Quotes by "Lloyd Alexander"
Torrens kicked at the door until it was finally opened. The farm couple and three youngsters had been eating breakfast in the common room. The yard dog would have bounded in had not Torrens kicked the door shut. 'I want a bed. Quilts. A hot drink. I am a doctor. This woman is my patient.' The farm couple was terrified. The look on the face of Torrens cut short any questions. They did as he ordered. One of the children ran to fetch his medical kit from the cart. The woman motioned for Torrens to set Caroline on a straw pallet. The farmer kept his distance, but his wife, shyly, fearffully, ventured closer. She glanced at Torrens, as if requesting his permission to help. Between them, they made Caroline as comfortable as they could. Torrens knelt by the pallet. Caroline reached for his hand. 'Leave while you can. Do not burden yourself with me.' 'A light burden.' 'I wish you to find Augusta.' 'You have my promise.' 'Take this.' Caroline had slipped off a gold ring set with diamonds. 'It was a wedding gift from the king. It has not left my finger since then. I give it to you now - ' Torrens protested, but Caroline went on - 'not as a keepsake. You and I have better keepsakes in our hearts. I wish you to sell it. You will need money, perhaps even more than this will bring. But you must stary alive and find my child. Help her as you have always helped me.' 'We shall talk of this later, when you are better. We shall find her together.' 'You have never lied to me.' Caroline's smile was suddenly flirtacious. 'Sir, if you begin now, I shall take you to task for it.' Her face seemed to grow youthful and earnest for an instant. Torrens realized she held life only by strength of will. 'I am thinking of the Juliana gardens,' Caroline said. 'How lovely they were. The orangerie. And you, my loving friend. Tell me, could we have been happy?' 'Yes.' Torrens raised her hand to his lips. 'Yes. I am certain of it.' Caroline did not speak again. Torrens stayed at her side. She died later that morning. Torrens buried her in the shelter of a hedgerow at the far edge of the field. The farmer offered to help, but Torrens refused and dug the grave himself. Later, in the farmhouse, he slept heavily for the first time since his escape. Mercifully, he did not dream. Next day, he gave the farmer his clothing in trade for peasant garb. He hitched up the cart and drove back to the road. He could have pressed on, lost himself beyond search in the provinces. He was free. Except for his promise. He turned the cart toward Marianstat.