If only she had left out that last sentence! But what true lover has not been stabbed by something very like it in his time?
THE FAT GIRL AGAIN
Macgregor dropped his reply to Christina’s unsatisfactory note into the pillar-box and, half wishing he had destroyed it instead, rejoined the faithful Willie Thomson. He still looked so gloomy that Willie once more demanded to be told what the —— was up with him. Receiving no response, Willie remarked:
‘If ye tak’ a face like that to yer girl, she’ll be wantin’ to play a tune on it.’
Macgregor held his peace. They had just arrived in Glasgow, but without a trace of the usual eagerness on his part.
‘I believe,’ said Willie, with an inspiration, ‘her an’ you ha’e cast oot.’
‘Clay up! She’s awa’ her holidays.’
‘Save us! Awa’ her holidays!’ cried Willie, uttering, unawares, his friend’s bitterest thought—’an’ we may get oor mairchin’ orders ony meenute! Weel, weel, preserve me frae the female sect! I suppose ye’ll be for gi’ein’ yer ain folk a treat for a change.’
‘They’re a’ at Rothesay, at Granpaw Purdie’s,’ Macgregor returned shortly, now half glad that he had let the letter go.
It was not a harsh letter, yet neither was it a humble one. In effect, it informed Christina that she was welcome to disport herself even though the writer lay dead in a trench. While intended to be freezing, it had been written in considerable heat, physical and mental.
‘Then what are ye gaun to dae the nicht?’ Willie pursued, his mind simmering with curiosity. Macgregor had been very queer since his aunt’s visit of the previous afternoon, and the arrival of a letter, eagerly grabbed, had by no means mitigated the queerness. Willie was convinced that something had gone wrong between Macgregor and Christina. He would not be sorry to see the engagement broken. Macgregor would have more time and cash to spend on his friends. On the other hand, Christina was undoubtedly a ‘clinker’ in her way, and Willie could do with more hospitality like hers. Well, there was no saying what might happen if she were free and Macgregor attached to another girl. . . .
‘What are ye gaun to dae the nicht, Macgreegor?’ he repeated, rousing himself as well as his friend.
‘Dear knows,’ came the dreary answer. ‘I think I’ll awa’ back to the camp.’ Yet if he did not greatly desire Willie’s company, he desired his own less.
‘Cheer up for ony favour,’ said Willie. ’If I could afford it, I wud stan’ ye a feed.’
The hint was not taken, and they strolled on, aimlessly so far as Macgregor was concerned.
About six o’clock, and while they were passing a large drapery warehouse, Willie gave his friend a violent nudge and hoarsely whispered:
‘Gor! See thon!’