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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Kindred of the Dust.

“And never batted an eye?”

“Not even the flicker of an eyelash.”

His canine loyalty bade Mr. Daney defend The Laird’s ewe lambs.

“Well, maybe they didn’t recognize you,” he protested.  “A good deal of water has run under a number of bridges since the McKaye girls saw you last.”

“In that event, Mr. Daney, I charge that their manners would have been extremely bad.  I know town dogs that smile at me when I smile at them.  However, much as I would like to assure you that they didn’t know me, I must insist, Mr. Daney, that they did.”

“Well, now, how do you know, Nan?”

“A little devil took possession of me, Mr. Daney, and inspired me to smoke them out.  I walked up and held out my hand to Jane.  ’How do you do, Jane,’ I said.  ‘I’m Nan Brent.  Have you forgotten me?’”

Mr. Daney raised both arms toward the ceiling.

“‘Oh, God! cried the woodcock,—­and away he flew!’ What did the chit say?”

“She said, ‘Why, not at all,’ and turned her back on me.  I then proffered Elizabeth a similar greeting and said, ’Surely, Elizabeth, you haven’t forgotten me!’ Elizabeth is really funny.  She replied:  ‘So sorry!  I’ve always been absent-minded!’ She looked at me steadily with such a cool mirth in her eyes—­she has nice eyes, too—­and I must have had mirth in mine, also, because I remember that at precisely that minute I thought up a perfectly wonderful joke on Elizabeth and Jane and their mother.  Of course, the poor Laird will not see the point of the joke, but then he’s the innocent bystander, and innocent bystanders are always, getting hurt.”

“Ah, do not hurt him!” Daney pleaded anxiously.  “He’s a good, kind, manly gentleman.  Spare him!  Spare him, my dear!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t hurt him, Mr. Daney, if I did not know I had the power to heal his hurts.”

Suddenly she commenced to laugh, albeit there was in her laugh a quality which almost caused Mr. Daney to imagine that he had hackles on his back and that they were rising.  He much preferred the note of anger of a few minutes previous; with a rush all of his old apprehensions returned, and he rasped out at her irritably: 

“Well, well!  What’s this joke, anyhow?  Tell me and perhaps I may laugh, too.”

“Oh, no, Mr. Daney, you’d never laugh at this one.  You’d weep.”

“Try me.”

“Very well.  You will recall, Mr. Daney, that when Mrs. McKaye rang me up in New York, she was careful, even while asking me to return, to let me know my place?”

“Yes, yes.  I was listening on the line.  I heard her, and I thought she was a bit raw.  But no matter.  Proceed.”

“Well, since she asked me to return to Port Agnew, I’m wondering who is going to ask me to go away again?”

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