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TOTTIE WYLDE'S DEVICE.
IN THREE CHAPTERS.
looked bewitching, while the sweet rubbish, Eddie!' said pretty south wind tossed her brown locks Tottie Wylde maliciously, as she wildly. He got up in a rage, lay one brilliant summer day flung his cigar away, and turned busily digging holes with her as if to go down home. Tottie parasol in the soft sward of the relented, but she could not help Down overlooking Seasurf on the irritating him a little more: Southern coast. Her younger 'Eddie, Eddie!' she called, don't brothers had wandered away to leave me; now come back here, roll boulders down into the level there's a good boy! and I'll teli below, and her cousin, Edwin you what I'll do- I really will,' she Keiller, pined for her to say she pleaded as a brilliant idea flashed loved and would marry him. across her brain; and he could
It isn't rubbish, Tot,' he re- not help turning round to listen plied warmly; you know you to the winning tones: 'I'll marry like me, and yet you drive me you, Eddie-there-if-if-but wild with your childish ways. will you promise me you'll agree Can't you
to what I say? “No, I can't, sir; and I won't She acted capitally, did little I won't tie myself to any man. Tottie Wylde, and she attracted I'm going to be an old maid and his attention at once. He travel about the country lecturing answered: 'I'll agree to anything, on Women's Rights with that dear if you are in earnest.' Miss Faithfull.
I am in earnest. You promise ?' He chewed the end off his cigar I promise. with vexation as she chaffed him : * Very well. Now I'll tell you,'
I'll not ask you again, Tot; you she said, jumping up from the must deliberately mean to make grass as her eye sparkled with me miserable, or you wouldn't go fun : 'But where are the boys ? on like that.'
Oh, there they are, coming back. 'Oh yes, you will you know Well, Eddie (now mind, it's a baryou will-won't you, Eddie? She gain!), you are not to ask me any laughed all over as, certain of her more if I win what I am going to prey, she teased and petted him tell you; and I'll promise to and put a tiny hand in his while marry you whenever you like if making a little moue.
you win—is it a bargain ?' 'I won't, I tell you, I'm not Yes, I promise,' he said, entergoing to be made a fool of all my ing into the fun of the thing, and life, by Jove! I'll go back to thinking that it must end to his town to-morrow and grind away advantage, whatever it was. at law.'
"Well, so do I, on my side. Now Oh, Eddie, Eddie! and leave what I mean is, that we shall run your own Tottie lamenting ? a race for it down this hill, right again she laughed outright, and to the bottom !
"What bosh, Tottie! why, you'd give it up—it's so silly,' said fall on your head before you got Keiller. ten yards, and then there'd be a • You're afraid ! she laughed nice row at the Royal !' he laughed out, flushed with excitement. at the absurdity of the idea.
* I'm not!' he retorted indig* Would I indeed, Mr. Imperti- nantly, placing himself in position. nence-we'll see. You've pro
Are you ready? asked Harry, mised and I mean to keep you in high glee; while Jack absoto it.'
lutely howled with delight. * You are really in earnest ?' * Ready!' they both answered.
Of course I am!' she answered, One, two, three-off !' beating & wee foot determinedly shouted, and away they bounded, on the ground.
the boys keeping a little behind. * All right,' he laughed out glee Run, Tottie ! run! run!' they fully, you're mine then!'
screamed ; and Tottie, briskDon't be so sure,' she smiled a footed maiden of seventeen as little slyly; she knew what she she was, hill-born, and limb-free could do on her own rugged Welsh as a fawn, did run her best; mountains; she knew also pretty flying with shortened clothes down well what used to be her cousin's the rugged steep; bounding over capabilities in the same locality; furze bushes and intervening and experienced little fear for the rocks; never shirking, never swayresult. The boys rolled on the ing, save once, when an ugly turf in ecstasies of fun when they hollow yawned before her, from learned the terms of the bargain. which she saved herself almost by
'By Jove, she'll beat you, Eddie!' a miracle; till she reached the said Jack, who rather looked down bright green flat at the bottom, on his cousin as an athlete. and turned triumphantly to see
* That she won't-I bet you where the beaten Edwin was in half-a-crown she won't!' So Henry. the race. She could not see him;
Edwin Keiller did not quite like she could not see her brothers it; the descent was very steep, even; was it possible that they broken in places with hollows that had all fallen in the treacherous could not well be seen until one hollow she had so narrowly eswas just in them, and it was an caped ? So back up the steep immense distance to the level at hill she ran again in strange disthe bottom, which rose again before may, till she gained the brink of culminating in the final cliff that the pit wherein lay Edwin on his overhung Seasurf. He had no fear back, his face snow-white and whatever for himself, but he had laced with blood from a horrid on Tottie's account; she would ragged cut on the forehead; and not, however, be gainsaid, but kept by his side her two brothers him to the race and began to get kneeling as useless as boys always ready:
are in the presence of pain, sick* Now, Harry, you shall start us ness, or trouble. In a second she fairly; Jack, hold this for me had gained the bottom of the and this,' handing him her fairy hollow: Oh, Eddie, Eddie!' she hat and delicate mantle. Then cried, kneeling on the grass in a she tied her hair in a firm knot passion of tears, with the long behind, shortened her petticoats brown hair now tumbling in conwith one tight hand, and kept the fusion all over her sweet face : other free to balance herself. What have I done? oh, what has
"Oh, nonsense, Tottie ! let us happened ?
He did not speak; but the use Welsh mountains, from whose less boys said in their ignorance: stormy gorges they had emerged
Oh nonsense, Tottie ! he's not but a year or two back, had (their hurt-only shaken a bit.'
friends said) no little to do with She, girl-like, turned on them this contempt for common Saxon furiously: 'He's killed for all you customs; and had not Edwin know or care! Water! get some Keiller been a constant visitor to water--down there at the bottom, the old castle in the troubled hills, where I ran ! Jack bounded as well as a bonâ-fide cousin, he away, delighted to escape the fierce would never have come to be look, and soon returned with a called 'Eddie, darling! by the hatful, to find Tottie supporting only daughter, or hold the place Edwin's head against her breast, he did in the family as a sort of while she wiped away with her tamed attaché whom Tottie was dainty pocket-handkerchief the not unlikely to take it into her clotting blood from the wound on head to marry some fine day. the forehead. Then she sprinkled Only I'm sure I don't know his face with sharp dashes of the where you are to get bread and water until at length he came to cheese from, Tottie, if you do,' and faintly smiled: “You've beaten said Mrs. Wylde one day (on me, Tot,' he feebly uttered as he their way to Seasurf) sitting half opened his eyes and saw whose stifled in a gorgeous drawing-room arms were supporting him. She of a Brook Street hotel. smiled through her now fast We can colour photographs, coming tears: 'Oh, Eddie darling, ma dear!' answered Tottie, laughI'm so sorry!
ing merrily at the folly. Not that Never mind it, Tot,' he said; she meant to marry Edwin or . I'm all right now!' and in proof any one else ; she was very fond of of the fact he turned to get up. him-as she was of her brother A sharp yell of pain dispelled the Jack or Harry—but she had no idea—the man's left arm was intention of being worried with a broken, and poor Tottie's heart husband at all—that she hadn't, was very sad as she and Henry and told him so very plainly when helped him down to the Royal for the thousandth time he tried Hotel in Seasurf, where they all to get her into a sentimental were staying-Jack having flown mood. on ahead to have a surgeon in The Wyldes (with Edwin for readiness.
their guest) when they arrived at The Hon. Mark and Mrs. Wylde, Seasurf took half the ground floor with Tottie and the two boys, at the Royal'—with wide French made up in all a strangely clever windows opening on mossy grass, family. Proud and humble in a gay flowers, with shrubs and breath ; despising wealth while greens of all shades; and below, they revelled in it; disliking the heaving violet sea, reaching poverty, and famous for the number away unbroken into an eternity of of poor friends they cultivated; mists that sent, at times, deep scorning society, and yet enjoying growling echoes of warning back it with a keen zest; utterly un to murmur ceaselessly on the controlled by caste or its traditions, wave-worn beach. A glorious and at the same time proud of place for love-making, a glorious their high birth; they stalked, time, and a glorious prize. Hills noble savages, in the hunting and sea and flowers; and warmth grounds of fashion. The grand with scented breezes; and calm and
seclusion - opportunities every was that toy-maiden; and gra-luwhere and in every respect; but ally there came between them a in spite of all Edwin Keiller made coolness—& sort of stand-off-ishno progress. Tottie only laughed ness—that retarded the man's at him, and he sickened with physical recovery, while it rendespair sometimes; sometimes con dered the young girl miserable templated with horror his crush with the bitter misery of selfing poverty, as he almost dreaded baffled affection. lest he should drag that bright bird down to a level she was unsuited for. He was but a poor
CHAPTER II. barrister, and taking short-hand
CAPTAIN AND MISS HALL OF THE notes of special cases for the law
PLUNGERS.' journals brought him in more than any other branch of his pro * By Jove! old Sam Hall, as I fession. Not seldom he raved live!' Edwin half rose from his against himself culpable, great easy-chair in the verandah against Tottie for encouraging -he was convalescent now—as a him, and against her parents for tall, brown-faced dragoon swung throwing them so much together across the bottom of the flower-such is the folly of man.
dotted lawn on the way up from So Edwin Keiller had lost the the beach. race, broken his arm, got a cut on 'Sam! hallo, Sam!' he called ; the head that would mark him the dragoon paused to look up. for life, and dissipated all his With him there walked a fine chances of marrying Tottie Wylde, stately girl, also a dragoon, as you as the results of one morning's could see by her unmistakable nonsense. For lying on a couch barrack walk, and that noli me out in the verandah of the 'Royal' tangere air that generally apperone day, when the heavy heat tains to the female soldier. The seemed to press on the air in brother and sister came slowly masses, he resolved that, come across the grass towards the what might, he would adhere to verandah. his silly promise, and never again •Can't think who the deuce mention the subject of marriage the fellow is—do you know him, to his cousin. Poor little Tottie Car ? was inconsolable for the mischief 'N-no, unless he's young Partshe had innocently caused; she lett of the “ Crashers”-at Fyzatended and watched over Edwin bad, you know, Sam.' with the closest care; she gathered Not he-dead long ago—"yelflowers for him; she read to him low jack" at Bermuda. Why-novels, magazines, dull news it's old Eddie Keiller!' papers, even musty law reports; Hand-shaking, 'dear old boy'she sang to him; she played chess ing, &c. &c., ad libitum. Then with him; nay, she even kissed introductions; for these two men him; but not one word could she had been public-school chums to extract from the white, pain-com- gether, therefore of the same caste, pressed lips to prove he had for and therefore at liberty to bring given her silly freak by speaking their womenkind together. Tottie of the old subject between them. and Carry Hall set about 'reckonHe kept his promise sternly; she ing up' one another with that would not speak of it, no, not for marvellous, instantaneous grasp the whole world—still so proud of character instinctive with the
keener sex. The sum total in 'Don't be absurd, Mr. Keiller. either case was a compromise. It I have been out, and ridden hard was not to be a sudden, gushing, to see men do it, though-there, deathless friendship; nor yet a don't say it's unladylike, for it sharp mutual dislike scarce veiled isn't; besides, your Tot-Miss decently over with Judas-kisses Wylde, I mean—would do the and plenteous my dears' and same if she had the chance.' 'my darlings.' They felt at once • How do you know?" he asked that their present position must curiously, wreathing his cigarbe a dignified one of non-interven- smoke in circles from his nostrils. tion, an armed neutrality, capable Oh! I know she would,' was of transformation should policy so the inconsequent answer. Carry demand. The Halls had just Hall was rapidly plucking daisycome home from India, and down to heads and aiming them at the the 'Royal' at Seasurf to recruit. very elegant bottine that peeped
"Like it? oh, it is so jolly!' out at the foot of her dress: 'I answered Carry, as she lay out know she would; she is just, under the tree-shade with Eddie a what Sam calls, a little dfortnight or so after her arrival, (don't be shocked, I'm a soldier, her brother and the Wyldes you know) at anything! having gone off on a rough-and Eddie Keiller was not shocked tumble picnic some twenty miles at all; in fact he rather liked a away. Carry Hall would not join straightforward bit of slang in a them, she was unwell, she said; regular girl of the world—more and Edwin couldn't-on account particularly when she happened of his arm.
to be a remarkably handsome one, "Jolly as Mentone, and without with brains and a reserve power the gambling,' he added to her of being ladylike to extreme when description.
she chose. Without the gambling! Don't 'Fancy poor Tot a little devil ! you ever play, Mr. Keiller ?' he murmured softly and half to
Hate it. Besides, I have no himself. money, so I couldn't if I would.' Carry Hall blushed up a bright
Just & trifling shade passed passion colour. over her face, he thought, as he You know I didn't mean anyexplained his absence of wealth. thing of the sort,' she deprecated; Then she laughed uneasily.
besides, if I did, it's not likely I Some people play without should have said it, knowing how much money of their own-Sam fond Mr. Keiller is of her—though does for one--and as for me, I am she did break his arm !' a regular gambler-a professed But she didn't, Miss Hall!' one; I gamble with everything. retorted the other warmly, for he Even with
had not yet entirely forgotten the Your affec-Eddie was old love, though, indeed, he chose insinuating, but she pretended to regard it now as a mere brothernot to hear the interruption, and and-sisterly affection. went on
But she did, Mr. Keiller'My neck, Sam says, when out young Jack Wylde told me all pig-sticking!
about the race--it's well she did * And have you actually-stuck not break your neck, as well as pigs ? he asked, maliciously, half —your heart! She whispered rolling over on his sound arm to the last two words, and looked have a better look of her face. half up at him over her shoulder,