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trice Sedgwick. The child was in a after having tightly bandaged the perfect spasm of shrill-toned crying. child's arm with her handkerchief, and Beatrice bent over her, holding in one given Haslitt instructions at once to hand a handkerchief, with which she go for a doctor. When she entered the seemed endeavouring to staunch a room whence Reginald had watched wound on the girl's arm. Still fur- her, it is hardly hyperbole to say ther on, Reginald now discovered that that his maimed state alone prevented a certain large Newfoundland dog, for him from throwing himself at her feet several years a pet of his own, lay after the old-time romantic fashion, crouching in a sort of sick attitude, and covering her hands with many with protruded tongue. He was on kisses of fealty, of honour, and of the point of calling out to Beatrice, pride. Beatrice walked up to where inquiring the cause of the trouble, he lay in a half-reclined attitude, and when a new-comer appeared on the with a slight smile on her tranquil scene. This was none other than
face, said: Haslitt himself, wearing a very ex- So you have been watching that cited demeanour, and carrying a gun. pleasant little affair ? I hope I Advancing toward the dog with a haven't shocked you?' great deal of caution, Haslitt sudden- Yes,' he answered, you have ly levelled upon him the muzzle of the shocked me—and very much. But I weapon ; one moment later a clear dis
suppose I had no right to be shocked. charge was heard, and the dog, shot It was no more than just what one through the head, lay in his death should have expected from you.' agony.
His tones so palpably bespoke his Beatrice now left the screaming real meaning that they seemed to emchild and hurried toward Haslitt. The barrass her. “The dog was probably two held a brief conversation together, not mad,' she began, with a touch of purposely low-voiced. Reginald guessed confusion about her rapid sentences ; what was being said while he noticed .but there is no doubt that he has the anxious look on Beatrice's face been sick for a day or two and that and the gardener's serious shake of when little Jane attempted to make the head as he turned and pointed to him play with her he bit the child the now motionless animal. Hasten- quite cruelly. Haslitt was for shooting back to the child, Beatrice knelt ing him on the spot. You know the at her side. A thrill almost of horror old superstition. I don't believe I passed through Reginald as he saw could have stopped the shooting if I the lips of her whom he had resolved had commanded him ever so harshly. to make his future wife press them- Of course the best plan was to have selves against the wounded arm. But waited and discovered just what the from whatever cause the thrill began, dog's malady really proved to be. But it ended in an enthusiasm of admira- my common-sense suggestions were tion. He had needed no further evi- worthless sound in the ears of the dence of this creature's nobly charita- poor ignorant fellow. I was a tyrant ble nature, yet here was thrust upon to be put down at the muzzle of the him the final convincing proof of it! gun. So he put me down-and shot What other woman would have your
Lion. I hope you are not inacted with this fearless, unselfish be- consolable.' nignity?
If she consented to marry Reginald's face was bright with a him, should he not have won a trea- smile as he held out toward her a sure of surpassing worth?
hand which she could not choose but A little later he made known to the see and take. Her own hand was group on the lawn that he had ob
very cool and firm, but his had both served them. Beatrice passed indoors, an unwonted warmth and tremor.
'I believe,' he softly replied, that lard, recently returned from a it must rest with you whether I am to siderable stay in Europe. The result be inconsolable or not
of this correspondence was Mr. WilAnd then he came to an abrupt lard's appearance at the house of his pause, for a high girlish voice was old friend. heard outside, and the next moment a Quick of manner, slim and rather slim young figure burst into the room. unnoticeable in figure, possessing a
Why, Eloise,' exclaimed Beatrice, face that suggested almost a decade promptly moving towards the intru- more than his real age of thirty-two, der. You have arrived a day earlier Wallace Willard rarely impressed at than we expected.
first sight. His features were of good Eloise laughed a shrill silvery laugh regularity, but his somewhat lean as she kissed Beatrice impulsively on visage nullified their effect, being of a either cheek. 'Yes, the Marksleys slightly yellowish colouring. He had were coming straight from Newport inherited at an early age a sufficient to our own hotel, so I couldn't miss competence to permit the indulgence the opportunity of having them take of that extraordinary American eccencare of me instead of that stupid old tricity usually defined as being withMrs. Osgood — Oh, there you are, you out a business. Many years of his life poor Reginald' (running up to the had been spent in travel, and these invalid and seizing his hand in her same years had proved productive of own gloved clasp). "I've felt SO much valuable social experience. He dreadfully for you ever since I heard was a man with no special predominaof it. But you're ever so much better, ting tendency, but with a liberal aparen't you? And you haven't lost preciative inclination toward all that flesh a bit; has he, Beatrice? You're was worthy of a cultured taste, and just the same great big creature you of an educated intellect originally well used to be. A little bit paler, though, above the common. He recognized now I look well at you.'
the shortcomings of humanity, as the Considerably paler, Miss Eloise unprejudiced observer and the thinker, might have thought, could she have wholly freed from inherited bigotries, compared Reginald's present appear- wholly exempt from all distorting ance with what it had been just be- touches of dogma, may alone recogfore her entrance. The bright blue nize them. Coated, to those who first eyes and the plump little face, rimmed met him, with a light film of what with waves of yellowish hair, expres- might almost resemble cynicism, he sed a sort of funny superficial sympa- was promptly found, by all whom thy, as Miss Forbes seated herself on this deceptive over-dress did not repel, a section of the unoccupied lounge, to wear beneath it a serious mailwork still retaining the invalid's hand. And of reflective soundness and moral very probably she did not feel, through solidity. He had looked deeply her intervening glove, how almost enough into life to have discovered clammily cold that hand of Reginald's that what seem its baffling mysteries had now become.
and entanglements are themselves a Another week accomplished won- silent scorn of anything like sceptical ders for Reginald's sprained ankle. approach ; and while he was far from He was able, at its end, to dispense preserving any faith which might be with the cane, and though still an im- called definite or positive, his respect perfect walker, the evidence of his
for the very majesty of those insoluble injury now decreased with daily problems constituting human existence, rapidity. During this same week two informed him with a calm and patient letters had been exchanged between philosophic trust, full cf lofty liberalhimself and his friend Wallace Wil- ity and wise meditation.
Conversationally he knew how to make himself charming, and with a fresh rarity of charm, that the whole Ross household were not slow to discover and appreciate. Eloise should perhaps be excepted from the list of his more earnest admirers ; for where it was a question of pleasing young bachelors she belonged to that class of feminine entertainers who would have no hesitation in scorning even the holy laws of hospitality themselves, provided she were not at all times rewarded with a good lion's share of notice.
'I don't dislike him-oh, not a bit !' she told Reginald, one evening, while he and she were standing together on the starlit piazza, having left a family-group within-doors. But I feel (don't you know ?) as if I were the merest cypher when he is present, and of course that bothers my vanity, or something of the sort, can't you understand !
I think I can understand,' Reginald said, with a smile that the young lady did not see.
But she detected a satiric ring in his tones and fired up quite vigorously. Oh, you can, can you ? Well, no doubt I'm not fit to breathe in the same room with that prodigious wiseacre. He exhausts all the air. What made you follow me out ?' (with a sudden lowering of the voice and a quick lifting of the eyes to his face, succeeded as rapidly by a downward look.) 'I wish you hadn't.'
It is possible that Reginald already wished very much the same thing. Since the first coming of Eloise Forbes into his brother's household, there had been a new incident force directed upon his life, whose effects he had himself been watching with sort of disappointed wonder, at certain separate intervals during the past five years. The man somehow revolted from what his temperament seemed imperatively to ordain. While he was in Eloise's company his mind seemed to close every door of intellec
tual congeniality except that of a little antechamber, as it might be said, where trifling fancy and light pleasantry, and often random nonsense, gained free admission. That his feeling for Eloise should be dignified with the name of a passion, he sometimes made haughtiest mental denial ; that it was a passion, dominating him with a tyranny as irresistible as distasteful, he now and then dejectedly confessed.
He had never come nearer to a complete victory over these self-despised impulses than just before Eloise's return. Had she remained away a few days longer, and had Beatrice given favourable answer to his suit, the change, he could not help believing, might have assumed a most permanent and resistant stability. Closer personal nearness to Constance, and those respectful caresses and pure fondlings that their engagement must sweetly have sanctioned, might have lighted with the real sacred flame an altar whose sculptured beauty alone needed this one illuminative grace. But now the altar seemed not only hopeless of the kindling touch ; it had been overthrown as well. And who had been the iconoclast ? A flippantminded girl, a piece of pink-and-white wilfulness, too well-dowered with mischief to be called innocent, and too shallow to make the charge of wickedness ever a just one! In proportion to the strength of Reginald's late resolution, now followed the strength of its reaction. I can do nothing,' he told himself, as these new days lapsed along. “If I were a lesser man or a greater man, it might be well with
As I now exist, there is but one course left : To go away. I have gone many times before. A year ago it was Europe; it shall be Europe again, and this time for an indefinite space.'
But he did not go away. Willard's visit as yet showed no signs of termination, and he indeed seemed holding Reginald at his host's word as regarded making a most extended stay. Meanwhile each new day only aug
mented the unhappy spell
. More than nald regarded him, after a few meetonce a certain bitterly despondent ings. He deserved the name of wellmood laid its black hand upon Regi- informed, in its most absolute sense. nald's soul. His self-mortification now On many subjects he was positively appeared to take secret pleasure in redundant with facts; Huency seldom assigning one grotesque and strangely failed him; he sparkled at times with imaginative cause to what, during all something that it would be hypercrirational moments, he condemned as tical not to allow as wit; his stock of unpardonable weakness.
happy phrases perpetually showed itNo wholesome effects had sprung self: he was adroit at veiling his igfrom a confidence once made by Mrs. norance, very often under graceful Ross to her son regarding the singular epigram ; he was a man who might fancy with which she herself had been shine for an hour or so where his inhaunted. It is sure that the strong tellectual betters would seem justly impression which that odd story rela- enough to merit the charge of dui. tive to his brother Julian from the
But his measure was limited, first made upon Reginald, had never and Reginald was not wrong, perhaps, been revived into more positive me- in his rapid taking of it. •I suppose morial colours than just at present. the man is what ought to be called Again and again he was on the clever,' he told Willard one evening,
! point of contiding all his misery to while smoking a late cigar with his Wallace Willard, and humbly asking friend, after the ladies had disappeared; advice from a judgment, an intelli- * but for myself he compares with gence and a psychical keen-sightedness į
men of really interesting parts about which he granted were superior to his the same as the dictionary would comown. But Reginald's courage, in this pare with any enjoyable piece of readmatter, was wholly disproportionate ing. By-the-by, Eloise asked him to to his yearning. Always sensitive to make one of our little pic-nic to-morridicule, he dreaded the latent amuse- row.' ment, if nothing more serious, which Reginald was not wholly ill-pleased, so quaint a confession might provoke ; however, that the iittle pic-nic in and just now his position became se- question had been made to include cretly aggravated from an unexpected Mr. Austin's company.
He had a source.
dreary certainty that most of his own The large neighbouring hotel num- time would be given to Eloise, probered among its present guests a Mr. vided a party of four allowed him opAlfred Austin, who very often strolled portunities of unlimited tit-à-tête. over, both mornings and evenings, for And, to put the matter in its harshest the apparent purpose of being point- terms, he was ashamed that Wallace edly civil to Eloise.
He was a gen
Willard should have any such striktleman whom she had known for sev- ing proof as might then be afforded, eral years, meeting him rather fre- of how Eloise's society could attract quently in town during the winter. him with so engrossing an eiticiency He was tall, straight-limbed, with an Hitherto he had managed to shroud oval face, pleasant grayish eyes and a from Willard, under a half-abstracted scant blonde moustache. Escaping the sort of carelessness, the spiritual sercharge of foppery, he nevertheless ex- vitude which bound him. And so, hibited a daintiness of costume, a per- on the following morning, when Ausceptible affectation of manner and a tin, with fresh-looking, blond demeanpronounced tendency to imitate pre- our, really appeared, Reginald's welvailing fashions. Jealousy was be- come wore a touch of cordiality no less yond doubt wholly exempt from the insincere than explainable. unwilling toleration with which Regi- The party of five started on foot for
a certain charming spot called Green · With what object do five people Hollow, which they reached after meet together as we are met now?' perhaps an hour of leisurely walking. said Austin, brandishing a chickenOn either side of the hollow, rose leg loftily in one of his white womanthick-wooded hills, one of which broke ish hands. “Is it to look pensive most beautifully at its base into rocky over a waterfall, Miss Beatrice? Is cavelike irregularities, of lichen-grown it to smell our vinaigrette and wish and fern-plumed picturesqueness. A we had not walked here, Miss Eloise? boulder-broken stream foamed through Is it to appear wisely absent-minded, the delightful vale, on its way toward Ross? And Willard, is it to show lower lands.
even less appetite than conversation ? The morning, though somewhat op- Why let to-day's pic-nic get itself repressively warm during their walk, gistered in our memories as a failure! left this cool monastic retreat almost If so, we shall shrink from all future untouched by its ardours. Every body pic-nics, and scent ennui in the very was sun-wearied on reaching the end name of one. For myself I have done of the walk, and everybody soon re- my best, but I have been grossly recovered under the sweet touch of a buffed. Yet never mind that; all new refreshing atmosphere.
social reformers have to run the gauntTwo servants had accompanied the let of contempt. Already having party, bearing liberally-filled hampers, taken one glass of claret, I now proand after nearly an hour of what ceed to accompany with more claret perhaps struck more than one person this yet-undevoured chicken-leg. Afas general conversation of a rather ter that, I shall probably have gained aimless order, the edibles being spread courage enough for the dreadful act upon a tract of meadowy sward, cold of boldness which I meditate. What chicken vied in its allurements with a is this act of boldness? It is to storm savoury store of other dainties. your outworks of unsocial melancholy.
Austin was what his admirers (and It is to sing a comic song.–By Jove ! such men always have devoted ad- how dark things are getting !' mirers) would have called in his best 'I should say, Mr. Austin,' now vein this morning. He told several laughed Beatrice, that your comic sprightly stories, nearly all of which song will have to be sung in the midst sparkled with some foreign reminis- of a thunder-storm, unless you rather cence; he seemed bent upon infusing expedite it.' a gentle spirit of mirth into the party, The clear, blue sky above them had notwithstanding the marked resist- indeed darkened during the past few ance that somehow met this noble at- minutes into thick-folded masses of tempt ; and far from anything like purple cloud. One of those sudden monopoly of Eloise's society, he ap- storms to which our American sumpeared even to avoid securing one. mer is so often subject, had hurried Finally, while the eating was in pro- up with startling velocity from the gress, he waxed despondent, declared South-west. Low grumbles of thunhimself unable to make anybody der already sound in surly distinctness, jolly,' and in one of his characteristic and the gloom deepened with every word-torrents, where all the brief sen- new moment. tences trod hot on each other's verbal *We shall catch it in about ten minheels, he poured forth amusing re- utes,' exclaimed Reginald, springing proaches. Reginald and his friend from the ground; but his prophecy Willard now and then exchanged was an incorrect one; for in half that looks, as two calm-eyed sensible horses space the rain began to fall, and the might do on witnessing the wild gam- two servants, abruptly deluged while bols of a colt.
endeavouring to replace the edibles.