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a man whom nobody for
had women scorned fate when it was taken seriously. Mr Logan had but themselves that were threatened suddenly taken up his cause, and by it. pressed it hotly and injudiciously, When she was gone, Mrs Ogilvy filling Susie with consternation and continued for a while to walk indignant distress. The minister quietly up and down the little
. had naturally employed the most platform before the door of her unpalatable arguments. He had peaceful house. She had almost bidden her to remember that her given up her evenings out of doors time was running short, that she since Robert's return, but to-night had probably outstayed her mar- her heart was soothed, her fears ket, that a wooer was not to be
Susie could do nothfound by every dykeside, and that ing to clear up the situation. Yet at her age it was no longer possible to have unbosomed herself to Susie to pick and choose, but to take had done her good. The burden what you could get. Exasperated which was so heavy on herself, by all this, Susie had rushed to her which was Robbie in his own perfriend to ask what was the inter- son, the most intimate of all, did pretation of it. But the appear- not affect Susie. She was willing ance of Robert had driven every to take him back as at the same other thought out of her mind, and point where he had dropped from now again, more than ever, his her ken. There was no criticism story, the danger he was in, the in her eyes or her mind,—nothing reason why his return was not pub- like that dreadful criticism, that lished abroad and rejoiced in. To anguish of consciousness which perSusie's simple and straightforward ceived all his shortcomings, all the mind this was the only point in the loss that had happened to him in whole matter that was to be de- his dismal way through the world, plored. She found no fault with which was in his mother's mind. Robbie's appearance, with his mid- That Susie did not perceive these day sleep, with the failure of his things was a precious balm to Mrs career—even with the ill company Ogilvy's wounds. It was her exand dreadful associations of which acting imagination that was
in Mrs Ogilvy's faltering story had fault, perhaps nothing else or little told her. She was ready to wipe else. If Susie were pleased, why all that record out with one tear of should she, who ought to be less tenderness and pity. He had been clear-sighted than Susie, be so far led away; he had back. from pleased ? Nothing could have That he had come back was enough so comforted her as did this. She to atone for all the rest. But there was calmed to the bottom of her should be no secret, no concealing heart. Robbie would be very late of him, no silence as to this great to-night, she knew; but what harm event. She accepted the bond, but was there in that, if it was an it was heavy on her soul, and went amusement to him, poor laddie ? home, her mind full of Robert, He had no variety now in his only vexed and discouraged that life, he that had been accustomed she must not speak of Robert, for- to so much. She heard Andrew getting every other trouble and all
come clanking round from the the changes that seemed to threaten back - garden with his pails and herself. Me! who is caring about his watering - pots. She had not me? Susie said to herself proudly, assisted at the watering of the as Mrs Ogilvy said it. These flowers, not since the day of Rob
as a man.
bie's return, but she did so this She had been sitting here for calm evening in the causeless relief some time, reading a little of her of her spirit. “But I would not be book, knitting a great deal of her so particular,” she said, “Andrew; stocking, which did not interfere for it will rain before the morning, with her reading, thinking a great or else I am mistaken." “It's very deal, sometimes dropping the kniteasy, mem, to be mistaken in the ting into her lap to think the more, weather," said Andrew ; “I've to pray a little—one running into thought that for a week past." the other almost unconsciously“That is true; it has been a by- when she suddenly heard behind ordinary dry season,” his mistress her a movement in the hedge. It said. Just the ruin of the coun- was a high holly hedge, as has been try,” said the man. “Oh,” cried already said, very well trimmed, she,
you are never content !” and impenetrable, almost as high But she was content that night,
When a man walked or as nearly content as it was pos- up the slope from the road, only sible to be with such a profound dis- his hat, or if he were a tall man,
his turbance and trouble in her being head, could be seen over it. The She had her chair brought out, and hedge ran round on the right hand her cushion and footstool, her stock- side to the wall of the house, shuting and her book, as in the old ting out the garden, which lay on days, which had been so short a the other slope, as on the left it entime before and yet seemed so far circled the little platform, with its off.
It was not so fine a night as grass-plot and flower-borders and it had usually been, she thought modest carriage-drive in front of then. The light had not that opal the Hewan. It was in the garden tint, that silvery pearl-like radiance. behind that green wall that the There was a shadow as of a cloud sound was, which a month ago in it, and the sky, though showing would not have disturbed her, no broken lines of vapour, was grey which was probably only Janet and a little heavy, charged with going to the well or Andrew putthe rain which seemed gathering ting his watering.cans away. Mrs after long drought over the longing Ogilvy, however, more easily starcountry. Esk, running low, wanted tled now, looked round quickly, the rain, and so did the thirsty but saw nothing. The light was trees, too great to be watered like stealing away, the rain was near; the flowers, which had begun to it was that rather than the evening have a dusty look. But in the which made the atmosphere so dim. meantime the evening was warm, The noise had made her heart beat very warm and very still, waiting a little, though she felt sure it was for the opening up of the fountains nothing; it made her think of going in the skies. Mrs Ogilvy sat there in, though she could still with a slight musing, almost as she had mused of effort see to read. It was foolish old: only instead of the wistful to be disturbed by such a trifle. longing and desire in her heart then, She had never been frightened beshe had now an ever-present ache, fore: a step, a sound at the gate, the sense of a deep wound, the had been used, before Robert came only partially stilled and always back, to awaken her to life and exquivering tremor of a great fear. pectation, to a constantly disapConsidering that these things were, pointed but never extinguished however, and could not be put hope. That, however, was all over away, she was very calm.
now: but at this noise and rustle
among the bushes, which was not a
there was. She sat on, therefore, footstep or like any one coming, and read, with less and less conher heart stirred in her, like a bird sciousness of anything but the in the dark, with terror. She was words that were before her eyes. frightened for any noise. This was When suddenly there came alone of the great differences that most close by her side, immediately had arisen in herself.
behind her, the sound as of some She turned, however, again, with one suddenly alighting with feet some resolution, to her former oc- close together, with wonderfully cupations. It was not light enough little noise, yet a slight sound of to see the page with the book lying the gravel disturbed : and turning open on her knee. She took it in suddenly round, she saw a tall figure her hand, and read a little. It was against the waning light, which had one of those books which, for my evidently vaulted over the hedge, own part, I do not relish, of which in which there was a slight thrill you are supposed to be able to read of movement from the shock. He a little bit at a time. She addressed was looking at his finger, which herself to it with more attention seemed, from the action, to have than usual, in order to dissipate been pricked with the holly. Her her own foolish thirl of excite- heart gave a great leap, and then ment and the disturbance within became quiet again.
There was her. She read the words carefully, something unfamiliar, somehow, in but I fear that, as is usual in such the attitude and air; but yet no cases, the meaning did not enter doubt it was her son—who else very clearly into her mind. Her could it be }— who had made a attention was busy, behind her short cut by the garden, as he had back as it were, listening, listening done many a time in his boyhood. for a renewal of the sound. But Nobody but he could have known there was
Then through of this short cut. All this ran her reading she began to think that, through her mind, the terror and as soon as she had quite mastered the reassurance in one breath, as herself, she would go in at her she started up hastily from her leisure, and quite quietly, crying chair, crying, "Robbie ! my dear, upon Janet to bring in her chair what a fright you have given and her footstool; and then would What made you come that call Andrew to shut the windows way?" and bar the door, as Robbie wished. He came towards her slowly, exPerhaps a man understood the dan- amining his finger, on which she gers better, and it was well in any saw a drop of blood ; then envelopcase to do what he wished. She ing it leisurely in the handkerchief would have liked to rise from her which he took from his pocket, seat at once, and go in hurriedly “I've got a devil of a prick from and do this, but would not allow that dashed holly,” he said. herself, partly because she felt it And then she saw that he was would be foolish, as there could be not her son. Taller, straighter, of no danger, and partly because she a colourless fairness, a strange voice, would not allow herself to be sup- a strange aspect. Not Robbie, posed to be afraid, supposing that not Robbie! whoever he was.
A PLAY IN ONE ACT.
A PHILOSOPHER's Son.
A POET's GRANDDAUGHTER.
The scene is laid in a desert island, supposed to be out of the beaten track: a foreground of coral strand; a background of feathery palm ; a sound of surf.
SCENE I. - Poet's GRANDDAUGHTER discovered sitting damp and di
shevelled, drawing off her gants de Suède, to dry them in the sun.
Poet's Granddaughter. Well, I what a nuisance they are ! A was certain that mounting wave man used to be pitied long ago if would roll me shoreward soon, he hadn't a grandfather. I think and here I am. But I must quote he's to be envied. I have been no more; no more poetry or even heavily handicapped by mine all poetastery for me. Let me forget these years.
There was no living that there is such a thing. What him down. Metaphorically speakI have gone through all these ing, he has clung round my neck years (for I don't mind admitting like the Old Man of the Sea. I on a desert island, where there's could stand it no longer, so I have
to hear, that I'm no put myself out of reach of civilichicken), what I have suffered, sation, have kissed my hand to from the fact of having a poet sweetness and light, made my for my grandfather! Grand old curtsey to culture, to "Shakeman, still alive, still writing speare and the musical glasses,” poetry. How tired I used to get and here I am, ready to descend of the Society jargon, “Oh, let me to any level of primeval unintelintroduce you to Miss Blank, lectuality. I pine to dig for granddaughter of the poet Blank, “pignuts,” and to tear the native
“Ah! really, how oyster from its bed, and forget my interesting! I daresay you write ancestors. poetry yourself now, don't you ?” I was expected to lisp in numbers
Enter NOVELIST'S NIECE, young, in the nursery. But I didn't;
mart, chic, fin-de-siècle. and let me say once for all that I detest poetry, always did—can't Novelist's Niece. Dear me, I had make head or tail of it, never no idea the island was inhabited. could. I am Al at tennis, and I got the P. & O. steamer to drop I can ride across country, and I me out with
box in the dingy, a splendid swimmer, or I and to land me on this island, which shouldn't be here; but poetry, isn't marked in the chart. I left bah! and intellectual forebears! my trunk on the other side of the
island, and have walked across ditch-water! You never heard of through a lovely ravine. Are you my aunt Madame Bonmot, did one of the aborigines ?
P. G. Yes, I am - at least, P. G. Never; don't be the least that is, I intend to be. May alarmed. Did you ever hear of I ask what has led you to come the poet Blank I'm his grand
daughter, and I am fleeing from N. N. The wear and tear of society solely on account of his unsocial life—the demands made on dying name and fame, and from the
- the treadmill of Fashion horrible intellectual atmosphere of the rush, the roar, and the rattle; his home. People won't forget but chiefly because I have an aunt that I am his granddaughter, and
a witty aunt, Madame Bonmot. he's only a poet. Now if he were I daresay you have heard of her; a prize-fighter there might be someevery one has.
She has written thing to be proud of. Muscle I an amusing Society novel, and her admire; brute force I adore. But conversation bristles with epigrams. intellect, that miserable abnormal Now, I have no sense of humour- development of simple animal innone—I never said a witty thing stinct !—what a waste the use of in my life; but because Madame intelligence has been, and is ! And Bonmot happens to be my aunt, I how ineffably sad it is to reflect am credited with brilliancy, and that the glorious savage, who once find myself looked upon as a sort ran wild, is now degraded through of Court jester or chartered buffoon. centuries of mismanagement into If I utter a feeble platitude about the literary man to be met with the weather, I hear voices say- in any London drawing-room! It ing, “How like Madame Bonmot!” is simply preposterous ! When I enter a room, I am con
N. N. I never heard of your scious of a suppressed titter run- grandfather, so we are quits. It's ning through the company, ready rather odd, isn't it, that we should to break into a laugh. People both have come to this island to prepare to listen to my brilliant escape from an ancestor? I feel sallies, my ready repartees and better already. Don't you? There's witticisms, and prepare in vain. nothing so depressing as being I want to be smart, up to date, thought brilliant. Now, if my but not witty or humorous. The aunt had only been smart and near kinship of Madame Bonmot, chic, I should have been proud of however, condemns me to an in- the connection. But to be racy heritance of wit and humour; and and humorous, and clever and to escape from this I have forsworn witty, it bores me. I like to take everything, and have come to this things au grand sérieux, even to island - to toss with tangle and the hang of a skirt. You may with shells,” and to return to prim- wonder why I have come to a itive savage ways.
Savages have desert island if I'm a slave to no sense of humour, have they ? Fashion; but I have a trunk full or, at best, it's only very elemen- of things with me, and tary. They do mimic, I'm afraid- P. G. Oh, you won't want and I am so tired of imitations of them. We must divest ourselves self and friends; but savages don't of do it for fun, that's one comfort. N. N. Not of clothing ! Heigho! how jolly it is to find a P. G. Not exactly, but of modern place where you may be as dull as ideas.