The Baldwin Library
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OLIVE ROSCOE; or, The New Sister. Price 5s.
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T. NELSON AND SONS,
London, Edinburgh, and New York.
"I laid wy ccelk agajar-ett her hrand."
( iT 2 1.
4 -" ''
T. NiiH 1o0N AN ) SoNS
L n o,11I 'l 1'HU gh, NI71 York.
A Chronicle of Fair Haven
Author of" Olive Roscoe," "AMolly Melville," Temple's Trial,"
The Heiress of Wylmnington,"
T. NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinturgh, and New York
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN,
EAGLE'S CRAG, ....
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY,
NEW FACES, ....
A DAY OF DISASTER,
" SISTER," ..
AUNT JOAN, ....
A STORY ON THE SEA,
AUTUMN DAYS, ....
A HUNTING MORNING,
HILDA'S TRIAL, ....
MY FIRST BALL,
AUNT JOAN AS AN ALLY,
"A HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
THE LAST, ....
.... ... .... 30
.... .... 176
....- .... 220
... .... 238
.... ..... 320
... .... 343
.... ... .... 363
.... .... 381
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
" I LAID MY CHEEK AGAINST HER HAND," .... Frontispiece
THE HERMITAGE, .... .. .... Vignette
"'DO YOU CALL IT A GOOD FACE ? .... .... .... 44
SROY'S HAT WAS OFF IN AN INSTANT," .... .... 63
"AUNT JOAN ROSE AND GAVE ME A HEARTY KISS OF
WELCOME," .. .... .... .... 130
"I SAW HIM GIVE A GREAT START," .... .... .... 211
"' MAY I HAVE '-COLONEL CLARENCE'S VOICE SUDDENLY
STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SENTENCE," .... 292
"SISTER'S HAND WAS ON HIS ARM," ... .... .... 372
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN
OY dear, it is perfectly delightful to have you
LR back at home for good again!"
He smiled, and clasped his hands, behind his head,
looking out seawards with bright, eager eyes, and noting
the wild, strong outline of the great headland which
bounded our view on the one side, and the sweep of
wood and moorland across the mouth of the -harbour
opposite; and he too looked well pleased.
"It is a good place to live in," he said at length.
"Of course I don't want- to spend all my days here. I
must go out into the world and do something there,
some day. But since the Fates have decreed a period
of idleness for me just now-well, I can't say I shall
make a trouble of it. Fair Haven is a good place to be
in, and we will have some rare good times together-
just you and I, as we did when we were kiddies, long ago."
iO OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
I clasped my hands together as a flood of reminiscence
rushed over me. Since Roy had been so much from
home, first at school and then at .college, my life had
been rather a lonely although always a happy one. I
had no sister, and the place was a very quiet one to
live in. Even in the holidays I did not always get
Roy to myself. Sometimes he brought home a friend
with him, and when boys are together girls are voted a
bore-though Roy was always tender towards my feel-
ings-and later on, when the friends were Oxford under-
graduates, mother had preferred my remaining at home
with her when the boys went out fishing or boating.
This had: seemed to me rather hard, since Roy's Oxford
friends were so much nicer to me than his schoolfellows
had been. But mother was rather strict with me, in
her very gentle way, and I never rebelled against her
But now I was to have Roy for my very own. He
had done with Oxford. He had passed a brilliant ex-
amination. But the strain had been too much for him.
He had been ill for several weeks. It was not till
August came that we got him home, and then he came
looking very frail and thin and white, although he de-
clared himself "as fit as anything," and laughed at me
for wanting to nurse him.
Aint Joan gave me nursing enough to: last. a life-
time!" he would say laughingly. "She's a rare old
brick. Aunt Joan, It was awfully good of her to come
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN. I
t, me and take me away to her place when I could
move, and cocker me up till I could get home. I don't
quite know what I should have done without her, and
tli t.'s a fact."
I begged and prayed to be allowed to go to you
myself, Roy," I said, with something like tears in my
ey-,s : "but mother said it was quite, quite impossible-"
Of course it was, Cissy-quite impossible. Why, I
wa-, four weeks in my rooms in college. Aunt Joan put
up at The Mitre, and came backwards 'and forwards;
ind: old Hawke stayed up with me, and they took care
of tij together: then Aunt Joan carried us both off to
her house for a spell. She could live in Oxford and
do things you couldn't. It was awfully good of her.
And I was no end glad that she should take a fancy to
poor old Hawke too. He's a rattling good fellow, but
such an odd fish. But they seemed to hit it off together;
and he's there still."
"But it was horrid for us having you so ill-just
when we thought you would be coming back covered
with glory and renown! And, to think that mother
couldn't go to you, and that I mightn't! It is horrid
sometimes to be a girl, and never allowed to do any-
thing! If I had been old like Aunt Joan, I could have
come to you directly."
"Well, that disease will. cure itself in time," said Roy,
with. a laugh. I wanted you badly enough, Cis; I can
tell you that, if it is any satisfaction to you to know.
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN
I never was homesick before, since first I went to school.
But I was horribly homesick as I lay in my hot little
rooms, with my head splitting from morning to night,
till I didn't know how to bear the pain. I used just to
long-and long and long for the lap of the water against
the terrace wall here, for the feel of the breeze blowing
from Old Tom's head there, for the power to plunge into
the cool green waves, and feel them close over my burning
head. I used to think that I should be well directly if
they would let me go home. It was a great disappoint-
ment when I found I was only to go as far as Hurst
Royal at first. But here I am at last; and now we will
make up for lost time with a vengeance !"
He did not look like any very wild feats of strength
even now. He was very, very thin and white, and his
eyes looked too large for his face. But to have him
back at all, able to sit about on the terrace and chatter
to me of his doings at Oxford, or lounge in the boat
with the tiller in his hand, whilst I managed the sail,
was happiness for me. I had been so long alone, and
Roy was so great a part of my life.
How handsome he was, I thought, as I sat opposite to
him to-day. He was wonderfully like our delicate in-
valid mother in feature; and she had been a notable
beauty twenty years ago, and was very lovely still.
He had a very fine head, and a brow broad and in-
tellectual, with beautiful hazel eyes, and silky brown
hair with a crisp wave in it. His colouring was very
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN
bright when he was in health, almost like that of a girl;
though now his face bore the traces of a serious illness.
He was tall and slight, and looked more so than ever
just now. But there was always a buoyant, breezy
brightness about him which was invigorating, and which
made his presence in the house a joy and delight.
"Tell me all the news," he said, as he presently rose;
and we sauntered down the long flight of steps to the
lowest of the three terraces, against the walls of which
lapped the blue water of the harbour. Fair Haven was
built upon the mouth of a tidal river, and just behind
the promontory on our left lay the little fishing town,
hidden entirely from us by the wood-crowned ridge.
Opposite lay breezy moorlands and wooded slopes, re-
flected in the clear waters of the harbour; and away to
the right was the open sea, guarded on either side by
a magnificent headland-Old Tom and his wife, as the
fisher folk called them, though on the map they went
by more dignified names. Woods ran down to the sea
on both sides of Fair Haven. It was one of the fairest
spots in all the land, I think. I had never known a
different home, and I had scarcely ever passed more
than a few nights away from our sea-girt abode.
Our home itself was a long, low white house, with a
pillared portico in front, looking due south over the
waters of the harbour. From the house the ground
fell away so steeply that our garden was little more
than a succession of terraces, the last and lowest of
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
which was also the largest, and was bounded by a low
sea-wall, against which the water always lapped, save
at very low spring-tides, and over which the spray
sometimes dashed in winter storms, although, owing to
the shelter of wooded heights above, we never had the
sea dashing over into the garden.
This lowest terrace was my favourite place of resort.
I had had a little study built there, where I sat for
hours, with my books and the dogs for company. There
were several great trees growing, which afforded pleasant
shade in hot weather; and flowers bloomed brightly in
beds the summer through, whilst the borders beneath the
towering wall behind were always .gay with tall lilies,
brilliant phloxes, hollyhocks, dahlias, and rose-bushes of
every sort according to season. The climate was so
mild that we had flowers of one sort or another almost
all the year round; and all up the great terrace walls
fruit-trees had been trained, and we had only to stretch
out our hands to gather luscious pears, hot yellow plums,
or peaches downy and full of juice, according to the
Roy's hands were full of plums now as he sat upon
the terrace wall, looking down into the gently-lapping
"Ah! this is what I used to dream of as I lay in
those little stuffy rooms at Oxford. Tell me all the
news, Cissy. What has happened to everybody since I
went away ?"
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
I told him all I could think of, all the little items of
news respecting the fisher folk and simple village people
with whom we had grown up. It would not be in-
teresting to others, but it interested Roy. He and I
had gone about amongst them since we were quite tiny
children. Our nurse was a Fair Haven woman, and
through her we had come to have an intimate knowledge
of the place.
My collie dog came and laid his head against Roy's
knee, and wagged his feathery tail gently to and'fro in
response to the touch of a caressing hand. Chips, Roy's
fox-terrier, played an endless game upon the grass with
my little red dachshund, who combined in amusing
fashion the deep solemnity of the hound with the
exuberant spirits of puppyhood. Chips and Wuppy
(his real pedigree name was Cobus, but he had never
been called anything but puppy or Wuppy) had begun
to play- immediately upon introduction four days ago,
and they had hardly ceased since. When absolute ex-
haustion obliged them to pause, they would take refuge
beneath the shade of separate trees, and lie looking at
each other with wide-open mouths and lolling tongues.
Then after a very short space Wuppy would commence
rolling over on his back, uttering extraordinary sounds;
or Chips would stand very upright, as if on springs,
quivering in every limb; and the next minute there
would be a rush and a yap, and the game would be in
full swing again.
OUR HOME AT FAIR HA VEN.
SAs we talked together, we watched the dogs at their
play, often pausing to laugh at their antics and gambols.
Poor Monk, who was used to some of Wuppy's atten-
tions, was quite left out in the cold now. Wuppy was
one of those dogs who always delight in fresh canine
company. Monk was always there. He could play
with him whenever he liked, and he ruled the gentle
collie with a rod of iron. But Chips was a new impor-
tation-new to Wuppy, whom I had only owned for a
few months myself. Therefore he appeared to think he
must bestow exclusive attention upon him, and as Chips
was as full of play as a young monkey, the arrangement
appeared to answer very well.
"And how about our friends the Lavenders ?" asked
Roy, with a twinkle in his eye. "Is Lady Lavender as
gushing as ever? And does mother still regard them
as the sweetest people in the world ?"
"I fancy so," I answered, with a little shrug of the
shoulders; "they are always sweet to her. But I don't
think anybody could help that, she is so sweet herself.
Oh, they are just as usual. I am growing rather fond
of Hilda, though. She used to be such a prickly crea-
ture one could never get at her. But I think she's
really got more in her than any of the rest. Lady
Lavender thinks everything of Amy and nothing of
Hilda; but I've come to a different conclusion."
"And Nigel and Tom ?" queried Roy.
"Tom's not a bad sort of boy; but he's not much at
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
home. Nigel never changes the least. He's a born
prig, and I don't think anything will ever get the
priggishness out of him."
"He's a good-looking chap too, and clever," said Roy.
"And doesn't he know it too!" I retorted, with the
intolerant scorn of youth.
The Lavenders were not only our nearest neighbours,
but they were almost the only people in our own rank
of life who lived anywhere at all near.
In addition to this, mother and Lady Lavender were
both widows, and perhaps it was natural that they
should have drawn rather closely together in conse-
quence. Both had children to bring up and property to
look after; although our estate was a very small one,
as from its position the house could not well command
any extensive grounds; and we owned only a small
part of the surrounding country, the rest being almost
entirely the property of the Lavenders.
Our eldest brother, Garth, of' whom I have not yet
spoken, because he 'was with his regiment and away
from home, was about the same age as Nigel, the present
Lord Lavender, and both were several years older than
Roy. Nigel would be thirty next birthday, and Garth
was just twenty-nine. Roy was but twenty-two, and I
was just one year younger. We had always known the
Lavenders very well in one way. They had been our
friends and neighbours. I had done lessons with Hilda
and Amy, and the boys had gone shooting and boating
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
together in the holidays. 'But I don't think that either
Roy or I had ever cared very much for them. They
had too much of what Roy used to call "the flavour of
the paragon" about them to please us. And since I
had grown out of going there for lessons, and the girls
had been taken abroad and to London a good deal, I
had seen considerably less of them.
We always stayed at home-at least mother and I
did. She had been more or less of an invalid ever since
I could remember. So that when the Lavenders took
to going away for the London season, for country house
visits, and for foreign travel, which happened when
Hilda and Amy were both out of the schoolroom, the
constant intercourse between us diminished very much.
There had been years when I had hardly seen anything
of them at all, and they grew in a fashion to be almost
like strangers to me.
'Latterly, however, they had come back, and talked of
settling down at any rate for the autumn and winter.
I had begun to see a little more of them since their
last arrival, and, as I was telling Roy, I had begun to
feel more interest in the elder daughter than I had ever
"Amy is engaged," I went on. "Did I tell you in
my letters ? No ? Well, she is. She is to be married
next year to a rich man of good family. She fancies
herself a good deal about it; but it isn't interesting
when one has never seen the creature! I suppose
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN
he'll come down in the shooting season and make the
acquaintance of the neighbourhood. Amy is looked
upon as a success, and Hilda as a failure. I suppose,
perhaps, that is why I begin to like Hilda better!"
"She always had lots more in her than Amy."
"Yes; only you couldn't get at it at once. But she
begins to be more easy now. I think if I had her down
here to myself I could make her talk. She's not pretty
and pink and white like Amy, but .I call her much
more interesting. Amy is nothing but a doll. I like
Hilda's face much better; though, when she is in one of
her queer moods, she looks very dark and heavy. But
when she does brighten up she can look very handsome.
I've been quite surprised sometimes."
Roy nodded assent.
"It's often the way with those black-browed, dark-
skinned girls. They are ugly ducklings when they are
young, and then turn out the beauties of the family.
So Amy is engaged, is she ? Well, she'll like that very
much. Nigel hasn't taken to himself a wife, of course?
I should have heard that news if he had. He and Garth
seem of one mind in that. They are in no haste to
enter into the bonds of matrimony."
"I should think not; it must be much jollier to be
free. Garth loves his soldiering, and they say he makes
a very good officer. He wrote that perhaps he should be
moved to Watchet Bay for the winter. If he is, we shall
see lots of him. That would be delightful, would it not ?"
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN
Roy's eyes brightened. Both he and I were very
fond and proud of our elder brother, as we had some
cause to be. Garth's career had been a brilliant one.
He was in a rather dashing cavalry regiment, and had
been a captain for some little time. He was very
popular, with his men, he was the chosen friend of his
colonel, and everybody predicted a successful future for
him. He had a rather large private income now, and
had the reputation of being generous though wise in his
liberality. We at home had reason to feel proud of him,
although we saw very much less of him than we should
have liked. When his leave came, he was inundated
by invitations; and although he always spent some of
his time at Fair Haven, yet he could not altogether
disregard other claims.
So the idea of having him stationed within a few
miles was a very welcome one for us both.
"It would be first-rate," said Roy. "Nothing could
be better, just the winter that I shall be at home We
should have first-rate times. There would be all sorts
of fun going on if his regiment were at Watchet Bay.
Mother has never cared for you to go to the military
balls or into that set before; but if.Garth were there, it
would be quite different."
"Of course it would; mother even said that herself.
She said that it was really time I went out a little
more. She said perhaps Lady Lavender would act as
chaperon; or else she would ask Aunt Joan to come.
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
So I think if you are at home and Garth at Watchet
Bay, we shall really have some fun in the winter for a
"Oh, we'll have Aunt Joan across!" cried Roy. "I'd
much sooner see you under her care than under Lady
Lavender's. No, no, Cis; don't make a face over Aunt
Joan. You don't know her as I do now. I used to
think she was rather queer; but it's a sort of queerness
that the world would .do better for more of. She's a
regular downright brick. You'll find that out for your-
self one of these days."
"Well, if you like her, Roy, I suppose I shall," I ad-
mitted. We generally do like the same people. And
it was very good of her to go to you at Oxford. But,
all the same, I have always had a notion that she is
a sort of an ogress. We used to be horribly fright-
ened at her as children, and I have hardly seen her
-" Ah yes! When she used to be called in of old, it
was when mother had spoiled us till we had become
unmanageable, and Aunt Joan was requisitioned to get
us into order again. But that sort of thing has gone
by now. We used to laugh over it together under the
trees at Hurst Royal. By-the-bye, Cissy, Aunt Joan
has told me. that she has made me her heir. She wants
me to live after her at Hurst Royal. She said it had
been in her mind since the day she stood godmother for
me and gave me my name. I had never thought of
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
such a thing; but she has. Of course she isn't old yet,
and I should hope she would go on for years and years.
But she has made up her mind that I am to come after
her some day."
"0 Roy, that is nice of her. I shall like her now
for being fond of you. Mother always says that Hurst
Royal'is a beautiful place."
"So it is;. and you should see how she rules there!
It has taught me a thing or two, I can tell you. And
Aunt Joan is an awfully clever woman, too. You should
hear old Hawke go on about her. And the library
there-it's just a paradise, for a bookworm! When
Hawke once got inside it he couldn't tear himself away.
I believe he sat up till daylight the first night. It was
that which made Aunt Joan ask him to stay on whilst
I came home. Otherwise I meant to have brought him
back with me."
"Oh, I am glad you did not, Roy-not just at first.
I want you all to myself; and Mr. Hawke is quite old,
isn't he ? I mean a good bit older than you-a sort
"Well, he's just got a fellowship these last months,
and I'm awfully glad about it. He really deserves it,
for he's a splendid scholar; but he's always been handi-
capped by his poverty. I don't think anybody knows
the self-denial and struggle he went through during
his course. Scholarships did a lot; but he'had to sup-
plement it by all sorts of shifts. I believe he often
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
went without really sufficient 'food, because he had
hardly money to pay his way sometimes!"
"Well, I know I had my suspicions. I used to make
him come to my rooms. That was how we began to
chum. He helped me no end, and I made him break-
fast with me, and coach me. He had other pupils, too;
but there are lots of expenses living up there, and prizes
and exhibitions don't do everything. However, he's all
right now, and he'll be as happy as a king in his
quarters in college. Most likely he will be made
librarian by-and-by, and then he will have nothing
left to wish for."
That would be rather dull, don't you think ?" I said,
laughing. "Half the fun of life is in looking forward
and making plans about what we should like to do."
"So it is. By the way, if old Garth should suddenly
take it into his head to marry and settle down here, we
should have. to think about our favourite plan of estab-
lishing ourselves in the Hermitage over there, and having
our own little independent establishment together."
Roy looked across the harbour as he spoke, towards
a wooded creek not far from which plied the ferry
between the opposite banks of the tidal river, upon the
mouth of which Fair Haven was situated.
Over on the other side there were very few houses;
but there was just a tiny cluster of cottages near to the
ferry, a few scattered farmsteads sprinkled over the
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
downs, a tiny little old Norman church called Holy
Cross, with an equally tiny, -if not equally ancient,
rectory house attached; and to the colony over the
water the name of Pinetree Creek had been given,
probably from the beautiful growth of pine trees that
ran down almost to the water's edge at that place.
There was one other house belonging to that little
community, but it was hardly ever occupied. It went
by the name of The Hermitage, and it well deserved its
The creek ran inland for about a quarter of a mile, and
The Hermitage was at its farther end. No other house
stood near it. It was quite alone, buried in wood on the
land side, and with the water lapping the garden wall
upon the other. The house itself lay in a little hollow,
and was said to be hopelessly damp. The garden had
long been a tangled wilderness. In our mild climate
vegetation grew luxuriantly, and the flowering shrubs
were a sight to behold in the spring and early summer.
The garden of The Hermitage was a paradise of beauty
at some seasons of the year; but with the fall of the leaf
it became dank and dreary to a terrible extent, and no
tenant had ever been found willing to remain a second
But Roy and I love the place.. It had fascinated us
from our childhood. It seemed a sort of "no man's land,"
where we could do anything we chose, and live free
from all control or observation. Often and often had
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
we taken the boat across and spent the whole day play-
ing in the wild, unkept garden.' We knew of a way by
which the empty house might be entered, and to us it
was our castle and fortress, where we played delightful
games, and brought our secret treasures. We -always
declared that when we were grown up we would come
here and live, whilst Garth and his wife (we used al-
ways to presuppose that Garth would marry in time)
would live at Wyverne Court and take care of mother.
Wyverne Court belonged to Garth now, but mother
had the right to live there during her lifetime; and I am
sure that nobody Garth would have thought of marrying
would wish to turn her away. Mother and Aunt Joan
had been co-heiresses of the wealth of the Royals. Aunt
Joan had the family property and a handsome income,
and mother had a very large fortune, I believe. Perhaps
that was the reason why both Roy and I came into a
small income on attaining our majority. Father had
arranged it so. He made Roy and me equal; and,
though it was nothing very grand in the way of wealth,
we always declared, and with truth, that it would keep
us (with our dogs, and even a horse or two) in comfort-
able affluence in such a small and unpretentious place
as The Hermitage.
We had not spoken of this childish dream for some
years, I think-Roy having been taken up with college
life, and Garth showing no disposition to make Wyverne
Court his home. Now, when I saw him look over the
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
water towards the thick group of pines, I cried out
0 Roy-I never told you! I kept it till you
should be back again. The Hermitage is let at
"Let, is it ? No, you never told me that. Well, I
daresay it will be empty again before we want it."
"I daresay. Nobody stays. I don't suppose Miss
Lucas will either. She's evidently queer."
"Miss Lucas? An old maid, eh ? What's she like?
and how long has she been there ?"
She came about Christmas, they say; but we never
heard a word about it till quite a long time afterwards.
It's a mercy you didn't come home at Easter, or we
might have gone prowling about her garden without a
notion that anybody was there. Nobody knows her.
Nobody calls. Old Mr. Phillimore pays a duty visit,
people say, about once in two months; but everybody
else fights shy."
"Well, I suppose, because nobody knew at first. You
know what The Hermitage is like. A dozen tenants
might come and go, and if they chose to live like an-
chorites, we should be none the wiser. She draws
supplies from Stark Ho, not from here or Watchet Bay,
just as though she wanted not to be noticed or called
upon. Not a creature knew of her existence till quite
the spring; and then, as nobody knew anything about
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
her, nobody called. I think everybody is rather afraid
"Criminal in hiding, or lunatic in retirement ?" sug-
gested Roy, with a laugh.'
"Well, perhaps. Anyhow it seems queer, and she has
never been seen outside her own grounds, except on
Sunday, when she goes to Holy Cross Church, where, of
course, nobody from this side goes. I've never seen her
crossing the ferry, and I don't much think she's ever
been over to Fair Haven. It seems altogether queer;
and as Lady Lavender says to mother, 'It is impossible
for us to take notice of a person who hides away like
that., Most likely she has only too good a reason for
doing so. It would be impossible to call without know-
ing more, and there appears to be no way of obtaining
Roy laughed; for I had half-unconsciously mimicked
Lady Lavender's slow and slightly-mincing tones, and
we had always made rather a jest of Lady Lavender
from our childhood upward.
"Poor old thing it seems rather a shame though."
"What does ?"
"Why, to leave her out in the cold, and for nobody
to go near her. It can't be very lively at The Her-
mitage, with never a soul to speak to from year's end to
year's end. I never can see what it matters'about who
people are and where they come from. I go by what
they are themselves."
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN.
"Yes; but nobody knows Miss Lucas."
"Of course they don't, if they don't call. But they
could if they wanted to."
"People say she doesn't want to be called on. Mr.
Phillimore seems to have given that out. I think that
is what partly put everybody off."
"Well, it's very bad for anybody to be cut off from
the rest of their kind," said Roy stoutly. I declare one
of these days I'll take the boat across, and go and call
upon the poor old thing myself !"
0 Roy, what fun And you'll take me with you if
you do ?"
"Well, we'll see. What would the little mother say
to that ?"
"I don't know. I wish I were a boy. Boys can do
such lots of things. Girls do have such a dull time."
"Never mind; you shan't have a dull time now, I
promise you. Here am I at home for quite a spell; and
we'll have old Hawke here soon to poke fun at. And I
daresay Aunt Joan will come across one of these days;
I almost made her promise to. And if Garth's regiment
gets sent to Watchet Bay, you'll soon see how we'll
brisk up To say nothing of getting a rise out of this
poor old lady, boxed up alone at The Hermitage!"
Roy was always a delightful boy for planning nice
things, and when he was at home even quiet every-day
pleasures had a different savour. He enjoyed things so
heartily, and he was so full of fun and buoyancy, that
OUR HOME AT FAIR HAVEN. 29
his spirits were infectious, and I was perfectly happy in
"Those dogs will have an apoplectic fit before long if
something isn't done for them," remarked Roy with a
laugh, looking at the two panting, exhausted creatures,
eyeing each other from beneath the shelter of their
respective trees. Let's take the boat and pull about the
bay a bit, and take the dogs with us. They can't play
the fool all the time there, and we'll heave them over-
board later on and give them a swim. They must want
a bath after all that exertion."
EA GLE'S CRAG.
ROY was a great favourite with the Lavenders. I
think he was a favourite everywhere. One of
his first visits must, of course, be to Eagle's Crag. And
upon the following afternoon, as soon as it was cool
enough, we started forth together to climb up to the
great castellated house, perched in a splendid position
on the rocky promontory, of which Old Tom was the
Eagle's Crag was a much finer place than Wyverne
Court; yet, to my thinking, our lome was far the
pleasanter place to live in.
We were sheltered by the hill behind from the cold
winds that blow even down there in the south. We
were shut off from north and east, and lay open to the
warm south sun. Our garden was bright with flowers
almost the whole year round. Our trees grew slim and
straight, instead of taking that wind-swept angle which
they did upon the higher ground. We could walk and
even sit out upon our terrace every sunny day in the
year. But at Eagle's Crag the wild winds came
sweeping across from every direction. The garden was
always a fortnight behind ours, and. they would often
be shivering by the fire when we were basking in
Notwithstanding that it was a very fine place, and
stood most commandingly. It had magnificent views
on all sides but one of the sea-coast, tossing waves, and
beetling crags; whilst the front, which looked inland,
commanded a beautiful view of green down and wooded
Lord Lavender's property was extensive, and Nigel
had remained at home to look after it .ever since his
father's death. I suppose it was really very right of
him to do so, for his mother took no special interest
in anything beyond her social duties and pleasures,
and had been of late years much away, as I have
already said. Nigel was backwards and forwards, but
was more often at Eagle's CrAg than anywhere else.
We did not, however, see very much of him in the
absence of his family, as was perhaps natural. I could
not go up there to call on him, and there was often no
brother at home, so that his calls were few and far
Sometimes the Lavenders made a considerable feature
in my life, and then again they would disappear, and I
should see hardly anything of them.
. But now they were at home, and Roy was at home
too. We were certain to see much of each other during
the coming months. We had a little gay season of our
own at Fair Haven in the summer months, and Lady
Lavender, when she got back from a lengthy absence,
always felt it her duty to show hospitality to the
It was not far from our house to Eagle's Crag, if
we took the steep path up the heights. The carriage
road was much longer, and wound up towards it in a
zigzag. Roy, however, despised the idea of driving, so
we walked leisurely, often pausing to sit upon the low
wall or upon a friendly tree-trunk, and look over the
harbour lying blue beneath us, and across at the widen-
ing horizon of the great sea beyond.
It was a beautiful evening, and the light was growing
mellow and golden with the approach of sunset. Roy
often exclaimed at the beauty of all around him. He
was passionately fond of his home, the sea, the rocks,
and the free open-air life. That was perhaps why we
had spoken so often of setting up for ourselves close to
Fair Haven. I don't think either of us could picture a
life lived away from it.
"We can see The Hermitage from here," Roy observed
at one point, pausing and gazing across the harbour to
the pine groves on the opposite shore.
From that particular point one could see the shut-in.
little house better than from any other.. Indeed it wasi
the only spot from which anything like a bird's-eye
view could be obtained, and that was a very distant
Roy and I had both strong, keen sight, and we had
trained our eyes by constant exercise. We both saw
very plainly that there had come a change over the
house. Its windows stood open to the air. They
shone brightly where the sun touched the glass.
There were white draperies fluttering in them. The
forlorn, deserted aspect of the house had changed to
something more home-like. The gardens had been
trimmed, and the lawns looked as though they had been
mown. The brightness of the greensward told us that
they must have been tended this summer. Patches of
colour showed also that the beds had been planted
with summer flowers. The place wore the sort of
appearance I had often pictured to myself when Roy
and I had sat looking at it, planning how we would
one day make it our home.
"I hope Miss Lucas won't take it into her head to
stay there too long," I remarked. "It is just the
place for you and me, Roy; we never counted upon its
being snapped up by a stranger. I don't call it quite
"Well, when the time comes, if she won't go by fair
means we can try foul ones," answered Roy, with his
infectious laugh. "I never knew anybody stay more
than a year and a half at The Hermitage, and I don't
think we shall want it before then."
"Perhaps not, but I don't think I like anybody else
to have it," I answered unreasonably. I used to like to
think it was there, just waiting for us."
"I daresay it will he waiting for us again before we
want it very badly," Roy replied. "And the landlord
may have done a few things for this tenant that we shall
find handy ourselves."
We pursued our way upwards, and now were very
nearly at our journey's end. The cliff path wound
round the house just below the platform upon which
it was built, and landed you in the great courtyard
into which the carriages drove. But there was another
way, up some steps cut in the rock, by which you could
reach the terrace on the south-west front, upon which
the main rooms inhabited by the family opened. This
was the way by which we had always come and gone
since childhood. We mounted without hesitation,
emerging upon the great plateau, and immediately
hearing ourselves eagerly hailed from close at hand.
"Roy, old fellow Is it really you ? This is some-
thing like. Why, we thought you'd pay your first visit
in the carriage; we heard you had been awfully bad!
Come along and see the others; they're all out here
having tea.-Cissy, we've all been abusing you roundly
for not coming near us. I suppose you've been so
wrapped up in Roy that you've had no thoughts for
anything or anybody else."
It was exactly the state of the case, so I laughed
without answering. Tom LTavender was a nice lad, just
through Eton, and going off soon for a spell of travel
before passing on to Cambridge. He and I were
decided "chums" when he was at home. He used to
come and fish in the harbour a good deal, and take his
meals with us. Just lately he had been away on a
visit to some school friend, so we had not met as often
as was usual in the holidays. Tom was not clever like
Nigel; but I liked him a good deal better in those days.
I was always free and unfettered with him; but with
Nigel it' was different, and J rather resented the
Nobody had ever said a word to me, not even Roy;
and yet I knew quite well that both mother and Lady
Lavender hoped that Nigel and I should marry each
other some day. I can't tell how it was that I knew
this. But I did know it, and latterly it had made me
feel restless and uncomfortable in Nigel's presence, and
inclined to phun him and to say rather spiteful things
of and to him, soma of which, perhaps, were hardly
To-day, however, I had forgotten everything unplea-
sant. I had Roy at home again, and everything else
seemed to fade into insignificance. Our anxiety about
Roy for a few weeks had been enough to make this
restoration to health and spirits come with a wonderful
sense of delight and happiness.
There was quite a little stir and ovation when we
appeared. Roy was a great favourite with our friends
He- was received with open arms, given a seat in the
shade by Lady Lavender herself, and quite inundated
by questions about himself, how he was, and what he
had been doing to get so ill, and what he would be fit
for in the summer weeks that were still left to us.
Roy hated talking about himself, but he never got
cross. He could laugh things off and be nice to every-
body-even to Lady Lavender, whom I often found
She was a very fine-looking woman, and many
people admired her very much; but there was a touch
of affectation in her manner, which to my thinking
spoiled her- terribly. She also looked rather made up
and artificial in her dress, at any rate in our eyes. I
don't mean that she painted or powdered. I do not
think she did; but she was always "got up," as Roy
called it, with great elaboration. She had a great deal
of deportment, if that is the right word; some people
called it swagger, but perhaps that is too strong a term.
I never felt quite at ease with her, and the greater
the demonstrations of affection that she proffered, the
more I used to feel inclined to shrivel up into myself.
I was always glad when she talked to somebody else
rather than to me. It was a relief to-day to see her
place Roy beside her in the comfortable chair Nigel had
been occupying. I could breathe more freely farther
off, and I was curious to ask about Amy's engagement,
and about a lot of things which girls like to talk over
Hilda and Amy were not in the least like sisters.
It was difficult to believe them to be so nearly related.
Amy was very pretty indeed. I used to like to sit and
look at her. She had quite perfect features, and blue
eyes like those of a lovely wax doll. Her complexion
was also like that of a wax doll, and her mouth, with
its little perpetual smile, added to the resemblance. I
should have loved to have Amy for a doll, to pet and
nurse and dandle, if only she. had been the right size!
She was never out of temper, never cross or petulant.
Perhaps she was not very interesting, but she was very
lovable; and though sometimes I used to- tell her I
should like to shake her and put her in a rage, it was
rather nice to have somebody upon whose amiability
one could always depend.
Hilda was quite, quite different. She had been a
rather unattractive, heavy child, black-haired, black-
browed, with large dark eyes, almost too large for her
face, and a complexion that verged upon the sallow.
Her features, too, had been too pronounced for beauty,
although they were regular and well moulded. Lady
Lavender had been rather troubled about Hildas appear-
ance in the old days; but she was growing into a much
more handsome woman than had been hoped in the
days of her mere girlhood. She was twenty-four now,
and when she was interested and animated, she looked
really quite handsome. But she had not married, had
not even had a single offer, and in that sense of the
word she had been a decided failure.
Perhaps it was the consciousness of her mother's
disappointment in her that had helped to make Hilda
a failure. She had grown reserved to the verge of
sullenness, and although a clever and well-read girl, had
such a horror of appearing to pose as a learned woman,
that she often gave the impression of being rather
stupid. But she was growing out of these girlish angu-
larities of disposition now, and I had observed during
these last weeks that she had grown decidedly more
attractive than she had ever let herself appear, I
had always looked up to her, and had found her more
interesting than Amy. I was beginning to think that,
if she would let me, I could make a friend of her.
Nigel I find it more difficult to describe, I used to
be fond of calling him a prig in those days; but I will
not say I may not have done him some injustice in so
Nigel was a very tall, slightly-built man of hine-and-
twenty. He had a curious face, rather long, with the'
clearly-cut features of his family and a very wide
forehead, almost too wide for the lower part of his face.
His eyes were set rather far apart, too, and were of a
peculiar grey colotir, pencilled with black. Their lids
were rather heavy, which gave to him sometimes a
sleepy expression, and one was rather apt to think he
was not listening to what passed, till some pertinent
remark or criticism showed the contrary to be the case.
In manner he had a little of his mother's precision of
speech, ahd he spoke rather slowly; Perhaps it was
this small inherited mannerism which made me dub
him prig; or perhaps it was because he always ap-
peared to have something to say upon every subject
brought up, Not that he was a great talker. Rather
the reverse, But if he was appealed to, he always had
information to bestow; and I used to feel a little
irritation at times in finding him so well informed; If
I had been airing some rather crude opinions on a
subject about which I had been reading, and about
which I fancied the Lavenders would know nothing,
I was not best pleased to have the wind taken but of
my sails a little later on by the discovery that Nigel
knew all about it, ten times as much as I, and that I
had been talking nonsense (in his opinion) a great part
of the time.
I used to fret tinder this sort of thing, and revenge
myself by calling him the Admirable Crichton, or a
walking encyclopedia, or "Lord High Everything," and
I never felt at home with him, as I did with Tom and
the girls, although it would be stating matters too
broadly to say that I disliked him;
It was partly the little family agreement, or desire
respecting us, that made me disposed to be captious
where Nigel was concerned. I suppose nothing is more
fatal to the success of such a scheme than for the
parties themselves to have an inkling about it. It
turned me completely against Nigel, and almost made
me dislike him; and I used to fancy he reciprocated
the feeling, which naturally did not tend to put me at
ease in his presence. My great desire in those days
was for him to get married. If he would only bring
home a wife to Eagle's Crag, then I felt that I might
learn to like both him and her. I thought he would
be sure to marry somebody nice, for he was particular
to the verge of fastidiousness. His sisters often com-
plained that he interfered with their liberties-Hilda in
particular. But mother was always very fond of Nigel,
and when he came to our house, I used to leave them
together to their talks, quite sure that they would enjoy
them more without me.
Just now I was not thinking about him at all. I
had heard only a very little about Amy's engagement,
and I was anxious to learn more. I had never known
an engaged girl as yet, and thought it all rather inter-
esting and fascinating. I saw the sparkle of diamonds
on Amy's finger, and felt that I had a great many ques-
tions to ask.
"What is his name ?" I asked of Amy at last, when
we had finished drinking our tea, and had broken up
our party into little groups. "I suppose you told me,
but I have forgotten. What is his name, and what is
His name is Edward Clarence," she answered. If
you like to come indoors with me, I will show you his
photograph, and some of the things he has given
Of course I was delighted to follow her to her dainty
little room-though I ought not to call it little; for it
was large enough to be turned into a joint bed and
sitting room, but in comparison with some of the fine
rooms at Eagle's Crag it was small. Amy's nest was
always exquisitely pretty and luxuriant in its plenish-
ings. She had quantities of pretty things, and kept
them all in beautiful order about her. She led me up
to a little table, on which stood, in the place of honour,
a framed photograph. 'I knew without any telling that
this was what we had come to see, and I looked at the
face long and earnestly.
It was a very handsome head; there was no doubt
about that. The features were good, the pose of the
head was good; the portrait was a striking and notable
one. One would have guessed the man to be a soldier.
His moustache, his general appearance, had a military
flavour. I asked the question at once, but Amy shook
her head smilingly.
"No, he has never been in the army; but you are
quite right. He does look like an officer. Do you
think he is handsome ?"
"Of course I do. He is very handsome. Is he
tall ? "
"Yes, qtite tall enough: Five foot ten. Almost as
tall as Nigel. I don't care for giants."
"He is a good bit older than you are, isn't he,
"Yes, a good deal; but I don't mind that; He is
forty, and I'm only twenty-two but he doesn't look old
"Does Nigel like him ?" I asked.
I don't quite know why I put the question. Perhaps
it was because I had some latent respect for Nigel's
powers of discernment of which I was hardly aware
myself. It brought a little cloud to Amy's brow, She
asked rather plaintively,-
Why do you ask about Nigel ?"
"' don't know," I answered truthfully; "is.there any
reason why I shouldn't ?"
"Not exactly; but the tiresome thing is that Nigel
is the only person in the world who doesn't seem to
like Edward. I think it's very unkind of him, be-
cause he doesn't know a thing against him and yet he
didn't want mamma to consent to the engagement,"
"But she did?"
"Oh yes. Mamma thinks a good deal of Nigel's
opinion, but she could not take it when he had nothing
whatever to say, except that there was too much dif-
ference in age. If I don't mind that, it's no business
of anybody else. It didn't stop it, but it made things
a little uncomfortable."
EAGLE'S CRAG. 43
"Do you mean that Nigel is hasty about it?" 1
asked, with the directness of girlhood.
"Not exactly,'" answered Amy; but otie always has
a feeling that he doesn't quite like it, and I don't like
people to be against me." Amy's smiling lips drooped
at the corners, like those of a child who is going to cry.
"Of course this place is Nigel's, and he is the head of the
family. It is very hard he should take against Edward
like that. He doesn't show it exactly, and he has
asked him here. But one fbels it all the s&me; I like
people to be nice to me."
"'Perhaps he will get nice when he kntow Mr.
"I hope he will. But Nigel is dreadfully stubborn
when once he gets an idea into his head."
I was looking at the pictured face on the table,
whilst Amy turned over her trinkets, and displayed her
lover's many gifts.
"Is he rich?" I asked, as I looked at the costly
"Yes, quite nicely rich--not a millionaire; but he has
the family property, and quite enough money for us to
be comfortable. He is of very good family, which
mamma cares almost mote about. And he has hardly
any relations, which I think I am rather glad of. He
has no brothers, and only one sister, married and out
in India; and he hae a cousin, Colonel Clarence, in the
"Colonel Clarence !" I interrupted quickly. "Why,
that is the name of Garth's colonel, whom he is so fond
of. Is this colonel in the Lancers too ?"
"Why, yes-I had forgotten that Garth was in the
same regiment. Of course it must be the same. Did
you say that Garth and he were great friends ?"
"Yes; Garth mentions him very often in his letters.
Of course Colonel Clarence is much older than he; but
they seem to be a good deal together. And Garth
thinks that they will soon be stationed at Watchet Bay,
and so we shall see a great deal of them, and have quite
a gay season."
Amy's eyes brightened with interest and anticipation.
Hilda.had by this time come in, and was standing beside
me, looking at the photograph on the table.
"Do you like it?" she asked me, as Amy turned
away to lock up her treasures once more.
"I think he is very handsome," I answered, with a
glance at her face; "don't you?"
"Yes," answered Hilda at once; and then, as Amy
moved into the little turreted dressing-room in search
of something else she wanted to show me, Hilda asked
in a low voice,-
"Do you call it a good face ?"
I- was rather surprised at this question coming from
the reserved Hilda, and also to note: a certain line of
anxiety between her brows. She did not look cross or
heavy, as in the days of old, but there was an expression
j. ~;~ ~~
II~~r r ir:l
" Do you call i a good face ? "
on her face which seemed to me to denote concern.
Girl-like, I answered her question by another,-
Don't you ?"
"I don't know. Besides, what I mean hardly shows
in the photograph. They have smoothed away the
lines; but when you see him you will perhaps under-
stand what I mean. He is very good-looking, he
seems very nice, and has charming manners, and all
that; but sometimes I see a look in his eyes, sometimes
there come lines into his face, and then I have a
curious feeling all down my spine. I feel as though
I would sooner walk into a lion's den than marry a
man with such a face!"
Of course it may be all nonsense. I know very
little about men. You know I have never cared for
them, nor they for me. Amy ought to know much
better; but that's how I feel sometimes."
"Is that what Nigel feels ?" I asked in a cautious
Hilda put her hand on my arm, and we turned
away from the room together. Amy had become
engrossed over something in the turret beyond, and
seemed to forget all about, us. Hilda took me on to
her room, which had a wide balcony with a roof to it,-
overlooking the sea. In the summer months chairs
always stood there, and a few skin rugs were laid
down. She herself spent much of her time out here.
46 EAGLE'S CRAG.
I used to call it her eyrie, and a very pleasant one
"Amy told you about Nigel, then ?"
"Yes but I don't think she knows why he objects."
"I don't think any of us does. He has aid very
little, I don't think he knows a single thing against
Mr. Clarence hut he has an intuition that he is not a
good man, At least that is what I believe,"
And yoq feel the same ?"
Rather. I don't know how to say it, but I some-
times feel just as I have said. But then Amy and I
are so different; and mother likea him immensely-
they just suit each other."
"Did you know that his cousin is Garth's colonel,
and that most likely they are soon coming to Watchet
Hilda looked suddenly interested and aroused,
"Do you mean that Colonel Clarence is commanding
the regiment Garth is in, and that they are coming here ?"
"Most likely. Garth said it was probably their next
move. Isn't Colonel Clarence Amy's Mr. Clarence's
"Yes," answered Hilda slowly-"almost the only
relation he has. He talks about him often,"
"Then he will like him to be here if he comes on a
visit to you ?"
'< I don't know," answered Hilda slowly, "I don't feel
at all sure about that."
I saw there was something moving in Hilda's mind,
and I waited for her to speak, looking inquiringly at
her, but not asking any verbal question. Presently she
went on speaking.
"It's a curious thing, but do you know that it is
invariably when Mr, Clarence-Edward I suppose I
ought to call him-is speaking shout his cousin, the
cavalry colonel, that -I notice the ugly look in his eyes
and on his face which makes me feel that I would
sooner die than marry him "
Hilda, tell me what he looks like."
I don't know if I can; it is so diicult to explain
in words. Put I have often seen it come. A sort of
dark, evil look, it comes suddenly into his eyes, and
then there come lines into his face, and if you will not
be shocked at the expression, I just feel as though a
devil was looking out from it. The look passes away
again very quickly; but' have seen it too often to be
mistaken, and I have noticed that it is generally
talking about Colonel Clarence that brings it there.
Once when mother spoke of asking him to meet
Edward here in the autumn, I saw it most strongly;
also when Amy has been asking him if his cousin will
be best man when they are married, and so forth. He
always speaks as though they were very friendly to
each other, but he looks-well, like what I said just
"0 Hilda !"
I could not think of anything else to say. It seemed
suddenly as though something like a real live romance
were unfolding before my eyes. I had read of loves
and hates, betrothals and deadly feuds, in the pages of
novels and story books; but I had never come across
anything of the sort in my own experience, so I was at
once keenly interested.
'"Don't talk about this to anybody," said Hilda
suddenly. "You know it may only be my fancy."
"Of course I shan't-at least only to Roy, and you
won't mind him, I know; he's quite safe."
"Oh, Roy would never make mischief; but it doesn't
do to talk. One finds that out as one grows older.
Mischief is so easily made. And Amy would never
forgive me if she thought I was setting people against
Edward. And indeed I don't mean to do that. He is
very nice in lots of ways. I always liked him till after
we saw so much of him; and it may be all my fancy.
Amy ought to know better; and she thinks everything
She is really in love ?"
"Oh yes-over head and ears! I can't quite under-
stand it. I don't think I'm made like other women. I
have never felt the least bit like that, and I don't
think I ever shall!"
"Nor I," I answered confidently. "I used to think it
was all make up, and that-there wasn't anything like
it really. But I suppose there is."
Oh yes, there is, and it makes people rather tiresome,
I think. But they seem to like it; and if everything
goes right, I daresay it is very nice and pleasant. But
sometimes one wonders what ever would happen if things
went wrong. That's why I can't help worrying some-
times about Amy. And I believe Nigel feels just the
same. If Mr. Clarence-Edward-were to turn out,
well, different from what she thinks, why, I believe it
would break her heart."
"Oh," I answered, drawing a long breath, "but he
won't surely. Is he as much'in love with her as she
with him ?"
"I don't know; I wish I did. I don't see why he
wants to marry her if he isn't. There are heaps and
heaps of pretty girls, and rich girls besides. And he is
quite a catch in a small way. I suppose he cares for
her, or he wouldn't have chosen her; but whether he
cares in the same way, I don't know. I don't under-
stand men, as I said before."
We could not talk on any longer-we had to go
and join the rest-but I thought a great deal about
Hilda's words as we sat chatting on the terrace. Lady
Lavender was very gracious, and spoke of the engage-
ment in a manner which showed how much pleased
she was about it. She told us that Edward was soon
coming on a visit; and when I spoke of Colonel
Clarence, and said that his regiment was likely to be in
the neighbourhood soon, she grew quite excited (for her),
50 EAGLE'S CRAG.
and asked a number of questions, and took the greatest
interest in our answers.
"It will be. such a pleasure for Edward having his
cousin so near; will it not, Amy?" she said. "He
speaks so often of Colonel Clarence. I think they were
brought up together almost like brothers. I am sure
that they are very much attached."
Amy smiled and blushed, and said it would be de-
lightful. It was quite plain that no shadow of doubt
or misgiving had entered into her pretty head.
A VOYAGE OF DISCO VERY.
" ET'S take the boat and go and prospect about,"
said Roy. "I've hardly been on the water yet,
and it's a first-rate day for a sail. We'll run down and
have a look at Old Tom and his wife at close quarters,
and then back up the harbour, perhaps to Queensbridge.
I want to see everything again. Will you come,
Cissy ?" '
"Of course I will. I get almost no sailing when
you are away, Roy. Mother is nervous when I take
the boat alone, if I go any distance; and unless old
Wallace can come with me, I don't care to go. Let's
take the Sea-gull, and pack up our lunch and not come
back till evening. Mother won't mind; and it's going
to be a splendid day."
Mother always liked us to have good times in Roy's
holidays. It had been so from my childhood. I was
kept rather close at home when no brother was avail-
able; but when either Garth or Roy undertook the care
of me, I was always permitted a glorious liberty. She
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made us quite free now to stay out as long as we liked.
Lady Lavender had promised to come and see her in
the afternoon, and she was always happy and busy
with her books and letters and bits of dainty fancy
I wish I could describe, mother, she was so very
lovely and so young-looking, in spite of her frail health
and widow's dress. She did not wear weeds any longer,
but always dressed in black, with a good deal of soft
white tulle or lace about her head and shoulders. She
would have made a lovely picture, I think, with her
soft brown hair, just beginning to silver over, her fair,
sweet face with the flitting colour, and the tender smile
shining so readily from her liquid hazel eyes. Mother
had been very wonderful in her management of me, I
think, though at the time it seemed so natural that I
never considered the matter at all. She kept a firm
control over me, so that I never thought of disputing
her will or her judgment; and yet she retained my
fullest confidence, and I talked to her, I think, quite as
freely as most sisters talk to one another.
I fancy the only subject upon which we maintained
a reserve was that of Nigel Lavender. We spoke of
him as we might about anybody else; but I never heard
a single word spoken of what I was almost sure was dis-
cussed between the two mothers, and I never wished
even to name that matter myself.
Roy and I were passionately fond of the sea, as was
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only natural, seeing we had been born and brought up
at Fair Haven. I had my little dinghy, in which I was
allowed to row myself alone about the harbour, in full
sight of the house; but I was not allowed to go far by
myself-a precaution I thought needless, though I always
observed it. But I understood how to manage sail and
tiller as well as either of the boys, and when they were
at home we spent as much time on water as on land, no
We had a pretty little sailing boat called the Sea-gull,
and we had often gone out in her right round the coast
for miles. She was very fast and yet quite safe, and
we had fitted her up with all sorts of conveniences.
To-day we quickly packed away an ample supply of
provisions, collected the dogs, which were always wild
to go, even though they did sometimes get tired of the
monotony of the boat; and waving an adieu to mother's
window, in the certainty that she would be watching
for our signal, we soon had the sail up, and were flying
through the water with that peculiarly exhilarating speed
of which the Sea-gull was capable.
We went down the harbour first and cruised about
the mouth. The sea was smooth, in spite of the light
breeze which carried us along so gaily; and we could work
our boat in and out of the innumerable bays and creeks
without the least fear. We visited the haunts of the
sea-birds, and explored our favourite nooks; and pre-
sently back we came with the flowing tide, and sailed
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merrily up the harbour to find a suitable place for
making an encampment and eating our lunch.
We were near home then, but it was no fun to go
back for the meal. We much preferred it out of doors
Let's go across to Pinetree Creek, and get out at that
patch of white sand," said Roy. It's a capital place
for a picnic; and the dogs will enjoy stretching their
"Oh yes, let's go there. It's getting so hot on the
water, and we can always get shade under the trees;
and perhaps we shall see or hear something of the
mysterious occupant of The Hermitage. What did you
say the old thing's name was ?"
Lucas. Miss Lucas-an old maid, of course. Oh,
I think she stuffs tight indoors all day! But we will
have a look round. I should like to see what has been
done to the place, if we can manage to get near it with-
out being seen."
Roy and I knew every inch of The Hermitage grounds,
so that there was little fear of our not being able to
achieve our object. The hedges and fences were in a
dilapidated condition; and although the rank growth
of vegetation had shut the place in very much from the
outside world, we knew plenty of ways of getting near
to it without being in danger of discovery from any
person within the walls.
However, lunch was our first object, so we sailed up
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
into the creek, and anchored our boat just below the
sea-wall (if one could call it by so fine a name) which
guarded the garden of The Hermitage on one side. The
little beach of white sand lay just outside the boundary
limit of the little house.
I am afraid we were trespassing in our next act, for
we used the low wall as our landing-quay, as we had
been accustomed to do in days gone by; although we
did not invade the garden, as we certainly should have
done had the place been empty. We only made our way
along the wall, and climbed down it at the end, landing
upon the white sand of the little creek, and carrying
our provisions into the shade of the sheltering fringe of
pine trees, whose aromatic scent quite filled the air.
It was a very delightful spot for a midday rest. The
dogs, delighted to escape from the inaction of the boat,
raced hither and thither in eager excitement. Wuppy
did not know this spot at all, as I had not visited it
lately, knowing the house to be tenanted. Wuppy was
a dog that liked variety above everything, and he was
filled with an insatiable curiosity. We soon lost sight
of him altogether, but he returned at intervals to make
sure we were still there, and then rambled off again
with his nose to the ground, pursuing an irregular
course hither and thither, till we lost sight of him in
the wood beyond.
Chips was given over heart and soul to the pursuit
of rabbits, with which the little copse abounded. We
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
heard him giving tongue every few minutes. He was
perfectly and absolutely happy, and to call him in
would have been a simple waste of breath. Besides,
he was doing no harm, and we let him disport himself
Monk alone stayed beside us, lying full length upon
the hot sand, with his hind legs stretched out straight
behind him in a favourite attitude of his. He blinked
contentedly at us with his affectionate brown eyes, and
received scraps of food with a polite wag of the tail.
We sat talking together long after we had finished
our lunch. Roy lighted a cigarette, and tried to make
me believe he enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, Roy
detested tobacco, but found his dislike to it inconvenient,
and was always trying to break himself of it. I told
him a good deal of what had passed at the Lavenders'
the other day-what Hilda and Amy had respectively
said about Mr. Clarence and his cousin the colonel.
Roy was interested in the story, and wondered why
Nigel had objected to his sister's lover.
"Because you know, Cissy, Nigel's no fool, though
that rather soft manner of his makes people think of
him as one. He was at my college, you know, though he
left long before I went up. He was very well thought
of there, I can tell you. There's more in him than he
lets the world see, and I think those rather sleepy
eyes of his see a good deal."
"Well, he should say what he sees, then,' I returned
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
quickly, and not just insinuate without giving a reason.
I'm glad Nigel isn't my brother. His obscure ways
would drive me distracted. I should want to shake
him every day of my life."
Roy smiled a little as he flung away his cigarette.
He's not half a bad fellow for all that; and I don't
think he wants you for a sister any more than you
want him for a brother."
I suppose I was unreasonable, but I felt a little bit
Of course not. We always quarrel-at least we
should if Nigel could only say 'Boo' to a goose !"
Here Roy interrupted by an explosion of laughter, in
which I was forced to join, being fairly caught in my
Come along," I cried; let's pack the boat again,
and go and see what we can find out about the tenant
of The Hermitage. I wish we could get a sight of her.
Perhaps on fine afternoons she may come out for a
little while, swathed up in shawls, just to get a breath
of air. But I know she never goes out if she can help
it. I believe she's been ill, and is quite an invalid still."
I don't know whether we ought to go prying round
the place now that it's let," said Roy, as we gathered
up our belongings and made our way along to the wall.
" I should like to see the old house and garden again
well enough; but-"
Oh, why not?" I interposed, being very inex-
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
perienced, and having a foolish fancy that the place
belonged in some mysterious way to us, just because
we had always had the run of it. We have always
run in and out as we pleased, whether it has been let or
not. If by any remote chance we should catch sight of
the old lady, we can make our apologies and scuttle off.
But I'm sure we shan't."
"As for that," answered Roy, "I shouldn't in the
least mind making her acquaintance. I call it rather
hard lines that nobody calls. I've half a mind to call
myself; only that might put her in an awkward posi-
tion. People may be old and delicate and keep them-
selves to themselves,, but I can't see why they need be
sent to Coventry. If I see the poor old thing, I shall
certainly have a shot and see if I can't be a bit friendly.
I believe if mother ever paid calls she would call on her."
Yes, I think very likely she might; but mother
doesn't call anywhere now, and she wouldn't send me
alone, as she begins to do to some houses where we have
always known everybody. Well, I don't mind being
nice to her if we have the chance. I should rather like
to make friends with her if she would let us-if it were
only to scandalize Lady Lavender !"
Roy laughed at my concluding words. He understood
all about my little revolt at Lady Lavender's dominating
influence in Fair Haven. Her word in social matters
was apt to be taken as law; and even mother, since
she could go about so little herself, was disposed to be
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led and influenced by the judgment of her, friend, and
to give to Lady Lavender a precedence which I always
felt with a pang of jealousy ought to have been her own.
"Where are the dogs ?" asked Roy suddenly, as he
finished packing the boat and sprang back again upon
Monk was standing beside me, faithful as ever. We
could still hear Chips scuttling after the rabbits, and
uttering short, sharp barks the while. He was safely
engrossed in this occupation, and could be called up at
any time. Wuppy, however, had quite disappeared.
We had neither of us seen him for a considerable time.
He did not seem to be rabbiting with Chips, or we
should have heard his voice also. We called him several
times, but got no response of any sort.
"He may be in the gardens somewhere," I said.
"He's always poking his nose into all sorts of places.
We may find him if we wander in; and then, you see,
if anybody were to find us trespassing, we could say we
had come to look for our dog."
"Happy thought.! So we could," cried Roy, laugh-
ing. Well, then, let us go boldly in, and not sneak
about as though we were ashamed of ourselves."
We sprang down the low wall, and found ourselves
in a tangled shrubbery, the paths of which were con-
siderably overgrown with moss and weed. We knew
every winding walk, and went along, sometimes uttering
Sa call or a whistle for our truant; but we did not like
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to make too much noise, so our summonses were not of a
very emphatic nature.
Soon we reached the edge of the real thick shrubbery,
and gained the limit of the garden proper. Last time
I had seen it, it had been a mere wilderness, rank and
neglected. I peeped with some interest between the
lilac bushes to note if any change had taken place.
From where we now stood we could look right across
the lawn, dotted with hawthorn and other ornamental
trees, towards the low, long, picturesque front of the
house. I knew just how that would look-its irregular
windows, latticed and mullioned, wreathed round in
honeysuckle or clematis, and the walls covered with
climbing roses that were a mass of snowy blossom in
June. It was.not a large house, but it was straggling,
and covered a good deal of ground. The roof was
weather-stained, and stone-crop and lichen had grown
over the red tiles in many places. There were little
dormer windows in the upper story, and gables that did
not match. It made the most charming picture in
summer time; but, as I have said, few tenants cared to
winter there, it being altogether too much overgrown and
too much embowered in trees. The fall of the leaf was
a season that the occupants did not care to stand more
than once, though Roy and I always declared we should
Roy was a little in front of me as we reached the
boundary of the sheltering shrubbery. He parted the
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 61
leafy screen with his hands, and then I heard him give
a low whistle and break into a quiet laugh.
What is it ?" I asked, coming up behind.
"Look!" he answered, and pushed me in front of
him, still holding back the leafy screen.
I did look, and in a moment I understood the
whistle and the laugh.
There was the house, just as I had pictured it, only
that the windows were no longer covered with dust
and cobwebs, but clean and bright, and stood open to
the summer breezes; whilst the fluttering of pretty
draperies could be seen, and glimpses obtained of interiors
which bespoke a cultivated taste. The lawn no longer
looked like a neglected pasture, but was mown and
tended; the walks were free from weeds, and flowers
bloomed brilliantly in bed and border. This I had
been partly prepared for, from what we had seen the
other day; but I was not in the least prepared for the
other sight which met our eyes, and which had evoked
from Roy the low whistle of surprise.
Very near to the house-too near, many people
thought, and just on the edge of the lawn-grew a fine
lime tree with long, rather drooping, branches, which
made a natural arbour all through the summer months.
Under this tree there stood a low, cushioned wicker
chair, and in the chair sat a lady, with our truant
Wuppy comfortably established upon her knee, whilst
at her feet there lay a fine deer-hound, who regarded
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the intruder with an air of complaisant tolerance, as
though too sure of his own position to trouble his head
with jealousy. Wuppy was evidently exceedingly
pleased with himself and his present position, and we
could hear as she caressed him that the lady was talking
to him in the language which dogs understand so well,
and to which they give such ready response.
The lady's face was not turned our way, it was partly
bent over the dog, and slightly averted from where we
stood; but we saw with a start of surprise that her
hair, which was uncovered by hat or cap, was of a pale
golden tint, and very abundant, and that the mental
picture we had drawn of an aged and decrepit invalid
was ludicrously mistaken. I was perfectly certain that
Miss Lucas could not be forty years old, and perhaps
not nearly so much. She was not a girl, but she was
anything but old; and there was something in the grace-
ful pose of the figure and the penetrating sweetness of
the tones of the voice which impressed me at once with
the conviction that we were looking upon a very beau-
tiful woman, although I could not as yet judge of her
I drew softly back and looked at Roy in bewilderment.
Can that be Miss Lucas ?" I asked. Perhaps it
is only a visitor staying with her."
"I don't know," answered Roy; "but we can't go
spying on her like this. I think the best way is to
take the bull by the horns. I shall go on, calling
.1 V 1 i
*f a* ^ r
'" RO'1's / int .,ais of,6 ill anl instant."
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
Wuppy; and then when she sees us, I will apologize
for the intrusion and explain. Will you come ? or
would you rather wait here for me ? "
I was far too curious to accept this alternative.
Oh, I will come too. I want to know if it is Miss
Lucas-I want to know who she is. Roy, don't you
think she looks as though she were very beautiful ?"
"Yes, I do; but we could not see her very well.
Any way, I'll have a shot at it. We'll make our way
into the enchanted garden, even if we are chased out of
it with ignominy later on."
That was just my feeling. We must dare something;
and the next minute Roy boldly advanced from behind
the leafy screen, calling Wuppy's name, and then
stopping still as he saw that the lady had suddenly
risen from her chair, and was standing looking at us.
Wuppy came running up with short barks of wel-
come, and the deer-hound uttered a deep bay, which
was checked by his mistress, who laid a hand upon his
Roy's hat was off in an instant. He approached the
lady with the fearless frankness which was one of his
winning characteristics; whilst she stood very still,
watching our approach, but without speaking or
We had not been deceived. Miss Lucas (if indeed it
was she) was a very beautiful woman. She was very.
tall, and held herself with a grace of carriage which is
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
quite indescribable, though it struck me almost more at
the first glance than the undoubted though irregular
beauty of her face. She was dressed quite plainly, in a
long black robe of some soft texture that fell in statu-
esque folds to her feet. She had a cluster of yellow
roses at her throat, and they seemed to blend in tint
with the waving golden hair which crowned her head.
Her complexion was exquisite, though very pale-too
pale for health-and her eyes were violet blue in colour.
In spite of the commanding grace of her carriage, there
was something suggestive of shrinking in the way in
which she looked at us. Yet there was no frown upon
her face, and her lips parted with the suggestion of a
smile as Roy came towards her.
"I am afraid we are all trespassers-from the dog
upward," he said. "'We lost him on the beach,.where
we had lunched; and as he did not return, we came to
look for him. I see he has made himself very much
at home. He always thinks himself welcome every-
He was very welcome here, poor wee man," said
the lady, with a captivating smile. "I thought he
must be a waif from somewhere a long way off, as
there are no houses round here. I did not think of his
having come by boat. I was wondering what to do
with him. He has no name on his collar."
"No," I answered, joining in for the first time,
"everybody in Fair Haven knows him so well; but I
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
think I must give him a collar, especially since he seems
to make himself so very much at home wherever he
goes. I'm afraid he gets rather spoiled, and thinks
himself quite irresistible."
Wuppy evidently thought himself irresistible to Miss
Lucas, and was fawning upon her with an air of the
greatest devotion. She caressed and talked to him
very sweetly, perhaps finding his attentions rather
easier to respond to than our advances. I think that
both Roy and I felt the same wish to show ourselves
friendly to the strange lady, but it was just a little
difficult to know how to do it.
I am so glad you have taken a fancy to this dear
old house," said Roy, looking around him with undis-
guised, pleasure. Cissy and I always say it is one of
the nicest places in the world; we used always to
declare we would come and live in it some day. But
many people call it bad names. I hope you are com-
fortable here ? You are Miss Lucas, are you not ?"
"Yes," she answered, with a little bend of the head;
and Roy went on quickly,-
"We come from Wyverne Court opposite. Our
mother is a great invalid, and cannot get out; and my
sister is not yet quite promoted to pay calls on her
own account. But I hope you will let us think of
you as a neighbour, and come and see you sometimes.
We often come across in our boat. We are so fond of
Pinetree Creek and the Hermitage."
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
Boys can dare much more than girls. I should never
have ventured to make any sort of overture to a
stranger lady about whom nobody knew anything, and
upon whom nobody in the place had called. I felt a
sort of delightful shiver at Roy's boldness, but I confess
I was very pleased to hear him speak so. It did seem
an unkind thing to leave a new-comer quite out in the
cold; and there was something about Miss Lucas which
attracted me curiously I was quite certain-with the
confident certainty of youth-that there was nothing in
this beautiful woman to which any person could take
"Thank you," said Miss Lucas gently, and for a
moment she said no more; her eyes looked away past
us, rather as though she were thinking. Then she
looked at us both with a smile which entirely captivated
us, and said softly,-
I have heard of you, of course. Every one speaks
of the Wyvernes of Fair Haven. I have come here to
be very quiet indeed; but if you are fond of my little
house and garden, and if Lady Muriel will not object, I
shall be very pleased to see you here when you bring
your boat across."
I felt my heart give a little throb. It would be
delightful to have a sort of romantic friendship with
this recluse at the Hermitage, whom nobody ever visited
or saw. I think Miss Lucas must have seen something
of the eagerness in my eyes, for again she smiled that
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singularly sweet smile; and as a servant at that mo-
ment appeared bringing a tray from the house, she said,-
looking from one to the other,-
You must stay, now you are here, and have a cup
of coffee with me. I daresay your picnic has not been
She ordered more cups, whilst Roy fetched chairs, and
in a few more minutes we were seated-astonishing
thought-with Miss Lucas in her garden. Wuppy
leaped immediately into his former seat upon her knee,
regardless of her convenience; but she would not have
him ejected. She was a real lover of dogs, as could be
seen at once; and when she caught sight of Monk, who
had been ordered to remain in the background, she
insisted that he should be brought into the circle and
introduced to her faithful Ross. In talking of the
dogs and whistling up Chips, who was also welcomed
with sweetness and kindness, we forgot our first sense
of awkwardness, and grew friendly to a wonderful
Roy and I chatted freely to Miss Lucas. Perhaps it
was only afterwards that we realized how much we had
said and-how little she had. Of course it was natural.
We were young, and our lives held no hidden secrets.
We liked Miss Lucas, and she was one of those listeners
whb draw you on by the power and charm of sympathy
till you feel ready to tell anything. Her coffee was
excellent, and the dogs said the same in eloquent.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
language of her biscuits. We made our small pair do
tricks, and we all laughed merrily together over their
little jealousies and efforts to overreach each other.
It was quite a delightful time. we spent in that shady
garden, and our hostess seemed to enjoy it with us.
Yet I remember often. looking at her with the feeling
that there was something in her face which I could not
fathom. It looked to me like the shadow of a deep,
deep sorrow, which time had never healed, although it
had given her the power to put it aside and take up
her life'again on other lines.
Roy I found on comparing notes, had just the same
impression. That she had been recently very ill Miss
Lucas, did not deny. She said she had come to this
warm southern place by the advice of her doctor, who
warned her that she must take great care of herself for
some time to come. She had not the strength or the
wish to go about. She liked to live her life within
the walls of her little home and in her shady garden.
Her face had the look of one who spends many long
hours in dreaming over the past. Her eyes often took
a far-away expression, and then the corners of the lips
would droop, and foi a moment there would come a
strangely pathetic wistfulness into her face; and when
I saw that expression, I felt that I must turn my eyes
away, for it seemed as if I were looking at something
upon which I had no right to gaze.
When we took our departure, she walked with us as
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'far as the sea-wall; and Roy invited her to come for a
sail over the shining waters of the bay. But she smiled
and shook her head.
".Not to-day," she answered gently.
Another time, then," said Roy, as he sprang into the
"Perhaps," she said, with an enigmatic little smile-
"We shall come for you," he said, waving his cap.
"Thank you so much for receiving us so kindly. We
were very informal in our way of calling."
The smile lighted her face again.
"Perhaps if you had been formal you would not
have seen me," she answered, and waved her hand to us
as the sail slowly filled. Next minute she had turned
and disappeared into the shrubbery beyond; and I
looked at Roy eagerly, saying,-
How beautiful she is I"
Yes," he answered gravely, a very beautiful woman,
and a very sorrowful one."
0 Roy you think that too ?"
Nobody could help thinking it who has a grain of
observation or intuition."
"I wonder who she is, and why she has come, and
what is the matter? Roy, do you think mother will
let us-me, I mean-go and see her again?"
"Yes, I think so. Mother is very kind, and we will
tell her what we think about Miss Lucas."
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVER Y
But what will Lady Lavender say ? she will not
I am sorry to have to confess that Roy made a rude
gesture, indicative of a good deal of contemptuous indif-
ference to the opinion of the autocrat of Fair Haven.
"Mother is not a baby to be led by the nose, even
by Lady Lavender," he said. "I shall go and tell her
everything when I get home, and you will see it will be
And so it was. Roy had a way with him which
most people found it difficult to resist, mother included.
She was surprised at our adventure, and perhaps she
would have preferred that it had not taken place, but
she was willing to regard me still as something of a
child; so that if Miss Lucas had no objection to our
landing sometimes in her garden, and paying a little in-
formal visit on our own account-well, she would not
actually forbid it. She thought it probable that the
stranger would remain only a short time in that lonely
house; and since she did not desire to be called upon
or to mix in society, that simplified the situation a
It was a little more free and easy than was altogether
to mother's taste, but she recognized the duty of kind-
ness to anybody in trouble; and though she would have
liked to know more about this Miss Lucas, and did.not
look altogether satisfied at my rapturous description of
her beauty and charm, yet there was nothing whatever
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
whispered to her discredit, and if Roy and I went
together and not too often, she would not hinder our
I was delighted with this permission, which was more
than I had expected to obtain. Perhaps mother recog-
nized the fact that my life was rather a monotonous
one, and that I was debarred from a good many amuse-
ments which came to other girls. I liked a little bit of
romance above everything, and it had never come in my
way before. Now I seemed to be getting into the thick
of it. It was uncertain as yet how far Amy's engage-
ment would supply me with that sort of diet; but
certainly our clandestine friendship with the beautiful
inhabitant of the Hermitage, about whom nobody knew
anything, was quite like a chapter out of a book. I
wove a number of romances in which Miss Lucas was
the heroine, and was quite convinced that life was going
to be more interesting for me now than it had been for
a considerable time previously.
NE W FA CE S.
" D ,OOD!" exclaimed Roy, looking up from a letter
"- he was reading at breakfast time; Old
Hawke's coming to-morrow. He's just finished the
catalogue of Aunt Joan's library, and now he can come
on and pay his promised visit here."
Truth to tell, I was not quite as pleased as I tried to
be at this news. Of course I knew that Mr. Hawke
was coming to us; he had been invited long ago. He
had been so good to Roy during his illness that we owed
him a great debt of gratitude. 'Yet in spite of all
that, it did to a certain- extent spoil my pleasure in
Roy's company when some friend of his came to stay
"How long will he stay ?" I asked, trying to appear
"Oh, I don't know. A week or so, I daresay. He
wants to be in Oxford part of the 'long,' I know; but I
daresay we can persuade him to stay a fair time. He's
an awfully good fellow, though he's not what you call
a brilliant society man;" and Roy laughed.
"Is he very ugly ?" I asked frankly.
"No," answered Roy at once," far from it. He's got
a rather fine face, but it's an odd one; and he wears
glasses, so that you can't see his eyes well. You might
think him ugly at a first casual glance, but you'll soon
get to feel differently. It's a face one likes to look at
after a bit."
He's a sort of a don, isn't he ?"
"Yes, a fellow now, and an awfully clever one. I
don't know if you care for clever men; but if you do
you'll like old Hawke. He'll rather like being here, for
he knows Nigel too. I fancy they were rather chummy
at Oxford, though Hawke's the older man by a little.
You'll be nice to him, won't you, Cissy ? for he's mortally
afraid of all ladies, and I've never been able to get him
to the scratch before."
"He's been staying. quite a time with Aunt Joan
"Yes; Aunt Joan isn't like the average woman.
Somehow those two seemed to understand each other.
She took quite a liking to him, and I never saw him
able to come so well out of his shell as he did with her
and at her house. It must have been a liberal educa-
tion for him. We shall have him quite the polished
gem in a little while."
"And I suppose he reads and writes a great deal.
He won't want to be always out with us in the boat and
"Oh, bless you, no!" laughed Roy; "he's always got
some work on hand. The difficulty is to get him to
leave his books. He'll just establish himself in the
library, you'll see, and there he'll remain, unless he's
dug out. He is editing some edition of school classics
now, and that takes him a lot of time. He's just be-
ginning to get on well, after having had a tremendously
hard struggle as a young man. I'm most awfully glad
about it; but Hawke's a rattling good fellow at the
bottom, though he keeps it to himself in a wonderful
When we went up to mother's room a little later, it
was to find that she had some news for us too.
"Garth has a few days' leave, and is ,coming down
almost directly," she said. "And it is quite true that
the regiment is to be sent to Watchet Bay in. October.
That will be delightful! We shall see so much of Garth
when he is there, and if he can spend his long leave at
home it will be quite like old times. We shall be all
together once more, as we used to be before you boys
began going to school and college."
Mother's eyes, were bright. I think a first-born son
fills in his mother's heart a place which no other child
can ever do. I have noticed it often. Mother loved
Roy and me most tenderly-we never felt the least
lack in her love; yet there was something in her face
when she talked about Garth which I never saw there
at other times. Perhaps she had come to lean upon him
rather, since our father had died and left her as a sort
of sacred trust to his eldest son. Anyhow, it was
always a source of keen joy to her when Garth was to
be at home; and I think he reciprocated her love to the
full, though he was never demonstrative.
We went up to tell the news to the Lavenders pre-
sently. We had begun to resume the habits of our
youth, and to interchange almost daily visits. We found
them also in a small domestic excitement, although they
took their excitements more quietly than we did. Amy
was the only one who showed it to any extent, and it
was to be pardoned in her; for Mr. Clarence was com-
ing over that very afternoon-he was to arrive within
an hour. He was staying in a country house not far
distant, and would ride across to see his betrothed.
Then they would arrange about the visit he was to pay
later on; and naturally Amy was in a little flutter of
excitement, and was looking her very prettiest.
"You will stay and see him ?" she said, flitting up
"I should like to, unless we shall be in the way."
"Oh no; it is only a call upon everybody. I should
like you to be there. I want to know what you think
about him. ,You are almost like one of the family now,
I certainly did not know anything of the sort, and
was rather indignant with Amy for saying it; but as a
matter of fact she was so fluttered she hardly knew
, NEW FACES.
what she was saying, so I did, not trouble to contradict
her. It was a hot afternoon, and we were all out in the
garden, where coolness could always be obtained in that
lofty place. Nigel presently lounged up, and dropped
into the seat beside me.
"So you have been trespassing on forbidden waters,"
he said, with one of his quick, rather inscrutable glances,
"and have scaled the fortress no others have dared to
I was conscious of flushing up to the roots of my hair.
I was also conscious of feeling rather angry. I had
particularly begged mother not to mention our little
.escapade to Lady Lavender, nor our wish to make the
acquaintance of Miss Lucas in a rather unconventional
way. Mother had promised, and I knew she was to be
trusted implicitly. Who, then, could have spoken of
this thing to Nigel? Not Roy, I was sure. He would
have told me had he entertained any such intention.
He must have found it out by himself somehow.
Now Nigel had always had that tiresome trick of
knowing everything. It had irritated us as children;
it irritated me still. We always used to declare he had
eyes in the back of his head; but even a double set of
eyes would not have enabled him to see our interview
with Miss Lucas; and yet to what else could he be
"You do mix your metaphors so there is no under-
standing you," I answered, rather snappishly. I'm not
aware of having scaled any fortress except this precious
Eagle's Crag of yours. And in hot weather one feels
that it is.simple cruelty to animals to expect anything
human to face your glaring rocks! You ought to put
up a lift or something. I'm sure there are enough con-
trivances going nowadays for saving trouble."
I said this to turn the subject, which I had no wish
to pursue; but Nigel had a persistent way with him,
which to-day proved very aggravating.
"'A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, and most
divinely fair.' Is that the way the quotation runs?
Very appropriate, is it not ?"
"To whom? to Amy? I never thought of it in
that light. Or perhaps you are trying to pay a compli-
ment to me; only I'm not particularly tall nor particu-
larly fair. You'd better keep it for yourself; it fits
A shadowy smile played round the finely-cut lips of
my tormentor. I think he knew he had made me
angry; but' he did not appear to mind it in the least.
"Does she admit all bold rovers to her enchanted
garden ? I think I shall try my luck one of these
I turned my shoulder slightly round away from him.
"You can do exactly as you like; it's no concern of
It would not be poaching on your preserves ?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"Pardon me, but I think you do."
Well, I did. I must own it'; but I was goaded into
Now I turned upon him with flashing eyes.
"What do you mean ? 'and how do you know ? and
why are you so aggravating about it ? What is it to
you where we go or what we do ? We are not answer-
able to you!"
"Not in the smallest degree; but the natural man is
not devoid of curiosity. I am curious to know how you
came to go."
"How do you know that we did go ?" I could not
refrain from asking, seeing it was no use to try to ride
the high horse.
"There is no mystery about it. I saw you with my
own eyes. I was on the opposite side of the creek when
you took your departure, and the fair unknown came
and waved you a farewell over the wall. Nothing more
occult than that, I assure you; and I have kept my
observations to myself till this moment. You need not
be afraid of betrayal-from me."
For I had given a quick glance in the direction of
Lady Lavender, and Nigel had appeared to read my
"I think you are quite right," he added. I hate the
thought of any human being living the life of a recluse.
Nothing can be worse, whether the isolation is voluntary
I suddenly felt friendly towards my companion. I
did not mean to tell him anything' about Miss Lucas;
but I liked him for his words, and also for the discretion
he was observing towards the small secret he had
chanced upon. I did not particularly want to have con-
fidences with Nigel, but for the moment I liked him
better than I had done for some time. I thought he
was growing almost handsome in a long, lank fashion.
Of course he was not to be compared for a moment with
Garth or Roy, but he was improving upon what he had
been in by-gone years, when I had frankly dubbed him
Further talk was, however, arrested at that minute
by the sudden arrival upon the. scene of a new-comer.
'It required no introduction to tell me who he was. I
had seen his portrait; but even if I had not, Amy's face
would have been enough. It was Mr. Clarence, and he
was receiving a well-bred yet almost affectionate greet-
ing from the whole party-just such a welcome as he had
the right to expect.
When he was seated in our midst, I looked curiously
at him, and decided that he was certainly handsome,
and looked decidedly like a soldier, though he was not
one. I was also curious td observe Nigel's manner to-
wards him; but it betrayed no sort of coldness or dis-
approval. Nigel was always quiet and self-possessed,
and he received his future brother-in-law without the
smallest shade of embarrassment. If Mr. Clarence knew
that Nigel had opposed his engagement, neither he nor
Nigel showed any trace of such knowledge.
Amy looked radiantly happy. It was quite amusing
to watch her face. I wondered what it could feel like,
and thought it rather foolish, though perhaps it was
rather pretty too in its way. Mr. Clarence did not
.appear to take much more notice of her than of the
rest,, although he often let his eyes rest upon her whilst
he was talking. The conversation was all about surface
things, and by-and-by Roy broke in suddenly,-
"Oh, do you know it's quite true about Garth's regi-
ment being stationed at Watchet Bay in October ? We
heard this morning." And turning to Mr. Clarence he
added, smiling, "I was reminded of it just now, because
your relative, Colonel Clarence, is its colonel. He and
my brother are great friends."
Remembering what Hilda had said with reference to
Mr. Clarence and his cousin, I could not help looking
rather hard at him as Roy spoke these words. Did his
face change, I asked myself next minute, or was it only
my fancy because of what Hilda had said ? Certainly
the change (if change there were) was not at all marked.
I fancied I saw a subdued gleam in the dark eyes,
and a little contraction of the lips, but that was all.
When he spoke his voice sounded quite natural.
"I have not seen my cousin for some while. He was
on foreign service for a good spell, and we have not
chanced to meet since he came back. But we were
brought up together almost like brothers, as I think I
have told before. Edgar was always cleverer than I,
and he got on capitally in the service. If I am in this'
part of the country when he is quartered here, we shall
enjoy meeting once again."
The talk then passed to other matters, and if I had
expected to make any discovery by my unassisted genius,
I was disappointed. I came to the conclusion that
Hilda had sharper sight than I, or that she was preju-
diced; for I could see nothing suspicious in Mr. Clarence's
manner, and he was certainly a very handsome, polished
gentleman, and had seen enough of the world to ee a
very interesting talker on most subjects.
Roy and I did not stay to see the last of him, but
departed first; Nigel accompanying us down the much-
abused rocky path, teasing me to explain just where I
should like the lift arranged.
"Only when I put it up," he concluded, "you must
undertake to justify the cost by the increased number
of your visits;" and on hearing that I said no more,
for I had no intention of giving Nigel cause to think
I was so particularly attached to Eagle's Crag.
Roy told of the expected arrival of our guest to-
morrow, and Nigel showed a warmer interest than I
"Eric Hawke is a fine fellow," he said; "I shall be
exceedingly glad to renew our friendship. I hardly
know why it dropped so completely, except that I could
never get him here on a visit, and I seldom went to
Oxford when I had once left."
"He was too poor to pay visits in those days," said
Roy; "at least that is what he felt about it. He was
poor, and he was proud, and he had to work very hard.
But fortune's wheel has taken a turn with him at last,
and now he is getting on famously, and I believe he
could become quite a fashionable coach if he chose to go
in for it. All the fellows he takes up do well. I know
what a lot his teaching did for me my last term. He
makes you work, but then he shows you how un-
commonly interesting it is--not just cram; he shows
you the other side-the beauty and poetry or the scientific
interest. It doesn't matter what it is, he always makes
And then we said good-bye to Nigel, and dropped
down upon our own garden by a little unfrequented
path, and a bridge across the road. I don't know
whether Nigel meant to come with us, but I did not ask
him, and I don't think it occurred to Roy as needful.
But Nigel was growing a little bit more formal in some
of his ways.
"Did you like Mr. Clarence ?" I asked Roy when we
"Well, one didn't see enough of him either to like or
dislike. He's rather too much the society man for my
taste; but then that'll suit Lady Lavender and Amy
down to the ground."
I supposed it would. Certainly Amy seemed radiantly
happy; yet as I stood that evening after dinner,, looking
over the darkening waters of the harbour, watching
the lights twinkling out from the yachts anchored up
for the night, and listening to the soft plash of the
waves against the wall just below, I could not help
wondering what it would be like to leave one's own
beautiful, peaceful home, and go right away-alone-
with a man one had known but a short time, as
Amy had known her lover. Was it not a great and
rather terrible step to take ? It seemed so to me just
then. And yet how many girls took it quite as a matter
of course, and led happy and comfortable lives in homes
of their own afterwards.
For my own part, I could not imagine life anywhere
but at Fair Haven. I hardly thought I could live with-
out the sight of the sea and the music of its wonderful
voice. Even the wild sea-gulls were my friends, and
amongst those that fished in our harbour there were
many that knew me well, and that I could single out,
and bring to our wall by a cry which Roy and I had
used from childhood when we placed food for the gulls
And yet of late there had come over me a feeling
that I was leading a rather idle, purposeless life here in
this pleasant place. I had my little duties, it is true,
but they were few and easy. I had much time on my
hands, and I sometimes wondered if I made enough of
it. The days drifted by pleasantly and easily, and each
day seemed to fill itself with trifling matters; but there
were moments when it would come over me that youth
and health and even wealth in moderate measure must
have been given to me for some purpose, and I won-
dered whether I were not playing the part of the man
who buried his pound in the earth because he did not
exactly know how best to use it.
Perhaps it was talking with Hilda latterly that had
aroused this train of thought. Hilda was distinctly
beginning to revolt against the treadmill life of fashion-
able society. She had told me with some bitterness that
she was sick to death of doing nothing but go from
house to house, place to place, just to seek amusement,
and to see and be seen. She had even gone so far as
to say she would rather earn her own bread in the over-
crowded labour market (but for the injustice to the real
workers) than go on as she had been doing for the few
last years of her life. Hilda went a good deal further
than I. For no such idea would ever have entered my
head, and I could not understand the almost fierce
revolt she felt against the trammels of her life; but it
had certainly set me thinking about a number of sub-
jects which had never troubled my head before, and I
had begun to wonder whether there would ever come
something for me to do to help my fellow-creatures,
without my being forced into any open quarrel with my
Next day Mr. Hawke arrived. I had been consider-
ably divided in mind about this friend of Roy's. Of
course I was very grateful to him for his goodness to
my brother during his illness, but I was half disposed
to be jealous that he had been able to take the place
which I felt by right belonged to me. Also I had the
impression that the man was something of a recluse
(which was true) and of a boor (which was not), and I
believed that his coming would decidedly spoil that
part of the summer vacation during which he was to be
But I soon found out that I was wrong. Mr. Hawke
was not at all the awkward individual I had pictured,
although he was very silent at first, and was visibly shy,
in the unaccustomed presence of ladies.
Mother received him from her couch in the drawing-
room, and I never knew anybody like mother for put-
ting people at their ease with her. Then she and
Aunt Joan were sisters, and Mr. Hawke had come
straight from Aunt Joan's house, where he must have
enjoyed himself greatly, for his face quite lighted up as
he spoke of Hurst Royal and its mistress. As Roy had
said, his face was a fine one, if not exactly handsome.
It suited his name, I thought, for there was a quick
keenness in his glance which one associates with a
hawk's eye; and his thin nose was slightly aquiline and
beak-like, though not to an exaggerated extent. His
head was very fine-the head of a thinker and a
dreamer, though the latter tendency was much counter-
acted by the habits of a lifetime of struggle. Mr. Hawke
looked old to be a friend of our bright-faced Roy, and
yet that the two were much attached to each other
could be seen at once.
Roy took him out, and they paced the terraces to-
gether in eager talk; and after dinner, when we sat out
in the twilight and sipped our coffee, whilst the darkness
spread over the water below and the lights shone out
upon the gleaming tide, they went on with their talk of
men and things, and I sat by listening and learning.
For it was not mere chatter and gossip, such as I had
been used to hear between Roy and his comrades-anec-
dotes of games, or the pranks played by undergraduates
upon one another or upon the dons." Another side of
college life was opened to me now, and one which
struck me as being far more really interesting.
I need not go into detail-a story is not the place
for such talk-but I began to understand how all the
world over the burning questions of the day are seeth-
ing. The great battle between right and wrong is every-
where being fought, and at the great centres of intel-
lectual activity it has to be grappled with in a resolute
They spoke of things beyond my comprehension, of
phases of thought the names of which I hardly knew;
but all the way through I could understand what had
become Mr. Hawke's dominating motive in life-
the resolute crusade against those specious intellectual
doubts which were undermining the faith of so many
young men, and which so often led them into throwing
aside all exterior standards of right and wrong, and
becoming their own judges and lawgivers.
As I listened, I began to understand Roy's enthusiasm
for his friend. Mr. Hawke's face seemed to gather a
wonderful power from the earnestness within him, and
one felt he could listen for ever to his low, vibrating
voice. It mattered not to me that I often could not
understand him intellectually. There was that about
his utterances which seemed to speak to one's spirit, and
make you feel his meaning whether you understood or
not. It was plain that his pupils were to him a sacred
charge. He was no mere crammer, bent on just putting
into their heads as much as those heads would hold.
He had a message for them which went deeper and rose
higher than anything he could teach them from scho-
lastic books. I was more .impressed by Mr. Hawke's
intimate talk with Roy (for I think he soon forgot my
very presence) than I had been by anything which had
come my way for a long time. It gave me food for
much thought; and when he .by-and-by left us and
went up to his room, I said eagerly to Roy,-
"Isn't he a very good man ?"
"He is splendid!" answered Roy enthusiastically.
"I can't tell you what a power for good he is to the
men who know him. He gets such a grip upon them.
I can't tell how it's done, but so it is. They may try to
laugh about him, and make fun of some of his odd ways;
but they reverence him more than they do any other man
in the place. You'll never hear any fellow, however lax
or irreverent, pass beyond a certain limit if Hawke is
present; and yet he never 'jaws' or makes himself a
nuisance. You can tell that from hearing him talk to-
night. It's what one feels is in him, not what he says
exactly, that makes the impression. I don't know how
many fellows have not cause to bless him from the
bottom of their hearts ( I know I have. Life at
Oxford isn't all as easy and pleasant as it seems on the
surface. There are ugly things to be seen and heard
there. I might have fallen into some company which
would have left its stain upon me for life, if it
hadn't been for Hawke; and dozens of young fellows
just up, and with all their experience to buy, could say
I laid my hand on Roy's arm in token of sym-
pathy. I did not altogether understand, and I felt that
I must not ask questions; but I felt that Roy, with
all his buoyant brightness, had been through some
searching experiences during the past three years. I
gathered as much. even from his talk with Mr. Hawke;
I was quite certain of it as I watched his face in the
It must be a beautiful thing to help others like that,"
I said, "as Mr. Hawke has done."
"Yes; and almost more beautiful still when you see
him almost ignorant of it. He is always in the forefront
of the- battle, yet does not know what a standard-bearer
So that Mr. Hawke's presence at Fair Haven did not
become in the least an incubus." Indeed I should not
have complained had he spent a little more of his time
with us than he did; for he was very busy over some
work he had undertaken, and liked the quiet seclusion
of the library better than any of the attractions that
we had to offer out of doors.
On the third day of his visit, however, Garth arrived,
and that brought an element of distraction into our
Garth was .every inch a soldier-a fine, handsome
man of rather magnificent appearance. All the house-
hold bowed down before him when he appeared, and
vied one with another in doing him honour. I was
almost amused sometimes at the additional ceremony
which was observed during his visits, although I don't
think he desired anything of the sort or was ever aware
It was pretty to see his chivalrous gentleness to
mother. He seemed to try to take our father's pro-
tecting manner towards her. He was very like what
our father must have been at his age. Roy and I took
after mother; but Garth was every inch a Wyverne,
and mother could scarcely take her eyes off him when
90 NEW FACES.
he was in her presence. He 'always waited upon her
with sedulous, care, and I used to find myself quite
superseded when I came to read to her or be her com-
Garth, of course, was always much occupied when he
first came home; there were so many things waiting for
the master to settle. The Wyverne property was not a
large one, but still it embraced a considerable portion of
the Fair Haven village, and little questions were often
arising which the master alone could settle. Mother
looked after things in his absence as well as she could,
with the aid -of our faithful old James, who was butler
and steward in one. Garth was very anxious to do his
duty by the people, although he did not see cause for
giving up his profession, which was so dear to him.
He was very glad, however, to 'think of his being located
in the immediate vicinity for a time. That would enable
him to keep an eye on things at home, and see if all were
going as it should.
"And so it is actually settled about Watchet Bay?"
we asked early in his visit. "You will really come
there; and for how long ?"
Well, that is uncertain, of course. Things may turn
up; but I daresay we shall be there for a fair spell."
"And Colonel Clarence will come too ?"
"Of course.' What do you know about him ?"
"Nothing but what you have told us. He is a great
friend of yours, is he not ?"
Yes: Clarence is a very fine fellow, and a splendid
soldier. I shan't soon forget him in Africa when we
were there. I never saw a man so cool under fire and
in deadly peril as he. Always in the front of every-
thing. We used to say he must bear a charmed life.
I can't understand now how he came off almost scath-
less time after time, considering how he exposed himself."
Recklessly ?" queried Roy.
Well, it almost amounted to recklessness sometimes;
and yet he never actually crossed the boundary-line
which transforms courage into foolhardiness. The men
adored him, and would go anywhere with him. It was
wonderful what a power he got over them. The na-
tives, too, began to believe he was invulnerable, and to
think him a superhuman being; and perhaps that helped."
"I suppose he has plenty of decorations then ?"
"Yes; the Victoria Cross for one, and any number of
medals. He hates being pumped about his adventures
though, so don't you try to make him tell of his own
prowess. I used to have an idea in those days that he
was very unhappy, and that life had no more attraction
for him. I may have been wrong, of course; but that
is how it struck some of us. However, if he did not
value life, it stuck to him resolutely, and his acts of
daring only helped to raise him to rank quicker and
quicker. He got his steps wonderfully fast. He is one
of the youngest colonels now, and if he goes on he may
be a general in good time."
"Do you know his cousin-Mr. Clarence ?"
"No; but I've heard him speak of a cousin. Do you
know him yourselves ?"
"He's just got engaged to Amy Lavender. We saw
him the other day. They knew your colonel was his
cousin. And we were talking about your coming to
"So little Amy is engaged, is she, and to Clarence's
cousin ? Well, if he is a patch upon Clarence himself,
she will be a lucky girl. How are all the Lavenders ?
Is her ladyship as full of airs and graces, and does she
rule with autocratic sway as of old ?"
And then we laughingly plunged into local gossip,
and did not cease until the clocks had struck the mid-
night hour-which for us was one of almost unprece-
A DAY OF DISASTER.
G ARTH was gone. Mr. Hawke was a good deal
engrossed with his work, and Nigel monopolized
a considerable amount of his spare time. Roy and I
were left pretty much to our own devices by day, and
found plenty of amusement and occupation in and about
Fair Haven. There were several local gaieties on foot,
a little pastoral play at Eagle's Crag being one. Roy
and I had both to take part in it, and so we were up
there more than usual, and had to give some time
daily to the study of our parts at home.
September had come now, and some of the sporting
men went out with their guns. But there was not
much game in our immediate neighbourhood, and at no
time was Roy a very ardent sportsman. He was not
strong enough yet for the long tramps over stubble
fields and moors in which the souls of so many men de-
light, and he contented himself with carrying his gun
when. we went for strolls together, and taking "pot-
shots" as he dubbed them, at any partridge or hare that
94 A DAY OF DISASTER.
he might see on his way. He often brought home a
fair bag even in this desultory fashion, and was quite
content to take his shooting easily.
Our friendship, if such it could be called, with the
mysterious inmate of The Hermitage had made -no
further advance during this time. We had once more
gone across and invaded the garden, but shewas nowhere
to be seen; and presently the servant who had seen us
before, and brought us coffee on our last visit, came out
and informed us that her mistress was lying down with
a very bad headache; whereupon we withdrew instantly,
feeling a little as though we had been ordered off.
Most likely it was quite true that Miss Lucas had a
bad headache-she looked very delicate, and had come for
rest and recovery-but all the same there was a lingering
fear in our minds that perhaps she had not really liked
our intrusion upon her privacy, when she had had time
to think the matter over. It was unconventional, and
she did appear to wish to remain very quietly in her
retreat; and so, having other matters engrossing our
minds, we had not made any further attempt to enter
the enchanted garden, as Nigel had called it, or to scale
the fortress wall.
I think I was a little vexed that Nigel should have
discovered anything about it; and perhaps the know-
ledge that the secret was not all our own served to
dispossess it of some of its charm.
To-day, as it chanced, we were coming home from a
A DAY OF DISASTER.'
ramble we had taken on the other side of the water.
Our boat lay moored in the creek, but we had not landed
Supon The Hermitage wall or intruded into the garden.
We had rambled along the moors above, and Roy had
shot a few birds in a negligent fashion when the mood
was on him. Now we were coming back towards our
boat through the pine wood. I was walking on in
front, and Roy was behind with his gun, and we were
chattering away together-at least I was talking, and
Roy was putting in a word now and again-when I
was startled by the report of his gun.
I had seen no bird, and it was not Roy's way to fire
in such a sudden fashion without warning me. I turned
suddenly, and then felt all the blood ebbing from my
Roy was leaning against a pine trunk, looking ghastly.
That was all I could see in that moment, and just for
an instant I felt the hope seize me that he had acci-
dentally hurt one of the dogs. It was too terrible to
credit that he should have hurt himself. I thrust the
thought away fiercely.
In a moment I was by his side.
"What is it, Roy, what is it ?" I cried, in an agony
"I caught my foot in those roots," he answered,
speaking very slowly, his figure swaying slightly. "The
gun went off; I was carrying it carelessly perhaps. It
is my foot-"
A DAY OF DISASTER.
Then his voice failed altogether, and I could only
guide his fall as he collapsed downwards, and lay white
and senseless amongst the tall ferns, and brackens. For
one awful moment I believed him dead, and I think
my senses almost deserted me. Then it came to me
that he had-only spoken of his foot. "That could not
kill him," I suddenly cried in my thoughts. I sprang
to my feet. I bent over and pulled away the brackens.
Then I saw what made me shudder with terror and
horror, and yet gave me a certain confidence and hope.
Men did not die of wounds like that-though the blood
was oozing out, and I dared not touch the wounded
What could I do ? The boat was near, but the tide
was running in strong. It would take some time to
row back alone, and all that while Roy would be lying
senseless and bleeding in the wood.
Then it flashed upon me-The Hermitage I It was
quite close, and its mistress was reported to be never
out. She could not be angry with me if I came to her
in such sore need. Common humanity would prevent
her turning a,deaf ear to my appeal; and as I thought
of the sweet face as I had seen it in the garden, and of
the gentle, kindly way in which we and our pets had
been received, I was sure, very sure, that I should meet
with no. harsh response to my appeal for aid. I'would
go to Miss Lucas and tell her.....
Indeed I was half-way towards the house whilst still