“She will be back to-morrow,” said Anthea, silencing Small Porges with a gentle touch of her hand, “and we shall be glad, sha’n’t we, Georgy? The house is not the same place without her. You see, I am off in the fields all day, as a rule; a farm,—even such a small one as Dapplemere, is a great responsibility, and takes up all one’s time—if it is to be made to pay—”
“An’ sometimes it doesn’t pay at all, you know!” added Small Porges, “an’ then Auntie Anthea worries, an’ I worry too. Farming isn’t what it was in Adam’s young days,—so that’s why I must find a fortune—early tomorrow morning, you know,—so my Auntie won’t have to worry any more—”
Now when he had got thus far, Anthea leaned over, and, taking him by surprise, kissed Small Porges suddenly.
“It was very good, and brave of you, dear,” said she in her soft, thrilling voice, “to go out all alone into this big world to try and find a fortune for me!” and here she would have kissed him again but that he reminded her that they were not alone.
“But, Georgy dear,—fortunes are very hard to find,—especially round Dapplemere, I’m afraid!” said she, with a rueful little laugh.
“Yes, that’s why I was going to Africa, you know.”
“Africa!” she repeated, “Africa!”
“Oh yes,” nodded Bellew, “when I met him he was on his way there to bring back gold for you—in a sack.”
“Only Uncle Porges said it was a goodish way off, you know, so I ’cided to stay an’ find the fortune nearer home.”
And thus they talked unaffectedly together until, tea being over, Anthea volunteered to show Bellew over her small domain, and they went out, all three, into an evening that breathed of roses, and honeysuckle.
And, as they went, slow-footed through the deepening twilight, Small Porges directed Bellew’s attention to certain nooks and corners that might be well calculated to conceal the fortune they were to find; while Anthea pointed out to him the beauties of shady wood, of rolling meadow, and winding stream.
But there were other beauties that neither of them thought to call to his attention, but which Bellew noted with observing eyes, none the less:—such, for instance, as the way Anthea had of drooping her shadowy lashes at sudden and unexpected moments; the wistful droop of her warm, red lips, and the sweet, round column of her throat. These, and much beside, Bellew noticed for himself as they walked on together through this midsummer evening.... And so, betimes, Bellew got him to bed, and, though the hour was ridiculously early, yet he fell into a profound slumber, and dreamed of—nothing at all. But, far away upon the road, forgotten, and out of mind,—with futile writhing and grimaces, the Haunting Shadow of the Might Have Been jibbered in the shadows.
Which concerns itself among other matters, with “the Old Adam"