Excerpt from Joan of Garioch The first dinner gong has just struck. It is half-past seven. Each day at this hour Owens has laid out my evening clothes, put a can of hot water in my dressing room, and there are fires in all the empty rooms down stairs: in the large dining room where I eat alone, in the large drawing-room where I sit alone, and in the square hall where no one ever comes to ask for me. No wonder that I am mostly up here, where I can take her portrait from its case, and place it on my writing-table; where the past confronts me; and where I have such company as few men of my day have known and loved, aye, fought with and overcome. Here in this room, where I let no one dist me, there are, indeed, splendid and puissant ghosts. Below, where I eat, or sit for an hour after eating, there is nothing. My servants are there, an old dog, and furniture that I took with the house. When I go to Lon don, this room, they tell me, is cleaned and put in order. They can do as they please about that; for when I walk, or when I go from here, her portrait is always with me, in its separate pocket, next my heart. It sounds foolish, perhaps; but can I help it, knowing what I have known, waiting as I am waiting I have nothing else; only the sealed envelope in which it came to me, written in whose hand? Not hers. Now I must change my clothes and prepare for dinner. It is a solitary, silent meal. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.