“There was nothing else for us to do. We had no money and no relations—nothing but the land. So we had to work it—and we managed. But after three years we’d saved a little money, and we wanted to get a bit more education. So we sold the land and moved up to Montreal.”
“How old were the brothers when you took on the farm?”
“Wonderful!” she exclaimed. “You must be proud.”
He laughed out.
“Why, that kind of thing’s done every day in this country! You can’t idle in Canada.”
They had turned back towards the train. In the doorway of the car sat Philip Gaddesden lounging and smoking, enveloped in a fur coat, his knees covered with a magnificent fur rug. A whisky and soda had just been placed at his right hand. Elizabeth thought—“He said that because he had seen Philip.” But when she looked at him, she withdrew her supposition. His eyes were not on the car, and he was evidently thinking of something else.
“I hope your brother will take no harm,” he said to her, as they approached the car. “Can I be of any service to you in Winnipeg?”
“Oh, thank you. We have some introductions—”
“Of course. But if I can—let me know.”
An official came along the line, with a packet in his hand. At sight of Elizabeth he stopped and raised his hat.
“Am I speaking to Lady Merton? I have some letters here, that have been waiting for you at Winnipeg, and they’ve sent them out to you.”
He placed the packet in her hand. The Canadian moved away, but not before Elizabeth had seen again the veiled amusement in his eyes. It seemed to him comic, no doubt, that the idlers of the world should be so royally treated. But after all—she drew herself up—her father had been no idler.
She hastened to her brother; and they fell upon their letters.
“Oh, Philip!”—she said presently, looking up—“Philip! Arthur Delaine meets us at Winnipeg.”
“Does he? Does he?” repeated the young man, laughing. “I say, Lisa!—”
Elizabeth took no notice of her brother’s teasing tone. Nor did her voice, as she proceeded to read him the letter she held in her hand, throw any light upon her own feelings with regard to it.
The weary day passed. The emigrants were consoled by free meals; and the delicate baby throve on the Swede’s ravished milk. For the rest, the people in the various trains made rapid acquaintance with each other; bridge went merrily in more than one car, and the general inconvenience was borne with much philosophy, even by Gaddesden. At last, when darkness had long fallen, the train to which the private car was attached moved slowly forward amid cheers of the bystanders.
Elizabeth and her brother were on the observation platform, with the Canadian, whom with some difficulty they had persuaded to share their dinner.