The Westcotes eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about The Westcotes.

“Rest assured, sir, I will turn up my coat-collar,” said Raoul; and Dorothea could see him, a moment later, shaking his head good-naturedly, though the Commissary still protested.

Dorothea, left to herself, watched them examining and discussing the panel of Bacchus and Ariadne.  The orchestra started another contre-danse, but no partner approached to claim her.  The dance began.  It was the “Dashing White Sergeant,” and one exuberant couple threatened to tread upon her toes.  She stood up and, for lack of anything better to do, began to study the panel behind her.

A moment later her hand went up to her throat.

It was the panel on which M. Raoul had sketched an imaginary board with his thumb-nail—­the Garden of the Hesperides.  But the Perseus was different; he wore the face of M. Raoul himself.  And beneath the throat of the nymph on the right, half concealed in the folds about her bosom, hung a locket—­a small enamelled heart, edged with brilliants.  Just such a trinket—­a brooch—­had pinned the collar of her close habit three days before, when she and M. Raoul had stood together discussing the panel.  It was a legacy from her mother.

Hastily she put out a hand and drew the edge of the orange curtain over nymph and locket.

Soon after supper Endymion Westcote informed his sister that it was hopeless to think of returning to Bayfield.  The barouche would convey her back to the Town House; but already the snow lay a foot and a half deep, and was still falling.  He himself, after packing her off with Narcissus, would remain and attend to the comfort of the guests, many of whom must bivouac at “The Dogs” for the night as best they could.

At midnight, or a little later, the barouche was announced.  It drew up close to the porch, axle-deep in snow.  Upstairs the orchestra was sawing out the strains of “Major Malley’s Reel,” as Endymion lifted his sister in and slammed the door upon her and Narcissus.  The noise prevented his hearing a sash-window lifted, immediately above the porch.

“Right away!”

The inn-servant who had accompanied the Westcotes turned back to trim a candle flaring in the draughty passage.  But it so happened that, in starting, the coachman entangled his off-rein in the trace-buckle.  Endymion, in his polished hessians, ran round to unhitch it.

On the window-sill above, two deft hands quickly scooped up and moulded a snowball.

“He should turn up his coat-collar, the pig! V’Ian pour le Commissaire!

Endymion Westcote did not hear the voice; but as the vehicle rolled heavily forward, out of the darkness a snowball struck him accurately on the nape of the neck.



“Your chocolate will be getting cold, Miss.”

Dorothea, refreshed with sleep but still pleasantly tired, lay in bed watching Polly as she relaid and lit the fire in the massive Georgian grate.  These occasions found the service in the Town House short-handed, and the girl (a cheerful body, with no airs) turned to and took her share in the extra work.

Project Gutenberg
The Westcotes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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