the quick call, and a tall, elderly woman, with a kindly face, parted the tall lilac trees and looked into the garden. The sun shone on the June roses; but the young face for which she was searching did not turn smiling to her from among the flowers.

‘Miss Diane !’ cried Mrs. Hopeton’s voice.

There was no answer.

‘Now Heaven bless that dear child!’ said the woman. ‘It would try the temper of an angel, if angels have any temper. Where shall find I her? She may have gone wandering all through the woods. There is nothing for it but patience.’

The sun was warm; its rays beat fiercely on her head. Taking off her apron she started for the woods. Through the garden and orchard, through the clover meadows; then came a green lane, with an old-fashioned stile, over which she climbed; then she stood in the fragrant shade of Rositer Wood.

‘Miss Diane!’ she called again.

This time another voice replied–a sweet voice, like the chime of a silver bell:

‘I am here, Mrs. Hopeton.’

‘Where is here?’ asked the woman.

‘Down in a nest of bluebells,’ laughed the voice. ‘Two steps farther and you will be on a level with the top of my head.’

Mrs. Hopeton went the required two steps.

There was a pretty dell where the bluebells and hyacinths grew in rich profusion.

As Mrs. Hopeton looked down, the smile on her face deepened; it was a picture that would have gladdened my heart. A lovely girl sat among the bluebells: she seemed so much at home she might have been a flower herself. The face she raised was fair as a lily leaf, with a bloom like the hue of a rose.

‘Do you want me, Mrs. Hopeton ?’ she said. ‘I have been dreaming beautiful dreams. I shall be so sorry to leave the bluebells; they will not last much longer.’

‘Oh! Miss Diane,’ cried the woman, ‘if you would but think a little less of such nonsense, and more of what lies before you.’

‘What does lie before me ?’ asked the girl.

‘Well, miss, at present your guardian, or whatever else you call him, is waiting to see you.’ The next moment the girl had sprung from her seat and stood with a deep flush on her face.

‘He is come, Mrs. Hopeton? I am so glad; what is he like?’

‘Heaven help her!’ thought the woman. Diane continued:

‘Tell me what he is like; I have been wondering about him. He is not old, I know. I imagine him tall and straight, with dark hair, and lips like my father’s. Am I right? Tell me; is he like this?

‘ No, Miss Diane, he is not like that; you must be thinking of some hero in a book. Mr. Severne looks stern, as though he had his own way in everything, and allowed no nonsense,’ said Mrs. Hopeton.

‘Ah! he has a firm face,’ said Diane, ‘ my fathers face was firm.’

‘Your father was very different. I never saw any one like him.’ ‘We must go, Miss Diane, your cousin is waiting.’

‘Do not call him my cousin,’ said the girl; ‘he was my father’s second cousin; he is not related to me, he is my guardian.’

‘Cousin or guardian, he is waiting, and he does not look like one to bear waiting patiently, Miss Diane.’

The girl turned back. She kissed her hand to the flowers with the simple grace of a child.

‘Good-bye, pretty bluebells,’ she said; ‘perhaps you and I will never be so happy together again.’

She walked toward the house, talking as she went.

‘What did he say, Mrs. Hopeton ? Did he seem sorry about my father? Did he wish to see me? Did he mention my going away with him?

‘One question at a time, Miss Diane. I cannot describe him.’

‘You do not like him; I can tell by the tone of your voice,’ said the girl.

And the woman blushed as though she was guilty of some crime.

‘You are always fancying things, Miss Diane, that do not exist. I can’t even tell myself whether I like him or not.’

‘You have as many tones in your voice as there are in the organ at church,’ said Diane. ‘I can tell by the sound when you are speaking of any one, whether you care for them or not. You did not like my father; you do not like my guardian.’

‘ Well, Miss Diane, it is useless to contradict you.’ Then, as they entered the house, she gathered the great mass of golden hair in her hands.

‘Let me fasten this up before you go in.’

‘No,’ said Diane; ‘it never has been fastened up, and I will not begin with it now.’

‘Your guardian is in the best parlor,’ said Mrs. Hopeton.

The best parlor at the Upland Farm was a place to be treated with respect, being the only dull room in the house reserved for state occasions. As Diane entered, with her quick perception, her sense of the fitness of things, she decided that the room and its occupant were well suited to each other. She went forward with outstretched hands, her face crimson with blushes, her lips sweet with smiles.

‘I am so glad to see you, Mr. Severne,’ she said, simply. ‘My father told me you were the only friend I had.’

The person she addressed looked down awkwardly at her. He looked at the little hands that lay in his great brown ones.

‘I–I did not know how old you were,’ he said, confusedly; ‘from your father’s letter I thought you were a child.’ Then he seemed to remember that this was not a cordial greeting, and grew more confused than ever. Diane raised her eyes to his face.

‘I am a child; Mrs. Hopeton says so, and a tiresome one, too. Have you traveled far? she continued.

‘From my own house, Larchdale,’ he replied, ‘and that is in Devonshire.

‘You would like something to eat and drink,’ she said, smilingly. He seemed to feel a little more at ease then.

‘ It would be acceptable,’ he said, with a frozen smile. ‘I have not taken any food since I left home.’ Diane hastened in search of refreshment.

A girl,’ he said to himself, ‘with a face like a flower, and hair liken gold. Great Heaven! what will Hester say–what am I to do ?’

Then she returned, and in a few minutes she had arranged a tempting tea-table. Dishes of ripe strawberries, raspberries lying in leaves, yellow cream, fresh butter, and white crisp bread. The sunshine lingered in her eyes and on her hair; he watched her as he bad never done any woman before. Then she poured out a cup of tea–he saw crimson roses, surrounded by beautiful grasses, arranged with the utmost skill.

‘You must be like a sunbeam in the house,’ he said, suddenly. ‘The room seemed to brighten when you came in.’

‘I am a very tiresome sunbeam,’ she said. ‘Mrs. Hopeton thinks so Mr. Severne, what are you going to do with me?’

He looked up almost in alarm.

‘What am I going to do with you? he repeated. ‘How–what do you mean?

‘Am I to go away with you,’ she said, ‘or am I to remain here?’ He looked more confused than ever.

‘I hardly know,’ he replied. ‘It will take some time to arrange these matters. I thought you were a child, quite a child.’

‘ Does it make so much difference that I am not ?’ she asked.

‘Yes, it certainly does. Your father, in his letter, spoke of you always as the child, hoped I should take care of the child-be kind to the child. I fancied you were about seven or eight.’

‘I am seventeen,’ she replied, with great dignity.

‘Yes–well one cannot call you a child at that age.’

‘If being ignorant and inexperienced, if wanting a home and some one to love makes a child, then I am one,’ she said.

‘Heaven bless me!’ cried the man, ‘you talk very freely.’

I must talk freely to you. You are my only living friend; if you had found me a child of seven instead of a girl of seventeen, what should you have done with me?’

‘I should have taken you to Larchdale at once,’ he replied, ‘where you could have lived with my sister and me.’

‘Why not do that now?’ she asked.

‘I must think about it; my sister, Hester Severne, has been mistress of Larchdale for many years now.’

‘What has that to do with it?’ interrupted Diane.  ‘Why, she would like to have the training of a child, but she does not care about young girls; I think not; we never have young servants.’

‘Is every one old at your house?’ asked the girl, gravely.

‘Yes, what you would call old I my sister is grave and serious, she has always lived alone with me. We will not decide upon anything to-day. I am tired with my journey, I should like to look round the farm; will you come with me?’

‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘I think I know every leaf, every flower and shrub. I love Uplands, it has been my home for months.’

‘ If you are going out, Miss Diane, do not forget your hat,’ said Mrs. Hopeton. He turned eagerly to her.

‘What is your name?’ he asked.

‘Diane,’ she replied, gently. Then to himself he said:

‘What will Hester think of such a name, it is heathenish.’ His wonder increased when be saw something made up of a black feather and black flowers. ‘That is her hat,’ he said to himself; what will Hester think of such a head-dress as that?’ And for a few minutes he looked so grave that Diane, walking in silence by his side, wondered if he would ever volunteer to speak again.
‘ If you are going out, Miss Diane, do not forget your hat,’ said Mrs. Hopeton. He turned eagerly to her.

‘What is your name?’ he asked.

‘Diane,’ she replied, gently. Then to himself he said:

‘What will Hester think of such a name, it is heathenish.’ His wonder increased when be saw something made up of a black feather and black flowers. ‘That is her hat,’ he said to himself; what will Hester think of such a head-dress as that?’ And for a few minutes he looked so grave that Diane, walking in silence by his side, wondered if he would ever volunteer to speak again.

To read more, go here.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DaNegus  |  July 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Here here :-).

  • 2. ethalem  |  July 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    abesheet I need to tie something to something for weight. 🙂

  • 3. Wello dessie  |  July 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Ay abesheet. Min largshe?

  • 4. Chuchu  |  July 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I remember this book to be very preachy when it comes to the subject of “fiche” and “mekoblel”. After seeing the original title now, I understood why. Thank you, abesheetye. This brought so so many tizetas.

  • 5. Tibebe  |  August 17, 2014 at 4:55 am

    abesheet, behulachinim sim amesegnalehu. Tadia beneka ejjsh “yewedia nesh”nim enku beyin.

  • 6. erikete  |  August 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    hiwotena mengede eyarefu new yemibalew? kese bekese 🙂

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