“Of course I do,” said Jean, “and that is why I am giving it to you. I know you will appreciate it.”
Peter Reid took the book as if it was something fragile and very precious. Pamela was puzzled by the expression on his face. He did not seem so much touched by the gift as amused—sardonically amused.
“Thank you,” he said. And again, “Thank you!”
“Jock will go down with you to the hotel,” Jean said, explaining, when the visitor demurred, that the road was steep and not very well lighted.
“I’ll go too,” said Mhor, “me and Peter.”
“Well, come straight back. Good-bye, Mr. Reid. I’m so glad you came to see The Rigs, but I wish you could have stayed....”
“Is he an old friend?” Pamela asked, when the cavalcade had departed.
“I never saw him before to-day. He once lived in this house and he came back to see it, and he looks ill and I think he is poor, so I asked him to come and stay with us for a week.”
“My dear child, do you invite every stranger to stay with you if you think he is poor?”
“Of course not. But he looked so lonely and lost somehow, and he doesn’t seem to have anyone belonging to him, and I was sorry for him.”
“And so you gave him that song-book you value so much?”
“Yes,” said Jean, looking rather ashamed. “But,” she brightened, “he seemed pleased, don’t you think? It’s a pretty song, ‘Strathairlie,’ but it’s not a pukka old one—it’s early Victorian.”
“Miss Jean, it’s a marvel to me that you have anything left belonging to you.”
“Don’t call me Miss Jean!”
“Jean, then; but you must call me Pamela.”
“Oh, but wouldn’t that be rather familiar? You see, you are so—so—”
“Stricken in years,” Pamela supplied.
“No—but—well, you are rather impressive, you know. It would be like calling Miss Bathgate ‘Bella’ to her face. However—Pamela—”
“For ’tis a chronicle of day by day.”
About this time Jean wrote a letter to David at Oxford. It is wonderful how much news there is when people write every other day; if they wait for a month there is nothing that seems worth telling.
" ... You have been away now for four days, and we still miss you badly. Nobody sits in your place at the table, and it gives us such a horrid bereaved feeling when we look at it. Mhor was waiting at the gate for the post yesterday and brought your letter in in triumph. He was particularly interested in hearing about your scout, and has added his name to the list he prays for. You will be glad to hear that he has got over his prejudice against going to heaven. It seems it was because someone told him that dogs couldn’t go there, and he wouldn’t desert Micawber—Peter, in other words. Jock has put it right by telling him that the translators of the Bible probably made a slip, and Mhor now prays earnestly every night: ‘Let everyone in The Rigs go to heaven,’ hoping thus to smuggle in his dear companion.